George's Parents
George Bennett MILAM is the son of William MILAM and Elizabeth CASE MILAM.  William was born 18 Mar 1799 in Spencer County KY.  Elizabeth Case was born 20 Feb 1815 in Knox County Indiana. ( In records she states she was born in Daviess County Indiana but Daviess was not created until 1817.)
William and Elizabeth married about 1830 and lived in Greene County Indiana.  In 1831, William and his wife Elizabeth, with her stepfather Elisha Groves and brother Francis C. Case were presented with the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and were soon baptized members of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints.   About 1834 William and Elizabeth moved to Misourri.  They left about 1839 for Nauvoo, Illinois where they resided until 1847.  They crossed the Mississippi River in the winter of 1847 and stayed in Iowa until 1852.  They then took a covered wagon along the Mormon Trail to Salt Lake City UT where they lived the remainder of their lives.

George's History

George Bennett MILAM was born 2 Sep 1847 in Montrose, Lee, Iowa a few months after the death of his oldest sister Sarah Jane.  (Sarah passed away 9 Feb 1847 in Iowa)

20 Sep 1852 George and his family entered Salt Lake with the 11th Company Emigration of 1852 Captained by James McGaw

24 Feb 1853 George’s father dies of tuberculosis in Salt Lake City UT.

Baptized in SLC UT 7 Mar 1857 by Thomas Callister 17th Ward Salt Lake Stake Confirmed 7 Mar 1857 by Thomas Callister.

15 Jun 1860 the census records George Milam is a twelve year old student living in Wilford and Phebe Woodruff’s home.

George Bennett marries Caroline Priscinda TIPPETTS 4 Oct 1867 at the Endowment House in SLC UT (Good job George)

Monday, 7 Oct 1867 The semi-annual conference was continued in Great Salt Lake City of which the following minutes were published in the "Deseret News:" "…The Fishburn choir sang, ‘Hard Times Come Again No More.’ The following were selected to go on a mission to the southern part of the Territory:--Thurston Simpson, Samuel Riter, Oscar B. Young, …Isaac Young, John C. Young, Charles Alley, Oliver Free, George Milam, Miles Romney…"

George Bennett MILAM was called to serve in the MUDDY MISSION.

The muddy mission is described in a paper written by a B.Y.U. student:
by G. Osmond Dunford May 6, 1959 B.Y.U.

"Anthony W. Jenson, in his Church Chronology, has the following entry: "The first Latter-day presidency of Thos. S. Smith they and other settlers, who followed, located St. Thomas."

From the Annals of Southern Utah Mission, by James D. Bleak, p. 286, we quote the following written by President Erastus Snow from St. George, June 29, 1868:

'Beloved President Young:

Since our return from Salt Lake City, Elder Jos. W. Young and myself have visited nearly all the settlements of Iron, Kane, and Washington Counties as well as on the Muddy, and several of them twice. The new road to the Valley of the Muddy is opened and traveled.'
From page 315 of the same record we have an account of instructions given by Brigham Young to a Conference of the Southern Utah Mission held Saturday, May 1,1869 at 10 a.m. From this account we quote the following excerpt:
…He asked the southern settlements to put up telegraph poles so as to give the settlements on the Muddy the benefit of telegraphic communication."
What were the settlements on the Muddy and why were they important enough to receive the above attention in the records of early settlement of the West? To understand and appreciate the answer to this question, it becomes necessary that we have an understanding of the colonizing of the West, especially the Great Basin, as it was envisioned by the famous Colonizer, Brigham Young. It was not the purpose of this Empire Builder to settle the Saints in the Salt Lake Valley only. He could see the tine when thousands of the Mormon Church would pour into the Rocky Mountains and need places to live, therefore, he knew the settlements must extend to accommodate the expansion of population. His idea ws to send colonies into every habitable area in the Great Basin to secure a great inland Empire.

By the time a colony was sent to the Muddy, much of the Great Basin was settled and many communities had become well established. It was during the Fall Conference of the Church in 1864, that President Young called 183 missionaries and their families to go to the Muddy and Lower Virgin to establish settlements. The first of these settlers began to arrive early 1865, being led by Thomas E. Smith. The community of St. Thomas was named in his honor and was situated on the Muddy River about two and one half miles from the junction of the Virgin and Muddy Rivers. On May 28, 1865, a ward was organized at this place with Smith ordained the first Bishop.

From the Journal of James C. Bleak, Historian of the Southern Utah Mission, we have the following:

"On the 8th January, (1865), Thomas S. Smith from Davis County;, with eleven brethren and three sisters arrived as missionaries on the Muddy. These were the first to arrive of those called the past fall in Salt Lake City.
Elder Thomas S. Smith was appointed by President Brigham Young to take charge of the settlements of the Muddy Valley. The little colony soon numbered forty five families and the town of St. Thomas was laid out; consisting of 85 lots on one acre each, about the same number of farm lots of five acres each. Ten town lots formed a block; the streets were six rods wide, including twelve feet for sidewalks." (Bleak James C. —Annuls of the Southern Utah Mission p 180)

Later he adds in his history:

"A number of missionaries called by the first Presidency of the Church to settle on the Muddy are passing through St. George to their field of labor, among them being Royal J. Cutler, lumber-man and grist miller, from American Fork Canyon, and part of his family and Joseph Kerr, from Payson, who had no family with him." (ibid p 208)
Joseph Warren Foote led in a new settlement at St. Joseph and a branch organization was effected with Brother Foote as President.

At the October Conference of the Church held on the 8th, 1867, the first meeting held in the new Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, about 160 more families were called to strengthen the settlements on the Muddy. [George Milam and Caroline Priscinda Tibbetts Milam were called in this group.][In 1868]. these families were called from different towns in Utah among whom were Thomas and Matilda Stolworthy from Centerville, John and Margaret Esplin from Nephi. …Thomas and Mary Blackburn and son Henry arrived in June of that year from California. Joseph S. Allen and Orville S. Cox and families arrived in 1865 or 67 from Sanpete County; Isaiah and Harriet Bowers , of Nephi, arrived in 1868 or ’69. William Heaton and family arrived in December 1869.

About eight miles northwest of St. Thomas and on the same side of the river, was the Community of Overton, founded by Abe Kimball. A branch of the Church was organized here in the fall of 1869 with Helaman Pratt as the Presiding Elder. A settlement of the Saints was also made at a place farther up the valley called West Point. Overton was referred to as "Podunk," an Indian name meaning poor. This reflects the condition of the people until they had time to get crops planted and homes built.

Another settlement was Simmonsville on the Muddy about 6 miles above St. Thomas and 2 miles below St. Joseph. According to James Bleak, the following was taking place here:

"Orrawell Simmons who presides there was this month completed a grist-mill and has been grinding wheat, corn and salt. A cotton gin is also being worked by the same power and has been grinding the cotton raised last year. Over five thousand pounds of cotton lint was obtained on the Muddy from 1865 crop. Rhodes obtained 695 pounds of first class lint from one acre." (ibid p 219)
The Virgin Valley offered little but rugged existence. The pioneers had been called here chiefly to raise cotton and other crops suitable to the are. A factory had been built in Washington County and the cotton was shipped there for manufacture and cloth would be obtained for it. There was little opportunity to market goods as conditions became difficult. It was hoped this area would supply some of the much needed cotton products for the Empire.

Another interesting purpose for the Muddy settlements is seen in the planning of Brigham Young. He contemplated the possibility of shipping emigrants and freight from Europe and Eastern parts of the United States to settlements of the Saints in Utah, by the way of the Isthmus of Panama, then ship by water course northward along the West Coast of Central America and Mexico, up the Gulf of California and up the Colorado River as high as navigation was possible, thence overland through the Southern settlements to Utah.

The Saints on the Muddy suffered much hardship. James Leithead, in 1870, claimed they almost destitute for boots and shoes, tools and implements with which to work. …The West part of Utah, including the settlement of the Muddy, [became part of] Nevada. Heavy taxes were assessed by the new state and an attempt was made to collect back taxes for the time the saints resided in the area.

President Snow received a letter from Brother Smith dated August 6th (1865), in which he told of a visit of some politicians to the Muddy settlements on an electioneering tour. "They were from Fort Mojave and claimed that the Muddy settlements were in Arizona and that election should be held on Tuesday, 5th of September; that Thomas S. Smith had already been appointed assessor and Collector, Mojave county was to be divided and that the citizens of El Dorado wished to have a representative to the Arizona fron the Muddy Settlements." (ibid p 197)

Elder Smith and those he presided over, indicated they were not pleased with the suggestions given by the visitors and President Snow gave them support and no election was held on the Muddy for Arizona officials.

In the Spring of 1866, James Leithead left his home in Farmington in company with Henry Steed and Thomas Smith, President of the Muddy Mission, arrived at the Muddy March 16th. He reported an Indian raid on the settlement of St. Joseph a few days after he arrived. Some sixty head of cattle were carried off, even though they were pursued, the culprits were never captured.

Indians caused the Saints no little unrest and on the 4th of June, 1866, a meeting was held at St. Joseph for the purpose of establishing peace with them.

"The following Chiefs were present: "Tut-se-zavits," Chief of the Santa Clara Indians; "To-ish-ove," principal Chief of the Muddy Indians; "Williams," Chief of the Colorado band and seventeen of his men; "Farmer," Chief of the St. Thomas band, and twelve of his band; "Rufus," Chief of the Muddy Springs Band above the California road and fourteen of his band; and "Thomas," Chief of the Indians at the narrows on the Muddy and one of his men. Total 7 Chiefs and 64 of their men. President Erastus Snow spoke to them at length, using Elder Andrew Smith Gibbons as Interpreter, assisted by Elder James Pearce, an Indian "Benjamin." A very good feeling prevailed and the settlers felt that great good was accomplished." (ibid p 235)
This did not stop the depredations of the Indians, however, and the problem became known to the headquarters of the Church in Salt Lake City. President Snow received a letter from the Headquarters

Of the Nauvoo Legion, Adjutant Generals Office, recommending that the Muddy settlements build sufficient forts to protect themselves and property. Extracts from the letter were sent to President Smith of the Muddy settlements with the request that use be made of the suggestions that applied to the Muddy settlements. He was given full power to move any settlers to advantageous points for their protection. Unity of action was urged by President Snow at the Semi-Annual Conference of the Southern Mission in November 1866.

Another entry in Elder Bleak’s Journal is of interest as it shows some of the other conditions that existed:

"It is found that considerable sickness exists in the settlements on the Muddy; this particularly so at St. Joseph, which was settled last June. …Because of fever and ague, and in some cases, flux, a number of deaths have occurred. The following is a partial list:

Hans Peter Olsen 24 Oct 1865 aged 45 years

George Palmer 23 Oct 1865 aged 41 years (about)

Charles Thomas Wilkinson 17 Oct 1865 aged 7 mo 5 days

Ingborg Katrina Olsen 18 Oct 1865 aged 2 yr 1 mo 5 days

Sarah Denton 1 Nov 1865 aged 67 years 9 mo

A number left St. Joseph this fall, leaving about some 25 families." (ibid p 206)

President Young had kept in touch as much as possible with the outlying settlements but it was not until March 1870, that he visited the Saints on the muddy. His party included John Taylor, Erastus Snow, George A. Smith, Brigham Young Jr., Andrew Gibbons and others. They came by way to St. George and when they reached the Muddy Settlements it was obvious that President Young was not happy with the conditions he found. He observed the difficulty of building homes and the intense heat, the Indian problem and the almost crushing tax burden. After returning to Salt Lake City, he directed a letter from the First Presidency, dated December 14th 1870, addressed to James Leithead, then in charge of the Mission, advising the abandonment of the Muddy Mission and the return to Utah of the settlers. If these Saints had homes to return to in Utah, they were advised to do so. Others were advised to re-occupy settlements in long Valley which had previously been abandoned [in 1866] because of Indian trouble.

On December 20th 1870 a meeting was called at Overton and the decision made to follow the council the First Presidency and abandon the Mission. James Leithead, Boyd Stewart, Daniel Stark and Andrew S Gibbons were appointed as a committee to explore the Long Valley area and report its condition. The route to the valley took them over eighty miles of dessert from St. George. A great portion of the distance [they traveled] was covered by heavy, drifting sands and [they traveled] sixty miles were over a high plateau several hundred feet high.

This party entered this valley by the only route possible for wagons to negotiate, arriving on Christmas day 1870. They found the valley contained about 1300 acres of tillable soil and fifteen to twenty miles long and from one hundred yards to three-quarters of a mile wide. The headwaters of the Virgin River flowed through it and the soil and the climate made it suitable for stock raising.

When the Committee returned with their report to the Saints on the Muddy, nearly two hundred of them left their homes early in 1871 and arrived at Mt. Carmel in March of that year. They left their homes and farms with whomsoever came to possess them. An estimated eight thousand bushels of grain were left to be harvested by an individual whose name is not available and he failed to keep his bargain or comply with his contract, whatever it was, and later tore down most of the houses.

Thus ended another chapter in the colonizing of the West. It is a chapter of trials, hardships, suffering, death, loss and finally complete discouragement ending in abandonment. It was a bitter experience to go through. One Joseph S. Allen who had endured the persecutions of the Church in the East and Indian troubles in Northern Utah, was heard to exclaim as they were departing: "This was harder than any trial he had experienced since leaving Kirtland." From where we sit it may look like a waste, a failure, but who are we to say what is valuable or dross in such an experience? Can we in our finite view, see the rewards for faithfulness and loyalty that accrue in such a struggle? The words of a hymn give comfort and solace to the troubled soul:

'In the furnace God may prove thee, thus to bring thee forth more bright,

But will never cease to love thee, thou art precious in His sight.'" Bibliography

Bleak, James G., Annals of the Southern Utah Mission, copied by Brigham Young University Library, 1928

Carter, Kate B., Heart Throbs of the West, Vol IV & VII, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Salt Lake City, UT, 1943

Janson, Andrew W., Church Chronology

Mack, Effie Mona Ph D., History of Nevada, The Arthur H. Clark Company, Glendale California, 1935

George's Life After the Call to the MUDDY

1868 George and Caroline have their first child Harvey A MILAM.

7 July 1870 federal census lists Caroline Tibbets living with her father, John Harvey Tibetts, her mother Caroline, her 24 year old brother Harvey and Her two year old son Harvey A. Milam

In 1880 census George Bennett MILAM is living in Heber Utah working as a joiner.  He has taken a second wife circa 1871.

George Bennett Milam’s second wife was Elenor S born 1861 in England their children include George W. born 1872, Francis J. born 1874, Oscar B. born 1876, Elenor born 1878 and Sarah born March 1880.

I found a record showing Caroline Percinda Tibbetts marrying Lucius Cantrell.  I do not have a date or details on that marriage.   An unverified record shows, Caroline P. Tibbetts died 15 July 1882, age 30.

Caroline's Grandson is named Caton Lucius possibly after his step-grandfather.


Please send comments, corrections and any William Milam info to MIKE MILAM

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