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Martin Riley Pierce, birth place Chicken Creek (Levan, Utah)

Levan was once the home of George, Nathan and Isaac Pierce. Martin Riley Pierce (son of Nathan Pierce) was born here 13 Nov 1869. This was a brand new settlement when he was born. The site for Levan was between Chicken and Pigeon Creek Canyons about 1/2 miles west of the mountains. This was in the fall of 1867. 1870 Census stated 28 Families, 113 persons. May 1854 President Brigham Young and Chief Walker signed a peace treaty at Chicken Creek, 3 miles S.W. Levan, UT. Levan is "navel" spelled backwards since Levan is very near the center of the state of Utah the name was appropriately given. Juab County. was organized 3 Mar 1852. The first year 1868 George H. Pierce moved from Deseret to Block 37 in Levan. Isaac Pierce, Nathan Pierce, and Abraham Palmer were some of the families who moved into Levan the first year from Deseret Wheat, corn, potatoes, and sugar cane were the primary crops, plus vegetables of many kings. Everyone had to provide for his own family the food they would need. George Pierce planted some of the first fruit trees. They consisted mostly of apple, walnut, peaches, pears and plums. The housewives would need to get up early in the mornings and collect in buckets and barrels the water they would need for the days household requirements before the animals had dirtied it. Women worked just as hard as the men. They worked in the gardens and at preserving food for the winter. They, also, each had an old fashioned flower garden. They shared their seeds, roots, and cuttings. Along the walks of nearly every home were rows of marigolds, sweet williams, bachelor buttons, larkspurs and hollyhocks. Their herb gardens consisted of sage, parsley, sweet basil, summer savory, rosemary, and thyme. Watering the plants was a problem but these women were willing to carry water in buckets from the ditches to keep their flowers and herbs alive. On July 24, 1868, the first celebration, Pioneer Day, was held. Among the committee members was Isaac Pierce (Our ancestor Nathan Pierce's brother) and Nathan's brother-in-law William Palmer, married to Nathan's sister Patience. There were songs, toasts, singing. Horse racing and a dance for the juveniles. At 8 p.m. the citizens joined in social dancing for the evening. The locusts had destroyed their crops except a few potatoes. The citizen were determined to build up the settlement. Some of the early homes consisted of three rooms, the rooms being in a row with dirt roofs. Cottonwood sticks were laid across for a roof, straw was placed on top of the sticks, then a layer of mud, dirt and clay was added. The floors were either dirt or smooth stones. The people felt lucky to have wood for doors. No Indians maintained residence near Levan. However, many passed through the valley and would stop at homes and beg for goods and food. (Feed Indians rather than fight them Brigham Young said. They were given beef, mutton and black wool, also tobacco. October 21, 1869, the Elmer Military Company was formed as protection against the Indians. Isaac W. Pierce, brother to ancestor Nathan Pierce, was appointed lieutenant. No mention has ever been made of any hostilities with the Indians at Levan. A body guard would accompany President Brigham Young when he came to visit far away settlements in these early days, the Indians were still quite hostile. There was danger from groups of outlaws, also. November 14,1869, in the Deseret News says, "Everything is prospering in this settlement. In 2 or 3 weeks we will have our meeting house finished. Sickness is unknown." Martin Riley Pierce born 13 Nov 1869. Bro. Isaac Pierce was teaching school in the home of one of the settlers. He also taught dancing. On June 15, 1870 Isaac Pierce reported in the Deseret News, "The grasshoppers have done great damage to the small grain crops but the people are busy replanting and the pests are winging their way northward." July 11, 1870, James Wilson, said "Hoppers have taken the grain here. This is the driest year in 6 years. All the grain is dried up. Our water is decreasing fast. We have too much land and too little water here to do much farming". "The people of the settlement have performed a great amount of labor in fencing land, opening canyons, and building and they are full of hope and faith that they can be comfortably sustained at Levan. On August 11, 1870, The Deseret Telegraph Company opened an office in Levan. On October 27, 1870, three bandits robbed the stagecoach west of Levan. One of the bandits was apprehended and $440 in coin was recovered. Most of the registered mail was destroyed. The United Order was attempted to unite people in temporal affairs 1871-1878. Under the United Order - all property (except house and lot) was turned over to the order. Each individual did the type of work best suited to them. All produce put into a common storehouse and distributed as needed. The rest was sold to purchase manufactured goods. Everyone shared and shared alike. Bishop Niel J. Aagard was the first bishop. He tried to keep the order alive, but the people were not ready to live this kind of life. 373 members were re-baptized into the order. Later public confessions was abused and the order was abolished by Brigham Young. It's members were re-baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Children worked hard and played hard. They played Annie-I-Over with a yarn ball . It was thrown over the house and children caught it on the other side. They had base-ball night. There were bon fire parties with baked potatoes. They played kick the can, run sheepie run, and hide and seek.

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