Yesterday we were in St. George, Utah, stopping over on our way to Las Vegas for our nephew’s wedding today in the Las Vegas Temple. With some hours to spare there, I was eager to drive with John to Mountain Meadows and then Enterprise, about 37 miles north of St. George. We also visited Pine Valley on our way back.
In 1867 James Holt, my 3rd great grandpa, came to visit relatives in the little town of Hamblin located at the north east part of the Mountain Meadows on the Old Spanish Trail. One morning he walked out north down the canyon. There he discovered a beautiful stream of water. He moved his family from Washington, Washington County, Utah to a spot he had chosen near the mouth of the canyon where he built a home and began cultivating the ground. A ditch was dug and the water from the spring was used for culinary purposes. The remainder of the water was impounded to irrigate fields where gardens and crops were raised.
There was a little knoll at the mouth of the canyon a few hundred yards north of where James Holt built his home. Here James Holt selected a site for the cemetery for his family. This cemetery became a necessity because of the death of Rosa Angeline, the little two year old daughter of his son George A. and Nancy Jane Hunt Holt. Rosa had been thrown out of the swing and the swing board had hit her in the head, causing her death in 1892. Her father was on an LDS mission at the time and James Holt, her grandpa hand dug her grave, the first in the cemetery.
Today there are 7 or 8 generations of Holt family members buried here, about 70 grave sites. The cemetery is small and baren, hot and dry. Faded silk and plastic flowers are stuck into the dirt by many of the graves. I saw obsidian arrowhead pieces scattered on one of the graves and dead day lilies that had given up planted by several others. In spite of the forlorn appearance of this seemingly abandoned spot, there was a sacred reverence here. I photographed each headstone, reading the inscriptions and sentiments, and these words kept going through my mind as I did: “These are My People.” Again, I felt more deeply connected to them by having been there. There really is something about walking where they walked that helps you to feel a part of who they are.
In Memory Of James Holt Born Feb 10, 1804 in North Carolina Died Jan 25, 1894. An Amiable Father here lies at rest As ever God with his image blest The friend of man the friend of truth The friend of age the guide of youth.
Last week as I was trying to learn more about this area before visiting it, I found the digitized history below with some more information about James Holt and his ranch. Today it is nothing but barren land covered in sage brush. There is no water in sight, just a dry stream bed filled with rocks and lizards. It’s a marvel to me that anyone could sustain life and support a family in a place like this. I take my hat off to James and his family, and all who followed him in this place.