This article originally appeared in Vol.54, No.4 (2007) of Pioneer Magazine.
by Pioneer Magazine
There is a vast parcel of land in northwestern Arizona isolated from the rest of the state by the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon known as the arizona strip. Its scenery is stunning, its desolation stark.
There is but one paved road across 2.8 million acres of public land managed by the Arizona Strip Bureau of Land Management. Situated along the side of that lonely highway several miles west of Marble Canyon is an interpretive sign which reads:
“This historic route was first used in the 1860s to connect the pioneer settlements of eastern and northern Arizona with those in Utah. From 1878 to 1928, the route was also used by the Mormon faithful who traveled to the temple in St. George, Utah, to marry in the temple. During this period, it became known as the ‘honeymoon trail’ even though two weeks on horseback or a wagon probably wasn’t much of a honeymoon.”
At this point, the text on the sign has mostly peeled away. This loss of information is sadly a story largely unknown to Latter-day Saints and others interested in the history of this region. Two individuals who have shown remarkable dedication in preserving the stories of their forefathers are Arizonans Harry Hancock and Keith Crockett.
Harry Hancock, of Winslow, is a living legacy going back to his great grandfathers, Levi Ward Hancock of early Church history and Marcor Hansen Petersen, an emigrant from Denmark, For decades, “Handsome Harry,” as he is known to the locals, managed the family ranch on property near what was once the settlement of Brigham City on the Little Colorado River, leasing 20 acres of what was the original settlement. Harry and his sons undertook the project of rebuilding the fortress that surrounded Brigham City on its original site. Some years ago the project was halted because of diminishing resources.
Harry knows the “Honeymoon Trail” as well as anyone. He not only traversed it on horseback six or seven times, but he also ran a sizeable section of the trail once. Harry has served faithfully in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After nearly 30 years, he still serves as the patriarch of the Winslow, Arizona Stake.
Keith Crocket of Pima, Arizona, has also explored and photographed the “Honeymoon Trail” on horseback and motorized vehicle. He has researched other pioneer sites in the area including the Yellow Jacket Trail, Fort Apache, and the sawmill sites on Mr. Graham. Keith can take you to the rocks where the pioneers etched their names—including his own ancestors.
Keith served for many years as a teacher and administrator in the Church Educational System of the LDS Church and as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, from which he has since been honorably released. Oftentimes, Keith can be found in Thatcher, Arizona, at the Graham County Historical Society Museum, where he serves as a docent and member of the board.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in