Discover the Tithing Hill historic marker in Riverton Utah

Discover the Tithing Hill historic marker in Riverton Utah

This article originally appeared in Vol.51, No.4 (2004) of Pioneer Magazine.

by W. Boyd Christensen

Marker Dedication, September 16, 2004

The land called Riverton and vicinity was once the home of the Paiute and Ute Indian tribes, and thundering herds of wild horses accented by the bay of wolves and coyotes were sounds commonly heard on the broad expanse of the sage-covered flats. The area was also along the route that the Indians from Cache Valley took in the fall to go to the St. George area and then came back through in the spring on their way back to Cache Valley. Thus, we see that today’s snowbirds are not a modern-day innovation.

A Mr. Hansen discovered early Riverton. Nothing but sagebrush and rabbit brush were all one could see. This brush was so high a man could hunt rabbits only by riding horseback. If you weren’t on a horse you would lose the rabbit as soon as you saw it.

Because of the large holdings of Archibald Gardner, Riverton was originally called Gardnersville. The present-day Gardner Village still carries his name.

Samuel Lorenzo Howard (1840-1906)

This property where we stand today was originally owned by a Mr. Samuel L. Howard. His history tells about the early homes, which consisted of dugouts and log cabins. The dugouts were located in the river bottom with porches of willows. At first there were very few log cabins, as the early pioneers had to go to the canyons to get logs. They would chop trees, trim them, and hew the sides with axes. The cracks between the logs in the cabins were filled with clay. People had oiled paper for their windows and buckskin for their doors. Howard helped survey the road from West Jordan to Bluffdale. The use of redwood pegs to mark the survey line resulted in its present name of Redwood Road.

Early on Mormon tithe payers in the south part of Salt Lake Valley had to transport their tithing farms products to Salt Lake City. In 1886, a tithing yard was established in Riverton. The land decided upon was one of the choice spots on the farm of Samuel L. Howard. It was near the top of the hill along the north frontage. This was the way Mr. Howard and others paid their tithing; the best of each crop, the sweetest fruit, the fattest calf, the greenest hay, and the fullest measure of grain. So, when the land, though only a small price, was to be paid for, it was chosen the same way. This was Mr. Howard’s way of paying his tithing, the land for the tithing yard which was used for buildings, hay stacks, etc, A locally situated “tithing yard” was a real convenience for the farmers. On the bench ground there was an office building, weigh scales, a small granary, a large root cellar, haystacks, feed mangers, and a bam. The land sloping towards the river was for pasture and feeding pens. When it was discovered they had overlooked a way to the river for the animals to use to go for water, Mr. Howard gave them another piece of ground.

The tithing barn, in Tithing Hill Park, Riverton Utah

The Relief Society often received special assignments such as the gathering of wheat, which was to be kept in readiness for famine or for any calamity which might come to Church members. The call came from the First Presidency for the Relief Societies to take the project of gathering the wheat, which included providing a place to store it. Often they were allowed a place within the Tithing Yard, but the cost of the erection and maintenance of the granary was theirs. The husbands of the women assisted with the heavy work and provided teams of horses for the gathering of the wheat. The main purpose of the wheat project was to help in time of need, but it was the custom to loan some to the farmers in the spring for planting, then refill their bins in the fall.

The Tithing Yard discontinued operation in 1913 after twenty-seven years of use. Now, today, we are privileged to be here to dedicate this marker, sponsored by the of , on the exact site of the Tithing Yard Hill.

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