Most of the communities in Northern Utah were established either by the Mormons’ colonization movements or by the railroad. A notable exception is Tremonton, originally known as Tremont, which was first settled in 1903. According to Marianne Matney Linford, “There were two or possibly three settlers in what is known as Tremonton proper today, before the staging of the most extensive real estate campaign ever put on in Utah.” She states that settlement was “through the efforts of V.F. Peet…, reportedly a land agent for Bear River Land and Canal Company or the Union Pacific Railroad, or maybe both.”
Nancy Fuller quotes from a promotional pamphlet, as noted in Hampton Ford and State Stop and Bear River Irrigation Development compiled by Ray Somers and Charles, printed in 1984. “When reading the 1895 promotional booklet sponsored by the Chicago and North- Western Railway, and the Bear River Land, Orchard and Beet Sugar Company of Utah, you would think that the Bear River Valley was a virtual Garden of Eden. The following are actual quotes from the pamphlet,
‘Bear River Valley, a body of land thirty miles long and ten miles wide, smooth and level, sloping from North to South, and when standing on top of some of the surrounding mountains and looking down up on the valley, your first exclamation, ‘Here we have God’s Handiwork, only from his power and wisdom,’ could it be done?” It goes on to extol the virtues of Bear River Valley, “The action of the climate in the Bear River Valley is that of a strong stimulant tonic to the whole constitution and particularly to the nervous system. It is enjoyed by those in good health and adds a zest to life that is never found in lower altitude, and those suffering from pulmonary troubles are greatly
benefitted owing to the dryness of the atmosphere; cool nights; plenty of sunshine.”
After being contacted by Peet shortly after the completion of the Bothwell Canal, Harvey Catrell of New Sharon, Iowa came West, then returned to Iowa and persuaded a party of 20, including some of his friends and neighbors to buy land south and west of Tremonton. Leaving their homes in 1898, and not knowing the conditions they would face in their new land, many brought their own wood and building materials with them on the train when they traveled to their new homes.
In 1900 the Iowa settlers were joined by a group from Tremont, Illinois. Members of the Christian Apostolic Church, they became known as the German Colony. In 1903 some of the settlers decided that a new town was needed in the valley. The town site of Tremonton was laid out early in 1903, according to the April 18, 1905 edition of The Tremont Times. They named the new town Tremont, after the town in Illinois many of them had come from. But Utah’s Wayne county had a town named Fremont, and the Post Office got confused, sending mail to the wrong towns. At the request of the Post Office, the name was changed to Tremonton to end confusion. The first recorded use of Tremonton appears to be in the April, 18 1905 issue of The Tremont Times.
The first church services in the area were held in the Union School by the Methodists in 1899, in an area known as “The Iowa String,” since it was mostly populated by settlers from Iowa. The building also held services for the Christian Apostolic Church and the Baptists at about the same time. The Methodists purchased a site to construct a permanent house of worship in 1903, but did not build a church until 1905, when an abandoned church from Cache Valley was dismantled and moved to the site. Over a three-day period, it was dismantled, moved and then reconstructed.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had a slow start getting established in Tremonton. Early members of the church who lived in Tremonton had to travel to Elwood or elsewhere for their meetings. The Baptist Church was organized on June 9, 1900 in the Iowa String School, which later became known as the Union School. Other churches followed, and Tremonton continues to enjoy a wide diversity of church membership.
Source: Looking Back Tremonton City’s First 100 Years 1903-2003, a publication of the Tremonton Leader’s Garland Times, originally published in The Leader July 23, 2003 © Sun News Utah, 2003