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History of Duchesne County, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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The settlement of Duchesne County is unique in Utah history, for unlike much of the state, it did not occur under the direction of Brigham Young or the Mormon church. Rather, it was settled by individuals who obtained 160 acres under the federal Homestead Act. Homesteaders were required to prove that they intended to farm the land. After five years of living on the land, making improvements, and paying $1.25 per acre homesteaders were given title to their homesteads.

As was the case in other areas of the state, farmers of the county needed water. The Dry Gulch Irrigation Company was incorporated in 1905 by William H. Smart and Reuben S. Collett to aid farmers in securing water rights from the state and to help them divert water onto their lands from the many streams flowing through the county. Other irrigation companies were also organized. Some were successful, others were not. Homesteaders on Blue Bench, located just north of Duchesne City, organized the Blue Bench Irrigation Company. With financial support from wealthy Jesse Knight of Provo, heroic efforts were made over several decades to divert water from the Duchesne River to farmsteads on Blue Bench. This gallant effort ended in failure for the farmers and financial disaster for Knight.


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