In 1866 troubles with Indians (the Black Hawk War) forced the settlers to retreat to the Manti area. They returned in 1871, determined to stay, and organized a militia, completed the church and fort, started a school, and explored the canyon to the east, where they found anthracite coal in "almost inexhaustible quantities," various minerals, and more salt deposits.
The creek was their "stream of life"; its water was used for domestic purposes, to run sawmills, grist mills, and salt refineries, and produce some electricity as well as water farm crops. They dug ditches to permit periodic water diversion to the north of the settlement. The Sevier River was bridged in 1874 and, with three canals built between 1878 and 1908, land west of the river came under intense cultivation. During the 1870s a telegraph, regular postal service, a school, and a small library were operating. Many small mines produced coal for local use, but farming and livestock raising continued to constitute the basic economy.