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History of Shunesburg, Utah
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Shunesburg (Washington) is located about 3 miles up the East Fork of the Virgin River, at the mouth of Parunuweap Canyon. The name comes from a Paiute Indian Chief by the name of Shones or Shunes. Other names associated with the town are: Shonesburg, Shuenesburg and Shirensburg.

Early settlers and their families, sent by Brigham Young to the area in 1861, were: Oliver DeMille, George Petty, Hyrum Stevens, Alma Millett, Hardin Whitlock and Charles Clapper. Because of the unpredictable Virgin River, it took several years to finally come up with an appreciable harvest of cane, corn and cotton (Shunesburg was part of the LDS Church Cotton Mission Project). There were even enough children to merit a school. However, problems with the river flooding and washing away what had been established and the continuing trouble with indians, by 1896 the residents began to move to other areas. By 1902 founder and holdout Oliver DeMille had had enough and moved to nearby Rockville.

Today, Shunesburg is a ghost town on private farmland. An old rock house and some chimneys as well as a neglected nearby cemetery are all that is left.

G. William Wiersdorf

See: John W. Van Cott, Utah Place Names (1997); Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church (p. 792); Cynthia B. Alldredge, Shonesburg/Shunesburg and Northop; Georgene Cahoon Evans, The Cotton Mission.


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