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History of the Uinta Basin, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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Unlike other settlements in Utah, Ashley Valley was not a "called" by Mormon leaders to be settled. Beginning in the early 1870s, Mormon ranchers and other whites from the Indian Reservation began filtering into Ashley Valley, which first served as excellent summer feeding grounds for herds of cattle. By 1880 there was a permanent population sufficiently large enough for Uintah County to be established by the territorial legislature.

Within a decade Gilsonite and other asphaltum minerals were discovered in Uintah County as well as on the eastern edges of both Indian reservations. National and local pressure soon mounted to have the two Indian Reservations opened to white development. However, it was not until the passage of the Dawes Act of 1887 that there was federal means were established to have both Uinta Basin Indian reservations opened. By 1898, following an effective campaign by national and local mining interests, the Uncompahgre Indian Reservation was thrown open to miners and settlers. The Uintah Reservation followed in the summer of 1905, after allotments of 160 acres were made to each adult male married Indian, (lesser amounts were allotted to single males, single women and orphaned Indian children). In August of 1905 thousands of potential homesteaders rushed to Grand Junction, Colorado, and to Vernal, Price, and Provo, Utah, to register for the land drawing which was held at the end of the month in Provo. Only a fraction of registrants actually took up homesteads and many of those eventually gave up on their efforts to secure cheap farmland. A sizeable portion of Strawberry Valley was reserved for reclamation purposes. Additional lands were added to Ashley and Wasatch National Forests. And some lands located along the foothills of the south flank of the Uintas were reserved for Indian grazing grounds.


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