White River Valley -- NOW and THEN -- 1898 to 1980

Chapter 48

Thomas and Mary Ashworth Judd

      Thomas Judd was born September 1, 1845 in Beckenhead, Birmingham, England, son of Samuel and Catherine Haynes Judd. After being converted to the Mormon Church, his father, Samuel Sr., came to Utah and settled in St. George in 1862. Two years later the mother, Catherine Haynes Judd, with her 8 children (4 boys and 4 girls) left their home in England to join Samuel in St. George, Utah.

      According to Dixie Judd Burgess (his granddaughter) Thomas Judd was living with a wealthy aunt in England. She agreed that Thomas should assist in bringing his mother and brothers and sisters to America, but with the understanding that he would return to England to live with her and be heir to her estate. But Thomas had other plans for he was taken up with this new country and never returned to England.

      Their trip to Utah was not an easy one. Three of the children, two boys and one girl, died before they arrived at their destination.

      The father, Samuel Sr., had been a brick and lime burner in England and soon after his arrival in Southern Utah he erected a lime kiln in Middleton which supplied the lime for much of the building in St. George. He and his sons, Thomas, Joseph and Samuel were to play an important part in building the Tabernacle, Temple and Court House.

      Thomas Judd married Mary Jane Ashworth October 3, 1870. They had six children, one adopted: Sarah Ellen (Ella), John A., James, Joseph W., and Kate. On March 2, 1877 he married Mary Agnes Lund and they had a son, Robert L.

      Thomas was a man of many talents: religious, social, civic, economic and agricultural. In the early 70's he and his brother Joseph belonged to the St. George Jubilee Club.

      Thomas was instrumental in the engineering of a number of irrigation projects, which included harnessing the Virgin River for agricultural use in adjoining towns.

      In 1875 he was a part of a business partnership called, "Wooley, Lund and Judd." They took over a building that had been built for an educational and social hall, and from these headquarters operated a partnership for over 50 years. As a partnership their business ventures were many and varied. They freighted to and from the railroad stations of Lund and Modena and the mines of Silver Reef.

      They took over the mail contract from Milford and Beaver throughout Washington and Iron Counties, and they established stations along the route that represented an investment of thousands of dollars in equipment and the employment of men. In 1888 he was called to LaVerkin to implement a reclamation project and supervise colonization. In 1890 the Rio Virgin Cotton Factory that had been a financial failure up to that time was leased to Thomas Judd. Six months later it paid a 4½% dividend and a year later 6½%. It employed 65 to 75 men and under his direction, in 10 years time it was paid off. Thomas Judd as promoter of LaVerkin displayed outstanding executive ability. When he built his own home he located in the southeast section of the valley and laid off the grounds in beautiful Old English style with a driveway bordered with trees and shrubs leading to the house from the street. He planted cotton between the trees and produced about 50 acres of some of the finest cotton ever raised in Utah's Dixie.

      Previous to this time Thomas Judd served as Bishop in the St. George First Ward. With such a background he was now prepared for another great challenge when he was called by President Wilford Woodruff to go to Eastern Nevada to be in charge of the White River Colonization Project.

      From Thomas Judd's own diary: "I arrived in Salt Lake City February 18 and called at the President's office on February 20. Found Presidents Woodruff and Cannon, Apostles Teasdale and George Gibbs. President Cannon informed me that they had decided on me to go to Nevada and take charge of the White River Colonization Scheme and that Bishop Preston would give me full particulars. I told them I believed fully in the truth of Mormonism and had a testimony of its truth and was on hand if they so wished. ---After a little more talk, left the office. As I did so President Woodruff wished me good-bye and expressed himself - well pleased with the spirit manifested by me."

      In April 1898, according to agreement, Thomas Judd attended General Conference in Salt Lake City. Earl Ashworth, his nephew by marriage, drove the wagon that took him as far as Milford where he caught the train to Salt Lake City. Among his other activities there he received instructions from Bishop William B. Preston and wrote in his diary: " was set apart as Bishop of White Pine Ward to be attached to the Fillmore Stake for the present. Brothers Woodruff, Cannon and Preston officiated, Brother Cannon being mouth. As I was leaving President Woodruff said, 'God bless you Bro Judd in this undertaking and I want to say to you that He will bless you and that you will be better off both spiritually and financially.'"

      He left Salt Lake City by train, was met at Frisco (a town west of Milford) by Earl Ashworth and they continued their journey to Nevada by wagon. He had been made manager of the Nevada Land and Livestock Company, whose president was Anthon H. Lund. This had been formed to implement the colonization of three ranches in White Pine County, the Murry Creek (Georgetown) in Steptoe Valley, and the Maddox (Preston) and Tom Plane (Lund). They arrived at the Home Ranch (Lund) April 17, 1898. It was a beautiful sight as they came down the canyon and out into the beautiful level valley. They could see the ranch houses for 20 miles before they reached them. They found a family by the name of Black who were boarding the seven ranch hands, including Lauren Barnum.

      The next spring, 1899, after selling his property in St. George, Thomas Judd bought the Home Ranch (where Albert Gubler now lives, 1980) and about a hundred acres of farm and pasture land and brought his family to Lund. His second wife, Mary Agnes Lund, had died the previous July 1898, so he brought their only son, Robert (Bert), with his other family. They also brought Ella Baxter, whom they had taken into their family when her father died and her mother moved away from St. George. Two of the Judd family, Sarah Ellen Lund (Ella) and George had married and did not come to Lund.

      Thomas Judd was the religious head of the three communities as well as being in charge of the practical aspects of colonization. He handled this in different ways. At first he appointed Presiding Elders in each settlement. Later the Church organized them into one ward with Bishop Judd over all. This lasted only a few months and in October 1901 the St. George Stake sent representatives to organize into three wards with completely organized auxiliaries. Thomas Judd remained Bishop of the Lund Ward. His wife, Mary Jane Judd, was the first Relief Society President of the Lund Ward. From the very beginning Church activities had been carried on even before they were completely and officially organized. The first fast and testimony meeting had been held in his home June 5, 1898 soon after the first few families arrived. Church and school were both held in his home at various times. His home was one of the finest built in White River Valley up to that time, a large two-story house with two fireplaces and a bay window on the west with a window seat.

      Thomas Judd stayed in Lund for 4½ years, leaving to go back to LaVerkin in 1902. Under his direction the settlements had grown and prospered, and the Church was fully organized and functioning. The year he left, the Nevada Land and Livestock Company sold the Georgetown property to the New York and Nevada Mining Company but, according to his report, in White River Valley there were about 75 families living in Lund and 25 at Preston.

      He continued his work at LaVerkin for several years and he and his family were active in the continuing development of that area. Thomas Judd was deeply interested in the people of LaVerkin and did all he could to help those in need, accepting labor, ditch pay, produce or anything they had to help them in paying for their land. His wife stood by him in all these undertakings, and was a very industrious and hard working woman. It was a common thing to see more than a dozen men who were assisting with this great reclamation project, sit down to her table to a good meal. Thomas Judd was well known throughout the West and many of their friends and acquaintances traveling through, stopped to partake of their hospitality. Often Thomas Judd pointed with pride to the fact that most of the food was produced on their own farm.

      Later Thomas Judd moved to St. George and was mayor of that city for one term, 1912 to 1914. At the same time he was president of the Library Board and sent a request to the Carnegie Library Foundation for an $8,000 grant to build a library. Some years later it was granted and thus he was instrumental in getting the St. George library started.

      For years Thomas Judd had been a member of the State Horticultural Committee, and in 1915 he was asked to be in charge of the Utah Horticultural Exhibit in San Francisco. He was there for two months and then he and his wife, Mary Jane, were taken on a one month tour back home by way of the Panama Canal.

      Thomas Judd died June 7, 1922 at St. George. His wife, Mary Jane, who was born in St. Louis, Missouri October 23, 1850 died at St. George, August 3, 1923.


                        Submitted by:

                        Dixie Judd Burgess (Granddaughter)


                        Compiled by:

                        Margaret Oxborrow from Thomas Judd History


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