||The Pipe Spring StoryPipe Spring, located between St. George and Kanab is a monument to the pioneer spirit.Pipe Spring received its name from an incident that occurred on October 30, 1858. Jacob Hamblin, a pioneer of the area, was camped at the springs with a group of men. One of the men in the party was his brother William. William claimed to be quite a shot with the rifle. William took a pipe and set it on the ground and moved back fifty paces. William shot the pipe. The spring that had been used by Indians and travelers received the name Pipe Spring.Dr. James Whitmore was the first pioneer to occupy the Pipe Spring area. Whitmore had moved to St. George in 1861. He left St. George and in 1863 built a dugout at Pipe Spring. Whitmore was a convert to the Mormon church and had come from Texas. Also Rober McIntyre moved to Pipe Spring as a herder for Dr. Whitmore.The dugout is located just north of the fort and can still be viewed today.Tragedy struck in January of 1866. Navajo Indians drove off the stock at Pipe Spring. Roman Malach, modern historian of Mohave County wrote in his book “Northland Pioneers in Mohave County” the following account:”There was no fort and no ponds, but only the spring and the loneliness of the place.””A dugout with mud and a cedar roof protruded several feet above the ground. Inside of the dugout an eleven year old boy, son of James Whitmore, the first settler at Pipe Spring, waited in silence for the return of his father and uncle. Day before, Whitmore and McIntyre left the dugout in pursuit of the Indians who stole their stock. The two men did not return, but the Indians came back. Not knowing where to run, the boy was hiding in the dugout, awaiting his fate. The Indians were prowling outside, but did not come inside of the dugout. Those Indians would not enter the home of anyone who recently died.”
“The boy came to realize that his father and uncle would not return. He waited until the Indians left, then started on foot for St. George, Utah, seventy miles away. On the way, he met a small party of men who took him to St. George, and alerted the militia.”
“The militiamen reached Pipe Spring, but could not find any trace of the the two men. The small group with Anderson was joined by a larger detachment under the command of D.D. McArthur. Anderson with a few men was sent to Mocassin where they came across the tracks of two Indians. Anderson with his men hid themselves behind the trees and soon cattle started to run by them with arrows sticking in their bodies. Two Indians were after the cattle Those two Indians were taken prisoners, and the Indians told the militiamen that they were hungry, and had nothing to eat. The militiamen told them to follow them to their camp where they will get food. The younger Indian was ready to go, but the older one told that he was sick and would not move.”
“Anderson told the other Indian that they would drag him along unless he came of his own will. Then they tied a rope under his arms and were ready to drag him. The Indian got up in a hurry and came with the militiamen. The two Indians were taken to Pipe Spring and turned over to McArthur.”
“Again Anderson made a short scouting trip with the militiamen. When he came back, the young Indian was offered freedom if he would show where the Indians camped. The Indian agreed and took the militamen to it.
Nine Indians were arrested and taken to Pipe Spring. The Indian who knew where the bodies of Whitmore and McIntyre were located also was promised freedom. He took the men to the approximate spot. The militiamen rode their horses in snow, two abreast, until one of the men noticed an arm, later recognized as Whitmore’s. As soon as this body was found, the Indian was asked if it was the one with the beard, and on being told “yes”, he at once pointed to the place where the body of McIntyre was lying. The bodies were then wrapped, a wagon filled with snow, and thus shipped to St. George, and buried.”
The area was left until the trouble with the Indians was settled. Peace was established when a treaty was signed in 1870 at Fort Defiance in Arizona.
President Brigham Young was interested in Pipe Spring as an area that could be used for the tithing herd of the Mormon Church. The church members paid a tenth of their increase to the church as tithing and this was sometimes paid with cattle. The church needed a location to keep the cattle that were donated in the southern part of the state.
On September 12, 1870, by chance, President Brigham Young, Jacob Hamblin and John Wesley Powell met at Pipe Spring. President Young made plans to construct a fort at the site. The fort would protect the water supply, the area and the people “called” to operate the fort.
Anson Perry Winsor was soon put in charge of the construction of the fort. The fort became Winsor Castle. Two rectangular stone buildings were constructed and then stone walls connected them to make the courtyard. The stone for the building was found to the west of the site and lumber was hauled from the nearby forests. The spring was channelled to flow through the fort. Many church members helped on the construction which helped to pay their tithing.
By the early part of 1872 Winsor Castle was completed.
Winsor built the tithing herd up until 1879 when it is said that there were 2,269 head of cattle and 162 horses.
Butter, cheese and beef were produced and sold at the fort. It became a very active place for visitors. Many Mormons went by the fort on their way to being married at the Mormon temple in St. George. The route became part of the “Honeymoon Trail” for that reason.
In 1888 the Mormon Church experienced problems with the federal authorities over polygamy. Confiscation of church property was a threat. It was decided to sell the fort. D.F. Saunders, a non-mormon cattleman purchased the fort.
The fort changed hands several times. On May 31, 1923 Pipe Spring became a national monument. Pipe Spring is a memorial of pioneer life.