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Thomas Bingham, Sr.

Question: Was Bingham Canyon named after Thomas Bingham, Sr., who served in the Mormon Battalion in 1846, and his brothers?

Answer: Thomas Bingham, fourth child of ten children of Erastus and Lucinda Gates Bingham, was born 19 July 1824 at Littleton, Grafton County, New Hampshire. In November 1833, Erastus, his wife, Lucinda, and daughter Mary and three sons, Erastus, Jr., Thomas and Sanford, were baptized and confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They then headed to Missouri to be with the Saints.

The Mormons were driven from Far West in 1837. Thomas’ family and many others were forced to leave their hard-earned homes. From there, the family went to the state of Illinois and settled at La Harpe, where Thomas’ father rented a farm. In the fall of 1845, the family moved to the City of Nauvoo, Illinois. They were there only a short time and again had to leave their home and move to Council Bluffs, Iowa.

In the spring of 1846, Thomas, age 22, was out hunting cattle. When he returned home that evening, he was told by his brother Erastus that Brigham Young was asking for men to enlist in the Battalion to help fight Mexico. He and Erastus enlisted July 16th under Colonel James Allen.

The Battalion had gone one hundred miles southwest from Santa Fe when the sick in camp were ordered back to Pueblo on the Arkansas River. Thomas, was sent back with this second detachment of 55 men. Lieutenant W.W. Willis was in command. The Sick Detachment under Captain James Brown and the Mississippi Company left Pueblo on May 24, 1847, following the trail of the pioneers. They entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 29, 1847, five days after the arrival of Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company.

At Pueblo and on the opposite side of the River, the Mississippi Company was camped. John Holladay and family were in this company. It was here that Thomas, met Caron H. Holladay who later became his wife.

In the spring of 1848 and 1849, the Bingham brothers took a herd of dry cattle into the Canyon south of Salt Lake and west of the Jordan River. The Canyon was named Bingham after the Bingham brothers.

On September 6, 1849, Thomas was married to Caron Happock Holladay, daughter of John Holladay and Catherine Higgins Holladay. They were married by President Brigham Young in Salt Lake City. Thomas and his wife moved to Ogden in the fall of 1849. They took up a farm there, which farm in 1850 was laid off into the City of Ogden.

The fall of 1862 Thomas, Sr. moved his family down to Huntsville. He and Clinton D. Brunson were chosen as counselors to Elder Jefferson Hunt. All three had been members of the Mormon Battalion. Thomas, Sr. moved his family up into The Basin the latter part of May 1863.

Late in 1868 Thomas, Sr. had taken a contract to build two miles of railroad west of the Promontory. They began work at the north end of Promontory near a small stream called Indian Creek. When the grade was very near completion, Thomas, Sr. took the teams and went 30 miles west to Grouse Creek and took a contract to build another mile, leaving two men and Thomas, Jr. and one team to finish up the grade. They joined the rest of the company once their work was completed. About December 1, 1868, the work was finished, and they returned home.

Having heard glowing reports of the Ashley Valley, situated within northeastern Utah’s mountainous Uintah Basin, Thomas, Sr. determined to move his family there. On June 1, 1878 at a special conference held in Ashley Valley, President Abraham Hatch and others came and held meetings. The saints who had settled on the Ashley Fork on Green River were organized into three districts. Thomas Bingham, Sr. Was made president of the Mountain Dell District.

On February 18, 1880 Thomas, Sr. was appointed selectmen for Uintah County by Eli H. Murray, governor of the Territory of Utah. On August 2, 1880 he was elected Probate Judge for Uintah County. He acted as Probate Judge for two terms of three years each. On September 11, 1882, Thomas, Sr. was ordained Bishop of Mountain Dell and Dry Fork.

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