An Indian wandering his way over the hills, down the canyon and through the valleys, stopped at a bubbling spring, was refreshed by its clear water, and left his “moccasin” footprints in the soft earth. Later a white man, finding the spring with Indian moccasin footprints and a lone moccasin left by other Indians, called it Moccasin Springs.
This white man, William B. Maxwell, saw the possibilities of land, feed, and water for livestock, so he took up a claim in the year 1863. Maxwell later sold his claim to a Mr. Rhodes for 80 head of sheep. This claim was located in the area known as Moccasin Springs. The area included three springs: two close together, and one a short distance away, now known as Sand Spring because of the clear sand in the spring.
Mr. Rhodes, with his partner Randall Alexander, settled at Moccasin and bought more land from the Indians. They built a snug log cabin just west of the springs. Four Alexander brothers later acquired the property with the plan to raise cattle and carry on a dairying operation, but Indian trouble caused the ranch to be vacated in 1866 and the log cabin weathered away.
In 1871, Levi Stewart and others purchased the Alexander claim and divided it into eight to ten shares. A company under Lewis Allen, consisting of people who had left their homes in the Muddy Mission, located temporarily at Pipe Spring and Moccasin. Lewis Allen and Willis Webb, his son—in—law, built two cabins and plowed the land. Being attracted to the United Order at Orderville, they joined, turning all of their property into the Order.
Taken from Andrew Jackson Allen’s journal (he was Lewis Allen’s brother).
June 15, 1878 — received a letter from Lewis Allen. He tells me that he has put all of his property into the Order at Orderville to see how he likes it. Tells me it is doing first rate. They all live alike.John Covington, a member of the Order, was given charge of the Moccasin property. Vegetables, grapes, peaches, plums, pears, and melons were raised. Cane fields were planted, and barrel upon barrel of molasses was made and sent to the Order — eight thousand, six hundred gallon a year.
The Canaan Cattle Company, owned by the L.D.S, Church, had purchased a one—third interest in the spring from the Winsor Stock Growing Association, who had bought it in 1870. Following President Brigham Young’s advice to help rather than fight the Indians, the Order bought the Canaan interest and gave it, along with ten acres of land, to the Paiute Indians. The Indians lived in Wigwams along the foot of the hill south of Moccasin, Later, about 1910, the Government built five or six one room, rock houses for them two miles south of Moccasin and their one—third interest of the water was piped to a pond at that location.
Christopher Heaton was sent to Moccasin to succeed Covington in 1883. He was to be a missionary to the Indians to teach them farming. However, this did not prove too successful. Helping Chris at Moccasin were his brothers Jonathan, Alvin, Will, and Fred. At various times their families were with them.
When the Order at Orderville broke up, the Moccasin Springs property, along with other property, was given to the Heaton Brothers. It had fallen into good hands, for the boys, like their father William, were natural agriculturalists — industrious, thrifty, tillers of the soil.
The following information was copied from the Orderville Ward records in 1877:
Sep. 11, 1883. In a meeting items were listed and among them Moccasin Farm and large pasture was valued at $2500.00. July 14, 1900 at 8 p.m. the United Order Corporation expires on that date. Moccasin Farm and large pasture valued at $2500.00. Tools to the amount of $50.00. Teams, wagons, the harnesses $300.00. Cane mill $125.00. Pigs and chickens amounting to $50.00. 50 gallons of molasses at Moccasin was assigned to the Mt. Carmel Farm.The families, which were small in the beginning, lived in the log cabins — sometimes two families to a cabin, dividing the work, cooking, taking care of the milk, butter, fields, and animals. They lived happily and harmoniously together.
When the “Big House” was built by Dellie Webb and Heber Ayers, about 1875, a real home was brought into being. This lumber house was located about a quarter of a mile east of the Sand Springs, at the foot of a low sandy hill.
Chris, being the oldest of the brothers, took the lead as long as he lived at Moccasin. He directed the work and the workers. He took charge of the Sunday Schools and Meetings, teaching and living his religion. The Heaton’s sincerely lived, to the letter, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The men were kind to their families, taught their families to pray, to work, and to obey.
In 1890 Christopher B. Heaton moved to Old Mexico with his family. The evening before he and his family were to leave, their Indian neighbors came to bid them goodbye. They especially liked and respected Chris. The next morning their company pulled out. At a place to the east of Pipe Spring, called Two Mile, Chris noticed a lone figure to the rear running to catch up with them. He soon recognized Captain Frank, a special friend and Chief of the Tribe. He had missed the farewell the night before and wanted to pay his respects. It was a sad parting for the white and Indian brothers.
So close was the brotherhood between Jonathan and Chris that when Chris met his death at the hands of Mexican rebels, Jonathan knew it. He was dipping sheep at the Moccasin Ranch late one fall afternoon in 1894 when suddenly he stood straight and still as if listening, “Something has happened to Chris’ he exclaimed, “something has happened to my brother”.
It was no surprise when the word finally reached him. The brothers in Utah counseled together and it was decided that the youngest brother, Fred, would make the sad journey to Mexico to settle the affairs of Christopher and move his family back home.
The time came when Jonathan and Alvin (having purchased Fred and Will’s interest prior to this time) decided to divide their holdings. The Moccasin property seemed to be first choice. The property at the Green was good, but the families had not become attached to it as they had Moccasin. All of the Heaton’s who had ever lived at Moccasin had loved it there.
It took about three days to make the division. There was never a sign of misunderstanding or disagreement. The love and unity which existed between the brothers was very apparent at this time. We do not know exactly what transpired or what their reasons were for the division they made, but I’m sure they each felt it to be equal and right, Alvin was to have Moccasin and Jonathan the Green.
Jonathan prepared his teams and wagons, loaded his family and belongings, and started on his journey to Orderville. They had gone a short distance — five or six miles, when Alvin caught up with them on his horse. He and Jonathan walked a short distance from the wagons and talked for thirty or forty minutes. Returning to the wagons, Jonathan instructed the boys to turn the teams around — they would be going back to Moccasin.
Daniel H. Heaton, son of Jonathan and Nay, gives the following account:
Uncle Alvin realized that on account of the size of their families, it would be more appropriate for father to own Moccasin and he the Green. So being such a noble, just man he asked father to exchange properties — which was a great sacrifice on his part.In 1901, Jonathan moved his first wife, Amy, to what is now Alton, Utah. Lucy, his second wife and her children, were permanently established at Moccasin.
Father had two good homes for his families in Orderville, so now it was necessary for him to move one family to Moccasin. Aunt Lucy’s family was taken to Moccasin and my mother, Amy, remained in Orderville. In 1898, the two families exchanged places for awhile.
Taken from “Memories of Lucy H, Esplin”, Lucy is the daughter of Jonathan and Lucy:
When father and Alvin dissolved their partnership and divided the property, Alvin received Fiddler’s Green (the Green just below Orderville) and Father, Moccasin. Father and his Sons worked together and the two wives took turns moving from Moccasin to Orderville as their babies arrived with alternate regularity. Around the year 1900, father and his sons purchased the Segmiller ranch, which was in a canyon about thirty miles northeast of Kanab. It was called ‘Upper Kanab” at that time, although it later bacame known as the “Wild Rose Ranch” because of the wild roses that grew along fences, creek beds, and banks. Grandma Amy or Aunt Amy, as we called her, moved to the Wild Rose Ranch. Mother or Aunt Lucy, as everyone called her, stayed at Moccasin. The two homes in Orderville were sold.In 1904, the second lumber house was built one half mile north of the “Big House” for Jonathan’s hired man, Ras Allen.
Eleven children were born to Jonathan and Lucy, six of whom were sons:
Charles, Fred, Christopher, Edward, Sterling, and Gilbert, Having the United Order of Orderville still bright in their minds, Jonathan and his sons formed a cooperation, using the title “Heaton and Sons”. They bought a herd of cattle from A.D, Findlay, with the headquarters at Pipe Springs.
The son’s families were increasing rapidly and Jonathan was soon to realize it would be better for each son to have his own home, farmland, and property. In 1911—12, the Moccasin Ranch was divided and fenced into six small farms.
The daughters, Lucy, Keziah, Ella, and Amy, married and moved to live elsewhere. The eldest daughter, Esther, remained at Moccasin and was given land and a home site by her father.
The water from the Sand Spring was piped to a community tank by the schoolhouse, and then to the homes starting 1909. This project made Moccasin “first” in the Kanab Stake to have running water in every home. It was also used for lawns, flowers, shrubbery and sprinklers. Small fruits such as currants, blackberries, gooseberries, raspberries, and strawberries grew well.
Moccasin was organized into a regular Church branch of the Kanab Ward, December 4, 1910, with Charles Heaton as Presiding Elder, until 1913 when he was called on a mission and his younger brother, Fred, was chosen to head the Branch. In 1926, the Branch was made independent with Fred Heaton presiding, Christopher and Charles Leonard Heaton as assistants, with Edward Heaton as clerk. The relief Society was organized in 1930 with Margaret C. Heaton as President, Lucy Heaton and Esther Johnson as counselors, and Laverna I. Heaton as Secretary.
Family Thanksgiving dinners have been held each year since 1902. The first was held under the trees at the Big house and later at the school house. In 1946, a Church was built and the Thanksgiving dinners were held there.
In 1902, a big bell was put up on the old granary and storage room that stood close to the Big House, The bell called the workman from the fields and the community members to Thanksgiving dinners, programs, school and Church.
The post office came in 1909 with Charles C, Heaton as postmaster. The office was located in his home. Mail service, for several years before, was carried from Kanab to Rockville, Utah by way of Moccasin, Canebeds, and Short Creek. Horseback was the mode of travel for the mail for a long time, then came the horse and buggy, the old jalopy, and finally the dependable truck.
The telephone service came in 1906 when the old telegraph line, which was completed in 1871 and ran from Kanab to Rockville, was hooked on to. The telephone was put in Lucy’s home and later moved to the Charles Heaton home. The old telegraph line, which ran from Kanab to Pipe Springs, was changed to a telephone line, by E.W. Wooley, in 1886.
An automatic electric plant was installed in 1928, and Moccasin had electric lights. One street light was put up. This made Moccasin the first community in this part of Southern Utah and Northern Arizona to have a street light. Another larger plant was bought later and used for years. When it went out, the people were back in the ‘old days’ so to speak. The electric power line came in 1961.
One fall day in 1940 when the fields and fruit trees were at their best — ready for harvest, a copper colored cloud appeared over the west canyon. This built up quickly and covered the skies. Soon lightning came and thunder could be heard, Then the storm broke — and such a storm! It was a real cloudburst with hail, loud cracking thunder, and lightning. It lasted for one half hour to an hour. What a relied when it stopped. The relief did not last long however, for from the canyon came a roaring flood, taking everything in its path — trees, animals, fields, fences — everything! When it was over, there were no fields or trees to be harvested. Instead a terrible wreckage — fields covered with sand, rocks and debris. Fences were gone, trees uprooted, outbuildings and sheds gone.
The next year another storm came, but not so big. It was realized that something had to be done, so Charles Heaton hired a tractor and commenced digging a wash. Through the years, the wash grew deep and wide enough to carry the flood water. When the new highway was built into Moccasin, a big concrete tunnel was made to carry the water under the road. It was not large enough. During the summer of 1971, a flood backed up and ran over the fields again, filling the basements of two new homes belonging to C. Leonard Heaton and his son, Leonard. Many hands soon had the basements cleaned and yards and fields cleared.
A cemetery spot was chosen north and a little west of the hill where the Big House stood. All the families came to the dedication and to plant trees at the site, No one died, and as the years passed, the floods came and the sand grew deeper. This cemetery plot was finally abandoned; Death came to Moccasin, May 22, 1922 when Christopher’s wife, Elnora, died. She was burned in the Kanab Cemetery. Others died and were buried in the cemeteries at Orderville and Kanab. It was again decided to have a cemetery at Moccasin. A place north of the new chapel was chosen and dedicated in 19??
At the turn of the century, Jonathan’s son, Will, and his young wife had planted a long row of poplar trees along the land running east and west. The trees grew tall and sturdy, furnishing a lot of shade — a lovely landmark for the weary traveler headed toward Moccasin, These trees grew for 70 years, then were removed in 1970 to make room for the new paved highway,
In the beginning, school was held in the homes, The first teachers were William Heaton, Persis B, Spencer, and Kezia Carroll Esplin, who all taught without pay. They held their classes in the “Big House”. The first paid teacher was Ella Flagg who came in 1905 and held classes in the Charles Heaton home. She was followed by Laverna Isom. Laverna taught for four years,
A one—room school house was completed and occupied in 1907, Mohave County furnished funds for the cost of the materials and the Heaton men donated the labor, The lumber came from John Brown’s sawmill at Jacob Lake on the Kaibab Mountain.
About 1947, the school house at the Kaibab Village burned down and the Indian children came to Moccasin to attend school. At this time, another room was added to the one—room school and an additional teacher hired.
During the summer of 1973, a beautiful, modern little elementary school replaced the old school building, Kindergarten through third grade classes are held there, while children attending fourth through twelfth grades are bussed to Fredonia.