First Limestone Kiln in Northern Utah
BY KENDAL RAE JENSEN
James Philomen Stowe was my 4th great-grandfather. He was one of the original settlers of the Ogden Utah region. He was born in Granville, Massachusetts to British colonial settlers.
He married Jemima Burton on February 5, 1829, in Wooster, Ohio. They were the parents of at least six surviving sons and three daughters. Following early Mormon pioneers, they made their home in an area known as Plum Hollow (Council Bluffs), Nebraska for a time. In 1847, at only 15 and 17 years old, two of his sons, William and Samuel, went west as livestock wranglers for the first group of pioneers. On May 1, 1851, James and his remaining family left Council Bluffs and made their journey with the Davis Lewis Wagon Company traveling for 131 days before arriving in Utah on September 9, 1851.
Upon arriving in the Salt Lake valley, Brigham Young sent them to settle in the Ogden area. They built their home in the Sullivan Hollow area on present-day 7th Street in Ogden. They originally owned the school track land, located from Ben Lomond High School to Washington Blvd. They brought plum tree starts from their home in Plum Hollow, Nebraska, and those plum trees still grow in the hollow on 7th Street.
In his youth, James became a brick mason by trade and followed the business to a greater or lesser extent throughout his entire life. Alongside friend James Moroni Thomas, he was the first to establish a limestone kiln in northern Utah. Before they completed the kiln, homes were built with only mud, logs, and rough-cut stone. Making bricks in the kiln led to substantial growth of the area. The kiln was later restored by the Weber County Historical Society. It is now a preserved historical site one can visit in Ogden Canyon. James was actively connected with the masonry business and building material development of the region until his death.
In 1863, James received a charter from the Governor and was building the first road into Taylor Canyon above Weber State University. He was making splendid progress on this work when he accidentally fell through the ice of the Weber River and drowned. His body was never recovered.
He left behind his wife of 34 years and their seven surviving children. One of his sons, Hyrum George Stowe, was my 3rd great-grandfather. In 1862, 17-year-old Hyrum was sent by Brigham Young, along with 500 other men, to capture the band of Morrisite outlaws, who were defying the government and unlawfully taking prisoners at Kington Fort in present-day South Weber. The three-day war ended in eleven deaths and the leader of the band, Joseph Morris, being killed. Hyrum felt the burden of those deaths for the remainder of his life.
Hyrum was also instrumental in the urban and agricultural development of Northern Utah. He had two daughters with his first wife, Lorinda, and was widowed at 32 years of age. He met fellow widower, Mary Julia Benson, at the shops at Five Points, and they had three more children together. Their youngest son was our ‘Pop,’ William Stowe, who became a civil engineer and Ogden City Commissioner. His son, David Marcus ‘Ted’ Stowe, my great grandfather, carried on the tradition of engineering from his father and was the engineer that surveyed HAFB in 1938 and was instrumental in officially bringing the Air Force to Utah in 1940, and later Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento, California.
I am grateful for the grit and perseverance of these early settlers who helped build and develop the area that my family and I are so blessed to call home. Without hard-working pioneers like these, we wouldn’t have the resources available that we enjoy today.
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