DAYS 25-28 ......................................................................................................................................................... FROM LEES FERRY TO NEARLY TO CEDAR RIDGE

Friday, August 19, 2016

Signature Rocks - House Rock Spring (Day 20)

Week 4

September 21, 1884 - Buckskin Mountain to House Rock Spring

Day 20 of 44 - Week 4 (1/7)
Buckskin Mountain (foot) to Top (nooned); House Rock Spring=28 Miles :Total =399 Miles 
Total Trip Average Miles per Day = 19.95  : Average Miles per Day - Week 4  = 28

September 20 - 21, 1884
September 21, 1884

September 21 - 22, 1884

Original Journal

Sunday Sep 21
Started Earley - doubled up the Buckskin Mt. very rocky- Nooned on top - hitched up and drove to foot of mt. 16 miles from where we camped.  There we saw a sign board for water two miles from the road, we unhitched and took our animals two miles for water but found none; came back and hitched up and drove to House Rock Spring after 12 miles after dark.  There was two companies from Arizona one from Mesa and one from St. John's who was dissatisfied with the place they said that St. John's was no place for a poor man."


Final Journal Entry (Click and go to Page 6 of journal) 

Sunday Sept. 21.  Started early, doubled up the Buckskin Mt., very rocky - nooned on top - hitched up and drove to foot of B. Mt. 16 miles.  Saw a sign for water, unhitched and drove our horses 2 miles, but found no water, returned to wagons, hitched up and drove to House 
Rock Spring after dark, 12 miles.  There was two companies camped there, leaving Arizona, one from Mesa, the other from St. Johns - backsliding missionaries, they said that St. Johns was no place for a poor man.

Note:  This is the longest daily journal entry Charles made on the trip so far.

Buckskin Mountain Passage

My guide through the Buckskin Mountains

Buckskin Passage (note sign above)

House Rock Spring
This area provided some of the best water of all the waterholes.  Also there was good grazing and firewood.  It was a major resting place.  (Take Up Your Mission, p73)

The area under the rock below (left photo) was the "roof" of Jacob Hamblin's "House Rock Hotel" which gave the valley its name.  It was just a big block of sandstone fallen from the cliff and looking more or less house like, with a cave in the side which served to shelter Hamblin and his companions in their first exploring trip.  One of them took a piece of charred wood from the camp fire and wrote "Rock House Hotel" on the front of rock before they went on and the valley has borne this name.(Sharlot Hall on the Arizona Strip, p59)  The next blog will tell more about Sharlot Hall referenced here.

The French family from Tucson, Arizona were with me when I visited House Rock Spring.

The cliffs and rocks around House Rock Spring became the register of the Arizona migration as the travelers took time to chisel their names and sometimes the dates
 of their visits.   (Take Up Your Mission, p73).

 Carving of C. C. Olsen dated Jun 11, 1888 shown below.
Note:  The inscription looks like 1888, but C. C. Olsen died in 1887.  Is this 
actually 1883?  It is believed the family went to Arizona in the Spring of 1883.
Research is being done to help determine this. 
C. C. Olsen
A short video at the end of this blog will speak more to the inscriptions at House Rock 

"Joseph Adams from Kaysville - To Arzonia and Busted"
There has to be a story behind the name of Joseph Adams carved June 6, 1873
Joseph Adams inscription

May Whiting

After a long illness, May Whiting died while returning to Springville, Utah with her family. 
 More of the Whiting story which includes their trip back to Utah and the her death
can be read here.
"But Old House Rock is staunch in his vigil" (see poem)
May Whiting gravestone
 (see  findagrave.com)

 Charles and Anna Anderson were two of the travelers mentioned in the poem below to pass by the grave of May Whiting. She had died just two years before.  This is one of seven verses of a poem written about her by Bertha Anderson Kleinbahn

The years have been long since we left her
To sleep on the hillside alone,
But Old House-Rock is staunch in his vigil
And dearer and dearer has grown
That desolate mound in the Wasteland,
And many the travelers who tread,
To strew their wild flowers above her,
And tell of the lonely one dead.

Today those who travel to House Rock can see her grave on the hillside.  More details
 on the Whiting family and their trip to Utah can be read here

May's father was Edwin Whiting who was the great grandfather of Rex Lee of St.
Johns, Arizona who later became President of Brigham Young University.  

Ending this blog page is a short video on this  "secret place."

This map does not show the exact route the family took from Navajo Well to House Rock Spring.  It is about 35 miles not 28 as shown here.  From their camping spot to House Rock Spring is about 28 miles according to the Anderson Journal.  I compared 
the Bushman and Tate accounts and they agreed with this mileage.  So 7 miles are not accounted for on this map meaning they probably took a longer route over the Buckskin Mountains than is shown. I hope to travel the route again and see if I can find the discrepancy.

An item of interest today near House Rock Spring. is the largest North American land bird which at one time was near extinction.  Sometimes you can see the them  flying overhead.   Sharlot Hall will be introduced in the next blog.   Then we are on to the next watering place, Jacob's Pool.

Sharlot Hall

California Condor

KSL InSight - Primetime
Signature Rocks (House Rock Spring)

Did your ancestors carve their names at House Rock Spring?

Drop their names in the comments below and I'll check. 

If they aren't at House Rock, they may have inscribed them at other places along the trail.  I'll look for them and tell you when we get there.


  1. hi! i have some questions about house rock :: is there an email address i can use to ask my questions? thank you!