Major Howard Egan Family Foundation

Sailor Rope Maker Captain in Nauvoo Legion Bodyguard to Joseph Smith Mormon Battalion Envoy Captain of the 9th 10 of the original 1847 Pioneer Vanguard Company Gold Rush Trading Post Owner Trail Blazer Cattle Drover Major in Utah War Pony Express Rider & Superintendent of Line from Salt Lake to California Stage Station Owner Friend & Missionary to Indians Salt Lake City Policeman Bodyguard to Brigham Young
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Egan Sites & Maps

Utah Pony Express Stations

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The Great Salt Lake Desert was a major obstacle facing travelers to California. Most California emigrants took the California cutoff of the Oregon Trail north of Salt Lake. That trail offered water and feed for livestock, but was closed by snow in the winter and did not serve the need for year-round communication between California and the East.

Early efforts to find a route across the desert ran afoul of salt, heat, and lack of water. Finally, a trail was pioneered that skirted the worst of the salt desert, going from spring to spring, “following the moistures”. The route was poor in feed, extremely isolated, muddy in spring and fall, dusty or cold otherwise, and plagued by Indians. In spite of these drawbacks, it served the communication need and became famous as the Overland Route (some sections are labeled as such on some maps).

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The route of the Pony Express (since 1992, the Pony Express National Historic Trail) angles south and west from South Pass, across the Green River and on to Fort Bridger. The trail continues at a distance south of Interstate 80 and follows Coyote Creek, entering Utah from the east at The Needles, a few miles south of where Evanston, WY, now stands. The riders proceeded past historic Cache Cave and down Echo Canyon, the modern route or I-80 and I-84, to the present-day town of Henefer. There they turned south through East Canyon, crossed Big and Little Mountains, and entered the Salt Lake Valley by way of Emigration Canyon. The trail to Salt Lake City followed in large measure, the trail of the Donner Party and the Mormon Pioneers; you will see markings, monuments along the way.

From Salt Lake City, they rode south, pretty much along the modern State Street to the area of the Utah State Prison, then crossed the Jordan River and angled south and west to the town of Fairfield and Camp Floyd, a site steeped in history. The route then led south and mostly west past Simpson Springs, Fish Springs, Willow Springs, and across the northern end of the Deep Creek Mountains to the present-day village of Ibapah.

Simpson’s Springs/ Egan’s Springs/ Lost Springs Station (N40 02 22.0 W112 47 15.3) (M#87)

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Location: SW1/4NE1/4 Section 18, Township 9 South, Range 8 West, Salt Lake Meridian, 8 miles from Government Creek.

The station now located on BLM land, bears the name of explorer Captain J.H.Simpson who stopped here in 1858 while searching for the overland mail route between Salt Lake City and California. It was one of the most dependable watering points in this desert region. Captain Simpson first named the spring “Pleasant Spring” because of the good water. He later renamed the spring “Simpson Springs” because of the spring’s significance as the “last stop for water” for travelers heading west. The water became a necessity for the Pony Express from 1860-1861 and for the Overland Stage from 1861 to 1869. Even before the days of the Pony Express, freighting companies used the springs as a watering stop. George Chorpenning established a mail station at this site in 1858. At the turn of the century, the spring was still being used by freighters hauling supplies from mining towns around Gold Hill to western Utah. It is still a key watering location for livestock.

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A number of structures have been built and destroyed in the vicinity of Simpson Springs over the years. It is not known for sure which served as a station for both the mail route and the Pony Express. There is a monument and restored structure (reconstructed in 1974 by the FFA) located on a building site which dates to the period (1860) and closely resembles the original. The site, nature and use of the old buildings were determined by archaeological investigation. It also has an information kiosk and ruins of Alvin Anderson’s cabin. Nearby is a camp ground and the site of a Civilian Conservation Corp camp from the 1930′s.

The first east-bound Pony Express courier halted here about 5 p.m. April 7, 1860 and westbound about 2 a.m. April 10, 1860. The last riders passed October 1861. The coming of the Overland Telegraph made it inadvisable to continue this station. The building at the site was rebuilt by the Tooele F.F.A. Chapter in 1976 as a sesquicentennial project.

A Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) Camp was built west of the site in the 1930’s. One can see remnants of it today. The BLM has developed the area and installed camping facilities.

Deep Creek/ Eagan’s Station (N40 01 47.2 W113 59 12.5) (M#47)

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Location: Lot 4, Section 9, Township 9 South, Range 19 West, Salt Lake Meridian, 14 miles from Round Station via the original trail.

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Deep Creek was the home of Major Howard Egan, the division superintendent for service between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Roberts Creek (near Eureka, Nevada). This well-equipped and service functioning facility was the most westerly station located within the present boundaries of Utah. The western boundary of the Utah Territory at this time was the California state line and Genoa the most westerly Utah Territory station.

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Harrison Sevier was the station master. Buildings included an adobe station, house, and barn. The telegraph established a repeater station at this location in 1861 with George Ferguson being the telegrapher. The station site is presently on the ranch of Sidney (DeVerl) Nichols, Jr. Incidentally, Joan and Hilda Erikson paid for the last telegraph message to be sent from this station in 1869.

Located at the Ibapah Trading Post (which, at times, has fuel).  Eagan laid out the road for that stretch and supervised its construction. Nothing remains. A monument (N40 01 47.0 W113 59 12.0) is a couple of miles south on the trail. This was the last station in the state.

Sources

Utah Pony Express Stations

 


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