Sevier County, Utah
A Brief History of Sevier County*
Sevier County is located in the High Plateau country of central Utah. Most of the towns lie near the Sevier River in a fertile valley bordered on the west by the Pahvant Range and on the east by the Wasatch and Fish Lake plateaus. National forests cover almost half of the land. The area is seismically active, and a number of earthquakes have centered in the southern part of the county on the Sevier Fault.
Many prehistoric Indian sites have been found. Sudden Shelter, an Archaic site on Ivie Creek, contains one of the longest cultural time records in Utah east of the Wasatch 7080 to 80 B.P. (before the present). Fremont Culture sites continue to be found, especially during construction projects. Fremont State Park preserves artifacts from a recently uncovered prehistoric village.
Travelers on the Old Spanish Trail and mountain man Jedediah S. Smith were among those who crossed the county before white settlement. The Southern Exploring Company under Mormon Apostle Parley P. Pratt visited the area during the winter of 1849-50, and George W. Bean explored the Sevier Valley in 1863. Early in 1864 ten men settled in the Richfield area. Several other towns were founded in the next few years. However, violent confrontations with the Ute Indians during the Black Hawk War (1865-68) forced abandonment of all the Sevier settlements in April 1867. Attempts to resettle did not succeed until 1870.
The area grew rapidly. Richfield, with 8 families and 12 men in 1871, had 753 people by 1874 and was on its way to becoming a major regional commercial center and, eventually, the provider of hospital, airport, and other services for a large area. Many of the county's early settlers were Scandinavians who brought distinctive building styles and cultural practices with them.
The Deseret Telegraph extended its line from Gunnison to Monroe in 1872, providing a vital communications link to the territory's larger cities. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad reached Salina in 1891 and Richfield in 1896, improving the marketing of Sevier agricultural products. The building of Interstate 70 in the 1980s linked the county to the national freeway system.
Sheep and cattle remain important to the local economy as do dairy products, field crops, and, in recent years, turkey raising. Trade and manufacturing -- including food processing clothing and building products -- have contributed to the county's growth as well. Sevier is the state's leading producer of gypsum, a mineral used in building products such as plaster and plasterboard produced in Sigurd. The county has coal mines and natural gas reserves in the northeast and major geothermal resources that could be tapped for energy production.
*Used by permission. Beehive History 14: Utah Counties. 1988. Utah State Historical Society, 300 Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1182, 801/533-3500.
- 2010 Utah County Fact Book
The information in this book describes the economic, demographic, public safety, and financial characteristics of each of Utah’s 29 counties. Published by the Utah Association of Counties (UAC). Previous versions are available from UAC as well.
- Census 2000 Demographic Profile: Sevier County
General population characteristics, social characteristics, economic characteristics, and housing characteristics for the county. From American FactFinder, the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Economic Profile: Sevier County
Information on county industry and employment. From the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah).
- Religious Membership Report: Sevier County
Religious denomination for the county. From the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA).
- Sevier County Facts
Labor force, economic and wage information from the Department of Workforce Services County and Statewide Information.
- Sevier County Profile
Census, demographic, genealogy & vital records, crime, educational, economic, government, and county data. From ePodunk.
- Sevier County QuickFacts
Find quick, easy access to facts about people, business, and geography from the U.S. Census Bureau's State & County QuickFacts.
- 2002 Census of Agriculture County Profile: Sevier County
Census data on farms, crops, and livestock. From the Census of Agriculture, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- Sevier County Agriculture Profile
Data on land ownership, crops, and livestock. From the Utah State University Extension.
- Richfield Reaper - Archives
Available issues from Utah Digital Newspapers: 1906-1940. Search all newspapers, select a specific newspaper or browse by county. This project was funded by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and digitized at the University of Utah.
- Richfield Reaper - Current Issues & Archives
Online version of the Reaper.