with No Comments

In 1870 at the age of seventy eight, Elias Adams, local pioneer and brick maker, built a two story brick home complete with basement at 2000 East Gentile.  He was assisted by Joseph, Joshua, and Hyrum Adams.  One of his sons rigged up a pulley system to transport buckets of water to the house from a spring in a nearby hollow.

In the winter of 1886 Elias fell off the porch onto the frozen ground.  He died of his injuries a few days later on February 17, 1886, one day before his ninety fourth birthday.


First Brick home in Layton
Photo taken in 1898.  Left to Right: Delbert H. Adams, Caroline Adams Stoddard, Hyrum Adams, Hyrum Rufus Adams seated in buggy


SOURCES: History of Davis County by Glen M. Leonard pg 123; Layton Historical Viewpoint Rebecca Adams Nalder;  Elias Adams The Pioneer, Memorial Dedication pg 24;

“Tradesman Row”

with No Comments


                                                                       Tradesman Row

When settlers first arrived in Kaysville, 1849 they made their homes and their living in West Kaysville. William Stewart, John Marriott and Robert W. Burton arrived in Kaysville together with their families in 1852 and eventually built cabins just south of Samuel Oliver Holmes (one of the first settlers) near what was a well traveled road along the last level of the lake, eventually called Bluff or Barren Road. Their homes became known as “Tradesman’s Row.”  The location as you travel east in West Kaysville along Smith Lane, midway between Rouche Lane and Sunset Drive, is where the old Bluff came through.  Sunset Drive did not exist in early settlement days.  In about 1658 South Sunset Drive there is a bluff and a drop off.  This marks the point where the old Bluff Road came from the Tradesman’s Row area on south Angel Street.

Tradesman Row west of Angel Street between 2nd North and Burton Ln
         Tradesman’s Row – Old Bluff Road
Robert W. Burton was a blacksmith who mended farmers tools and made the first nails in Kaysville. William Stewart made and repaired shoes. John Marriott did many things, including the making of a sawpit in which he and Robert Burton sawed the first lumber for the settlers which provided doors, floors and windows. John Mariott is the ancestor of J. Willard Marriott, a wealthy businessman. The University of Utah Marriott Library and the BYU Marriott Center are named after him.
During the winter of 1851-52, before the cabins were built, William Stewart and his family lived in a wagon box.  William kept busy in the wagon box making shoes. William’s wife would get a tin pail full of hot coals and put in the wagon box to keep the family warm. In March 1852, John Marriott and Robert Burton worked together and built three homes all in a row. William Stewart’s home was built with big logs, with a place for the door and a hole left for the window. There was no door or window to put in so they hung rags as best they could. It had a floor and there were open cracks between the logs along the walls. The chimney was made of big squares of sod put up like bricks. For the roof, they put some large logs across the top, then some rushes they gathered by the creek, and then a big pile of dirt on top of that so that it would keep most of the rain out. A large log was put across the room for people to sit on.
In those days, people made due with what they had or what they could find. They gathered dry grease wood branches and “buffalo chips” for fuel. Many of the early settlers could not get logs to make a home so they built a dugout which was a square hole on the north side of a hill. Emily Stewart Barnes (daughter of William Stewart) tells many interesting stories in her life history about the early days in this community. In 1856, Emily and Susannah (her sister) went to John Weinel’s flour mill. Susannah made Emily ask Mr. Weinel if he could give them a little flour. He looked at her and said, “My child don’t you wish you was in heaven? I have nothing but a little bran. I will give you that.” They were so pleased as they hurried home. The sack had no string to tie it and they spilled the bran, but gathered it up. When they got home with the bran, their mother made a cake, putting it in a frying pan to cook. When cooked, it became bran again as there was no flour left in it. They were so hungry they ate the dry bran.


“The White House” of Christopher Layton

with No Comments

Christopher Layton White Home aka John Kneedy home corner 2nd N and Main



This home was located at 191 North Main (corner of Main and 2nd North). It was built by Christopher Layton,  It was made of adobe with granite cornerstones, and was finished in 1869 to become his 10th home in the local area.  Here he and one of his Polygamist wives Sarah Barnes Layton entertained the many dignitaries, including Brigham Young, James E. Talmage, and Daniel H. Wells, who came visiting or were passing through.  It was a hand place to stop and they were always made welcome with good food and lodging.  The Bruce Major family lived in this home for many years.  After they moved, it was the home of John and Sara Kneedy.  The two huge rock balls were placed at the end of the sidewalk by Mr. Kneedy.  He found them in the mountains of California in 1967 and brought them back to Utah.

Note: Christopher Layton (March 8, 1821-August 7, 1898) was a Mormon Colonizer, Polygamist and Patriarch.   He helped establish the cities of Kaysville/Layton, Utah, and Thatcher, Arizona.  The city of Layton, Utah is named after him.

Christopher Layton
           Christopher Layton .


Sadly the home was torn down a few years ago to make way for a fast food restaurant called Dylan’s.



One of the locally famous giant “rock balls’ is alive and well across the street, at Main Street. Lube.

 Kneedys Balls FB

Pioneer Schoolhouse

with No Comments

Schoolhouse 1973 W 200 N built 1875


This home is located at 1973 West 200 North in West Kaysville, Utah.  (called the Swallow home). It was built in 1875 and was one of the first brick school houses built in Kaysville.  It was constructed with the first brick to come out of the Kaysville Brick Yard.  The brick work on the exterior was done by local architect William Allen.  The round opening where the school bell once hung has been cemented over above the former door.  It had two rooms and was also used for church meetings until the church across the street at 1772 West was completed.  The two rooms were heated with a pot belly stove.  The slate blackboards used in the school were attached permanently to the walls in both rooms and are still in place but have been painted over to match the rest of the walls.  Indians’ used to sit out along the bluff near this structure and sell things to those traveling through.  Two perfect grinding stones, arrowheads and other items have been discovered on the property. Note: Natalie Thompson Monson posted: “This is David Robin’s old home.  He is the one who converted it into a private home.  My grandpa Neil Robins was born there.  His sister Norma Robins Swallow inherited the house.”

Photo of the original door, and area where school bell was above the door,. This is on the west side of the home, photo courtesy of Paulette Bennett.

Original door of school house on the west side
      Original door of school house, west side, above window is where school bell was.  

Schoolhouse 1910 1973 W 200 N

Paulette Bennett writes: “this is a picture in front of the house taken of our Robin’s family May 2016.  My father Neil Robins born in this home, is in the middle front row of this photo. ”

Kevin Swallow: “this is the house my mother Norma Robins Swallow was born in.  My grandpa Robins purchased the home and property from a Mr. Gailey.  He raised his family there and supported himself by growing and selling produce, primarily asparagus.  My wife Tammy and I lived in this home for 3 years when we were first married.”

Robins Family May 2016
                 Robins Family May 2016

The Snow Horse

with No Comments

As you look towards the mountains in the spring, the shape of a horse appears as the snow melts.  The Snow Horse can be seen from both Kaysville and Layton.  Early farmers in this area used this as an indication of how much water they would have during the summer.  If the Snow Horse is still visible on June 1st, pioneers knew there would be enough water for their crops.  Farmers also used this as a guide to determine when it would be safe to plant crops.  They would not plant until the Snow Horse appeared on the mountain.  Some of the farmers said if the shape was still visible by June 1st, it meant there would be enough water crossing Main Street in Kaysville in the summer to mature a crop of grain.

The Snow Horse
                                         The Snow Horse 

The Snow Horse is located on the upper reaches of Snow Horse Ridge, just north of Webb Canyon at the Kaysville-Layton border. Elevation is about 8,500 feet.  The horse is about 200 feet wide, legs 50 feet in length.  The hiking trail from Francis Peak, north of Weber Canyon passes just above the Snow Horse area.  The Snow Horse’s legs usually fade away first and low long it lasts depends on temperatures.  Memorial Day to early June is usually prime viewing for the shape.



The Snow Horse hides under a blanket of snow all winter.  He waits on the mountain while the nights are long.  On the first day of spring, the Snow Horse stirs.  The sun reminds him of his important job.  His head peeks out “It’s too early”.  The Snow Horse disappears once more beneath the snow.

In April the Snow Horse lifts his head and then he straightens his back.  He sniffs the warming air.  “It’s almost time” he whispers.  Children in their back yards look up, hoping to see the horse on the mountain.  The Snow Horse lies back, allowing the sun to slowly melt the snow and his body.  He glances down into the valley below.  “Not Yet” he thinks, it’s not quite “time”.

By May the Snow Horse can feel the sun’s energy waking him up – helping him remember what he has to do.  Farmers in the valley look up expectantly.  They are waiting for the signal of the Snow Horse.  Finally on a warm evening, the Snow Horse shakes his feet loose, and gallops up the mountainside.  At first no one notices but then, throughout the valley, awareness spreads.  The Snow Horse has returned. A child shouts “Mom ! the Snow Horse, the Snow Horse!” Now we can go barefoot.  A farmer quietly prepares to plant tomato seedlings. A family plans an overnight camping trip.  The Snow Horse has done his job.


In 2007, the Davis Board of Education named the District’s 55th elementary school in West Kaysville, Snow Horse Elementary.


Snow Horse Elementary 1095 Smith Lane Home of the "Colts"
Snow Horse Elementary 1095 Smith Lane, Kaysville, Utah. Home of the                                                   “Colts”   


My Friend Rena Bowring – Summer Fun

with No Comments

When school let out for the summer, Rena and I always vowed we would still keep in touch and do things together.  The fun times with Rena during those hot summer days are unforgettable.

Rena and I did not exactly live next door to each other.  I lived on 4th West and she lived on 4th East in Kaysville.  The half way mark was Main Street.  Most of the time we rode our faithful bicycles and met each other at Frost Drug.  We parked our bikes in the old iron bike rack located between the drug store and Kaysville Theatre.  We went inside for a “nickel” coke.  It was there on those old silver bar stools with the red leather tops that we would twirl around, drink our coke and plan out our “adventure of the day”.

At one of our planning sessions, Rena decided we would buy some candy.  Back then we had an entire array of “penny candy” we could choose from,located right behind the bar stools.  We decided on Cinnamon Bears.  We each bought about 20 cents worth.  Rena got the idea to line them up on the counter and give them all a name.  We laughed and made up all these stupid names for our bears.  Then Rena said “Hey I’m going to eat Clyde’s ear off” and she did.  It took us a while, but we managed to devour each Cinnamon Bear part one by one – first a bite of ear, leg, or an occasional head.  We laughed until tears ran down our cheeks.  The only one not finding amusement was Mrs. Frost scowling at us from behind the long counter.  Did we care? No, we were paying customers.

A favorite adventure spot was Sander’s Hollow.  It was located a few blocks north of the Clover Club Potato Chip factory.  There were all kinds of trees, plants, flowers and a nice little stream at the bottom.  We usually packed a picnic lunch and spent the entire day, enjoying nature and the sounds of the water running over the rocks.  Nearby in a large field lived a bull with a gold ring in it’s nose.  We liked to tease him, but I don’t know what we would have done if he ever took us up on our offer.  As it was we managed to step in his poop piles and get scratched by the barbed wire fence.  This was all part of the fun.

Bike riding in West Kaysville was another fun past time.  We would head down 2nd North, past the railroad tracks, then past Linda Galbraith’s house.  After that it was mostly fields, the houses being few and far between.  I remember we peddled our bikes as fast as we could until it would be time to stop along the roadside to take a short break. The hot sun beat down on our backs. It was total peace and quiet all around.  We could hear the faint sound of the wind blowing, lots of meadow larks churping and occasionally a cow mooing in the distance.  It was a wonderous place.  There was a feeling, a calmness that always came over me.  It was a peacefulness I have not since experienced.  I have no words to describe the closeness Rena and I had when we were down in that little part of our world.

Sleepovers were so fun at Rena’s house.  She had the most awesome antique furniture in her bedroom.  She had a huge dark wooden bed.  the headboard was very tall and ornate.  The Bowring’s loved cats, they owned lots of cats.  One in particular was called Millicent.  We loved to dress her in doll clothes while she hissed and scratched at us.

When it was good weather we liked to sleep out in her backyard.  Even though we were true boy haters, we always made a big production so her neighbor Scott Flint and his friend Zack Thorderson would know we would be available to goof around all night.  There were several incidents that involved throwing dirt clods. Even though we claimed to hate it, we secretly loved all the attention.

Nights spent at Rena’s grandma Bonnemort’s were always special.  Her grandma’s house looked like an old Victorian castle.  On the 2nd floor was a round screened room.  I loved to pretend to be a damsel in distress waiting for my knight in shining armor to come and rescue me.  Rena wanted no part of that.  She thought it was absolute nonsense to ever want a boy to get anywhere near her.

Bonnemort home

                                                                Bonnemort Home, Kaysville 

Rena’s grandma Bonnemort had a huge bathroom.  I remember the toilet had this really neat railing around it and it was up high off the ground.  I was so into this fantasy of this house being a castle, it was only natural I thought this was one of the royal “thrones”.

Her grandma was a delightful lady.  We liked to sit next to her at night while she told us stories. She was crippled and couldn’t walk, so Rena and I helped her a lot.

$$$$$$$$ Barnes Bank – My Memories $$$$$$$$$

with No Comments

Need  $$$ money? As a kid in the 1950’s to me getting cash was simple.  All  I had to do was stand in line at Barnes Bank with my  mom, and chat and gossip with all the other ladies standing around.When it was mom’s turn at the check out place, they handed her money.  I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could stand in line with my friends and have cash handed to me. Then it happened.  When I was about eleven years old mom told me we were going to the bank so I could open my own “account”.  I couldn’t wait for our next visit to Barnes Bank. The moment finally arrived when I  found myself at the check out place.  No money here, all I got back was a book with disappointing amounts of handwritten mumbo jumbo and rubber stamping.  When I ask mom what the deal was I got a lengthy lecture about “responsibility”.


Barnes Bank 1950's-60's
                       Barnes Bank 1950’s -60’s


My trips to Barnes Bank definitely took a turn for the worst after that.  Disillusioned, I began scouring all of Kaysville searching for my own money tree.  No, I never found it and now when I go to America First Credit Union, I always take the free lollipop.  That’s about as good as it’s going to get.