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Spanish Fork in Utah County, Utah — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

The Lush Valley of the Timpanogotzis

Dominguez y Escalante Expedition

 

— 1776 – 1976 —

 
The Lush Valley of the Timpanogotzis Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, October 1, 2018
1. The Lush Valley of the Timpanogotzis Marker
Inscription.  On July 29, 1776, Fathers Francisco Atanasio Dominguez and Silvestre Valez de Escalante led an exploration party of ten horsemen from Sante Fe, New Mexico to establish an overland route to Monterey, California, while spreading the Catholic faith to the native peoples they hoped to meet along the way.

On September 23 the party emerged from Spanish Fork Canyon into Utah Valley. Escalante recorded in his diary, “We went for half a league northwest, crossed over to the other side of the river, went up a brief slope, and caught sight of the lake and spreading valley of Nuestro Senora de la Merced of the Timpanogotzis. We also saw that they were sending up smoke signals on every side, thus spreading the news of our coming.” When camp had been established near Spanish Fork, the Padres proceeded to the Indian village on the Provo River. The natives readily accepted the teachings of the Franciscan Fathers and urged them to return with other friars to live among them.

Escalante’s diary gives us a graphic description of Utah Valley and is our best account of life in the 18th century in Utah. “In sierra lies El Valle
The Lush Valley of the Timpanogotzis Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, October 1, 2018
2. The Lush Valley of the Timpanogotzis Marker
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de Neustra Senora de la Merced of the Timpanogotzis surrounded by the sierra’s heights from which four medium-sized rivers that water it emerge. All over it there are good and very abundant pasturages and the climate here is a good one. It has plenty of firewood and timber in the adjacent sierra – many sheltered spots, waters and pasturages, for raising cattle and sheep and horses.

This one (lake) of the Timpanogotzis abounds in several species of good fish – of geese, beavers, and other amphibious creatures. Round about it reside the Indians mentioned, who live on the lake’s abundant fish. Besides this, they gather the seeds of wild plants in the bottoms and make gruel from them, which they supplement with the game of jackrabbits, coneys and fowl, of which there is a great abundance here. They also have bison handy not too far away, but fear of the Comanches prevents them from hunting them.

“Their dwellings are some sheds or little wattle-huts of osier, out of which they have interestingly crafted baskets and other utensils for ordinary use. They are very poor as regards to dress. The most becoming one they wear is a deerskin jacket and long leggings of the same. For cold seasons they wear blankets made of jackrabbit and coney rabbit furs. They possess good features, and most of them are fully bearded. All the sections of this sierra are
The Lush Valley of the Timpanogotzis Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, October 1, 2018
3. The Lush Valley of the Timpanogotzis Marker
inhabited by a great number of peoples of the same nation, language and easy-going character.”

It is interesting to speculate on what might have happened, had the Spaniards been able to return to Utah Valley. Provo may have had an architectural flavor similar to that of Santa Fe and would probably have been the cultural center of Utah. The Mormons may not have settled in Salt Lake Valley at all, since they were seeking a land promised by God for themselves alone.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ExplorationNative Americans. A significant historical date for this entry is July 29, 1776.
 
Location. 40° 6.571′ N, 111° 39.244′ W. Marker is in Spanish Fork, Utah, in Utah County. Marker is on East Center Street, on the right when traveling east. Marker is in City Park north of the library. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 49 South Main Street, Spanish Fork UT 84660, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Escalante (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Fort (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Old Academy (approx. 0.4 miles away); Spanish Fork Grist Mills (approx. 0.4 miles away); First Settlement of Icelanders in the United States (approx. ¾ mile away); Leland (approx. 1.6 miles away);
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Fort Palmyra (approx. 1.7 miles away); Old Palmyra (approx. 1.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spanish Fork.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 23, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 23, 2020, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 50 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 23, 2020, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona.

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May. 16, 2021