Town of Bedford History

by Bessie Merritt

It was in 1888 that Bedford was first used as a profitable place for grazing cattle. The Mormon Church had several herds of tithing cattle and it was to Bedford that some of these herds were brought to feed. These first herds were overseen by Richard Hinck, Henry McCulloch and Fred Lallathin.

The first building in Bedford was built in 1888 for Dr. Ormsby from Logan, Utah, about 100 rods east of what later became the town site of Bedford.

William B. Preston, who was at that time Presiding Bishop of the Latter-day Saints Church, brought in several relatives who homesteaded land for him. The Preston estate comprised approximately 1000 acres. Mr. Preston liked the location of the town so well that he called it "Bedford" in memory of his old home town in Bedford, Virginia.

Anna Fluckiger (Skinner), a daughter of John and Mary Fluckiger, was the first child born in Bedford in the spring of 1891.

President George Osmond and Counselor Anson V. Call of the Star Valley Stake came to Bedford August 4th, 1895 and in a meeting in a quaking aspen grove organized the "Strawberry Creek Branch". John B. Thatcher was ordained a high priest by President Osmond and appointed to preside over the branch.

There was also a German church organization of the LDS Church at the Bedford Branch which met twice a month in the homes of the various German and Swiss families. The "German chorus" sang in the English speaking meetings for a long time.

The first school held in Bedford was held in a one room, log building on the John U. Moser place. Bishop John B. Thatcher was the first teacher. Some of the immigrants who wanted to learn the American language attended the school that year with the children.

The Lower Valley Power and Light electrical generation plant was built in Strawberry Canyon in 1950 furnishing power exclusively for Star Valley farms at first.

Bedford had the first, or one of the first, brass bands in the Lower Valley.

Milk has been the product upon which the economic stability of the community has depended.

Town of Bedford Cemetery History
Location: Travel north on US 89 from Afton 11.8 miles or south from Thayne 2.0 miles. Turn east on LC 126 (just south of the Highway Rest Area). Proceed another 2.3 miles. Turn left (west) on gravel road. Cemetery is located directly up the hill. (GPS: 42.89540N 110.95346W)
How Obtained: The land was given by Charles G. Heiner, Sr.
History: by Bessie Merritt

On 5 January, 1898, Erwin W. Moser, the baby son of John U. and Elizabeth Moser (a twin to Jack) died. This is the first recorded death in Bedford. He was buried northeast to Bedford, on the Russell Sessions place, now owned by Royal Preston.

On the Sunday before Christmas of the same year, 1898, Plaz Walters, a sheepherder, who came to the valley with Grip Allen to spend the holidays, died of pneumonia and was buried close to the Moser baby.

In the spring of 1904, on May 11th, the small son of George and Martha Merritt, Jocob LeVere, died and he was buried there also.

In January 1905, David G. Fluckiger, the small son of Gottlieb and Elizabeth Fluckiger died. It was almost impossible to get to the cemetery, so he was taken to the Thayne cemetery to be buried. A year later on the 29th of May, 1906, John W. Fluckiger, another small son of Gottlieb and Elizabeth died. He was also taken to Thayne and placed by his brother.

The Bedford cemetery was so located that it was very hard to get to when the weather was bad, or when the snow was deep. After 11 years, the people decided they should move the bodies to a place which would be more accessible the year around.

A low hill, one mile west of Bedford and overlooking the community, seemed to be the ideal place. The land was owned by Charles G. Heiner. Mr. Heiner donated the five acres to the community of Bedford for their cemetery.

Many of the people of Bedford helped put the fence around the land and they were given the lots they chose for work. Some that could not help with the work gave a little money to help buy the wire for the fence. They too were given lots in the cemetery.

The three bodies were then moved to the new cemetery. The bodies of the two Fluckiger boys were also moved to the new location.

Mr. Heiner surveyed the land and took charge of the cemetery until he moved to Afton in 1935. At this time, he asked his son, Robert, to take over his work and see that everything was kept going the way it should be done. Robert faithfully carried on with his work until his death in 1969.

For many years, all that was done to the cemetery was the fence that was put around it and a cattle guard of poles at the entrance.

When the people of Bedford put in their water system, they saw the need of piping water to the cemetery. This was done. The cemetery was on very uneven land, covered with sage brush, wild rose bushes, weeds and rocks. There were many holes and small raises in the land making it hard to walk around and look at the graves on Decoration Day. It was not the proper place to lay loved ones away in their final resting place or have people come to. As the need to fix and beautify the cemetery became apparent, a Woman's club, known as the "Bedford Friendly Club", started the ball rolling. They prepared a supper and sold tickets at $5.00 a plate. Everyone that lived in Bedford or that had a loved one in the cemetery was contacted and invited to come to the supper and help raise money for the project. Some that could not attend the supper sent money. Many from other towns in the Valley came also.

A committee was then appointed to take over the project. The money that was raised from the supper and $50.00 that had been set aside by the Fair committee a year or two before for this purpose, was used to put in a new and wider metal cattle guard. It was also used to hire a lawyer to the do the legal work of forming the Bedford Cemetery District, making it legal by the vote of the people. A levy was put on the property, within the district, for the care and upkeep of the cemetery.

Robert Heiner and Ernest Wolfley were in charge of the beautification of the cemetery and put in many hours of work - assisted at times by volunteer labor of ward members, to make it the beautiful and restful place it is now.

The people of Bedford turned out and cleared all the brush and weeds off the land, hauled off the rocks, leveled the land and straightened up all the markers and installed a sprinkling system. They planted grass over the south part of the cemetery. The west and north, which will not be needed for many years was planted into .... for future sale and is used to help pay the expenses. Every grave in the cemetery is marked and a caretaker hired to take care of the cemetery. A lawnmower was purchased also.

The Lincoln County Commissioners were contacted and the road maintainers came with the County machinery and helped to make a good road around the hill. .