Town of Grover History

Town of Grover History
By Lovina Leavitt and Nina Taggart

About 1879, early settlers began cutting ties for the railroad out of what was yet to be called Grover and Jensen canyons. It wasn't until July 24, 1885 that two young men, James Jensen, Jr. and Hans J.Nielsen staked their claims at the mouths of these canyons. In August, each cut timber and made a log cabin on his property. On October 7, 1885, John C. Phillips, his wife Almyra and family arrived at the present site of Grover - the first family on the grounds.

In the spring of 1886, John C. Phillips was blessed with a new daughter, Sarah Sophronia, born April 4th, the first child born in Grover.

Many of the early settlers were well acquainted with each in Utah before coming to Grover. Most of them originally came from Denmark.

In 1886, the settlers began filing for priority water rights on Swift Creek for the purpose of creating the "Afton Ditch", probably the beginning of what later became known as the North Canal Company. The first major canal constructed was eight miles long and cost $3.000.00.

By 1888, the town had grown large enough to support a post office, so a name had to be decided upon. It was first suggested that the LDS ward or branch and town be named Cleveland, after President Grover Cleveland. But as it was understood a town was being called Cleveland in the Lower Valley, Hans J. Nielsen suggested it be called Grover and so it was.

The first school was held in the old log house of Hans Nielsen with William Cazier being the first teacher. On Sunday, May 27, 1888, Charles D. Cazier of Afton came and organized the people of "Sage Brush Flat" into a branch of the LDS Church. Then in the summer of 1889, Apostle Heber J. Grant visited Star Valley and organized the branch into a ward on July 1, with James Jensen as bishop.

Lovina S. Thurman was the first postmaster in Grover. She was appointed n August 24, 1889 after the mail had been carried from Afton to Grover on horses or in wagons for several months.

The first missionary was John Francis Astle who went to the Southern States mission in 1894.

The first State Experimental Farm of the University of Wyoming to be located in Star Valley was in Grover, on forty acres of land obtained from Louis C. Jensen.

Town of Grover Cemetery History
Location: In Grover, turn east off of Hwy 89 onto Lincoln County Road 172. Travel towards mountains 0.5 miles then turn right (south) onto dirt road which crosses a creek and proceeds approximately 0.2 miles to the cemetery. (GPS: 42.78772N 110.92192W)
How Obtained: Bishop James Jensen, Sr., the first bishop of the Grover Ward, donated two acres of land for the establishment of a cemetery.
History: by Ray S. Thruman
The Grover Cemetery is located about one-fourth mile east of the Del Nebeker place on the foothills. The entrance is by the reservoir. Due to the lack of water, no lawn could be planted and at present no plans are under way for improvement.

The oldest graves are listed as follows:
James Sant - 11 May 1889,
John Sant - 26 November 1890, and
Laura May Sant - 2 December 1890, all of the same family.
Phebe S. Thruman - 3 December 1890, and
Joseph Carl Thruman - 19 December 1890, also the same family.
What heartache is concealed in these few naked dates?

Bishop James Jensen, Sr., the first bishop of the Grover Ward, donated two acres of land for the establishment of a cemetery according to the ward history. There are about 130 graves.