What Land Cost Over 170 Years Ago in Roy

Captain James Brown paid Miles Goodyear a visit. Their meeting could have very well been the first “open house” in Weber County.


This article is part of a series we’re doing on how much homes used to cost back in the day. We’re starting from the ground up with this piece on the cost of land.

Roy land has passed through many hands over the years. This piece is an attempt to trace back all the owners on record from the beginning. In Roy’s case, it begins with Miles Goodyear. He was a trapper trader who settled along the Weber River in 1845. His brother Andrew described his brother’s property after spending 13 years apart in his personal record.

“He had about half an acre enclosed with pickets, and a log house in each corner; also corrals adjoining for his horses, cattle, sheep and goats, and a good supply of goods and peltries on hand,” Andrew wrote. “There was plenty of timber around him, and land fit for cultivation.”

Richard Jones

In 1847, Captain James Brown of the Mormon Battalion paid Miles a visit on his way to California. Their meeting could have very well been the first “open house” in Weber County. Miles told James that he’d be willing to sell his property to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for $2,000. That fall, a deal was struck for $1,950. Miles handed over a deed for his fenced land, plus all the land around, four log houses, 75 goats, 75 cattle, 12 sheep, and six horses. Brigham Young, the president at the time, was happy to pay that price to ensure that his fellow Mormons could settle there, rather than welcome more transient trappers.

A copy of the deed to Richard Jones’s property.

The first settlers of Roy found that they could purchase their land fee of about $1.00 an acre after living on the land for five years, thanks to the Homestead Act of 1862. Even then, most of them had to have homesteaded for six months during the year to qualify. If they wanted to purchase railroad land, it cost $2.50 per acre, and there was no requirement to live on the land before the sale. When it came to the first few settling families, they went with the first option. William Evans and Catherine Baker, Henry and Sarah Field, Henry and Hannah Field, Justin True Grover and Sarah Cole, along with Richard and Elizabeth Jones all moved to “Cousin’s Row” in Roy first.

Namely, Richard was one of the later founding families on account of his English citizenship. He didn’t become an American citizen until 1868. Then, he moved to Cousin’s Row in 1882; however, he didn’t receive his deed until 1892. It only cost him $1. Richard, along with the other families, got 80 acres each. By then, there were still only a handful of houses around him. His neighbors mostly farmed wheat. They would have to travel to Hooper to source their water for their farms. As a result, their farmland didn’t appreciate in value very much until they installed an irrigation system, using the Davis Weber Canal in 1883 plus the East Canyon Reservoir in 1896. So, in the end, Richard came in at just the right time for farming. Today, an acre of land just down the road from Cousins Row costs well over $1.1 million.

Do you know the history of your home or land? We want to hear from you! Email jenny@connectionpub.com or submit your story on http://www.connectionpub.com


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