History of 2nd Street, Ogden, Utah

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Sam Gates Road

Posted by weberhistory on October 2, 2010

Sam Gates Road was named for Samuel Gates Jr. (1804-1877)

Long before Aspen, Sierra or Life Builders model homes were built at Century Dr. and 2nd Street, Sam Gates built his cabin here in 1852; seated in front of the cabin is his first wife, Lydia Gates. This photo was displayed in the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893 in the Utah Building as a tribute to Utah pioneers; in 1892 Lydia was living in one of the oldest pioneer houses still occupied; photo by Jason Crock 1892, courtesy of Pam Olschewski.

YESTERDAY: The old Sam Gates Lane, looking south to 2nd Street which is visible in background; this lane turned north off 2nd Street next to the Sam Gates cabin and ran 5 blocks to North Street, connecting the adobe mill to the kiln and brick yard; photo 2000.

YESTERDAY :  This is how the old Sam Gates Lane appeared as it turned off 2nd Street; the cabin was located where the trees stand; photo 2000. See next photo for same location in 2010.

TODAY: Century Drive begins in the same location as the historic Sam Gates Lane; photo 2010.

Sam Gates was born in in New York March 14, 1804.  He was a stone cutter and an iron foundry man when he married Lydia Downer in 1830 in Lavonia, Michigan, where they lived  for eight years before Mormon missionaries came in the vicinity to preach.  The course of their life changed when they joined themselves to the Mormon church and moved to LaHarpe, Illinois in April 1842, 23 miles east of Nauvoo.  In LaHarpe they became acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum who often visited them and stayed in their home.  Sam’s Elder’s License* is signed by Joseph Smith.[1]

Elder’s license signed by Joseph Smith

In LaHarpe he also became acquainted with Erastus Bingham and Isaac Newton Goodale (it is possible that he first knew Goodale in Michigan).  After the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum the Gates family abandoned their farm and moved into Nauvoo where Sam set up an iron foundry.  It was an urgent time for the Saints as they worked feverishly to complete the temple while making preparations to abandon the city.  Persecution forced an early evacuation of Nauvoo in February 1846.  Sam’s foundry was burned by a mob.  Afterwards some of the mob approached him and said, “Mr. Gates, we like you, and if you would give up those d…d Mormons, we will set you up in business again.” He refused the offer.[2]

Lydia gave birth to their 11th child in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1850. They arrived in Salt Lake City in September 1852.  In October when Sam Gates arrived on 2nd Street.   He was greeted by Isaac N. Goodale who wrote in his journal 15 Oct 1852: “went to show S. Gates some land”.[3]

Sam was 48 years old and was starting a new home.  In 1852 he made a free claim for the 40 acres of farm land opposite the Bingham farm and built his cabin across the lane from the Bingham family cabins.  This new farm would be his final home.  In April 1853 Sam’s daughter Genet married Erastus’ son, Willard Bingham.

After building a cabin and beginning his farm, Sam’s first community project was to build a molasses mill on 2nd Street for the sugar cane that the farmers began to grow.  The mill was located within the walls of the fort; today’s location of the mill is on Wall Ave. about 150 feet north of the Wall and 2nd Street intersection.

In 1854 Brigham Young made Sam Gates a Captain of a company sent back to assist the oncoming pioneer companies and help them through the mountains.  A copy of the letter sent to Capt. Samuel Gates from Brigham Young is recorded in the Journal History of the Church, and a transcribed copy follows: [4]

Instructions from Brigham Young to Capt. Samuel Gates

In March 1857 Sam and Lydia consecrated all their temporal possessions to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Consecration Deed

The Church immediately gave him the stewardship of his consecrated property.   This consecration demonstrated  faith in God and a willingness to share assets like the early Christians in the Book of Mormon and the New Testament.   Isaac Newton Goodale and Erastus Bingham consecrated their properties also.  Notice that Sam Gates’ 40 acres were valued at $300 in the consecration document in 1857; in 2004, 147 years later, these acres became the Fort Bingham subdivision[5]

In 1858 Sam was married in polygamy to Martha Waite, an eighteen-year-old lady who had been briefly married and divorced.  They had 6 children.[6]

In the 1860s Sam ran the toll gate at the mouth of Ogden Canyon for use of the road to Huntsville. One day while working at the toll gate he found a homeless Danish boy named Peter Sherner and took him home into his large family.

Ogden Canyon Toll Gate

Ogden Canyon Toll Gate

Monument located in N. parking lot of Rainbow Gardens.

Monument located in N. parking lot of Rainbow Gardens.

In 1871 Sam built an adobe mill next to his house and in a few years expanded the adobe mill into a brick yard five blocks north of his house.  The adobe mill and brick yard were connected by the original Sam Gates’ Lane.  Six structures still remain on 2nd Street in 2013 that were built with adobes or bricks from the Sam Gates’ mill.[7]

Samuel Gates loved his wives and his children and was a faithful and devoted husband and father.

Sam Gates & Lydia Downer; photo courtesy Pam O

Sam Gates & Lydia Downer; photo courtesy Pam Olschewski.

The home of Sam’s daughter and son-in-law, James Gardner, remains at 156 2nd Street, and the home of his adopted son Peter Sherner remains at 122 2nd Street.  As an old man he spent so much time at Peter’s house that he was teasingly called “Sam Gates Sherner”.  His son, George Gates, built many of the adobe and brick houses still standing on 2nd St.  His daughter, Nancy Jane Gates, taught at the Lynne School for several years before marriage.

When Sam Gates died in August of 1877 he had an 80 acre farm on the north side of 2nd Street.   The west 20 acres of his farm was purchased by the James Stone family in the 1870s, and all this acreage remained agriculture for about 150 years until subdivided in 2004.

China is one of the most common artifacts found on historic sites. Refined ceramics of the 1830s were made in England and were highly decorative and usually consisted of plates and tea sets. These china chips were found in 2004 at the site of the Sam Gates cabin.

Sam Gates Road is part  of the Fort Bingham subdivision; photo 2014.

Sam Gates Road is part of the Fort Bingham subdivision; photo 2014.

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[1] Lisa J. South and Pamela S. Olschewski, Samuel Gates, Jr. and Lydia Downer, manuscript, 2001, p. 1-5.

*An Elder’s License – As the Church became more spread out some dishonest men began to take advantage of the situation by going into an area “as an Elder sent by the Prophet to collect tithes and temple donations”.  Then the money would disappear.  It became necessary to issue a license to elders in good standing to prevent this.

[2] Ibid, p. 7.

[3] Transcribed by Elden J. and Anne S. Watson, The Isaac Newton Goodale Journal 1850-1857,  manuscript, 1981, p. 37.

[4] South and Olschewski, Samuel Gates, Jr. and Lydia Downer, p. 10, 11.

[5] Ibid, p. 9,13,14.

[6] Ibid, p. 14.

[7] The houses made with adobes or bricks from the Sam Gates Mill are 386 W. 2nd St, 140 W. 2nd St, 122 2nd St, 156 2nd St, 216 2nd St, and the granary at 317 W. 2nd St.

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