Bothwell History
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Bothwell History


Bothwell

The town of Bothwell lies four and one-half miles west of Tremonton, beginning at Salt Creek.  The elevation is 4320 feet with 120 to 140 frost-free days each year and 11 to 15 inches of annual precipitation.  The topography is level to slightly sloping, and the land is adaptable to raising wheat, barley, corn, oats, alfalfa, onions, beans, potatoes, peas, sugarbeets, tomatoes, sunflowers and safflowers.  There are few days in the summer when the temperature soars above 100 degrees, and winter days and nights seldom get 20 degrees below zero.

The earliest accounts written about the Bothwell area tell of beautiful waves of tall bunch grass covering the lower region and of tall sagebrush growing on the hills.  From Indian writings found on the rocks at the head of Salt Creek and artifacts dug up on the farms adjacent to the creek, we know that Indians got water from Salt Creek and used this area for hunting grounds and camp sites.

The first white settlers came to the Bothwell area to homestead.  They settled near Salt Creek as it was the major source of water for the region west of the Bear River and Malad River.  Some of the first settlers who bought land and became farmers were of German descent and were members of the Christian Apostolic Faith and attended church in Tremonton. In 1892, after several years of construction, a canal system was completed and water flowed into the arid region in sufficient quantities to irrigate thousands of acres of land.  John R. Bothwell, the engineer and promoter of the canal system, was honored by having the community named after him.

Most settlers were members of the L.D.S. faith, and branch of that church was organized in 1894.  In 1898 a ward was organized.  Three L.D.S. Churches were built in the community.  The last, beautiful red brick structure dedicated in 1948, has been remodeled twice.  The church was the center of all entertainment i.e. dances, drama, banquets, ball games, socials as well as worship services.  It remains the center of all community activities.

The first school was held in 1894 in a small frame building on the west banks of Salt Creek.  There were about 20 pupils who walked or were transported in wagons or sleds to the school.  The second school was also frame, located half a mile west and a quarter mile north of the first school.  The third school was a brick structure and was located just west of where the church now stands.  The bricks were made on the banks of Salt Creek.  After a series of earthquakes in 1908, the building was condemned.  In 1909 a new brick building with four classrooms was erected.  It served elementary students until 1967 when the students were bussed to Tremonton.

Mail service was established in the area by James Ipsom.  He would pick the mail up at Bear River City and bring it to his home in Bothwell where the residents could go to collect their mail.  In 1895, Mrs. Margaret Priest, the first post mistress distibuted mail from her home.  In 1898 the post office was moved to the Foxley Store and was given the name of "Point Look Out Post Office."  A Rural Free Route for mail delivery was established in 1909, and at the date of this writing, the mail is still being delivered six days a week to all RFD box holders.  The first telephone lines were extended from Tremonton to Bothwell for the crank-type phones.  The dial system was installed in about 1950.  In April of 1926 electricity was finally turned on in Bothwell.

Before 1960 the community was totally dependent upon agriculture for its economic base.  Every farmer raised acres of sugar beets, the main cash crop.  Many farmers had feedlot cattle and raised lambs and hogs.  Most farmers had small herds of dairy cattle, raising grain and alfalfa to feed all their animals.  In the late 1930s a few of the local men tried raising large flocks of turkey.  They met with enough success that through the '40s, '50s, and '60s, at least one-fourth of the farmers were involved with brooding, growing, and finishing the holiday bird.

Bothwell is now an unincorporated area.  At this writing, there are only three dairies in Bothwell and only one farmer is involved in raising turkeys.  The U&I Sugar Factory closed its doors in 1975, and therefore, there are no beets grown in the valley.  There are no egg producers; however, there are still a few hog producers and also some feedlot cattle and beef cattle producers as well as a sod farm and a large potato farm.  Only half of the residents are now dependent upon agriculture for their livlihood.  Many work at nearby industries while some are employed by the school system.  Bothwell is a good place for rural living.