Yost History
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Yost History


Beautiful Yost Valley, hidden land of paradise, is located on the north slopes of the majestic Raft River Mountains, 115 miles west of Brigham City in Northwestern Box Elder County.  Yost Valley is situated south of the popular landmark, City of Rocks--within the once "Pacific Federal" transportation corridor.  At least eight heavily traveled trails and wagons crisscrossed the region that became known as Western Frontier Crossroad Junctions.  Roads include "Old California, Old Oregon and Great Salt Lake Cutoff" between 1848 through 1874.

By 1879, Charles Yost, a cowboy and cattleman, and Levi Nelson Campbell, a farmer, had set their "stakes" to become the first known settlers in Yost Valley.  Within three years, Fannie Marilla Garner Tracy and her seven sons and one daughter, along with Ebenezer Clawson Richardson and Warren Richardson's families, had selected their squatters rights near life-giving springs of water.  They called their settlement "George Creek" under the Timber and Stone Act of 1878.  As true pioneers, several more families continued to build as "nesters" on virgin land.  The new settlers were building on a dream for freedom and a better life.  A railroad was planned to run near Yost Valley between Portland Oregon and Salt Lake City.  Also, a water-dam was to be built on the upper Raft River.

On March 2, 1887, Charles Yost was appointed first postmaster and mail handler.  Two years later, Emer Taylor was mail carrier from Kelton Terminus, and he operated the mercantile store that was located adjacent to the Salt Lake Cutoff High Road.  The community became known as Yost when Samuel Tracy became postmaster in April 1890.  Luella (Coleman) Tracy was the last postmaster (discontinued) in November 1968.  For over 150 years, the Yost Valley community has been known as George Town, George Creek Junction, and Town of Yost.

By 1892, the valley was officially surveyed by the United States Government and 17 families or a population of 91 people became "homesteaders."  Between 1879 through 1892, at least 37 babies were born in Yost Valley--nearly half were Tracy's.

Cattle and sheep ranching were the main source of income for several families of Yost Valley.  In 1872, Charles Yost organized a cattle ranch.  After 1890, John Blythe, a gentile and rich Scotchman, created the first large sheep herd in Yost Valley and employed several men and women.  Joseph Franklin Tracy's sawmill on George Creek in 1880 was the first industry.  The Richardson's lime-kiln constructed about 1881, operated several years by burning lime from nearby rock.  The Tracy sawmills continued to supply lumber for several years to railroads and gold-silver mines that were located south over the mountain near Park Valley and west to Vipont.  A majority of the families lived on small agriculture farms throughout the valley and milked a few dairy cows to provide a needed cash flow from the sale of cream, butter and milk.

The community of Yost witnessed real growth, and the population peaked during 1914 through 1918.  The first joint schoolhouse-civic hall-church house was built in 1886 as a log cabin style.  The saints of George Creek L.D.S. Branch were part of the Park Valley Ward, Box Elder Stake of Zion in the fall of 1886.  Although not all of the families were of the L.D.S. faith, parents united in "Sabbath Schools" to fortify tender minds of their children against the influences of vicious and incorrect principles.  In 1898 under leadership of John Beus, construction of a large rock church house was started and completed in 1900. In 1908 a brick schoolhouse was under construction.  The population increased to at least 251 people in 1910; yet after 100 years, the cycle of farming and ranch life involved only three to five families.  The Spencer family returned the valley to its original cattle operation much like the 1890's.

The people of Yost organized themselves during the great depression, the town of Yost was incorporated August 19,1935.  Its boundaries were the largest in physical size in the State of Utah.  Mother Nature continued to prevent several families from making a good living, thus they moved.  By 1968, Yost Valley had no school, store, post office or church.  The people's dream did not come true, and Yost Township dissolved and was disincorporated January 6, 1984.