Rancher in Snake Valley

Harvest in Snake Valley

Ranching in Snake Valley 1870 – 1904

Isaac and family had a more settled existence after 1870. Isaac owned land which he ranched and farmed in the Snake Valley, running northeast to south west across the border of Nevada and Utah. His ranch in Snake Valley and the area eventually become known as Gandy. Originally it was called Smithville but as there were several places called Smithville in the area, the US Post Office demanded a new name, so it was named after Isaac as the oldest resident at the time.

Snake Valley and Gandy was the home of Isaac Gandy and his family for many years. The Valley was their home, rather than Utah or Nevada or Millard County. The natural barriers and the run of the Valley were more important than administrative boundaries – state or county lines. They followed the Snake Valley, sometimes living in Utah, sometimes in Nevada.

Read more about Snake Valley here.

In the archives from both Millard County Utah  and White Pine County Nevada I have found records of important events in the life of the Gandy family. The birth of Isaac’s and Hattie’s third daughter Maudie for example was registered in Fillmore, the county seat of Millard County, on the 1st of December 1873. The birth of fourth daughter Estella Mathilda Ruby (Stella) on the 11th of March 1877 was also registered in Fillmore.

Why did Isaac and family settle in the Snake Valley?

“In Isaac’s wanderings over the desert he could see steam coming from somewhere farther North. He investigated and found a large stream of warm water. Vegetation was wonderful wherever that warm stream went, so he filed a homestead claim on a large portion of land.

Isaac also homesteaded about 160 acres of land in Garrison, Utah. I don’t know if he built the Heckethorn Store or not. The little settlement where his family settled was named Gandy after my Great Grandfather Gandy. The Gandy property was divided among his three daughters.”
As remembered by Pearl Heckethorn Johanson, told to her by Grandma Gandy, from “Pioneers of Snake Valley 1865 – 1935 As Remembered by their Descendants” by Boyd E Quate. Grandma Gandy was the family’s name for Harriet (Hattie).

Isaac Gandy landowner and rancher

Isaac and family in fact owned several different tracts of land during the years in Snake Valley. A detailed description will be found here Isaac’s Real Estate. Isaac also had a registered brand for his cattle and horses, G2 on right hip, registered June 12 1884. See Brands & Marks.

A closely knit family

The Gandy family did not move out of Snake Valley, even when their family situation changed, but did move around within the valley as we shall se later (link to Isaac’s Real Estate).  In the US census of 1880 we find Isaac, Hattie, Emma Jean, Maud and Stella registered at Snake Valley, White Pine, Nevada as “census place”. Eldest daughter Mary Ann (Molly) had already left home – she married Erastus E Heckethorn in 1880. Isaac’s occupation was given as farmer and he was of course a landowner, owning 40 acres of land on Silver Creek, Snake Valley and 40 acres together with someone called Nevens on Weaver Creek .

The family was still living in Snake Valley, White Pine, in 1896, when youngest daughter Stella aged 18 married Edwin H Lake there.

In the 1900 census Isaac aged 65 and Hattie aged 55 were recorded at the Smithville Precinct in the valley. They lived with their youngest daughter Stella, her husband Edwin Lake and their two young children. Their other two surviving daughters, Emma Jean and Mary Ann with families, were neighbours in Burbank Precinct, Garrison Village. All three sons-in-law were farmers on free-owned farms in the valley. In all a closely knit family.

Read more about Isaac’s and Harriet’s daughters here