July 2018 History Question of the Month

July 2018 History Question of the Month
Posted on 07/03/2018

Question:

What Butler resident, when chided by family and friends for settling on a gravelly arid piece of property located in Butler, gave this prophetic reply?  “You just wait and see, this country is going to blossom like a rose.”

Answer:

Charles Robert Wootton was born July 4, 1847, in Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, England. He emigrated to Utah in the late 1860s and worked as a farmhand, logger and miner after trying to homestead parcels in Cache and Milford counties before settling in the Salt Lake Valley. In December of 1878, he married Esther Ballard and their first son, William C. Wootton, was born in November of the following year.  In April 1880, they moved to a piece of property located on the top of Butler Hill on the north side of today’s Fort Union Boulevard (between about 2700 and 2900 East). He built a house for his family and began clearing the gravelly soil of boulders so he could plant crops.  In the winter of 1881-82, he worked building the Deseret News’ Cottonwood Mill.  As part payment for his work, he received a team of mules.

Wootton turned his gravelly land into a place of beauty. In the mid-1890s, he built a large new home that became the showplace of the community. He was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was active in civic affairs.  He served as a trustee for the school district and several terms as road commissioner. He served as a convention representative for the People’s Party and was elected Poundkeeper of the Butlerville Estray Pound in 1887. The Estray Pound was a place where stray livestock was brought to find the owner or to auction the animal when no owner claimed it. When the Brown and Sanford Irrigation Co. incorporated in 1900, he was one of the directors and served in that capacity for many years.