Markers and Monuments Database



Isaac Behunin Pioneer

Plaque A: (Front) ISAAC BEHUNIN EARLY MORMON PIONEER In memory of Isaac Behunin Mormon Pioneer Early Utah Settler credited with naming of Zion Canyon Isaac Behunin was born Oct. 20, 1803 in Richland, New York to Albert and Nancy Lord Bohana (Bohannon). He was involved in the thrust westward, frontierism and the religious revival of early America. In addition to being a farmer, he helped build the Erie Canal as well as other canals during the "Canal Craze" of the 1800s. He married Meribah Morton in 1823 and joined the Mormon Church in 1833. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Kirtland, Ohio to join the main body of the church. Meribah died in Kirtland, leaving Isaac three small boys to raise; Philo, Isaac M. and William. He married Elmina Tyler in 1834, and over the following 19 years they had nine more children. He knew the Prophet Joseph Smith and at times served as one of his body guards. He helped build the Kirtland and Nauvoo Temples. In 1840 he was ordained an Elder and later a Seventy and High Priest. He served a short mission to Iowa. He and his family suffered the losses, hardships and persecutions of the "driving of the saints" through Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and Iowa from 1833 until 1850 when he migrated to Utah. Plaque A: (Front) Isaac Behunin Memorial Committee List of names Plaque C: (South side) ISAAC BEHUNIN GAVE ZION CANYON ITS NAME Isaac was one of the early settlers in the Upper Virgin River Area. He settled at Northrup at the forks of the Virgin River in December 1861 with two other settlers. They lived in close proximity to a large clan of friendly Perrusit Indians with whom they learned to converse. He and his family lived in their wagon and a made-shift shelter while it rained for more than a month. The Virgin River became a raging torrent and washed away much of the farmable soil. In January, after the flood, he moved further up Zion Creek Fork, built a home, farmed and was one of the frist settlers of Springdale. In the summer of 1863, he and his sons built a cabin, cleared some land and farmed in Zion Canyon near the present site of the lodge. They also maintained their home and farm in Springdale, where they spent the winter months. Isaac is credited with giving Zion Canyon its name, when in the presence of friends and the grandeur of the canyon, he said, "A man can worship God among these great cathedrals as well as he can in any man-made church; this is Zion." He was called "a fierce Mormon zealot" by the explorer, Clarence Dutton. In 1872 Isaac sold his farm in the canyon to William Heaps for 200 bushels of corn and moved to Long Valley. He died in May 1881 at age 78 and was buried in Mt. Carmel Cemetery. Plaque D: ISAAC BEHUNIN FIRST SETTLER OF EPHRAIM, UTAH Isaac and his family were sent to Provo within a few days after arriving in Salt Lake City in September 1850. His ten children were listed in the 1851 Utah Census as Philo, age 22; Isaac M., 18; William, 16; Andrew, 15; Alma, 13; Nancy, 10; Stephen, 7; Hyrum, 5; Elijah, 3; and Almina, 6 months. In 1852 Isaac moved to Sanpete County and was the first settler in Ephraim. He and his family lived alone on Pine Creek in a dugout during the winter of 1852. They farmed 40 acres of ground during the summer of 1853 and then were forced to Manti because of Indian trouble. Isaac and his sons served in the Sanpete Militia. They helped build "The Little Fort" and later, a larger fort in Ephriam. "Behunin's Ditch" ran kitty-corner through the little fort. Isaac and his sons also helped to build the small and the large fort in Manti. Isaac's son William was killed by Indians while serving a mission at Elk Mountain near Moab. His sons Isaac Morton, Stephen Mosiah and Elijah Cutler became well known early pioneers in Sanpete, Emery and Wayne Counties. Isaac lived in Sanpete County until 1861 when he was called to the "Cotton Mission in Southern Utah.

Site Information
Location: S Hwy. 89
MT. CARMEL
KANE County

Grounds of Mt. Carmel School/Church, center of Mt. Carmel

Marker Information
Placed By: Not Available
Date Placed: 10/2/1993
Materials: Permaloy
Organization Comments: Isaac Behunin Memorial Committe
Marker Condition: Excellent
Marker Description: Drawings in ovals, settlers, Zion, etc.

Monument Information
Description: Free-standing
Constructed By: Not Available
Organization Comments: Isaac Behunin Memorial Comm.
Materials: Concrete
Dimensions (top): 10.5' H
Dimensions (base): 8' Triangle
Condition: Excellent

Additional Information
Surveyor's Name: Beth W. Martin
Surveyor's Organization: DUP Kane County
Date Surveyed: 1995-06-11