Collections - Smith Fork

History of the Community of Smith Fork

Early residents of the Smith Fork Valley were Rueben Manley Button and his wife, Emma Utter Button.  They were the parents of three sons and all of the family were born in New York.  Rueben Manley Button was born in Harmony, Chattaqua, New York, the 23rd of January, 1830, the son of Benjamin Button and Harriet (Button) Button.  His wife, Emma Utter, was born in New York on the 18th of January, 1841, but her parentage is unknown.

Their three sons were also born in Chattaqua, New York in a town called Busti.  James Glen was born the 4th of April, 1868; Platt was born the 24 January 1872 and Guy U. was born on the 14th of February, 1877.

During the period 1885 to 1890, the family moved west and came to the Smith's Fork Valley and farmed land on the area now known as the "Button Flat".  There are still markings of the spot where the homestead most likely was, as there are broken pieces of pottery, bones, nails and other small memorabilia consistent with areas where people have lived.  Also, there are rocks that obviously were used as a foundation for a log home.  Also, a ditch that is used to irrigate a parcel of land and surrounding areas is called the Button Flat Ditch.

The father and the boys moved to Hanna, Carbon County, Wyoming after the the death of the mother. 
Two of the boys, James Glen and Guy U. were married to two sisters from that town.  They were Mary Elizabeth Brown and Sarah Alice Brown.  James Glen married Mary Elizabeth on the 20th of May, 1903 and Guy married Sarah on August 22nd in 1902.

Five years after the marriage of Guy and Sarah, he became interested in Geological Studies and while spending some time in college, he and a friend returned to Cokeville to study and look at a coal mine on Coal Creek, a tributary of the Smith's Fork River.  While going down into the underground mine, Guy Button and his friend wre overcome by a poisonous gas and died in the mine.  The Larsen brothers, who were neighbors were able to pull their bodies out of the mine by using a sheep hook. 

Smith Fork Cemetery History

Location:  From US Hwy 89, turn east on County Road 232.  Travel 14.6 miles on paved road then an additional 1.7 miles on gravel road.  Burial site on west side of road.  (GPS: 42.5541N 110.86752W)

How Obtained:

On the 6th of November 1893, the mother, Emma Utter Button died.  From information received from the Larsen familly and other close neighbors, she died of Dropsy, which was caused from a heart condition.  Emma was buried on the hillside bordering the Smith Fork road and her grave is marked with a hand carved rock with her date of birth and her date of death chiseled into the rock.  The gravesite is still in fairly good condition and is bordered by a metal church fence.

Guy was buried in the Smith's Fork grave plot beside his mother.