The industries of the western states are especially dependent upon irrigation.  A man who was an officer and director and promoter in six irrigation companies during the period of construction, improvement and establishing of water rights deserves to be remembered and given credit for his efforts.  Such a man was James Heber Moulton, a pioneer of Heber in 1860.

            One of the first canals of the valley was the Spring Creek Ditch.  It had been leveled with a triangle and plumb bob, but it had very little fall and would not adequately water more that half the land that lay below it.  Moreover, it being so flat, it tended to fill up with moss tow or three times during the summer.  Some of the stockholders desired to remedy these defects, while others did not wish to go to the expense.  Another company was formed, naming themselves the Sage Brush Company.  The name was chosen because of the large amount of sage brush land lying west and south of Heber that could be brought under cultivation through the use of extra water that could be brought from Provo River by the construction of a ditch through the north field and connecting it with the Spring Creek Ditch.  James H. Moulton was an officer in both companies.  A railroad level was hired to level the ditch and it was found that by changing the ditch in a number of places, plenty of fall could be had to water the land under it.  Mr. Moulton, with William McMillian, were appointed to contact the stockholders for their approval.  Enough votes were secured so that the improvements were made to the satisfaction of all.

            The Wasatch Canal had been leveled by means of a carpenter’s level.  The canal, however, was never entirely satisfactory and frequently broke, flooding parts of Heber and causing damage.  Also, as more lands were brought under cultivation, it was not large enough to carry the necessary amount of water.  Branching off the canal at the grist mill and running south was a lateral that had received the name “Humbug”, because of its little fall and small amount of water it would carry.  Both parts of the canal were releveled with a railroad level, and the improvements were made.  Mr. Moulton was a director in the company and had supervision of the work.

            Later, as there was still a great amount of sagebrush land between Heber and Charleston, a new irrigation company known as the Extension Irrigation was formed.  The company filed on high waters of the Provo River and by contract with the Wasatch Canal floated the water through the canal and extended laterals from it.  Mr. Moulton was president of the company and had supervision of construction.

            In the March 17, 1905, issue of the Wasatch Wave are the following items:  “President of the Timpanogos Canal, Joseph Hatch; J.H. Moulton, vice president and superintendent of construction; Robert Duke, Elisha Cummings, form the board of trustees.  Joseph W. Musser will act as secretary.  Samuel Jones will continue to supervise the stone work.”  In the same issue of the Wave was this ad:  “Wanted 100 men and teams to work on Timpanogos Canal.  Apply at once to J. H. Moulton.”  Much of the canal had to be constructed though granite, necessitating the use of powder.  Over a mile of it was through sandstone.  It required two years more of real effort, but it had proved a success.  The more or less had been done over a period of years.  Mr. Moulton was reluctant to take up the work, as he had no land under the canal; but it was put up to him as a mission by the Wasatch Stake President William H. Smart.

            If one goes through the files of the Wasatch Wave, one will find such notes as these:  “Bids for water master for North Field.  Submit to J.H. Moulton, secretary.”  There also were notices each spring advising stockholders to make known any changes desired in their water tickets.  This applies to all the companies mentioned.

            When the culinary water system was installed in Heber, Mr. Moulton was asked late in November to supervise the digging of trenches and installation of pipes.  He stated that plenty of laborers were obtained.  Quite a number came from Midway.  Fortunately it was a very open winter, and before heavy frost came, fully half of the town had access to the water.

            On another project, Mr. Moulton had this to say:  “I was first counselor to Bishop Joseph A Rasband of Heber Second Ward, and we were in great need of a meeting house.  I was asked to superintend the building of it.  This was about as hard a task as I ever undertook.  Details of this work required all my time, very often from daylight to dark.  We were backed by an enthusiastic building committee.  When the building was completed it was a pleasure to look at, as it was as good a meeting house as any in Heber.”

            James Heber Moulton was born in Irchester, Northampton, England, on July 01, 1848, son of Thomas and Sarah Denton Moulton.  (A history of their family is with the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.)  Suffice it to say here that they were members of the ill-fated handcart company led by James G. Willie in 1856, had to have the fingers of his left hand amputated because of frostbite received on this trek.

            He was nearly 12 when the family moved to Heber, and, of course, experienced the pioneer life of a small community, attending the pioneer school and Church, mingling with the young folks in their games and sports, their dances and home dramatics.  Here, too, he learned to work, and did his part in standing guard, etc.

            On September 28, 1874, James H. Moulton Married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Euphemia Ann Carroll.  She was born June 09, 1856, in the Parish of Cumberland, County of York, New Brunswick, Canada, daughter of Patrick and Margaret Robinson Carroll.

            The family moved to Heber in 1861 and were neighbors of the Moultons.  Much of Heber’s success was due to the help of a loving and devoted wife.  They were the parents of 13 children:  Euphemia Lucretia, Sarah Margaret, James Heber, Emily Jane, Thomas Henry, Patrick Robinson, Lula Pearl, Edmond Roy, Robert Merrill, Rollin Carroll, Grant, Ida May and Cecil.

            Mr. Moulton was always active in civic and Church affairs, holding many important positions, such as stake tithing clerk, stake clerk, stake superintendent of Mutual Improvement Associations, and counselor to his bishop.

            After the death of his wife in 1914 he married Emily Jane Carroll Bentley, sister of his first wife, and in 1918 he moved to Salt Lake City, where he bought a home at 1234 Lyman Court.  He was a member of the LeGrand Ward.  He was an ordained worker in the Salt Lake Temple and continued in this work until his death, March 29, 1934.  His funeral was held in the stake house in Heber, and he was buried in Heber Cemetery.  President George F. Richards wrote:  “Brother Moulton was a genial, faithful laborer as an ordinance worker in the Salt Lake Temple, the House of the Lord.  But few men at his advanced age could do the work he did day after day.  His work never appeared drudgery for him, but he did his work with a light heart and a cheerful countenance.  Having finished his life’s work, the Lord graciously took him home, without the necessity of a long period of illness and suffering as some have to endure.”


(How Beautiful Upon The Mountains” by the Wasatch DUP pp.451-453)