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 Milan Packard

Milan Packard

Parkman, Geauga County, Ohio, USA
Death 28 Aug 1911 (aged 80)
Springville, Utah County, Utah, USA
Burial Springville, Utah County, Utah, USA
Plot Blk. 49 Lot 3 Pos. 1
Memorial ID 62426 · View Source
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Milan Packard
1830 - 1911
Indians, Mines & Railroads

It seems as though Milan was born to be a pioneer. He excelled at it. Even though he received a very limited education and lived his life pioneering the West during very unsettled times, yet he was able to provide for himself and family a very comfortable living. His early adulthood was spent hauling freight in wagon trains all over the West, and he also helped to rescue the saints of the Willie handcart company. Over the years, he developed a keen sense of recognizing a good business opportunity, and many of the businesses he started were highly successful with a little hard work. His freighting, railroad building, lumber industry, mining, merchandising, banking and ranching, all helped to open the West and provide jobs for those who followed. He did have his share of trials, what with fighting unfriendly indians in three different wars, being robbed by Butch Cassidy, having business setbacks and neglecting the spiritual side of his life.

Milan Packard was born in Parkman, Geauga, Ohio, near the city of Cleveland on October 7, 1830. He was the son of Noah and Sophia Bundy Packard. He spent his early years in Parkman & Kirtland, Ohio, and his teenage years in Nauvoo, Illinois, and Hazel Green, Wisconsin. He was twenty years of age when he came to Utah with his parents and settled in Springville in the central part of that state.

In the spring of 1851 in connection with his father, Milan assisted in surveying and building the first dams on Hobble Creek that drew the first water from that stream to be used for agricultural purposes in Springville. In that same year he assisted in the surveying of the Springville City Cemetery.

In 1853, Milan Packard was called in the service of the Utah Militia. This company was called in active service to defend the settlers against hostile Indians. He saw his first active service in the Walker Indian War which broke out in Springville. The following year, 1854, he with a company of other men from Springville accompanied Colonel Conover to Goshen pursuing Chief Tintic and a band of Indians who had stolen a lot of stock from the settlers in the valley. The company encountered a blinding snow storm, then severe cold was endured in the Tintic Valley, but the company was victorious in the battle fought in the Goshen Valley. The stock was finally recovered at the expense of some of the mens frost bitten hands and feet. Milan Packard participated in all of the Indian wars of Utah. This included the Walker War, the Tintic War, and the Black Hawk War. He was also a scout at the approach of Johnston's Army in 1857. He had many thrilling escapes and adventures during these times.

In 1856 at the age of 26, Milan married Margaret Jane Haymond who was 15 at the time and 11 years younger. Milan built a comfortable home on his farm in which they lived. Together they had 10 children between 1858 and 1884; Sarah Delilah, Milan Owen, Martha Amelia, Noah Lavell, Jacob Asa, Chillian Fay, Alpheous Oresta, William Melvin, Ray and Preal.

Upon the cessation of hostilities with the Indians Milan became interested in freighting and continued in that work until 1868. He traveled all over the western country. He made seven trips from Salt Lake City to the Missouri River and back. He made seven trips from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles and back. He made fifteen trips to Helena and Virginia City, Montana, hauling supplies to those points. He also freighted into Nevada. At one time he unloaded a wagon train of flour for Walker Brothers of Salt Lake City in the mining town of Austin, Nevada, which sold at fifty dollars a sack. He had at this time a large freighting outfit. It consisted of several heavy freight wagons, each drawn by six horses or mules. With this outfit he did much contract work in freighting.

Milan tells of an incident that happened when he was with others who had volunteered to take wagon trains out to rescue some emigrant handcart companies who were stranded about six hundred miles east of Salt Lake City. This was in late October, 1856. At this time in history many of the converts to the LDS Church from back east, and especially Europe, were too poor to acquire a wagon and teams. Consequently many of these saints crossed the plains from the Missouri River to Salt Lake City with handcarts in large companies.

These particular emigrants were stranded on the Platte River. The weather was extremely cold and the snow deep. The Willie handcart company had almost exhausted their supply of provisions and were reduced to small rations. They were waiting for relief from Utah, and previous to the arrival of this rescue party had suffered untold hardships. Many died from hunger and cold. The rescuing party also suffered from the extreme cold. They were obliged to keep their animals from freezing by lighting fires at night in the encirclement of their wagons. Milan told how some of this rescue party did suffer from frozen hands or feet before they met the emigrants, and then the wagon train escorted them into Salt Lake City.

In 1866 he built one of the largest and best homes in Springville on First South and First West for his family, and in which they lived for many years.

In 1868 he began doing construction work for the various railroads. He worked for the Central Pacific, Southern Pacific, and Union Pacific lines. He assisted in the work at Promontory Point, Utah, which completed our first trans-continental railroad, and he was present at the driving of the last spike.

In 1873, he saw the value that a steam saw mill would be to our community. So associated with L. S. Wood and William Bringhurst, he established the first steam saw mill in Hobble Creek Canyon. This became a very profitable enterprise because of the opening of mining in the Eureka District. He used his freighting outfits to haul lumber from this mill to the miners of Tintic and Eureka where he established a lumber industry during the early seventies.

Mr. Packard became interested in mining and continued to identify himself with that industry for some time. He was manager of the Star Consolidated Mining Company's mine in Tintic. This mine was one of the best producers in the state for several years and considered a valuable property. The home office was in Springville. He also became interested in a number of lesser mines in the Sevier District and at Marysvale. He was also interested in the Butte, Montana District, when those mines were opened up.

At this same time in history, there was another Packard miner from Johnstown, Fulton, NY, named John Querius Wynkoop Packard, the son of Joseph Packard and Sally (Sarah) Wynkoop. He had moved to this area of Utah and was one of the main promoters of the Eureka District mines. He never married, but became very wealthy at mining and donated a library building to Salt Lake City as well as to Marysvale.

In 1873, Milan and his brother Nephi, built a small store on First South and Main Street. The store was well stocked with general merchandise and was a great success. As time passed, larger quantities were needed so a larger building was erected on the southeast corner of First North and Main. This store was also a successful enterprise, and at the time it was considered one of the largest mercantile establishments in Utah County. The store was divided up into various departments such as; groceries, dry goods, shoes, implements, etc. Through this store one could also buy carpets, hardware, and furniture. The success of this store was undoubtedly due to the aggressive management of Mr. Packard and his inherent sense of business values.

Mr. Packard constantly grasped opportunities not only to increase his own wealth, but to build up his community and state. In 1875 he organized with Martin P. Crandall a company to bring out the newly discovered coal in Pleasant Valley. Many of these mines were owned by Milan. On September 7, 1876, he began the construction of a narrow gage railway to this region. After completing the railroad bed as far as Spanish Fork Canyon, he negotiated for the discarded rails and rolling stock of the American Fork Railroad Company. He became the president and general manager of the Pleasant Valley Railroad, which was the first railroad to go through Springville. The road was practically built by Springville men who received a large part of their pay in goods from the Packard Store. Calico was the standard cotton material used for clothing at the time, consequently many workers took calico as pay, so the railroad was christened the "Calico Railroad." This narrow gauge railroad was used until 1883 when a lack of capital eventually forced Mr. Packard very reluctantly to sell the Pleasant Valley Railroad to the Denver and Rio Grande Railway.

Interestingly, many of the descendants of the key people who helped to build this railroad later became highway engineers and contractors and did work building highways and freeways all over the western United States. At one time there were four major highway construction companies all based out of tiny Springville, Utah.

During the outlaw period of the late 1890s, many of the Robber's Roost outlaws, such as Butch Cassidy, Elsa Lay and others, made Huntington, Utah one of their main "hangouts." They pretended to be cowboys looking for saddle horses and often attended sporting events on the Square and dances in the Social Hall. On April 21, 1897, they robbed Milan's Pleasant Valley Mine payroll of $8,800. at Castle Gate and escaped to the San Rafael country. I do not yet know if it was actually Milan himself that got robbed, and if Butch Cassidy himself actually did the robbing. Some sources say that was the case. Later that same year Milan ended up selling these mines, and for what reason I do not know. Three years later on May 1, 1900, the Scofield mine in this same area was the site of one of the nations worst mine disasters when 202 men lost their lives in a mine fire ignited by coal dust.

Mr. Packard was also the main promoter in establishing the Springville Commercial and Savings Bank in 1891. He became its director until his death. Today this banking chain has grown to cover all of Utah Valley and is known as Central Bank & Trust. It is still operated by some of his descendants.

With his sons Milan Owen, Chillian and Jacob, he became involved in farming and sheep raising, and his sons ran these business ventures while he tended to other business matters.

He devoted all his activity to the development and building up of the native resources of his adopted city and state. Throughout his long career he was noted for his integrity and honesty. He is remembered for his charity and many acts of kindness to those less fortunate than himself. He was a man of high honor and through his ambition and ability and good management, he became one of the wealthy men of our vicinity.

On account of the pioneer conditions and unsettled relations, he received but the rudiments of an education. But through his practical business experience, and close observation and knowledge of men and affairs, he became a prominent part of this community. He attributed his success to the thrift and encouragement of his wife Margaret.

Much credit is due Milan Packard for the prominent and valuable part he has played in the building of this community and state. He inspired the confidence and respect of all with whom he came in contact. He passed away at his home August 28, 1911, at the age of 80 surrounded by his family. He is buried in the Springville City Cemetery, which he helped survey with his father when they first arrived.

This is a short compilation and reconstruction of various biographies, notes and footnotes of my great grandfather Milan Packard,
written by Richard G. Packard, Mesa, Arizona.

-Milan Packard Biography, by Ellen M. Child, Springville Public Library
-Heart Throbs of the West, by Hannah M. Mendenhall,
taken from Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 10, page 164.
-Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 7, pages 104-106.
-Lamont Johnson, taken from, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 8, page 472.
-Genealogy, family group sheets, by Bliss R. Packard. (Last updated Feb 9,1999)




  • Maintained by: K Haymond
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 62426
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Milan Packard (7 Oct 1830–28 Aug 1911), Find A Grave Memorial no. 62426, citing Historic Springville Cemetery, Springville, Utah County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by K Haymond (contributor 46847827) .