The Melville Irrigation Company was established in 1907 in order to assist the Desert Irrigation Company in building the Yuba dam. The company was also in a position to take advantage of federal land grants to aid in developing western farm lands. Thus in 1908, the company joined in partnership with the Oasis Land and Irrigation Company, a Salt Lake City firm, in order to speculate in land development. This company aided in the building of the Hinckley Ditch, which would deliver water from the Sevier River Bridge Dam to the town of Burtner, later called Delta.
In order to deliver the water to this newly built canal, it necessitated the construction of a diversion dam. This diversion dam during the years 1909 and 1910 washed out twice and had to be rebuilt. Thus one of the earliest sets of documents in the collection are the records from the summer of 1909 reconstruction effort. These documents are primarily in the form of payroll records. Most of the laborers were stockholders of the Melville Irrigation Company. These records are found in box two of the collection.
Because of the failure of the diversion dams the Oasis Land and Irrigation Company went out of business in 1912 and was replaced by the Delta Land and Irrigation Company. This new company actually was comprised of the same officers as the Oasis company. The documents in the collection from 1913 to 1930 contain information about the activities of the Delta Land and Irrigation Company. Primarily however they document various court cases that the Melville company was involved with, as well as documenting different construction projects that occurred over the two decade period.
During the year 1916 a major problem occurred in the Delta area from irrigation water. This being that the water brought out alkaline in the soil and the farms began to fail. In answer to this problem there began an effort to drain the lands of the area. An outgrowth of this drainage work was the Millard County Drainage District #4.
This district operated under similar rules to a water conservancy district, and taxed land owners in order to pay for the tile drains.
The Melville Irrigation Company Papers chronicles water development on the Sevier River primarily in the Delta area of Millard County. The collection covers the years 1907-1930, focusing on three different time periods.
The significant topics covered in the collection are three.
First, are records from the companies beginning and its first four years of existence.
Second, are documents that examines the companies operation between the years 1913 through 1930.
The final set of documents pertain to the Millard County Drainage District #4. The last set of written records in the collection concern the workings of this drainage district during the 1920s. In addition the collection contains a large map of the drainage the drainage district, showing where the different drains are located in relation to landowners. This map is not dated, but was likely drawn in the 1920s. It appears to have had information added onto it over the years.
In addition to the documents the collection also contains a variety of maps and reports. Include here are two reports from Brice McBride, the water commissioner of the Sevier River and several construction blueprints from various projects.
Though the collection is far from a complete history of the Melville Irrigation Company or the Sevier River area, it does give a good overview of water development in the area during the first thirty years of this century. Three secondary sources and one primary source are housed at Special Collections that also shed light upon water development in the area. The primary source document is a volume from the Desert Irrigation Company. The volume found at Special Collections is a record of the board of directors form the company during the 1910s. Of the secondary sources the most compete history of the topic is the monograph by Dudley C. Crafts entitle History of the Sevier River Bridge. The book is primarily a compilation of the different court cases that occurred during the construction of this dam. Gertrude Baker has written a good contemporary account of life on a Delta area farm. The Bakers came to Delta in 1912 to buy a tract of land offered by the Delta Land and Irrigation Company and stayed for the next 25 years. Finally, William Jensen's 1972 master's thesis written at Utah State University describes three areas of land - irrigation speculation in Utah, one being the town of Delta.
Restrictions on Access :
No restrictions on use, except: not available through interlibrary loan.Restrictions on Use :
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.
Permission to publish material from the Melville Irrigation Company Papers must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.Preferred Citation :
Initial Citation: Melville Irrigation Company Papers, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library. Logan, Utah.
Following Citations:USU_COLL MSS 140, USUSCA.
Mostly arranged chronologically.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Contains maps and blueprints from various companies associated with the Sevier River Bridge Reservoir.