Duncan’s Retreat, Utah
Duncan’s Retreat Utah
The final remains of Duncan’s Retreat are visible along the Utah highway 9 between Virgin and Rockville, Utah. Very little remains today – an old gravesite, signs of an old irrigation ditch, a section of a rock wall. Like the town of Grafton upriver, Duncan’s Retreat was another victim of the unpredictable, flooding Virgin River.
Like the town of Grafton upriver, Duncan’s Retreat was another victim of the unpredictable, flooding Virgin River.
Duncan’s Retreat was first settled by Chapman Duncan, Alma Minnerly and a few others in late 1861. The flood in January 1862 washed away nearly all of the land that they hoped to farm. These first settlers moved away and sold their claims to William Theobald, Joseph Wright, William Wright, Clayborne Elder, Jonathon B. Pratt, Robert W. Reeve, and Thomas Burgess.
Up to a dozen families settled there and began farming raising corn, wheat, sorghum cane, and cotton. A post office was established in 1863 and a schoolhouse was built the following year. Indian troubles and a flooding Virgin River which constantly changed courses and washed away most of the cultivated land soon had most of the settlers moving downstream to Virgin City and going to their farms upriver each day. Later after a period of reoccupation and many years of trying to keep a dam in and their farms from washing away the Virgin River finally won the battle, forcing the settlers from their homes and farms and Duncan’s Retreat was virtually a ghost town by 1892.