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Posted on: October 5, 2020

Mayor's Message - October

Syracuse City Est 1935

The Salt Lake Meridian was established when a pioneer leader dropped the tip of his cane at the southeast corner of what we know today as Temple Square. That action defined the Salt Lake Meridian. All of Utah is mapped from the Salt Lake Meridian with the exception of a tiny area north of Roosevelt Utah which describes the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. 

Perhaps you share the delight I experience when I finally grasp something. Property ownership is simply plain geometry with the exception that the Y-axis is the Salt Lake Meridian and the X-axis a range of townships, each six-miles square running west to east. The township, T4N/R2W is simply a point 36 miles square at (-2,4) in a Cartesian Coordinate System. Syracuse is contained in that township. A township is further subdivided into 36 sections each a mile square. I draw our attention to Section 9.

The US Government ordered the survey of the Utah Territory in 1855. In 1862 the Homestead Act was passed by Congress, and early pioneers could claim land through that act by showing they had lived and maintained the land for five years. County records show that the US Government deeded portions of Section 9 to the Union Pacific Railroad in 1877 as compensation for track already laid. In 1878 UPRR sold the NW Quarter Section to Hyrum Stewart. In 1879 the founding-father of Layton City, Christopher Layton, purchased all 160 acres of that quarter-section. There exists a recognized gap in record holdings at the Davis County Recorder’s office at this point.

In 1885 James Henry Wilcox acquired the 160 acres that concern us. James Henry Wilcox was the first mayor of Farmington City. He deeded 5.5 acres to the Oregon Short Line Railroad, and 2 acres to the county, presumedly for what would become 2500 West in Syracuse. He was born in 1855 and died in 1938. James never lived in Syracuse. His son, Delbert, did. I knew him. He was born in 1881 and died in 1967. Delbert’s daughter, Helen Wilcox Briggs was born in 1914 and died in 2004. Her husband, Lawrence Briggs, was born in 1914 and died in 2003.

Like myself, Neal Briggs, is a boomer! He’s a farmer through and through. His son, Jacob, is an attorney/farmer. These two local farmers have welcomed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to once again point with a cane and define the right spot; they recently announced that a temple will be built on that site in the coming years. We’re so grateful to the Briggs family. We’re honored that you would allow a cane to point to your family farm and declare it right again!

Mayor Mike Gailey

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