It was a dark, gray afternoon when we arrived in Grafton. The wind was blowing fallen leaves across main street and an eery feeling filled the air. Children’s tree swings were still swinging in the breeze and the sound of an old gate hitting the lock made you feel like you were walking through the middle of a very sad drama that was unfolding.
Grafton was founded in 1862. The settlers began building their homes from the sandstone that filled the surrounding hills. They cultivated their fields and began dreaming of the new life they were building for themselves and their families.
It was fascinating to be able to walk through several of these buildings to see what their life was like back then. I took pictures through some of the windows if they were locked.
Then the year of 1866 arrived. With it came tragedy that most of us cannot fathom to this degree. 14 people in this small town died that year. Most died of diptheria, some of scarlett fever and one family lost both of their daughters to a tree swing accident. One family lost all 5 of their children to diptheria. I cannot imagine the overwhelming grief this family endured!
As we were leaving town, we passed by the cemetery and decided to look around.
We read many of the tombstones and one in particular that stood out was Robert & Mary Berry. They were both very young, in their 20’s and they were on their way home from town. They were ambushed by Paiute indians and killed as revenge for Paiute indians killed by a rancher in Kanab UT which is about an hour from Grafton.
This seemed to be more tragedy than one town could bear. Even though we were decades past the existence of this town, I felt an odd connection to these people and I could almost begin to feel and understand their struggle. I thought about this town for weeks after we visited.