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A Sheep Rancher and its Owner

Mrs. Elizabeth Bonnemort is without doubt one of the most remarkable women of the inter-mountain country. She is a native of Glasgow, Scotland, and came from the land of "Bobby" Burns direct to Utah in 1861. She made the journey alone, but here joined her father, who had preceded her to America.

In 1868 she married James Ferguson, then a telegraph operator in the employ of the Government, and stationed at Camp Floyd in Cedar Valley, Utah County, about forty-five miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Soon after the young husband and wife took up a homestead in the beautiful and fertile Deep Creek Valley, near Ibapah, not far from the Nevada State line, and there established a home. Remote as the region now is from centers of population and from communication by rail, it is not nearly so much so as it was then. Strong indeed must have been the nature and resolute the character of the young woman thus transplanted from a populous city of the Old World to this oasis in the vast reaches of desert and mountain in the interior basin of the North American continent, not to have quailed at the isolation as well as at the want of the comforts, conveniences and privileges necessarily absent in a new community having a population so few in numbers and so widely scattered. But there was no faltering. They had each other and their small circle of friends, they felt that their worldly affairs were on the road to prosperity, and as time went by the comfortable home was brightened by the advent of four little daughters. Thus their affairs ran on smoothly and happily until interrupted by the death of the husband and father in 1881.

For some years before Mr. Ferguson's death he had been engaged in the sheep business, and following that sad event the widow continued the business with success under her own direction for three years, when she married Edgar Bonnemort, also engaged in the sheep business. Some four years later the property on Brigham Street, Salt Lake City, on which the handsome Bonnemort home now stands, was purchased and from that time the family resided in Salt Lake most of the time.

A Typical Sheep Ranch House

From time to time land adjoining the original homestead in Deep Creek Valley was acquired, until the ranch now consists of 800 acres, well improved and well stocked, with an ample supply of water for irrigation taken from Deep Creek and an abundant supply for domestic and stock purposes from flowing wells. In addition to the grazing and other varied products of the ranch, about 400 tons of hay are cut annually. This is fed mostly to cattle, large numbers of which, together with many horses, are kept. Most important, however, are the many thousands of sheep which in the winter range in the valley and the adjacent low hills and plains, and in summer are taken to the summer ranges in the hills and mountains of northern Utah and southern Idaho. This branch of the business has been especially successful and profitable.

Mr. Bonnemort died in 1899. An ordinary woman, situated as Mrs. Bonne-mort then found herself, and possessed of her abundant financial resources, would have sold the flocks and the ranch and devoted her life to the enjoyment of a well-earned rest and a well-deserved respite from business cares. But Mrs. Bonnemort is not an ordinary woman. She sold neither the flocks nor the land, but has continued through the ten years of her second widowhood to increase the one and improve the other. She oversees personally the large volume of business this entails, and that she has been continuously successful proves the possession of rare business ability. She makes occasional trips to the ranch and the ranges, and keeps constantly in touch with every phase of the extensive business.

Cozy Nook in Bonnemort Ranch House

Nor is her business activity maintained at the sacrifice of the social side of life. Her beautiful home at Brigham and Eighth East Streets is the center of a social life and hospitality as remarkable for its breadth as for its tasteful and elegant simplicity. What she quietly and without ostentation dispenses each year in charity would be considered by the average man a snug annual salary. Her four daughters are married, their names and residences being as follows: Mrs. Ira Hillman, Mammoth, Utah; Mrs. N. A. Dunyon, Salt Lake City; Mrs. R. V. Chamberlain, Provo, Utah; Mrs. F. L. Albritton, Kalispell, Montana.



Source: Sketches of the Inter-Mountain States, Utah, Idaho and Nevada, Published by The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1909 



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