Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Lyman Wight settlements in Texas

Pedernales River near the Lyman Wight settlement

(by Kenneth Mays 10-25-16)

After laboring at the Wisconsin logging sites near the Black River, Lyman Wight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles led a group of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Texas. They were seeking viable sites where the Latter-day Saints could establish a place to settle.

Following a long overland journey, they stopped in Austin. The group moved to the Texas Hill Country at a site on the Pedernales River near Fredericksburg, Gillespie County, the following year. They named the new settlement Zodiac. Among other things, they built a much needed mill on the river. Although some of the social practices of the Wight group were strange to the German settlers of Fredericksburg, they welcomed the practical advantages of ground meal and sawn lumber. The economic benefits of the mill helped maintain a positive relationship between the two groups.

Farms flourished and it was observed by some that the common-stock economy controlled by Wight had a number of successful business enterprises. These circumstances later changed and, along with disease, massive storms and flooding, caused the community’s downfall.

In 1851, the Wight group moved northeast to Burnet County. Ultimately, Wight's determination to stay in Texas rather than join the rest of the LDS Church in Utah led to his being dropped from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and cut off from the LDS Church.

Little historical evidence from the Wight settlements remains today.


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