Alek Tilby and his scout troop applied clear UV protective linseed oil into the aging logs and shingles of the DUP Pioneer Cabin. Alek’s project was “phase two” of the repair and preservation plan for the historical cabin and was completed April 28th.
Last fall, “phase one” had been completed by Porter Hales and his troop when they repaired and sealed the monuments, the cabin’s foundation, deteriorating bottom logs, interior, and landscape around the cabin to prevent further damage from ground and sprinkler water.
Alek brought his crew and used a power blower to tenderly remove dust and loose debris from the exterior of the cabin and the shingles. He was able to oil the entire roof without climbing directly on the shingles. The boys protected all aspects as they worked, spraying and brushing the oil into the wood grains. They had rags ready to wipe away excess, but the logs and shingles absorbed a surprising amount of the oil.
The boys who helped Alek are Cole Peterson, Kaleb Sargent, Spencer Brooks and Matthew Glover. Alek’s younger brothers who also helped are Derrick and Keaton Tilby. Members of the county’s six DUP camps cannot thank these young men enough for their service!
In 2016, Utah State Historical Architect Donald Hartley prescribed careful steps that Alek and Porter chose to undertake. Hartley appraised the cabin as “Structurally sound, one of the very best remaining cabins built in Utah before 1869.” He called it “Pristine,” and “deluxe housing” for the period. However, he noted significant deterioration and water damage in the bottom logs.
The cabin was built of good-sized, hand-hewn and mitered logs about 1857 in Peterson. Roswell Stevens lived in the cabin. He was a noble young father who played a role in the Mormon Battalion, came to Weber Valley with his wife and the Peterson and Thurston families, and helped with the Echo Canyon War. His daughter Martha, the late Mrs. Daniel Heiner, was the first white child born in the Weber Valley and so far as we know his son, Charles Russell, was the first white boy born here!
74 years after the cabin was built it was deeded to the DUP and moved to Morgan near the Rock Church. In 2007 it was moved again to its current location near the DUP Museum and County Court House.
The cabin is now 161 years old. Its stories continue to unfold as research brings new historical details to light. We would not have this treasure today without the help of people like Alek and Porter. According to Mr. Hartley, once the preservation steps were taken and with reasonable maintenance, the Pioneer Cabin can last for another century or more for new generations to enjoy.
1 Pioneer History Binds Us Together (2007, Morgan County DUP) page 192; A digital copy of this book is available online at https://cdm.weber.edu/ > Morgan Daughters of Utah Pioneers Collection, Book 19, page 210.