Brigham Young sent skilled men to settle in different locations. A group was sent in the spring of 1853, down from the Iron County along the Black Ridge and then along the stream we now call Ash Creek.
About six families came and settled in 1858. When they arrived they found a group of Indians calling themselves the Paiute or Toquit or Toqurat Indians living along the creek and cultivating a small piece of ground. Chief Toquer lived there in a tent of leaves formed over a framework of cane and willows. The new settlers considered him an enlightened Indian, friendly and with clean habits. The name "Toquerville" was given to the new settlement, taken from the Indian word 'toquer', (pronounced toe-ker), meaning black. With the abundance of black rock on the hill to the East of the new town and in the fields surrounding the town, the name was appropriate. The first homes in Toquerville were made of logs filled in with mud. Ash Creek was just a small ditch one could step over, but the floods kept washing the dirt away and opened up new springs.
The first dozen families found the water so scarce they got discouraged and moved to Kanarra. As the water increased they took up land on the west side of the stream. At first cotton was discouraged as they could not exchange it for breadstuff. In 1859 there were 19 families at Toquerville, who were prospering remarkable well, and at this time were very busy putting in wheat and other crops, and making fences and other improvements. One of these improvements was the erection of their first meeting house. It was of Adobes, and about sixteen by twenty feet, and also used for school purposes. The town became known for its fruits and nuts and once had a thriving cotton gin. The busy village came to be likened to an oasis in the Arabian Desert, as the traveler emerged from the harsh desert to a cultivated island of green growing things. One fruit Toquerville became famous for was excellent figs, with people traveling from everywhere to buy the crop.
One story tells of a buyer coming for figs with nothing but his hat to carry them. When he asked the price for a hat full from the young woman selling them, she asked if fifty cents would be all right. From that incident came the standard Toquerville rate of fifty cents for a hat of figs. Black rock, Indian, and figs are just a few of the things that make this desert oasis unique. Look around and see the history still here in the Town Hall and many of the historic homes around town. Clippings from the Deseret News 1868 by Martin Slack - - Peace Dwells in the hearts of the people, everyone busy, no loafers, no office seekers, no gambling saloons, no drunkards in our town. We all mind our own business - - we are all helping to build Zion, the City of our God. The first sight of this thriving village gave the impression said to be experienced by the traveler who suddenly comes to an Oasis in an Arabian desert.
The Toquerville community values its historic and cultural heritage, family-oriented atmosphere, abundant open spaces, recreational opportunities, responsive government, and its healthy and happy atmosphere for all residents through all stages of life.
Toquerville is located about thirty miles south of Cedar City in a wide valley flanking Ash Creek and at the base of a mountain capped with black lava rock. Our Freeway exit 27 off of Interstate 15 is the Northern gateway to Zion National Park. With an elevation of 3,394 feet, it has a climate conducive to the growth of pomegranates, figs, peaches, and grapes. Pure, cold water pulses from springs a mile above town to furnish an ample supply of culinary and irrigation water. It is an oasis in the desert.
Toquerville was a special place then and still is today with its spectacular natural setting and man-made amenities. Toquerville is a great place to live or visit. The City is located about 30 miles south of Cedar City and less than 20 miles north of St. George in a wide valley flanking Ash Creek and at the base of a mountain capped with black lava rock at an elevation of 3,394 feet.
The area has good water available from springs about a mile above town. The water from the springs is used for culinary and irrigation and is one reason why Toquerville has long been known for its fruit, grapes, alfalfa, and other agricultural pursuits.
Ten miles to the northwest of town are the Pine Valley Mountains. State Highway 17 runs through the center of town. Over this road millions of tourists have passed on their way to Zion National Park, Grand Canyon, and Lake Powell. Toquerville is the gateway to eastern Washington County and adjacent to national parks and recreation areas.
Correct pronunciation: Toe-ker-ville
In early June 1854 eight members of the Southern Indian Mission, led by Rufus C. Allen, left Harmony to visit Toquer, chief of the Paiute Indian band on lower Ash Creek. Their primary objectives were to learn the natives' language and convert some of the tribe to Mormonism. In response to Toquer's friendly reception, the missionaries promised to return, live among the Indians, and teach them how to farm the white man's way.
Snowfall is usually limited to a nighttime accumulation of 2-3 inches, just enough for the children of town to scrape up enough for a snowman before school, and usually melted by noon. Spring and fall are glorious times of year with bright warm days and cool nights so typical of the dry desert. Due to it’s location, Toquerville is subject to strong winds, often out of the north in the winter. Rainfall is sparse, humidity extremely low, and conversations about the weather generally plentiful.