Gave Zion Canyon Its Name
Isaac was one of the early settlers in the upper Virgin River Area. He settled
at Northrup at the forks of the Virgin River in December 1861 with two
other settlers. They lived in close proximity to a large clan of friendly Perrusit
Indians with whom they learned to converse. He and his family lived in their
wagon and a make-shift shelter while it rained for more than a month. The
Virgin River became a raging torrent and washed away much of the farmable
soil. In January, after the flood, he moved farther up Zion Creek Fork, built a
home, farmed and was one of the first settlers of Springdale. In the summer of
1863, he and his sons built a cabin, cleared some land and farmed in Zion
Canyon near the present site of the lodge. They also maintained their home and farm in Springdale, where they spent the winter months. Isaac is credited
with giving Zion Canyon its name, when in the presence of his friends and the
grandeur of of the canyon, he said, "A man can worship God among these great
cathedrals as well as he can in any man-made church; this is Zion." He was
called "a fierce Mormon Zealot" by the explorer Clarence Dutton. In 1872 Isaac
sold his farm in the canyon to William Heaps for 200 bushels of corn and
moved to Long Valley. He died in May 1881 at age 78 and was buried in Mt.
Elmina Tyler Behunin
Elmina Tyler married Isaac Behunin October 1, 1804, at the age of 23; he was 31
years of age. The third of eleven children, Elmina was born to Andrew and
Elizabeth Cummins Tyler on April 23, 1811, in Soponias, Cuyuga, New York. She
was the sixth generation of Tylers in America, and her progenitors were among
the first immigrants from England.
Elmina was the first of the Tyler family to join The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints (Mormons). In the winter of 1833, she was baptized in Lake
Erie through three feet of ice.
In addition to rearing the three children from Isaac's first marriage, Elmina gave
birth to nine children of her own: Andrew, Alma, Polly, Nancy, Meribah, Steven
Mosiah, Hyrum, Elijah Cutler, Almina, and Benjamin. Polly and Benjamin died
in infancy. She taught her children to read, write, and understand the scriptures.
Reports indicate that Isaac would say in the evenings, "Mother, read that
scripture to us again." Other accounts state that she sometimes taught school.
Elmina, a hearty pioneer woman with stron religious convictions, endured the
hardships of the "driving of the Saints" from Ohio to Utah. During the 46 years
of her married life, she moved and setup households at least a dozen times in
frontier communities under very adverse conditions. She died September 29,
1883, at age 72 and was buried in Ferron, Utah.