Dominguez and Escalante were the first Europeans to observe the Pahvant
Utes and Southern Paiute Indians who inhabited much of the western part of
present-day Utah. As their party approaced the Sevier Lake region, they
encountered Indians with full beards whom Escalante described: "In their
features they more resemble the Spaniards than they do all the other Indians
known in America up to now..." The Indians so impressed the explorers
that a sketch of the bearded Indians of the Sevier Lake region was included in
the center of a map prepared by the expedition's cartographer, Don Bernardo
Miera y Pacheco.
When Mormon pioneers first encountered the Paiute Indians, who occupied
the pastures, sagebrush hillsides, alkali flats and marshlands of Milford
Valley, they found them divided into two bands—the Toy-ebes, and the
Pah-moki-ats. The Toy-ebes, which means "tall grass," inhabited the country
along teh Beaver River from the present site of Milford north to the volcanic
ridges of Black Rock. They harvested the seed of a variety of grass which
grew as high as a man's head and was found in abundance along this stretch
of the Beaver River. The second band, the Pah-moki-ats, was confined to the
area south of Milford, with its headquarters near present-day Minersville.
Other Paiute bands who occupied nearby lands were the Tu-roon-quints and
the Qui-imp-ats, located in the eastern part of Beaver County. Another band
inhabited an area in the western part of the county at Indian Peaks known as
"Mo-yo-ab Guich-u-ant" which means spirit hills or spirit land.
The Indians' homes, called kanees, were made by stacking brush or other
branches to make a hollow mount-like dwelling. During the winter season the
kanees were covered with rabbit skins for protection against the cold. The
Paiutes excelled in basket making. Their baskets demonstrated fine
workmanship in conformity, design, and durability.