We returned to the park the next morning to check out the Visitors Center, Sunset Cemetery, and the Ruins.
The cemetery isn’t big, but it is all that remains of the Sunset Settlement. Sunset was settled by a group of Pioneers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). I hadn’t known anything about Sunset until we moved here, so we were interested to see what was there. On the walk over Cameron said, “Think we’ll see names we recognize?” I did, but I didn’t realize the connections I’d discover!
Buried in the cemetery is Joseph Ether Knight. I knew that Knight is a prominent name in LDS Church History, but I couldn’t remember exacts with Joseph Knight, so after we went home I looked it up and found some fun things I didn’t expect! Joseph Knight is part of the Knight family that helped Joseph Smith when the church was first organized. But even more interesting to me where the other connections I found.
Joseph Knight’s wife’s name stood out to me. Jane Lucinda Judd. I have Judd ancestors! Added to that was a diagram (I should have taken a picture) of the layout of the Sunset Settlement designating who the houses belonged to, but only by last name. There were two houses labeled “Judd”. I got looking things up today and discovered that my ancestor, Hyrum Jerome Judd (one of Jane Lucinda Judd’s brothers) lived there in Sunset. The two houses labeled “Judd” were for him and his two wives. It was there in Sunset that my Great-Great Grandmother was born!
I knew I had family pass through the area, but I didn’t realize I had more substantial ties to this place!
You can find more information about Sunset, especially the cemetery, through the park brochure here.
Darrow hit nap time right about then and he was done. We started making the walk back to the stroller (left half way down the trail) and the car to go see the rest of the Park (hoping in vain that he’d fall asleep along the way).
The view that day was really quite pretty. The grass is still green, there were yellow flowers around, and the view was really beautiful.
We skipped over Homolovi I (the first set of ruins) and went for the one with the paved path to make it easier with Darrow. Cameron and I really enjoyed the ruins. They’re quite large! We were impressed. Darrow was not.
Luckily the park is okay with you picking up rocks and looking as long as you don’t take them back home with you. We found that if we kept Darrow’s stroller tray loaded with rocks that he could drop along the path that he was a happy camper. You do what you gotta do!
We really enjoyed the park! It’s not covered in our America the Beautiful Pass, but it’s close enough and cheap enough that we can go back and check it out periodically and do the other trails.