Agency History #201


The first settlers came to Circle Valley from Sanpete County in 1864. Brigham Young had called for settlers to establish homes in this south central Utah community, and forty families settled there within the first year. The early community did not thrive, however, because settlers were threatened by the Black Hawk War. Fearing they were about to be ambushed, Circleville settlers massacred 15 or 16 Indians who were encamped near their community in the spring of 1866. Later that year Circleville pioneers completely abandoned the settlement. A few settlers began to trickle back into the area in 1873. Circleville became an incorporated community on 24 August 1921. Local residents were interested in facilitating the public services which municipal government provides, and they were particularly interested in building a culinary water system.


Utah municipal governments perform numerous functions, including the maintaining of law and order, guarding public health and sanitation, managing public services and promoting community development. The Circleville municipal government has focused much energy on building and maintaining a municipal water system. The Circleville town council has been responsible for maintaining city streets, installing culverts, building bridges, and for maintaining a cemetery and an irrigation system. Circleville installed street lights in the 1930s. The town council organized a volunteer fire department in the 1940s and also built a fire house and a town hall. The council has been responsible for managing animals, especially dogs, within city limits, and has provided oversight for the operation of a pool hall. Over the years the Circleville town council selected and managed several town dump sites. In 1993 Circleville contracted with Garfield County for trash pick up. In spite of ongoing efforts to update and improve the culinary water system, Circleville water has been repeatedly cited by the State Board of Health for not meeting purification standards. In addition to maintaining, repairing, and rebuilding the water system, the town council has shouldered the ongoing responsibility of patrolling water usage in the face of insufficient supply.

The Circleville town council has made an extended effort to support military service men and to remember Circleville veterans. The council sponsors July 4th celebrations and Christmas parties. In 1967 the town council began renting an old gymnasium for the operation of a sewing factory. While the sewing factory provided employment for some residents, it created an additional responsibility for the town council to maintain the building and collect unpaid rent.


A town council president (or mayor) and four trustees provide leadership for Circleville. These officers are elected by general municipal election for two year terms. The town council president is the chief executive officer. He presides over town council meetings and supervises all other municipal officers. He signs resolutions, ordinances, and official contracts on behalf of the city. The town council functions as a legislative governing body, and is responsible for all aspects of community management, including appointing officials and setting their salaries, levying taxes, establishing a budget, maintaining public services and utilities, and regulating activity within the community.


As established by the original Circleville code, a number of appointed community officers aid in carrying out municipal functions. A town treasurer receives taxes and acts as custodian of all community funds. A town clerk attends council meetings, keeps a record of proceedings, records ordinances and resolutions and countersigns all official documents. The town council appoints an attorney to provide legal advice and to draft all contracts, bonds, and other legal instruments and also appoints a justice of the peace to judge and enforce town ordinances. Originally the town council appointed a pound keeper, a superintendent of streets, a water supervisor, and a marshal to act as "ex-officio chief of police and ex-officio jailer." In practice one person filled all of these roles. The original board of health consisted of a quarantine officer, a president, and one other competent person, and was charged with responsibility for enforcing the quarantine of persons with communicable diseases and with enforcing regulations on cleanliness and sanitation. The town council later determined that the marshal should be a member of the board of health. Shortly after incorporation (1927) the council appointed a sexton to manage the cemetery. It appointed a fire chief when a volunteer fire department was organized in the 1940s. In 1953 the council appointed a commission to assume the previous diverse responsibilities of the town marshal. A four-member commission included persons in charge of the town water works, the cemetery, streets and sidewalks, and city planning and zoning.

E.F. Chamberlain 1921
Thomas W. Smith 1922
D.L. Fulmer 1922-1923
Charles R. Dalton 1924-1933
John P. Westwood 1934-1935
Douglas Q. Cannon 1936-1945
Glen Betenson 1945-1949
Harold Gottfredson 1950-1965
Glen Betenson 1965-1966
Edna Cannon 1967-1968
Glen Betenson 1969
Scott B. Smith 1970-1972
Glen Betenson 1973
Donald Whittaker 1974-1977
Clyde Whittaker 1978-1981
Arthur Dalton 1982-1985
Beverly Cannon 1986-1993
Afton Morgan 1994-1997
Richard W. Blackwell 1998-

COMPILED BY: Rosemary Cundiff , February 2002


Bennett, Cindy Larson. Dots on the Map: A Traveler's History of All the Towns in Utah, (unpublished) Cindy Larson, 1163 Lake Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84105.

Circleville (Utah). Ordinances, Utah State Archives, (Series 23926).Circleville (Utah). Council minutes, Utah State Archives, (Series 23925).

Newell, Linda King, A History of Piute County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society; Piute County Commission, 1999.

Page Last Updated July 2, 2003.