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Emery County Historical Society


Montell Seely explains his family's part in the movie Utah's Blackhawk Wars.

An enjoyable evening of a movie, popcorn and treats was the theme of the meeting of the Emery County Historical Society enjoyed by members and guests. As people came into the Museum of the San Rafael, they were greeted by vice president Joyce Staley with a bag of popcorn. After the welcome, the prayer and the pledge to the flag, President Mike Williams turned the microphone over to Montell Seely to introduce the 60 minute historical documentary movie "Utah's Blackhawk War." The movie was filmed and produced by KBYU, the Sanpete County Historical Council and the Manti-LaSal National Forest, and released in 1998.

Seely explained that he and part of his family were some of the actors. Part of the filming was done on his river bottom property west of Castle Dale. In one portion, Seely was the team driver. His son, Mark was one of the driver's helpers. His wife, Kathryn played the part of Dr. Snow who delivered a baby representing former Gov. Mike Leavitt's grandfather's birth in a wagon on a trail. The mother of the baby was played by the Seely's daughter Janell, who held the baby boy of Misty and Kyle Farley. Part of the scene the audience would be seeing was a runaway team that was filmed up on the Castle Valley Pageant road. Seely explained that the team consisted of two saddle horses owned by Ken Christiansen of Emery that had to be trained to run away and then stop on command so that they didn't go too far and no one was hurt. When asked how long that had taken him he replied matter of factly, "Oh, about an hour." Many in the audience were saying, "Easy for you to do" and "You have got to be kidding."

Many in the audience including Pres. Williams said that they had ancestors in the Blackhawk War and living at that time in Sanpete County who had told them stories of those times and happenings of over 100 years ago. Sylvia Nelson's Navajo friend from Fairview, Fred Walters, played Chief Sanpitch, and a few other parts and one of his sons was Chief Blackhawk, and another son was part of a raiding party.

These explanations helped to make the movie even more enjoyable as the names of the ancestors came up on the screen and the familiar faces were recognized by the audience. It was truly an action movie.

The well attended evening ended with questions, refreshments, conversations and smiles. The is looking forward to a trek soon, meetings with members of the Old Spanish Trail Association and the Annual Cowboy Poetry. Dues are still only $5. For more information call Mike (286-2241) or Joyce (748-5165).

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