Roy residents can thank the need for water for a thriving population and strong community spirit 75 years after the city's official beginning.
The city will celebrate its 75th anniversary of incorporation today, but its roots go back much further than that.
The Hooper area was settled first, but William and Celestia Baker decided they wanted to move east in 1873, to the area that is now Roy.
Water was an issue for those early homesteaders. They found the land to be so sandy that when they did find water, the wells quickly filled with sand, so the settlers decided to dig a canal. Work began in about 1881 on a canal up Weber Canyon. The canal was completed June 7, 1883, and established a water supply for the growing community.
According to the book "Footprints of Roy," written by beloved resident and historian Emma Russell, by 1884 residents wanted their own post office and petitioned the federal government.
The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad was now running through the town, and several residents got together to help draft a letter to Washington, D.C., to get the ball rolling.
The Rev. David Peebles helped a great deal with getting the letter written and offering advice on how to make the post office a reality.
But to have a post office, the settlement had to have a name.
A few names were discussed, such as Sand Ridge and Lake View. Also on the list was the name Roy, in memory of Peebles' 2-year-old son who had died recently in Salt Lake City, but had never lived in the area.
Peebles submitted the list and asked postal officials to choose the name.
When the official acceptance came to the city, the name Roy had been selected. At the time, the city was the only one in the state to be named by the federal government.
Marge Becraft, who is on the Diamond Jubilee Committee, was put in charge of gathering historical facts and has been submitting them to the city's newsletter each month.
She said it would seem that water was again the sticking point when it came to incorporating as a city in 1937. Residents needed a culinary water system, and the town had to be incorporated to receive the necessary funding. The city was supposed to be officially incorporated on March 2, but that date was pushed back a week because of a disagreement about city boundaries.
Once the boundary dispute was settled, the town was incorporated on March 10, 1937. James Q. Davis was named temporary president to serve until the next municipal election, in which Joseph Jensen was elected as the first mayor.
Becraft said it has been interesting to learn through her research how fiscally responsible the city has always been.
"They have always had a pay-as-you-go attitude," she said, adding that she found this to be true during her recent years serving on the city council as well.
She especially loves a story about Charles Rapp, the city's second mayor, stopping the city council from spending $30,000 on sidewalks.
"He told them that they didn't have that kind of money and they couldn't do that," Becraft said with a laugh. "Roy has just always been a quiet community."
Because of her deep roots in the community, Becraft has much knowledge of the city's history, which she passes along through volunteering at the Roy Historical Museum and serving on the board. She said there aren't many left who remember a lot of the incorporation details, and she likes to share with those who like to listen.
Faye Field, 84, is a great- granddaughter of the second homesteaders in Roy, Henry and Sarah Field.
Field talks lovingly of the rich history she has in Roy. Henry and Sarah Field came from England, arriving in Hooper Flats in the winter of 1872.
They came to Utah, Field said, because they felt excluded from their community in England because of their Mormon faith.
Soon after their arrival in Utah, many of the family members contracted smallpox. Sarah, who was pregnant, was quarantined from the family until she gave birth to her son in early 1873. It was at that time the family moved east to Roy, where they built a one-room house. Faye Field still lives on the same property, though it's a smaller parcel now, that was homesteaded all those years ago.