by Steve Mahnken
(South Lake Tahoe, Ca)
My Great grandfather Peter Mahnken came to Utah in 1860 and settled in Ophir, Utah, a rip roaring silver mining town south of Tooele.
There he met a man named Samuel Bithell, an LDS convert from Wales, who came to Utah in 1856. It is not completely clear whether Peter began blacksmithing in Ophir or if he started earlier along the way from Mo.
Sam had established an ore hauling and stagecoach business from Ophir to Stockton, Utah before Peter got there and had a livery business in Ophir as well. I think Peter went to work with Sam and that is where he began being a blacksmith.
Peter Mahnken was born in Coldcamp, Mo in 1841. At 18 he, his father and 2 brothers joined the Union army (Coldcamp Vol.) He was in one battle in which one of his brothers lost an arm. after his service time he moved west.
Steve Mahnken Oct. 2020
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