Harrisburg became a favorite stopping place for wagon trains bound for California,and the fame of its vineyards and orchard was carried west by them. The town’s population peaked in 1869. That year a plague of grasshoppers and range-fires destroyed its crops.
By the 1880s people of the town had sold their water rights to the town of Silver Reef for the mines. By 1890 Harrisburg had only 14 residents. Many folklore stories record of ghost appearances during the early 1900s.
Between Harrisburg and St. George were Morristown and Middleton. Morristown is the area known as the Washington Fields. This community like the delicate Sego Lily,bloomed only briefly.
Middleton’s most exciting day came in 1878. Ben Pollack had been warned that a band of “notorious horse thieves”were going steal livestock. Pollack,with Sheriff A. P. Hardy and two deputies,was hidden near his corral that night in September when three men approached in the darkness.
Sheriff Hardy yelled “Throw up your hands!” Gunfire erupted,and when the shooting was over,two rustlers lay on the ground seriously wounded.
Eventually,two of the outlaws were turned over to Pioche Nevada law-men,for Nevada had first warrants for their arrest.
The transfer of prisoners was to happen on the foothills of Pine Valley Mountain. Sheriff Hardy turned over the two horse thieves and watched them ride away. Within a short time Sheriff Hardy heard gunfire and rode to the scene. The bodies of both men were found by the side of the trail which led in the direction of Pioche,still wearing leg-irons and shot through the head. The two Pioche law-men were never seen again. It wasn’t healthy to be a horse thief in Dixie.