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The region now included within the Lytle Ranch Preserve was originally settled by pioneer Dudley Leavitt sometime during the 1870's. Dudley's daughter, Hannah Louisa, married Thomas Sirls Terry as his third polygamous wife and moved to the Beaver Dam site of her father's property in 1889. Hannah and her six children were secure at this remote location from federal authorities, who were actively prosecuting those engaged in cohabitation.

In addition to raising hay and cattle, Hannah and her children planted fruit trees and other crops. Today near Hannah Terry's meager homestead is a grove of persimmon trees that offer shade to the person who hikes upstream from the present visitors' area. Hannah raised her family at the cabin site, and left the wash in 1912. Her sons Ed and Jed Terry continued to farm downstream from the original home site.

In 1928, a portion of the Terry property was purchased by John Eardley, whose wife and six children cleared the fields and built a ranch house, resevoir, fences, and ditches. They raised alfalfa, sorghum, melons, and fruits of various kinds.

Talmage and Eleanor (Marie) Lytle purchased the ranch from the Eardleys in 1952. In 1985, the Nature Conservancy secured the property to preserve its natural and unique features and wildlife. Brigham Young University is the present owner having acquired the property from the Nature Conservancy in August of 1986.