Memoirs and Forgotten souls inspire Carbon County Writer


Long time Carbon and writer Tom McCourt has just published his sixth book. The Book is entitled, “King of the Colorado-The Story of Cass Hite.”

McCourt grew up in the area of southern Utah, across the river from what is now Hite. He and his brother would roam the area when they were kids, exploring and photographing the land that would soon be under feet of water and named Lake Powell. He spent time poking in the abandoned cabin that belonged to Hess and found his signature carved in the sandstone not far away. Many decades later he decided to do a little more research about this ghost from his youth and what he learned was so much more than he bargained for.

The story chronicles the life of Hess, his forays into gold exploration along the Colorado River and the Uintah, his rise to prominence and his final days as a hermit living in Ticaboo. He explained, “I find it fascinating writing about people who are not very well know, but are part of Utah History. There are good people with great stories to tell.”

McCourt’s other books include: “Split Sky,” a personal account of himself as a 16 year old cowboy on the Nutter Ranch. “White Canyon,” a memoir of childhood growing up in the White Canyon and Upper Grand Canyon region. The book is a journey through lands long underwater when the area was flooded to make Lake Powell. “To Be A Soldier” is a memoir of what it was to be drafted and head to Vietnam in the 1960’s. This book is also used as a text book in Emery and Grand County High Schools. The “Moab Story,” is a collection of short stories chronicling the glory days of Moab and its wild past. “Last of the Robbers Roost Outlaws” is a true story about Bill Tibbetts and his troubles with the law and Utah’s range wars.

McCourt began writing right after he was laid off from the coal mines. He found himself unemployed right after the Wilberg mine disaster. His wife understood his desire to try his hand at writing and encouraged him to pursue that. It has served him well over the years. His books can be found at the museums in Helper, Price, Castle Dale and Green River. Most of his works are also in the books stores in Moab and Single Stop in Wellington.

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