Category Archives: Forts

In Honor of James Bridger

Published / by Mark Trapasso / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Mark Trapasso

Placed By: Bear River Chapter of Future Farmers of America and Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association, No. 10

GPS Coordinates: 41° 38′ 7.44″ N, 112° 7′ 42.24″ W 

Historical Marker Text:

Early Western Fur Trapper, Frontiersman, Scout and Guide. To settle a wager among the trappers who were making their first winter rendezvous in Cache Valley, Bridger floated alone in a bull boat down the Bear River to its outlet to determine the river’s course in the late Autumn or early Winter of 1824, thus making the original discovery of Great Salt Lake, but believing he had discovered a salty arm of the Pacific Ocean, he halted at such view points as this en route to reconnoiter.

Extended Research:

Jim Bridger - Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (U.S. ...
Photo Credit: Nps.gov (Accessed 4.24.20)

James Bridger, better known as Jim Bridger, was born on March 17, 1804 in Richmond Virginia. At the age of 8 Bridger’s father moved his family to a small farm just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. While in Missouri, Jim never received a formal education, but Bridger “apprenticed to a blacksmith, learned to handle boats, and became a good shot and skilled woodsman.”[1] In 1822 he was hired by the Ashley-Henry Fur Trading Company. While he worked for this company, he was crucial to the construction of the first fur trading post along the Yellowstone River. Bridger is also credited as the first Euro-American man to discover the Great Salt Lake. This, though, ignores the Native Americans who inhabited the region long before Bridger’s arrival. In 1776, the Spanish explorers, Dominguez and Escalante, traveled north from New Mexico looking for a more effective trade route from Santa Fe to the West Coast. During this expedition, Escalante kept a detailed journal of his voyage. In this journal he states, “the Timpanois assured us that anyone who wet some part of the body with them immediately felt a lot of itching in the part moistened.”[2] This entry proves that long before Bridger ever floated down Bear River, there were previous inhabitants of the area that were familiar with the Great Salt Lake. 

There is more to Bridger’s story than just floating down a river; he had a very complex relationship with Utah and its Mormon settlers. On June 28, 1847, Brigham Young and Jim Bridger met for the first time at Little Sandy River. Young described Bridger a “pioneer, hunter, trapper and trader, 43 years old, relatively short in stature but with a thick neck.”[3] During their meeting, Bridger mapped out and gave Brigham Young a detailed description of the Wasatch Front. Bridger was optimistic about the Great Salt Lake area sustaining a large population, but was skeptical if the weather was going to be too harsh for crops. 

Fort Bridger | WyoHistory.org
Photo Credit: WyoHistory.org (Accessed 4.24.20)

By the end of 1843, Bridger had built and established a very well known trading post located on Black’s Fork of the Green River. This trading post was known as Fort Bridger, and later served as a military outpost. In 1853, the relationship between the Mormon settlers and Jim Bridger started to boil over. Bridger was accused by Mormon leaders of illegal trading with Indians to profit himself, and potentially put the Mormons in danger with the sale of weapons and ammunition. Due to this accusation, Bridger’s trading rights were revoked and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Before anyone could reach Bridger, he had fled.[4] When he returned in 1855, Bridger sold his fort to the Mormons for 8,000 dollars. During the Utah war, the Mormons knew that this could be a valuable resource for the U.S., so they set fire to the fort before deserting it. Once the militia had arrived, they spent a miserable winter there with little to no supplies.

Jim Bridger - APRIL SMITH'S TECHNOLOGY CLASS
Photo Credit: Aprilsmith.org (Accessed 4.24.20)

After Bridger’s days of exploration and fur trading were over he took his family to a small farm in Westport Missouri. With no remaining contact between the Mormon settlers or Brigham Young, he lived the rest of his days in peace surrounded by his family. James Bridger died in Missouri at the age of 77 on July 17, 1881. 

[1] “Jim Bridger Born.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, November 16, 2009. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jim-bridger-born.

[2] Sanchez, Joseph P. Explorers, Traders and Slavers : Forging the Old Spanish Trail, 1678-1850. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1997. Accessed April 24, 2020. ProQuest Ebook Central.

[3] Bennett, Richard E. We’ll Find the Place : The Mormon Exodus, 1846-1848. 1997

[4] “BRIDGER, JAMES.” Utah History Encyclopedia. Accessed April 3, 2020. https://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/b/BRIDGER_JAMES.shtml.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

“Major Jim Bridger, the First Great Utahn.” Goodwin’s Weekly, 4 July 1908. Utah Digital Newspapers. Accessed April 3, 2020. https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=3497493&q=fort+bridger&sort=rel&page=2.

“Jim Bridger, ‘Covered Wagon’ Hero, Brave, Honest and True Frontiersman.” Salt Lake Telegram, 27 January 1924. Utah Digital Newspapers. Accessed April 3, 2020. https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=15435975&q=Jim+Bridger,+‘Covered+Wagon’+Hero,+Brave,+Honest+and+True+Frontiersman.&sort=rel.

Secondary Sources:

Bagley, Will. “Fort Bridger.” WyoHistory.org, November 8, 2014. https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/fort-bridger.

Chan, Amy. “A Bridge Too Far.” HistoryNet. HistoryNet, July 17, 2019. https://www.historynet.com/a-bridger-too-far.htm.

Chiaventone, Fredrick J. “Jim Bridger.” Cowboys and Indians Magazine, August 2015.

Foster, Robert L. 2012. “A Bridger Too Far.” Wild West 25 (2): 28–35. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asn&AN=76320993&site=ehost-live.

Mays, Kenneth. “Picturing History: Jim Bridger and the Little Sandy Crossing.” Deseret News, September 11, 2019. https://www.deseret.com/2019/9/11/20857787/picturing-history-jim-bridger-brigham-young-and-the-little-sandy-crossing-wyoming.

Sanchez, Joseph P. Explorers, Traders and Slavers : Forging the Old Spanish Trail, 1678-1850. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1997. Accessed April 24, 2020. ProQuest Ebook Central.

“BRIDGER, JAMES.” Utah History Encyclopedia. Accessed April 3, 2020. https://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/b/BRIDGER_JAMES.shtml.

“Jim Bridger Born.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, November 16, 2009. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jim-bridger-born.

The Old Fort

Published / by Aaron Stark / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Aaron Stark

Placed by: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, No. 253

GPS Coordinates: 40° 30’54.5″N, 111° 24’46.0″W

Historical Marker Text (Center Plaque):

THE OLD FORT In 1858 a group of men came from Provo, surveyed the valley into 20-acre plots, and selected the townsite of Heber. The following winter twenty families stayed here. As protection from the Indians, they built a fort 1 block south and 1 block west from this site. Homes built of cottonwood logs and joined together formed the outside walls of the fort. A schoolhouse 20 by 40 feet was built within the fort with two fireplaces and a stage. The building also served for church and socials. In 1860 the fort was enlarged to house forty-four families.

Center Plaque of Marker. Photo by Aaron Stark

Historical Marker Text (Left):

  • Elizabeth Carlile
  • George Carlile
  • John Carlile
  • C. N. Carroll
  • Jean Clotworthy
  • John Crook
  • William Davidson
  • James Carlile
  • James Davis Richard Jones
Left Plaque of Marker. Photo by Aaron Stark

Historical Marker Text (Right):

  • John Jordan
  • John Lee
  • James Laird
  • Hyrum Oaks
  • Thomas Rasband
  • Alex Sessions
  • Bradford Sessions
  • John Sessions
  • Charles Thomas Elisha Thomas
Right Plaque of Marker. Photo by Aaron Stark
Full Image of Marker in-front of a Smiths Marketplace. Photo by Aaron Stark

Extended Research:

During the 1850s some settlers at Provo, in Utah County, began to feel squeezed out of the best plots of land. The first settlers had claimed the prime spots which left newcomers looking for new opportunities. The settlement of Heber City, in Wasatch County, was thus a spillover of settlers from Provo. Most of Wasatch County’s early population thus came from Utah County as people moved from Provo to claim land in Heber Valley.

The major obstacles to settling Heber Valley were its cooler climate and the treacherous route through Provo Canyon which made it difficult to access. To make the settlement of Heber Valley possible, colonizers first had to build a road through Provo Canyon.

By 1852, a man by the name of William Gardner explored a hazardous route into Wasatch County and then proposed a road be built there. Just before the end of the Utah War in 1857, a group of men pitched a proposal to leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to construct a road into Heber Valley. In response, on 6 June 1858, Brigham Young, LDS president and former territorial governor, along with a group of volunteers, met in Provo and formed the “Provo Kanyon Company,” organized to build the road.

The company completed the construction of the road by 1859, thus making the settlement of Heber Valley possible.[1]


Layout of the Old Fort. Photo by Utah Centennial County History (Wasatch County)

In the winter of 1858, even before the road was finished, a group of men explored the land in Heber Valley and made plans for a new settlement. By the following year, the settlers built a fort as the initial communal structure. Over time the building became known as the “Old Fort.” The settlers chose a fort as their initial structure principally for the protection they believed it would provide. Their fort was rectangular in design with settlers’ cabins forming the outside walls. Native Americans were a common threat at the time and the fort served as a safe haven for the Mormon settlers. Ultimately, however, it was Native peoples who needed protection from Mormon settlers who displaced Native Americans and occupied their land. By late 1859, eighteen families had moved to the fort as their new home. Within the same year, settlers dedicated the fort to Heber C. Kimball, an LDS apostle, and the fort, the new community, and the surrounding valley thereafter carried his name. By 1860 nearly sixty-six homes had been built in the fort although the town remained isolated due to the challenges that deep snow and winter weather presented. By 1864, residents began to move from the fort and form a city outside its walls.

Growth came rapidly to the new thriving city of Heber. By 1868, the Desert News reported that Heber City was in a “very prosperous condition and that the facilities for farming and stock raising are excellent…”[2]

Excerpt from The Wasatch Wave in July 1957

Even though the “Old Fort” was eventually abandoned, it nonetheless represented the first Euro-American settlement of the valley. By the 1950s, community members expressed a desire to commemorate the town’s beginnings at the Old Fort. From 1957 to 1959, the Daughters of Utah Pioneers (DUP ) worked on marking the land where the Old Fort was originally built. It was their desire to forever commemorate those settlers who first came to Heber Valley and called it home. On 21 July 1959, the DUP placed a stone marker that holds the three plaques discussed here.

More from The Wasatch Wave in July 1959

In the twenty-first century, Heber City has grown from its beginnings at the Old Fort into a developed and thriving settlement. In 2003, CNN Money placed Heber City on its “Best Vacations” list. Calling Heber City “an uncrowded weekend haven,” CNN extolled the city’s scenic beauty and outdoor potential.[3] Only two years later CNN Money called  Heber  “a fast-growing metropolis at 15.1% growth.”[4] Even on TripAdvisor, Heber is marked as a popular location to visit. Overall, Heber has experienced steady growth since the days of its founding, the rate of which has only accelerated since 1940.

Heber City Census:

YearPopulationGrowthAnnual Growth Rate
19402,7480.00%
19502,9361880.66%
19602,9360.00%
19703,2453091.01%
19804,3621,1173.00%
19904,7824200.92%
20007,2912,5094.31%
201011,5124,2214.67%
Heber City today. Photo by Trip Advisory

[1] Embry, Jessie L. A History of Wasatch County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1996.

[2] “Deseret News: 1860-08-08: Improvements in Provo Valley.” Utah Digital Newspapers. Accessed January 29, 2020.

[3] “Best Vacations: Heber Valley, Utah.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network. Accessed April 1, 2020.

[4] Christie, Les. “The Nation’s Fastest-Growing Areas.” CNN Money.com, September 22, 2005.


For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

“Deseret News: 1860-08-08: Improvements in Provo Valley.” Utah Digital Newspapers. Accessed April 2, 2020. https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=2584652&q=(Heber+City)&sort=rel&year_start=1857&year_end=1860.

Secondary Sources:

Embry, Jessie L. A History of Wasatch County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1996. https://issuu.com/utah10/docs/wasatchcountyhistory

“History: ‘Discovery, Paradise Land, and Timeline.’” History | Heber City, UT. Accessed April   1, 2020. https://www.heberut.gov/229/History.

Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Salt Lake City, UT: Printed by Deseret News Publishing Company, 1941.

Christie, Les. “The Nation’s Fastest-Growing Areas.” CNN Money.com, September 22, 2005. http://cnnmoney.printthis.clickability.com/pt/cpt?expire=&title=Nation%27s+fastest+growing+metro+areas+-+Sep.+22,+2005&urlID=15626342&action=cpt&partnerID=2200&fb=Y&url=http://money.cnn.com/2005/09/22/pf/fastest_growing_metropolises/index.htm.

“Best Vacations: Heber Valley, Utah.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network. Accessed April 1, 2020. https://money.cnn.com/2002/03/26/pf/saving/travel/bpvac_heber_valley/index.htm

Old Meeting House – Draper Fort

Published / by Aaron Ika / Leave a Comment

Write Up by Aaron Ika

Placed by: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, No. 56, January 1940

GPS Coordinates: 40° 31′21′′ N, 111° 51′56′′ W

Photo Credit: Rendering of the Old Draper Fort in Pioneer Times (1850’s) – Draper Historical Society

Historical Marker Text:

ERECTED JANUARY 1940

“OLD MEETING HOUSE” DRAPER FORT

            THE NORTH WALL OF THE “OLD MEETING HOUSE’ STOOD NEAR THIS MONUMENT. HERE (1861-1869) DR. JOHN R. PARK BEGAN HIS CAREER AS AN EDUCATOR IN UTAH. THIS SCHOOL PRODUCED MANY OF THE STATES LEADERS AND LEFT AN INDENIBLE LOVE FOR THE EDUCATION IN DRAPER.

THE GRANITE BLOCK IN THIS MONUMENT WAS THE SOUTH STEP OF THE OLD CHURCH. THIS SPOT WAS WITHIN THE ENCLOSURE OF THE OLD ADOBE FORT 184 YDS. X 113 YDS. THE WALL WAS 14 FT. HIGH AND 3 FT. THICK.

EBENEZER BROWN CAMP

Historical Marker View in Draper Historical Park
Photo Credit: Draper Historical Park (1990)JacobBarlow.com
Draper Historical Park (2020) – Home of the Old Meeting House – Draper Fort Marker

Extended Research:

The marker for the Old Meeting House Draper Fort commemorates two important pieces of history in Utah and the city of Draper: the Draper Fort and the Old Meetinghouse that sat inside the fort. The marker is located on the north side of Draper Historic Park.

Settlers moved to the south east end of the Salt Lake Valley into an area called South Willow Creek in 1850. The area grew rapidly and by the end of 1852, 20 families called South Willow Creek home.[1] In 1854, the establishment of the first post office brought a name change to the town. The area came to be known as Draperville, in honor of William Draper JR, who was a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). In 1877, the town shortened the name to Draper.[2]

On 10 April 1854, Brigham Young addressed the followers of his church: “from hence forth, let one and all go forth with one accord and build their forts, wall in their cities and villages, herd and guard their cattle and other property and keep their guns and ammunition in good order and convenience, ready for instant use.”[3] Skirmishes erupted from Sanpete to Salt Lake Counties between Native Americans under Ute Chief Walkara and settlers. Walkara had become upset by Mormon efforts to stifle Indian slave trading and by the increased intrusion of settlers into traditional Native American hunting grounds.[4] This broader violence shaped the first Mormon settlement in the area that became Draper.

Ebenezer Brown and his family were the first settlers to arrive in “South Willow Creek” in 1849. Ebenezer’s homestead was 160 acres. Because of the Native threat, and at Brigham Young’s directive, Ebenezer donated 5 acres of his property to build a fort where members of the community could gather and feel safe. In late 1854, the fort construction began for protection to those pioneers homesteading in the area. It took two years to build walls of adobe brick and clay around the fort that measured 23 rods east to west and 35 rods north to south. A Rod is an old English measure of distance equal to 16.5 feet (5.029 meters). The walls were eight feet high and one foot wide with look-out slots every fourteen feet. All homes faced the center of the fort.[5]

Photo Credit: Ebenezer Brown – Courtesy of the Draper Historical Society

The Draper Historical Society has researched the fort extensively and created a map of houses and shop locations inside the fort.

The entrance to the fort was a dirt road through a wide opening in the northwest corner of the fort and in front of Lauritz Smith’s blacksmith shop. A garden area was at the southwest end of the fort. It included a small orchard of apple and peach trees, planted by William Terry with seeds he carried across the plains from Rhode Island. John Fitzgerald’s home was built on the northeast corner of the fort. John’s mother, Ann, had a candy store attached to the home. The first house built was Ebenezer’s, and then running west along the south wall were three other small homes. Perry Fitzgerald’s two-story home was built on the east wall and to the west was the LDS Church tithing office and granary and the Relief Society Hall. Ebenezer’s son, Norman Brown, built an adobe brick house. This house also served as Draper’s first schoolhouse. From its beginning, Draper showed a special interest in education. Schooling began right away with Betsy Draper, wife of William Draper, as Draper's first teacher. Town leaders were always on the lookout for qualified teachers and paid them out of their own pockets. By the year 1855 the population of the community had grown to 222 people. Up until then church, school and public meetings were held in homes. More space was needed, so in 1860 the vestry was built across from the Norman Brown home. In 1863 the main hall was added to the vestry, and from that time the building was known as "The Old White Meetinghouse".[6]

The fort was an essential part of the community and provided the settlers with a sense of security and comfort during the early history of Draper.[7] Due to the increased tensions with the Native Americans and the settlers, many people tended to things outside the fort during the day such as their own homes, cows, sheep and other livestock. At night they returned to the fort to be safe from home raids. The temporary homes inside the fort were for sleeping only. They were very small with some being just one room. Some were no larger than a wagon box. Difficulties with Native American tribes lessened by the late 1850’s. The fort was never attacked, and families began returning to their homes. Ebenezer Brown deeded the “center area” of the fort to the community.[8] The fort was disbanded around 1864 and the fort walls were gradually dismantled. The Old White Meetinghouse and some of the original homes remained and in 1892 the Draper First Ward Church was built on the property.[9]

Draper Fort as researched by Draper Historical Society

The Draper Fort housed one of the town’s most essential buildings, the schoolhouse. Settlers of Draper built the first schoolhouse in 1852 on the north wall of the Draper Fort.[10] The schoolhouse became home to early educator, John Rocky Park. The schoolhouse also served as a public and spiritual gathering place for nearly twenty years after construction.[11] Park was an integral figure in education in not just Utah but in the expansion of the western territories of the United States. Park was at one time, president of the University of Deseret, that was later renamed the University of Utah. In 1895, Park was elected as Utah Superintendent of Education.[12]

Photo Credit: Old White Meetinghouse – Courtesy of the Draper Historical Society

Draper became known as the “Cradle of Education” in the West.[13] The Draper curriculum of John Rocky Park became known for its excellence at all grade levels. Park gained notoriety for his school and what was being taught inside its walls. With Trustee funding, Dr. Park, provided blackboards, maps and charts.[14] Brigham Young even wanted to build the University in Draper but disputes over land caused the site to move locations.[15] A student of those days reminisced: “The [school’s] walls were soon covered with maps and charts illustrative of all departments of knowledge. Models and globes rested on the broad window seats. A tellurion, a miniature illustration of the planetary system, was provided . . .”[16] Author Ralph Chamberlain found evidence of the renowned success of John R. Park’s school in Draper: “From a little country village, with a population of about 300, secluded in a corner of the Salt Lake Valley, in a brief period of five years that still stands out as its golden age, went forth a surprising number of men who later achieved high success; and in that village developed a spirit and movement that in time spread beyond it and inaugurated in Utah an educational regeneration. Never was the potential power of the good teacher more strikingly demonstrated.”[17]

Photo Credit: Dr John R Park – Courtesy of the Draper Historical Society

In January 1940, the Ebenezer Brown Camp of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers erected a monument on the original site of the old meetinghouse. The granite block in the monument was the south step of the old church.[18]

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

James Herman Tegan, “Pioneer Personal History” Survey, The Works Progress Administration (Utah Section) Biographical Sketches, 1939, https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6pv8qj7

John Hamilton Morgan, “Scans of miscellaneous papers related to John Hamilton Morgan”, Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, 1951-1952, https:/collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6dn4xjn

John R. Park papers, MS 0242, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Elisabeth Boulter Enniss, Journal 1874 – 1879, Draper Historical Society Museum, Draper, Utah

Secondary Sources:

PETERSON, CHARLES S. “A New Community: Mormon Teachers and the Separation of Church and State in Utah’s Territorial Schools.” Utah Historical Quarterly 48, no. 3 (Summer 1980): 293-312.

Willey, Darrell S. “Utah’s Frontier Architect of Social Destiny: John R. Park.” Peabody Journal of Education 38, no. 2 (1960): 100-06.

Noel Ennis, True to the Faith: The Life of W.B. Enniss 1857-1947, (Pioneer Books, 2004)

Draper Historical Society, “The History of Draper, Utah, vol. 2: Sivogah to Draper City 1849-1977”, (Agreka Books 2001)

Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper History,” Draper Utah’s Historic Buildings, May 19, 2017, accessed April 2, 2020

Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper Park School,” Places that Matter – Draper, Utah, May 2014, accessed April 2, 2020

University of Utah, and Ralph V. Chamberlin. 1949. Memories of John Rockey Park

Footnotes:

[1] Draper Historical Society, “The History of Draper, Utah, vol. 2: Sivogah to Draper City 1849-1977”, (Agreka Books 2001)

[2] Noel Ennis, True to the Faith: The Life of W.B. Enniss 1857-1947, (Pioneer Books, 2004)

[3] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper History,” Draper Utah’s Historic Buildings, May 19, 2017, accessed April 2, 2020

[4] University of Utah, and Ralph V. Chamberlin. 1949. Memories of John Rockey Park

[5] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper History,” Draper Utah’s Historic Buildings, May 19, 2017, accessed April 2, 2020

[6] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper History,” Draper Utah’s Historic Buildings, May 19, 2017, accessed April 2, 2020

[7] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper Park School,” Places that Matter – Draper, Utah, May 2014, accessed April 2, 2020

[8] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper History,” Draper Utah’s Historic Buildings, May 19, 2017, accessed April 2, 2020

[9] Draper Historical Society, “The History of Draper, Utah, vol. 2: Sivogah to Draper City 1849-1977”, (Agreka Books 2001)

[10] John R. Park papers, MS 0242, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott. Salt Lake City, Utah.

[11] John R. Park papers, MS 0242, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott. Salt Lake City, Utah.

[12] University of Utah, and Ralph V. Chamberlin. 1949. Memories of John Rockey Park

[13] University of Utah, and Ralph V. Chamberlin. 1949. Memories of John Rockey Park

[14] PETERSON, CHARLES S. “A New Community: Mormon Teachers and the Separation of Church and State in Utah’s Territorial Schools.” Utah Historical Quarterly 48, no. 3 (Summer 1980): 293-312.

[15] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper Park School,” Places that Matter – Draper, Utah, May 2014, accessed April 2, 2020

[16] Elisabeth Boulter Enniss, Journal 1874 – 1879, Draper Historical Society Museum, Draper, Utah

[17] University of Utah, and Ralph V. Chamberlin. 1949. Memories of John Rockey Park

[18] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper History,” Draper Utah’s Historic Buildings, May 19, 2017, accessed April 2, 2020

Jacob Hamblin (#21), Fort Kanab (#151)

Published / by Lisa Barr / 2 Comments on Jacob Hamblin (#21), Fort Kanab (#151)

Written by Lisa Barr, US History/ Public History MA Student, University of Utah

Jacob Hamblin (#21)

Placed by: Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmark Association and citizens of Kanab Stake

GPS Coordinates:  37° 02.967’ N, -112° 32.114’ W

Located at the Levi Stewart Memorial in Kanab

Photograph by Lisa Barr, February 18, 2017

Historical Text: 

No. 21 Erected Sept. 2, 1933

Jacob Hamblin

Born April 2, 1819    Died August 21, 1886

The great Mormon frontiersman and Indian missionary settled in Tooele Valley, Utah in 1850 and began preaching negotiations with the red men. He was so successful that the officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent him to establish residence among the Indians at Santa Clara, Utah in 1854.

Frank Asahel Beckwith, Kanab Markers (2). February 1, 1941, Courtesy Willard Marriott Library

A fort was erected on this site in 1865 into which he moved in 1869. He assisted Maj. J.W. Powell and party 1869-72. He was transferred in 1878 to Arizona and later to New Mexico. He is buried in Alpine, Arizona. His friendship with the Indians saved many lives.

Extended Research:

Jacob Hamblin was born in 1819 in Salem, Ohio and baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1842. He helped to settled Tooele, Utah in 1850 before Brigham Young sent him on a mission to the Native Americans in southern Utah in 1854. Hamblin first came to the Kanab area in 1867 to form alliances with members of the Hopi, Southern Paiute, and Navajo tribes. Hamblin hoped to teach them to farm, and convert them to Mormonism.

Eventually, Hamblin and his family moved from Santa Clara to Kanab in 1869 so that he could try to improve Mormon-Navajo relations in northern Arizona. In 1870, Brigham Young assigned Levi Stewart to lead Kanab’s resettlement which freed Hamblin to accompany John Wesley Powell on his second Colorado River expedition in 1871 and 1872. Hamblin and his family moved to Milligan’s Fort in Northern Arizona in 1878, and then to Pleasanton, New Mexico in 1883. He died of malaria in 1886 and is buried in Alpine, Arizona.

Fort Kanab (#151)

Placed by: The descendants of Levi Stewart and Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association

GPS Coordinates:  37° 02.967’ N,  -112° 32.114’ W

Historical Marker Text:

Photograph by Lisa Barr, February 18, 2017

No. 115 Erected April 11, 1950

Fort Kanab

On June, 14, 1870 Levi Stewart, who had been called from Salt Lake County by President Brigham Young to head a group of pioneers in settling this area, brought a party with seven wagons from Pipe Spring, where they had camped temporarily to Fort Kanab which had been built a year before by Jacob Hamblin and Indian missionaries.

Located at the Levi Stewart Memorial, Kanab, Utah Photograph by Lisa Barr, February 18, 2017

Kanab Ward was organized September 11, 1870 with Elder Stewart as bishop. Other settlers arrived, homes were built and plans were made for a permanent community. A fire in the fort on December 14, took the lives of Mrs. Margery Wilkerson Stewart and five sons.

Extended Research:

Kanab’s first settlers built Fort Kanab in stages between 1865 and 1869. The fort was vacated in 1866 due to increased Navajo and Southern Paiute raids that resulted from the Black Hawk War. In 1867, Jacob Hamblin traveled to the area to establish peace with Hopis and Southern Paiute Indians, however, Navajos continued to carryout raids throughout the region. Hamblin moved to Kanab from Santa Clara in 1869 and began to rebuild the fort which lasted until Brigham Young sent Levi Stewart to resettle the town of Kanab in 1870. The new settlers, including Stewart’s family, lived in the fort while they built homes in town. Southern Paiutes were also a part of Fort Kanab’s community and some lived in the fort and helped to farm the land in exchange for food.

Frank Asahel Beckwith, Kanab Markers (2). February 1, 1941, Courtesy Willard Marriott Library

Fort Kanab caught fire the night of December 14, 1870. Kerosene and turpentine that were stored in the fort exploded and collapsed the roof, killing Stewart’s wife Margery and five of their sons. Jacob Hamblin recalled the fire in his journal, stating that the fort was “in a moment enveloped in an intense flame which burst out from the only entrance, and that the scene could never be forgotten by those who witnessed it.”[1]

[1] Jacob Hamblin, Jacob Hamblin: His Life in His Own Words (New York: Paramount Books, 1995), 95.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Adams, John Q. Pioneer Personal History of John Q. Adams, Kanab, Utah. July, 16, 1938.  https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=700963&q=fort+kanab&page

Beckwith, Frank Asahel.  Kanab Markers (2). February 1, 1941, Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.  https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=12525     https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=442803&q=jacob+hamblin&page

https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=442804&q=jacob+hamblin&page

Hamblin, Jacob. Jacob Hamblin: Life in His Own Words. New York: Paramount Books, 1995.

Secondary Sources:

Bradley, Martha Sonntag. A History of Kane County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical         Society, Kane County Commission, 1999.

Brooks, Juanita. Jacob Hamblin: Mormon Apostle to the Indians. Salt Lake City: Westwater       Press, 1980.

Compton, Todd. A Frontier Life: Jacob Hamblin, Explorer and Indian Missionary. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2013.

 

 

 

1853 Holladay Fort

Published / by Ben Hopes / Leave a Comment

By Ben Hopes, Masters of Education Graduate Student

GPS Coordinates: 40˚ 37’ 4.84” N, 111˚ 49’ 36.21”

Holladay Historical Marker

Extended Research About Holladay:

In July of 1847, Holladay became the first village established independent of Salt Lake City. At the time, Latter Day Saints Prophet Brigham Young sent out members of his congregation to colonize different parts of Utah, particularly areas rich in natural resources. Led by John Brown, the pioneers of the Mississippi Company founded the village, flourishing with an abundance of natural resources. A free flowing stream fed through the Holladay area, and provided the rich and fertile lands for farming and planting[1]. The area was known as Cottonwood or the Mississippi Ward, but would be named Holladay after a particularly influential bishop, John D. Holladay. The settlement would grow to include schools, churches, and the creation of a fort in 1853, intended as protection against Native American raids but instead became a place for the settlers to gather.

Marker at Approximate Location of Southeast Corner of Holladay Fort

The Mississippi Company itself had known hardship; they had existed in the Southern States Mission, where they were often met with vitriol and physical harm[2]. They had moved west nearly a full year before the Mormon exodus of 1847, wintering at Pueblo, Colorado. Many of its members volunteered to join the Mormon Battalion, formed to aid the United States’ incursion into Mexico: The men and their families knew sacrifice. The struggles that they encountered in trying to fulfill their Prophet’s, and ultimately their God’s, vision created in them a firm belief that they were truly a chosen people destined for eternal greatness. According to various accounts, the Saints of this era met each challenge with the strength of their convictions and the willingness to work together, united in their goals[3]. Pioneers saw obstacles, such as hunger or physical hardship on the trail, as trials to be conquered with the aid of an almighty God. The Mississippi Company acted admirably in much the same way.

The Mormon colonization efforts were remarkable. Because of their strong, central leadership and the complete cooperation of their congregations, a community infrastructure could be quickly established that led to economically competent planning, ensuring a town’s immediate survival. One can see the precision of the Mormon colonization machine in the fact that Holladay was founded only a month after the Brigham Young’s famous incursion into the Salt Lake Valley. The tenacity of their efforts would further be reflected in the founding of the San Bernadino Mission in California (1851) by some of the members of the Mississippi Company.

Six years after the Mormon migration of 1847, Chief Walker of the Ute tribe declared war on the Mormons in the valley, in immediate retaliation for the death of a Ute Indian in a small conflict in Utah Valley, and for the larger reason that the Mormon people had encroached on his tribe’s lands and did not seem to have any intention of letting up in their colonization efforts. While this is called the Walker War, there was not much conflict: it was mainly a series of Indian raids and small Mormon reprisals. There were no great battles and a peace would be declared in May of 1854, with few conciliatory negotiations to resolve the ideological conflicts between the two groups.[4]

About the Holladay Fort:

However, the fear of Indian attacks led to the creation of the Holladay Fort in 1853 (it is very likely that it was never completely finished). Built from adobe mud and straw, it provided some protection but the Indian threat (the attacks were focused mainly in central Utah) was not enough to convince Holladay’s 161 inhabitants to move in. A house within its walls would serve as the meeting place for school and church functions in the area, until a new school/church would be built on the fort grounds in 1861.

In 1873, a new church, separate from the school, was built on the grounds. This church would serve LDS needs until 1972. In 1876, a new school was constructed on the fort site, accommodating school children until 1893, when another school was constructed just south. This 2-story, 4-room school would become a gymnasium for the 3-story, newly renamed Irving Junior High School, created in 1905. Irving Junior High was built to the west of the 1893 building (the gymnasium) and would be renamed Olympus Junior High in 1943.

Approximate Location of the 1853 Holladay Fort (Now a Field for Olympus Junior High)

Olympus Junior High would be torn down in 2002 to make way for a new school, moved slightly to the west of the original site. Today the grounds of the fort roughly encompass the entirety of the field used by the school, in addition to a small business and the LDS seminary building that Olympus Junior students regularly attend. Despite resistance to the westward move[5], the new building has become a community landmark and important facet of family life in Holladay itself.

The creation of the Holladay Fort in 1853, while not initially significant, set aside an area that would become culturally and socially important to the community for nearly the next 100 years. Out of regional fears, the fort was designed to keep raiding Utes out and yet it proved to be a joyful place where the community gathered to celebrate their own culture and to continually devote themselves to their religion. By housing the educational and spiritual centers of Holladay, the fort provided the means for Mormon culture to survive and grow, fed by Spring Creek in the shadow of Mount Olympus.

Marker Placed by: The City of Holladay, Jay M. Todd (constructed in July 1996), surveyed by Kate Wacker (Utah State Historical Society)

 Secondary Sources:

  • Arrington, Leonard J. “The Mississippi Mormons.” Ensign June 1977: N.p. Web. 29 Mar. 2017
  • Bigler, David L., and Bagley, Will.Army of Israel: Mormon Battalion Narratives. 2000. Print. Kingdom in the West ; v. 4.
  • Christy, Howard A.The Walker War: Defense and Conciliation as Strategy.  Print.
  • Parrish, William E. “The Mississippi Saints.”Historian 4 (1988): 489-506.
  • Van Leer, Twila. “School Construction Gets F From Residents.” Deseret News, 23 Aug. 2002. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.
  • “City of Holladay.” City of Holladay. N.p., 2016. Web. 29 Mar. 2017. http://cityofholladay.com/community/about/history/

Primary Sources:

  • Bullock, Thomas.The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock. Vol. 1. Arthur H Clark, 1997. Print.
  • Olsen, Alice M., Olsen, R. L, and Lewis, Ira Allen. Mount Olympus & Holladay, Early Years (1920-30) : Featuring the Photographic Art Taken 1920-1930+ by Ira Allen Lewis (b. 1877 Holladay, Utah-d. 1948 Holladay, Utah), Some of the Old Homes of Holladay, Mount Olympus, Cottonwood Creek & Holladay (photographed from 1940-2010 by Alice McDonald Olsen). Print.

[1] “City of Holladay.” City of Holladay. N.p., 2016. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.

[2] Arrington, Leonard J. “The Mississippi Mormons.” Ensign June 1977: N.p. Web. 29 Mar. 2017

[3] Bullock, Thomas. The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock. Vol. 1. Arthur H Clark, 1997.

[4] Christy, Howard A. The Walker War : Defense and Conciliation as Strategy. 1979. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

[5] Van Leer, Twila. “School Construction Gets F From Residents.” Deseret News, 23 Aug. 2002. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

Connor Statue at Historic Park

Published / by Zach Vayo / Leave a Comment

Connor Statue at Historic Park

Write-up by Zach Vayo

GPS Coordinates: 40.764399°N, 111.832891°W

Historical Marker Text:

“PATRICK EDWARD CONNER BRIGADIER GENERAL AND BREVET MAJOR GENERAL UNITED STATES VOLUNTEERS 1820-1891

Born in County Kerry, Ireland. Emigrated as a child to the United States. Enlisted in the army at age 19. Attained rank of Captain in the Mexican War. As Colonel, commanding the Volunteers, established Camp Douglas on Oct. 26, 1862. A soldier-statesman of great energy and vision, he was the “father of Utah mining”, published the first daily newspaper in Utah Territory, and founded Stockton, Utah. * * * * This park presented to the United States Army by the Fort Douglas Museum Association on the 124th Anniversary of the founding of Fort Douglas. Oct 26, 1986.”

Extended Research:

Aside from Brigham Young, perhaps no individual played a larger role in shaping nineteenth century Utah than Patrick Connor. Indeed, prominent Utah historian Dean May has hailed these men as the two founding fathers of modern Utah.[1] Today, Connor’s statue in Fort Douglas quietly rivals Young’s much grander memorialization across Salt Lake in Temple Square – a silent reenactment of what was in its day a bitter public rivalry between these two men and their competing visions. Young sought to establish Utah as the Kingdom of God on Earth according to the unique sensibilities of the LDS Church. Connor, meanwhile, aimed to bring Utah into the American mainstream by conquering the land’s indigenous peoples and opening the door for white settlers like himself, looking to make their fortunes out West. Intensely distrustful of Utah’s Mormon population, Connor was himself an immigrant who, having undergone a process of Americanization, now sought to “Americanize” Utah along the same lines as the rest of the West. Portrayed as everything from hero to murderous plunderer, Connor has been sweepingly characterized as “the archetypal nineteenth century man”, who was “representative of all that was good and bad in that age.”[2]

The man who would come to identify himself as P. Edward Connor was born Patrick Edward (“Paddy”) O’Connor in County Kerry, Ireland. Very little information exists on Connor’s early life; he claimed to have been born on St. Patrick’s Day, 1820.[3] Economic stagnation in Ireland drove his family to emigrate to New York when he was perhaps sixteen. Connor spent several years working odd jobs as a laborer before beginning his military career by volunteering for the First Dragoons in 1839. It is possible the young Irishman viewed military service as a useful means to “Americanize” himself in an era animated by nativism and anti-Catholicism.[4]

Connor’s five year tour with the Dragoons took him to the lands in and around the newly-created Iowa Territory to maintain relations with the region’s native peoples. This fledgling military presence in the trans-Mississippi West, with the US fresh off the Jacksonian ethnic cleansing of native peoples in the East, would foreshadow atrocious military violence against the indigenous peoples of the West during and after the Civil War, in which Connor himself was to play a leading role.

While relatively uneventful, Connor’s tour with the Dragoons gave him valuable experience as a soldier. More importantly, he appeared to become enamored with the West, where he would spend almost all of the remainder of his life. Following the end of his tour of duty, he returned to New York for several years, engaging in “mercantile business” and becoming a naturalized citizen (a process no doubt made easier by his military record).[5] Also around this time, he removed some of the conspicuous Irish-ness from his name by dropping the O’ in his surname and shortening Patrick to an initial, becoming P. Edward Connor. With the outbreak of war with Mexico in 1846, Connor headed west again, joining a company of Texas Volunteers. He participated in the US victory at the Battle of Buena Vista, receiving praise for his bravery.[6]

Connor ca. 1860s

The war resulted in the US seizure of a vast swath of land claimed by Mexico. Connor was among many who viewed these lands as a place to make it big, travelling to California in 1850 on the heels of the Gold Rush. After an ill-fated attempt to establish a community on the Trinity River, he settled in Stockton. Over the next decade, his numerous entrepreneurial ventures, particularly a gravel quarry on his property, resulted in Connor accumulating a degree of wealth. He emerged as a leading citizen of Stockton and came to head its militia, the Stockton Blues. In 1854, he married Johanna Connor, another emigrant from Kerry County.[7] The couple would raise five children to adulthood, enduring the loss of two sons who died in childhood.

This relatively peaceful period of Connor’s life came to an end in 1861 with the outbreak of the Civil War. Eager to serve his adopted country once more, he took the lead in recruiting several companies of California Volunteers to serve under his command. In spite of his (and his troops’) desire to fight the Confederacy in the East, he found himself assigned to protect overland mail routes in Utah, as the Lincoln administration sought to preserve California’s tenuous connection to the Union.[8] In Utah, Connor’s troops were to serve as an occupying force to both native peoples such as the Shoshone and to the territory’s Mormon population, practitioners of an enigmatic and fanatical religion in the eyes of many, whose loyalty to the country seemed particularly dubious, particularly in light of the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre.

During the journey across Nevada, Connor began to hone his reputation as an Indian fighter, launching attacks that killed several dozen Shoshones. Reaching Salt Lake City in 1862, Connor remarked with disgust on the apparent un-Americanness of the Mormons, calling them “a community of traitors, murderers, fanatics, and whores,” claiming “the people publicly rejoice at reverses to our arms,” and “Brigham Young rules with despotic sway.”[9] For their part, the Mormons had good reason to fear federal troops due to the “Utah War” of 1856-58. As such, they were none too happy when Connor, despairing of the state of the old Camp Crittenden (Camp Floyd) in Utah Valley, planted his troops directly above their capital, establishing Camp Douglas on an eastern bench of the Salt Lake Valley on October 26, 1862. Connor cited this new location as all the better to “say to the Saints of Utah, enough of your treason.”[10] Connor’s troops thus became the most visible symbol of “Gentile” (non-Mormon) presence in the territory, sparking a war of words between the two groups lasting for decades.

Camp Douglas (later Fort Douglas) ca. 1865. Connor named the fort for Lincoln’s great political rival, Stephen Douglas.

The year 1863 was a critical one for Connor. Denied the chance to fight in the East, he seized on a chance to “chastise” the Northwestern Shoshone instead. Increased Anglo-American incursions into what is today southern Idaho had strained relationships with the Shoshone, producing intermittent fighting and claims of kidnapping. In the bitter cold of January, Connor marched his troops from Camp Douglas to a Shoshone encampment on the Bear River. One California newspaper offered a telling insight into the attitudes of the day by publishing a gleeful letter from a Salt Lake correspondent, stating that “before [Connor’s troops] quit the entertainment Mr. Redskin is to be well thrashed, and, if possible, ‘wiped out.’”[11]

Arriving at the encampment, Connor’s troops launched an attack on the 29th of January. What began as a battle became a bloodbath as Connor’s troops flanked the Shoshones, trapping them in a ravine. The troops proceeded to massacre anyone within reach, including women and children. The death toll may well have exceeded four hundred, making it the largest massacre in the history of the American West. Connor’s troops destroyed homes and food supplies, murdering dozens more women who refused to submit to rape by the soldiers.[12] His actions would make him one of the most despised figures in Shoshone memory, with one survivor, Sagwitch, later recalling the bitter irony of “that merciless battle, when women and suckling babes met their death at the hands of civilization.”[13] Those same actions, however, made Connor a hero to white colonizers in the West, and earned him a promotion to brigadier-general.

Bear River Massacre site.

Back in Salt Lake, Connor became fixated on the notion of publicizing Utah’s mineral wealth so as to draw non-Mormons into the territory, contending that “inducements … to the teeming population of the East and West, seeking new fields of exploration and prosperity” would spell political and social doom for the Mormonism that he saw as “not only subversive of morals, in conflict with the civilization of the present age, and oppressive on the people, but also deeply and boldly in contravention of the laws and best interests of the nation.”[14] To that end, he founded the Daily Union Vedette, a staunchly non-Mormon newspaper that wrote extensively on the wealth to be had in Utah. Connor helped to establish and personally invested in numerous mining districts, including what would become Bingham Canyon, earning the honorific “father of Utah mining.” In 1863, Connor also established the town of Stockton, near Tooele, named for his former home in California. Connor intended Stockton as a hub for non-Mormon settlement, though his grand visions could never elevate it beyond a minor settlement on the fringes of Brigham Young’s Mormon kingdom. Of course, Young and his disciples were none too happy to see these capitalistic incursions into their Zion. After Young petitioned unsuccessfully to have Connor and his troops removed from Utah,[15] he was spared of the general for a time when Connor was sent to present Wyoming for the Powder River expedition in 1865.

Connor thus departed Utah to crush resistance from the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho in response to a mining boom that had drawn a wave of white colonizers into Montana. While Connor’s campaigns failed to win any “victories” as decisive as that at Bear River, he nonetheless killed several hundred indigenous persons in a series of battles and skirmishes such as Tongue River (at times fighting alongside indigenous allies such as the Omaha). Such militancy undermined the capacity of indigenous communities to sustain themselves, leaving little recourse to federal economic dependency and reservations (with poverty ironically reinforcing white perceptions of indigenous nations as primitive and backwards). The Powder River endeavor was largely regarded as a failure, in part due to negative publicity surrounding another event to the south: namely, the army’s 1864 Sand Creek Massacre against the Cheyenne and Arapaho, which had soured the nation for a time on war with native nations.[16] Reflecting this shift in attitude, the Salt Lake Tribune expressed desire for “some sensible plan” regarding “the poor Indian race.”[17]Nonetheless, the expedition cemented Connor’s status as to hero to white colonizers in the West. This would be Connor’s last major military mission, as he resigned his commission in 1866.

After a brief return to Utah (and a trip to Washington DC to testify against the evils of the Mormons), Connor returned to California with his family. By 1869, however, the looming completion of the transcontinental railroad brought him back to Utah. This time, his family stayed in California, establishing a permanent residence in Redwood City. Over the next decades, Connor would become increasingly estranged from his family as he bounced between various mining and railroad endeavors in Utah and Nevada in largely unsuccessful attempts to amass his fortune, made all the more difficult by the market instabilities laid bare in the Panic of 1873. Johanna Connor would eventually die in 1889, making no mention of her oft-absent husband in her will.

In Utah, the railroad spelled doom for Brigham Young’s bucolic conception of an economically isolated Zion. Anticipating an economic and demographic influx to the territory, Connor took an interest in the town of Corinne, near the mouth of the Bear River, which emerged in the wake of the railroad’s completion as Utah’s leading non-Mormon community. His assessment of this emerging landscape proved somewhat overly optimistic, with his vision of a steamboat service across the Great Salt Lake connecting Corinne to Stockton never truly materializing. As the most esteemed non-Mormon in the territory, Connor became the symbolic leader of Utah’s anti-Mormon Liberal Party, which denounced polygamy and sought to block statehood for fear of losing federal leverage against the dominant religion. Speaking at an 1880 Liberal rally, Connor declared his intention of “taking up the fight with renewed vigor,” and “helping forward the good work of regulating and Americanizing Utah.”[18] This symbolic leadership notwithstanding, Connor proved unsuccessful in parlaying his notoriety into political office, losing a bid even for the modest office of Salt Lake County Recorder. He died in Salt Lake in 1891 with much prestige and little wealth, and was buried in the Fort Douglas Cemetery.[19]

Connor with President Hayes during the latter’s visit to Fort Douglas, 1880.

The decades after his death saw Patrick Connor’s vision of an Americanized Utah come to fruition to a remarkable degree. Booming mining industries throughout the new state in regions such as Carbon County and Bingham Canyon attracted waves of non-Mormon immigration from countries including Greece and Italy, and, to a lesser extent, Japan and China. Mining in particular signified Utah’s increasing integration into the national economy; while providing economic opportunity, this new colonial economy also spawned appalling working conditions and environmental degradation. Connor would no doubt also have been pleased to see the LDS church, the object of his perpetual contempt, take a firmer stance against polygamy and recede from the political sphere in the first decades of the twentieth century (though the latter change did not prove permanent). Furthermore, the twentieth century also saw emphasis on Brigham Young’s model of economic cooperation decline as many Mormons made their peace with Connor’s capitalist vision. Indeed, while not abandoning their distinct identities, Mormon communities have undergone a noteworthy degree of Americanization since Connor’s time.[20] Connor himself practiced what he preached with regards to Americanization: the Irish-born immigrant epitomized the self-made man of fame and fortune. While this rugged, romantic image has become iconic in conceptions of the West, Connor’s case also illustrates its shortcomings. Never truly successful in making his fortune later in life, his obsessive quest for wealth resulted in considerable alienation from his family. Underpinning all of this is Connor’s darkest legacy (and one that is conspicuously absent from his historical marker): the brutalization of indigenous nations, on whose dispossessed land the processes of “Americanization” played out. Particularly for the Northwestern Shoshones, the impacts and bitter memories of Colonel Connor’s atrocious actions on the Bear River echo into the twenty-first century.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

P. Edward Connor, Official Report on the Bear River Massacre, February 6, 1863.

Secondary Sources:

Madsen, Brigham. Glory Hunter: A Biography of Patrick Edward Connor. Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1990.

May, Dean. Utah: A People’s History. Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1987.

Varley, James. Brigham and the Brigadier: General Patrick Connor and His California Volunteers in Utah and Along the Overland Trail. . Tucson: Westernlore Press, 1989.

[1] Dean L. May, Utah: A People’s History (Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1987), 194.

[2] James Varley, Brigham and the Brigadier: General Patrick Connor and His California Volunteers in Utah and Along the Overland Trail. (Tucson: Westernlore Press, 1989), x.

[3] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter: A Biography of Patrick Edward Connor (Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1990), 3-5.

[4] James Varley, Brigham and the Brigadier, 2.

[5] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 18-19.

[6] James Varley, Brigham and the Brigadier, 4.

[7] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 30.

[8] Ibid, 48.

[9] P. Edward Connor, letter to Major R. C. Drum, September 14, 1862.

[10] Ibid.

[11] “A Big Expedition – Connor and the Volunteers after the Indians,” Sacramento Daily Union (Sacramento, CA), Feb. 7, 1863

[12] Scott Christensen, Sagwitch: Shoshone Chieftain, Mormon Elder, 1822-1887 (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1999), 52.

[13] F.W. Warner (Sagwitch), “Sagwitch Writes The Citizen About New Monument,” Franklin County Citizen (Preston, ID), Jul. 11, 1918.

[14] P. Edward Connor, letter to Major E. McGarry, October 26, 1863.

[15] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 114.

[16] Ibid, 121.

[17] James Varley, Brigham and the Brigadier, 258.

[18] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 237.

[19] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 271.

[20] Dean L. May, Utah: A People’s History, 190, 194-198.

Utah’s First Capitol

Published / by Benjamin Bartholomew / Leave a Comment

Utah Historical Site Marker

Placed by: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, No. 7

GPS Coordinates: 38.9676° N, 112.3251° W

Historical Marker Text (1):

Erected Aug. 3, 1935

Utah’s First Capitol

Creating Fillmore City and Millard County, the Territorial Legislature of Utah, selected Pauvan Valley as the capitol site Oct. 29, 1851. This spot was selected by Gov. Brigham Young. Construction work began in 1852. Truman O. Angell, Architect, and Anson Call, Supervisor. This South Wing was used by the 5th Territorial Legislature Oct. 10, 1856. In 1856 the seat of government was moved to Salt Lake City. Later used as Court House and County Headquarters. Restored in 1928 and dedicated as state museum July 24, 1930

Custodians: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Millard County Company

National Register Marker

 Historical Marker Text (2):

The National Register of Historic Places

Utah Historic Site

Territorial Capitol

Built: 1852-1855

Architect: Truman O. Angell

Used by 5th (1855), 6th (1856),

and 8th (1858) State Legislatures

Division of State History N-9

Extended Research:

Establishing Fillmore:

Governor Young

The Compromise of 1850 admitted California into the Union as a free state and established New Mexico and Utah as territories. U.S. President Millard Fillmore appointed Brigham Young as the first Governor of Utah, and requested a capital city be established. To accomplish this, Young recruited a man by the name of Anson Call. Call joined the Mormon Church in 1843, and immigrated with his family in 1848 to Bountiful, Utah. At 41 years-old, Call received a “calling,” or religiously appointed duty, from Brigham Young to explore central Utah.

In May of 1851, Call waited in Parowan to receive word from Young as to where he should go next. Young sent a letter to Call saying “to go a distance of about one hundred miles north and explore Pah-Van Valley”  and directed him to find “a suitable place to make a settlement.”[1]

Anson Call

After exploring, Call concluded that the area near Chalk Creek would be the best spot to settle. Young then requested Call to gather fifty families and to establish a colony. From multiple records, it appears that the families Call recruited were generally poor and new immigrants from England.

Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, the territorial legislature met to decide on a location for the capital city. Legislators concluded that it should be placed at the geographic center of Utah Territory. Following their decision, Young assembled his own wagon company and then headed south to officially dedicate the site as the capital.  The Deseret News reported that on October 21, 1851, Young and other leaders left Great Salt Lake City for the purpose of locating the site for the seat of government.[2]

Samuel P. Hoyt

Bishop Bartholomew

One week later, on October 28th, Brigham Young arrived in what he then named Fillmore, and placed his cane to the earth declaring it the cornerstone of the new territorial statehouse. On October 29, 1851, Jesse W. Fox began surveying the city after Joseph Smith’s “city of God” method.  Young later described the events this way:

“We found an excellent situation near the ford of Chalk Creek and selected the site for the State House on the south side of that creek on the heights about 3/4 of a Mile up it.  Exceedingly beautiful are the numerous cedars in that vicinity which are included in the city plot. . . . The location of the seat of Government at that point will unquestionably prove highly satisfactory to the People of the Territory having a more central position than Great Salt Lake County and the most susceptible of maintaining a large and dense population of any other valley intervening. . . .”[3]

Building the Statehouse:

Replicas of what houses in the Fort looked like.

During the Winter of 1851 the population of Fillmore grew and settlers continued to build Fort Fillmore. They additionally began preparations to build the statehouse. In the Spring of 1852, LDS Bishop Noah Bartholomew sent multiple letters indicating that the population was growing as builders began to arrive. Brigham Young then appointed his brother in law, Truman O. Angell, to be the architect of the project. He assigned Samuel P. Hoyt as the foreman responsible for reporting updates to LDS leader, George A. Smith.

Settlers at Fillmore established a trade based economy as they struggled to build a community and provide the labor necessary to construct the new state house. In 1853 and 1854, tensions between Mormons and Ute Indians erupted into the Walker War which frequently interrupted or halted altogether construction on the building. At the end of the Walker War, Chief Kanosh was able to strike peace, and even settled his band near Fillmore in hopes of learning advanced agriculture. Despite these disruptions, workers completed the south wing of the state house in 1855.

Fillmore as a Capital:

The Statehouse

After completion of the south wing, the State Legislature convened in the House of Representatives’ Chamber. The United States District Court and Territorial Probate Courts were also able to utilize the second floor which also housed the Governor’s Office. The Deseret News used the basement of the new building as its headquarters.

The Statehouse after 1858:

By 1858, legislators complained that Fillmore was too small and too sparse in resources to continue as the capital city. Thus, they moved the capital to Salt Lake City for convenience and because Utah’s main population lived along the Wasatch Front. The statehouse at Fillmore was abandoned with only the south wing ever constructed. The south wing’s white trimmings and empty halls stand as the only remnant of the old capital at Fillmore. After the legislature vacated the city, the building was used as both a music hall and a schoolhouse. This lasted until 1930 when it was then made into a museum. The building was dedicated as a historic site in 1935.

References

[1] Brigham Young, 1851 in “Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” as cited in A History of Millard County, by Edward Leo Lyman and Linda King Newell (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society), 39-40.

[2] “President’s Visit South,” Deseret News, 29 November 1851.

[3]Brigham Young to Jedediah M. Grant, 26 November 1851, Brigham Young Collection, DR1234/1, box 16, folder 22 (reel 25), Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Primary Sources

Brigham Young to Jedediah M. Grant, 26 November 1851, Brigham Young Collection, DR1234/1, box 16, folder 22 (reel 25), Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

LDS Church Historians Office Journal, 8 January 1856, LDS Church History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

“President’s Visit South, Deseret News, 29 November 1851.

Secondary Sources

Day, Stella H. , ed.  Milestones of Millard: A Century of History of Millard County, 1851-1951.  Springville, UT: Art City Publishing Co., 1951.

Lyman, Edward Leo, and Linda King Newell, A History of Millard County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1996.