Category Archives: early 19th century

Published / by Kenny Son / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Ben Chin

Placed by: Sons of Utah Pioneers, June 1988

GPS coordinates: Latitude: 40.708513, Longitude: -111.801820

Historical Marker Text:

William Stuart Brighton was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1829.  He married Catherine Bow (born in 1827 at Sterling, Scotland) in 1850.  He was baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1844.  They immigrated to Missouri in 1855 with two children, one of whom was buried at sea during the passage.  They came to Utah in 1857 by handcart company.  They had four sons born in the United States- Robert, William, Thomas, Daniel and Janet, born in Scotland.

In 1871 William S. Brighton claimed over 100 acres at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon.  William and Catherine built the first hotel there at “Brighton” in 1874.  It was razed in 1945.  Later they added cottages, the original Brighton store, a post office, a telephone service, a dairy service, freight haulage, a bakery and a sawmill.  Catherine Bow Brighton named the lakes around Brighton- “Mary” after her infant daughter, “Catherine” after herself, “Martha” after a friend, etc.  About 1887 the Brighton sons built the first telephone line through Brighton to Alta.  The world famous ski resort and area is now permanently called “Brighton” after this early family.

William Stuart Brighton died in 1895 and Catherine Bow in 1894.  They are buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Extended Research:

William Stuart Brighton originally immigrated from Liverpool to New Orleans before eventually making his way to Utah as part of the Israel Evans Company in 1857.[1] He kept a diary while on the voyage in which he describes some of the hardships and difficulties he and his family encountered, including the loss of his daughter, Mary. “Tuesday 19 Dec. 1854. Fine weather and a fair wind. My wife is again on deck with my assistance my children is still lying very bad this morning. The ordinance was administrated to my wife and children. The measles made their appearance on Mary this day and I was kept so busy attending my wife and children up to the 21 Dec. 1854 that I could not take an observation of our travels when at 1 o’clock on the 31st, my child, Mary departed this life…”[2] Aside from illness, Brighton and many others on the ship experienced food shortages to such an extent that nearly caused the captain to redirect course back to Liverpool.

When the ship finally did arrive in New Orleans on January 12th, 1855, Brighton and his family temporarily settled there before joining a group of Mormons pioneers to migrate westward to Utah. The Israel Evans company was the 6th handcart company that consisted of 149 individuals and 28 handcards. It started its journey at the outfitting post in Iowa City, Iowa on May 22nd-23rd, 1857. When the company made it to Utah on September 11th-12th of the same year, it was documented in the Deseret News: “Elder William Walker’s freight train was at Deer Creek on the 8th inst., and Elder Israel Evans’ hand-cart company would arrive there that evening. Elder Benjamin Ashby is with Elder Evans. There are 30 hand-carts, 2 teams and some 150 persons in the company; they are very lively and making good progress.”.[3]

Upon his initial entrance into the Utah territory, Brighton provided for his family by working temporary jobs such as driving teams, harvesting, and general labor. One of his early bosses, Daniel H. Wells, served as a connection for Brighton to construct a mill in Big Cottonwood Canyon, where he and his family eventually built a hotel and other businesses.[4]

William Stuart Brighton

When analyzing the life of William Stuart Brighton, it is apparent that his life is not unlike many of his peers during this period.  He, like most other Mormon pioneers, came to Utah territory because it suited his needs; the Brighton family could live among people who shared similar beliefs and values and it offered financial opportunity.  What sets Brighton apart from other pioneers and warrants a historical marker is the amount of area he claimed at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon and its subsequent development into a popular ski resort named in his honor.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Brighton, William S. “Diary of William Stuart Brighton.” Saints by Sea: Latter-Day Saint Immigration to America, January 12, 1855, 5–16.

“William Stuart Brighton.” Pioneer database. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Accessed February 2, 2020.

Secondary Sources:

Morris, Rod. “Salt Lake City Big Cottonwood Canyon and William Stuart Brighton.” Balsam Hill Cabin. Accessed February 2, 2020.

[1]The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  William Stuart Brighton, 2018-09-01,  (accessed 2020-02-25)

[2] Brighton, William S.  Diary of William Stuart Brighton, Saints By Sea: Latter Day Saint Immigration to American, 1854-12-19,  (accessed 2020-02-25)

[3] “Arrival and Latest News”, Deseret News, 19 August 1857,  (accessed 2020-02-25)

[4] Balsam Hill Cabin.  Salt Lake City: Big Cottonwood Canyon and William Stuart Brighton,

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: (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 |
Photo Credit: (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.

Photo Credit: (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.” A&E Television Networks, November 16, 2009.

[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.

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.

“Jim Bridger, ‘Covered Wagon’ Hero, Brave, Honest and True Frontiersman.” Salt Lake Telegram, 27 January 1924. Utah Digital Newspapers. Accessed April 3, 2020.,+‘Covered+Wagon’+Hero,+Brave,+Honest+and+True+Frontiersman.&sort=rel.

Secondary Sources:

Bagley, Will. “Fort Bridger.”, November 8, 2014.

Chan, Amy. “A Bridge Too Far.” HistoryNet. HistoryNet, July 17, 2019.

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.

Mays, Kenneth. “Picturing History: Jim Bridger and the Little Sandy Crossing.” Deseret News, September 11, 2019.

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.

“Jim Bridger Born.” A&E Television Networks, November 16, 2009.

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
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, September 22, 2005.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

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

Secondary Sources:

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

“History: ‘Discovery, Paradise Land, and Timeline.’” History | Heber City, UT. Accessed April   1, 2020.

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, September 22, 2005.,+2005&urlID=15626342&action=cpt&partnerID=2200&fb=Y&url=

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

Spring City

Published / by Jessica Guynn / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Jessica Guynn

Placed by: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, No. 158

GPS Coordinates:  39.4794986, -111.4965053

Historical Marker Text:

This spring was long used by Indians and early scouts as a camp site. James Allred, directed by Brigham Young, on March 22, 1852, led his sons and their families here to build their homes. In 1853 a large colony of Scandinavian immigrants joined them. The waters of canal creek and natural springs supplied the settlers twice. The Indians drove them out burning their fort and all their possessions; but in 1859, they returned to establish permanently the town of Spring City. Canal Creek Camp. San Pete County.

Extended Research:

In 1980 the U.S. government designated the entire town of Spring City as a National Historic District for its significance as an example of Mormon settlement patterns and for its well-preserved construction using geologically unique, Sanpete oolite limestone. [1]

After crossing the plains to Utah from Missouri in 1847, James Allred was assigned by the Latter-Day Saint Prophet, Brigham Young, to leave the Salt Lake Valley with his extended family in 1852 and settle an area to the Southeast known by the Mormons as Sanpete County.

Allred’s journal recorded, “I remained in Manti City, Sanpete Co. until the Spring of 1852, when according to the council of President Young, father and I moved 16 miles north and started a new settlement. [2]

Allred patterned his frontier village after the architectural plan created by Church founder Joseph Smith to build Zion, the ideal city. The template called for wide streets dividing symmetrical blocks of five acres. Center lots provided space for religious structures and businesses, while surrounding blocks accommodated individual acre lots for homes.[3]

Likewise, survey maps for Spring City display a grid of streets dividing the land into analogous squares, thus imprinting urban order onto the wilderness. [4] The plat called for private residences to be constructed of brick or stone and set back from the street to allow for both a front yard and garden behind.

Farmers utilized open space outside the village for their crops, allowing inhabitants to live centrally rather than spread themselves as distant neighbors among their fields.

Villagers eventually called Allred’s eponymous settlement Spring City after a natural effusion of cold, clear water at its center. It was one of nearly 500 communities across the West to imitate Smith’s original design, thus shaping the nascent urban landscape in the Great Basin and California. [5]

However, Mormon pioneers were not the first to claim the Sanpete valley as their home. The Ute tribe had inhabited the land for hundreds of years, migrating from the south perhaps as early as 1000 CE and establishing settlements throughout the Great Basin. [6] Ute Chief Wakara, who had grown rich from trade with trappers and Spanish colonists in New Mexico, initially viewed the pioneers as trading partners and allowed them to settle the Ute tribal hunting grounds east of the Wasatch mountains. However, tensions between villagers and tribespeople grew when Mormons sought to regulate Ute raids and sales of livestock and captives that had become their currency. [7]

Isolated acts of theft and violence increasingly led to open hostilities that culminated in the Walker War and the destruction of the entire town of Spring City by fire in 1854. [8] Settlers fled to nearby Fort Manti and didn’t return until 1859 after the withdrawal of federal troops from the Utah War (1857-58) between Mormon settlers and the U.S. government over territorial sovereignty. [9]

A large group of newly arrived Danish converts, many of whom were skilled stonemasons, joined the original villagers in reestablishing and rebuilding Spring City. Their chief material was a geologically unique Sanpete oolite limestone found in nearby outcroppings. Abundant and easily accessible, craftsmen prized the stone for its creamy hue and pliability. Oolite was the principal element of both public and private structures that began to fill the town. Stonemasons crafted churches, homes and civic buildings.

Perhaps most notable is the Spring City LDS Chapel for its intricate oolite brickwork.[10] Many of these structures still stand as monuments to pioneer industry and resilience.

[1[ “The Founding of Spring City” (accessed: February 21, 2020)

[2] Allred, James Tillman Sanford. Diary. (1825-1905).

[3] “Plat of the City of Zion, circa Early June–25 June 1833,” p. [1], The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed April 1, 2020,

[4] Burr, David H. “Survey Maps.” N.P, 1857. Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum, Spring City, UT.

[5] Provost, Claire. “Building Zion: the controversial plan for a Mormon-inspired city in Vermont,” The, (accessed: February 20, 2020)

[6] Wimmer, Ryan Elwood, “The Walker War Reconsidered” (2010). All Theses and Dissertations. (accessed: April 1, 2020). P. 21

[7] Ibid, 53

[8] Antrei, Albert C.T. and Roberts, Allen D. Utah Centennial County History Series – Sanpete County. Utah State Historical Society and Sanpete County Commission, 1999. P. 71 

[9] Poll, Richard D. and MacKinnon, William P. “Causes of the Utah War Reconsidered”  Journal of Mormon History, Vol 20 (Fall 1994): P. 17

[10] Parry, William T. “A majestic Building Stone: Sanpete Oolite Limestone,” Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol 81 (Winter 2013): P. 55

Old This is the Place Monument

Write up by: Kauriana Kendall

Placed by: Mutual Improvement Association of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

GPS coordinates: 40.75319429362746, -111.81347150355577

Historical marker text (1):



JULY 24 1847

Historical marker text (2):

THIS IS THE PLACE: A Rededication

In commemoration of a most significant historical event, this monument was first dedicated July 25, 1921. It marked the arrival in this valley of the Mormon Pioneers 74 years earlier, and more specifically, the moment when President Brigham Young rose from his sick-bed in Wilford Woodruff’s carriage and proclaimed to all the world: “This is the Place.”

Even in 1921, there was much disputation as to the exact location of the noted event. This monument was located here as the definitive answer as to where the event occurred. This answer came primarily from two speakers, very different in their presentations, but equally convincing in their conclusion.

The first speaker was 83-year-old W.W. Riter. As a lad of 9 years, he and his parents had followed Brigham Young to this valley. W.W. Riter was the living authority for the correct placing of the monument. In his early years, Wilford Woodruff had taken him to the spot and stated that this is exactly where Brigham Young had uttered those important words.

The second speaker was Brigham H. Roberts, aged 64, a prolific historian, theologian, congressman, eminent scholar, and a member of the Quorum of the Seventy. He said, “There has been much discussion as to whether this particular spot just outside the mouth of Emigration Canyon was really the place.” Then, quoting often from the journal of Wilford Woodruff, Mr. Roberts proved conclusively that there can be no doubt that the spot now marked by this concrete monument is very near to the actual place. In fact, speaking of the question, he remarked: “Seventy four years ago yesterday an incident occurred on or near the spot where we now stand that is destined to live in the memory of men through the ages to come.”

The above comments have been taken substantially from three articles published in the Salt Lake Tribune and three in the Desert News of the period. The comments came before and after the event.

The project of refurbishing the monument jointly undertaken by the Mills Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers and Zachary Mahoney, a Scout who used his skill and wisdom to make his Eagle Project not only memorable but lasting.

Site No. 129

July 21, 2007

Rededicated by Elder Boyd K. Packer

Historical marker text (3):


The first marker to commemorate the arrival of the Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley was a wooden cross. The eight foot post carried the name “Brigham Young.” The crosspiece said “This is the place.” In 1921, the wooden cross was replaced with the obelisk monument. This spot is where Brigham Young, in viewing the valley, made the statement, “This is the right place. Drive on.”

Extended research:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a relatively new religious movement in 1847, but the persecution its members faced up to that point was great. They were driven out of three states, faced an extermination order in one, and had received little support from local and federal governments. Their first leader, Joseph Smith, was murdered, and the process of setting up new leadership led to major dissension within the Church. The new leader, Brigham Young, initiated an effort to move his followers outside of America (to what would later be known as Utah) to avoid more persecution and government restrictions on their worship. Starting in 1846, members of the Church began making the trek west in wagon companies and, later, some handcart companies.

Brigham Young and his wagon company arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24 1847, where Young probably said something along the lines of, “this is the right place. Drive on.” According to his journal, at the top of Big Mountain, Brigham Young saw “the Spirit of Light…over the valley” and knew this was the spot the settlers were looking for. However, he made no note of the phrase “this is the place.”[1] Historians have debated whether Young actually said these words that became a monument and the name of a state park. Despite the certainty implied by the “This is the Place” monuments, there is no documentation of exactly what Brigham Young said that day. Pioneer Levi Jackman’s journal is perhaps as close as historians will get to Young’s actual words that day. Four days after Young’s arrival, Jackman paraphrased Brigham Young during a meeting called in order to decide “whear the city should be built.” As Jackman recorded it, “After a number had spoken on the subject a voat was calld for unanimosiley aggread that this was the spot. After that Pres Young said tha he knew that this is the place. he knew it as soon as he came in sight of it and he has seen this vearey spot before.”[2]

Wilford Woodruff, whose wagon the ill Young was riding in, made no comment on the words of his leader the day they entered the Salt Lake Valley; however, he is the one who eventually said the famous phrase during a Pioneer Day speech given in 1880—thirty-three years after the arrival of the wagon company and three years after Brigham Young’s death—that is so often repeated today. Here, Woodruff attributed to Young the words “This is the right place. Drive on.” Then, in 1888, Woodruff repeated the story, but quoted Young as saying “Drive on down into the valley; this is our abiding place.” Finally, in 1897, Woodruff told the story in another speech, this time quoting “That will do, drive on; this is the place.”[3] Clearly, there is no way to know exactly what Young said that day, but the catchy line written on the monument and advertised by the This is the Place Heritage Park continues to evoke feelings of pride from Utahns, especially every July 24th when Pioneer Day celebrations rival those of the Fourth of July.

Also despite the certainty of the text contained in the old monument’s longest plaque, historians do not all agree that the cement obelisk actually stands on the spot where Brigham Young looked out over the valley and declared that they had found the right place to settle. Historian W. Randall Dixon provides a description of the trails taken by the various groups of pioneers based on several journal entries. He explains that the Mormon Battalion took a vastly different route than Brigham Young’s wagon company into the Salt Lake Valley when they arrived five days later on July 29. Since this was the most direct trail to Emigration Road, where emigrants finally ended their trek and camped until finding a home, it is likely the one most of the later wagon companies used. Dixon concludes that “Most of the newcomers probably assumed that their trail was that which had been followed by their predecessors on July 22 and July 24. This may explain some of the later confusion on the matter of trails.”[4] W.W. Riter, named on the plaque as the “living authority for the correct placing of the monument,” was one such case, arriving in the valley 10 weeks after Brigham Young, according to his speech at the dedication of the monument. In this speech, he refuted claims that the first pioneers climbed over a hogback, but does not give any possible explanation for the “steep pitch” both Howard Egan and Heber C. Kimball, members of Young’s wagon company, mentioned ascending. Riter also claimed that he “crossed this same spot,”[5] meaning the location of the cement monument, probably not realizing that he would not have followed the same trail as Young, since a shorter, better blazed trail had been carved out for him by then. Therefore, even if he did cross that spot, it does nothing to prove that Young ever did.

Brigham H. Roberts, the second witness to the correct location listed on the monument plaque, is quoted a little misleadingly. In the speech he gave at the dedication of the old monument, he does in fact say that “an incident occurred on or near the spot where we now stand,” and he did quote Wilford Woodruff extensively, as the plaque says. However, his quote that “There has been much discussion as to whether this particular spot just outside the mouth of Emigration Canyon was really the place” is not from the same speech as the plaque suggests. In the dedication speech, Roberts was not at all concerned with the correct placement of the monument, but rather focused on the emotional aspects of the pioneers’ journey across the country and the mission of the saints in the valley.[6] Records such as the old This is the Place monument plaques and even the official history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published by the Church which present the location and words of Brigham Young on that historic day as certain facts show that many people, including historians, have accepted half-explained truths and uncertain quotes in order to keep alive the idealized image of Brigham Young rising from his sick bed to announce “this is the right place; drive on.” The truth is that we do not know the exact spot where Young first saw the valley, nor do we know the words he said when he saw it. There are several other testimonies that suggest that the Old This is the Place Monument is placed accurately to the north of Emigration Creek, and there are many other historians who are certain Woodruff’s wagon stopped to the south of the same creek. While we can assume that the famous event took place somewhere around the mouth of Emigration Canyon, we must accept that the This is the Place monuments are more about commemorating a day of new beginning rather than giving us a perfect historical record that does not exist.

Though the arrival of the pioneers who were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Salt Lake Valley was important for a people trying to leave a country where they had faced persecution at every turn, they themselves then became the persecutors and the beginning of an end for the Native Americans inhabiting the same land. Brigham Young, consistent with his personality, wanted to be kind to the Native Americans and convert them to his religion, but was also wary and ready to mete out justice to any he believed deserved it. He said:

They [the Indians] are of the House of Israel, and the time has come for the Lord to favor Zion, and redeem Israel. We are here in the mountains, with these Lamanites for our neighbors, and I hesitate not to say, if this people possessed the faith they ought to have, the Lord Almighty would never suffer any of the sons of Jacob to injure them in the least; no never. But I am suspicious that this people do not possess the faith they should have, therefore I calculate to carry with me proper weapons of defence, that if a man should aim a blow at my person to take away my life, before he is aware, he himself is numbered with the dead.[7]

Even when attempting kindness, the Mormon pioneers inevitably changed the lives of the natives by settling on valuable lands and trying to end the slave trade. Then many white settlers grew tired of kindness, leading to attacks on Native Americans for stealing, which culminated in events like the Walker War and the Black Hawk War. All of these tensions eventually ended to the satisfaction of the settlers: the natives were federally ordered and violently rounded up onto reservations which by 1900 represented four percent of the land native peoples controlled before the Mormons arrived in 1847. In addition, between 1847 and 1900, the natives suffered an estimated 90% population decrease.[8] While the larger “This is the Place Monument,” placed in 1947, does a better job at commemorating more groups of people involved in the history of Utah, the small 1921 obelisk focuses only on the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While Utahns should be welcome to celebrate their heritage and the hardships their own ancestors endured, we would do well to remember that a home gained for one group meant a home lost for another.

[1] Jeffery Carlstrom and Cynthia Furse, The History of Emigration Canyon: Gateway to Salt Lake Valley (Logan: Utah State University Press, 2003), 32.

[2] Levi Jackman, Levi Jackman Journal, 1847 March-1849 April, microfilm, MS 138, Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[3] Jeffrey Carlstrom and Cynthia Furse, The History of Emigration Canyon: Gateway to Salt Lake Valley (Logan: Utah State University Press, 2003), 32-33.

[4] W. Randall Dixon, “From Emigration Canyon to City Creek: Pioneer Trail and Campsites in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847,” Utah Historical Quarterly 65, no. 2 (1997): 163, accessed February 24, 2020,

[5] W.W. Riter, “Correct Placing of the Monument, Pioneer View,” Improvement Era 24, no. 11 (1921): 969-973, accessed February 24, 2020,

[6] B.H. Roberts, “Monument at Pioneer View,” Improvement Era 24, no. 11 (1921): 963, accessed February 24, 2020,

[7] Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses Vol. 1, (Liverpool : F.D. and S.W. Richards, 1854),

[8] Forrest S. Cuch, ed., A History of Utah’s American Indians (Salt Lake City: Utah State Division of Indian Affairs/Utah State Division of History, 2003).

For further reference:

Primary Sources:

Jackman, Levi. Levi Jackman journal, 1847 March-1849 April. Microfilm, MS 138. Church History Library.. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Roberts, B.H. “Monument at Pioneer View.” Improvement Era 24, no. 11 (1921): 957-1049. Accessed February 24, 2020.

Riter, W.W. “Correct Placing of the Monument, Pioneer View.” Improvement Era 24, no. 11 (1921): 957-1049. Accessed February 24, 2020.

Young, Brigham, Journal of Discourses Vol. 1. Liverpool : F.D. and S.W. Richards, 1854.

Secondary Sources:

Carlstrom, Jeffrey and Cynthia Furse, The History of Emigration Canyon: Gateway to Salt Lake Valley. Salt Lake City: Utah State Division of Indian Affairs/Utah State Division of History, 2003.

Cuch, Forrest S., ed. A History of Utah’s American Indians. Utah State University, University Libraries, 2003.

Dixon, W. Randall. “From Emigration Canyon to City Creek: Pioneer Trail and Campsites in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.” Utah Historical Quarterly 65, no. 2 (1997): 100-195. Accessed February 24, 2020.

Hales, Scott A., David C. Nielsen, Angela Hallstrom, Dallin T. Morrow, and James Goldberg. Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Edited by Matthew J. Grow, Jed L. Woodworth, Scott A. Hales, and Lisa Olsen Tait. Vol. 2. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2020.

Donner Hill

Published / by William Root / Leave a Comment

Placed by: LDS 38th North Ward Priests[1]

GPS Coordinates: 40° 45’5.76″N, 111° 48’3.28″W

Historical Marker Text:
Lured by Lansford Hasting’s assurance that his shortcut from the well-known trail to Oregon and California would save 250 miles and weeks of travel, the ill-fated Donner-Reed party reached this place August 23, 1846, after spending 16 days to hack out a 36-mile road through the Wasatch Mountains. Here at this narrow mouth of the canyon, they were stopped by what seemed impenetrable brush and boulders. Bone-weary of that kind of labor, they decided instead to goad the oxen to climb the hill in front of you. Twelve-year-old Virginia Reed, later recalled that nearly every yoke of oxen was required to pull each of the party’s twenty-three wagons up the hill. After this ordeal, the oxen needed rest, but there was no time. The party pushed on to the Salt Flats, where many of the oxen gave out. This caused delays, which led to disaster in the Sierra Mountains.

A year later, July 22, 1847, Brigham Young’s Pioneer Party, following the Donners and benefitting from their labor, reached this spot. William Clayton recorded their decision: “We found the road crossing the creek again to the south and then ascending a very steep, high hill. It is so very steep as to be almost impossible for heavy wagons to ascend…Colonel Markham and another man went over the hill and returned up the canyon to see if a road cannot be cut through and avoid this hill. Brother Markham says a good road can soon be made through the bushes some ten or fifteen rods. A number of men went to work immediately to make the road…After spending about four hours of labor the brethren succeeded in cutting a pretty good road along the creek and the wagons proceeded on.”

Donner Hill looking east towards Emigration Canyon

Among the lesson learned that day was one stated succinctly by Virginia Reed in a letter to prospective emigrants back home: “Hurry along as fast as you can, and never take no shortcuts.”

Extended Research:

In 1846 a wagon party led by George Donner departed Independence, Missouri and began a perilous journey from the United States towards Alta California in Mexico. The wagons were late in reaching the Sierra Nevada mountain range and disaster awaited the 88 members of the Donner Party. Extreme suffering and starvation followed, with 41 members of the group dying and eventually the incident drew national attention over reports that some members of the ill-fated party resorted to cannibalism in order to survive.[2] The Donner Party originally planned to travel to California via Oregon, but real estate speculator Lansford Hastings promoted an alternate route published in his famous Emigrants Guide to Oregon and California in 1845, and the Donner Party opted to try it.³

Hastings was not certain if he should promote the cutoff from Fort Bridger through the Salt Lake Valley and westward following John C. Fremont’s expedition in 1845, but he received support in favor of the cutoff from Fremont and Jim Bridger. Hastings thus advised the Donner-Reed party that they would save some 350-400 miles if they took his “cutoff.” One of his partners, James Clyman, however became convinced that the route was not suited for wagons and therefore tried to dissuade members of Donner-Reed Party from taking the cutoff. Joseph R. Walker, who successfully guided the first wagons over the California Trail by way of Fort Hall, also thought the route an unproven risk.[3]

Other migrant groups, which included the Bryant-Russell Party and Harlan-Young wagons, left Fort Bridger in mid-July 1848, following the Bear River into East Canyon where they passed through Devil’s Gate with difficulty along the Weber River. Hastings subsequently directed a group of German migrants from the Heinrich Lienhard party on a direct route through Echo Canyon into Devil’s Gate, where they caught up with the Harlan-Young party near the Jordan River. The Donner Party departed Fort Bridger two weeks later on July 31 and Hastings talked them out of going via Weber Canyon and Devil’s Gate, instead telling them to blaze a new path over to what would come to be called Emigration Canyon. On August 7, 1846, James Reed began carving a trail for the wagon train, chopping down bushes and trees in the Wasatch Mountains towards the canyon. Reed was joined by the remaining members of the wagon party who continued to hack and dig their way for 35 miles from present-day Henefer, Summit County, to Salt Lake City.²

Emigration Creek along Donner Hill

The Bryant-Russell, Harlan-Young and Lienhard parties would successfully pass through the Sierra Nevada Mountains into California, while the time the Donner Party spent trailblazing in Utah foreshadowed later events. After the three week trek through the Wasatch Mountains, the oxen were already exhausted and their supplies began to run low.

After entering the Salt Lake Valley, the first member of the party died of tuberculosis near the Great Salt Lake. A site near Grantsville, Utah provided temporary relief with underground water springs, their last source of water until reaching the Humboldt River. In the Salt Flats, Reed’s thirsty oxen ran off and were never seen again. Upon reaching Iron Hill, a fight broke out between one of Reed’s teamsters and John Snyder, a driver for the Graves wagon. Reed stabbed Snyder in the chest and was banished by the Donners after Snyder died. Reed thus avoided being pinned down by the early winter storms which trapped the rest of the party. His departure in October towards Sutter’s Fort allowed him to organize a rescue party in Sacramento that arrived in February 1847. Along the Humboldt River a band of Paiute Indians killed 21 of the Donner Party’s oxen and stole another 18, with more than 100 of the party’s cattle now gone. Two Indian guides assisted the Donner Party in reaching the summit of the Sierra Nevada, but turned back with the first sign of snowfall in early November.1

Donner-Reed Party burial remains discovered in the Salt Lake Desert

The delayed timing and trek through the west desert led to the party becoming snowbound in the Sierras. Malnutrition was a common cause of death, and Irish immigrant Patrick Breen wrote in his journal on Christmas Eve that he was living in a “Camp of Death”. 1 Some of the members of the party camped along the banks of Alder Creek and frozen Truckee Lake, now Donner Lake, where most of the cannibalism occurred. The first rescuers arrived at Truckee Lake in February 1847, composed of soldiers from the U.S. Army stationed in California during the U.S.-Mexican War, among them were members of the Mormon Battalion. One week after rescuers arrived, other isolated camp sites were still using the corpses of the dead for food. Breen wrote in his diary on February 26:

Martha’s jaw swelled with the toothache: hungry times in camp; plenty hides, but the folks will not eat them. We eat them with a tolerable good apetite. Thanks be to Almighty God. Amen. Mrs Murphy said here yesterday that [she] thought she would Commence on Milt. & eat him. I don’t [think] that she has done so yet; it is distressing. The Donners, 4 days ago, told the California folks that they[would] commence to eat the dead people if they did not succeed, that day or next, in finding their cattle.1

Patrick Breen’s diary entry describing the routine cannibalism in the encampment

Three additional relief efforts occurred in April in an attempt to find members who had become separated while camping along Truckee Lake. In the last effort they found only one survivor, Louis Keesberg, who was surrounded by half-eaten corpses. As the survivors departed with the rescuers, members of the Mormon Battalion were ordered to bury the dead bodies inside the main cabin on what is today Donner Pass and then set fire to the cabin.[4]

The Donner Party, in essence, blazed the trail into the Salt Lake Valley which Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers used the following year. Young left Winter Quarters, Nebraska with his encampment and passed through the mouth of Echo Canyon by mid-July 1847; he then picked up the Donner-Reed trail and followed it into the Salt Lake Valley. Instead of three weeks, it took Young’s party one week, a matter of great importance since it enabled the Mormons to plant wheat and potato crops in time for their first harvest in the fall. In the last quarter-mile, rather than hauling their wagons over Donner Hill, the Mormons decided to hack through the brush and go around Donner Hill. The Mormons emerged four hours later at what is now This is the Place State Park.[5]

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Breen, Patrick. Diary of Patrick Breen of the Donner Party, 1846-7. Berkeley: University  of         California Bancroft Library, 1910.

Secondary Sources:

Campbell, Eugene. “The Mormons and the Donner Party.” BYU Studies Quarterly, Vol. 11 no. 3 (1971).

Miller, David. “The Donner Road through the Great Salt Lake Desert.” Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 27, no. 1 (February 1958): 39-44

[1] Originally installed by “Mormon Explorers” Y.M.M.I.A. In 2010, the original plaque was stolen and re-erected in 2016 by the LDS 38th North Ward High Priests

[2] Campbell, “The Mormons and the Donner Party.”

[3] Miller, “The Donner Road through the Great Salt Lake Desert,” 39-44

1 Breen, 18

1 Breen, 28

[5] Campbell, “The Mormons and the Donner Party.”

Nauvoo Bell Tower & Relief Society Memorial

Published / by Amy Shaw / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Amy Shaw

Placed by:

The Relief Society – Woman’s Benevolent Organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter – Day Saints

            Latitude: 40.76996655

            Longitude: -111.89330947

Historical Marker Text (1) – Sign:

The Nauvoo Bell originally hung in the temple that Church members built in Nauvoo, Illinois, in the 1840’s. The Saints removed the bell in 1846 when they were forced to leave Illinois because of persecution. Following instructions from Brigham Young, the second company of pioneers carried the bell to the Salt Lake Valley. During their journey, they rang the bell to signal daybreak and departure and to warn that night sentries were on duty. The bell is now rung hourly as a symbol of religious freedom and is heard on KSL Radio.

This monument honors the Relief Society, an organization founded on 17 March 1842 for women of the Church. The bell tower was built with donations from Relief Society members to mark the organization’s centennial.

Historical Marker Text (2) – East Side:  RELIEF SOCIETY CENTENNIAL MEMORIAL

Here in the shadow of the temple, on this spot hallowed by the tread of pioneer feet, the Relief Society – woman’s benevolent organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints erects this monument.

It stands as an expression of appreciation for the wondrous opportunities for soul growth that have come to womankind since the time one hundred years ago when in 1842 the Relief Society was organized in Nauvoo, Illinois, by the prophet Joseph Smith, who said :

“I now turn the key in your behalf in the name of the Lord and this society shall rejoice, and knowledge and intelligence shall flow down from this time henceforth… let kindness charity and love crown your works.”

In this tower hangs the famed Nauvoo temple bell whose lifetime spans a century of church history. A sentinel in the sacred temple at Nauvoo, the bell in vibrant tones rang out the changing moods of faithful saints as they experienced first peace and joy, and later the anguish of parting from all that they had toiled to build. Immediately following the original pioneers with Brigham Young at their head, came the second company in the great exodus to the west. Heading this veritable host of Israel, the bell played well its part in the westward trek. It awakened the herdsman at dawn, called the Saints from their wagons to kneel in morning prayer, rang again to start the day’s march, and in the solemn stretches of the night, it quieted the fears of the people as it warned stray Indians that the sentry was at his post.

It is with gratitude that this monument is dedicated to the thousands of unsung Relief Society heroines who over a period of one hundred years have stimulated intellectual development and given compassionate service without thought of honor or reward. These valiant women have nourished the hungry, clothed the needy, nursed the sick, buoyed up the discouraged and disconsolate, and tenderly prepared the dead for burial.

Relief Society General Presidents 

                        1842 – 1942

            Emma Smith                                     Emmeline B. Wells

            Eliza R. Snow                                   Clarissa S. Williams

            Zina D. H. Young                             Louise Y. Robinson

            Bathsheba W. Smith                       Amy Brown Lyman

Historical Marker Text (3) – South Side:


Through Love Serve One Another

Historical Marker Text (4) – North Side: EDUCATION

The Glory of God is Intelligence

Historical Marker Text (5) – West Side:


No Toil Nor Labor Fear

Extended Research:

In July of 1845, a letter from Brigham Young was published in the Millennial Star, asking the saints in Britain to donate money that would fund the making of a bell to be placed in the Nauvoo temple. Wilford Woodruff, who was the president of the British Mission was charged with encouraging the Saints to raise the funds and collect the money.1 The British Saints raised 535 pounds.2

There is some confusion as to whether the bell was purchased in England or America. Due to a letter to Woodruff, from Young which states, “I wrote you in my last letter that we intended to purchase the bell in this country and desired you to transmit the money collected for that purpose by the first safe opportunity,” it is believed that the bell must have been bought and constructed in America. However, there are accounts from others recalling “a large bell some of the brethren (missionaries) had sent from England by ship to New Orleans, thence by river steamer up the Mississippi River to Nauvoo, where it was hung, with some difficulty, in the steeple of the Temple.” There are no records of the bell’s purchase to back up either account.3

The Nauvoo Bell. Courtesy of LDS Historical Dept.

It is believed that the bell was completed and arrived in the city of Nauvoo in early June of 1846, where it was hung for a short time in the belfry of the Nauvoo Temple. In the time it was there, the bell was used to sound the alarm for anti-Mormon mob attacks. One such attack was the Battle of Nauvoo which took place in June 1846, when Hancock County settlers drove remaining Mormons from their homes at Nauvoo. The temple was eventually surrendered to the mobs, and the Saints were forced to flee. It is reported that as the mob marched through the temple, they rang the bell as a preacher shouted “Peace, Peace, Peace to all the inhabitants of the earth, now the Mormons are driven.” One man, John R. Young, as he and the other Saints were fleeing, stopped to write:

 “The silvery notes of the temple bell

That we loved so deep and well;

And a pang of grief would swell the heart,

And the scalding tears in anguish start

As we silently gazed on our dear old homes” 4

It is here that the history of the Nauvoo Bell becomes murky. According to  Edith Smith Eliot, the great-granddaughter of Wilford Woodruff, the bell was stolen from the temple and taken to a protestant church, where the Lamoreaux family stole it back for the LDS Church. The tale goes that “one stormy night the men gathered in secret and without horses pulled the wagon to the Church and lowered the Bell, pushed and pulled the wagon by hand to the edge of the Mississippi River and carefully concealed it in the water. Andrew Lamoreaux and his brother, David, were chosen to bring the Bell to Utah with their families, concealing the Bell in their wagon with their provisions.”5 This story, however, is most likely not about the Nauvoo Bell but actually about Hummer’s Bell, a bell made for a Presbyterian church under the direction of Michael Hummer in 1844. Somehow the history of these two bells have gotten mixed up.6

What is actually believed to have happened to the Nauvoo Bell is that in September, when Brigham Young heard that the Saints were forced out of their homes in Nauvoo, he wrote to the trustees of the Church property saying, “Since you will have no further use of the Temple Bell, we wish you to forward it to us by the first possible chance, we have much need of it at this place.” Reports from Joshua Hawkes tell us that he and a Latter-day Saint by the name of James Houton then took the bell across the Mississippi River, where it fell under the charge of Joseph P. Heywood. Heywood then took the bell to Winter Quarters.7

It is believed that the bell arrived in Winter Quarters in Nebraska Territory in December of 1846. Here, the bell was placed in the public square and was used to call members to worship services and other meetings.8

Then, in June of 1847, a wagon company led by Charles C. Rich transported the bell to the Salt Lake Valley.1 During the journey, it was attached to a wagon so that it could be rung to awaken the company each morning, signal morning prayer, to start each day’s march, and to warn the company of any Indian attacks.9

The company arrived in Salt Lake in September of 1847. The bell was then placed in a fort in the city for a short time until it was moved to the bowery on Temple Square. It remained there until the winter of 1849 -1850 when it cracked. This resulted in the bell being melted down and recast.10 The recast bell measures 23 1/2 inches tall, 33 inches wide at its base, and 2 1/2 inches thick.11 It was then placed in Brigham Young’s schoolhouse located just east of the Beehive house, in 1860.12 It remained there until 1902 when it was presented to the Utah State Historical Society, and placed in the LDS Church museum. It remained on display there for many years.13

In 1941, John Taylor announced that the bell would be permanently placed in a tower on the grounds of the Tabernacle before the observance of the centennial of the National Relief Society, in 1942.14 However, due to World War II breaking out, the tower’s erection was postponed to 1966. The tower was designed by Lorenzo S. Young, grandson of Brigham Young.15 It stands 35 feet high and is located between the Assembly Hall and Tabernacle on Temple Square.16 The bronze artwork at the base of the tower was done by renowned sculptor Avard T. Fairbanks.17 The first sculpture is of the monogram RS (for Relief Society) and a picture of the Nauvoo temple. The next two sides depict the twofold work of the Relief society, education, and benevolence. And the last sculpture  commemorates the Church’s pioneering spirit.18

It is believed by some that the Nauvoo Bell Tower is a response to a prophecy made by Brigham Young in which he said: “Right west of the temple … we shall build a tower and put a bell on it. … This plan was shown to me in a vision when I first came onto the ground.”

Today, the Nauvoo Bell serves as an hourly time signal for KSL TV and radio. This began in 1961 with President of the LDS church, David O. McKay presiding at the ceremonies at KSL TV.19 The tolling of the bell marks the top of each hour on KSL by use of a microphone on Temple Square. There is a 7-second delay from the sounding of the bell to the listener’s ear on the radio.20


[1] Ronald G. Watt, “A Tale of Two Bells: Nauvoo Bell and Hummer’s Bell,”, accessed March 17, 2019,

[2] Don F. Colvin, “Religious Studies Center,” 11. The Fate of the Temple | Religious Studies Center, 2002, accessed March 17, 2019,

[3] Colvin, “Religious Studies Center,” 11.

[4] David R. Crockett, “The Nauvoo Temple: “A Monument of the Saints”,”, accessed March 17, 2019,

[5] “I’ve Heard There Is a Story behind the Bell on Temple Square. Can You Relay It?” Ensign, February 1981, accessed March 30, 2019,

[6] Watt, “A Tale of Two Bells.”

[7] Colvin, “Religious Studies Center,” 11.

[8] Watt, “A Tale of Two Bells.”

[9] “I’ve Heard There Is a Story.”

[10] Watt, “A Tale of Two Bells.”

 [11] Colvin, “Religious Studies Center,” 11.

[12] Watt, “A Tale of Two Bells.”

[13] Colvin, “Religious Studies Center,” 11.

[14] “Church Prizes Only Relic, Leader Asserts,” Salt Lake Telegram, 3 October 1941, page 10, Utah Digital Newspapers.

[15] Connie Lamb, “Symbols of the LDS Relief Society,”,  accessed March 17, 2019,

[16] “Nauvoo Bell’s ‘clang’ Is Back on KSL Radio,” Deseret News, June 23, 2005, accessed March 17, 2019,

[17] Athelia T. Woolley, “Art to Edify: The Work of Avard T. Fairbanks,” accessed March 17, 2019,

[18] Lamb, “Symbols.”

[19] “I’ve Heard There Is a Story.”

[20] “Nauvoo Bell’s ‘clang’ Is Back.”

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

“Church Prizes Only Relic, Leader Asserts”. Salt Lake Telegram, 3 October 1941. page 10. Utah Digital Newspapers.

Secondary Sources:

“A Visit to Temple Square.” Accessed March 17, 2019.

Bennett, Richard E. “Winter Quarters: Church Headquarters, 1846–1848.” Accessed March 17, 2019.

Colvin, Don F. “Religious Studies Center.” 11. The Fate of the Temple | Religious Studies Center. 2002. Accessed March 17, 2019.

Crockett, David R. “The Nauvoo Temple: “A Monument of the Saints”.” Accessed March 17, 2019.

“I’ve Heard There Is a Story behind the Bell on Temple Square. Can You Relay It?” Ensign, February 1981. Accessed March 30, 2019.

Lamb, Connie. “Symbols of the LDS Relief Society.” Accessed March 17, 2019.

“Nauvoo Bell’s ‘clang’ Is Back on KSL Radio.” Deseret News. June 23, 2005. Accessed March 17, 2019.

Searle Assistant, Don L. “Nauvoo: A Temple Reborn.” Accessed March 17, 2019.

Watt, Ronald G. “A Tale of Two Bells: Nauvoo Bell and Hummer’s Bell.” Accessed March 17, 2019.

Woolley, Athelia T. “Art to Edify: The Work of Avard T. Fairbanks.” Accessed March 17, 2019.

Pleasant Green Ward

Published / by Alejandro Pastor / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Alejandro Pastor

Placed by: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, No. 467

GPS Coordinates:

  1. Long/Lat:         N 40.71121° , W 112.09832°
  2. MGRS:              12T VL 07224 07278
  3. Elevation          4293 ft

Historical Marker Text:

Settlers came to this part of the valley around 1850 to farm and stock range.  It was known as Pleasant Green and was part of the Brighton Ward of the Salt Lake Stake.

Traveling so far to meetings presented a problem, so members met in private homes.  The Pleasant Green Branch was organized July 29, 1877, with John Hirst as presiding elder.  A small adobe chapel, 40 feet by 24 feet, was built on this site, and the first meeting was held December 30, 1877.  The building also served as a public school.  Hirst died September 7, 1878, and Levi Nephi Hardman became presiding elder.

The Pleasant Green Ward was organized October 1, 1882, with Hardman as the first bishop.  The ward also included the Hunter Precinct within its boundaries.  A much larger chapel, 60 feet by 30 feet, was built in 1897, with Hiram T. Spencer as bishop.  Later the small adobe chapel was dismantled.  In 1898 the ward had 70 families with 340 members.

        In 1904 the ward became part of Pioneer Stake.  An amusement hall with spring wooden floor was begun in 1912.  Oquirrh Stake was organized from Pioneer Stake in 1923, and this building also served as its stake house for thirty-two years.  In 1961 a new building was completed, and this building was no longer used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

        Pleasant Green is the mother ward of all the wards in this area.


Extended Research:

The information that exists today on the Pleasant Green Ward has been preserved because of the forethought of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

“Elder Andrew Jensen visited Pleasant Green Nov. 23, 1894, in the interest of Church history, and met in a special meeting with the following residents of the ward, who imparted historical information: Bishop Hiram T. Spencer, John Hirst Jr., Peter LeCheminant, William Jenkins, George W. Perkins, Samuel B Taylor, James Bertoch,  Lehi N. Hardman, George A. Heid and Edward Lambert.”[2]

The information preserved by Elder Jensen’s notes and the Pleasant Green Ward’s minutes are the main sources of knowledge on the historic Pleasant Green Ward.

The eventual construction of a chapel for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Pleasant Green area was an outgrowth of settlement in the western part of the Salt Lake Valley beginning in the 1850s. The area around the Pleasant Green Ward building was first settled in 1853 by William G. Young who located a ranch about 2.5 miles northwest of the current building’s location.[3]

Initially settlers traveled considerable distances on Sundays to attend worship services. Attending meetings with the Brighton congregation proved difficult for people from Pleasant Green due to its distance, roughly twelve miles away. In 1872, after John Hirst settled in the Pleasant Green area, the Bishop of the Brighton Ward, Alonzo H. Raleigh,  granted Hirst permission to hold meetings in Pleasant Green. These Latter-day Saint meetings were initially held in people’s homes. As time went on the meetings became more frequent and were held about once a month in a small log home built by Josiah Lees. Regular sabbath meetings were held in Lees’ log home until 1877 when the Pleasant Green meeting house was built.[4]

On July 29th, 1877 local LDS leaders reorganized the Brighton Ward and created the Pleasant Green Branch to better serve the needs of Pleasant Green settlers. John Hirst was ordained a High Priest at the same time. Later that year residents built a roughly 1,000 square foot meeting house, at a cost of $1,000. On October 1, 1882, Brigham Young Jr,  an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attended meetings at Pleasant Green and organized the branch as a ward. Lehi H. Hardman was selected as the first bishop of the ward.[5]


The Pleasant Green Ward  building would serve as the meeting house in Pleasant Green until 1897. With continued growth in the area the LDS Church built another chapel directly east of the meeting house. The new building was bigger, roughly 1,800 square feet, was made of brick, and could hold up to 350 people. It cost about $2,400 to build and provided additional room for the burgeoning congregation.[7]

The area surrounding Pleasant Green Ward continued to grow with new settlers; by December 31, 1900 the ward had 383 members. With rapid settlement the ward had to divide several times to better accommodate larger groups. On February 27, 1916 the ward was divided into the Pleasant Green Ward and the Magna Ward. With continued growth, the Pleasant Green Ward split into Pleasant Green 1st Ward and Pleasant Green 2nd Ward, on March 16, 1952. The Church would eventually divide the ward once again and relocate to a larger chapel. The old Peasant Green building still stands as a place of worship, but it is now under the ownership of Christ Presbyterian Church.[8]

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources

Fellows, Barbara G. Pleasant Green Meeting House p.1. Feb. 1941. Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection, Utah State Historical Society, Magna, Utah. Accessed Apr. 7, 2019.

Pleasant Green Ward, Oquirrh Stake. Pleasant Green Ward General Minutes, 1867-1951, microfilm, LR 6996 11 reel 1,Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Pleasant Green Ward, Oquirrh Stake. Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1855-1951, microfilm,LR 6996 2 reel 1, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Pleasant Green Ward, Oquirrh Stake. Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1855-1951, microfilm,LR 6996 2 reel 2, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[1] Barbara G. Fellows, Pleasant Green Meeting House p.1. Feb. 1941. Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection, Utah State Historical Society, Magna, Utah.

[2] Oquirrh Stake Pleasant Green Ward, Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1894, microfilm, LR 6996 2, reel 1,Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[3]  Oquirrh Stake, Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, LR 6996 2 reel 1

[4] Oquirrh Stake, Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, LR 6996 2 reel 1

[5] Oquirrh Stake, Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, LR 6996 2 reel 1

[6] Oquirrh Stake, Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, LR 6996 2 reel 1

[7] Oquirrh Stake, Pleasant Green Ward, Pleasant Green Ward General Minutes, microfilm, LR 6996 11 reel 1, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[8] Oquirrh Stake Pleasant Green Ward, Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, microfilm, LR 6996 2 reel 2, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Battle Creek

Published / by Brittney Carter / Leave a Comment

Write up by Brittney Carter


40°21’48” N 111°42’2” W

Elevation 5260

Marker originally placed by: Jared Warburton, 1997

Battle Creek monument text

Marker Text:

“This monument is in memory of the first armed engagement between the Mormon pioneers and the Native Americans that inhabited Utah Valley, and serves as a reminder of the extreme sacrifice given by both people. This skirmish at the mouth of Battle Creek Canyon gave it its name.”

Extended Research

Kiwanis Park at Battle Creek

Battle Creek, which is now known as Pleasant Grove, was the site of the first battle between Native Americans and Utah pioneers. Mormon (LDS) leaders in Salt Lake City ordered militiamen to investigate reports in Utah Valley that Indians were killing cattle and that they had stolen Brigham Young’s horses. The accusation of horse theft proved untrue. As a result, the militiamen received new orders from Salt Lake City “stating that as the horses were not stolen . . . we need not spend any more time in search of them.” They were, however, directed to continue the expedition to investigate the killing of cattle. As Hosea Stout, one of the militiamen recalled, “the nature of our expedition was not in the least changed.”(1).

Battle Creek Marker

After a few days of travel, the militiamen made it to what is now American Fork and rested over night with a band of Ute Indians. Hosea Stout wrote, “the Company [got] an early start and traveled south to the Provo, a fine large stream and well timbered in the valley. This is a beautiful farming country. Here we found the Utahs, who . . . received us friendly but were much excited being evidently afraid of us. After spending an hour or so with them and learning what we could, respecting those we were in pursuit of and also explaining the object of our visit we traveled on. Little Chief accompanied us about three miles up the Provo where we encamped for the night”(1).

The militiamen split into two groups after they came upon a few Native Americans at Battle Creek Canyon who were still sleeping. When the Indians awoke and saw that they were surrounded by white men they tried to flee farther up the canyon, only to find another group of militiamen waiting for them. Before fighting began, an interpreter from among the militia tried to get the Native Americans to surrender.

As Hosea Stout recalled: “Our interpreters talked to them and told them our errand, and asked them to give themselves up. They refused. Our guide talked to them and reasoned with them, but all to no purpose, fight they would unless we went away, then they said they would come out. The guide told them they must come out then or die. . . . The first one shot was their leader. Then such a howling and crying, I think white men never heard before” (1).

After fighting broke out there were several casualties according to Oliver B. Huntington:

“All the bodies we could find were carried together to one place for burial: seven great, fat stout men. . . . When we got back to where we left the dead, there was neither dead nor living anywhere to be found. We did not think them worth hunting for anymore, and started home.” (2).

Mormon pioneers soon settled the land in Utah Valley because of the richness of the soil that militiamen witnessed on this expedition. Brigham Young had already planned to expand further south. As one history of Provo recounted, “Initial Mormon settlement thus was on the site of Salt Lake City. Nevertheless, Young planned to explore all valleys, and, when opportunity permitted, establish settlements in those sufficiently well-watered” (3). Mormon leaders selected Utah Valley as one area for settlement which led to further conflict with Ute Indians in the region.

Battle Creek falls

Battle Creek remained the name of the area until years later when Mormon pioneers decided to change it to Pleasant Grove. The monument that is left at the base of Battle Creek Canyon, which leads to Battle Creek Falls, stands as a reminder of the first battle fought between Mormon pioneers and Native Americans. It also serves as a reminder that Mormon settlement came at a significant cost to Native Americans, in loss of life, land, and culture.




  1. On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1844–1861, Vol. 2, Edited by Juanita Brooks, (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1964), 344-347.
  2. Diary of Oliver B. Huntington, 1847–1900, Vol. 2, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 47–55, 331-341.
  3. Writers Program, Provo, Pioneer Mormon City (Portland, Oregon : Binfords & Mort1942), 36-44.

For Further Reference

Primary Sources

On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1844–1861, Vol. 2, Edited by Juanita Brooks, (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1964).

Diary of Oliver B. Huntington, 1847–1900, Vol. 2, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Secondary Sources

Jared Farmer, On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Cambridge: Mass: Harvard University Press, 2008).

Writers Program, Provo, Pioneer Mormon City (Portland, Oregon : Binfords & Mort1942).

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.

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.