The first known overland travelers to cross the Weber River, at a point .4-mile directly in front of this marker, were the Harlan-Young, Lienhard, and Donner-Reed parties of 1846. It was at this crossing that Lansford Hastings left a note telling the Donner-Reed Party not to go through Weber Canyon. As a result of this note, the Donner-Reed Company blazed the trail from Henefer Valley to Salt Lake Valley, which the Mormons followed in 1847 and for the next 22 years.
The Mormon Pioneer Company of 1847 forded the river here on three different days: Orson Pratt’s Advance Party on July 15, the Main Group on July 19, and Brigham Young’s small group of 15 wagons on July 20. Brigham Young’s small group, which stayed with him because of his illness, camped ¼ mile upstream from the crossing.
Both sides of the crossing were used as campsites by pioneer companies, and some who died were buried there. Fording the Weber River was dangerous.
As wagons tried to cross the river, 2 to 4 feet deep and 100 feet wide, many mishaps took place. A ferry or raft, run by the Mormons, was being used 825 feet above this crossing as early as 1850. A footbridge was built at the Weber Crossing in November 1857 by members of the Utah Militia, and by 1859 a bridge was built that could handle stage coaches. Horace Greeley called it “the Shaky Pole Bridge.” Forney’s Bridge, erected by the U.S. Army in 1858, was located west-southwest of the “Witches Rocks.
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