On July 22, 1847, an advanced party of the first Mormon pioneers entered the valley and immediately began to irrigate land and explore the area with a view to establishing new settlements. Alexander Beckstead, a blacksmith from Ontario, Canada, moved his family to the West Jordan area in 1849, and became the first of his trade in the south Salt Lake Valley. He helped dig the first ditch to divert water from the Jordan River, powering Archibald Gardner’s flour mill. In 1859, Beckstead became the first settler of South Jordan by moving his family along the Jordan River where they lived in a dugout cut into the west bluffs above the river. The flood plain of the Jordan was level, and could be cleared for farming if a ditch was constructed to divert river water along the base of the west bluff. Beckstead and others created the 2.5-mile “Beckstead Ditch”, parts of which are still in use as of 2010.
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