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Fort Palmyra Pioneer Settlement

Daughters of Utah Pioneers Marker #583

Elder George A. Smith called several strong families to travel south of Salt Lake City to settle Palmyra. He counseled them to build a fort for protection to ensure their safety from the local Indians. These stalwart pioneers enclosed a 10-acre square with 10-foot walls. The task of cutting mud blocks, making adobe bricks and building the fort was great. Each family had a small house made with the bricks, which formed the outer walls of the fort; the doors faced the center. Inside, the corral stockade kept the livestock safe. Some families moved into the fort upon completion in 1852. Other families arrived after the Walker War broke out one year later. The meetinghouse was used for church and school. During the winter of 1853-1854, having been joined by settlers from the Upper Settlement (now known as Spanish Fork), the population at Fort Palmyra numbered 404.

A peaceful resolution brought the Walker War to a close in August 1854. Brigham Young counseled the pioneers to move to the Upper Settlement, where there was better farmland. Fort Palmyra was dismantled and the adobe bricks were taken with them to rebuild the buildings they would need to survive. These brave, stalwart pioneer men, women and children built, then totally dismantled their homes and fort in the space of three years and rebuilt new homes in the second settlement.

In January 1855, the Territorial Legislature granted Fort Palmyra/Fort St. Luke, a city charter, allowing the government to rename the city ‘Spanish Fork.’ In 1880, many settlers moved back to Palmyra and built a new meetinghouse that served as a church and a school.

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