Located at 78 South Main Street in Henefer, Utah – The Daughters of Utah Pioneers Henefer Camp has a nice building here with historic markers on display outside.
D.U.P. Marker #316 – Echo Gristmill (see details here)
Intersection of old pioneer trail of 1847 and the Lincoln Highway.
The pioneers passed this spot July 19, 1847 under the leadership of Brigham Young.
This monument erected by the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of Summit Stake to the memory of the Mormon Pioneers, July 13, 1927.
James and William Hennefer
In 1853 Brigham Young asked English immigrants James and William Hennefer to start a settlement east of the big Mountain. Tall, abundant sagebrush, threats of danger, and harsh winters made this area very difficult to establish.
Each year in the spring, the Hennefer brothers and their families traveled to this area. They lived in dugouts which were located under the hill approximately 100 feet east from where you are standing. These families planted and harvested potatoes before returning to Salt Lake in the fall. In 1859 they built log homes, making Henefer a permanent settlement. Blacksmiths by trade, James and William built the first blacksmith shop on the southwest corner across the street from this location.
The brothers divided the town of Henefer into city blocks, similar to the layout of Salt Lake City. They valley was first called Henneferville after the brothers who settled it but later the name was changed to Henefer.
Over a Century of Building
For 165 years, this humble plot of land served the citizens of Henefer well.
In 1866, for the safety of the early settlers, a fort was built on the south end of this lot. The fort was constructed of logs, with port holes for defense, and covered about an acre of ground. Log homes, facing the center, were built inside the compound where a commons building was used for schooling and church services.
In 1872 the townspeople disassembled the fort and built an adobe brick meetinghouse in its place. This building was constructed at a cost of $1,900.00 and was used as both a meetinghouse and schoolhouse for almost 30 years.
In 1908 the town built a new schoolhouse in the center of town, and construction of a new frame church house began on the north end of this lot. This project took three years to complete, and the building was dedicated May 7, 1911. The original building supported a belfry which was struck by lightning in 1931 and had to be removed.
Forty-four years later in 1955, as a means to accommodate the growing population of Henefer, the south wing of the frame church house was removed and a new two-story addition was added. The entire structure, including the frame chapel, was covered in bricks made from local red clay. This meetinghouse served as a gathering place for all the citizens of Henefer for more than 57 years before it’s demolition in 2012.
With the location of the LDS chapel moved to the north end of town, Henefer City, seeing the historical value, purchased this property and a new DUP museum and this historical park were constructed for all to enjoy.
The Pioneer Camp
The ground on which you now stand was once the site of a Mormon pioneer camp. The pioneers chose this location because it hosted a natural spring, had access to the Weber River, and had an open view which allowed easy detection of threats to the camp.
For the Mormon Pioneers, the trek between Henefer and Salt Lake City was the hardest 36 miles of the journey. This little campsite held a special place in the hearts of the early settlers as their last place to pause and rest before entering the Salt Lake Valley.
Archaeological findings suggest Native Americans once inhabited this area as early as 12,000 years ago. These indigenous people survived for centuries, eventually forming tribal bands. The most noted of these tribes was the Shoshone.
The Shoshone were seen camped along the banks of the Weber River, sometimes, in groups as large as 1,500 people. They fished using spears, gill nets, and basket traps.
They were also skilled at snaring and hunting the abundant local wild game. Wildlife, such as grouse, owls, muskrats, squirrels, beaver, elk, porcupines, bobcats, rabbits, badgers, and bear provided food and other necessities used for daily living. Native plants, such as thistle stems, sagebrush seeds, sego lilies, cattails, and pine seeds were critical to Shoshone survival.
These people followed a yearly cycle during which they traveled a well-specified route from the desert valleys to this mountainous area. The Shoshone people had reverence for the land, water, and animals. In their view, all things were holy.
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Diane Lockard said:
Thank you for perserving history of Utah! Many places to explore.
Joan Carol Hennefer Clark,35 outh Kaysville , Utah said:
James and William Hennefer(There was no Richard Hennefer) were assigned by Brigham Young to go to the place, now Henefer ,for the summer. Below is some information I have in my history for William.
The two brothers left their home following their baptisms in Wollaston,England, immigrated to Cartersville,Iowa,near Kanesville, where they were blacksmiths preparing for the trek to Utah.. (Their father, James Hennefer was an Ironmonger in Wollaston.) James Hennefer, and family,immigrated first. Their daughter Charlotte died and was buried in Cartersville. Phoebe was born there.
William had married Rebecca Ann Hays Jan 1, 1850 at the First Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Philadelphia by Elder Gibson.Their son William was born at Cartersville, Iowa on their first anniversary,January 1,1851.
James came to Utah ahead of William and lived in North Kanyon(now Bountiful). William came to North Kanyon the following year, in the spring, where he began his Davis Hotel on Main Street. There he had several rooms and boarding for horses. He also had an Eatery and later a Barber Shop.He later changed the name of his hotel to The Shakespeare House.
Brigham Young had a dinner at his establishment and remarked, in his journal, he enjoyed Mrs. Hennefer’s cooking.Shortly after that, William and James were asked ,by Brigham Young, to go to the place they called Hennefer Station for the summer. .Later,much later, William was called to be Branch President for the Hennefer area. His brother James was counselor as was William’s father- in -law, Abraham Hays.
William Hennefer’s life was filled with work and dedication to The Gospel of Jesus Christ , his wives, his families and his community.
This information is well documented.(I have spent many hours in my life documenting William Hennefer’s life that is both long and varied.)