In 1866 a group of Scandinavian Latter-day Saints entered the area that would become Bear River City. Their first homes were dugouts on the west bank of the Bear River. These dugouts were roofed with poles, willows, straw, and dirt. The fall of 1867 saw these early pioneers moving from the river dugouts to establish the Bear River Fort as a protection from the Indians. The fort was built on this ten acre block with log and adobe cabins surrounding the entire area.
The doors and windows of all 44 cabins in the fort face the center, making the cabin walls the walls of the fort. In the center area, they erected a flagpole on which Old Glory was unfurled, not only on state occasions, but to call the people to church, the children to school, or as a signal that the cow herd was ready to start for the pasture.
On three corners of the fort, wells were dug for the water supply, and the animals were corralled outside the fort. A house for public gatherings was erected on the west wall where church, school, dances, and meetings were held. Irrigation from the Malad River was introduced when the area northwest of the fort was farmed.c
This is DUP Marker #496 located at Bear River City Park at 4470 West 5900 North in Bear River City, Utah
Across Mill Creek is the location of the five acre Farr’s Fort. It was erected in 1850 by Lorin Farr, Ezra Chase, Ambrose Shaw, John Shaw, Charles Hubbard and others settlers to protect themselves from Indian attacks. The fort was enclosed on the east, south and west by houses joined end to end, facing inward. The spaces between the houses were picketed with poles and extending upward some 12 feet, the north wall was never completed. Nearly all the settlers on the north side of Ogden River lived in this fort at one time. Lorin Farr moved into town in 1853 and shortly thereafter the fort was completely abandoned.
One of the many pioneer forts in Ogden was Mound Fort (see others in the link below). The historic marker at the nearby church (historic marker and church also linked below) says:
Mound Fort as a settlement began in 1848 when the first pioneers arrived in this locality. Others followed and erected a fort on an Indian burial mound. Its steep west slope, cut to a perpendicular face 10 feet high topped with a 3-foot breastwork, served as a lookout. Mud walls were begun on the other side. Cabins were built. A spring furnished water. Meetings and school were held in private homes. As more settlers came, Indian threats subsided and the fort fell into disuse.
The Fort Douglas Cemetery was established in December 1862 under the direction of the commanding officer Colonel Edward Patrick Connor. On 25 February 1863 the first funeral services were held for the soldiers who fell during the battle of Bear River. James Duane Doty, Utah Territorial Governor 1863-1865, was buried on 15 June, 1865. General Conner, First Commander of Fort Douglas, was laid to rest on 21 December 1891.
Those officers and men who have died in the service of their country have chosen this sacred and hallowed ground as their final resting place: they represent Civil War, Spanish American War, World War 1, World War 2, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam Conflict. Also interred are 21 German Prisoners of War from World War 1, and 20 German, 12 Italian and 1 Japanese Prisoner of War from World War 2.
The soldiers were required to practice the greatest act of religious training – – sacrifice. He must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. We must remember: only the dead have seen the end of war.
The pioneers of Lehi settled in this vicinity in the fall of 1850. Thirteen families located at Sulphur Springs, later Snow’s Springs, forty rods east of here where a fort was begun. ANother group formed the Lott Settlement, to the southeast. Others located nearby.
The following year most of the families moved to higher ground on Dry Creek, selected in July 1850 by Canute Peterson and six companions, and established Evansville, named for Bishop David Evans. By legislative enactment, February 5, 1852 the “City of Lehi” was incorporated. It included the area between Utah Lake and the north foothills. The name Lehi was taken from the Book of Mormon. This monument was erected as a part of Lehi’s Centennial Celebration.
Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association Marker #118
In addition to a new name, two monuments were also dedicated in the community. Honoring Lehi’s first permanent settlement at Sulphur Springs, later called Snow Springs, the Centennial Committee set a twelve ton boulder into a cement base near the site of the springs on Saratoga Road. A Bronze plaque provided a brief history of the area. Two dats later the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers unveiled their monument at the site of the town’s first cemetery on State Street.
Sulphur Springs History
Sulphur Springs was explored by the Canute Peterson party who came to Lehi. The party was sent by Brigham Young to explore the north end of Utah County. The party included Canute Peterson, David Savage, Charles Hopkins, Henry Royle, William S. Empey, William Wadsworth and Surveyor Lemmon. They set out on an exploration expedition to Utah Valley in July of 1850.
The party initially went to the American Fork area, but became involved in a dispute with Washburn Chipman, Arza Adams, and others over land and water rights. They soon left the area.
Peterson and his followers immediately left and stopped at another stream about three miles west. They named it Dry Creek due to the difficulty in finding adequate water for their horses. After camping on the approximate site of the present Wines Park, they spent the remainder of the day in exploring the surrounding country. They explored as far south as Utah Lake, and as far west and the Jordan River.
A spring was also discovered about three-fourths of a mile north of the lake, and one mile east of the river. It was christened Sulphur Spring on account of the peculiar taste of the water. This spring later became the center around which the first settlers located. The area later became known and Snow Springs. The springs were known as Sulphur Springs until William Snow took possession of the land in 1853.
After the parties exploration of the country, they became impressed by the land and its possibilities. They surveyed and located an extensive tract and determined to return and settle there permanently. Afterwards they returned to Salt Lake.
On September 5th, 1850, David Savage met a band of immigrants who had crossed the plains in Captain Aaron Johnson’s company. Among them were Joel W. White, the brother-in-law of David Savage. Savage urged them to proceed to Sulphur Springs and make it their home because it was the best place to obtain water for domestic use. He sent them on their way but promised he would follow the next day and overtake the party.
In the company traveling to Sulphur Springs were the families of Joel William White, John Griggs White, Claiborne Thomas and Elizabeth Moorehead. Ms. Moorehead was a sister to Claiborne Thomas. The next day David Savage and two hired men were soon followed by Samuel D. White, brother of Joel W. White and son of John Griggs White.
Daniel Cox arrived at Sulphur Springs in September and camped there. Their party was joined in November 1850 by Charles Hopkins, Israel Evans, and their families. William Fotheringham and his aged parents came next. They were followed by Thomas Karren and family. They had crossed by Alpine over the mountains and proceeded to Sulphur Springs. Last of all was Jehiel McConnell and that completed that first colony.
The first challenge was to erect swellings to protect them during the winter. Immediately the settlers began felling the native Cottonwood trees which were found some miles up the creek. Until they could complete their dwellings, the setters used their wagon boxes as temporary homes.
Most homes built had one to two rooms depending on the size of the family. The walls of the homes were approximately seven feet tall. The roof was a leaky inadequate mixture of willows and dirt gabled at the end.
There were only fifteen cabins completed. The cabins faced south. The north fort wall protected them from the north winds. The Spring was in the center. The full extent of their plan was not completed because of the low numbers of settlers. There were eight cabins on the north, four on the east, and three on the west.
They formed a group area to house the animals and a quantity of grass was cut for hay. The first group to arrive was able to put up the hay for the group. The first winter, while cold, was such that the stock could run at large until spring.
The first deaths in Lehi were at Sulphur Springs. In the month of February John Griggs White passed away. David Savage made a respectable coffin from a wagon box. They took his body and buried him at a nice spot north of the Dry Creek area. This was the beginning of the Pioneer cemetery above State Street.
Most of the Sulphur Springs settlers did not have shoes and their clothing was patched and mended. But most went through the winter in good health.
Religious services were performed regularly under the direction of David Savage and Charles Hopkins. In these services they expressed their gratitude to their God for helping them through these hard times of coming to Utah.
NMost of the people traveled the next spring and summer and joined groups that came: Evansville under the direction of David Evans; Lotville led by widowed Mrs Permilia Lott; and the Dry Creek with Canute Peters.
In 1851, soon after the Sulphur Springs Settlers joined with the other existing groups, the first ward in the area was created. The Dry Creek ward Bishop was David Evans with David Savage and Charles Hopkins as counselors.
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.
Beginning in late 1853, Union Fort was erected as protection for pioneers who had been homesteading along Little Cottonwood Creek since April 1849. Skirmishes erupted from Sanpete to Salt Lake Counties between warriors of Timpanogos Ute Chief Walkara and settlers. Walkara had become upset by Mormon efforts to stifle Indian slave trading and the increased intrusion of settlers into traditional Indian hunting grounds.
Brigham Young, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Utah territorial governor, ordered every community to “fort up” and the people to move into the enclosures as quickly as possible for protection.
Jehu Cox, one of the first settlers, was appointed to a committee to select the fort site. Cox offered to donate ten acres of land surrounding his 1849 two-story adobe home. His offer was accepted and construction began immediately.
Each family was assigned a section of the wall to build. Foundations were dug 4 feet deep and filled with rock and clay. The 12-foot-high walls were constructed of rock and adobe and were 6 feet thick at the bottom, tapering on the inside to 2 feet thick at the top. The outside walls were vertical. Gun portholes were placed in the walls every few yards, and bastions were built on the northwest and southwest corners. Only three walls were completed by late 1854 because the north side of the fort was protected by a large irrigation canal and steep embankment that provided adequate protection.
The fort had two, 33-foot-wide roads dividing the interior into three east-west rectangular blocks which were further subdivided into 24 building lots each. The roads ended at huge gates that were kept locked at night. Another 15-foot-wide road was laid out along the inside of the fort walls for movement of military supplies and men. A gravel path, running north and south, gave the citizens a walkway through the middle of the fort.
Twenty-three log and adobe homes were finished by 1854. Some built new two-story adobe dwellings while others living along the creek tore down their log cabins or small adobe brick houses and reassembled them inside the fort. Each family was also allocated a lot outside the fort to corral their livestock. Armed men stood guard as the farming continued in nearby fields.
Other structures were built within the fort. A two-story schoolhouse, 20 feet by 36 feet, was constructed in the middle section and also served as a church and community center. Wooden pegs were used instead of expensive nails. James McMinds was the first teacher.
A community granary was built southwest of the school and was never locked. It was constructed so a team and wagon could be driven through, and it allowed each family access to their ground-floor grain storage and produce stored in the loft. A boarding house was provided for teamsters who hauled daily loads of ore and granite out of Little Cottonwood Canyon for the Salt Lake Temple.
Military-trained citizens provided defense for Union Fort. Every male between the ages of 18 and 45 belonged to the territorial militia. They drilled and practiced often and rotated standing guard.
The Union Fort settlers had immigrated from different countries, spoke many languages, and followed their traditional customs. Often they could not understand each other, but they all labored together in united effort for their common good. As a result, the name of the settlement was changed from Little Cottonwood to Union.
Union Fort was never attacked. Brigham Young signed a peace treaty with Chief Walkara in 1854, and Indian difficulties ceased late in the 1850s. The settlers began moving back into their homesteads. The fort walls were gradually dismantled and the land used for farms and gardens. The fort served the pioneer settlers well and provided sanctuary and security, uniting them during insecure times.