Contact Us Podcasts Store Registration Home

Bingham's Fort

As early as 1849 George and Frederick Barker, Charles Burke, and Edity Rice settled in the district which is now included within the Ogden City limits and is known as "Five Points." Previously it was called "Lynne." The infant settlement was strengthened in 1850 by the arrival of Erastus Bingham, his son Sanford, Stephen Parry, Charles Draney, Isaac Newton Goodale, Chares Hubbard and others. That year the settlement was organized as a branch of the Latter-day Saint Church with Erastus Bingham as president.

In 1851 water was taken from the Ogden River near Lorin Farr's mill site and conveyed three miles to the farms in the neighborhood of the present Five Points. The canal was dug under the direction of Isaac Newton Goodale, and was known as the "Lynne ditch." A log schoolhouse was erected in the center of the infant settlement and a school board of trustees was appointed, consisting of Isaac Newton Goodale and Henry Gibson. The new settlement grew rapidly.

In the fall of 1853, acting under orders received from Brigham Young, the settlers began the construction of a fort. They continued work on it during 1854-1855. The project was carried on under the direction of Bishop Erastus Bingham, and from now on during the next few years the settlement was called "Bingham's Fort." To quote W. G. Child, one of the pioneer settlers: "In the fall [1853] I got logs from the canyon and built another house 18 x 24 feet which I had just completed when we were ordered in connection with all the other settlements, towns, and cities, throughout the Territory to move together and build forts or walls around for our protection from the Indians who were becoming very hostile. Subject to orders, I tore down my house and moved it onto the ground and assisted in building a fort, afterwards called Bingham's Fort, situated about three miles north of Ogden City in Weber County.... Here I spent the winter of 1853-54."

Located north of 2nd Street and west of Washington Boulevard, Bingham's Fort extended westward along the Harrisville road. Its east line was about 130 rods west of Washington. The fort enclosed an area of 40 acres, being 80 rods square. Its walls were built of rocks and mud, principally mud. Under the immediate supervision of Goodale, the walls were constructed, with each family who lived in the fort assigned a certain portion to build. Some of them completed their assigned work while others failed to do so. The fort walls were erected about four rods from the houses, with corrals taking up this space. Thomas Richardson, a pioneer boy who lived in Bingham's Fort, tells how the walls were constructed:

"The walls were made of mud. We did not have lumber to put up to hold the mud, so we placed upright poles, tapering from about eight feet at the bottom to about three feet at the top. We set stakes between the poles and wove willows in like a willow fence, then filled the space with mud. We made a ditch nearby to run water down to wet the mud. When wet, we threw it in with shovels, spades or anything we had. We built the willow forms as the wall went up. It [the wall] was about twelve feet high."

The fort had an entrance on the west side large enough to drive a team through, with a gate constructed of heavy timber which stood as high as the wall. Had it been completed, there would have been a similar gate on the east.

On December 3, 1854, Wilford Woodruff reported: "I rode to Bingham's Fort and preached in the morning. This Fort contains 753 inhabitants, is very flourishing and is surrounded by abundance of good farming land.... Two schools are about to commence.''

Richardson attended one of those schools that winter and left a description of it. He said: "Widow Green was our teacher. She taught school in a little log house on the north side of the fort. We had Webster's Elementary Spelling book and McGuffey's Readers, about one book to every four pupils. Slates were used on which we learned to write. The first slate I had, father paid $1.50 or $2.00 for it. Our seats were slabs with holes bored through in which legs were made. They were as long as the slabs could be made. The teacher would cut some hickory sticks or pegs about an inch long which she would place between the teeth of whisperers to break them of the habit."

Brigham Young and party from Salt Lake City visited the people at Bingham's Fort in 1856. He advised them to abandon the fort and to move to the Ogden site, between the Ogden and Weber rivers, and help build there a city. As a result of his instructions, the majority of the people moved to Ogden. But as the population increased in Weber County, it expanded northward from Ogden across the river, and finally past the former site of Bingham's Fort or Five Points.

Source: Beneath Ben Lomond's Peak, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Weber County Chapter, Pg. 86-87

Copyright Statement Privacy Statement Acceptable Use Policy About Us Registration Home