The North Ogden Fort

During the early days of North Ogden, there were many instances of Shoshoni Indian threats to the early settlers. As the “newcomers” were taking over the Native Americans’ land, hostility prevailed. Pioneers were urged to build a fort wall in North Ogden as protection from attacks. There were only 35 families available to build this massive stone wall. In 1854, 47 families lived-in or near the fort. The fort area remained a key location for growth in North Ogden. Inside the fort area was: a church, school, relief society building, tithing office, homes, and even a blacksmith shop. The wall was built from stone, four feet thick and ten feet high, encompassing an area large enough for the settlers’ homes and livestock. Construction of the wall began in 1853, but hostilities subsided a few years later and the wall was never finished. Rocks from the wall were then used to build the foundations for many homes.

The pioneers in North Ogden were intent on making peace with the Native Americans by giving them gifts and preparing feasts for them. It was not uncommon for a settler to share his last crust of bread to avoid trouble.

Pioneer and Native American Stories:

Benjamin Gardner was working at his grist mill near Cold Water canyon in 1857 when a Native American demanded that his sunflower seeds be ground in the mill. Gardner told him the machinery could not grind the seeds, but the Native American insisted. Gardner then hit him with a board. This caused an angry tribe to converge on the house of Bishop Thomas Dunn, circling around on their horses and yelling. They were finally appeased with three head of beef, ten dollars, and several sacks
of flour.

Robert Montgomery Sr. woke up one morning in 1851 to find that a band of Native Americans had camped on his meadowland, mashing it flat and rendering it useless to be cut for hay. He stormed out and told them to get off his land. The chief stood up and said, “You say, get off your land. Whose land this before you came? Whose mountain? Whose valley? Whose river?” The truth of his words hit Robert with force. He muttered, “Stay as long as you like,” and retreated back to his house.

Richard Jones Sr. staked a claim on 88 acres of land near Cold Water creek in 1863. A house and barn were constructed and the family was pleased with their new home. They then learned that the Native Americans had “squatter’s rights” to their land.
A deal was struck with the tribe when they noticed the children’s pet cat and wanted it. The children hated parting with their beloved pet, but could see that the only way to pay for their land was to give away the cat. The Jones family took ownership, and the property was then known as the “Cat Claim.”

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