In the early
days of the nineteenth century, the Rocky Mountain region was a treasure-house
for valuable furs, particularly beaver, which were found in large numbers
along the mountain streams. Utah Valley was visited by some of the fur
trappers and hunters, and Utah Lake and the streams running into it
became known to them. The streams running into the lake were known as
forks, the principal ones being Timpanogos (Provo), Spanish Fork, and
American Fork. The first settlers on the American Fork Creek took the
name of the stream for the settlement.
American Fork was settled by Mormon pioneers in the summer of 1850. Stephen Chipman
and his son William Henry, along with Arza Adams and his son Nathan,
were en route to Fort Provo to trade when they camped overnight near
American Fork Creek. Cottonwood trees along the creek and lush meadows
on the lowlands toward Utah Lake convinced them that this would be an
excellent place for their cattle and sheep.