was also known for a time as McArthursville, taking the name in all
probability from Duncan McArthur, who owned a farm between American
Fork and Pleasant Grove, and after whom the McArthur irrigation ditch
The first settlers
of American Fork located at various points along the creek, and when
the townsite was surveyed only a few people moved to the town lots.
However, in 1853 General Daniel H. Wells of the Nauvoo Legion gave orders
that forts should be built for the protection of the settlers if trouble
broke out with the Indians. On 23 July of that year a meeting was held
in the schoolhouse. Parley P. Pratt and Lorenzo Snow were present and
counseled the people, who then unanimously agreed to take immediate
steps for the building of a fort.
Most of the log
cabins built on the nearby farms were moved within the confines of the
proposed fort, which was eighty rods long and seventy-four rods wide,
containing approximately thirty-seven acres. Some parts of the wall
were built to a height of eight feet, but no part attained the planned
height of twelve feet. As the local Indians became less aggressive and
more peaceable, the necessity for the wall decreased and the work was
never pushed to full completion.
purpose of settlement was to establish cattle and sheep ranches in the
lush meadow lands. As additional newcomers arrived, crops were planted
and an agrarian lifestyle was begun. During the three years that the
majority of the settlers lived within the walls of the fort, they raised
their crops and tended their herds on individual farm or range plots,
returning to the safety of the fort each evening.