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LAYTON'S LITTLE FORT

Article Published 10/17/2017

The original white pioneers who settled in the area that is Layton City today lived on farms of about twenty to forty acres.  These farms were scattered up and down two streams--Holmes (north fork) and Kay's creeks.  The first four years of their settlement was peaceful and they were not threatened by the Native American tribesman who hunted and gathered food in the vicinity.  However in 1854, because of Indian troubles in other parts of Utah Territory, Brigham Young suggested that all the settlements along the Wasatch Front "fort up" as a precaution against hostile Native American raids.

Consequently, the pioneers living along Kay's Creek built a small fort on a wagon track that was later called Little Fort Lane.  To the south of the fort, the lane connected to the main Salt Lake City to Ogden wagon road at a point that came to be called Five Points.  To the north the lane connected to another larger east/west road that came to be called Kay's Creek Road (today the junction of Fort Lane and Gordon Avenue).

In 1854-55, the families of Billa Dickson, John Green, William Lindsey, Mark Whitesides, Pratt Whitesides, Namcey E. Shipley and the Croft family moved into what they called Little Fort.  It was given the name of Little Fort because a larger fort was being constructed in the center of what later became Kaysville City.

The fort was built on a south bank ridge of Kay's Creek.  It took the shape of a square formed by building cabins that faced into the square's center.  The back sides of the cabins were faced with stones, dried adobe bricks and mortar, and the cabins were connected to each other by using vertically placed logs which spaced the cabins about ten feet apart.  The fort had a single gate.  Vegetable gardens, which provided necessary food, were raised in the center court of the fort square and water was easily accessed by walking a short distance to Kay's Creek.

One of the main purposes of Little Fort was to keep an eye on the small bands of Native Americans who traveled up and down Kay's Creek.  The Indians were generally friendly, but there were some minor disagreements between the two groups since the Indians had been hunting and gathering foodstuffs along Kay's Creek for many, many years before the LDS pioneers arrived.  The Indians considered the whites as interlopers.

Little Fort was occupied for about five years.  Since there were no troubles with the Native Americans, the fort dwellers moved to other locations.  Over time, the fort cabins fell into disrepair or were dismantled for the lumber, but one cabin was moved from the fort site to the property of Abraham Higgs at 400 North Fort Lane, near Layton High School.  This 163 year old building can be seen today much as it looked in 1854.  The Layton Little Fort cabin has been placed on the Utah and National Historical registers.

(NOTE: Check out the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers memorial marker that is located in Layton Commons Park at 465 North 273 East)