Monday, April 6, 2009

Progress is being made! The parking lot and walking path have been made ready for the materials that was made possible through a grant.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009


In January, 1876, Brigham Young summoned to Salt Lake City four brethren to lead missionary parties into the Little Colorado River area which had been explored by Mormon scout Jacob Hamblin during the the 1850's and 1860's where he frequently visited the Hopi and Navajo Indians as a Church missionary. Brigham Young instructed his four captains to assemble a new generation of pioneers to settle in Arizona Territory (A.T.). This group of missionaries, 300 souls divided into four companies, was perhaps the last of the self-sufficient American pioneers to seek new homes in an unsettled territory of this nation.

These hardy missionaries left Utah for the Sunset Crossing of the Little Colorado River to plant their faith in a new land. Jessie O. Ballinger and his initial company of 35 men, some with their families, together with the other three companies captained by Lot Smith, George Lake, and William Allen, set out in February of 1876 and arrived at their new home sites the following spring. This became the first LDS Church Stake in Arizona and was called the "Little Colorado Stake" which was the 21st Stake of the Church.

Although Brigham City (Ballinger's Camp) is the principal subject of this restoration, the stories of Obed (Lake's Camp), Sunset (Smith's Camp), and Joseph City (Allen's Camp) are mentioned because the histories of the four settlements are inseparable.

Brigham City, a fortified Mormon settlement on the Little Colorado River near the City of Winslow, Navajo County, Arizona was established iln 1876 as a United Order community and abandoned by the Church in 1881. In June of 1878, the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The site is culturally, historically, and architecturally significant and has great potential for interpretation an public visitation.

Some of the most informative sources of information in the City of Winslow research report came from the letters of Jessie O. Ballinger, the captain of the Brigham City party, written to Brigham Young; and the diaries of John A. Blythe and Daniel Mcallister, both early residents at Joseph City (Allen's Camp). Another source of primary historical data came from the writings of Sullivan C. Richardson, a resident of Brigham City in the winter of 1878-1879. Other families by surname that helped establish Brigham City were:

Adams, Bates, Behrman, Curtis, Hancock, Morris, Myers, Perry, Peterson, Plumb, Skinner, Simms, Tanner, Thompson, Wakefield, Whiting, Woods, and many more.

As a small, but significant piece of church history, located in Northern Arizona, Brigham City was designated by the Arizona Governors's office as part of Arizona's Centennial Celebration in 2012. On July 17, 2006, while visiting Winslow on a Support-Your-Candidate stopover, Arizona Govenor Janet Napalitano was invited to visit the old Mormon fort located just outside of Winslow on the edge of the Little Colorade River. She liked what she saw and agreed to support the restoration of the Fort as part of the Arizona Centennial Celebration.

An Arizona Centennial Celebration Portfolio, issued from the Governor's office, now includes "Brigham City" as part of the statewide celebration in 2012. Because of this, all donations for the Brigham City Restoration project could possibly be matched by state funds allocated by the state for "Restoration of Arizona's Historical Sites".

A "Research Report and Restoration Considerations" for the interpretive development of historic resources called "Brigham City, A.T." was funded by the city of Winslow along with a matching grant-in-aid from the National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of Interior, and administered by the State Historic Preservation Officer. It was published in 1980 for the city of Winslow, AZ, containing geography, fort layout, and names of original people, families involved, and excerpts from family journals. A certified excavation survey was also done at the time by Lyle M. Stone, Ph.D. and Gerald A. Doyle & Associates Historical Architects.

Many descendents still live in the Winslow and surrounding areas. A Brigham City restoration committee has been formed and some donations have already been received to start the restoration. The committee is looking for any help that can be given in the way of monies, articles, furniture, wagons, information, etc. (from the pioneer period around 1876) that can help in the fort restoration.

Anyone interested in visiting or helping with this project in any way please contact Gene Hancock for the Brigham City Restoration Project at or Gordon McHood (928-289-6719). You may also go to the Winslow Chamber of Commerce website online at to see places to visit which includes Brigham City Restoration Site.

History prepared by Keith and Sherry Jongsma - members of the Brigham City Restoration Committee