Happy 4th (and a bit about Cove Fort)

Happy early Independence Day! I hope everyone has fun with their families during the warm weather holidays. With the more laid-back summer schedules, we have a lot more family time, and it's also a great time to get started on family history, especially when it comes to interviewing and working with other family members, such as parents and grandparents. I'm especially excited for temple visits with visiting cousins.

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is visit St. George, about five hours from where I live. Our family enjoys easy walks and hikes in the red rock mountains, and we love to visit the historical sites such as The Brigham Young Winter Home and the St. George Temple Visitor's Center. We also enjoy a stop in Beaver to see a special historical site. On the way to "Utah's Dixie," you may see an old fort. It is Cove Fort, built in 1867 as a place of refuge for travelers. Named for Cove Creek, the fort had bedrooms, a large kitchen and dining room, a telegraph office- even a room for the prophet Brigham Young to rest between travels to and from Dixie to Salt Lake. The walls were made from limestone and volcaninc rock from the nearby mountains. The huge doors, made so to stop arrows and bullets, are were filled with sand. But to me what makes this fort special is that some of my ancestors lived here; in fact, the man who was called to help build and maintain the fort, Ira Hinckley, is my 3rd great grandfather. Ira and his family had just finished building there dream home in  Coalville when the prophet called them to leave and build a place of refuge in the middle of a sage brush-filled desert. Despite the hardship, Ira and his family followed the prophet, and Ira was gone within 3 days of the call.

Ira and his family were charitable people, letting people stay in the fort which became their home. They farmed, and there were many chores for everyone, including the children. One of the girls was responsible to milk 30 cows daily!

Eventually the fort was sold, and for many years was not in the possession of the Hinckley family. But in the early 1990s, my great-grandfather Arza Athaniel Hinckley, undertook to buy back and restore the fort, giving it to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This he did, and now it is open to the public for free tours. You can see the different rooms, the old doors, some original glass, and places where Ira's children would've played. In August they celebrate with Cove Fort Days, but more on that later.

I'm so grateful for ancestors who followed the prophet and blessed all who would come after them.

Ira Hinckley
Arza Athaniel Hinckley


  1. I visited Cove Fort five years ago in the rain. It was really cool!!!

    I have copies of some letters and talks Arza wrote about the fort. If you want, I can make copies of them and give them to you.

    1. That's sweet of you! Actually, I think we have the same talks. Thanks for offering, though.

  2. I still remember going with Grandpa Hinckley to help clean up the dirty old fort after he got it. I was not thrilled (happy teenager). Now I think it's such an honor to have had a small hand in that project. Great post!

    1. Thanks! It's so fun to go to the fort and see your names on the plaque outside.


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