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.
|Arza Athaniel Hinckley|