Utah Stories from the Beehive Archive

Fort Buenaventura: Utah’s First Anglo Settlement


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Fort Buenaventura: Utah’s First Anglo Settlement


A trading post built by mountain man Miles Goodyear gave Ogden the distinction of being the first Anglo settlement in Utah.

Born in Connecticut in 1817, Miles Goodyear headed west at the age of nineteen to seek his fortune. Goodyear traveled widely across the Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin, and eventually became an experienced trapper, trader, and mountain man. He married a woman named Pomona, who was the daughter of Ute leader Pe-teet-neet, and together they had two children.

As the fur trade declined in the 1840s, mountain men were forced to look for other employment. In 1845, Goodyear built a trading post near the confluence of the Weber and Ogden Rivers. He called the place Fort Buenaventura, which is Spanish for “good fortune.” The stockade was built from cottonwood logs and enclosed a half-acre of land. Inside were four log cabins, sheds, corrals, and a garden, while additional corrals outside held cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. Goodyear lived at Fort Buenaventura with his wife and young family, as well as with other trappers and Indians. He used the settlement as a base for trapping and trading, and also profited from westward -bound emigrants on their way to California.

While trapping along the Bear River in July of 1847, Goodyear met the first Mormon company on its way to the Salt Lake Valley. While most emigrants traveled through to California, the Mormons made clear their intention to stay. Goodyear did not relish the idea of being surrounded by colonists, and as more people began to settle in Salt Lake Valley, he became eager to sell his holdings. Less than five months later, by November 1847, Goodyear had traded his fort and the surrounding property to the Mormon High Council for the sum of $1,950.

Built just west of present-day 28th Street, Miles Goodyear’s settlement of Fort Buenaventura eventually grew into the city of Ogden. 


Megan van Frank for Utah Humanities © 2010


Image: This cabin, built about 1845 and occupied by Miles Goodyear, early trapper and explorer, and his common-law Indian wife, is as far as known the first permanent home built in Utah and stood near the junction of Ogden and Weber Rivers. It was sold with a Spanish land grant covering all of Weber County to Captain James Brown of the Mormon Battalion. This cabin is now owned by the Weber County Chapter of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and is located on the west side on Tabernacle Square near the relic hall in Ogden, Utah. Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society.

See Richard W. Sadler “Miles Goodyear,” Utah History Encyclopedia, accessed http://historytogo.utah.gov/people/milesgoodyear.html; Charles Kelly and Maurice L. Howe, Miles Goodyear (1937); Dale Morgan, "Miles Goodyear and the Founding of Ogden," Utah Historical Quarterly 21 (July 1953); William Critchlow III and Richard W. Sadler, Miles Goodyear's Fort Buenaventura (1978).


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