Pioneering Utah

The Salt Lake Valley

The transition from traveler to pioneer was a short one. Upon arriving in Salt Lake City the Westovers and most with them took up residency in was what called the Old Fort, an interesting term considering that it was actually less than a year old.

Perhaps it was called that because the living conditions there were so miserable. It was hastily constructed in 1847 as the real priority of the pioneers in late July of 1847 was to plant their crops. The walls were made of adobe, rock and logs and the shelter was constructed of flat-top roofs made of sod. Many a pioneer history tells of women tending house under cover of umbrellas due to the water that would seep in from rain and snow.

Salt Lake Valley

Charles and Edwin worked to quickly shore up a space with new walls and a new flat roof.

It was all only temporary. Everyone knew that the Spring would bring new efforts by all to build permanent houses. But the winter of 1848-49 was a rough one. Food was scarce and the shelter was porous. Thankfully the Old Fort experience would not last long.

Why Patriarchal Blessings are not on Westover Family History

The patriarchal blessings referenced here are important insights into the history of our ancestors. Everyone should have a copy of those blessings for their ancestors who received them. Some have asked why we just don’t make them available here on Westover Family History since we obviously have them.

We don’t do that because these are sacred documents. We can quote briefly from them to bring context to the histories that we share but the Church has asked that we do not share them freely online.

You can obtain them for yourself via your account at They are located under a sub-menu of your personal account. Your own blessing, if you have had one, is available there and via the interface you can request blessings for any of your ancestors. (We can help you with that).

Not all of our ancestors received patriarchal blessings (William and Ruth Westover, for example). But for those who were able to obtain them they are a very valuable family history resource.