April 11, 2024

Kanab Utah, Latter-day Saint History (Levi Stewart Memorial and Fort Kanab)

This map below was created to help find other Church Sites and Articles. Each point will have articles in the description about that point

(below the map is the rest of the article)

Kanab, Utah is a fun place to explore, hike and learn a little history while out in nature. The red rocks, slot canyons and caves make Kanab a great place for a fun get-away. The early days of Kanab were anything but fun. The struggles of the early settlers, their heartaches and struggles built a strong people. Learning about the Latter-day Saint history of Kanab is a faith building experience, knowing that God was with the early settlers and made their sacrifices holy. Their stories are full of firm determination, hardship and faith in the Lord. Kanab was a very difficult area to live, for many years, and it is through the dedication and hard work of stalwart individuals that it is the fun place to visit today. There are two men attributed to the success of Kanab, Jacob Hamblin and Levi Stewart.

Kanab was settled in 1864 by Jacob Hamblin, when Fort Kanab was built on the east bank of Kanab Creek. Today you can see the Historical Marker near where the fort once stood at the Levi Stewart Park Memorial.

During the early days of the Utah settlement there were many difficulties between the Pioneer Settlers and the Native Americans, all throughout the Western United States. There were multiple wars and deaths from the conflict with the Natives. Brigham Young asked for Jacob Hamblin to go to Kanab and be a mediator between the Natives and the settlers. Brigham also instructed Jacob Hamblin to build Fort Kanab to be a defense against the Natives Americans and a base for exploration.

Fort Kanab did not end up working as well as was hoped. The Native American attacks intensified and the fort was abandoned in 1866, only two years later.

The determination of the Saints is inspiring, they did not give up on Kanab, but tried again. In 1870, the effort to settle Kanab was back when ten Mormon families moved into the fort and began to establish the present town. One of the families, Levi Stewarts family was called by Brigham Young to go to Kanab. The families were sent to do missionary work and establish peace with the Native people.

The difficulties intensified for Levi Stewart in December of the same year there was a fire in the fort that killed Levi's wife and five sons. It was heart breaking for Levi Stewart. Pioneer Jacob Hamblin recorded that he once saw Levi Stewart "in the fields praying. He was sobbing his heart out and asking his Maker to give him the strength to go on after the fire,".

The fire was only one of the many problems for this faithful group of Saints. The colony then suffered great tribulations of the grasshopper plague in the summer of 1871. The crops which the town had worked together to grow were ruined. Then the poor small community was exposed to a measles epidemic in the winter, and a year later, an epidemic of a skin infestation called Epizootic.

Problem after problem was forced upon this small group of Saints. It was through relying on the Lord they were able to get through all these many problem.

In 1870, the Prophet Brigham Young, visited the area twice, making suggestions and supervising the town planning.

For many years Kanab was one of the most isolated cities in the nation. It was cut off from the east by the Colorado River and could only be reached with difficulty by rough dirt roads stretching over the rough terrain of the Arizona Strip west toward Las Vegas, NV. A twenty three mile journey north to Orderville, UT took nearly four days. 

There is a historical plaque in Kanab marking the site of the the fort honoring Jacob Hamblin and Levi Stewart, markers near fort Kanab commemorating the lives lost in the fire of Fork Kanab and all are at the Levi Stewart Park.





linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram