At this famous fort, the Oregon Trail swung north from Fort Bridger, while the Mormon Trail continued another 100 miles west to the Salt Lake Valley. In 1855 the Church purchased the fort from Jim Bridger and his partner Louis Vasquez for $18,000. In September 1857 it was burned to the ground to keep it from falling into the hands of Albert Sidney Johnston’s advancing federal army during the so-called Utah War.
William I. Appleby
October 17, 1849
“Moved forward fifteen miles again today and encamped near Bridger’s Fort. Weather cold. Several of the boys and girls from camp went to Bridger’s in the evening, by his invitation, and had a ball. He treated them kindly with raisins, sugar, tea, etc. Ezra T. Benson’s camp left there during the day, and also Capt. Richards’.”
William I. Appleby journal, Oct. 17, 1849, in Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 19, 1849, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.
“Next day campt on Hams Fork, then to Blacks Fork [and] from the[re] to Ft. Bridger. Old Jim Bridger and his trappers gave us a hearty welcome to our company. He is the oldest trapper in the mountains and can tell some wonderful stories.”
Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, ed. Will Bagley (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1992), 61.