In 1872, Thomas Kane traveled with his wife, Elizabeth, and two of their children from Philadelphia to Salt Lake City. There they joined Brigham Young and some of his family members on a 12-day journey to St. George, Utah, where they would spend the winter together. Elizabeth wrote about the trip, including her experience spending the night of December 18, 1872, at Cove Fort. This exhibit pairs Elizabeth’s written impressions with views of the fort as it appears today.
The renovated fort opened as a historic site in 1994.
As Elizabeth’s carriage approached the fort’s gates, she noted the structures outside of the fort that supported the property’s function as a ranch. Cove Creek’s water supply was not enough for an entire town, but it provided enough water for a large household of people, plus livestock, gardens, and hayfields.
Elizabeth Kane remembered the courtyard “filled with our vehicles” when the party’s six carriages and as many baggage wagons pulled in. Hosting Brigham Young that winter evening meant finding room for over 30 people. Though the quarters might seem cramped by today’s standards, Elizabeth praises her hostess in her writing for her good taste in providing a warm, clean place for guests.
One of the children that Elizabeth Kane saw hanging to the skirts of Adelaide Hinckley was Bryant S. Hinckley, the father of Gordon B. Hinckley. Bryant was five years old in 1872. Other Hinckley children who were likely seen that evening included Frank, age six; Edwin, age four; Arza, age four; and Nellie, age two.
In 1939, Elizabeth’s grandson Elisha Kent Kane brought his family to Utah, where President Heber J. Grant and others had made arrangements to retrace the Kane family’s 1872 journey with Brigham Young. The group stopped at Cove Fort on October 12, 1939.
Elizabeth Wood Kane, Twelve Mormon Homes Visited in Succession on a Journey through Utah to Arizona, ed. Everett L. Cooley, Brigham D. Madsen, S. Lyman Taylor, and Margery W. Ward (Salt Lake City, University of Utah Tanner Trust Fund, 1974 [Philadelphia: 1874]), 71–80.
Matthew J. Grow and Ronald W. Walker, eds. The Prophet and the Reformer: The Letters of Brigham Young and Thomas L. Kane (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. [Call Number: M270.3 P965 2015]).