South Weber City, 2013. Photo by Whitney Arave.
By Lynn Arave
WHY is South Weber located in Davis County,
when its very name is synonymous with
neighboring Weber County?
WHY is it that about one-fourth of what some still
consider Hooper territory, actually not in Weber
County, but in Davis County?
The answer to both these perplexing identity
queries relate to a significant county boundary
change, made almost 160 years ago, back in 1855.
South Weber was indeed originally in Weber County and why it jumped counties is an ecclesiastical tale as much as it was a government decision.
According to Utah historian Glen M. Leonard in the book, "A History of Davis County," an ecclesiastical disagreement resulted in the boundary of Davis County moving about one mile north of where it originally was established.
President Brigham Young visited the South Weber area in October 1853 and declared that a fort should be established there. Kingston Fort, named after the area's first bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas *Kington (his name is misspelled "Kingston" in many, many other histories), was then created.
However, soon Kington and Lorin Farr, Weber LDS Stake president in Ogden, had some sort of serious disagreement, though what it was about was never recorded. (Leonard suspects it might have simply been a boundary-related issue.)
Lee D. Bell, author of “South Weber,” called the dispute "a falling out" in his history book of the community.
And, he believes the fact that the Utah Territorial Legislators intervened in the argument proves how serious a disagreement it must have been.
The book “East of Antelope Island” simply mentions that “there was some difference between President Farr and Bishop Kington, so it (South Weber) was annexed to Davis County by the legislature.”
Territorial legislators in 1855 redefined the Davis-Weber county line, because of prompting from Kington. (Perhaps he was one of the state’s first lobbyists …) The legislature moved the Davis County line northward. This essentially put Kington’s Ward in Davis County and meant that President Farr no longer had any jurisdiction over the congregation – they were under Davis County’s stake president.
The county line moved south to the Weber River at the east end of Davis County. This meant that the Weber town of Uintah (previously called “East Weber”) was created to define what settlement remained on the north side of the Weber River.
The new Davis County town had also already favored the name “South Weber,” even though it was now in a different county, but at least it was indeed on the south side of the Weber River.
Now, Jump ahead to 1877 and a related boundary change was made.
(Perhaps someone looked at a map of Davis or Weber County and saw the unusual zag in the county line... created in the 1855 change.)
This time instead of keeping the twist south in Davis County’s border beyond South Weber, created by the 1855 change, the county line out west was now moved north about a mile to parallel the change made 22 years earlier in the South Weber section. This now made the Davis-Weber boundary line fairly straight from leaving the Weber River until it reached the marshes of the Great Salt Lake.
(Besides a crooked boundary, one other factor in favor of moving more Weber County land into Davis County -- by moving the Davis line northward on its west side -- was that Davis County was clearly still the state's smallest county of all. Legislators in 1877 may have felt the tiny county could use a little more land.)
The most significant effect this related boundary change created was that Hooper, originally known as “Muskrat Springs” and established in 1852, was now split.
This created “South Hooper” on the Davis County side and it was originally huge, going all the way south to today’s 1700 South (Antelope Drive), before the days of a West Point, Clinton and Syracuse. Over the decades as those three cities were established, “South Hooper” shrunk dramatically and only the section of unincorporated Davis County there is today was left.
The South Hooper name also faded as the rural area only stretched from West Point at about 5000 West and State Road 37 (“Pig Corner”) about a mile north to the county line.
Yet, today some of these rural residents still consider themselves “Hooperites,” even though they reside in a different county.
A “Welcome to Hooper” sign is still posted in a field along Highway 37, deep into Davis County’s “Hooper.”
Some students on the Davis County side of Hooper still attend Weber County schools.
New delivery drivers are likely baffled and lost by the abrupt address changes when they cross from Weber County Hooper to the Davis County side.
Eventually West Point may annex all of this remaining Davis County Hooper, as it is the only community that could.
*NOTE 1, More about Kington -- "Thomas Kington came to Utah with the Aaron Johnson Company in 1850, he brought his two daughters and second wife, Margaret Pisel, mt great-great grandmother.
"Thomas Kington was 56 years old when he came to Utah. We always thrill when reading of the experiences with the United Brethren and Wilford Woodruff. Thomas Kington was the leader of the group that listened to Elder Woodruff at the Benbow farm in England.
"After his work in South Weber, Brigham Young asked him to help in Brigham City. Later, he moved to Wellsville area in Cache Valley. He remained faithful to the work that he embraced when in England. We're grateful for the heritage he established for our family in the Wellsville area: Our mother was born on a small farm that was located along the Sardine Canyon Road, overlooking Mt. Sterling and Wellsville. She was a granddaughter of Thomas Kington.
"Thomas Kington died in July 1874; he and several of his family members are buried in the Wellsville Cemetery.
"Our family treasures his faithfulness and steadfastness."
-From Lynn DeHart of Ogden, Utah, a, Kington descendant.
NOTE 2: A look at Kington's headstone proves with any doubt that KINGTON is the CORRECT spelling of his name.
-It also appears that the misspelling came as the fort that Kington established became infamous because of the "Morrisite War." When a writer or a historian thought "Kington's Fort," that extra "s" seemed to roll off the tongue and hence it easily became spelled incorrectly as "Kingston's Fort."
The Hooper sign located deep inside Davis County.
Looking northward along State Highway 37, where Weber County Hooper begins.
-AND, North Salt Lake City, at the opposite (south) end of Davis County, like South Weber, also seems mis-named. Many are confused by that misleading moniker too ...
A "North Salt Lake" in Davis County? Yes and not to be confused with the north portion of Salt Lake City itself.
(-Portions of the above article were previously published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner, by Lynn Arave, on Nov. 22, 2013.)