Echo Canyon Fortifications

1976 Exhibit Brochure
In 1875 the Mormon Militia Men built rock fortification on top of the cliffs in Echo Canyon to assist in the defense against Johnston’s army.

2023 Exhibit Guide
In response to reports about the Utah settlers’ disloyalty to the federal government, President James Buchanan ordered a large contingent of the U.S. Army to accompany a new governor to Utah territory.
Nervous about the intentions of this incoming military force, Brigham Young ordered the territorial militia, known as the Nauvoo Legion into the mountains to slow the Army’s progress. In 1875, the Mormon militiamen built rock fortifications along likely routes of travel into the Salt Lake Valley such as in Echo Canyon to assist in the defense against other invasions.

Kaysville Area Connections
By 1854, the number of Kaysville men serving in the militia made it possible to have two companies. They often held drills to be prepared to defend their homes. Allen Taylor and Robert Harris were both captains under the command of the regiment headquarters located in Farmington. Christopher Layton was captain of a minute company of cavalry. Some Kaysville men were “called to arms1” out against Johnston’s Army under the orders of Robert W. Burton.

Gary E. Smith (1942-Living)

Gary Ernest Smith was born in Baker City, Oregon, but resided in Utah for much of his life. He expressed interest in drawing and painting from an early age, but received formal education at Eastern Oregon College and Brigham Young University, earning Bachelor and Master degrees in Fine Arts.
Smith worked as a faculty member and art gallery director and curator at Brigham Young University alongside his professional art career. He has completed 3 murals for LDS temples, and his work has been featured in many exhibitions, magazines, books, and journals. A book on his life was published in 1999 titled “Holding Ground- The Art of Gary Ernest Smith”.


  • “Bicentennial Historical Art Collection.” 1976 Exhibition Brochure, Special Collections, Weber State University.
  • Eyes Toward the Past. DVD.
  • Karras, Marilyn. “Militia Faces Johnston’s Army”. The Ogden Standard Examiner, 25 Apr. 1976, Sun., page 35.
  • “Utah, Territorial Militia Records, 1849-1877.” Database with images. FamilySearch. 18 July 2022. Citing series 2210, Utah State Archives, Salt Lake City.


  1. “A Life Sketch of William Blood taken from his diary by William Blood and his daughter Mary Hooper Blood Linford.” Contained in William Blood, his Posterity and Biography of their Progenitor compiled and edited by Ivy Hooper Blood Hill, November, 1961. J. P. Smith and Son; Logan, pg. 23-23.

Copyright owned by Weber State University Storytelling Festival. All rights reserved. Painting shown by Kaysville – Fruit Heights Museum with permission. Painting number nine the 2023 exhibit guide.Notes