HONEYVILLE – Along Highway 38, north of Brigham City, a large stone monument marker is the only indication of Call’s Fort, built by Anson Call, his two brothers Homer and Omer, and others. The Calls came from Bountiful and built a home and a blacksmith shop in 1853. They also built the first burr flour mill in Northern Utah.
Paul Orme is 80-years-old and is the great-great grandson of Joseph Orme, who built the first permanent residence in Call’s Fort. Paul has a filing cabinet filled with family histories that talk about the fort.
Orme has been mayor and a city council member of the city of Honeyville, with a population of less than 1,500 people.
“A wall was built to protect the community of Call’s Fort from the Indians on the advice from Brigham Young,” he said. “Jude Allen and Chester Loveland were friends of Chief Pocatello; they salvaged a lot of metal from the wagons of some of the people they rescued.”
He said besides being a farming community, Call’s Fort was the first stage stop out of Brigham City.
“If the stage was running early, they would stop at (Crystal Hot Springs) and take a bath,” he said. “Call’s Fort folks could go up and take a bath in the hot springs faster than they could heat up their water at home.”
By 1871, Call’s Fort had two rock schoolhouses in use. One school was named Call’s Fort School, the other was Lake Side School.
The fort is only one of three pioneer communities that still exist in Honeyville. There is also Madisonville and Crystal Hot Springs.
At one time, Call’s Fort was the northernmost outpost in Utah. There were several forts built in Box Elder County, Orme said.
“None of them were military forts, they were village fortifications for the pioneers who lived there,” he said.
There was one at Bear River City, Harper Ward, Brigham City, and Willard. In 1877, Thomas Harper was called as the first bishop of the area for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and after his death in 1906, the area was renamed Harpers Ward in his honor.
Orme remembered an account of Alexander Toponce, an American pioneer in the intermountain area.
“In the winter of 1863, Toponce was taking a freight wagon under severe winter conditions. Snow was from three to four feet and temperatures below zero,” Orme said. “They lost all of their animals because of the snow. So, they set out on foot.”
“Most of the men gave out along the way,” Orme said. “Toponce made it to the fort and, with the aid of Chester Loveland and his son Carlos, formed a rescue party and saved all of the men and their possessions.”
He said the only thing left of Call’s Fort are the stones placed in the monument and the stones used to build the house just east of the marker.
There are a number of pioneer headstones in the well-marked Call’s Fort Cemetery east of highway 38.