Fort Pearce (1865-1870) - A Mormon settler Fort established in 1865 during the Ute Black Hawk War. Named after Captain John D. L. Pearce the St. George militia captain who selected the site. The site is located about 12 miles southeast of St. George in Washington County, Utah. Abandoned as a fortification about 1870.
History of Fort Pearce
Fort Pearce was built during the Ute Black Hawk War (1865-1868) to prevent the Navajo Indians in Arizona from raiding the Mormon settlements in southern Utah. The Navajos used the Fort Pearce Wash as a means of gaining entry into these southern Mormon settlements. The fort was strategically placed at the head of the wash with a clear view of the wash for miles. To further block entry, a rock-walled corral was built across the wash where it narrowed just below the fort.
Construction of Fort Pearce began on 4 Dec 1866, as noted in the diary of Charles L. Walker of Washington, Utah. Fort Pearce was built as a rectangular rock-walled structure with walls standing approximately eight feet high. The single-story structure was over thirty feet long with small bastions at the northwest and southeast corners.
In 1869 it was recorded that four days of hard labor (20-24 Dec 1869) by nineteen men had produced a corral with walls five and one-half feet high on a base two and one-half feet wide. The corral was just south of and below the fort. It crossed and blocked the wash and included ground on both sides. The rock corral wall would have provided an excellent defensive position as well as a barrier to any advancing Indian raiding party.
Reportedly abandoned as a fortification in 1870 as the war was ending.
Part of the Fort Pearce Heritage Site managed by U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The fort ruins are in Washington County, Utah just north of the Arizona border and about 12 miles southeast of St. George. Access to the site is from the Southern Parkway and then east on Warner Valley Road. The Warner Valley Road is very much a mixed bag of road conditions. The last couple of miles of the road to the site could be difficult if wet and or drifted with sand but under good conditions almost any car can make it to the site. The site is a favorite of the 4 wheelers and we encountered several groups of them while we were there. There is a parking lot at the site.
The fort walls have been reduced to no more than six feet high but are still standing although they are severely reduced in spots. Areas have been reinforced with rebar to provide further support. Most of the corral's walls are gone because of its location in the wash. The remains are hard to see with the most visible part only a few feet high at the corner nearest to the fort.
Visited: 25 Oct 2018