In 1854 Brigham Young sent a scouting party to the south to locate the best places for settlements. Upon their return, missionaries were called to settle this southern region. Many names you still see today are descendants of those instrumental in this first colonization of the area. The missionaries built a fort in New Harmony and from there made many excursions to out-lying areas. Parowan was still the best established community in the south.
The mission was not only to settle the area, but to make friends with the Indian people by teaching them the ways of the white man. On June 7, 1854 eight of the company, Rufus C. Allen, Thomas D. Brown, Lorenzo Roundy, William Henefer, Jacob Hamblin, Augustus P. Hardy, Amos G. Thornton, Thales Haskell and Hyrum Evans, interpreter left to prosecute their mission among the Indians. By June 10 they reached the Santa Clara river and met with many Indians – smoking the peace pipe with them. It would be some time before they would be able to speak their language. On June 17 all returned to Harmony, but Jacob Hamblin and William Henefer were appointed to stay longer with the Indians.
On June 21 another detachment was sent out to the Santa Clara; Brothers David Lewis, Richard Robinson, Ira Hatch, Isaac Riddle, Samuel Knight & Hyrum Burgess. Many trips were made to and from the Tonaquint (the Indian name given to the Santa Clara) and Harmony or Parowan and other areas for supplies.
In a letter addressed to President Brigham Young dated December 22, 1854 it states: Brothers Allen and Burgess have just returned from Santa Clara where they and brothers Hamblin, Hardy and Haskell have been residing and laboring with the Indians during the past month. There they have built one log cabin for the missionaries, and one for the chief and his friends. Others of them have requested to have this increase of comfort, houses, as soon as we can. The brethren cut the logs and the Indians carried them; they also carried the rock for the fireplace and chimney; and because they manifested their willingness to aid us, we in return cut their logs and showed them how to put them up. Some time after this the cabins were added to and a substantial fort was built with six cabins on two sides and a stockade in the middle. Another corral was built north of the Fort. The people lived among the Indians, taught them and raised gardens and orchards.
In November of 1861 the Swiss Company called by Brigham Young in October Conference arrived in Santa Clara. They lived inside and outside the Fort, mostly outside in dugouts and make-shift huts. Two months after this a flood washed away the fort and most of the homes and the gristmill, the gardens and orchards. The people were forced to begin again. At this time the townsite was moved to its present location.