square miles; population: 4,765 (in 1990); county seat: Beaver City;
origin of county name: from Beaver River, so called because of the many
beaver once found there; principal cities/towns: Beaver City (1,998), Milford (1,106), Minersville (608); economy: livestock, transportation,
trade; points of interest: Beaver City Historic District, Frisco ghost
town, Puffer Lake, Minersville Reservoir State Park, Elk Meadows ski
The high peaks
of the Tushar Range mark the eastern boundary of Beaver County. Delano
Peak (12,173 feet) and Mount Belknap (12,139) are among the highest
mountains in the state. Most of the county, however, consists of the
Basin and Range country typical of western Utah.
Archaic and Sevier
Cultural sites of early Indian inhabitants have been found in Beaver
County, and in historic times the area was part of the Southern Paiutes'
territory. The Indian Peak Paiute Reservation operated from 1915 to
1954 in southwestern Beaver County.
In 1776 the Dominguez-Escalante expedition crossed the county near present Milford. Jedediah S. Smith (in 1826-27) and John C. Fremont (in 1844) had also traveled in the
Beaver area before Albert Carrington explored it for the Mormons. The
county was created in 1856, the same year Beaver City was founded.
The U.S. Army
built Fort Cameron in Beaver City in 1873, partly in response to Indian
hostilities and partly to aid the 2nd District Court in the prosecution
of those accused of participating in the Mountain Meadows Massacre. John D. Lee's two trials were held in Beaver, and he was briefly imprisoned
at the fort. The fort, abandoned in 1883, became the site of Murdock
Academy (1898-1922), a branch of Brigham Young Academy, the forerunner
of Brigham Young University.