In October 1863 Elder Orson Hyde of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent Peter Rasmussen, Niels C. Rasmussen, and Peter Sorenson south from the Manti area to find a location for settlement. They reported that they had found a broad valley with a creek and river and land fertile enough to sustain about thirty families on the Salt Lake meridian, some thirty miles south of Manti.
In early 1864 the scouts and some thirty families returned to the area and settled near what is now known as "South Bridge." Because of the abundant salt deposits nearby, they named the site "Salina," surveyed it into square blocks, each divided into four lots, and started to build shelters. Efforts to divert creek water to the north failed and forced them to put to the plow only land south of the creek; however, they did harvest a good crop from this. They started to build a fort and church and constructed a bridge across Salina creek.