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Lynn Arave, Deseret Morning News
The Davis-Weber County line used to be on the southern hillside in the area at the mouth of Weber Canyon but today follows the Weber River; hence, Southern Weber is in Davis County.

Davis County contains 15 cities, but how did these communities receive their names?

Bountiful wasn't always called Bountiful, and Layton — today the county's largest city — was originally a part of Kaysville. Fruit Heights was an outgrowth of Kaysville.

Centerville wasn't always named that, and Clinton, Woods Cross, North Salt Lake and West Point also had earlier names.

However, the strangest name of all in the county may be South Weber. Why this name for a town that's geographically in north Davis County?

According to historian Glen M. Leonard in "A History of Davis County," the odd name came as the result of an ecclesiastical disagreement.

Brigham Young visited the South Weber area in October 1853 and encouraged that a fort be established there, Kingston Fort, named after the area's first bishop, Thomas Kingston.

Kingston and Lorin Farr, Weber Stake president in Ogden, had some sort of serious disagreement, though what it was about was never recorded. (Leonard suspects it might have been a boundary-related issue.)

Territorial legislators in 1855 redefined the Davis-Weber county line — likely because of prompting from Kingston. The county line moved south to the Weber River.

This meant that the Weber town of Uintah (previously called East Weber) was created to define what settlement remained on the north side of the Weber River. Kingston was retained as bishop, though his area was now aligned with other stakes in Davis County — not with Weber County and Farr.

(One other effect of this boundary change was that the community of Hooper lost one-third of its territory to Davis County as the boundary line there moved north. Thus, portions that were in South Hooper are now parts of Clinton and West Point.)

— Here's a look at city name origins in Davis County:

Bountiful — It was was settled in 1847 by the families of Perrigrine Sessions, Jezreel Shoemaker and John Perry. This was the Utah territory's second settlement.

Calls Settlement was the city's first name, for Anson Call, a visitor to the area. Sessions Settlement was its next title, followed by Mill Creek Canyon Ward and North Canyon Ward.

By 1854, the first post office was titled North Canyon Settlement. The name Stoker, in honor of John Stoker, the first Mormon bishop there, also reigned for a time.

Finally in 1855, Stoker proposed Bountiful, the title of an ancient city in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 17:5 and other references) and that became official on Feb. 27, 1855. In the Book of Mormon, Bountiful was referenced originally to a land of much fruit and wild honey.

Centerville — This city was first known as Deuel Creek for Osmyn M. Deuel, who settled on a creek there. Next, it was Cherry Settlement for pioneer Benjamin Cherry.

The Centerville name was a geographical reference to its center location between Bountiful and Farmington — the two oldest settlements in Davis County. The name started after an 1850 survey noted that center location. "The city in between" was a common early nickname.

Some 19th and early 20th century references to the town were spelled Centreville, a British variation from those with British ancestry who settled there.

Clearfield — The city was an outgrowth of Syracuse and settled in 1877 by Richard and Emily Hamblin. Its name came from its attractive, open surroundings.

Clinton — It was settled in the 1870s. James Hill and his family were the first settlers. The Range, Sandridge, The Basin and The Summit were earlier names for this town.

No one seems to know for sure how Clinton received its name. Some have speculated the Clinton name came as a result of LDS Church members trying to find a name for a new ward in the area. Clinton was selected as the most popular. The Union Pacific Railroad was also thought to have dubbed the area Clinton, although no one knows for sure why.

Farmington — Hector Haight was the first settler, along with his cattle, in the fall of 1847. Haights Bench, North Cottonwood Creek and Miller's Settlement were earlier names of the community. On Feb. 18, 1852, the Farmington name was officially applied, as a reminder to the good soil that made it a good farming area.

Fruit Heights — The area was known as East Kaysville until Aug. 23, 1938, when Fruit Heights became the official title. The name was applied for the area's famous fruit trees.

Kaysville —Samuel Oliver Holmes settled here in 1849, buying a cabin from a local trapper. William Kay, the area's first LDS bishop, arrived in 1850 and the place became known as Kays Settlement.

When Kay moved out, some residents wanted to call the town Freedom. However, legend says that Brigham Young objected to that, asking, "When did Kay's Ward get its freedom?" Young's recommendation for a name was Kaysville.

Layton — An outgrowth of Kaysville, the city was named for Christopher Layton, a member of the Mormon Battalion and early LDS bishop in the area. In 1855, the town's first name was Little Fort. This name came from the small fort that existed in the old Fort Lane area. It was small compared to Kaysville's larger fort.

Layton was called the Kaysville Second Ward for a time. Also, portions of Layton were called Laytona and East Layton. These two communities eventually merged with Layton city.

North Salt Lake City — Davis County's southernmost town was known as Swede Town for a while, until the current geographic name took hold. This city is sometimes confused with the north portion of Salt Lake City.

South Weber — This small town was originally in the south end of Weber County. However, the county line shifted north and moved from the hillside down to the Weber River, putting this community completely in Davis by 1855.

Sunset — The town was an outgrowth of Clinton. In about 1916, several ladies were so impressed by the beauty of the sunsets offered from the area that they began calling the area Sunset. Elevated on a hill that slopes downward as you travel west, the area produced scenic sunsets. The town was incorporated in 1935. World War II housing in the 1940s greatly enlarged Sunset's population.

Syracuse — Settled in 1878, it was an outgrowth of South Hooper and Kaysville. A bathing resort was built in 1887 along the shores of the Great Salt Lake, west of today's town and north of the Antelope Island gatehouse. The resort was likened to Syracuse, N.Y., and that name took hold.

West Bountiful — This community probably has the simplest name origin of any Davis city. The area was settled in 1948, as an outgrowth of Bountiful. It became a separate, incorporated town in 1949. It's name origin is an offshoot of Bountiful.

West Point — An outgrowth of Syracuse, it was originally called South Hooper. The West Point name probably results from the peninsula of land that juts out westward toward the Great Salt Lake.

Woods Cross — Likely named for Daniel C. Wood, who settled there in 1865. At first, the name of the areas was Woods Crossing, a reference to roads and railroads that connected at the same point.

Some other sources say a brother, Joseph R. Wood, could also lay claim as the city's namesake.

The Woods Cross area originally included Val Verda, Orchard, North Salt Lake, West Bountiful and other areas.

Daniel Wood became the wealthiest man in town by 1855, with $14,000 in possessions. He constructed a school, a church and, in 1869, gave a portion of his farmland for a railroad depot and crossing.

SOURCES:: "Utah Place Names," by John W. Van Cott; "Five Hundred Utah Place Names," by Rufus Wood Leigh; and individual Davis County city Web sites and histories; plus, "A History of Davis County," by Glen M. Leonard.


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