When the Mormon pioneers emerged from Emigration Canyon in July 1847, they saw before
them a vast windswept valley stretching thirty miles to the southwest.
Less than two years later, as communities began to spring up in various
locations around the valley, a small number of settlers ventured across
the Jordan River in order to establish homes and farms.
and his family were among the original few who commenced homesteads
"over Jordan" in 1849. Beckstead's first home was in West Jordan, but
he permanently moved his family to South Jordan in 1859. It is interesting
to note that several of the early pioneers to the area of South Jordan
lived initially in earthen dugouts fashioned "under the hill" just above
the Jordan River. The wilderness of South Jordan had previously been
inhabited by coyotes, jackrabbits, and hardy Native Americans.
The South Jordan
area was originally purchased by George A. Smith, and Beckstead purchased
his land from Smith. The Beckstead land extended from 9000 South ("the Sandy Road") to 12,500 South ("the Draper Road"), and from the Jordan
River to about 1300 West ("the Lower Road"). Beckstead, along with seven
of his sons and their adjoining neighbors, brought water from the Jordan
River in 1859. They diverted the water by constructing a ditch using
picks and shovels, with a bucket of water used as a level. The ditch
was still utilized for irrigation in contemporary South Jordan.