Native Americans were the first group to call Utah County home. But the first European men to “discover” the valley were most likely Father Escalante and Father Dominguez and their party of Spanish explorers on Sept. 23, 1776.
Until the mid-1850s, Utah County was inhabited by various trappers and mountain men. The first permanent settlers in the valley were Mormon pioneers sent from the Salt Lake area by Brigham Young in 1849.
Provo was the first settlement in the valley and got its name from the Provo River, which was named after the mountain man Etienne Provost. Other communities were officially founded in 1850, including Alpine, American Fork, Lehi, Pleasant Grove, Payson and Springville.
The county was first governed by Mormon church leaders until the General Assembly of the State of Deseret decreed on January 28, 1850, that “Utah Valley shall be called Utah County” and established Provo as the county seat.
In 1854, the first library opened in Provo and an official U.S. Post Office opened in 1894. Brigham Young Academy was established in 1875 after Brigham Young issued a deed of trust to create the school.