It was the goal of the travelers of the Oregon and the California trails to be at this point by Independence day or before.
If you were illiterate someone could chisel your name for you for a fee.
In 1860 there were estimated to be around 40 to 50 thousand names written with a mixture of hog fat , pine tar and gunpowder or chiseled onto this rock.
In 1842 when Roman Catholic John Fremont was passing through this area he saw all of the names written upon Independence rock and believed it to be a very large gravestone
so he placed a large cross upon it to honor the dead.
Later on when other immigrants passed through who disliked Roman Catholicism
they decided to blow it up.