“He traveled some 30,000 miles in this saddle as a kind of diplomat making peace with the Indian nations in the southwest.” On a history tour of St. George, Utah we learned about a man named Jacob Hamblin who was a western pioneer and Mormon missionary aiding settlement in southern Utah and northern Arizona. In his house our guide proudly showed us Jacob’s saddle and talked about his inspirational life. He spent so many hours in that saddle as he traveled across the southwest helping new settlers and establishing cordial relationships with First Nations groups.
I saw photos of two of Jacob’s five wives in his home and wondered aloud if it hadn’t been those women who were truly inspirational. According to Wikipedia Jacob fathered some 25 children with his five wives. Although his first wife stayed in Ohio when Jacob decided to move to Utah he took their four children along with him and his subsequent wives helped to raise them as well as their own children.
Jacob’s work as a broker between Mormon settlements and First Nations groups was only possible because his wives stayed home to ‘hold down the fort’ caring for his livestock, his orchards, his cotton fields, his gardens, maintaining his home, and seeing to the education and upbringing of his children.
Although history records his wives’ names- Lucinda, Rachel, Sarah, Eliza and Louisa of course Jacob is the one we know the most about and the one who history honors. Indeed the house where he lived is called The Jacob Hamblin House when in fact he was seldom there but usually out on his missionary and diplomatic journeys.
On the main floor of Jacob’s house we saw the marriage bed where Jacob will have done his part to conceive his many children. Upstairs was a circle of chairs to show how the children met together with their parents for worship and family meetings and education. The maintainence of that family circle was largely left to Jacob’s wives while he traveled his 30,000 miles. I wonder if the Jacob Hamblin House shouldn’t be named after them.