Editor's note: Part 6 in a series of essays on visiting sites significant to the history of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I like the Jacob Hamblin home located in Santa Clara, Utah, for two reasons.
First, in front of the house the title on the placard says “Jacob Hamblin Home: Pioneer Explorer, Missionary Trailblazer, Indian Peacemaker.”
There is a lot said in that one sign, in those few words, and it describes the hearts of the men, women and families sent to colonize and expand. Hamblin exemplified the spirit of the pioneers. He likely spent more time in the outdoors with a saddle as a pillow than he did in his own bed, covering hundreds of miles as he was asked to accomplish daunting tasks. Like many of the pioneers of the time, he was starting from scratch and creating something that lasts.
This home is where the pioneer explorer, trailblazer and peacemaker lay down his weary head; where he worried and fretted over his family and fellow Saints; and where he must have felt joy in the sound of pattering, children’s feet and the laughter of a baby.
Second, Hamblin is my ancestor. He had a son, Lyman Stoddard Hamblin, born in Iowa. Lyman Stoddard grew up, married and had a son, Lyman Duane. Lyman Duane Hamblin had a daughter, Fanny. Fanny Hamblin married William Strait Hill, and their son was William Norman Hill, who is my dad.
So when I go to Hamblin’s home in southern Utah, like many other descendants of pioneers, I feel part of something bigger than myself, a connection strengthened by time. I step through the door, and I feel that I belong. I hear the echoes of joy and subtle hints of daily acts of love of kindness.
There must have been some strife and challenge in Hamblin’s life, but there must have also been moments of happiness. There is a strong possibility that those traits of being an explorer, trailblazer and peacemaker got passed down to generations of posterity.
I find strength in that possibility.
Bill Hill lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho, with his wife and three daughters. He works for a counseling agency.