Norton Jacob

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Question: What was Norton Jacob’s role in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in 1847?

Answer: Norton Jacob was born on August 11, 1804, in Sheffield, Bershire County, Massachusetts, to Udney Hay and Elizabeth Hubbard Jacob. He married Emily Heaton on November 20, 1830, in Busti, Chautauqua, New York, and they had their first three children in New York.

About 1836, Norton moved his family to Illinois, where their next three children were born.

Norton and wife Emily Heaton Jacob

Norton and wife Emily Heaton Jacob

In 1840, Norton read a pamphlet that introduced him to the Church, and he was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that year. His family bitterly opposed his conversion, but his father later joined the Church. Norton moved his family to Nauvoo, where his next two children were born. Their little daughter, Emma, was born and died in Nauvoo.

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Norton performed missionary work, and after the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith returned to Nauvoo and worked on the temple. In 1846, Norton left Nauvoo with the other Saints and made his way to Iowa.

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In April 1847, Norton was asked to join Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company, and was the Captain of the 12th Company. He helped make some of the wagons. He left his wife and six small children in a cabin near Winter Quarters. A daughter was born at Council Bluffs in August 1847, after his departure. He kept a journal of the journey in which he noted such occurrences as choosing a camp cook, river crossings, wagons tipping over, catching mountain fever and staying with the rear company to help an ailing Brigham Young to the valley, and went with them to the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847. He returned to Council Bluffs in the fall of 1847.

Norton returned to the Salt Lake Valley with his wife and five children in the summer of 1848 in the Heber C. Kimball Company. During the trip, his fourteen-year-old son, Oliver, became ill and died of black scurvy, black canker and a liver disease. He was buried along the trail.

Name written on Independence Rock in Wyoming

Name written on Independence Rock in Wyoming

After settling in the Salt Lake Valley, Norton worked on the temple and various other projects, including a mill on Mill Creek and a bridge over the Weber River. Norton’s wife bore two more children in Utah, making a total of eleven children for them. They lost four before adulthood.

Norton married three other women, but only had children with Elizabeth Graham. They had four children together, and were later separated. Elizabeth had six children from previous marriages.

Norton moved to Heber City, Wasatch Co., Utah, and was elected justice of the peace in 1862. He died in Glenwood, Sevier County, Utah, on January 30, 1879, at age 74 and was buried in the Glenwood Cemetery.

Source: “Biographies of the Original 1847 Pioneer Company,” Church News, Updated, 14 October 2009; FamilySearch.org; FindAGrave.com