Hole-in-the-Rock Landmarks and People

Hole-in-the-Rock Landmarks and People
Answers at bottom of the left column.

January 9, 2010

Hobbs, George Brigham

George Brigham Hobbs
Born:  Feb. 22, 1856 at Hersham, Sussex, England.  Born: February 22, 1856, in Hersham, Sussex, England

Died: November 19, 1921
Marriage: Julia Broadhead, October 18, 1883
Father: William Down Hobbs
Mother: Mary Ann Pope
Death:  Nov. 19, 1921 and was buried at Nephi, Utah.
George Hobbs played a pivotal role in the Hole-in-the-Rock expedition, and authored the only known accounts of the four scouts who pressed on ahead of the main company of pioneers to find a passable route.

Born 22 February 1856, he was the eighth of nine children born to William Down Hobbs and Mary Ann Pope. At the time of his birth, his family resided in Hersham, Sussex, England, but following their conversion to the LDS faith, they emigrated to Utah. They were then sent to help colonize Parowan, Utah, where they built a small home.
    When he was seven years old, he came with his parents to Utah.  They were sent on to Parowan, Iron County, Utah.  In April 1879, he was called with 26 other men to explore the way to San Juan.  His sister, Elizabeth Harriman and her husband and four children were with the company that was sent to explore the southern route to San Juan.  It was over 400 miles going through the deserts of Navajo Country in Arizona before they got to Montezuma Creek.
He returned with most of the men following a northern route through Moab, then finally back to Paraowan in September, nearly a 1000 mile round trip.  The next month, October '79 he left for San Juan (the company taking the more direct route over the Hole in Rock Trail.) 

Kumen Jones' report of 1st exploration
Second exploring party:
When the decision had been made to continue the mission on to San Juan, Platte D. Lyman, Field Captain of the expedition while Silas Smith returned to petition the Utah legislature for supplies, chose George W. Sevy, Lemuel H. Redd, Sr., George Morrell, and George B. Hobbs as scouts to plot a course up the other side of the the Colorado River gorge, all the way to Montezuma Creek, in the middle of San Juan country.

These scouts looked at a map, which told them that Montezuma was approximately 70 miles away. As they were only taking a burro, 2 small horses, and a mule, they figured they could travel lightly and make close to twenty miles a day. Not wanting to be overburdened, they only packed sufficient rations for 8 days. . . At the top of the Slick Rock Hills, at the north end of Grey Mesa, the scouts found it impossible to find a way down off the rounded rocks that sloped down to sheer cliffs. While three of the scouts were looking for a possible trail, George Hobbs remained in camp, eating breakfast. While eating, a lone mountain sheep wandered into camp. Not having a gun, George grabbed a pack rope, and fashined a lariat. He then tried to rope the sheep, as it stayed just out of reach ahead of him. After chasing it for sometime without ever being able to quite catch it, George noticed that he had reached the bottom of the rocks, and was down off the mesa. The sheep had just shown him the only route down off the mesa. It then promptly ran off, and he didn't see it any longer. When he had gotten back to camp, the rest of the scouts returned, stating that there was absolutely no way to get down off the mesa. They were surely astonished upon hearing the story, but were greatful that Providence had graced them with the necessary help they needed .
By December 23, they were only about halfway there, having been hampered by the rough country, and their lack of knowledge of the area. On the 23rd, they were met by a fierce snowstorm, unusual for that area. It left 3 feet of snow during that storm. On this trip he got lost in a snow storm at Silver Falls wash.  Thinking he might die, he carved his name on a ledge.  His children, after 75 years found this in 1956 and placed a plaque by it. (Hole in the Rock site).

Moved to Nephi

Like many of the Hole-in-the-Rock pioneers, Hobbs did not stay permanently in either Bluff or Montezuma. Instead, he soon relocated to Nephi, Utah, where he met Julia Broadhead. They were married in the Salt Lake Endowment House on 18 October 1883. They became the parents of eleven children – an impressive family that included triplets and two sets of twins. Hobbs made a living as a carpenter and contractor in order to provide for his large family, and was well-esteemed within his community. He passed away 19 November 1921.

Hobbs biography
Other information
Exploring trip to San Juan
Michael Hurst article on Bluff
Book about George Hobbs
Fire on the Plateau: Conflict And Endurance

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