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John Jacobs…by Nic

Map of Bozeman Trail which John Jacobs helped establish from

Map of Bozeman Trail which John Jacobs helped establish from

John Jacobs was a mountain man.  There isn’t much detailed information available about his life.  We know that he married a Flathead Indian and had a daughter.  They named her Emma.  He made money by fur trapping and trading, and guiding wagon trains.

In 1862 the fur trade wasn’t profitable anymore.  This was because of the dwindling amount of beavers and reduced demand for furs.  Jacobs saw an opportunity to make money from the emigrants passing through.  He would buy their old, worn out cattle that couldn’t pull the wagons anymore.  He would fatten up the old, worn out cattle in pastures and then use them for trading later on.  He was among the first pioneers of the cattle industry in Montana.

Later on he met John Bozeman in the town of Bannack.  Jacobs helped John Bozeman to build the Bozeman Trail.  The trail was originally known as the Jacob’s Trail and was later changed to the Bozeman Trail.  This was a shorter route from the Oregon Trail to the gold lands of Montana.  His eight year-old daughter was with them while they were forging the path  I was not able to find information about the later years of his life.



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