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See also, Swiss Colony.

In 1854, Jacob Hamblin was called by Brigham Young to serve a mission to the southern Paiute and settled at Santa Clara in the vicinity of the modern city of St. George, Utah.

The first settlers built Fort Clara or Fort Santa Clara, in the winter of 1855-1856. In the fall of 1861, Swiss Mormon colonists arrived at the new settlement, but shortly afterward were victims of the large flood in the Clara River that wiped out the fort and most other buildings, its irrigation dams and ditches, in early in 1862. This flood was part of the Great Flood of 1862.

Hamblin’s first home there was included in the destruction of this flood. His second wife Rachael saved one of their young children from drowning, but the child soon after died from exposure. Rachael never fully recovered from the exposure she got from the flood. Swearing to avoid the risk of flood, Hamblin built a new home on a hill in Santa Clara. Owned today by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it is operated as a house museum, where Mormon missionaries give daily tours.

19th-century Santa Clara was largely inhabited by Mormon immigrants from Switzerland. Among these was Daniel Bonelli, who after the destruction of the flood went on to be a pioneer colonist of St. Thomas, Nevada in the Moapa Valley, a farmer, later a salt miner and the owner of Bonelli’s Ferry, at Rioville, Nevada on the road between southwestern Utah and Arizona on the Colorado River at its confluence with the Virgin River.

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