Brigham Young was the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, leading the church after the death of Joseph Smith. He led the church members out of Nauvoo across the American interior to Utah. He and his people developed the wilderness and created farms, factories, cities, places of education, culture and worship. He organized and delegated to organize colonies from Canada to Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. He was the spiritual leader of his people as well as their secular leader. He organized governmental bodies and served as the governor of the Territory of Deseret.
From the viewpoint of a family researcher, he is particularly interesting. He practiced plural marriage, having many wives and dozens of children.
Historians differ as to exactly how many wives he had. According to common thought some of the marriages were primarily so they (the women) could have a caretaker, and their relationships were celibate. Several of his wives never bore him children for one reason or another.
It is important that for this page we make a concerted effort to display authenticated information. Most of the marriages which are under dispute did not bear any children, so from a family historical standpoint.
Click here for the Brigham Young article on Wikipedia
- Born: 1 June 1801 Whitingham, Vermont
- Married: Multiple, see spouses
- Died: 29 August 1877, Salt Lake City, Utah
- Burial: Salt Lake City, Utah
Conversion to Mormonism
In late spring 1830, was the First Missionary Journey of Samuel Smith to the nearby town of Mendon, NY. At the time it was thought this mission was a failure since he could only hand out just one Book of Mormon and was otherwise met with much rejection and discouragement.
But in just two years time, that one book would come into the hands of the Greene, Young and Kimball families which would be the source by which many thousands would join the new church and also the source of many future prominent church leaders.
Marriage & Family
Sources have varied on the number of Young's wives, due to differences in what scholars have considered to be a "wife". There were 55 women that Young was sealed to during his lifetime. While the majority of the sealings were "for eternity", some were "for time only". Researchers believe that not all of the 55 marriages were conjugal. Young did not live with a number of his wives or publicly hold them out as wives, which has led to confusion on the number and identities. This is in part due to the complexity of how wives were identified in the Mormon society at the time.
“Young's ability to keep dozens of wives from quarreling and so many children from overwhelming him would in itself prove that he must have been a remarkable, not to say a master, diplomat. ”
Of Young's 55 wives, 21 had never been married before; 16 were widows; six were divorced; six had living husbands; and the marital status of six others are unknown. In 1856, Young built the Lion House to accommodate his sizable family. This building remains a Salt Lake City landmark, together with the Beehive House, another Young family home. A contemporary of Young wrote: "It was amusing to walk by Brigham Young's big house, a long rambling building with innumerable doors. Each wife has an establishment of her own, consisting of parlor, bedroom, and a front door, the key of which she keeps in her pocket." At the time of Young's death, 19 of his wives had predeceased him, he was divorced from ten, and 23 survived him. The status of four was unknown. One of his wives, Zina Huntington Young, served as the third president of the Relief Society. In his will, Young shared his estate with the 16 surviving wives who had lived with him; the six surviving non-conjugal wives were not mentioned in the will.
1st Marriage: Mariam Works
Married Miriam Angeline Works (1806-1832) in 1824, Cayuga NY. She bore him two children and then died just two months after their baptism into the LDS Church.
|Offspring of Brigham Young and Miriam Angeline Works (1806-1832)|
|Elizabeth Young (1825-)|| |
|Vilate Young (1830-)|
2nd Marriage: Mary Ann Angell
Mary Ann Angell (1808-1882) was married on 18 Feb 1834 in Kirtland OH to Brigham Young (1801-1877), future president of the LDS Church shortly after the death of his first wife. She is the sister of famous church architect Truman Osborn Angell. Brigham would later marry also her mother (wife #29) and older sister (wife #27) in 1846. They had six children:
- Joseph Angell Young (1834-1875) - LDS Apostle, key participant in the Martin Handcart Company Rescue, member of Utah Territorial Legislature and LDS Missionary to England.
- Young is the father of Richard Whitehead Young (1858-1919), a U.S. Army Brigadier General and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines during the time that the Philippines was a U.S. Territory.
- Mary Ann Young (1836-1843) (twin) - twin sister Mary died at age seven from the effects of injuries received at age two in a wagon accident.
- Brigham Young (1836-1903) (twin) - Apostle in LDS Church / At age twelve. Young drove an ox cart along the Mormon Trail, reaching Salt Lake City in 1848.
- Alice Young (1839-1874)
- Luna Caroline Young (1842-1922)
- John Willard Young (1844-1924) - He is one of the few individuals to have been an apostle of the LDS Church and a member of the First Presidency without ever having been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
3rd Marriage: Lucy Ann Decker
Lucy Ann Decker (1822-1890) was the first plural wife of Brigham Young. She married him at age 20 (20 Jan 1842 at Nauvoo, Illinois) after leaving her first husband who was an alcoholic and abusive. In 1848 she followed him to Salt Lake City, where she and her children became primary occupants of the Lion House.
Her sister Clarissa Clara Decker (1828-) also married Brigham as his 4th plural wife (#6) and their mother, Harriet Page Wheeler (1803-1871) was a plural wife to Brigham's younger brother, Lorenzo Dow Young (1807-1895). Both of these two ladies were part of the first pioneer company to Utah in July 1847.
- Brigham Heber Young (1845-1928) - md Vilate Ruth Clayton
- Fanny Decker Young (1849-1892) - md George Washington Thatcher
- Enerst Irving Young (1851-) - Md Sybella White Johnson
- Arta D'Christa Young (1855-1916) - md Susan Snow
- Feramorz Little Young (1858-1881) - died age 23
- Clarissa Hamilton Young (1860-) - md John Daniel Spencer
4th Marriage: Augusta Adams
Augusta Adams (1802-1886), left behind her husband (Henry Cobb (1798-1872), a wealthy Quaker, and seven of their children, prompting Boston newspaper reporters to question who the father was of her infant, whom she had named Brigham Young Cobb. She became the third wife in his current household. No known children. She married to Brigham on 2 November 1843 in Nauvoo.
5th Marriage: Harriet Cook
6th Marriage: Clara Decker
Clarissa Clara Decker (1828-) married Brigham on 08 May 1844 in Nauvoo, Illinois at age 16. Younger sister of Lucy Ann Decker (1822-1890) (#3 above). She was of the three women to be part of the first pioneer company to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. She lived in the home on State Street, near the former site of the famous Social Hall.
- Jeannette Young (1849-1930) - md Robert Easton
- Nabbie Howe Young (1852-) - md Orson Clawson
- Jedediah Grant Young (1855-1856)
- Albert Jeddie Young (1858-)
- Charlotte Talula Young (1861-) - md Augustus M Wood
|Offspring of Brigham Young and Clarissa Clara Decker (1828-)|
|Jeannette Young (1849-1930)|| |
|Nabbie Howe Young (1852-)|| |
|Jedediah Grant Young (1855-1856)|| |
|Albert Jeddie Young (1858-)|| |
|Charlotte Talula Young (1861-)|
18th Marriage: Margaret Pierce
21st Marriage: Mary Jane Bigelow
Mary Jane Bigelow (1827-1868) and her younger sister Lucy were both married to him on the same date, 20 Mar 1847, at Winter Quarters, per the journal of her niece Susan Amelia Young (1856-1933). Upon her arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, at her request, she was released from her vows by Brigham. But her sister remained faithfully married to him. No known children.
22nd Marriage: Lucy Bigelow
Lucy Bigelow (1830-1905), Her parents were earnest followers of the Mormon Church and were heavily persecuted in IL and by 1850 were established in Utah. Lucy and her older sister, Mary Jane (above), became wives of Brigham Young. Mary Jane obtained a divorce and married again, but Lucy remained a devoted wife to Brigham. They married in Winter Quarters on 20 March 1847 - the same day as did her older sister.
- Eudora Lovina Young (1852-1921) - md 1) Moreland Dunford in 1871 (then divorced), md 2) Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898) (4th President of LDS Church (then divorced) md 3) Albert Hagan.
- Susan Amelia Young (1856-1933) - A daughter and grandchildren from this union would receive wide acclaim: Susa Young Gates, a close associate of Susan B. Anthony and women's rights; and, Emma Lucy Gates Bowen, a world renown opera singer and wife to future LDS Apostle A. Bowen, Leah D. Widtsoe, author and nutritionist and wife of LDS Apostle Widtsoe; B. Cecil Gates, LDS composer.
- Rhoda Mabel Young (1863-1950) -
27th Marriage: Jemima Angell
Married Jemima Angell (1804-1869) on 28 Jan 1846 (age 42) in Nauvoo, Illinois. She was divorced from Valentine Young (no relation). sister of Wife #2 Mary Ann Angell (1808-1882) and daughter of Wife #29 Phebe Ann Morton (1786-1854). No Children.
28th Marriage: Abigail Works
Married Abigail Marks (1781–1846) on 28 Jan 1846 in Nauvoo, Illinois. She was the widow of Asa Works. Sealed to Works for eternity and Young for time; Abigail Marks was the mother of Young's first wife, Miriam Angeline Works (1806-1832).
29th Marriage: Phebe Morton
Married Phebe Ann Morton (1786-1854) on 28 Jan 1846 in Nauvoo, Illinois. She was the divorced mother of Brigham's second wife Mary Ann Angell (1808-1882). Sealed to Solomon Angell (1806-1881) for eternity and Young for time. No Children.
Lucy Ann Decker (1822-1890) + Augusta Adams (1802-1886) + Harriet Elizabeth Cook (1824-1898) + Clarissa Caroline Decker (1828-1889) + Emily Dow Partidge (1824-1899) + Clarissa Ross (1814-1857) + Louisa Beaman (1815-1850) + Eliza Roxcy Snow (1804-1887) + Elizabeth Fairchild (1828-1910) + Clarissa Blake (1796-) + Rebecca Holman (1824-1849) + Diana Chase (1827-1886) + Susanne Snively (1815-1892) + Olive Grey Frost (1816-1845) + Mary Ann Clark (1816-) + Margaret Pierce (1823-1907) + Mary Pierce (1821-1847) + Emmeline Free (1826-1875) + Mary Elizabeth Rollins (1818-1910) + Margaret Alley (1825-1852) + Olive Andrews (1818-) + Emily Haws (1823-) + Martha Bowker (1822-1890) + Ellen Rockwood (1829-1866) + Jemima Angel (1803-1869) + Abigail Marks (1781-1846) + Phebe Morton (1776-1854) + Cynthia Porter (1783-1861) + Mary Eliza Nelson (1812-1885)
32nd Marriage: Rhoda Richards
Married on 31 Jan 1846 in Nauvoo IL to his 1st cousin, Rhoda Richards (1784-1879) who was a widow to the prophet, Joseph Smith (1805-1844). Sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. for eternity and Young for time. After Joseph's martyrdom, this widow married her 1st cousin and Joseph's successor, Brigham Young (1801-1877) as his 32nd wife. She was age 61 and he 44 at this time. She had no children from either marriage.
33rd Marriage: Zina Huntington
Married to Zina Diantha Huntington (1821-1901). She was a polygamous wife of Joseph Smith (1805-1844), and later Brigham Young, each of whom she married while she was still married to her first husband, Henry Jacobs.
Husband was Henry Bailey Jacobs, who was aware of Zina's plural marriage to Smith. Jacobs wrote, "[W]hatever the Prophet did was right, without making the wisdom of God's authorities bend to the reasoning of any man." (Compton 1997, pp. 81–82)
Soon after Smith's death in 1844, Zina was married to Brigham Young. In May 1846, Young called Henry Jacobs to serve a mission to England. During Jacobs's absence, Zina began living openly in a marital relationship with Young and continued to do so for the rest of her life, without ever obtaining a divorce from Jacobs. She had one child with Brigham Young, Zina Prescinda Young, in 1850.
Amy Cecilia Cooper (1804-1852) + Mary Ellen de la Montaigne (1803-1894) + Julia Foster (1811-1891) + Abigail Harback (1790-1849) + Mary Ann Turley (1827-1904) + Naamah Carter (1821-1909) + Nancy Cressy (1780-1872) + Jane Terry (1819-1847)
42nd Marriage: Lucy Bigelow
43rd Marriage: Mary Jane Bigelow
Mary Jane Bigelow (1827-1868)
Sarah Malin (1804-1858) + Eliza Burgess (1827-1915) + Mary Oldfield (1793-1875) + Eliza Babcock (1828-1868) + Catherine Reese (1804-1860) + Harriet Barney (1830-1911) + Amelia Folsom (1838-1910) + Mary Van Cott (1844-1884) + Ann Eliza Webb (1844-1917) + Elizabeth Jones (1814-1895) + Lydia Farnsworth (1808-1897) + Hannah Tapfield (1807-1886)
51st Marriage: Mary Van Cott =
Mary Van Cott (1844-1884) Married 8 January 1865, Brigham's last wife and she bore him his last child. She was previously married to James Cobb, Brigham's stepson by was of his marriage to James' mother, Augusta Adams (1802-1886), wife #4 above.
- Fannie Young (1870-1950) - only child of this marriage.
- Wives of Brigham Young - Wikipedia
- Brigham Young - Wikipedia
- President Brigham Young - LDS.org
- Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young
- Perspectives on the West: Brigham Young - PBS Special
- Contemporary Study on Brigham Young - Mormon Newsroom
Three of Young's sons were ordained as LDS Church apostles by their father: Brigham Young, Jr., John Willard Young, and Joseph Angell Young. Other leaders in the LDS Church who were descended from Young include his children Maria Young Dougall and B. Morris Young. A daughter, Susa Young Gates, was a prominent women's rights activist in Utah. Another daughter, Zina Young Card, was the wife of Charles O. Card who founded the first Mormon settlement in Canada - Cardston, Alberta - and who was referred to as "Canada's Brigham Young." A son, Don Carlos Young, was an LDS Church architect. A granddaughter, Leah D. Widtsoe, was wife of apostle John A. Widtsoe and herself a leading expert in home economics. Other grandchildren include sculptor Mahonri Young; Richard Whitehead Young, U.S. Army Brigadier General and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines; William Hooper Young, a convicted murderer; opera singer Emma Lucy Gates Bowen; Zina Card Brown, wife of Canadian military officer and apostle Hugh B. Brown; Zola Grace Brown, first wife of FLDS Church president Rulon Jeffs; hymnwriter Hugh W. Dougall; and sociologist Kimball Young. More distant descendants include Mormon critic Sandra Tanner, novelist Orson Scott Card, and NFL Hall of Fame athlete Steve Young.
In 1902, 25 years after his death, the New York Times established that Young's direct descendants numbered more than 1000.
- Brigham Young Immigrant Ancestors - List of both Famous Descendants and early colonial ancestors.