Brigham Young: The Man

A remarkable leader -- at home, at church, and on the frontier

He is probably most famous as a polygamist, but Brigham Young was remarkable for much, much more than his many wives and 57 children.

The level of quality in the Forest Farmhouse and other homes belonging to Brigham Young is indicative of the refined tastes of the Mormon leader. His refinement is only one facet of the man who led the colonization of most of the Western States.

Brigham Young is perhaps most widely knows as a polygamist. That he was, with records indicating that he was sealed to some 55 women. Most of these were never wives in the normal sense, but women, generally older, whom he cared for and gave the protection of his name.

Sixteen wives bore him 57 children, 46 of whom grew to maturity.

Supporting all those wives and children was only one of the remarkable things Brigham Young did. He led the largest organized migration in American history. He coordinated the settlement of 353 towns in a massive colonization effort in a desert wilderness area. He carried out the plan of Joseph Smith, who first envisioned the migration of the Mormons to the Great Basin area.

He was the spiritual leader of the Mormon Church, and the governor of the State of Utah when it was admitted to the United States. He was a remarkable man with amazing leadership abilities. Expressing the general feeling of the settlers of Utah, Jedediah M. Grant, a counselor to Brigham Young, described Young's character in the following manner:

"I can't undertake to explain Brigham Young to your Atlantic citizens, or expect you to put him at his value. Your great men Eastward are to me like your ivory and pearl-handled table knives, balanced handles, more shiny than the inside of my watch case; but, with only edge enough to slice bread and cheese or help spoon victuals, and all alike by the dozen one with another.

Brigham is the article that sells out West with us -- between a Roman cutlass and a beef butcher knife, the thing to cut up a deer or cut down an enemy, and that will save your life or carve your dinner every bit as well, though the hand piece is buck horn and the case a hogskin hanging in the breech of your pantaloons. You, that judge men by the handle and sheath, how can I make you know a good BLADE?"

Return to main page