Brigham Young is one of the earliest known colonizers in American history. Explore this biography to know more about his life, childhood & timeline.

Quick Facts
Famous as
Territorial Governor, and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Born on
01 June 1801
Died At Age
Sun Sign
Gemini    Gemini Men
Born in
Died on
29 August 1877
place of death
Salt Lake City
John Young
Abigail Howe
Hannah Tapfield (m. 1872–1877), Lydia Farnsworth (m. 1870–1877), Elizabeth Jones (m. 1869–1877), Ann Eliza Young (m. 1868–1875), Mary Van Cott (m. 1868–1877), Harriet Amelia Folsom (m. 1863–1877), Harriet E. Barne
Vilate Young, Elizabeth Young
University of Deseret

Brigham Young was an American leader of the Latter-day Saint movement. He was popularly known as American Moses, Modern Moses and Mormon Moses, because, quite similar to the biblical figure, he led his followers, through a desert, to a land of opportunity. Reflecting a bold personality, Brigham was referred to as 'Brother Brigham' by Latter-day Saints. He is regarded as the most prominent Mormon polygamist. Apart from being the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham donned the cap of the founder of Salt Lake City, Brigham Young University and Brigham Young Academy. For his immense contribution towards the colonization of US, the state of Utah donated a marble statue of Young to the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection, in 1950.

Born on 1st June 1801,to John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe, Brigham Young was the ninth of the eleven children in his family. Though he was born in Whittingham, Vermont, the family was constantly on the move. Three years after Brigham was born, his family moved to central New York State. When he turned ten, they relocated to Sherburne, in south-central New York. Brigham, in his childhood days, did a lot of menial tasks, such as clearing the land for farming, trapping animals for fur, fishing, building sheds and digging cellars. In the field, he gave help in planting, cultivating and harvesting crops. Little Brigham also cared for his mother, who was seriously ill with tuberculosis.
Early Life
Brigham was only 14 years old when his mother died. Though his father remarried, Brigham preferred not to stay with his new mother and new siblings, which she brought along with her. Rather, he started working as an apprentice carpenter, painter and glazier, in nearby Auburn. At the age of 23, Brigham married Miriam Works (October 5, 1824). The couple lived in Aurelius Township, where they joined the Methodist Church. A year later, they were blessed with a child, whom they named Elizabeth. However, after giving birth to their second daughter, Miriam contracted chronic tuberculosis.
Meanwhile, Brigham, after reading the Book of Mormon, was drawn to Mormonism. After his wife's death, he established a community in Kirtland, Ohio, along with other Mormons. Ordained as an apostle on February 14, 1835, Brigham joined the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as one of its inaugural members.  In 1840, after suffering a loss of property, he went to England as a missionary. In the same year, he, along with others, established the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, on the Mississippi River. The city, eventually, became the headquarters of the 'Quorum of the Twelve Apostles' church. 
Death of Joseph Smith
The death of Joseph Smith, the President of the church, brought several claimants for his position. Though Sidney Rigdon, a senior member of the church's First Presidency, argued that he should be made the 'Protector' of the church, Brigham strongly opposed this theory. He stated that all the apostles of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were equivalent, in terms of authority and power, to the First Presidency.
Brigham's opposition was taken as a sign that Brigham will lead the church, as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In 1847, the skillful Brigham successfully took over the position and became the principal leader, or President, of the church. However, on and off conflicts and the anti-Mormon violence forced him, along with his group of Latter-day Saints, to change base from Illinois. It was, thence, that migrating with the mass Mormon, westwards, Brigham came to Great Salt Lake Valley, on July 24, 1847.
Ban on Priesthood
Brigham, following the settling in Utah, proclaimed a priesthood ban in 1848, thus preventing the black African descents from holding the priesthood position. He canceled the priesthood and temple blessings from black members of the LDS faith, in contrast to the equality that was practiced by his predecessor, Joseph Smith. This move of Brigham disallowed the blacks from performing Mormon temple rites, such as the Endowment or Sealing. However, this rule remained effective only till 1978, after which it was withdrawn by the President of the Church, Spencer W. Kimball.
Governor of Utah Territory
Apart from being the colonizer and founder of Salt Lake City, Brigham was also appointed as the first governor of the territory and the superintendent of Indian affairs, by President Millard Fillmore. As a governor, Brigham did a lot of work. Right from building roads and bridges, forts, irrigation projects to establishing public welfare, organizing militia and pacifying the Native Americans. He established settlements in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada and parts of southern Colorado and northern Mexico, thus becoming the one of the foremost colonizers in American history. However, Brigham's relation with the federal government was not smooth, mainly due to his public acknowledgment of polygamy, in 1852. In 1857, President James Buchanan dispatched United States Army troops to Utah and Brigham was removed from the position of governor.
Other Works
Brigham Young organized the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In his initial years as the Governor of Utah, he founded the University of Deseret, which is today known as the University of Utah. Apart from this, Brigham also founded Brigham Young Academy in 1875, known as Brigham Young University today.
Personal Life & Death

Brigham Young is one of the famous polygamists of the early American church. He is said to have a total of 55 wives, out of which 54 came after he had become a Latter-day Saint. Of his 55 wives, 21 had been spinsters, 16 were widows, 6 were divorcees, 6 had living husbands and the marital status of the rest 6 is unknown. Young had a total of 57 children, from his 16 wives, but only 46 of them reached adulthood. When Brigham died, at the age of 76, 19 of his wives had predeceased him. Along with that, he was divorced from 10 and 23 survived him, while the status of rest three is unknown.


1801 :

Brigham Young was born

1815 :

Lost his mother

1824 :

Married Miriam Works

1835 :

Joined Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as one of its inaugural members

1840 :

Moved to England, as a missionary, and then to the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, which was the headquarters of the church

1847 :

Became the President of church. Later, moved to Great Salt Lake Valley

1850 :

Founded the University of Deseret (University of Utah)

1852 :

Publicly acknowledged his polygamy

1857 :

Was removed from the positionof governor, afterPresident James Buchanan dispatched United States Army troops to Utah

1875 :

Founded Brigham Young Academy (now Brigham Young University)

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