List of Brigham Young's wives

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Mormonism and polygamy
The Family of Joseph F. Smith
A Mormon polygamist family in 1888.

Brigham Young was perhaps the most famous polygamist of the early Latter Day Saint movement, marrying a total of 55 wives, 54 of them after becoming a Latter Day Saint.[1] He stated that upon being taught about plural marriage, "It was the first time in my life that I desired the grave."[2] By the time of his death, Young had 57 children by 16 of his wives; 46 of his children reached adulthood.[3]

Number of wives[edit]

Sources have varied on the number of Young's wives due to differences in what observers have considered to be a "wife".[1] There were 55 women that Young was sealed to during his lifetime. While the majority of the sealings were "for eternity" (i.e., in the afterlife), some were "for time only" (until death). However, it is suspected that not all of the 55 marriages were conjugal,[1] and Young did not live with a number of his wives or publicly hold them out as wives, which has led to confusion on numbering.[1]

Of his 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.[1]

At the time of Young's death, 19 of his wives had predeceased him, he was divorced from ten, and 23 survived him, with the status of four unknown.[1] 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.[1]

Lion House[edit]

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 Brigham 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".[4]

Chart of wives[edit]

Chart of Brigham Young's wives.[1]

No. Marriage date and Young's age at marriage Photo Name, lifespan, and age at marriage Wife's status at marriage Notes
1 October 8, 1824(1824-10-08) (aged 23)
Miriam A. Works.jpg
Miriam Angeline Works (1806–1832) (aged 18) first marriage 2 children; died a few months after she and Brigham Young were baptized
2 March 31, 1834(1834-03-31) (aged 32)
Mary Ann Angell Young.jpg
Mary Ann Angell (1808–1882) (aged 27) first marriage This was not a plural marriage, as Young was a widower at the time; 6 children; mother of Brigham Young, Jr., John Willard Young and Joseph Angell Young.
3 June 14, 1842(1842-06-14) (aged 41)
Lucy A. Decker.jpg
Lucy Ann Decker (1822–1890) (aged 20) abandoned by non-Mormon husband William Seeley (not divorced) First plural wife of Brigham Young; 7 children
4 November 2, 1843(1843-11-02) (aged 42)
Augusta Adams.jpg
Augusta Adams (1802–1886) (aged 40) married to non-Mormon Henry Cobb (divorced in 1847) Young later married her son's ex-wife, Mary Van Cott Cobb (No. 51 below). Grandmother of architect Henry Ives Cobb.
5 November 2, 1843(1843-11-02) (aged 42)
Harriet Elizabeth Cook Young.jpg
Harriet Elizabeth Cook (1824–1898) (aged 19) first marriage 1 child
6 May 8, 1844(1844-05-08) (aged 42)
Clarissa C. Decker.jpg
Clarissa Caroline Decker (1828–1889) (aged 15) first marriage 5 children
7 September 1844 (aged 43)
Emily Dow Partridge Smith Young.jpg
Emily Dow Partridge (1824–1899) (aged 20). plural widow of Joseph Smith, Jr. Daughter of Edward Partridge; sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. for eternity and Young for life; 7 children; mother of Don Carlos Young.
8 September 10, 1844(1844-09-10) (aged 43)
Clarissa Ross.jpg
Clarissa Ross (1814–1857) (aged 30) first marriage 4 children; mother of Maria Young Dougall and Willard Young
9 September 19, 1844(1844-09-19) (aged 43)
Louisa Beman.jpg
Louisa Beaman (1815–1850) (aged 29) plural widow of Joseph Smith, Jr. sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. for eternity and Young for life; 5 children
10 October 3, 1844(1844-10-03) (aged 43)
Eliza Roxcy Snow photograph.PNG
Eliza R. Snow (1804–1887) (aged 40) plural widow of Joseph Smith, Jr. sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. for eternity and Young for life
11 October 3, 1844(1844-10-03) (aged 43) Elizabeth Fairchild (1828–1910) (aged 16) first marriage divorced 1855
12 October 8, 1844(1844-10-08) (aged 43) Clarissa Blake (1796–?) (aged 48) widow of -- Morse; married to Mormon husband Lyman Homiston
13 October 9, 1844(1844-10-09) (aged 43) Rebecca Holman (1824–1849) (aged 20) first marriage
14 October 10, 1844(1844-10-10) (aged 43) Diana Chase (1827–1886) (aged 17) first marriage divorced prior to 1849
15 October 31, 1844(1844-10-31) (aged 43)
Susannah Snively Young.jpg
Susanne Snively (1815–1892) (aged 29) first marriage
16 November 7, 1844(1844-11-07) (aged 43) Olive Grey Frost (1816–1845) (aged 28) plural widow of Joseph Smith, Jr. sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. for eternity and Young for life
17 January 15, 1845(1845-01-15) (aged 43) Mary Ann Clark (1816–?) (aged 28) previously married to —— Powers (unknown if she was widowed, divorced, or separated) divorced June 1851
18 January 16, 1845(1845-01-16) (aged 43)
Margaret P. Young.jpg
Margaret Pierce (1823–1907) (aged 22) widow of Morris Whitesides sealed to Morris Whitesides for eternity and Young for time; 1 child
19 January 16, 1845(1845-01-16) (aged 43) Mary Pierce (1821–1847) (aged 25) first marriage
20 April 30, 1845(1845-04-30) (aged 43)
Emmeline Free.jpg
Emmeline Free (1826–1875) (aged 18) first marriage 10 children
21 May 22, 1845(1845-05-22) (aged 43) Mary Elizabeth Rollins (1818–1910) (aged 26) married to non-Mormon Adam Lightner and plural widow of Joseph Smith, Jr. sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. for eternity and Young for time; remained living with Lightner
22 January 14, 1846(1846-01-14) (aged 44) Margaret Alley (1825–1852) (aged 20) first marriage 2 children
23 January 15, 1846(1846-01-15) (aged 44) Olive Andrews (1818–?) (aged 27) posthumous plural wife of Joseph Smith, Jr. sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. for eternity and Young for time
24 January 15, 1846(1846-01-15) (aged 44) Emily Haws (1823–?) (aged 22) widow of William Whitmarsh
25 January 21, 1846(1846-01-21) (aged 44)
Martha Bowker.jpg
Martha Bowker (1822–1890) (aged 23) first marriage
26 January 21, 1846(1846-01-21) (aged 44) Ellen Rockwood (1829–1866) (aged 16) first marriage
27 January 28, 1846(1846-01-28) (aged 44) Jemima Angel (1803–1869) (aged 42) divorced from Valentine Young (no relation)
28 January 28, 1846(1846-01-28) (aged 44) Abigail Marks (1781–1846) (aged 69) widow of Asa Works sealed to Works for eternity and Young for time; Abigail Marks was the mother of Young's first wife, Miriam Works
29 January 28, 1846(1846-01-28) (aged 44) Phebe Morton (1776–1854) (aged 59) widow of James W. Angel sealed to Angel for eternity and Young for time
30 January 28, 1846(1846-01-28) (aged 44) Cynthia Porter (1783–1861) (aged 62) married to William Weston (unknown if she was widowed, divorced, or separated)
31 January 31, 1846(1846-01-31) (aged 44) Mary Eliza Nelson (1812–1885) (aged 33) widow of John P. Greene sealed to John P. Greene for eternity and Young for time; divorced by 1850
32 January 31, 1846(1846-01-31) (aged 44)
Rhoda Richards Smith Young.jpg
Rhoda Richards (1784–1879) (aged 61) plural widow of Joseph Smith, Jr. sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. for eternity and Young for time
33 February 2, 1846(1846-02-02) (aged 44)
Zina D. H. Young.JPG
Zina Diantha Huntington (1821–1901) (aged 25) married to Mormon Henry Bailey Jacobs; plural widow of Joseph Smith, Jr. sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. for eternity and Young for time; not sealed to Jacobs; lived with Young; 1 child
34 February 3, 1846(1846-02-03) (aged 44) Amy Cecilia Cooper (1804–1852) (aged 41) married to (non-Mormon?) Joseph Aldrich; separated later and he remarried
35 February 3, 1846(1846-02-03) (aged 44) Mary Ellen de la Montaigne (1803–1894) (aged 42) divorced from James Boyd Woodward divorced 1846-12-13 and re-married Woodward; both Woodward and de la Montaigne were adopted to Brigham Young at Nauvoo
36 February 3, 1846(1846-02-03) (aged 44) Julia Foster (1811–1891) (aged 36) widow of Mormon Jonathan Hampton, who died in Nauvoo in 1844. Stayed in Illinois when Brigham Young emigrated to Utah in 1847. Young sent for her in 1855, and she came with her children and managed the Lion House.
37 February 3, 1846(1846-02-03) (aged 44) Abigail Harback (1790–1849) (aged 55) previously married to John Calvin Hall (unknown if she was widowed, divorced, or separated)
38 February 3, 1846(1846-02-03) (aged 44) Mary Ann Turley (1827–1904) (aged 18) first marriage divorced 1851
39 February 6, 1846(1846-02-06) (aged 44)
Naamah Carter Young.jpg
Naamah Carter (1821–1909) (aged 24) divorced from John S. Twiss
40 February 6, 1846(1846-02-06) (aged 44) Nancy Cressy (1780–1872) (aged 65) widow of Oliver Walker
41 February 10, 1846(1846-02-10) (aged 44) Jane Terry (1819–1847) (aged 26) widow of George W. Young (no relation) requested on deathbed to be sealed to Brigham Young; died four days after marriage
42 March 20, 1847(1847-03-20) (aged 45)
Lucy Bigelow Young.jpg
Lucy Bigelow (1830–1905) (aged 16) first marriage 3 children
43 March 20, 1846(1846-03-20) (aged 44) Mary Jane Bigelow (1827–1868) (aged 19) first marriage divorced 1851
44 April 18, 1848(1848-04-18) (aged 46) Sarah Malin (1804–1858) (aged 43) first marriage later divorced
45 October 3, 1852(1852-10-03) (aged 51)
Eliza Burgess Young.jpg
Eliza Burgess (1827–1915) (aged 25) first marriage 1 child
46 December 16, 1852(1852-12-16) (aged 51) Mary Oldfield (1793–1875) (aged 59) widow of Eli Kelsey
47 before 1853 (aged 51)[5] Eliza Babcock (1828–1868) (aged 24)[5] first marriage divorced 1853
48 June 10, 1855(1855-06-10) (aged 54) Catherine Reese (1804–1860) (aged 51) widow of Zephaniah Clawson
49 March 14, 1856(1856-03-14) (aged 54)
Harriet Barney Young.jpg
Harriet Barney (1830–1911) (aged 25) divorced from W. H. H. Sagers 1 child
50 January 24, 1863(1863-01-24) (aged 61)
Amelia Folsom Young.jpg
Amelia Folsom (1838–1910) (aged 24) first marriage Rumoured to be Brigham's favorite wife.[6]
51 January 8, 1868(1868-01-08) (aged 66) [7][8]
Mary V. Cott.jpg
Mary Van Cott (1844–1884) (aged 23) divorced from James Thornton Cobb (son of wife no. 4) [7] 1 child
52 April 7, 1868(1868-04-07) (aged 66)
AEYoung.jpg
Ann Eliza Webb (1844–1917) (aged 24) divorced from James L. Dee divorced 1875; later became an outspoken critic of polygamy
53 July 3, 1869(1869-07-03) (aged 68) Elizabeth Jones (1814–1895) (aged 55) widow of David T. Lewis and Dan Jones
54 May 8, 1870(1870-05-08) (aged 68) Lydia Farnsworth (1808–1897) (aged 61) married to Elijah Mayhew Sealed to Brigham Young for eternity but remained living with husband Mayhew
55 December 8, 1872(1872-12-08) (aged 71)
King Hannah T.jpg
Hannah Tapfield (1807–1886) (aged 65) married to non-Mormon Thomas O. King Sealed to Brigham Young for eternity but remained living with husband King

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Jeffrey Odgen Johnson, “Determining and Defining ‘Wife’ — The Brigham Young Households”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol. 20, no. 3 (Fall 1987) pp. 57-70.
  2. ^ "Polygamy and the Church: A History". The Mormons: People & Events. WGBH Educational Foundation. 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  3. ^ "Brigham Young Biography". Brigham Young University. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  4. ^ DeHegermann-Lindencrone, Lillie. "The Sunny Side of Diplomatic Life, 1875-1912". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 2006-07-18. 
  5. ^ a b Age on January 1, 1853
  6. ^ Hal Schindler, "Brigham Young's Favorite Wife", Salt Lake Tribune, 1995-07-30, p. J1.
  7. ^ a b The marriage year of 1868 is according to her obituary and Broadhurst, Dale R. "James Thornton Cobb: the Don Quixote of Deseret; A Spalding Saga Episode". The Spalding Research Project. Retrieved 2010-03-29. ; "Family Group Sheet". Brigham Young Family Ancestors. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  8. ^ Other sources suggest a marriage on this day in 1865. See Jeffrey O. Johnson and Susa Young Gates and Mabel Young Sanborn (July 1920). "Brigham Young Genealogy". The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 11 (3): 133. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 

External links[edit]