Young, Brigham


Young, Brigham

biographical name

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Brigham Young—Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society

(born June 1, 1801, Whitingham, Vt., U.S.—died Aug. 29, 1877, Salt Lake City, Utah) U.S. religious leader, second president of the Mormon church. He settled in Mendon, N.Y., in 1829 and was baptized into Joseph Smith's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1832. In 1834 he joined the Mormons in Missouri, and when they were driven out in 1838, he organized their move to Nauvoo, Ill. He established a Mormon mission in England in 1839. After Smith's murder in 1844, Young took over the church. He led the persecuted Mormons from Illinois to Utah (1846–48), choosing the site of Salt Lake City for the new Mormon headquarters. Elected president of the Mormons in 1847, he became governor of the provisional state of Deseret in 1849 and of the territory of Utah in 1850. His dictatorial autonomy and legalization of polygamy led Pres. James Buchanan to replace him as governor in 1857 and send the army to assert federal supremacy in the so-called Utah War, but Young remained head of the Mormon church until his death. He took more than 20 wives and fathered 47 children.

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