Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Complet

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:46 am


Brigham's Offer of Marriage. I think the Prophet too Old. My Parents are Delighted with the Honor. They Try to Persuade Me. I am Very Obstinate. Arguing the Matter. How Brigham Found Means to Influence Me. My Brothers get into Trouble. The Prophet and the Telegraph-Poles. He takes a Nice Little Contract. Then Sells it to his Son. Bishop Sharp makes a few Dollars out of It. My Brother Engages in the Work. He Becomes Involved in Debts and Difficulties. Brigham Threatens to Cut Him Off for Dishonesty. My Mother Tries to Excuse Him. Hemmed In on All Sides, I Determine to Make One Last Appeal. I fail, and Consent to Marry Him.

A Crushing Blow. —Brigham Wishes to Marry Me.

I ROSE to my feet shocked beyond expression.

I looked from my father to my mother, hoping that they were merely jesting with me; for I had no idea that what they told me could be true; it was too monstrous an absurdity. But the expression of their faces did not reassure me. I saw that they were in earnest; that it was true; and I burst out into a passionate fit of weeping.

My mother came to me, and took my hand and caressed it in her own, and my father tried to reassure me.

"Why, my dear, what is the matter? Are you crying because the Head of our Church -- the most powerful and influential man among us -- has made you an offer of marriage? Why, it is nothing to cry about, surely."

But I felt that it was something to cry over -- something, indeed, over which to shed the bitterest tears that could be wrung from my heart's deepest anguish. I felt outraged, betrayed; to think, after our conversation that very day, -- but a very few hours before, -- when I had told him frankly my reluctance and abhorrence at the very idea of marrying again, that he should go deliberately and propose for me, showed a lack of delicacy and consideration which greatly surprised me. It was quite evident that he looked upon my assertions as girlish affectation that a good offer would speedily overcome. He was so confident of his success with the women he chose to woo, that he had no idea of meeting any settled opposition. He had, as I afterwards learned, no conception of feminine delicacy or sensitiveness; laughed at it as ridiculous, and called the women who exhibited it "sentimental fools." I had nothing to hope from his mercy, but I did not know it then. When my first passion of grief had spent itself, I turned to my father, still holding my mother's hand, and said, --

"What answer did you make him?"

"I told him that I would lay the proposition before you, and tell him what your decision was. He said that he had talked with you on the subject of marriage, and that you told him no one had proposed for you whom you fancied; that he was glad you were not easily pleased and suited with every new-comer, for he intended to place you in a position where you would be vastly the social superior of all your present lovers."

"Didn't he tell you that I said I never should marry again? that my life was to be devoted to my children?"

"Yes; he said you mentioned something of that sort, but that he didn't take any stock in it; all girls talked so; it was their way of playing the coquette; he understood it, and he liked you better for your coyness."

"I told him decidedly," I replied, "that I was a girl no longer, but a woman, who knew her own mind, who had arrived at the ability to make her own decisions through terrible suffering; that the thought of marriage was distasteful to me. I wonder if he needs to be told more plainly? If so, you may go to him, since you told him you should leave the decision with me, and tell him that I say to him, No, as I have said it to all my other suitors, and that I do not even thank him for the position he intended to confer upon me, for he knew I did not want it. Does he think I have escaped one misery to wish to enter another? 'Position!' I wonder what he thinks there is particularly fine about being a plural wife even to Brigham Young? I have not seen so much happiness in the system, even among his wives, that I care to enter it. And I never, never can."

My father interrupted me. "You are excited, now, my daughter. Be calm, and think the matter over reasonably. Don't decide in this hasty manner."

"I might think it over, reasonably, as you call it, for the rest of my life, and the conclusion I should arrive at would be the same. I never will, of my free will and accord, marry Brigham Young; and you might as well tell him so at once, and have the matter settled."

"But, my dear child," said my mother, stroking my hair fondly, and looking at me with anxious eyes, "suppose it was your duty?"

"O, mother, mother! have you turned against me, too? Am I to fight you all, single-handed, alone? Won't you, at least, stand by me?"

"I would, gladly, my only, my darling daughter, if I was sure that it would be right."

"Do you doubt the right of it? Can you doubt it? Or do you think it would not be wrong to stifle all natural feelings, all aversion to another union, above all, to him? Would it be right, do you think, to give myself to a man older than my father, from whom I shrink with aversion when I think of him as my husband, who is already the husband of many wives, the father of children older, by many years, than myself?"

"But he is your spiritual leader."

"That is no reason why he should be my earthly husband. I cannot see what claim that gives him to my affection."

"The doctrines of our church teach you to marry."

"Do you want to get rid of me?" I asked, suddenly, raising my head and looking her full in the face. I dared not enter into religious discussion with her, for I felt so bitterly that I should be sure to say something to shock her; and then I knew that, in argument, I should be fairly worsted; so I made my appeal on personal grounds, and touched her heart, as I was sure I should. She threw both arms about me, and sobbed as violently as I had done.

"You know I do not. How can you say that? I was only saying what I did, because I thought it was for your good here and hereafter. Did I consult my own feelings, no one should have you except myself; but I think of your welfare before my selfish desires."

"O, mother, I can't, I can't," I cried in a sudden agony, as the thought of all such a marriage involved, rushed across me.

"Don't fret so, child," said my father, speaking for the first time since my mother had joined in the conversation. "I will tell Brother Brigham how you feel, and perhaps he will give up the idea. But he seemed to have set his heart on it, and I don't know how he'll take it."

"Why, I belong to you, father. Tell him so, and that you can't give me away to anybody."

My father smiled a little at me, grew grave again, and went away. He told Brigham how averse I was; and he only laughed, and said I should get over it, if I only had time. He would not give me up, but he would not hasten matters; he would leave me in my parents' hands, and he hoped they would induce me to listen favorably to his proposals. The last remark was made with a peculiar emphasis and a sinister smile, which every Saint who had had dealings with him knew very well, and whose meaning they also knew. It meant, "Do as I command you, or suffer the weight of my displeasure." He sent a message to me, which, though seemingly kind, contained a covert threat; and I began to feel the chains tightening around me already. I felt sure that I could not free myself, but I would struggle to the end.

Chauncey G. Webb. ["My Father."]

Thus began a year of anguish and torture. I fought against my fate in every possible way. Brigham was equally persistent, and he tried in every way to win me, a willing bride, before he attempted to coerce me. He told my parents, and myself, too, that he had always had great interest in me, and had intended to propose for me so soon as I was old enough; that when he sent for me to the theatre, and proposed my being at the Lion House, it was that I might become familiar with the place and its inmates, and so not feel strange when he should bring me there as a wife. It had been his intention to have proposed for me then; but he had just married Amelia, and it had made such a hue-and-cry among the Gentiles, especially as he had taken her directly in the face of the late congressional law against polygamy, that he did not think it wise to add another to the list just then; so he said nothing of his intentions, and before he knew anything of my engagement, I was ready to be married. It was a great shock to him; but as matters had gone so far, and as he was in such a questionable position before the government, he thought it best not to interfere, as he most assuredly would, had he known my intentions earlier. Now I was free, and he was at liberty to tell me, what he had wanted to tell me long before, that he loved me.

In one of his celestial courtships which started in 1834, Joseph Smith was able to convince a woman to become his polygamous bride based on his fanciful allegation that an angel was threatening his life in case the union were not consummated. Joseph said he was terrified, because the angel had visited him three times, and the last time with an unsheathed sword. (Brodie, p. 303). In another case, Joseph Smith informed the object of his affections that, if she did not yield to him immediately, the door of paradise would forever slam shut in her face. He also threatened Emma with the divine revelation that, if she did not cooperate with this celestial hanky-panky, she would be "destroyed."

-- Just Too Weird: Bishop Romney and the Mormon Takeover of America: Polygamy, Theocracy, and Subversion, by Webster Griffin Tarpley, Ph.D.

Finding that this declaration of affection failed to move me, he tried another tack. He asked my father, if a house and a thousand dollars a year would make me comfortable, as he wished to settle something on me when I married him, taking for granted that I should do so.

My mother and father both favored his suit, and labored with me to induce me to view it in the same light. Brigham was our spiritual guide; it might be that in refusing him I should lose all hopes of future salvation. That was my mother's plea. My father's was that Brigham was able to hurt him pecuniarily. And then came my oldest brother, who added his influence in Brigham's favor by telling me that Brigham had it in his power to ruin him, and was very angry with him, and had threatened to "cut him off from the church," which was, to a person in his position, the very worst thing that could happen.

ELIZA C. WEBB, [My Mother.]  

The trouble between them was of Brigham's own making, and I will give it, as briefly as I can, to show how Brigham managed to get everything out of his people without paying for it, and, at the same time, show the amount of honor which he has in business matters.

In 1860 the first telegraph line was extended from the Atlantic States to the Pacific, passing through Salt Lake City. Feramorz Little, a nephew of the President, took a contract to furnish about one hundred and fifty miles of poles, at three dollars each. According to Brigham's statement, Little was unable to fill the contract until the Prophet came to the rescue, and secured three dollars and a quarter each, by furnishing one hundred miles of sawed poles, although, in truth, the sawed timber was not so good as common round poles.

Six years later, a rival company commenced putting up a new line. Brigham negotiated for a contract, and succeeded in securing nearly eight hundred miles, -- extending from Denver City westward, -- at the very gratifying price of eight dollars a pole. It is very generally believed that Brigham and one of the new company had a previous understanding to divide the profits on this magnificent job.

He then sub-let the whole contract to Bishop John Sharp and Joseph A. Young,-- his eldest son, who has recently died, -- at three dollars a pole; and my brother Gilbert took about four hundred and fifty miles -- from Green River to Denver at the very reasonable price of two dollars and a half a pole. He was then the owner of ten freight wagons, with six mules to each wagon; but, in order to fill his contract, he found himself compelled to purchase six additional teams, at a cost of seven thousand dollars, which, with tools, provisions, and general outfit, increased the sum to nearly eleven thousand dollars, which he was obliged to borrow, paying a very heavy interest five per cent, a month; but that, of course, was his own fault, not the Prophet's.

Brigham was anxious to have the work done immediately, -- which is not at all strange when one remembers that he would make five dollars on each pole, -- and he had sent for my brother, and urged him to take the job, telling him that he knew of no one so suitable, for Gilbert had such a fine business reputation; adding that he was certain that the blessing of God would rest upon him, for it was His will that all the Saints should accumulate riches. After all this, and very much more talk of the same kind, Gilbert was induced to take the contract, my father giving security for the borrowed money.

My brother left Salt Lake City with his outfit as early as the snow would permit him to cross the mountains. When he had got his wagons loaded with poles for the first time, Brigham telegraphed for him to stop work and return to the city. He immediately complied with the order, and found, on his arrival, that there was a prospect of the new company compromising with the old, and putting up no line. They now desired to buy off all contracts. Brigham would clear on the contract one hundred thousand dollars, if the line was put up, and of course could compromise for no less. Sharp and Joseph A. wanted forty thousand dollars, and my brother ten thousand, if they gave up the contract. Brigham said that, in justice, Gilbert ought to have twenty thousand dollars, to pay the expenses of the delay, &c.

Of course it was cheaper to put up the line than to compromise at this cost, and he returned to his work, having lost twelve days. His expenses at this time were about one hundred dollars a day. He had thirty men employed, at sixty dollars a month and their board, and he also had grain to furnish for one hundred mules. Brigham promised to pay for all this delay, but as usual he failed to do so.

My brother than began to furnish the poles, and succeeded in delivering about twenty-five miles a week. For two months he received his pay quite regularly, and everything went on swimmingly. When he was about one hundred miles from Denver, having completed about three hundred and fifty miles, he was sent for to give up his contract on the eastern line, and take a contract on the northern line instead. That was between Utah and Montana. Gilbert was much averse to the change, as he had finished the most difficult portion of his work, and passed through where the timber is the least accessible. But Brigham insisted, and wrote, promising to make it all right with him if he would come back, and go up north, and furnish one hundred miles or more of poles. Finally he sent Joseph A. down to my brother, who succeeded in persuading him to return.

While on his way back, he met Mr. E. Creighton, the superintendent of the line, with a company of men, setting the poles which he had furnished. Being desirous of giving thorough satisfaction, he sent Mr. Lorenzo Ensign, with three teams, loaded with good poles, to exchange for any poor timber which did not satisfy. Those teams continued with the pole-setters until Mr. Creighton sent them back, remarking that he did not find it necessary to change one pole a day, and that he was entirely satisfied with the timber. I mention this because Brigham afterwards said that the contract was not well filled, and made this an excuse for not paying my brother. Those three teams remained with the pole-setters about four weeks, and, as I before said, were dismissed by one of the owners of the line.

Gilbert returned home in August, and, on starting for the north, Joseph A. asked him to set the poles that he should furnish on the Montana line, at the same time agreeing to pay him a dollar apiece for setting, and three dollars for the poles. That was fifty cents more than he received on the eastern line, but it would scarcely pay him for a move of six hundred miles, to a country where timber was in very high mountains and rough canons.

Removing from the east of course broke the original contract; but as Gilbert had all the confidence in the world in the word of Brigham and of Joseph A., he neglected to make a new written agreement. After he had furnished the poles for about one hundred miles, my younger brother -- who was farming at the time -- took his team, and, after hiring six men, went to set the poles, paying his men two dollars a day and their board. They worked four weeks, for which they never received one dollar.

When my youngest brother was about leaving for home, Gilbert gave him an order on Sharp and Young for one thousand dollars. While Gilbert was in the East he had sent orders for money every month for my youngest brother to collect and disburse. Those orders were promptly paid, and he had no thought that this one would not be paid as promptly. He called at Brigham's office, and presented the order, and was curtly informed by Brigham that he must "hunt up Sharp and Joseph A."

On inquiring for their office, it could not be found. The day following he chanced to meet Bishop Sharp, who referred him to Joseph A. He called at the latter's residence three times without seeing him; finally, four days after, my brother succeeded in meeting him in his father's office. He was told to sit down in the outer room, where he was left alone for two hours; then he was called into the private office, and told that there was no money for him.

"But," said he to Brigham and Joseph A., "I must have the money; I have ten men who have already been waiting five days for their pay, and I am still paying them, or am under obligation to do so, and their board in the city also; and none of this can be done without money."

After a little more consultation Brigham said, "We can give you a draft on New York, which you can cash with some of the bankers or merchants in the city.

My brother then asked for time to inquire on what terms he could cash the draft; but was told that merchants would often pay a percentage on such paper, and that it was always as good as money. He then asked, if he was obliged to have it discounted, if Sharp and Young would lose the amount, but was told that he need not be so particular, for he must take the draft or nothing, since they had no money. He took it then, as he saw very plainly that they did not intend to give him anything else, and presented it to every banker and merchant in Salt Lake City, but could find no one who would take it. On a second call at Walker Brothers', he succeeded in cashing it at three per cent discount. Meeting Joseph A. afterwards, he told him he should charge him with the thirty dollars. Joe replied, "All right;" yet neither he nor Gilbert ever received another dollar from them, though they were in the boys' debt two thousand dollars.

When Gilbert returned from the North he found it difficult to pay his men, and also to meet his other expenses. He spent the winter trying to get his pay, during which my younger brother, Edward, took the teams and went to California for freight, hoping by that means to save Gilbert from bankruptcy. The trip not proving successful, the spring of '67 opened very dark for us financially. Gilbert saw no way but to sell his teams. I remember his coming home one night, feeling extremely dejected, and telling us he had sold sixteen of his best mules for less than half the amount he had paid for them, and expected the remainder to go at a still lower price.

In the spring of 1868 he was forced into bankruptcy by Captain Hooper, one of his principal creditors. This same Captain William H. Hooper had the good fortune to be one of the Prophet's favorites, although he was by no means a Mormon at heart, and Brigham knew it; still, as he liked him, and as Hooper made sufficient pretence to pass for one, it was all right.

When Gilbert delivered up his papers to the assignees, they readily discovered a large indebtedness on the part of Sharp and Young. At a meeting of the creditors, Brigham, who took the responsibility of the whole affair, undertook to have everything his own way, and, as my younger brother remarked, "literally rode over the whole company rough-shod." Among other statements, he said, --

"Gilbert Webb's poles were many of them condemned," which was utterly false. He then said he had never written to Gilbert while he was East. In face of this the letter was produced and read before the company. He then said he was sure he had no recollection of it, and asked George Q. Cannon -- who was his clerk at that time -- if he remembered it. Cannon replied that he believed he did. Previous to this, when Gilbert saw that he must lose everything, he considered it his duty to pay off his men, also to pay the notes which my father had signed, and to save him from utter ruin. At this Brigham's rage knew no bounds; he wanted Hooper to have his pay first. One of Gilbert's creditors was a Mr. Kerr, a Gentile banker, whom he paid without consulting the Prophet, which greatly enraged him. In speaking of it to my mother, he manifested all the growling propensities of an old "cur;" saying that Gilbert had paid all the notes due to Gentiles, and left his friend Hooper to take his chance with the rest of the creditors, and he intended to disfellowship him for it.

This was when he was counselling my parents to use their influence with me in his behalf.

"If you do that, Brother Young," said my mother, "I shall find it very hard to forgive you; although Gilbert may have erred in judgment, he designed to do right. Would you, President Young, like to have his father ruined in the crash? The notes held by Mr. Kerr were signed by him." He said, "If his father signed the notes, he ought to pay them."

"Well," replied my mother, with considerable spirit, "if Gilbert had been paid for his work, he would have been able to have paid all his debts."

He was very angry at this, and said, "What do you know about business, I'd like to know?"

"I know enough to know when my children are ill-used and cheated, Brigham Young," said she, quickly. "I wonder how you would like to have one of your sons cut off from the church, and treated in the manner in which you have treated Gilbert."

"I should think it perfectly right if one of my boys had done wrong and needed punishment." Yet it is well known that there are no more unprincipled men in the Territory than his eldest sons; but there never have been the slightest signs of their being disfellowshipped.

Brigham's Stormy Interview with my Mother.

After a still more spirited contest with my mother, the Prophet took his departure in a great rage, saying he should see if "Gilbert would pay his Gentile debts in preference to paying the brethren."

All this was for the purpose of influencing me, and I saw that I must yield. There was nothing but ruin in store for us if I persisted in my refusal. The loss of property was by no means so dreadful a thing to my brother—brought up to believe that there was no salvation outside of Mormonism -- as being cut off from the church and receiving the Prophet's curse, and he was heart-broken at the prospect.

I made up my mind to make one last appeal myself to Brigham Young, and see if I could not touch his heart and induce him to resign his claims to me, and not to punish my family because I could not bring myself to become his wife. I was sure that I could move him. I would make myself so humble, so pathetic, before him. I would do all I could to serve him. I would never forget his kindness to me; but I could not marry him without bringing great unhappiness upon myself. I should also fail to bring happiness or comfort to him. I would be so eloquent that he could not refuse to listen to me.

I went up to the city to visit a friend, quite determined to make this appeal to him, but my courage failed me. Two or three times I started to call to see him, but I would only get in sight of his office, and turn back faint and trembling. One day I saw him coming towards me in the street, and I determined to screw up my courage and speak to him. But when I reached him my tongue refused to speak the words, and I only faltered out a common-place greeting. All my eloquence was frozen under the chilling glance of the steely-blue eyes, which had not a ray of sympathetic warmth in them. No one who has ever been under his peculiar influence but will understand me when I say that in his presence I was powerless. My will refused to act, and I went away from him, knowing that I never could say to him what I felt.

I returned home, feeling, more than ever, that my doom was fixed. My religion, my parents —everything was urging me on to my unhappy fate, and I had grown so tired with struggling that I felt it was easier to succumb at once than to fight any longer. I began, too, to be superstitious about it; I did not know but that I was fighting the will of the Lord as well as the will of the Prophet, and that nothing but disaster would come as long as I was so rebellious. The thought struck me, in a sudden terror, "What if God should take my children, to punish my rebellious spirit?" It was agony. "Not my will, but thine," was my heart-broken cry, more desperate than resigned, however, and I went to my mother and told her that I had decided. I would become the wife of Brigham Young!


This mother hides in the forest with her baby
to avoid them hassling her.





All she wants is peace and quiet,
though here’s the dilemma …
Her absence might anger Lanjo.


But it’s too late.
The leader, secure in his alliances,
is itching to dominate the wandering female.


His male subordinates’ grooming session
gets interrupted by a subtle noise.





Scratching is their secret signal.


Lanjo calls his posse.
The search is on.




A storm blows in, complicating the patrol by masking the sound
of anything moving through the forest.



The female hunkers down,


shielding her baby with her body.





Hours later the storm has passed
and the males head back on her trail.


They spot her.


A henchman sneaks up under the watchful eye of the leader.


By the time the mother sees him, it’s too late.


[Barking, shrieking]


The baby is lost, but it can save itself.


Lanjo goes after the female.


She’ll get her punishment.

Male chimpanzees can be highly aggressive toward female group members, even using branches as clubs to beat them.

-- Chimps hold clues to roots of domestic violence, by Roger Highfield

The battle of the sexes is supercharged in the chimpanzee world. Males charge at females, rip out their hair and kick, slap or beat them.

-- Male Sexual Aggression: What Chimps Can Reveal About People, by Tia Ghose

When a male chimp is about 15 years old,


he’ll start a lifetime of bossing and brutalizing females.
The only other species to act so violently against its own


is humans.

-- Wild Congo: King Kong's Lair -– Illustrated Screenplay (Vignette), by National Geographic
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:47 am


The Prophet Rejoices at my Yielding. My Family Restored to Favor. The Webbs Reconstructed. My Prophet-Lover Comes to See Me. He Goes Courting "on the Sly," for Fear of Amelia. We are Married Secretly in the Endowment-House. I am Sent Home Again. Brigham Establishes me in the City. Limited Plates and Dishes. We Want a Little More Food. The Prophet's "Ration-Day." How the Other Wives Received Me. Mrs. Amelia Doesn't Like Me. How the Wives' of the Prophet Worry and Scold Him. The Prophet Breaks his Word. My Father Remembers the Thousand Dollars.

Amelia Tries to Keep Me Out.

MY acceptance of his suit was carried to him at once, and he was triumphant, although he did not show it, except by an added suavity of manner, and a disposition to make jokes, which, of course, everyone was expected to laugh at as heartily as he did himself.

My family were restored to favor, although my brother did not receive his money; and everything "went merry as a marriage-bell" for everybody, except myself. I had promised to marry him, but I was not resigned. I still fought against it, but the conflict now was all internal. I did not dare admit anyone to my confidence, not even my mother. So I had to struggle alone with my impending fate, all the time suffering the stings of conscience as well; for I thought I must be terribly wicked to fight so hard against what was represented to me as the direct will of God; and, what was worse, I could not pray for forgiveness, for I could not give up my feeling of desperate rebellion.

I had an early visit from my affianced husband, and during that visit he told me his plans. We were to be married very secretly, as, he said, he wished to keep the matter quiet for a while, for fear of the United States' officials. I found out afterwards, however, that it was fear of Amelia, for she had raised a furious storm a few months before; when, as I previously said, he married Mary Van Cott, to whom, by the way, he was paying his addresses while he was wooing me, and he did not dare so soon encounter another such domestic tornado.

He was very anxious to have the affair over as soon as possible; so we were married the 7th of April, 1869, at the Endowment-House. Heber C. Kimball performed the ceremony, and I was the wife of the head of the Mormon Church; the turbulent, passionate, shrewd, illiterate, strangely powerful man, who was the object of interest both in America and Europe; who was regarded with a strange, curious interest by outsiders; who was dreaded by his own people, and who ruled them with an absolute sway. I little thought into what publicity this new relationship would bring me.

After the ceremony was over, Brigham took me back to my mother's house, where I was to remain for the present, until he should deem it prudent to let Amelia and the United States government know that I was his wife. Before our marriage, he had given me some very pretty dresses, and a small sum of money, as a wedding-gift; but I never got such a present again afterwards. After I had been his wife three weeks, he made me his first call; stayed a few minutes, and then went away. A few days after, he came and asked me to go to drive with him. I went, and he took me round all the by-ways where he would see few or no people, and where he thought there would be no danger that Amelia would hear of it. He did not enjoy the drive one bit, for he was in constant terror lest he should be discovered. He was anxious and distrait; while I, on the contrary, was in the highest spirits. I laughed and chatted, and made myself as pleasant as possible. I could afford to do it, for he was suffering all those torments for my sake, and although he had no idea that I discovered his fears, I did very readily, and was jubilant in proportion to his misery. I didn't feel specially complimented, to be sure; but, as I did not desire his attentions, and was happier without them, I did not allow my pride to receive a very severe wound, but was exceedingly gracious to him, the more nervous and absorbed he got.

I remained at home about a month, during which time, he said, he was having a house prepared for me in the city. I saw but little of him during that time, and sometimes I would almost forget that he had any claim upon me. Then I was happy indeed; but the thought would force itself through everything, and I would become saddened again. During the year of struggle, I had lost my health again, and I was by no means the light-hearted, bright-eyed woman he had looked at so intently that memorable Sunday at Cottonwood. I had grown thin and languid, and had lost all interest in life, except in my children. I should not have thought that I would have proved sufficiently attractive to have made him persevere so in his determination to marry me. But I believe that, at the last, he was influenced entirely by pique and wilfulness. He would have his own way, and, after that, it was little matter what came.

At last he came to me, and told me that he was ready for me to move into the city, and invited my mother to come and live with me -- an offer which she accepted, because she did not wish to be separated from me, and not because she had no home of her own, or was at all dependent upon him for support. He had wanted me to go to the Lion House to live; but on that point I was decided. I would stay at my father's house, but I would not go there; so he had made a home for me in the city. Such a home as it was! A little house, the rent of which would have been extremely moderate had it been a hired house, furnished plainly, even meanly, when the position of the man whose wife was to occupy it was considered. It was the very cheapest pine furniture which could be bought in the city, and the crockery was dishes that Brigham had left when he sold the Globe bakery. There were very few of these, and they were in various stages of dilapidation. My carpet was an old one, taken from the Lion House parlor, all worn out in the centre, and, it being a large room, I took the out edges and pieced out enough to cover two rooms, and the other floors were bare. I had no window curtains of any sort, and there being no blinds to the house, I had to hang up sheets to keep people from looking in.

I told him several times that I was insufficiently supplied; but for a long time he made some excuse or other for not giving me more. At last he sent me a very few additional ones; so that, although there was still a lack of what I actually needed, I managed to get along by a great deal of contriving.

We lived very sparely, even poorly, as did most of the wives, except the favorite, and one or two others, who asserted their rights to things, and got them after a great deal of insisting. I could not insist, and so I got very little. As I made little or no fuss, and rarely complained to him, he took advantage of my quiet tongue, and imposed upon me fearfully. He said, up to the very last of my living with him, that I was the least troublesome of any wife he had ever had; and he should have added, the least expensive, for he spent but very little money for me.

I began to find out, very soon, what a position a neglected wife has, and my heart ached and longed for freedom. The thraldom was worse than I had fancied, for I supposed that I should, at least, have had the comforts of life, such as I had been accustomed to; but I was disappointed even in that. Then I felt that I was bound to this kind of existence for life. There was no escape from it. I was shut in by every circumstance, as by a wall of adamant, and the more I struggled to get free, the worse I should be hurt. There was nothing to do but simply to endure; to die if I could, to live if I must. A pleasant state of mind, surely, for a bride of a few months.

The principal meat which he furnished to us was pork; we had it on all occasions. Very rarely, indeed, we had a piece of beef; but months would elapse between his times of sending it, and we got to look upon it as a very great luxury. He had what he called "Ration-Day" once a month, when the different families were given out their allowance for the month. This allowance for each family was five pounds of sugar, a pound of candles, a bar of soap, and a box of matches. I found this entirely inadequate, and so part of the time—unheard-of liberality! —I was allowed to draw sugar twice a month. Our bread we had from the Prophet's bakery. Once in six months his clerk got a few of the commonest necessaries of life, and each of us had a few yards of calico, and a few yards of both bleached and unbleached muslin.

I could not get anything else out of him, except by the hardest labor, and the little that I got was given so grudgingly that I hated myself for accepting it; and many a time I would have thrown the pitiful amount back in his face, but stern necessity would compel me to accept the money and overlook the insult. I can scarcely look back to those times, now that I am so far beyond them, without a lowering of my self-respect; the hot blood tingles to the very ends of my fingers as I recall the insults I received from that man while I was his wife, and the utter powerlessness of my situation, that would not let me resent them. When my marriage to him was known by the other wives, as it was on my removal to the city, he took me to the Lion House, to visit the family there. I was very kindly received by most of them, Emmeline Free and Zina Huntington being especially my friends. Two of them, however, -- Eliza Burgess and Harriet Cook, -- would not speak to me.

The latter had been a servant in my mother's family in Nauvoo, and Brigham had, indeed, married her from our house. She used to take care of me when I was a baby, and she was so angry when she heard that Brigham had married me, that she wished with all her heart that she had choked me when she had a good chance; that she certainly would had she known what my future was to be. Eliza Burgess, though not the first, and never a favorite wife, used to be terribly exercised whenever Brigham added another to the family. She would go about, crying bitterly, for days, and would sometimes shut herself up in her room, refusing to see anyone. Her sorrow was the joke of the family, since no member of it could see what reason she had for indulging in it. She had but just got over mourning his alliance with Mary Van Cott, when she was called upon to grieve over his union with me.

She knew me perfectly well, as she had been an inmate of the Lion House for some years, and used to see me constantly the winter I was at the theatre, and spent so much of my time there; but on the occasion of my first visit after my marriage, she utterly ignored my presence, and would neither look at me nor speak to me. Of course I noticed it, and I knew the reason very well. I had no hard feelings towards her, for I knew her suffering was genuine. She got no attention from her husband, and her starved heart cried out for the love that was lavished on others.

After I had gone, one of the wives -- Aunt Zina, I think it was -- asked why she did not speak to Ann-Eliza.

"O," she said, "I will by-and-by, when I feel like it."

I was in and out several times, and yet Eliza preserved the same demeanor towards me, until one morning she astonished me by coming up abruptly and saying, "Good morning."

I answered her greeting, and she went away as suddenly as she came, but evidently quite satisfied with herself. She "felt like it," I presume; had grown more reconciled to my position in the family; and was willing to recognize me as a member of it.

My first encounter with Amelia was somewhat amusing. It happened not long after my marriage. She had not got over her anger at her lord for taking Mary Van Cott,-- of whom, by the way, she was terribly jealous, -- when fuel was added to the fire of her fury by my introduction to the world as another Mrs. Young. She was terribly bitter towards us both, though I think she hated Mary with a more deadly hatred than she felt for me. I think she considered Mary her most dangerous rival, but for all that she was not drawn towards me at all. It was not that she disliked me less, but Mary more.

I was walking one day with a friend, and we were on our way to the gardens which join the Prophet's residence, which are, by the way, the very finest in the city. Amelia was just in front of us, and she evidently judged from our conversation where we were going to. She kept just about so far in front of us, taking no notice of me at all until she reached the garden gate, when she went in, shut it with a slam, and called out,

"There, madam! I'd like to see you get in now."

I made no answer, but reaching through the gate, I managed, with the assistance of my friend, to open the gate and go in. We passed Amelia as she stood examining a plant, and as we passed her we did not discontinue our conversation, but kept on laughing merrily over some girlish reminiscences which we had recalled while on the way. In a few minutes more we heard her scolding the head-gardener fearfully. As we returned, I stopped where the old man was, and said, --

"What is the matter, Mr. Leggett?"

"O," said he, "it is Mrs. Amelia. Did you hear her scolding me just now? Wasn't she just awful? She's that mad because you came in, that she had to let out on somebody, and I suppose I came the handiest. But ain't she a master hand to scold, though? Why, you'd ought to hear her give it to me sometimes. I'm pretty well used to it, and don't mind very much. It's some consolation to think that Brother Brigham gets it worse than I do, and when he's round, I'm safe."

Just once, after that, Amelia spoke to me. It is customary, on Brother Brigham's birthday, for the wives to have a dinner in his house. It is held at the Lion House, and all the family assemble to do honor to its head. At one of these dinners Amelia sat directly opposite me, and during the dessert she reached the cake-basket to me, and with as freezing a tone and manner as she could assume, asked, --

"Will you have some cake?"

I declined, and that ended our conversation -- the last, and indeed the only one I ever had with her, for the first encounter could scarcely be called a "conversation," since the talking was all on one side.

She was even ruder to Mary Van Cott than to me. One day, while Brigham was furnishing Mary's house, he had taken her up to the family store in his carriage, to select some articles which she needed for her housekeeping. They had finished making their selections, and were just preparing to enter the carriage, when Amelia came sailing down upon them. She took in the position of affairs at once, and stepping directly between the Prophet and Mary, elbowed them out of the way, got into the carriage, slammed the door, and ordered the driver to carry her home. The coachman hesitated a moment, looked at Brother Brigham, who never said a word; then at Mary, who was furious at the insult, but showed it only by her flashing eyes and deepening color; then back to Amelia, who scowled at him, and repeated, "Home, I say," and started off, leaving the two standing together. They walked home, and Brother Brigham had a nice time after it. Amelia treated him to a lecture longer and stronger than usual, not sparing her rival in the least, but calling her every sort of name she could think of that was not complimentary in character, and threatening her recreant lord with all sorts of torments if he went out with that "shameless creature" again; while Mary felt so outraged by Amelia's act, and Brigham's cowardice in not resenting it, that he was obliged to use all his finesse to appease her wrath.

Amelia's Display of Temper.

This carriage episode reminds me of something that occurred in George Q. Cannon's family. This family is no more united than many others in Utah, and they have occasional disputes among themselves, which are not always settled in the most amicable manner. At one time, two of his wives wanted the carriage at once. They would not use it together, and neither one would give up to the other. In the struggle to get possession of it, a sort of free fight ensued. Blows were exchanged, hair pulled, fingernails used indiscriminately, and one of the women lost off her dress in the contest. I think that the "apostolic" husband fails to mention these little domestic scenes in Washington, when he is expatiating there upon the beauties of Mormonism, and the peace and unity of the people in the Territory.

I must say that such scenes of violence do not often occur in Brigham's family, as most of his wives feel the dignity of their position too much to allow the world to see any disagreement between them, even when it exists. There are some very fine women among the Prophet's wives — women that, outside of Mormonism, would grace any social circle. Educated, cultivated women, who by some strange circumstance have been drawn, first into the church, then into the Prophet's harem. I think nothing better shows the peculiar power which Brigham Young possesses, than a look at the women who are and who have been his wives. Ignorant as he is, coarse and vulgar as he is, he has at least succeeded in winning women of refinement, of delicate sensibilities, as wives; and in many cases it has been done without the slightest attempt at coercion on his part. He had the shrewdness to select such women, and the power to win them, but he has not the ability to appreciate them; and I have no hesitation in saying, from my own experience with and knowledge of them, that more unhappy and wretched women do not exist in the world, than the more cultured and delicate wives of Brigham Young. These women are rarely his favorites, and it is a mystery why he took them, unless it was that he might "add to his glory," and swell his kingdom.
I was always treated very kindly by the other wives, with one or two exceptions, and I have the pleasantest and kindest recollections of them all. Most of them I had known from my childhood, and they were old and intimate friends of my mother's; and I have no doubt, had they dared to have done so, they would have expressed open sympathy for me in my trials, and I am sure in their hearts they respect me for the step I have taken, and would like to find a way of retreat for themselves if it were possible.

My husband called to see me at my new residence when- ever he could find opportunity, which was not very often, and he repeated the drive, which was no more comfortable for him than the first one had been. I did not care especially about it, and was glad when I got home. With the exception of those drives, I never went anywhere with him alone; for, with the exception of Amelia, and occasionally Emmeline, -- which occasions constantly grew rarer, -- he never went with only one wife, but took two or more.

The first winter that I was married to him, the Female Relief Society, to which I then belonged, gave a ball, and all the ladies were to invite the gentlemen. I ventured to ask Brother Young. He was my husband, and whom else should I invite? He accepted my invitation, apparently with much pleasure, and arranged to call for me on the appointed evening to take me to the hall. He was punctual to his appointment, but when he arrived he was accompanied by another wife. I suppose he knew the fact of his being at the ball would be reported to Amelia, and that she would be very angry if he went with me alone. I was very much annoyed at the circumstance, and really a little hurt that he could not take me somewhere just once without someone else along. I said nothing, however, and was as cordial to the other wife as I should have been had she accompanied him at my express invitation.

I never learned to hate anything in my life as I did the word "economy," while I was Brigham Young's wife. It was thrown at me constantly. I never asked for the smallest necessary of life that I was not accused of extravagance and a desire to ruin my husband, and advised to be more economical. I had a mind to reply, several times, that I did not see how I could be, without denying myself everything, and literally going without anything to eat or to wear. I held my tongue, however, and "possessed my soul in patience." I was, in fact, a perfect Griselda; and my husband had got so used to such unquestioning obedience and submission from me that I think he never was so surprised in his life as he was when I rebelled. I am sure he would have expected rebellion from any or all of his wives sooner than from me. And I am quite sure that he was no more surprised than I was.

Before our marriage he had professed a great interest in my boys, and had promised to do many things for them. I had counted very much on his assistance in training them, but as soon as I was really married to him he seemed to forget all his promises. He looked upon my children as interlopers, and treated them as such. He scolded me for spending so much time and money on them; he would allow them to wear only clothes of home-spun cloth, and gave them each one hat and one coarse, heavy pair of shoes a year. When they needed more I had to contrive some way to get them myself; the first time I ever asked him for shoes, he said, "They didn't need shoes; children ought always to go barefoot; they were healthier for it;" and yet I noticed that none of his own children were compelled to do so. I did not allow mine to do so, either, and I am indebted to my father for many things to make me and the children comfortable, and the shoes that Brigham "couldn't afford" to buy were among them. Had I been alone, I probably should never have told my parents of my position; but my mother was with me, and she saw these little meannesses of the Prophet with surprise; yet, strange to say, they did not shake her faith in her religion. She admitted that she could not understand his behavior, and yet she counselled patience, thinking that in some way things would come right some time. I had not so much faith about the "coming right," so far as I was concerned, but I had not then begun to doubt my religion. My father had no faith at all; for he remembered the one thousand dollars a year, not a cent of which had been seen at the end of my first year as his wife. Yet no one of us dared at that time to question the Prophet's action, although we were all indignant at his breach of faith.

We found afterwards that the promise he made my father regarding the "settlement" was the standard promise which he made to all his wives before he married them, and the fulfilment was, in most cases, the same.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:17 am


The Prophet Marries his First and Legal Wife. How she lives, and how Brigham has treated Her. The Prophet's Eldest Son. The Story of his Life. His Wives and Families. Mary and Maggie. The Favorite Wife, Clara. Young "Briggy" and his Expectations. What the Saints think of Him. His Domestic Joys. How he visited me when Sick, and Scolded the old Gentleman. Brigham and "Briggy"make love to Lizzie. Briggy Wins. "John W." He neglects his "Kingdom." "Won by the Third Wife." The Story of Lucy C. The Prophet's Daughters. Alice and Luna. Miss Alice's Flirtations. Sweet Language between Father and Daughter. Tragic Death of Alice Clawson.

Insulted by her Father.

BRIGHAM'S very first wife is not living; she died some time before he became a Mormon, and before his marriage to Mary-Ann Angell, his present legal wife.

He was quite young when he married first, and was a sort of preacher among the Methodists, and by preaching, begging, and occasionally working at his trade as glazier, or as a day-laborer at farming, he managed to pick up a very scanty living for himself and his wife, whose name was Miriam Works. My great grandfather, Gilbert Weed, married them in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, near which place they lived for some years. My grandfather used to assert that Brigham was the laziest man that ever lived, and that he would not do any work so long as he could live without it. As may be imagined, his family were not in the most comfortable circumstances in the world, and poor Mrs. Young had by no means the easiest time. She died quite early, and the gossips' verdict was, "Died of discouragement." She left two daughters, both of whom are still living, and both are in polygamy. Elizabeth, the elder, is the first wife of Edmund Ellsworth; there are three wives besides her. The second daughter, Vilate, is the first wife of Charley Decker, who has two plural wives since he married Vilate. These girls, with their husbands, were among the very first of the Saints to arrive in the Valley.

Brigham was married to his first living and only legal wife, Mary-Ann Angell, in Kirtland, Ohio, in the year 1834. She is a native of New York State, and is still a pleasant, rather good-looking woman, though much saddened by the neglect of her husband, who rarely, if ever, visits her, and lately by the tragic death of her eldest daughter, and the still more recent death of her eldest son, Joseph A. Young, which has broken her very much. She is about the age of her husband, nearly seventy-three, and consequently is counted an old lady, while he is, according to Mormon theory, "a boy." Her mind is somewhat clouded, and this, like her sadness, is caused by the decline of her husband's affections, of whom she is very fond. She has been entirely devoted to him, and gave him as honest love when she married him, long before there was the slightest prospect of his ever occupying the position he holds now, as she has ever felt for him since his elevation to be the leader of the Mormon people; and she is repaid as it might be expected she would be, after listening to one of her husband's sermons to the women of his church.

Said he, on one occasion, when he felt called upon to reprimand the complaining sisters, "The old women come snivelling around me, saying, 'I have lived with my husband thirty years, and it is hard to give him up now.' If you have had your husbands that length of time, it is long enough, and you ought to be willing to give them to other women, or give other women to them; you have no business with your husbands, and you are disobeying God's commands to live with them when you are old." He certainly sees to it that his wife does not "disobey God's commands," which, from his blasphemous lips, means simply his own inclinations. She has moved about to suit her husband's caprice, just as he has chosen to move. They lived first of all in the old white house on the hill, not very far from where the Prophet's buildings now stand. When the Bee-Hive was finished she lived there, but as the number of plural wives increased, she was moved back again to the old house, to make room in the other building for the new-comers. She lived there until quite recently, when her husband had her removed to the old school-house behind the Bee-Hive, a dilapidated, cheerless place, not nearly so good as the house she has left. It is, indeed, little better than a barn, and is furnished very scantily. There she lives, and there she will probably remain until her death, unless some of her children see that she is better cared for.

She took no more kindly to polygamy than did any other of the Mormon women; but she was among the very earliest sufferers. I have known her all my life; she lived in the next house to where I was born, in Nauvoo, and I used to visit at her house, with Alice Clawson, when I was engaged at the Prophet's theatre. She was always very kind to me, and I have had for her a real regard and sympathy, which increased after I became a member of her husband's family. She is a very reticent woman, neither invites nor gives confidence, has few intimate friends, and visits but little. Her hair is iron-gray; her eyes intensely sad; her face wears an habitually melancholy expression, with a touch of bitterness about the mouth; and she is rather tall in figure. Her husband's wives regard her very differently, but most of them treat her with respect. She has had five children — Joseph A., Brigham, Jr., Alice, Luna, and John W.


Joseph A., commonly called "Joe," who died during the past summer, was well known throughout the Territory, and was by no means particularly respected. He was very dissipated, and indulged in nearly every kind of vice. He has been what is called a "fast young man," and was sent to Europe on a mission to cure him, if possible, of his bad habits; but it scarcely had the desired effect, for he came home as wild as ever. He was in my father's "Conference" in England, and behaved himself quite well there, although there was an unpleasant scandal about him while there, which has been before alluded to. In business matters he was as shrewd and as unprincipled as his father, and managed, with the assistance of the latter, to accumulate a large amount of property. Ambitious as his father is for his sons, he never dared to do anything which should advance "Joe" in the church, for he knew very well that the people would not tolerate it for an instant, for his eldest son was by no means a favorite among the Saints. He, of course, held church offices, but he would never have been any higher in authority, and certainly would never have succeeded his father as Head of the Church, even though he was the eldest son.

He was a professed polygamist, although, strictly speaking, he was a monogamist; for although he had three wives, he only lived with one. His first wife, Mary, called, to distinguish her, "Mary Joe," has several children, but neither she nor they were troubled much with Joseph's attention. She is an independent, high-spirited woman, and would not show in the least that she was troubled by his neglect. She goes about her business in a matter-of-fact way, and shows that she is able to take care of herself, as she succeeded in making her husband furnish the means to support herself and her children, whether he was willing to or not. She used to say that she could herself earn a comfortable living for them all, but so long as she had a husband who was able to do it, she would not do it, and she did not.

Maggie Young. [Joseph A.'s Discarded Wife.]

She is a decided contrast to poor little English Maggie, his second wife, who is in delicate health, unable to take care of herself and her child, and who is fretting herself into her grave for the husband whom she loved so dearly, but who was so utterly unworthy of such devotion. She and her child live in a poor little room, shabbily furnished, and her husband never visited her. She is allowed the merest pittance on which to live, but the sum is so pitifully small that it does not supply even the needs of life, and the little woman suffers for them sometimes. She is a patient creature, never complaining of her lot; used never to reproach her husband; just living on and bearing her burdens as best she might; hoping for nothing in this world, but trusting that somehow the things that are so wrong here may be put straight hereafter.

Dear, patient, gentle, loving "Maggie Joe!" My heart goes out to her with a pitying tenderness, and I only wish it was in my power to put some happiness into her desolate life. I suppose she thinks of me as pityingly as I do of her, thinking that my feet have strayed into dangerous places, and that my soul is lost for ever by my action. She is one of the many martyrs to polygamy and a false religion. The merry-eyed, round-faced, gay-hearted girl, that came among the Saints so few years ago, and was won by the attractive young elder, is little like the sad-eyed, haggard woman, the broken-hearted, deserted wife. I wonder if Joe Young's heart ever smote him as he looked at her, and saw the wreck that he had made. His third wife, Thalia Grant, he neglected so entirely, that she left him in disgust.

His fourth wife, Clara Stenhouse, was so fortunate as to be the favorite. He was devoted to her exclusively, and she was delighted because she had succeeded in inducing "Joe" to renounce polygamy to this extent: he lived with her, to the exclusion of all his other wives, and promised that he would never take another. He said that she was the only one he ever really loved, although he had been much attracted by the other two. Still, her life with him was not always smooth sailing; for when he was intoxicated, which sometimes happened even to this son of a Prophet, he was rather abusive, though by no means so much to her as he was to the two others. Once, however, he forgot himself so far as to chase her about the house, and point a pistol at her. She immediately left him, and returned to her father's house. When he recovered, and found she had gone, he was deeply penitent, and he went for her at once. At first she refused to return with him, but he was so full of remorse, and begged so hard, and promised so fairly, that she relented and went. I think he never repeated the occurrence.  

Clara had everything that she could desire; a nice house finely furnished, carriage, jewels, elegant clothes, and not a wish that she expressed but was instantly gratified. A contrast, indeed, to poor little Maggie, living in want, dying for lack of care, and starving, body and soul alike, for sufficient food and for the love which another woman won from her, just as she won that same husband's love from Mary.

"Briggy." [The Prophet's Successor.]

Just now Brigham, Jr., or "Briggy," as he is familiarly termed among the Saints, is the most conspicuous member of the Prophet's family, as it is well known that Brigham Young intends that he shall be his successor. He is taken everywhere by his father, who seems determined that the Saints shall not lose sight of him; and he already "assists" in different meetings, and his weak voice is often heard piping for polygamy, and the "new Reformation," and the "Order of Enoch," and other of the elder Brigham's pet institutions. He apes his father in manner, and, as nearly as he can, in matter, and his parent is quite proud of him. There was some murmuring among the Saints when Brigham's intentions towards him were first known to them, but they say very little now, but he and his father both know they are opposed to him. I think there would have been open rebellion if either of the other sons, especially Joe, had been thought of as the future ruler.

"Briggy" is not so quick and bright as either of the others, nor so well qualified for taking care of himself without the assistance of the tithing-office and other church perquisites; but he is infinitely better-hearted, kindlier in impulse, and is the most popular of them, although that is not according him a very high place in public estimation. He has been "on a mission," and had his "little fling" before he settled down to the dignity of his present position.

As he is such a preacher of polygamy, he also practices it, and is the husband of three wives, of whom the third is the favorite. Their names are Kate Spencer, Jane Carrington, and Lizzie Fenton. He does not abuse his wives as Joseph A. does, and although the first two have occasion to complain of neglect, since he is completely tied to Lizzie's side just now, yet he does not allow them to want, but sees that they have what they need to make life comfortable. I think he has more feeling for the physical suffering, at least, of women, than his father, or either of his brothers has. I know once, while I was Brigham's wife, when I was very ill, he came to see me, and was shocked at the condition in which he found me. I had sent several times to my husband, telling how ill I was, and asking for things which I really needed; and no attention had been paid to my requests, and he had not seen fit to come near me. He resented my illness as a personal wrong done to himself; and when told by a friend of mine, a little before this visit from Briggy, he had remarked, "That's the way with women; the minute I marry 'em they get sick to shirk work." That is the sympathy he always shows to a woman who is ill. When "Briggy" learned how I was neglected, he went at once for his father on my behalf, although I had not the slightest idea of his intention. He found his father breakfasting at the Bee-Hive House; and, before several of the wives, he burst out, --

"Father, I think it is shameful, the way you are treating Ann-Eliza. She is fearfully sick, and if you don't have something done for her, she'll die on your hands. I've been down to see her, and I know."

The old gentleman didn't say anything, and "Briggy" turned on his heel and left the room. That day I received a portion of the things for which I had sent so many days before. I was quite at a loss to know why they had come so suddenly, and it remained a mystery to me until, some time after, Lucy Decker told me about "Briggy's" attack on his father. She said that, although they were frightened at the fellow's temerity, they delighted in his spunk, and had liked him better ever since. I have been grateful to him ever since I knew of that occurrence, and found that he had constituted himself my champion.

Lizzie, Briggy's third wife, is a native of Philadelphia, and she came to Utah with John W. and Libbie, Johnny's third wife. She was a fine-looking girl, tall and rather large, with a bright, intelligent face, and vivacious, fascinating manners. Both old Brigham and young Brigham were smitten with her at once, and commenced paying her the most marked attentions, and for a long time a fierce rivalry existed between the father and son. Lizzie lived with Mrs. Wilkison before her marriage, and her courtship by Brigham and Briggy was very funny, and quite exciting to the lookers-on, who were anxious to see whether youth or experience would win.

First the old gentleman would come, driving down in fine style with his spanking team; then Briggy would come, rather on the sly, and spend the remainder of the day, after his parent was well out of the way. He always seemed bent on having the last word, and, finally, he won the young lady. This double courtship went on for several months, much to the delight of the spectators, whose sympathies were, for the most part, with Briggy, and who were delighted when the young fellow won.

Lizzie has two children, and is the favorite wife; but she is very unhappy, as I have often heard her say. She has seen other "favorite" wives neglected for another, and although her husband certainly has as yet given her no reason to doubt his affection for and his fidelity to her, yet even he may be tempted from her side. I have not so much sympathy for her, however, as I have for those poor girls who are educated in Mormonism, and know nothing else, for she was an Eastern born and educated girl, and entered polygamy with her eyes open.

John W. Young.

John W. is the third son and the youngest child of Mary Ann Angell. He is the best looking of the three, has the best address, and has seen the most of the world; for although he has never been sent on a mission, he has been East a great deal, and has been more in contact with the outside, Gentile world, than any of the others. If any Eastern business is to be done, requiring the presence of some person from Utah, Johnny is always the one to go. He is a shrewd business fellow, with more finesse than Joe., and a great deal of tact, which makes him very successful. He passes for quite a good fellow among those who meet him casually, and I found him quite well known among the newspaper fraternity when I came East. One reporter, whom I met, told me that John W. had offered him money to keep his name before the public while he was here; and told the same man that I was a poor, weak creature that would never amount to anything. It was, probably, a desire that the "royal blood of Young" should be honored; and as that blood coursed through his veins, the honor to the sire would be honor to the son.

Johnny is not an enthusiastic Mormon, by any means, and I am quite sure if he were anybody's son but Brigham's, he would be regarded with suspicion as an "apostate;" but he is "President of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion," and his belief is never questioned by his father. I think he holds to the church because he finds it a good thing; but if Brigham were to die, and Briggy to fail in the succession, I don't think he would stick by it long. Its emoluments are convenient; with its doctrines and beliefs he has no sympathy; indeed, I fancy he is totally indifferent to them.

Like all the rest, he has embraced polygamy, but has been for some time a monogamist. Like the other two brothers, also, he has been won by the third wife, who holds him entirely now. He says openly that she is the only woman that he ever loved; that he married the others to please his father, who was quite anxious for him to "build up a kingdom." He does not hesitate to declare the "kingdom business a humbug," and prefers the society of his third, whom he now considers his only lawful wife, to that of either or both the others. The first wife, Lucy Canfield, has several children, and she is the cousin of his third wife. She is a spirited woman, like Joseph A.'s first wife, and when she found that her husband did not love her, and had said that he did not, she made no fuss about it, but quietly took her children, went away, and as speedily as possible was divorced from Johnny, saying she would not be any man's wife by simple toleration.

The second wife, Clara Jones, cries her eyes out over her husband's defection, but will not be induced to leave him. He supports her, I believe, but never sees her, and says he shall never live with her again. She really loved the graceless, handsome fellow, and will be called by his name, and be his wife, even if she cannot have his attention.

Johnny met his third wife in Philadelphia, while on a visit there to his first wife's relatives. She was a very pleasing woman, and he an attractive fellow, and they fell in love with each other. She knew very well his matrimonial situation, but that did not deter her from accepting his attentions, nor from accompanying him to Utah under promise of becoming his wife upon their arrival. He was to discard his other wives, and be true to her. She did not seem to think that she was betraying her cousin, and bringing misery to her; she only thought of herself, and the gratification of her own ambition; for, apart from her love for Johnny, which I have no doubt was genuine, she knew very well that she should gain wealth, at least, as the wife of one of Brigham Young's sons. She and Lizzie Fenton came, and as soon as possible she was united to Johnny.

It took the latter some time to arrange his matrimonial affairs successfully, and occasionally a "scene" would occur in this somewhat divided family. She had been married but one week when Johnny first met her; but as Gentile marriages are "null and void" under the Saintly rule, her conversion to Mormonism divorced her at once, at least from the Mormon point of view, and rendered her perfectly at liberty to go to Utah with Johnny, who was also, by the Mormon law, justified in taking her.

After they were married, Johnny placed her, for the time, in the house with his other wives, and they submitted to her presence with all the patience of good Mormon women. It required but a very short time, how- ever, for them to discover that the last was the only wife he cared to recognize; in fact, he nearly ignored the existence of all, except his "dear Libbie," and he felt it an imperative duty to see that she was treated with the utmost deference by the other wives. One night, as he and Libbie were about withdrawing from the family circle to their own room, he insisted that his first and second wives should, on bidding Libbie "good night," kiss her. And when Lucy declined to comply with his request, he became very much exasperated, and threatened to shut her up in some dark closet, as is sometimes done with disobedient children, unless she would obey him. Johnny felt that he must not compromise his dignity by yielding the point, and such rebellion must not go unpunished. And, as she still remained obstinate, he put his threats into execution. She remained in her prison until she feared to be longer away from her children, and was forced to yield to his wishes, and kiss Libbie good night.


It was not long after that when Lucy left him, and sought a divorce, which Johnny's father readily granted.


The only acknowledged Mrs. John W. Young lives in elegant style, accompanies her husband on all his Eastern trips, and makes herself, by dress and otherwise, as attractive as possible to her husband; for she knows, as well as the others, that she only holds him so long as she shall prove more fascinating than any other woman.

Alice Clawson was the best known of any of Brigham's daughters. She was the elder of Mary-Ann Angell's girls, and was for many years a leading actress at the Salt Lake theatre. She had no special dramatic talent, but she was a good worker, and so succeeded quite well in her profession. Being Brigham's daughter also gave her a decided prestige, and she never made her appearance but what she was warmly applauded. She was quite pretty, being rather small and slight, with blue eyes and fair hair, and had all her father's ambition.

She was quite a favorite with gentlemen, and had several little "affairs" before she was safely married to Hiram B. Clawson, who was, at the time of her marriage with him, her father's confidential clerk, and the stage manager and "leading man" at the theatre where she was engaged.

In 1851 a Mr. Tobin visited Salt Lake, and fell a victim to Miss Alice's charms, and was engaged to her. Soon after their engagement, he went away, and did not return until 1856. While he was away she flirted quite desperately with another young gentleman, and was reported engaged to him; but her father sent him off to convert the Sandwich Islanders, and took him out of the reach of Miss Alice's charms.

Soon after Mr. Tobin's return, the engagement between them was broken, and her father's ire was so great against him that he was obliged to leave Salt Lake City. He and his party were followed, and while they were in camp on the Santa Clara River, three hundred and seventy miles south of Salt Lake, they were attacked, and narrowly escaped with their lives, leaving all their baggage behind them, and having six horses shot. Some of the party were wounded, but fortunately all escaped. I met Mr. Tobin in Omaha, and he gave me an account of the whole affair.  

He broke his engagement because he was displeased with her for flirting. It was not long after this before she married Clawson, who was the husband of two wives, but still aspired to the hand of Alice, which the Prophet was much opposed to; but Alice would have him in spite of her father. Some years after he married one of her half-sisters.

Theoretically she was a polygamist; practically she hated it, and I know that her married life was very unhappy. She had several children, but was not called a very good mother.  

The circumstances of her death, which occurred a few months since, are sad in the extreme.

Mrs. Alice Young Clawson.

She was in the street, one day, and met her father, who happened to be in one of his ill-humors, and was only waiting for some one to vent it on. Alice, unluckily, was the victim. She was always very fond of dress, and was inclined to be somewhat "loud" in her style. She was dressed, this day, to pay some visits, and was finer than usual. Her father looked at her from head to foot, then said, in the most contemptuous manner which he could assume, --

"Good heavens, Alice! What are you rigged out in that style for? You look like a prostitute."

She faced him with an expression so like his own that it was absolutely startling, and, with terrible intensity, replied, —

"Well, what else am I? And whose teachings have made me so?"

She passed on, leaving him standing gazing after her in surprise. Not long after, she was found dead in her bed, with a bottle, labelled "poison," by her bedside. Tired of life, she had thrown it carelessly aside, for it was of little worth to her. Neither husband nor father was much comfort to her, and, with her mother before her, it is no wonder that she did not wish to live to grow old.

It has been said that at one time she was greatly in her father's confidence, and that she has assisted many a scheme which served to enrich her father, who used her to advance his own interests, without regard to her youth or sex. Of the truth of this I have no means of knowing, but as far as I had any experience with her, she was an amiable, kind-hearted woman, ambitious and proud, and a strong hater of the polygamic life which she was forced to lead.

Luna Young was a bright, gay girl, the pet and the ruling power of her mother's house. She is very pretty, and extremely imperious. She is blonde, like Alice, but by far the more beautiful and self-willed. She has all her father's strength of purpose, and the two strong wills used often to clash, and it was rarely that hers was subdued. Her father found her the most difficult of all the girls to manage, and yet he seemed more fond of her than of her more yielding and obedient sister.

She is a plural wife of George Thatcher, and endures, although she by no means loves, polygamy.

The children of Mrs. Angell Young are better known to the world than any of the others, and of these five, the ones that the public are most familiar with are John W. and Alice, both of whom seem very widely known by reputation; John W. from his constant contact with the Gentiles, and Alice from the position which she so long held in the theatre, and which brought her so constantly before the public for so many years.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:02 am


The Wives of the Prophet. Lucy Decker. A Mysterious Disappearance. Lucy's Boys. Brigham's Wife, Clara. Her Busy Household Work. About the Girls. Harriet Cook. She Expresses Unpleasant Opinions. Brigham is frightened of Her. He Keeps out of the Way. Amelia and the Sweetmeats. How one of Brigham's Daughters Scandalized the Saints. How Mrs. Twiss Manages the Prophet's House. The Work a Woman can Do. Martha Bowker and her silent Work. Sweet and saintly Doings of the Prophet. Concerning Harriet Barney. The Wife who “Served Seven Years" for a Husband. Another English Wife of the Prophet. The "Young Widow of Nauvoo."


LUCY DECKER was the wife of Isaac Seeley, and had two children before she became a convert to Mormonism, and removed to Nauvoo. The husband had been esteemed a fine young man, and to all appearances they were living quite harmoniously, when Brigham saw her, and fell in love with her. He soon persuaded her that Seeley could never give her an "exaltation" in the eternal world; but that, if she would permit him, he would secure her salvation, and make her a queen in the "first resurrection." She was bewildered by the promises, and consented to become "sealed" to him secretly.

In some way or other, Seeley found out the true state of affairs, and was exceedingly indignant, and made some very unpleasant threats of vengeance against Brigham Young for breaking up his family. Brigham at once commenced endeavoring to turn the tide of public opinion against him, by resorting to his always ready weapon, his tongue, and insinuating things against him; among others, he took care that the impression should get abroad that he had threatened to kill his wife. These reports gained little credence among those who knew him well; yet Brigham, with Joseph to help him, was sure to succeed in his efforts to ruin the man, or to drive him away, so that he should no longer stand in his light, and Seeley suddenly disappeared.

All sorts of rumors were afloat respecting his disappearance; some said he was driven from Nauvoo at the point of the knife; others said he was dead; others, that he left voluntarily, disgusted with the entire proceedings; at all events, he has never appeared to interfere with his wife's later domestic arrangements.

Lucy lives in the "Bee Hive," which is supposed to be Brigham's own particular residence, at least his private office and own sleeping-room are there, and he takes his meals there except his dinner. She has always had the charge of this house, and has always been quite highly valued by her husband on account of her numerous domestic virtues, for she is a superior housekeeper, and even Brigham finds great difficulty in getting a good opportunity to find fault with her. It has been Brigham's custom always to keep the "Bee Hive" for his exclusive use, and none of his wives were allowed there, except Lucy Decker, who had the charge. But after he married Amelia, before her house was finished, he brought her to board there with him, contrary to all precedent; and Lucy Decker was not only obliged to cook for them, but to wait upon them at the table, in the capacity of a servant, and Amelia never recognized her in any other way, never speaking to her as an equal, but ordering her about at her caprice, and the husband allowed it. But then it is no uncommon thing in Utah for a man to marry a woman for a servant; it is more economical than to hire them. It saves the wages.

The outside world had always been horrified by polygamy. Already in 1859, the New York Tribune’s correspondent was reporting that “No where else on the Continent of North America are white women to be seen working like slaves, barefooted, in the field. It is notorious to all here that large numbers of Mormon women are in a state of great want and destitution, and that their husbands do not pretend to provide them even with the necessaries of life.’” (Hirshson, p. 132) The New York Times pointed out in 1877 that a poor farmer with half a dozen able-bodied wives automatically possessed a loyal low-wage workforce, allowing him to act as overseer or superintendent. The women were disciplined with a whip. “Farmers with four, five, six or more wives are numerous, and it is among these people that polygamy has its greatest strength. Polygamy in Utah, especially among the rural population, is nothing more nor less than slavery, and its popularity arises almost wholly from its profitableness. It is the system of the South twenty years ago, with more lines of parallel than many of us might suspect.” (Hirshson, pp. 323-324) The twin relics of barbarism turned out to be closely linked in practice.

-- Just Too Weird: Bishop Romney and the Mormon Takeover of America: Polygamy, Theocracy, and Subversion, by Webster Griffin Tarpley, Ph.D.

Lucy Ann "Luca" Decker Young

When Lucy Decker's sons, Brigham's children, grew up, they accepted mercantile situations, as he expects all to work, which is certainly all right; but they were not allowed to stay with their mother without paying him the same amount for board that they would have to pay elsewhere. A married daughter is also allowed to remain with her mother under the same conditions. She is a short, fleshy woman, with a pleasant, small-featured face, dark eyes and hair, and as practical and matter-of-fact in manner as you please.

She has seven children -- Brigham-Heber, Fanny, Ernest, Arthur, Mira, Feramorz, and Clara. Fanny is the plural wife of George Thatcher, who also numbers her half sister, Luna, among his wives. Heber and Ernest are both married, but have, as yet, but one wife each. They do not seem in a hurry to add to their kingdom.


Clara Decker is the younger sister of Lucy, and was "sealed" to Brigham at the same time. She is a very intelligent, prepossessing woman, and for some time was quite a favorite with her husband. Like her sister, she is short and stout; but she has a very sweet, benevolent face, which truly mirrors her character. She is an indefatigable, but a quiet worker, and the good she does, not only in the Prophet's household, but out of it, cannot be estimated. In spite of her multitudinous home cares, she finds time to visit the sick and comfort the afflicted, and there is no woman more universally beloved than she.

She has been of great service to her husband in assisting him in the management of his large family, and in addition to her own family of children, she has the care of Margaret Alley's. She has been as tender and kind to them as to her own, and since their own mother's sad death they have received an untiring and affectionate maternal care from her. When her husband has taken a new wife, she has often been applied to to assist him in preparing the housekeeping outfit, which she always does willingly and cheerfully, never manifesting the least jealousy, nor making herself disagreeable in any way. Her griefs she keeps to herself, and gives a kindly, cheery countenance to her family and the world.

She has long since lost all love for her husband, and although she retains her faith in the underlying principles of her religion, is by no means so blinded by bigotry as not to see its faults. She expresses her opinions rarely, but when she does, they are given decisively, and her husband is not at a loss to understand her meaning. He has a high regard for her services, and I really believe accords her more respect than he does most women. She never appears in public with him, being always too much "engaged" at home.

Clarissa Clara "Clara" Decker Young

No one can know Clara Decker without loving her; she has a nature that wins affection spontaneously, and that holds it after it is won. She has three children, all girls — Nettie, Nabbie, and Lulu. Nettie is married to Henry Snell, and is the only wife. Clara and her children are inmates of the Lion House. She has more room than the others, as her family numbers so many members.

Harriet Elizabeth Cook Young

The third "wife in plurality" was Harriet Cook, to whom the Prophet was sealed at Nauvoo before the church left that place for the west. She was at that time rather a good-looking girl, tall and fair, with blue eyes, but with a sharp nose, that so plainly bespoke her disposition that no one was surprised to hear, not very long after her marriage, that her husband had found he had "caught a Tartar." She was in my mother's employ at Nauvoo, and I think there is where the Prophet became enamoured of her. She does not hesitate to say that "Mormonism, polygamy, and the whole of it, is a humbug, and may go to the devil for all her." Her husband never attempts to argue any theological question with her, but gets out of the way as speedily as possible, letting her abuse religion and him as much as she pleases behind his back.

Brigham, finding her so ungovernable, and being quite unable to exact submission or obedience from her, refused to live with her; and, although she still lives at the "Lion House" with the other wives, avoids her as studiously as possible, and will not even notice her, unless positively compelled to do so.

She has one son, Oscar, whom his father calls a reprobate, and has entirely disowned; a wild, headstrong, unruly fellow, now nearly thirty years of age. He speaks of his father as "dad," and "the old man," and openly expresses his disgust at his hyprocrisy and meanness, which he sees through very clearly. He is no more afraid to speak his mind than his mother, of whose tongue not only Brigham, but the other wives, stand in dread; and when she commences battle they act on the principle that "discretion is the better part of valor," and leave the field to her.

The son has been married, but his wife has left him.

Lucy Bigelow Young

A few years ago Brigham bought a house at St. George, quite an important Mormon settlement, four hundred miles south of Salt Lake City, intending to settle some one of his wives there. He asked me if I would go, but I declined. He then proposed to one or two others, but they had no more of a mind to go than I had. Lucy Bigelow at last decided to try St. George as a residence, and she has remained there ever since. Lucy was married to him when she was very young, and she has been one of the "Society" wives in the past. She was exceedingly pretty, quite entertaining, and a very graceful dancer. She is not very tall, but has quite a pretty figure, brown hair, blue eyes, and an exceedingly pretty mouth.

Her position as housekeeper at St. George has been no sinecure, for Brigham and Amelia have been in the habit of passing a portion, at least, of the winter there, and Lucy Bigelow's position there has been very much what Lucy Deckers was at the Bee Hive, -- that of servitor, entirely. When Brigham comes she receives no more attention than a housekeeper would; and no one, ignorant of the fact, would ever imagine she had held towards him the position of wife. She does not sit at the table with them, but cooks for them, and looks after their comfort generally.

She is quite a prudent housekeeper, and every year puts up a large quantity of preserves, which Amelia and her party being very fond of, would speedily put out of the way; and when the presidential visits were ended, poor Lucy would have no sweetmeats left for her own use, or to give to her friends when they came to see her. On the occasion of a late visit, she was so annoyed at her treatment, both by Brigham and Amelia, —the former being particularly captious and insolent, —that she spoke her mind with such sudden and startling plainness, that they left the house in a hurry. The Southern wife is to be commended for her spirit. She does not show it often; and probably, had the insults come alone from her husband, she would have borne them quietly, as she has done for nearly thirty years; but she could not endure the same treatment from Amelia, and she very justly rebelled.

She has three daughters, Dora, Susan, and Toolie. Dora is the only wife of Morley Dunford. She scandalized the Saints, and aroused the ire of her father, by going quietly off with her lover to the Episcopal clergyman to be married. According to Gentile laws she is legally married, but according to Mormon laws she is not securely tied. Still, she seems satisfied. Susie is married to Almy Dunford, and is also an only wife.

Bee-hive House. — Brigham Young's Residence.

One of the most important wives, although by no means the recipient of any of her husband's attentions, is the housekeeper at the "Lion House," Mrs. Twiss. She was a young widow living in Nauvoo when Brigham discovered her, and recognizing her useful qualities, had her sealed to him as soon as he could arrange for it. She is not very attractive in personal appearance, having a round face, light blue eyes, low forehead, and sandy hair, which is inclined to curl. In figure she is short and stout. But she is an energetic worker, and as a servant Brigham values her.

She never complains of her position, but she is no better content with it than any other neglected wife in polygamy. She is kind to the other wives, and has an amiable, quiet disposition, although she is exceedingly firm and resolute. She has no children of her own, a circumstance which grieves her very much, but she has adopted a son, of whom she is very fond, and who is a very great comfort to this childless, unbeloved wife.

Martha Bowker Young

Martha Bowker is another of the Prophet's "sickly wives," of whom he is so fond of sneering; and the fact that she is an invalid is sufficient to preclude her from receiving care or sympathy from her husband. He married her when she was very young, and never has treated her with much consideration. Why he married her, unless it was because he was anxious to "build up his kingdom" as quickly as possible, and so took every available woman he could find, will always remain a mystery. She is plain, but very quiet and sensible. She never interferes with anyone, and worships her husband at a distance. I think it must be true, in his case at least, that "familiarity breeds contempt," for the wives who have been the favorites stand less in awe of him, have less faith in him, and are less easily deceived by his pretensions than those whom he has neglected, and who do not understand him thoroughly. The less attention a wife has paid her, the greater is her veneration for her husband. Her respect for him seems to increase in proportion to the snubs she receives. Mrs. Bowker Young is by no means accomplished, moderately well educated, and is by no means intellectually brilliant. She says but little, but displays considerable hard common sense when she does speak. She is somewhat of a nonentity in the "Lion House," where she lives, keeping very much to herself, and not making her presence felt. She has an adopted daughter, but no children of her own.

Harriet Emmeline Barney Young

Among all the wives that Brigham claims, there is none the superior of Harriet Barney Young, who, in spite of all her personal charms and graces of mind, has never been a favorite with the Prophet. She is too good and noble-minded for him to appreciate. There is too little of the flatterer about her. She is tall and stout, but very graceful in every movement. Her eyes are a clear hazel, with a soft, sad expression in them that is almost pathetic. Her hair is light-brown, and her face wears a peculiarly mild, sweet look. She is a person that anyone in trouble would be drawn towards, and would involuntarily rely on and confide in. She is always ready, with the tenderest sympathy, to comfort sorrow and distress; and her acts of kindness, which are very numerous, are always unostentatiously performed. She was married before she met Brigham, and was the mother of three children; but becoming convinced that Mormonism was right, and receiving it, polygamy and all, as a divine religion, given direct from God, she considered it her duty to leave her husband, and cast her lot with this people. She brought her children with her, determined to bring them up in the true faith, and she was, in every regard, an earnest, conscientious, devout Christian, who would never shirk a duty, no matter how painful it might be, and would never do anything which she considered wrong, no matter how much she might suffer for her persistence in the right.

She loves her husband with all the strength of an earnest devotion, and his careless treatment of her seems to make little difference in the depth of her affection. She knows her love is hopeless, but she cherishes it, nevertheless, and is content to worship with no hope of return. She is a devout Mormon, and all she has seen, heard, and suffered, has not shaken her faith one whit. She believes that "this people" is destined to come up "out of great tribulation," and she accepts her own share without a murmur.

She formerly lived at the Lion House with her children, but latterly she has occupied a cottage near the Tabernacle. She likes this new arrangement infinitely better, as her situation in the large family was particularly trying. Brigham's own children have always been extremely haughty and arrogant to those not of the "royal" blood; and although Harriet's children were good and amiable, they, as well as their mother, were rendered very unhappy. She supports herself and family now by sewing; but is happier in this than in living in dependence, and receiving favors which are grudgingly bestowed. Her husband is by no means a frequent visitor at her cottage, but she never reproaches him with neglect.

She has had one child since her marriage to the Prophet, -- a son, whose name is Howe.


Eliza Burgess Young

Mary Ann Angell Young

Eliza Burgess, the wife who is said to have "served seven years " for her husband, is an English woman, a native of Manchester, and came to Nauvoo with her parents among the very earliest of the Mormon emigrants. They had not been long in this country before her parents died, and she was left alone. Mrs. Angell Young took her into the family as a servant, and she came to the Valley with her. She was very attentive and faithful to the Prophet, whom she regarded with the greatest veneration; and when he, noticing her devotion, offered to become her "savior," and secure for her "everlasting salvation," the poor girl was completely overcome, and entered her new relation with the most sacred reverence and joy. It is almost painful to see the dumb worship which she accords to her master, and the cavalier manner in which it is received. For a long time she was an inmate of the Lion House, and assisted Mrs. Twiss in the household labors. She has lately been promoted to the position of housekeeper at Provo, where the Prophet has an establishment for the convenience of himself and his party when he is making a tour of the settlements. This wife is faithful to all his interests, and unflagging in her zeal to serve him. The moment she finds that she is in any way necessary to his comfort, she works with a new earnestness. She is honest and upright, and is in every way worthy of the love of a good man. Yet she lives on, starving for the love that is denied her, and "wearying" for a husband who absents himself from her for a year at a time.

She has one son, Alphilus, a bright young fellow, who is at present a student in the law-school of the Michigan University.

Susan Snively Young

Besides Eliza Burgess, the English wife, Brigham has but one other who is not American. This is Susan Snively, who is a German, and who has been one of his useful wives. She is a woman now considerably past middle age, and carries her nationality very decidedly in her face. She is of medium size, has dark hair, bright eyes, dark complexion, and a stolid, expressionless face. She is decidedly the plainest of the wives, and one of the most capable. Her nature is kindly, and she is a genuinely good woman, quiet and unassuming. She is not the slightest bit assertive, and would remain in a corner unnoticed all her life, unless some one discovered her and brought her out. In her busy days, she was a good housewife, -- could spin, dye, weave, and knit, and make excellent butter and cheese.

She was married to Brigham in the early days of polygamy, when she was a young girl; indeed, most of his wives were taken between 1842 and 1847, and she has proved herself a good wife in every sense of the word. She has lived at the farm a great deal; for eight years she was sole mistress there, and a harder worker never lived. She paid special attention to the dairy, making all the butter and cheese for the entire family. She has done a great deal for all the wives and children, and they have not hesitated to call on her for services, so cordially and freely has she given them. The farm was very large, and required many laborers, and these all boarded at the farm-house, and Susan had them to look after, which she did faithfully. Everything that she did was done to promote, as far as possible, the interests of the Prophet and his family.

At last, under such a constant strain of incessant labor, she broke down completely, unable any longer to endure the strain. Her strength failed; her health was destroyed; her once strong constitution undermined, and she was forced to seek refuge in the "Lion House," and take her chances with the numerous family. After she had given all her strength, and the best part of her life, to the service of her "master," she was of no more use to him, and she might live or die, as she saw fit. It mattered nothing to him. She said once to me, "How I should like a drive! and how much good it would do me! We have plenty of carriages, to be sure, yet I am never allowed to ride." Tears trembled in her eyes, and her voice shook as she made her complaint; and I wished it were in my power to gratify her. I did pity her lonely and neglected condition with all my heart.

Her only earthly comfort is an adopted daughter, whom she dearly loves. She never had any children of her own, and she lavishes all her maternal affection on this attractive young girl, who returns her love, and calls her "mother."

She still clings to her religious faith with a sort of hopeless despair. If that should fail her, she would be desolate indeed. She suffers in the present, hoping for a recompense in the future.

Margaret Pierce Young

Young widows seemed to have abounded in Nauvoo, judging from the number that have been "sealed" to the Prophet and his followers. So many men died in defence of the church, that the wives must, of necessity, fall to someone's care, and the protectors were easily found. Margaret Peirce was another of Brigham's fancies, and was sealed to him soon after the death of her husband. Her health has been very delicate for some years; consequently she is not in favor with her husband. She has one son, Morris, whom she absolutely worships. He is now about twenty years old, but he is still her baby.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:16 am


The Prophet's Favorite Wife, Amelia. How Brigham made Love in the Name of the Lord. How he won an Unwilling Bride. A Lady with a Sweet Temper. How she Kicked a Sewing-Machine down the Prophet's Stairs. She has a new House built for Her. Rather Expensive Habits. Her Pleasant Chances for the Future. Mary Van Cott Cobb. A Former Love of the Prophet's. Miss Eliza-Roxy Snow. The Mormon Poetess. Joseph Smith's Poetic Widow. Versification of the Saints. Mrs. Augusta Cobb. Emily Partridge.


THE favorite wife of the Prophet, Amelia Folsom, is a woman about forty years of age, and was a New England girl.

She was born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and with her parents, who were converts to Mormonism, came to Utah. She is tall, of a good figure, has rather regular features, brown hair, bluish-gray eyes, and a querulous, discontented expression, with a very great deal of decision indicated by the mouth. And, indeed, in spite of all that is lavished upon her, she is not happy. She did not wish to marry Brigham, as she had a lover to whom she was fondly attached; but he wished to marry her, and that settled her fate. Her parents favored his suit, and urged it strongly; but she was bitterly opposed to it, and it was months before she would yield to their united desires.

Amelia Folsom. [Brigham's Favorite Wife.]

He was a most arduous and enthusiastic lover, and during all the time that his suit was in progress, his carriage might be seen standing before the door of her parents' house several hours at a time every day. He evidently did not intend that absence should render her forgetful of him. He promised her anything that she might desire, and also agreed to do everything to advance the family interests. Promises had no weight with her. He then had recourse to "Revelation;" he had been specially told from heaven that she was created especially for him, and if she married anyone else she would be for ever damned. The poor girl begged, pleaded, protested, and shed most bitter tears, but all to no purpose. His mind was made up, and he would not allow his will to be crossed. She had been converted to believe in special revelation, and to look upon Brigham as the savior of all the Mormon people, and to think that disobedience to him was disobedience to God, since God's commands came through him. In answer to her pleading, he said, "Amelia, you must be my wife; God has revealed it to me. You cannot be saved by anyone else. If you marry me, I will save you, and exalt you to be a queen in the celestial world; but if you refuse, you will be destroyed, both soul and body."

This is the same argument he used to win me, and the one he has always in reserve, as the last resort, when, everything else fails to secure his victim.


Of course she yielded; what else was she to do? It was a foregone conclusion when the courtship commenced. She was married to him the 23d of January, 1863, more than six months after the anti-polygamy law had been passed by Congress, and the marriage was celebrated openly, and in defiance of the law.

Politicians in Washington were now attempting to enforce the federal laws outlawing polygamy, and one such measure passed the House of Representatives. Miles P. Romney and four other Mormon leaders produced a statement in 1870 declaring that "the anti-polygamy bill... is an act of ostracism, never before heard of in the Republican government and its parallel hardly to be found in the most absolute despotism, disenfranchising and incriminating as it does, 200,000 free and loyal citizens, because of a particular tenet in their religious faith." This same reasoning could have been used to defend widow-burning or human sacrifice, both mandated by existing religions. Friends and puppets of the Saints made sure this bill never passed the Senate. (Kranish and Helman, pp. 38-39).

-- Just Too Weird: Bishop Romney and the Mormon Takeover of America: Polygamy, Theocracy, and Subversion, by Webster Griffin Tarpley, Ph.D.

Amelia Folsom Young

Since the marriage, Amelia has ruled with a hand of iron, and she has her lord in pretty good subjection. She has a terrible temper, and he has the benefit of it. On one occasion he sent her a sewing-machine, thinking to please her; it did not happen to be the kind of a one which she wanted; so she kicked it down stairs, saying, "What did you get this old thing for? You knew I wanted a 'Singer.'"

She had a Singer at once.

I was once present when she wanted her husband to do something for her; he objected, and she repeated her demand, threatening to "thrash him," if he did not comply. It is, perhaps, unnecessary to say that she was not obliged to ask him again. I know he is afraid of her, and that she holds him now through fear, rather than love. She accompanies him to the theatre, and occupies the box, while the rest of the wives sit in the parquet. She goes with him on his visits to the settlements, and drives out with him constantly.

She has a beautiful new house, elegantly furnished, and Brigham has very nearly deserted the "Bee-Hive," except during business hours, and spends most of his time at Amelia's residence. She dresses elegantly, has jewels and laces, and has saved ten thousand dollars out of her "pin-money," which she placed in bank. I am delighted at her success in getting so much; the other wives have succeeded in getting nothing but their living from him, some scarcely that; and I, for my part, congratulate Amelia on her good management. It was a hard struggle for her to marry him, and all she gets will never half repay her for the suffering she has endured in the past, even if she has grown contented now.

She is rather careless in her treatment of the other wives, but gets along the best with the "proxies." When she lived at the "Bee Hive," she dined at the "Lion House," with her husband and the other wives. She and Brigham sat at a table by themselves -- a small table, standing at the head of the dining-room. The other wives, with their children, sat at a long table, running nearly the entire length of the room. The fare at this table was very plain, while the other was loaded with every delicacy that the season would afford. When strangers dined with Brigham, the difference in the fare was less noticeable, and the long table would be amply provided for, so as to make a good impression upon the visitor. Amelia is not well; indeed, she is at times quite an invalid. She has no children.

Mary Van Cott Young

About six months before my marriage to the Prophet, he took a pretty young widow, Mary Van Cott, for a wife, much to Amelia's distress, who had considered herself the last for so long, that she was quite unprepared for the introduction of a rival. She was very bitter in her denunciations both of Brigham and Mary, and commenced at once to make friends with some of the other wives. She said to Aunt Zina, I believe, that she knew now how Emmeline felt when Brigham took her. Emmeline had been the favorite wife for years, and was really fond of her husband, and it was a terrible blow to her when he deserted her for another.

For some time Brigham's fickle affections hovered about Mary, but Amelia, with a determination which but few Mormon women possess, fought against her rival until she compelled her lord to withdraw his attentions from the new wife, or to bestow them on the sly. Mary felt very much hurt and aggrieved, but she has managed to hold her own sufficiently to get a very pretty cottage house, which is very daintily furnished, and which she makes very attractive.

She has two children, one by a former husband; the other, a pretty little girl, three or four years old, the youngest of Brigham's children, and who is always called "Baby." After I left it was said she very nearly decided to take the same step. She was very discontented, and the treatment she received from the Prophet and his family was not such as to encourage her to stay with him. Her own people, who are devout Mormons, became aware of her intention, and finally succeeded, by a great amount of persuasion, in inducing her to try a little longer. Brigham, too, found out what step she was contemplating, and knowing that opinion would set strongly against him if two of his wives should leave him so nearly at the same time, added his arguments to theirs, and also agreed to fix her house, and give her more things, among which was a grand piano, if she would not bring another scandal upon him. For the sake of her child she decided to remain, but she is in a state of mental rebellion, which may break out at any time. She is, since my defection, the last added member of the family.

Miss Eliza R. Snow. [Mormon Poetess.]

Miss Eliza R. Snow is the first of Brigham's "proxy" wives, and is the most noted of all Mormon women. She was one of Joseph Smith's wives, and, after his death, was sealed to Brigham for time, but is to return to Joseph in eternity. She was the founder of the "Female Relief Society," is the motive power of the "Woman's Exponent," although Miss Green acts as editor, personates "Eve" in the "Endowments," and is a poetess of no inconsiderable merit. She writes hymns for all occasions, and most of her poems are full of a strong religious fervor. She is a thorough Mormon, and believes absolutely every portion of the doctrine, and might contend with Orson Pratt for the title of "Defender of Polygamy."

Eliza Roxcy Snow Young

Brigham regards her very highly, because she is of such inestimable service in the church. She lives at the "Lion House," where she has quite a pleasant room, in which she receives most of her company. She is the most intellectual of all the wives.

Zina D. Huntington. [Wife of Brigham.]

Zina D. Huntington was formerly the wife of a man named Henry Jacobs, who was at one time a Mormon. Brigham was attracted towards the wife, sent the husband off on a mission, and had Zina sealed to him. Dr. Jacobs apostatized, not at all fancying this appropriation of his family. She is a very noble woman, and has spent her life in the service of her ungrateful husband and the church. She is firm and unyielding in her religious faith, and as devout a believer in Mormonism to-day as she was at her first conversion. She has been very useful in the family, acting as physician, nurse, and governess, as her services have been required. She is perfectly unselfish, and her whole life is devoted to others.

Zina Diantha Huntington Smith Young

She is a large, fine-looking woman, with a somewhat weary and sad expression, but her face still shows signs of mental strength and superiority.

ZINA WILLIAMS. [Brigham's Daughter.]

She has one daughter, Zina, who was formerly an actress in the theatre, and has since married an Englishman of the name of Thomas Williams. She was his second wife, and her introduction to the family was strongly resented by the first wife, who would never notice her in any way. They lived apart, and the husband divided his time equally between the two. A few months ago he died very suddenly at Zina's, while sitting at the table. When the news was conveyed to the first wife, she had the remains brought to her, arranged for the funeral without consulting Zina, and refused to allow her to ride in the carriage with her to the burial. Poor Zina was almost heart-broken, for she dearly loved the man whom her father's religion taught her to call husband, and she was ready to do anything to conciliate the first wife. She is a noble girl, and as conscientious as her mother. Not very long before I left her father, we were talking about the practice of polygamy. I expressed myself strongly and bitterly against it. She, in turn, defended it. She knew, she said, that it brought great unhappiness, but that was because it was not rightly lived. The theory was correct, but people did not enter it in the right spirit. She has certainly suffered from it since then, although I believe she tried, to the best of her ability, to "live it right." But she, no more than any one else, could make right out of wrong.

Zina Young Card

When Mr. Williams asked her in marriage, Brigham said he might have her if he'd "take the mother too." So Zina, the mother, went to live with Zina, the daughter. But Brigham grew ashamed of his meanness toward her, and finally gave her a house and lot.

Augusta Cobb Young

Years ago, when Brigham was on a mission to New England, he met a very charming lady in Boston, Mrs. Augusta Cobb, and at once his elastic fancy was charmed for a while. She was a woman of fine social position, cultured and elegant, the head of a lovely establishment, with a kind husband, and a family of interesting children; but she became enamored of the Prophet, accepted the Mormon religion, and came to Nauvoo with him, where she was sealed as his wife. She is still a very stylish, elegant woman for her age, but for several years past she has been grossly neglected by the Prophet. Her religious enthusiasm has increased until it is almost mania, and, finding that her husband was wearying of her, and seeking new faces, she begged to be released from him for eternity, and be sealed to Jesus Christ, who, her church told her, was a polygamist.

Brigham, with all his blasphemous audacity, dared not do that; so he quieted her by telling her that he was not at liberty to do that -- his authority did not extend so far; but he would do the next best thing, and seal her to Joseph Smith. She consented, and now belongs to Brigham only for time, "having been transferred to Joseph for eternity."

Her family still remember her fondly, and grieve over her delusion. One of her relatives -- a granddaughter, I think -- sent word to me, a short time since, that she wished to see me, to ask about Mrs. Cobb, for it had been a long time since they had heard from her directly, and it would be such a comfort to meet one who had seen her so recently. I have not yet met the lady, but shall take the first opportunity to see her, though I can, I fear, tell her little that will satisfy her.

Emily Dow Partridge Young

Another proxy wife, Emily Partridge, was a young, childless widow, very patient and gentle, and very pretty, too. She belonged to Joseph Smith, and was among those whom Brigham took. For some time she lived at the farm, but not understanding dairy work, she did not suit her husband. She is willing to work, and do whatever she can do, but is no more able than the rest of the world to accomplish impossibilities. He was so angry at her want of success at the farm, that he said, in speaking of her, "When I take another man's wife and children to support, I think the least they could do would be to try and help a little." To be sure, he is the earthly father of those children, but he makes a decided distinction between them and those he calls his own. There are five children, -- Emily, Carlie, Don Carlos, Mary, and Josephine. Emily is plural wife of Hiram B. Clawson, her half-sister Alice's husband; Carlie and Mary were both married to Mark Croxall, the Western Union telegraph operator. He was very fond of Mary, who has since died. Carlie he treats with the utmost indifference, and neglects her openly. A while ago he became very much enamored of a Danish girl, and would allow Carlie to go home alone from the theatre or other place of amusement, while he went off with this girl, who was Carlie's inferior in every way. The poor girl is heart-broken at this careless treatment, but what can she do? There is nothing for any Mormon woman to do but to submit, and let her heart break in the mean while. The sooner it is over, and she is out of her misery, the better. Very few care how soon they die. Life is not pleasant enough to be clung to very tenaciously.

Emily Partridge lived at the "Lion House" for several years, enduring every indignity at the hands of the family. Now she has a cottage outside, which Brigham gave her, telling her, when she moved into it, that he should in future expect her to support herself and children.

This woman ends the list of Brigham's living wives, but some that have died have had such a career, and been so well known, that I cannot refrain from mentioning them.  
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:26 am


The Discarded Favorite. The Story of Emmeline Free. A Stupendous Humbug. A "Free" Opinion of Mormonism. Amelia comes upon the Scene. How Brigham Insulted Emmeline Free. Brigham is Ashamed of his Cowardice. I tell him a little of my Mind. Joseph Expresses his Opinion. Apologizes for his Father. Death of Emmeline Free. The Story of Clara Chase. The Prophet's Maniac Wife. Ellen Rockwood, and the Cause of her Neglect. A Wife who was visited once in Six Months. Margaret Alley. How the Prophet treated his Dead Wife. He steals her Children's Property. How he Scandalized another Wife, and sent her Home. He "Never shed a tear at a Wife's Death."


FOR many years the favored wife, the one who ruled over her husband, and reigned in the family, was Emmeline Free. The Prophet married her when she was quite young, having first to overrule the objections of her parents, who, although Mormons, were much opposed to polygamy. She was a willing convert, for she had been taught that Brigham Young was a near approach to divinity, and she had unbounded reverence for him; and the child, -- for she was little more than that, -- was flattered and delighted at the Prophet's wish to have her for a wife.

Those who knew her at the time of her marriage say that she was an extremely lovely girl, and I can well believe it, for she was a very prepossessing woman. She was tall and graceful, with brown eyes, and fair hair that waved naturally. Her face was pleasant in expression and very bright, until it became saddened by her husband's desertion of her for Amelia.

I used to see a great deal of her. I visited at her house when I was a girl, was intimate with her children, and saw more of her while I was a member of the family than of any other. In virtue, I suppose, of her former position, Brigham never neglected her as he did some of his other wives, and she always retained a certain influence over him. She was not afraid of him, and had long since ceased to regard him with awe. I once entered the Prophet's office when she was there; she was talking quite earnestly, and did not stop on my entrance; she concluded her conversation by saying, --

"Well, I've lost faith in the whole thing. I consider Mormonism a stupendous humbug, and all the people who have been made to believe in it, terrible dupes. I've no patience with it any longer."

Her husband -- "our" husband at the time -- laughed as though he considered it a good joke, and turned the conversation, making it general, so that it included me. I think he did not wish such "heresy" talked before his young wives, lest it should engender discontent in their hearts. He needn't have been troubled about me, for the mischief was already done. I had begun to think things out for myself, and I had arrived very much at the same conclusion that Emmeline had, although I had not dared to express my opinion to any one.

Emmeline Free Young

Once during my married life with him, Brigham invited Emmeline and myself to go with him to Brigham City, where he was to hold a conference meeting. There was a large party, and we went with the usual pomp which attends such occasions. I enjoyed it better than I did most of the excursions I took with him, because I was very fond of Emmeline, and preferred to have her rather than any of the other wives. I think she felt the same way toward me, because she knew that I was her champion; moreover, she was quite aware of my feeling toward "our" husband, and the difficulty he had had in inducing me to become his wife, and she did not consider me in any degree her rival. We arrived one afternoon, and everything was most amicable. He was unremitting in his attentions to Emmeline, and I was very happy to see her happy, and enjoyed myself very much with some of the younger members of the family. In the evening he told Emmeline that he should expect her to accompany him to church the next day.

The next morning he arose very early, and drove away in a buggy alone; in a little while he returned with Amelia, breakfasted with her, and started away again. In the meantime Emmeline, who had not heard of Amelia's arrival, was preparing to accompany her husband to church: she dressed with unusual care, and made herself look very pretty. She waited impatiently, but he did not come. I knew of the arrival, and when I went up stairs and saw Emmeline waiting with her bonnet on, I asked her if she was not going to start soon, as it was getting late.

"I am waiting for Brother Young," said she.

"He has gone long ago," said I. "I thought you knew it."

"Gone, without me? Why, that's funny, when he made such a point of my going with him."

"Yes; but that was before Amelia came."

Emmeline's face changed expression in a moment. "She here?"

"Yes; she came this morning. Brother Young went to the depot to meet her."

"Then he must have known she was coming. Can I never go any where without having her thrust in my face? I thought for once I should be spared the infliction."

Waiting for Brigham to keep his Promise.

She took off her things, and I laid mine aside, too, and in place of going to the grand conference meeting and listening to "our" husband's eloquence, we had a conference of our own, and that morning I came nearer to Emmeline's heart than I ever had before. She talked to me unreservedly and unrestrainedly, and told me events in her history that were full of thrilling interest, but which were given me in confidence, and which I cannot give again to the world. I think the dead eyes would haunt me for ever, and the dead lips would move in ghostly reproach if I betrayed her even now. Dear, loving heart, that beat so wearily through all the years, I hope you are meeting your reward now, cradled in the infinite love of a Divine Father! Tears dimmed my eyes and moistened my cheeks, when I read, a few days since, of your death; but they were tears of joy at your glad release, and not such bitter tears of indignant sorrow as I shed that morning over the story of your wrongs.

I think Brigham felt ashamed and a little conscience-stricken. I know he was decidedly uncomfortable when he met his insulted wife again. He tried every means in his power to propitiate her, and I never saw him assume so abject a manner before. Amelia returned that day, and he told Emmeline that he did not know of her intention to come down, that he had not expected her at all. He also told her that the reason he paid so much attention to Amelia was, that he might "save her soul."

Emmeline did not believe him when he told her he did not expect Amelia, and she told him so very plainly. He then came to me, and said, --

"Emmeline 's real mad at me -- isn't she?"

"Yes," said I, "but no more than you deserve. I think it's too bad in you to take her for a pleasure trip, and then get Amelia here at the first stopping-place."

"I didn't get her here. I didn't know she was coming."

"Well, all I can say is, it looked like it; you certainly went to the station to meet her."

"I just went down to see who had come, that's all. Seems to me you're taking Emmeline's part pretty strong -- ain't you?"

"Yes, I am, for I think you've treated her badly."

" Guess a little of the mad is on your own account -- isn't it?"

"Not a particle of it. Amelia doesn't interfere with me."

He laughed and went out. Presently Joe made his appearance, probably sent by his father.

"So Emmeline is cutting up rough about Amelia's coming, is she?" he asked of me.

"Not at all; she's indignant, but that's no more than is to be expected; but as for 'cutting up rough,' as you term it, she's too much of a lady to do that."

"Well, it's too bad to have this fuss; but I suppose I'm to blame for the whole affair. I was coming down, and I didn't want to come alone, so I asked Mary, Alice, and Amelia to come along too. I never thought of Emmeline when I asked Amelia."

"Mary" was Joseph A.'s first wife, Alice was his sister, and the two were very intimate with Amelia. This story sounded very well, but I didn't believe it, neither did Emmeline, when she heard it. It was too evident that Joe had been sent by his father to endeavor to make peace. Be that as it may, Amelia did not put in an appearance again during the trip.

Emmeline had been an invalid for years, and I was not surprised to learn of her death. When I heard of it, I felt as I always do when I hear of the death of any Mormon woman. I thank God to think their misery is over. She had eight children, Marinda, Ella, Louise, -- nicknamed "Punk" by her father, -- Hyrum, Lorenzo, Alonzo, Ruth, and Delia.

Marinda is the only wife of Walter Conrad. Ella and Louise are both married out of polygamy, one to Nelson Empy, the other to James Harris. Hyrum, so far, contents himself with one wife.

Clara Ross Chase Young

Clara Chase is usually spoken of as "the maniac." She died mad several years since, leaving a large family of children. She married him when quite young, but she never was a firm believer in Polygamy, indeed, she distrusted the principles of it from the very beginning, and had many struggles of conscience before she could make up her mind to marry the Prophet, and she suffered perpetual remorse ever after. She had a peculiar face, low-browed and dark, and it was rarely lighted up by any pleasurable motive. There was on it an expression of fixed melancholy that seldom varied or changed.

Knowing her aversion to the system, and her distrust of it and of him, Brigham at first treated her with a very great deal of consideration. He gave her an elegant room, nicely furnished, and placed in it a large portrait of himself. He tried to make her surroundings as cheery as possible, and so wean her from the melancholy into which she had fallen. As long as he devoted himself personally to her, she was comparatively cheerful and content, and tried her best to be happy; but when he neglected her she was almost desperate, and wandered about in a half-dazed fashion, weeping and moaning, and calling on God to forgive her.

Just before her last child was born, her fits of remorse were terrible. She endured untold agonies, and accused herself of having committed the unpardonable sin, and she knew salvation was denied. Those who were about her at the time, say that it was heart-rending to hear her.

Just at this time, when her husband should have given her the most love and tenderest of sympathy, he was, more than ever, harsh, cruel, and unfeeling, and treated her with such marked coldness and contempt, that she went insane, and raved constantly. "I am going to hell! I am going to hell!" was her agonized cry. "Brigham has caused it; he has cursed me for ever. Don't any of you go into polygamy; mind what I say; don't do it. It will curse you, and damn your souls eternally." When she saw her husband, she cursed him as the cause of her downfall. "I have committed the unpardonable sin; you have made me do it. O, curse you! curse you! You have sent me to hell, and I am going soon." To her children, as they gathered round her, she cried, "O, don't follow my example! Don't go into polygamy, unless you wish to be cursed! Don't let my children do as I have done," she would say to those about her. No help could avail her. Brigham and his counsellors "laid hands" on her. A doctor was called, but all to no purpose. She died in the midst of her ravings. Her children's names were Mary, Maria, Willard, and Phoebe. Mary is dead. Maria is the wife of William Dougall. Phoebe is the only wife of Walter Batie. Willard, the only son, has just graduated with honors at West Point.

Ellen Rockwood was one of the least regarded of the wives. She was a little woman, in delicate health, and very fond of fancy-work. She was the daughter of the warden of the penitentiary, one of Brigham's faithful officers. Her influence with the Prophet was very small, as she had no children, and was regarded as of little consequence on that account. Still, I do not think that Brigham ever positively ill-treated her. He used to call on her very ceremoniously once in six months.

Margaret Alley Young

Margaret Alley, who was never much of a favorite, died in 1853. She was morbid in temperament, and, before her death, became very melancholy, owing to the neglect of her husband. She had two children, Eva and Mahonri-Morianchamer.

One of Brigham's "proxy" wives was Jemima Angell, a relative of Mary Ann Angell, his first living and legal wife. Her husband had died, leaving her with three children; and when she came to Nauvoo, Brigham found them. He wanted a servant, and she wanted salvation. The discoveries were simultaneous, and she was very soon persuaded to be sealed to him. All the while they were in Nauvoo, "Aunt Mima" worked untiringly, and on the arrival at Salt Lake he gave her a lot of land for her children. One of her sons built a house on it, but she did not occupy it, as she could not be spared from Brigham's kitchen. She worked until she became broken down in mind and body, and then Brigham sent her to her daughter, who was married to a poor man, and had a large family of children, yet was willing to take her mother, and do the best he could by her. She died very soon, and the daughter's husband telegraphed the news of the death to Brigham; also the time they should arrive with the body for burial. They lived fifty miles from Salt Lake, in the Weber Valley, and, as they could not obtain a coffin there, they put the body into a box to convey it to her husband, who, when they arrived, was not at home; at least, he could not be found; and what is called the "Eagle Gate," or the entrance to the Prophet's premises, was closed against them. They could not gain admittance for hours; and, in the mean time, all that was left of "Aunt Mima" lay in a pine box in an open wagon, with every avenue to her husband's house closed against her.

Finally, even Brigham grew ashamed, and allowed himself to be found; and when they asked him where they should take her, said, very carelessly, "O, I suppose she might as well go to her sisters', up on the hill!" She was taken there, and decently buried, though Brigham grumbled about the expense.

In the mean time, the land that he had given her had increased in value, and when the children went to take possession of it, he refused to let them have it, although it would have been a God-send to poor Mrs. Frazier, with her large family of children. But his avarice is so inordinate that no amount of suffering stands in the way of his self-enrichment. Once he is bent on obtaining a piece of property, he does not care whom he defrauds to obtain it.

At the time he was sealed to Lucy Bigelow, he had her sister sealed at the same time. She was very pretty, and he had seemed very fond of her. But suddenly his fondness cooled, and he treated her in the most shameful manner. He heaped every indignity upon her, and finally sent her back to her parents, saying she had been untrue to him. She protested her innocence; but all in vain. He would not, or professed not, to believe her, and talked harshly and cruelly to her when she attempted to vindicate herself.

Her parents were very much grieved, and were tossed about with conflicting doubts. They wanted to believe their daughter, and, in their hearts, I believe they did; yet they dared not dispute Brigham. They took the poor, heart-broken girl home, and she fairly pined to death under the disgrace that her husband tried to attach to her name.


Besides those wives whom I have already mentioned, there have been very many more who have been married to him "for eternity." I should be sorry even to guess their numbers. There was also one wife, who, during "Reformation" times, was said to have "run away to California" [a thousand miles away through an uninhabited country, and before the era of railways in the West]; but it was whispered among wicked Gentiles that really she paid the full penalty of the Endowment-Oaths, and in the Endowment-House, too, her throat being cut from ear to ear, and the other horrible performances gone through, on account of some indiscretion, or want of faith. Of course, I do not vouch for the truth of this statement. I simply give it in common with much else for what it is worth.

I have heard Brigham say, in speaking of the number of wives and children that he had buried, "that he never shed a tear at anyone's death;" and I believe that, if every friend he had in the world lay before him, cold and still and with frozen pulse, he would look on unmoved and indifferent, and never shed a tear, so utterly heartless is he.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:15 am


Brigham at Forty-five and at Seventy-five. Slipping the Yoke. The Salt Lake Tribune. Books on Mormonism. Prophetic Philanthropy. The New Temple. Paying the Workmen. The Tabernacle. Advantages of the Presidency. Free Schools and Liberal Education. Sharp Practice. The Rich and the Poor. Unconscious Sarcasm. Looking into the Future. The Spectacles of Ignorance. Personal Habits. The Prophet's Barber. Dinner at the Lion House. The Good Provider. Helping Herself. Prophetic Cunning. Evening Devotions. A Gift in Prayer. Advice to the Deity. Fatherless Children. The Bee Hive. Monogamist vs. Polygamist.

Dinner at the Lion House.

UNLESS I pause and look back almost to my very babyhood, and contrast Brigham Young as he then was with the Brigham Young of to-day, I can scarcely realize the change that has taken place in this man. As I recollect him first, he was a man in the prime of life, with rather a genial face, and a manner which, though abrupt at times, had nothing of the assumption and intolerance which characterize it now. Indeed there was, at that time, a semblance of humility, which served his purpose well, by strengthening the confidence of the people in him.

Had he claimed, at that auspicious point in his career, when accident placed him at the head of this peculiar sect, that he was the peer of Joseph Smith, upon whom had descended the mantle of that martyred saint, his pretensions would have been treated as contemptuously as were Sidney Rigdon's. His shrewdness plainly showed him that, and his cunning and tact pointed out to him the surest way of gaining an ascendency over his followers.

He taught them that Joseph was their Messiah; that he was only acting in his place until he should be restored to them in person; which, strange as it may seem, many still believe will occur, and actually watch for his visible presence among them again. Still, that belief does not obtain so generally as it did during the first years after Joseph's death. The gradual change in the President has not been without its effects, and there is now very much more of the material than of the spiritual in the Mormon belief.

Nearly everything that was done by him in those earlier days was done in the name of the Lord and Joseph, and he was constantly in the habit of expressing his intentions of carrying out "brother Joseph's" plans. Gradually, as he could without its being too closely observed and commented on, he dropped "brother Joseph," and made his own desires the law by which the people were to be ruled. Yet so quietly and subtly was this done, that the Saints never knew when they passed from the rule of Joseph Smith and superstition, to the absolute despotism of Brigham Young, which has been indeed a "reign of terror."

The absolute belief which he used to express in Joseph, and his unquestioning faith in his works and mission, he expected every one to yield to him in turn; and he and his immediate followers and associates have taught and insisted upon this blind subjection so long, that the Mormon people have neglected to use their reasoning powers, until they have become so blunted, that the majority of them are incapable of arriving at any conclusions by their own unaided effort, or of forming any independent opinions.

In the early days, in his intercourse with the people, he was one of them, -- a sharer in their adversity, a companion, and a friend. Now, he holds himself apart from them, looks upon himself as above and beyond them, as something better than they, and they partake of his own delusion, and assist him in his self-deception.

Now and then one keener than the rest sees the change, and deplores it. Rough old Heber C. Kimball could never become reconciled to it, and, more honest and more daring than the others, used to express himself very freely.

"Brigham's God is gold," he said one day to the apostle Orson Hyde; "he is changed much since he and I stood by each other, in the old days, defending the faith. He has become a selfish, cold-hearted tyrant, and he doesn't care at all for the old friends who have stood by him and loved him. What do you think of that, Brother Orson?"

"That sort of talk may do for Brother Heber," was the reply, "but it would not do for Brother Orson. He could not express himself in that manner with impunity, so he will say nothing."

At forty-five Brigham Young was a common looking, very ordinary appearing man, in no way the superior of the majority of the church, and decidedly the inferior of some of the members. He was homely in speech, neither easy nor graceful in manner, and dressed very plainly in homespun.

Brigham Young, at seventy-five, has the appearance of a well-preserved Englishman, of the yeoman class. There is less bluster in his manner than formerly, but more insolent assumption. He is still the mental inferior of some of the officers of his church, but in crafty cunning and malicious shrewdness he is far in advance of any of his associates. He is not more finished and elegant in his mode of speech, but he says less, and consequently has won the opinion of having grown more pleasing in his address. He is arrogant to his inferiors, and unpleasantly familiar to the very few whom he desires for any reason to conciliate. He dresses in the finest of broadcloth, fashionably cut, is more finical than an old beau, and vainer and more anxious than a young belle, concerning his personnel. He says that this change in his mode of dress has been brought about by his wives. I have no doubt that Amelia may have had some influence in that direction; still his own inclinations probably had just as much to do with it.

Since he has allowed himself to see and be seen by more of the outside world than he formerly did, he has grown to appear more like the Gentiles, concerning whom he sneers so loudly, even while aping their manners and customs. He is impatient of criticism, and as sensitive to public opinion as though he were not constantly defying it. He is at once ambitious and vain, and, like all persons who turn others to ridicule, is very sensitive to anything approaching it when it is directed towards himself. He reads everything that is written against him. I think no book has ever been published, exposing him and his religious system, which he has not perused, from the title page to the conclusion. He loses his temper every morning over the Salt Lake Tribune, -- the leading Gentile paper of Utah, -- and longs for a return of the days when one word of his would have put a summary and permanent end to the existence of this sheet, by the utter annihilation of everything and everybody connected with it. But the time is forever past when the "unsheathing of his bowie-knife," or the "crooking of his little finger," pronounced sentence upon offenders, and the Gentile paper and its supporters flourish in spite of him.

I remember once going into his office, and finding him examining the advertising circular of a book on Mormonism, written by a lady who had for a time been a resident of Utah. He commenced reading it aloud to me in a whining voice, imitating the tone of a crying woman. Yet, notwithstanding this attempt to make a jest of it, I knew that the publication of this book annoyed him excessively, and that he was both curious and anxious concerning the contents, and the effect they would produce; for, with all his professed contempt for Babylon and its Gentile inhabitants, he is very sensitive concerning the opinions which are held concerning him by these unregenerate souls.


Unscrupulous and avaricious, he has made even disasters profitable to himself. After the tragical hand-cart expedition, he sold the hand-carts that remained when the emigrants had all got in for fifteen dollars apiece. This was to go to the "church fund," which virtually means "Brigham's private purse." It has been already related how he made his "improved carriage scheme" more than pay for itself several times over, although they did not survive the first trip.

As "Trustee in Trust" of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, all the money of the church passes through his hands, or, more properly speaking, into them, since it is rarely known to leave them again. The tithing-fund, and the subscriptions for various church purposes, are all given into his keeping; and although the sums of money gathered in this way have been very large, none of it has ever been appropriated to the cause for which it was supposed to be intended by those sacrificing souls who denied themselves that the Lord might be served.

He is as inexorable a beggar to-day as he was forty years ago, when he was a humble follower of Joseph Smith, preaching the new gospel to whoever would hear him, and being fed and clothed by whoever would supply his wants. He made no hesitation in letting these wants be known, and he would request that they should be relieved in the name of the Lord.

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my little ones, ye have done it unto me," has been the standard teaching of the Mormon missionaries from the very earliest days; and no one could enlarge on this passage more eloquently than Brother Brigham when he was in need of a new coat, or a small sum of money, or even a supper and a night's lodging.

He is as eloquent now, when talking on the subject of giving, with this exception in his style of address, that he now demands instead of asks, and it is disastrous to refuse him. He begs for the missionaries, and the poor men never get a cent of the thousands of dollars that are raised for them. He begs for the Temple, which is his pet subject, whenever there is nothing else to beg for, and the amount of money which he has raised for the building ought to have erected several very imposing edifices.

Many years ago he levied contributions upon the English Saints for the purchase of glass for the Temple windows. The sum desired must be collected at once. The Lord was soon coming to enter upon his earthly kingdom, and the place must be prepared for him. Missionaries preached, and laymen exhorted; they astonished even themselves by their eloquence, as they dwelt upon the beauty of Zion, the city of the Lord, and the glory that was to descend upon his chosen people. Those who were not moved by their oratory were impelled by their command; but, for the most part, the money was given voluntarily. Working men and women took a few pennies from their scant wages, and gave them with wonderful readiness, and then suffered from cold and absolute hunger for days after. But they suffered with painful joyousness and devotion, since they were giving it to the Lord, who had chosen them out of all the world for his very own people, and who would make their self-denials here redound to their glory and grace when at last they should arrive in his presence.

At that time, the foundation walls of the Temple were barely above the ground, and the work has progressed very slowly since. At any rate, the glass has not been bought, and there seems very little probability of window material being needed at present; and if the Lord is not to visit the Saints until his home is completed, even the younger members of the present generation will not be likely to see Him.

Mormon Temple now Building.

The "Tabernacle," where the Saints worship at present, is one of Brigham's few "inspirations," and is as great a success as are most of his inspired ideas. It is an ugly-looking building, oval in shape, with a sort of arched roof, which shuts down over it, like the lid of a wicker-work basket. It is very commodious, which is its chief recommendation, holding comfortably twelve thousand persons. In this "inspired" edifice, every law of acoustics is outraged, and only a small portion of the congregation can hear what the speaker is saying. It is two hundred and fifty feet long, one hundred and fifty feet wide, and eighty feet high, while there is not a column in it to obstruct the view, and the interior view is flat and expansive.

The organ claims to have been built by a good Mormon brother, assisted by a large number of mechanics; and is said to be the largest ever built in the United States. It is placed at the end of the Tabernacle, directly back of the speaker's stand, and the seats for the choir are arranged on each side of it.

This building, in which the Saints are to worship until the more pretentious Temple is finished, is ugly in the outward appearance, cheerless in the interior, very inconvenient in its arrangements, and practically useless unless the walls are draped so as to render the voices of the speakers audible; but when the new building -- which is said by Brigham to be of Divine architecture -- shall be completed, it is probable that these things will be vastly improved.

In the mean time the begging goes on, but the work moves slowly. Large contributions come flowing in, but the Temple does not advance visibly; while Brigham adds house to house, field to field, increases his bank deposits, and lives as well as any man in his position would wish to live.


The people will take no bonds from him; and as it would seem like questioning the Lord's anointed, he is supposed to administer the financial affairs under the direction of the Lord, no statements are ever required of him. Once in a while, however, he goes through the form of a settlement of accounts, which he simplifies immensely, by a system all his own. It is said that at one time he balanced his account with the church by ordering the clerk to place two hundred thousand dollars to his account for services rendered, which was exactly the sum of his indebtedness to the church. This was in 1852; and in 1867 he repeated this peculiar financial operation; this time making his services liquidate an obligation for nine hundred and sixty- seven thousand dollars.

It is worth while to be President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at a salary like that, and it is no wonder that he desires to keep it in the family, and is so anxious to appoint a successor.

But on the other side, see at what terrible rates the poor people must have been taxed to have paid for the support of this one man and his family, between the years 1847 and 1867 -- a period of just twenty years -- one million one hundred and sixty-seven thousand dollars, nearly sixty thousand dollars a year. This does not include many grants of land and other property, made to him by the territorial legislature, nor his compensation by the United States government as governor and Indian agent. Although a very ignorant man himself, able neither to read nor write the English language correctly, he has always been a bitter opponent of free schools and liberal education.

"I will not give a dollar," he says, "to educate another man's child. If you school your children, there is great danger of their becoming blacklegs and horse thieves," he announced on one occasion, yet he seems quite willing that his own should take the risk. All of them have received a certain amount of education, enough to make them presentable in society, and some have had quite superior advantages. One son has just graduated at West Point, another is a student at the Michigan University Law School, and a third has just entered Cornell University.

Every attempt that has been made for the establishment of free schools he has fiercely battled against, and the other officers of the church have invariably followed his lead. He assures his people that education is the bitterest foe to labor. If they allow their children to be taught anything they will no longer be of any service to their parrents. He dilates largely upon this subject in the Tabernacle.

"I am utterly opposed to the schools," he said, in one address. "They have been introduced into the States in consequence of the tyranny of the rich over the poor. But instead of keeping the people poor, and then providing free schools for them, I would have the rich put out their money to usury by giving the poor employment, that they may be able to sustain themselves and school their own children. It is the duty of the rich to use their means, as I have done myself, in building factories, railroads, and other branches of industry, in order that the laboring people may have a chance to work together, and improve their condition; the rich taking their portion, and all growing wealthy together."

There is an unconscious sarcasm in this last sentence that is positively sublime. That one expression, "as I have done myself," is the supremest satire. I do not believe there is anywhere a man so suspicious of his workmen, so penurious in his dealings with them, so anxious to cut their wages down to the very lowest penny, as is Brigham Young. I know men who have been in his employ for years, and have never received the least remuneration. They have worked on and on, and when at last they have brought a bill against him for their labor, they have been met with one equally large on his side for house rent, or goods from the co-operative store, or are told that their labor is to go toward paying their tithing.

If all the rich men use their means, "as I have done mine," therefore there will be very little chance of the poor man being able to educate their children at all: which is exactly what Brigham Young wants. Had he spoken the truth he would have said, "I am opposed to free schools. They will rend this dark veil of superstition which envelops you, and let in the light of reason, and this will loosen my hold on you. If you educate your children you make better men and women of them, but they will not be such blind slaves to me as you have been. The day that sees knowledge generally disseminated throughout this community sees my power broken, my 'opportunities' gone, and therefore, with my consent, we will have no free schools."

Unlettered and uncultured as he is, he recognizes the power of education, and that is why he is such a bitter opponent to general culture, and why, at the same time, he takes special care that his own children shall lack no advantages.

His personal habits are quite simple, and he is very regular in his mode of living. He rises usually about seven o'clock, dresses and breakfasts very leisurely, and appears at his private office about nine. He examines his letters, dictates replies to his secretary, reads the morning papers, or has them read to him, and attends to some of his official business. His barber comes to him at ten o'clock, and for the time he is engaged exclusively at his toilet. The presence of visitors never interrupts this important event of the day. The rest of the morning he devotes to callers, and to such business as requires his own personal attention. At three he dines, and it is then that he meets his family for the first time in the day. Dinner is served at the Lion House, and the appearance of Brigham Young's family at dinner is very similar to that at a country boarding-house, when the gentlemen are all away at business in town, and the wives and children are left together. At a short table, running across the head of the long dining-room, Brigham sits with his favorite wife by his side. In the days when I first used to be at the Lion House, as a partial guest and partial resident, Emmeline Free occupied this place of honor; but after Amelia's advent, poor, loving Emmeline was thrust aside. When Brigham brings guests to dine with him, they have seats at this table also. At a long table, running lengthwise of the room, all the other wives are seated, each with her children about her. At the sound of the large dinner-bell, they all file in, seat themselves quietly, grace is said by the "presiding patriarch" from his table, and the meal goes on. The family table is plainly spread, and supplied with the very simplest fare, while the smaller one is laden with every delicacy that the markets will afford. These, however, are only for the President and his favorite wife, and the rest of the family must be satisfied merely to look at them, and enjoy the dainties by proxy.

A very amusing incident took place once at this family dinner. One of the wives, -- not usually considered among the most spirited ones, -- who, like all the rest, had submissively taken the food which had been set before her for years, was one day seized by the spirit of discontent. She had taken a fancy that she should like some of a particular dish which graced her husband's table. She did not express her wish, but quietly rising from her place, went straight to the other table, helped herself to the coveted article, and returning as quietly as she came, took her seat, and resumed her meal, amidst looks of consternation from the other wives, and of indignant amazement from her husband. Surprise made him absolutely speechless for the moment; but I fancy she was properly reproved in due time, for she never attempted a repetition of the act.


While the females look for food, Makumba babysits.



Above him, his youngest mate finds some fruit.


And the older one wants a piece of the action.



But the younger one insists it’s strictly finders, keepers.


The situation starts to turn ugly.


That’s Makumba’s cue to step in and break it up.






Playing referee to multiple mates can’t be easy.
But the chief rules with a gentle hand,
and he knows how to treat a lady …


… especially when he realizes she’s fertile.


If he were oblivious, the female could also make the first move.


Either way, nature takes its course.


[Low grunting]







It’s good to be king.


[Makumba lies down]

-- Wild Congo: King Kong's Lair -– Illustrated Screenplay (Vignette), by National Geographic

When strangers are invited to dine, the tables are more uniform in their appointments. The usual contrast between the one at which the Prophet and his favorite sit, and that around which the other wives and their families are gathered, is not nearly so marked. There is an air of abundance, and even of luxury, on these occasions, which gives the Prophet the reputation, among his guests, of being, what is called in New England parlance, "a good provider."

If only some of these deluded visitors could accidentally happen into the same room at a similar meal, they would see the true state of affairs; but Brigham's family are never visited accidentally. Indeed, it is but a short time since visitors have been allowed in the Lion House at all, for the Prophet has always maintained the strictest privacy regarding his family.

After dinner they see no more of him until "family prayers." At seven o'clock the bell is rung, and the wives and children gather in the large Lion House parlor. Not only are the wives who live in the house expected to be present, but those who have homes outside are also supposed to attend evening worship. Not all of them avail themselves of this privilege, and the outside attendance is somewhat irregular. I used to go whenever I felt inclined, which was very seldom; and the longer I was a member of the family, the more infrequent became my attendance.

Family Prayers at 'The Lion House.'

Brigham sits in the centre of the room, at a large table, on which is an ornamental "astral" lamp. The wives and their respective families are ranged around the room, in the order in which they appear at the table. When all are seated, Brigham reads a few passages of Scripture, all kneel down, and he makes a long prayer.

He was formerly said to have a special "gift" for prayer, and he has not lost it; but somehow his prayers never inspired me with veneration. He prays with great unction, and, I suppose, unconsciously to himself, some of his patronizing manner slips into his appeals to the throne of Divine Grace, until his petitions always seemed to me to be very much like advice to the Deity rather than entreaties for the Divine blessing. If he chances to be in a good humor, he chats a little while before leaving the room; but if not, he goes away directly prayers are over, and that is the last that is seen of him by the household until the next day at dinner.

Some of his children are almost strangers to him. They know nothing of fatherly affection, and while they feel that they have, socially, a sort of prestige, by being so closely related to him, they feel, personally, only a dread and fear of him. He never invites their confidences, nor shows himself interested in their affairs; all this would be quite incompatible with his ideas of prophetic dignity.

The Lion House, where most of the wives live, is a long, three-storied house, at the very left of what is known as the Prophet's Block. It receives its name from the stone figure of a lion crouching over the front portico. There is a stone basement; then the main building, of wood, with peaked gable, narrow pointed Gothic windows, and steep roof. In the basement are the dining-room, kitchen, laundry, and cellar. The parlor is on the principal floor, and the rest of the house is taken up by the apartments of the wives, each wife having a greater or less number of rooms according to the size of her special family.

Next to the Lion House is a low building, which is used as the "Tithing-Office." Here all the clerks have their desks, and receive visits from the Saints who come on church or personal business. Adjoining that is Brigham's private office, where he receives his own visitors. At the extreme right is the Bee-Hive House, a large building, which has always been used as Governor Young's official residence.

Lucy Decker has always had the care of it, and has lived there with her children. No wife was ever permitted to share her husband's apartments there, until the reign of Amelia was opened. She has lived there since her marriage, and has been virtually the recognized "head of the harem." It is extremely probable that when her new house is fully finished, the Bee-Hive House will be the official residence only in name, and the household there will see less of him than ever.

Polygamist, as he professes to be, he is, under the influence of Amelia, rapidly becoming a monogamist, in all except the name.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:46 am


One Year after Marriage. Life at the Farm. House-keeping Extraordinary. Bread and Milk Dinners. Brigham Tries to Catch us Napping. Hours of Labor. Dejection. My New House. Parlor Stairs. "Wells Wanted." My Mother receives Notice to Quit. My Elder Brother Pays her Board. Failing Faith. Taking Boarders. The Prophet's Contemptible Meanness. Brigham's Neglect. Rev. Mr. Stratton. I open my Heart. The New Religion. Woman's Sphere. First Glimpses of the Outer World. Forming Resolutions.

Toiling for Brigham.

AFTER we had been married a year, Brigham decided that I should go to "The Farm" to live. He has several farms among his landed possessions, but this one, which supplies the Salt Lake City family with milk, butter, cheese, and vegetables, is always spoken of as "The Farm." It is about four miles from the city, within pleasant driving distance, but is by no means a desirable place of residence.

Every one of the wives who had been compelled to live there had become confirmed invalids before they left the place, broken down by overwork; and the prospect was not a pleasant one to me, never strong, and unused to hard, continuous labor, such as I knew I should be obliged to perform as mistress of the farm-house.
But, as it was my husband's will, I went, without a word of protest. I had one bit of comfort -- my mother was to accompany me.

Outwardly, my new home had a lovely appearance, and Brigham never tired of descanting on its beauties to any one who would listen to him. These expressions of admiration would have been reasonable enough, had not the eulogistic owner insisted on its comfort and convenience, as well as on its beauty; but he was just as earnest in recommending it for those virtues which it did not possess, as he was in lauding it for its pleasant exterior. And, indeed, with its somewhat irregular architecture, its wide verandas, vine-draped and shaded, its broad, low windows, and beautiful surroundings, it is one of the pleasantest looking places that one would care to see.

It is built after one of the Prophet's own plans, and he says that it cost twenty-five thousand dollars. Possibly it did; but I am certain that, with the same amount of money, I could build a house that should vastly exceed that in external beauty and interior appointments.

The walls are very thin, and the sun and heat penetrated in summer, and the cold in the winter, making it at once the warmest and the coldest house I ever saw. That might have been a recommendation, had the temperature been regulated to suit the seasons; but, unfortunately for our comfort, it was hot when we wished it cool, and vice versa. My mother hazarded an opinion to this effect in Brigham's hearing, and he was greatly scandalized by it. He informed her that she had been so long away from civilization that she was not a proper judge of what a house ought to be! They both left "civilization" at the same time.

Housekeepers will understand something of its inconvenience, when I tell them that the stairs leading to the second story went directly from the parlor; that all the sleeping rooms were up stairs, and that, in order to reach them, we had to pass through a dining-room thirty feet, and a parlor forty feet in length; that hired men, family, and visitors were all compelled to use the same staircase. If any member of the family was ill, everything needed for the invalid had to be carried from the kitchen to the sick room, rendering the care of the invalid tiresome in the extreme.

The duties of housekeeper at "the Farm" were neither slight nor easily performed. There were butter and cheese to make from forty cows, all the other dairy work to attend to, besides cooking for twenty-five or thirty men, including the farm laborers and the workmen from the cocoonery. I know at least six women who have been completely broken down under the work at the farm-house, and neither my mother nor myself have ever recovered from the illness contracted there from overwork. My mother made the butter and cheese, and took charge of the cooking. I assisted in the latter, took care of the house, did the washing and ironing, and was allowed the extreme pleasure of carrying the farm supplies to the other wives every week.

We had occasional visits from Brigham. He was very fond of coming unexpectedly, and at all sorts of irregular hours, hoping, evidently, that some time he might catch us napping. He was so addicted to fault-finding, and so easily displeased, that we took no pleasure in his visits, and I grew to be positively unhappy every time his approach was heralded. If his coming had brought any comfort, I should have looked eagerly forward to his visits; as it was, I dreaded them, and grew ill with nervousness and apprehension every time he came to us.

I remember one day, when he visited us, he came about noon, just as mother had placed dinner for the workmen upon the table. He walked up and down the dining-room, surveying every dish with a critical eye, until we began to fear that something must be terribly amiss. He professed to be such a connoisseur in all matters relating to the cuisine, and was so frank, to say the least, in the expression of his opinions, and so careless of the terms which he employed, that we dreaded the remarks which were almost certain to follow this critical scrutiny.

After the men were seated at the table, Brigham called my mother into the adjoining room. "You cook too good food for those men," he said; "it is too rich for their stomachs."

"I wish to give them something which they can eat, and I try to do so," replied she. "They work hard, and I surely can do no less than give them palatable food; yet if you do not approve of my manner of providing for them, I will make any change you may suggest, if I can satisfy the men with the fare."

"It don't make any difference whether they are satisfied or not," was the answer. "I say it is healthier for them to have bread and milk, and you must give it to them."

"Shall I give them this, and nothing else, three times a day?" inquired she.

"Well, once in a while you may set on a little butter, too," was the generous reply.

"But are they to have no meat?"

"Perhaps I will allow them a little occasionally, but they are much better off without it."

This is a specimen of the interference to which we were constantly subjected.

At another time, he told my mother that six o'clock was too early an hour to give the men their supper in summer. It was a waste of time, he said; they ought to work in the fields two or three hours longer, at the least. My mother reminded him that after supper there were the forty cows and other stock to be cared for. He said that could as well be done after dark as before; there was no danger of the men hurting themselves with work; nobody ever did, that was in his employ. They all were leagued together, men and women alike, to swindle him, and his wives were as bad as the rest.

My mother told the overseer what Brigham had said, and he replied that, even for the Prophet, he should not ask the men to do another hour's work a day; they were overworked already, and they should leave off work at six o'clock each day, as they always had done. That ended the matter, and the tea hour was unchanged.

I lived here for three years and a half, -- long, uneventful years, -- and how I hated my life! It was dull, joyless, oppressed, and I looked longingly back to the dear old days at Cottonwood, the restful days that never could come again.
Even the love I bore my children was changed. It was no less tender, no less deep, but it was less hopeful and more apathetic. I clung to them in a kind of despair, and I dreaded the days, which must inevitably come, when my clinging arms could no longer infold them, when my love alone would cease to satisfy.

I could not tell my feelings to my mother, for, although she was as sensitive to Brigham's captious fault-finding as I was, habit was very strong upon her, and she could never separate him from her religion.

At the end of the three years and a half, he told me one day that he was building a house for me in town, which he intended to have me remove to as soon as possible. It was out of no feeling of regard for me, or care for my comfort, which influenced him; he simply wished to put some one else in the farm-house, and it was necessary that I should move, to make room for the new comer. I knew all this perfectly well, yet I was so happy at the thought of getting out of all the drudgery of the past years, that I was perfectly indifferent to the motives which induced him to make the change for me.

When he told me of the house, I said I had one request to make of him, which I hoped he would grant.

"What is it?" inquired he.

"Are there to be chambers in my new house?"

"Yes, certainly."

"Then will you please not to build the stairs from the parlor. Let them go out of any other room in the house, but do not disfigure that one. Besides being ugly," I continued," it is inconvenient, and excessively annoying to be obliged to pass through the best room at all times, and on every occasion."

"You can have stairs out of every room in the house, if you want them," was the reply.

I was quite satisfied, for I thought that equivalent to a promise that my parlor should be left as I wished it. He told me that he was spending five thousand dollars on my new house, and, from his description, I fancied it must be a very charming place.

Visitors to Salt Lake City are always taken to see "Ann Eliza's house," and much is made of the fact that it was built expressly for my use; but the following equally important facts are carefully concealed: --

Taking a view of it from the street, it was an exceedingly pretty cottage, with an air of cosiness about it, which frequently called out remarks from passers by, who thought "Sister Ann Eliza very fortunate in her home." Inside it was very inconvenient, and badly arranged, being built after the stereotyped prophetic plan. The rooms were very small, the kitchen being scarcely large enough for a doll's house, measuring ten feet one way, by six feet the other. And yet in this room all the washing, ironing, and cooking for the family were to be done. Then, to my bitter disappointment, the only stairs in the house ascended from the parlor! That, too, in the face of my expressed wish.

There were no facilities for obtaining water, and we were compelled to depend upon our neighbors' wells. Naturally enough, this annoyed them, and they used frequently to say that Brigham Young was abundantly able to provide a well, and they did not care to furnish water for his family, or any portion of it. Speaking to him concerning these matters was worse than useless, for I never could influence him in the slightest, while every suggestion which I ventured to make irritated him extremely; so I held my peace, after one or two attempts to change things a little, so that the house should be more convenient.

I had scarcely got settled in my new home, when he told me that my mother must leave me; he could not afford to support her any longer. This, too, when she had worked herself ill in his service, and had asked no reward for her labors except the privilege of staying with me, her only daughter; the child from whom she had never been separated for any great length of time.

I cried bitterly after my husband had left me, but I would not tell my mother what he had said. I knew she would be sorely grieved, and that she would go away at once. Her independent spirit would not permit her to remain a pensioner on this selfish man's unwilling bounty.

I could not live without her. I leaned on her in piteous dependence, and looked to her for all the comfort I had outside of my children. In addition to the dread and dislike which had grown up in my heart toward my husband, I was beginning to lose faith in the religion which he represented. His petty meannesses, his deceit, his unscrupulousness, his open disregard for the truth, all were so utterly at variance with the right, that I could no longer look upon him as a spiritual guide and director.

I looked about me, and on every side I saw so much of misery, that I felt it must be a false faith indeed, which brought such unhappiness to its followers. Yet I knew no other religion, and I groped about in a state of spiritual bewilderment, tortured by many conflicting doubts.

I did not dream, then, of trying to get out of it; my only thought was how to live with the least misery, and my best comfort was to keep my mother.

Finding that I did not tell her, after repeated orders from him to do so, he threatened to send her away himself. In great distress of mind, I went to my elder brother, who offered to pay me five dollars a week for my mother's board, and on those terms Brigham expressed his willingness that she should remain with me.

I now began to find it difficult to make him provide even the commonest necessaries of life for me, and I plainly saw that I must take things into my own hands, and earn my own support, and that of my children. I asked permission of my husband to take boarders, and he granted my request with amazing readiness; so I went to work in good earnest, and soon succeeded in filling my house. As it chanced, all my boarders were Gentiles. Brigham knew this perfectly well, yet he did not seem in the least concerned about it. Indeed, of so little importance was I, or my actions, that he never troubled himself to come near me after he had given his consent that I should support myself in the way I considered the easiest. The last time that he ever visited me was months before I left my home.

Previous to the time of receiving these new inmates into my family, I had one acquaintance outside the Mormon Church. This was Mr. Howard Sawyer, a Gentile gentleman, to whom I was introduced while visiting at Mrs. Rachel Grant's. Some time after I had commenced my work of self-support, I met him again at the house of Mr. Nathaniel V. Felt, a Mormon. The Rev. Mr. Stratton, pastor of the Methodist church in Salt Lake, was with him, and he introduced us at once. He had previously told Mr. Stratton that I spoke very freely on the subject of Mormonism, and that he need not hesitate to question me, as he would find me very frank and honest in the expression of my opinions.

Mr. Stratton was the first representative of a religion outside the Mormon belief whom I had ever met, and I listened anxiously to every word he said, hoping to find some ray of light and cheer. As he talked, I felt very strongly drawn toward the world which he and Mr. Sawyer represented, and I longed to know more concerning it. I was much impressed by this interview; and at its close, Mr. Stratton expressed a wish to see me again, and to have his wife meet me. I was struck by his very manner of speaking of her. I had never heard a woman referred to in so deferential a tone before, and I wondered at it.

As the days went by, I grew more miserable, and longed inexpressibly for the comfort, which neither my people nor their religion -- for it had ceased to be mine -- could give me. I remembered Mr. Stratton's kindly words, and I ventured to send him a message by Mr. Graham, one of my boarders, asking if I might see him and his wife, and talk with them.

Relating my Story to Mr. and Mrs. Stratton.

An urgent invitation to visit them came by way of speedy reply; and in response, I spent an entire afternoon at their house. They received me so cordially that my heart went out in love toward them at once. I talked to them unreservedly, and opened my soul to them. I told them of my childhood, my religious training, my unhappy domestic experience, and all the occurrences of my marriage to Brigham Young. They listened with earnest sympathy, and when I finished my story were overflowing with words of pity and consolation. I shall never forget them in my life. They were the sweetest words which had ever been spoken to me, for they helped me to see the way out of bondage. It was the first glimpse I had ever had of domestic life outside of polygamy, and the deference which the husband showed to the wife, the confidence she displayed in him, and her perfect ease in his presence, were very strange to me. The equality on which they seemed to stand puzzled me. I could not understand this religion which regarded woman as an independent soul, with a free will, and capability of judgment. The inferiority of women is so strongly insisted upon by the Mormon doctrine that I supposed it must be the same everywhere, and the first view which I got of this sweet household was a revelation to me.

I carried home a braver and stronger heart than had beat in my bosom for many a long day. I went about my daily duties as quietly as though there were not a resolution forming in my mind which was speedily to overturn my whole life, and bring me into a new and strange existence.

Meanwhile my destiny was working itself out in a way I knew not, turning my feet into unexplored paths; and I did not yet see where I was straying, nor what the near future was holding in store for me.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:18 am


The Workings of Destiny. A Noble Lawyer. A Small Stove and a Large Family. Last Interview with Brigham. A Startling Proposal. Sickness and Gentile Care. Brigham's Police. A Moral Thunderbolt. My Third Baptism. A Religious Farce. I Decide to Escape. A Memorable Day. Removing in Forty Minutes. The Walker House. Among the Gentiles. A Perilous Situation. New Hopes. Interviewed by Reporters. Unwelcome Notoriety. A Touching Letter. A Visit from my Father. The Paper War. Overshooting the Mark. Sueing for a Divorce. A Tempting Offer, $15,000 and my Freedom. The Prophet Astonished.

Alone at the Hotel.

AFTER a person has made up his or her mind to take any step in a new direction, it seems as though every event of the life points the same way. It is almost as if decision had been forced upon him, and the course of action was inevitable.

It was but a very few days after my first memorable visit to Mr. and Mrs. Stratton, when I received in my family a gentleman and his wife by the name of Hagan. Mr. Hagan was a lawyer of considerable repute in Salt Lake City, and I found both himself and his wife very pleasant inmates of my home.

My family had increased so, that it was quite impossible to do the necessary amount of cooking on the very small stove which was in my "toy" kitchen. I made up my mind to ask Brigham for another, since, as I was working hard to support myself, he ought to be willing to assist me to this extent.

I called one day at his office, the last call I ever made him, by the way, and preferred my request. He looked at me for a moment in evident surprise.

"I believe you are keeping boarders."

"Yes, I am," was my reply; "and that is why I want the stove. I cannot do the necessary cooking on the one I have."

"If you want a cooking-stove, you'll get it yourself. I've put you into a good house, and you must see to the rest. I cannot afford to have so many people calling on me for every little thing they happen to think they want."

I was much distressed and disturbed after this interview. I had known that I must take care of myself for some time, and I had gone about it bravely and willingly, and I felt that this rebuff was in every sense undeserved. Never, during my whole married life, had I made one unnecessary request; and, however much I might have "cost him," as he used to say in speaking of the very small amount he spent for me, I felt that I had more than repaid in hard, unceasing labor. If he does not wish to support us, why does he place us in the position to expect support from him, was my bitter thought. I did not seek the position of wife to him; it was forced upon me; and I was now compelled to endure the indignities which he chose to heap upon me.

Mrs. Hagan's kindly eyes discovered my distress, and she instantly begged my confidence. I gave it unreservedly and fully. She asked leave to tell her husband, and he, indignant at the treatment I was receiving, consulted with other lawyers, and all agreed in advising me to bring a suit against Brigham for divorce and alimony.

Mr. Hagan assured me that if I did not gain the suit I should have found a way of getting out of my life in Mormonism; that it would be a test case, showing how the polygamous wives of Mormons stood in the law, and that I would find ready sympathy from the outside world.

This proposal, although it startled me, came at a time when I was more ready to entertain it than I should have been at any other period. My mother had discovered Brigham's feelings toward her, and had left my house to return to my father's farm at Cotton wood, and I was grieving over her absence; still, had she been with me, I should have said nothing to her on this subject; for, although she was losing confidence in Brigham Young, she still clung to her religion, while I had not one spark of faith in it remaining.

In the mean time Mr. Hagan went to California for a short trip, begging me to decide upon the matter before his return. The more I thought upon the subject the more perplexed I grew, until I fairly broke down under the weight of nervous anxiety, and became very ill. My boarders took all the care of me through my sickness. I was entirely dependent on them for every care. Not one member of Brigham's family came near me, and I was as utterly neglected by them as though they had not known of my existence.

Those days of struggle were dark indeed, and oftentimes I did not know which way to turn. Perils and miseries faced me on every side. I was in doubt as to which was the true religion, or whether any were true. The question frequently arose, What would become of me if I apostatized? My church taught me that I should be given over to eternal damnation. And although I had ceased to regard my church and its teachings, yet I had a slight feeling of superstition left, and in my weak state I could but portray to myself the horrors of my situation if what it taught were really true.

At this juncture, I received a visit from the Ward Teachers, whose duty it is to visit each family in the city, and examine the different members as to their spiritual welfare. They are an inferior order of ecclesiastics, who serve the various purposes of religious instructors for the weak and ignorant, revenue officers to gather tithing, and general police to spy out and report irregularities or weakness of faith among the brethren.

The spokesman began by asking, "Sister Young, do you enjoy the spirit of our religion?"

"No, sir, I do not" was my reply.

If a thunderbolt had fallen among them they could not have been more surprised. They argued with me, counselled me, prayed with me, and finally I concluded to make one more attempt to cling to Mormonism. They begged me to be rebaptized, and I consented, although I had little faith in the ordinance.

Accompanied by a friend, I went to the Endowment House, where they have a font in which this rite is performed. We waited two hours for those in charge to get the names and ages of a lot of Danes, who were to be baptized for their dead relatives. My patience and very doubtful faith were about exhausted. At last they were ready, and I, as a wife of the President, was honored by being first taken. The men officiating were talking and laughing as if engaged in an every-day affair, while I was trying to feel solemn and to exercise faith, -- a signal failure, I assure you. I was led into the water by a great strapping fellow, who mumbled a few words over me and plunged me in. I was taken from the water gasping for breath, and placed in a chair. Some more words were spoken over me, and the farce ended. Everything was done in such a business-like manner, with an utter absence of anything of a devotional nature, that I was thoroughly disgusted, and made no further effort to believe in Mormonism or its ordinances.

Mr. Hagan, on his return, found me fully determined on following his advice. I was ready to renounce my religion and leave my home. I did not know all that was included in my resolution, else I might have faltered in my new determination. My plans were quickly laid, and with the assistance of the friends whom I had found in this hour of trouble, were carried into instant execution, before they could be discovered by Mormon spies.

Carrying my Furniture to the Auction Room.

On the 17th of July, 1873, I sent all my furniture to an auction-room, leaving my house stripped and desolate. It was done so quickly that no one had time even to suspect my intention. Arrangements having been previously made, three furniture vans came at the same time, and in forty minutes my entire household goods were in charge of the auctioneer. They were sold the next day, and I realized three hundred and eighty dollars from the sale. The furniture was worth almost nothing, being old and worn, and of common quality at its best; but my friends bought it at large prices, "to help the young apostate," as the Tribune said.

I had sent the elder of my boys to his grandmother, the younger remained with me, and together we went to Mr. Stratton's house, where we passed the afternoon. In the evening Mr. and Mrs. Stratton took us to the Walker House, the Gentile hotel, which I have ever since claimed as my Salt Lake City home.

Imagine, if you can, my feelings, on being alone with my little child, in a strange place, under such peculiar circumstances. I had abandoned my religion, left father, mother, home, and friends, -- deliberately turned away from them all, knowing that the step I was taking could never be retraced. My heart cried out for my mother, who I knew would be more sorely stricken with my action than any one else in the world. I would have spared her if I could, but I was powerless to act in any other manner.

It was the first time in my life that I had been in a hotel; and, as I was among people who I had been taught were my bitterest enemies, I was overwhelmed by a sense of desolate helplessness. I did not know what my fate would be. Every footstep in the halls startled me; for I expected that each would bring some one to summon me to a dreadful death. I fully believed that was to be my last night on earth, so I prepared for death; but the agony of suspense was awful. I had been taught that no deed was too bad, no outrage too dastardly, for the Gentiles to commit upon the Mormons; and here I had allowed myself to be placed so fully in their power that they might do with me as they pleased, and my fate would never be known.

Does any one wonder that I did not seek refuge with some Mormon friend, of whose sympathy I was sure? No Mormon would have dared to give me shelter. I was in open rebellion against their leader, and had I remained one day among them, my doom would have been irrevocably fixed.

Neither did I dare to remain with my friends, the Strattons; for in so doing I should expose them to Mormon fury, and endanger their lives and their home. So I sought the only place of refuge open to me with untold fear and dread.

I laid awake all night wishing for the day to dawn, yet fearing that I should never see it; and when the first ray of light came through my windows I was relieved and hopeful.


With morning came a new excitement. The news of my flight from home had gone abroad, and the morning papers were full of it, -- the Mormon journals abusing, the Gentile journals praising and congratulating me. This part of the experience had never suggested itself to me. It had never occurred to me that it would be made a public matter, and I shrank from the very thought. I felt myself a marked object. Reporters called on me, seeking interviews for the California, Chicago, and New York papers, and questioned me until I was fairly bewildered. I had gone to bed a poor, defenceless, outraged woman, trying to find my way out of a false life into something truer and better, and I arose to find that my name had gone the length and breadth of the country, and that I was everywhere known as Brigham Young's rebellious wife.

People who were curious to see one of the wives of the Prophet, swarmed into the hotel. I could not leave my room, nor did I dare to do so, nor to allow my children out of my sight for nearly two months. The Mormon papers commenced to assail me in every way, while the Gentile papers came unanimously to my defence. In the midst of it came this most heart-rending letter from my mother: --

"MY DEAR CHILD: You can never know how dear you are to your grief-stricken mother. Your death would have been far preferable to the course you are taking. How gladly would I have laid you in your grave, had I known what was in your heart. I now pray that you may be spared for repentance and atonement; for, as sure as you are living, a day of repentance will come; a day of reckoning and of sorrow, such as you have never imagined. Now, let me entreat of you to pause, and retrace your steps before it is too late. The Lord, my Father, grant that you may listen to your mother's last appeal, and flee from your present dictators, as you would from the fiends of darkness.

"You will never know the effort I am making to write this. When I first received the blow, it struck me down like a flash of lightning, and the first I remember, I was praying for your death before you sinned past redemption. My much-loved child, come to your mother, and try to smooth her pathway to the grave. I should pray to be laid there at once, if I did not hope to save you yet. The path you are pursuing leads to the lowest depths of woe, and I pray, every moment of my life, that you may speedily be arrested. Oh, how could you turn against us? How could you break our hearts? Your father's house, and your brother Gilbert's' house, are both filled with weeping friends, who are deploring your fate; and I implore you, in the name of all that is sacred, to come back to us. You seem to be encircled in a cloud of almost impenetrable darkness, but the Lord our God is able to remove the veil, and enlighten you in his own way. I can only pray for you.

"My heart is broken, my dear and much-loved child. I loathe the sight of food, and sleep has forsaken my eyelids. The idol is rudely broken that I have worshiped so long. My fault has been in loving you too well, and having too great anxiety for your welfare.

"I pray you to forgive me for all the wrongs you imagine I have done you in bringing you up as I have done. I have ever been laboring, teaching, and instructing with the best of motives, with an eye to your interests. I shed the bitterest tears I ever did in my life. God grant you may never have cause to shed such tears. If I can ever be the least comfort to you, do not fear to let me know. I close by repeating, come to the arms of your heartbroken but still anxious


If she agonized over the writing of that letter, so I did over the reading. I longed to fly to her; but even to make her happy I could not violate my conscience, and go back into the old bondage of darkness again.

My father came at once to see me; and although he at first disapproved of my course, yet when the Mormon press commenced to assail me, he came over to my side at once.

Brigham and his friends commenced their usual method of warfare against a woman who opposes them, by instigating slanders of all sorts for the Gentile papers outside of Utah to publish. They found a ready assistant for their noble and generous attempt in the person of a fellow of low repute, employed as item-gatherer for the Salt Lake Herald, who had recently been converted to Mormonism through the agency of Brigham Young's purse, and was now ready to do any foul work for his master.

His first act was to send a dictated falsehood to the San Francisco Chronicle. He was a telegraph operator, and, through Brigham Young, who, it is alleged, virtually controls the Associated Press and the Western Telegraph Office in Utah, he had access to wires, and sent all the scandalous messages which his employer dictated, until it became so plainly apparent that he was serving Mormon interests, that the papers refused to publish any more of his misstatements.

As a reward for his labor, he was promised a daughter of Mayor Wells as his wife. The young lady has not yet acquiesced in the arrangement, and he still hangs about Salt Lake, despised alike by Mormons and Gentiles.

The Gentile element in Salt Lake made itself strongly felt in my favor, and the Gentile press combated bravely the scurrility of the Mormon organs. Ladies and gentlemen called on me with offers of sympathy. All the persons connected with the hotel were kindness itself. Mr. and Mrs. Stratton stood by me nobly, and I have never ceased to thank God for raising up such friends in my time of need. I shall always hold them most specially dear, although our paths in life have so diverged that we rarely meet. Through General Maxwell, who was so kind as to come forward with offers of assistance, I brought suit for divorce against Brigham Young.

Surprised, as every one was, by this action, I think no one was more astonished than the Prophet himself. He would have looked for rebellion from almost any other wife sooner than from me, I had been so quiet and acquiescent during all my married life with him. He was annoyed by the publicity of the affair; for, although he likes notoriety, and courts it, he did not care to appear as defendant in a suit for divorce, on the grounds of neglect and non-support. It would not sound well in the Gentile world.

He tried to effect a compromise with me, and through his son-in-law, Hiram B. Clawson, offered me fifteen thousand dollars and my freedom if I would carry the suit no further. I will confess that the offer tempted me. I could take my children and go away quietly with them, and avoid the notoriety which I so hated. If it had been my own individual case alone, I should have eagerly accepted the offer, and made the compromise. But when I thought how much was involved, how many other lives would be affected by the decision which would be given in my case, I put all thought of settlement aside. I would not now be bought by the man who refused to care for me when it was his duty to do so; and I said to my lawyers, and General Maxwell, "Go on." There was no further delay, and the legal fight commenced at once. As so much has been said concerning this trial, and as it seems so generally misunderstood, I will devote a chapter to the legal points, and an epitome of the court proceedings, as far as they have reached, so that the general public may more fully understand what I sought, and what grounds I had to justify my action.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:26 am


I bring an Action against the Prophet. My "Complaint" against Him. What the "Complaint" Stated. My Birth and Early Life. My Marriage with the Prophet. Exile to Brigham's Farm. Cause of Action for Divorce. The Question of Alimony. My Own Affidavit. Corroborative Testimony. Opinion of Judge McKean. Brigham Young's Reply and Affidavit. The Prophet states the Value of his Property. Wonderful Difference of Opinion. Proceedings in Court. Judge McKean Sums Up. Order for Allowance and Alimony. Judge McKean Removed. His Order Quashed by the New Judge.--The latest Proceedings.

Brigham Fined and Imprisoned for Contempt Of Court.

ON the 28th of July, 1873, I commenced an action for divorce against Brigham Young in the District Court of the Third Judicial District of Utah, and the "Complaint" was served upon him by the United States marshal.

This "Complaint" set forth, with the usual prolixity of all legal instruments, the grievances which I had appealed to the law to remedy; but, as it would be utterly impossible, in the circumscribed limits of these pages, to give that document entire, I shall present the reader with as succinct a resume of its contents as I possibly can.

It was addressed "To the Hon. James B. McKean, Judge of the Third Judicial District Court, in and for the Territory of Utah, and County of Salt Lake, in Chancery sitting," and the following are the several items which it contained: --

It began by stating who and what I was; that I was born at Nauvoo, Illinois, but had, since the year 1848, been resident in Utah; that I was the wife of Brigham Young; and that I was married to him on the 6th of April, 1868, when I was in my twenty-fifth year, and was the mother of two children by a former marriage, one four and the other three years of age; that neither I nor my children had anything to depend upon, -- a fact of which Brigham was well aware, -- and also that my children were boys, still living.

That Brigham had lived with me for about a year after our marriage, treating me with some degree of kindness, and providing, though inadequately, for my support; and that I had always fulfilled my duties as a wife toward him.

That about a year after our marriage he began to neglect and ill-treat me; that during the year 1869 he sent me, against my wishes, to a farm, four miles distant from Salt Lake City, where, for three years and a half I was compelled to labor until I was completely broken down in health; that my only companion was my mother; that, except the limited fare which the defendant allowed me, he appropriated all the proceeds of the farm; and that on the few occasions when he visited the farm he treated me with studied contempt, objecting even to my aged mother remaining with me, after her health was destroyed by overwork on his farm.

That toward the end of 1872 Brigham removed me to a house in Salt Lake City, where, however, he seldom visited me; that when I called upon him to ask a supply of the necessaries of life, he used the most opprobrious language toward me, and gave me so little that I had to work constantly to support myself and children.

That for five years past my health had been so bad that I was now altogether unfitted to labor, and was in constant need of medical advice; that Brigham knew it, but repeatedly refused to furnish me with assistance, medicine, or food, so that I was obliged to rely upon the charity of friends; that Brigham had declared he would never do anything more for me, and said that henceforth I must support myself, notwithstanding that he was the owner of several millions of dollars; that, as President of the Mormon Church, he occupied a very important position, and I believed that his monthly income could not be less than forty thousand dollars.

That I had been compelled to sell my furniture, and all my household goods, in order to obtain the necessaries of life; and that, for a year previous to that date [1873], Brigham had entirely deserted me.

Further, I stated that it was impossible for our union to continue; that I prayed for a separation, and also an allowance, as all I possessed consisted of about three hundred dollars, and my children were dependent upon me for support; I asserted that I had secured the aid of Messrs. F. M. Smith, A. Hagan, and F. Tilford as my counsel; that I had been informed that twenty thousand dollars would be a reasonable compensation for their services; and I therefore prayed the court to direct a subpoena, commanding the defendant, Brigham Young, to appear to answer to my suit; that, pending it, he might be ordered to pay me a thousand dollars a month from the date of filing this bill, a preliminary fee of six thousand dollars to my counsel, and that after the final decree he should pay them the remaining fourteen thousand, and all the expenses of the court.

Furthermore, I prayed, that after our legal separation, he might be ordered to support myself and children suitably; and that for that purpose the sum of two hundred thousand dollars might be set aside from his estate.

This bill, the substance of which I have given above, was signed by my solicitors, Smith, Hagan, and Jilford, and to it the following was appended:


County of Salt Lake,

"Ann Eliza Young, being first duly sworn, deposes and says: That she is the complainant in the above entitled action; that she has heard read the foregoing bill of complaint, and knows the contents thereof, and that the same is true of her own knowledge, except the matters and things therein stated on information and belief, and as to those she believes them to be true.


"Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 19th day of July, A. D., 1873. JOSEPH F. NOUNNAN, Clerk."

A motion for an allowance and counsel fees was noticed for hearing at the same time, and the service was by the same officer. This document was headed with all due form and ceremony. It stated, I, Ann Eliza Young, the plaintiff, being duly sworn, alleged:

That I was the wife of Brigham Young, the defendant; that while I was living with him, and performing the work mentioned in the bill already filed, he acquired enormous property, of the value of several millions of dollars, and was now the owner of at least eight millions.

That I had no means of knowing his exact income, but was sufficiently informed to allege that it was at least forty thousand dollars a month.

That the facts stated in the bill were true; that I and my children were penniless; that knowing the power and influence of Brigham, that he had the disposition to harm me, and that my life would be unsafe in any private house, I had taken refuge in the chief hotel in Salt Lake City, -- the Walker House, -- about the 15th of July, where I had since resided; that my expenses were very large, but that I had no income, and that my health was too feeble to allow me to work. I therefore prayed the court to grant me the items included in the bill already filed.

This affidavit was signed by me, and countersigned by Joseph F. Nounnan, the clerk of the court.

Attached to it was an affidavit, signed C. M. Turck, making, upon oath, a statement of the destitute condition in which I was previous to the time when I left my private residence and went to the Walker House.

Of this affidavit it is needless for me to speak in detail, further than to say that it more than fully establishes to the utmost all that the previous bill and affidavit affirmed. Other affidavits were made by gentlemen who knew me well, -- one by Mr. Malcolm Graham, and another by my medical adviser, J. M. Williamson, both of which fully confirmed my own statements.

James B. McKean, judge of the court, was absent temporarily on account of sickness at that time, and Judge Emerson, of the First District Court, presided for him. Judge McKean had held that, in equity cases, the United States marshal was the proper officer to serve process, but the defendant came into court at the time appointed for the hearing, and moved to quash the service of the process, on the ground that the "territorial marshal," and not the United States marshal, was the proper officer to serve the process in the case. Reversing the rule administered by Judge McKean, the judge temporarily presiding held the motion good, and quashed the service.

Therefore new process was issued, and placed in the hands of the territorial marshal, accompanied by an order to the defendant to appear and answer to the motion for an allowance and alimony. This was regularly served, and at the day appointed the defendant appeared by counsel, and, for cause against the motion, filed his demurrer to the bill, on the ground that the District Court had not jurisdiction of the subject of divorce in Utah Territory. Two days were occupied in the argument of this question, and it was taken under advisement for ten days longer. At the end of that time the presiding judge came into court, and held that this court had no jurisdiction in matters of divorce, and denied the motion.

The case then stood over, by an agreement between the counsel, until the following May, 1874. The Supreme Court of the Territory, at its term held in that month, in the case of Cast vs. Cast, decided that the district courts of the territory had jurisdiction in actions for divorce and alimony, thus reversing the opinion of Emerson, justice in this case. The case being afterwards in July, 1874 called on for hearing on the demurrer to the complaint in the District Court, McKean, presiding, overruled the demurrer, and gave the defendant leave to answer.

Thereupon my counsel asked and obtained leave to renew the motion for an allowance and alimony pending the suit which had been denied. It is proper also here to state, that on the 24th of June, 1874, Congress enacted a law expressly conferring authority in divorce cases on the District Court of the Territory; but this law only affirmed by legislation what the Supreme Court had already decided to be the law.

On the 24th of August, 1874, Brigham Young filed an answer, of which the following is a correct summary: --

He denied that at any time he had been married to me.

That at the time when my affidavit alleged that this marriage to me took place, I was really the wife of James L. Dee, never having been legally divorced from him, but that he [Brigham] believed at the time of alleged marriage in April, 1868, that I had been properly divorced from Dee.

He alleged his previous marriage with Mrs. Mary Ann Angell Young, at Kirtland, Ohio, on the 10th of January, 1834, and that the said legal wife was still living, of which fact I, complainant, was aware.

He admitted his marriage with me, after the custom of the Latter-Day Saints, but denied that the marriage was legal, in any sense acknowledged by the laws of the land.

He then proceeded to deny every one of the counts in my complaint, seriatim, winding up with the following statement:

"Defendant denies that he is or has been the owner of wealth amounting to several millions of dollars, or that he is or has been in the monthly receipt from his property of forty thousand dollars or more. On the contrary, defendant alleges that, according to his best knowledge, information, and belief, all his property, taken together, does not exceed in value the sum of six hundred thousand dollars, and that his gross income from all of his property, and every source, does not exceed six thousand dollars per month.

"Defendant further says, that at the time of the said alleged marriage, this defendant had, and still has, a very large family; that his said family now consists of sixty-three persons, all of whom are dependent upon this defendant for maintenance and support.

"Whereof the defendant prays judgment of the court that he be hence dismissed with his costs herein.


Defendant's Attorneys"

To the replication of defendant, which was very lengthy, denying or explaining away every point in the bill which I had filed, the following was appended:


County of Salt Lake.

"Brigham Young, being duly sworn, on his oath says: That he has heard read the foregoing answer, and knows and understands the contents thereof, and that the same is true of his own knowledge, except those matters therein stated on his information and belief, and as to those matters he believes it to be true. Affiant further says that he is the defendant in the above entitled suit.


"Subscribed and sworn to before me this 25th day of August, 1874.

"Jos. F. NOUNNAN, Clerk."

The court then gave me, or my counsel for me, leave to renew the motion for alimony as asked; and notice having been given, the motion was by agreement fixed for hearing on the 3d day of October following. My counsel also filed a motion to strike out portions of the defendant's answer, and on the hearing of the motion for alimony, insisted upon submitting it to the court. When the motion was called for hearing, I offered to submit a number of affidavits bearing on the question of alimony, which were filed and served with the original complaint. The defendant objected to the reading of them, on the ground that they had not had sufficient notice of them by the notice renewing the motion, and they were withdrawn.

The defendant then offered to read affidavits in support of his answer, but as they had not been served, and their contents not made known prior to the hearing, they were objected to and excluded. It also appeared that the affidavits were addressed to other matters of defence than those set up in the answer.

The hearing was then had upon my complaint and the defendant's answer, my counsel at the same time submitting their motion to strike out certain objectionable portions of the answer, and insisting that such portions should be disregarded by the court, and treated -- if the motion were well founded -- as out of the answer.

The questions involved were argued, and on the 23d day of February, 1875, the judge decided the motion for alimony, pending the suit, in an elaborate written opinion, of which the following is an accurate summary:

The Judge, Jas. B. McKean, laid down nine general axioms tending to demonstrate that the defendant's pleas were invalid; that a marriage solemnized in Utah, after Mormon fashion, would be legally valid, provided the parties married were competent to enter into that engagement; that the court could not grant a divorce if the marriage were proved bigamous or polygamous; that the court had power to grant alimony, and intended to do so to the extent of one twelfth of what the defendant admitted his income to be, or one eightieth according to my assertion.

He then summed up the statements of both parties to the suit. He gave the substance of my "Complaint," and then took into consideration Brigham Young's reply.

Then he considered the defendant's denial that any marriage had ever taken place between us; his statement that, at the time when I alleged that our marriage took place, I was actually the wife of Jas. L. Dee, never having been properly divorced from him; and also his admission that we had been married polygamously in April, 1868.

The judge gave quotations from various sources to prove that this marriage was legal and binding according to the laws of the Territory and of the United States, notwithstanding that the forms of the Mormon Church were used; providing, always, that we were both competent to enter into the contract.

He discussed the assertion of defendant that he was also incompetent to marry while his lawful wife, Mary Ann Angell, was still living. This, the judge explained, was the admission of felony; as, if admitted, it would prove that the defendant had entered into a bigamous marriage. Such statements he, the judge, said should be admitted as evidence, so far as they were to defendant's prejudice, but must be proved true before they could be admitted as evidence against the plaintiff. The defendant must prove that the plaintiff was the wife of another man, and that he himself was the husband of another woman, on the 6th of April, 1868.

The judge stated, that in order to prove the allegations made on both sides, it would be necessary to summon witnesses, procure documentary evidence, &c., which would involve very great expense. He should, therefore, allow alimony, and a certain amount for costs of prosecution.

He quoted legal precedents to show what amount should be considered reasonable; and then he summed up, and decreed that, after considering all circumstances, the court had concluded to order defendant to pay three thousand dollars for the prosecution of the suit, and also five hundred dollars a month for the maintenance of plaintiff and her children, from the day of the filing of the "Complaint." The order was accordingly made.

In deciding the question, it will be seen that virtually the court disregarded portions of the answer, and, to that extent, sustained the motion to strike out those portions, though it did not formally pass on that motion.

The defendant excepted to the decision, and shortly afterward filed a notice of appeal, and bond to stay proceedings under the order.

The copy of the order directing the payment of the alimony was duly served personally on Brigham Young; and demand having been made upon him for the allowance made for my attorney's fees, and payment refused, he was arrested in proceedings in contempt, and brought before the court.

His answer to the proceedings consisted of a showing that he had taken an appeal, and filed a bond for a stay, &c., and, therefore, he was not in contempt. The court held it not to be an appealable order, and adjudged that he pay a fine of twenty-five dollars, and be committed to custody for one day, which was complied with.

Thereupon he caused the amount then due under the order to be paid. My allowance he had been given twenty days to pay, and this portion of the order had not been complied with, and had not become due, except five hundred dollars, which was paid, when Judge McKean was removed by President Grant, and David P. Lowe, an ex-congressman from Kansas, was appointed chief-justice, and succeeded to the position.

Shortly after Judge Lowe entered upon his duties, proceedings were begun by counsel to bring the defendant up again in contempt, for refusing to comply with the order as first stated. On appearing, he again showed cause, by claiming his right of appeal, as in the former hearing; and objected, also, that the district courts had no jurisdiction of matters of divorce at the time of the bringing of the suit; that the order was null and void; that there was no contempt.

The court held, in deciding the matter, that it had jurisdiction; that the order was not appealable. In the course of his summing up, he said, "The complaint and answer are each upon oath, and it appears from the record as well as from the statement of counsel in argument, that the order for alimony and expenses was made upon the complaint and answer alone, without any other evidence or showing whatever. It is the general doctrine of the courts in divorce, that before temporary alimony can properly be awarded, the marriage must be admitted by the parties, or established by proofs. In the very recent case of York vs. York, 34 Iowa, 530, it is said, 'Alimony is a right that results from the marital relation, and the fact of marriage between the parties must be admitted or proved before there can be a decree for it even pendente lite.'" He then decided that the order was erroneously made, and dismissed the proceedings against the defendant.

The case now stands, therefore, on the motion (not yet formally passed upon) to strike out portions of the defendant's answer. The defendant has also filed a motion to vacate and set aside the original order granting the alimony, and the two will probably be heard together.

My counsel, for me, insist that I am entitled to the alimony upon the following grounds: --

1st. That it is alleged in the complaint that the plaintiff and defendant were married at a time and place designated. The defendant admits that a marriage ceremony did take place, and sets up new facts to show that the marriage which actually occurred was invalid. On this state of facts the plaintiff insists that, pending the question as to the legality of the marriage, she is entitled to alimony.

2d. It is denied by the plaintiff that the new matter in the answer ought to be disregarded; first, because it is badly pleaded; and, second, it is an attempt on the part of the defendant to take advantage of his own wrong, to wit, the assertion that he had a lawful wife living, which a court of equity will not permit. The defendant admits that he was married to the plaintiff; that they lived and cohabited together as husband and wife; that he supported and maintained her as such; avers that he never deserted or ill-treated her; and, in fine, clearly shows that a relation of marriage existed in fact between them.

3d. The plaintiff claims that she will succeed on the merits; first, because the defence on the new matter ought to be disregarded as badly pleaded, and inadmissible under any form of plea; second, because the marriage of the defendant to Mary Ann Angell cannot be proved, and never was a lawful marriage. There was cohabitation, but no marriage according to law. This will appear if the true state of facts is ever reached in the trial. And the first alleged marriage must be shown to have been a lawful marriage. In Case vs. Case, 17 Cal. Rep., 598, the law is well stated on this point.

As to the allegation in the answer, that the plaintiff had a lawful husband living at the time of the alleged union between plaintiff and defendant, it is sufficient to say that she was divorced from James L. Dee by the Probate Court of Utah, and that it was done under the statute, and that the Supreme Court of Utah had previously decided that such court had exclusive jurisdiction in divorce matters. While this decision was probably erroneous, it was made by the highest tribunal of the territory, and was not appealable; hence it was the law.

More than this: the act of Congress of June 23, 1874, provided that all judgments of the Probate Courts of Utah which had been executed, or which had not been appealed from, should be held good. So that, upon the facts, there is nothing in the allegation that plaintiff had a husband living at the time of the marriage between the plaintiff and defendant.

It is only right to say, that in the opinion of the ablest lawyers of the West, Judge Lowe, in holding that the new matter in an answer is only denied "at the trial" has misconceived the California case which he cites, and mistakes the law. In injunction cases the pleadings are treated as affidavits by express provision of the California statutes; but no case can be found in California or elsewhere, under the code, where a pleading is treated as true in one stage of a case, and false in another. Such a doctrine would be absurd under any system of pleading that has ever existed.

The last legal step that has been taken, so far, was taken by me in making an affidavit for the purpose of proving that the defendant perjured himself, and which will furnish the foundation for his prosecution for the crime. With this affidavit, the case is stayed for the present.
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