[The following history was written by Brigham Young and published in the Millennial Star, 25:295]
My father, John Young, was born March 7, 1763 in Hopkinton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. He was very circumspect, exemplary and religious, and was, from an early period of his life, a member of the Methodist Church.
At the age of sixteen he enlisted in the American Revolutionary war, and served under General Washington. He was in three campaigns in his own native State and in New Jersey. In the year 1785 he married Nabby Howe, daughter of Phinehas and Susannah, whose maiden name was Goddard. In January, 1801, he moved from Hopkinton to Whitingham, Windham County, Vermont, where he remained for three years, opening new farms.
He moved from Vermont to Sherburn, Chenango County, New York in 1804 where he followed farming, clearing new land, and enduring many privations and hardships with his family, incidental to new settlements. My mother bore to my father five sons and six daughters... In 1813 my father removed to Cayuga Co., New York, and continued farming and making improvements. My mother died June 11, 1815.
In 1817 my father removed to Tyrone, Steuben Co., in which year he married widow Hannah Brown, who bore to him one son, Edward, born in Wayne, Steuben Co., New York, July 30, 1823. In 1827 my father removed to Mendon, Monroe Co., where he continued farming.
In 1831 he heard the Gospel preached by Elders Eleazer Miller and Elial Strong; and in the month of April 1832, he went with his sons, Joseph and Phinehas H., to Columbia, Pennsylvania, to investigate the principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to see the Saints, and their method of administration, where he was baptized on the 5th of April, by Elder Ezra Landon.
He removed to Kirtland with his family in the fall of 1833; and in 1834 he was ordained a Patriarch by President Joseph Smith, and blessed his family. He was the first ordained to that office in the Church.
September 19th, 1838, in company with his daughter Fanny, and his grandson, Evan M. Greene, and family, he left Kirland for Missouri. On arriving at Fayette, in that state, he found himself in the midst of General Clark's command of militia, amounting to about one thousand men, who left that night for Far West. The next day he proceeded to Old Chariton, and found the General had left a guard at the ferry, so he had to return to Illinois. They were frequently met by companies said to be militia, who declared that if they knew they were Mormons they would kill them. When they returned to Columbia General Gaines was there raising a company to go to the assistance of General Clark to exterminate the Mormons. Evan M. Greene made application to General Gaines for a pass to go out of the State with the company, representing that his grandfather was a revolutionary soldier. The General replied, that if he would change his wagon, which was a very good eastern wagon, for a Virginia wagon, or would go on horseback, they could go without molestation, otherwise he could give him no pass that would benefit them. Thus they were compelled to change their wagon, and could get nothing but an old Virginia dearborn, and getting into this they travelled without even being hailed by the companies they met, which were not a few. He went to Morgan County, Illinois; from thence he went to Quincey in 1839, on a visit to his children, where he died on the 12th day of October.
[The following history was written by Susa Young Gates and published in The Juvenile Instructor, January 1924]
Abigail Howe was born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, on the 3rd of May, 1766...She was but nineteen years of age when she married a Revolutionary soldier named John Young.
There were five Howe sisters, and all were said by pioneers who knew them to be pretty girls, vivacious, musical and very popular in their pioneer communities. Theodosia Kimball Young, wife of Brigham Young's oldest brother, John, and Maria Haven Burton, wife of Bishop Robert T. Burton, who lived in the same village and knew them well, bore testimony to the gentle vivacious, and attractive characters of those Howe girls. They were all singers and many social affairs were brightened by the duets and simple folk songs essayed by the Howe sisters. All were very devout and deeply concerned with Puritan religious life.
Abigail herself, though not as tall as some of her sisters, was a little above medium height. She had blue eyes, with yellowish brown hair, folded in natural waves and ringlets across her shapely brow. She was exceedingly methodical and orderly in her temperament. Neatness, as the old term was used, belonged to her as of inherited right. Not robust in her constitution, she burned up her fires of youth in impetuous toil while constantly on the move with her pioneering husband. She was the mother of eleven children. She died 11th of January, 1815.
She was brought up in Shrewsbury, which is not far from Hopkinton. Those little New England towns fairly joined each other through their outstretched farms. Sleighing parties, quilting bees, picnics and religious revivals drew the young people together from contiguous settlements. Abigail, or Nabby, as she was nicknamed, was skilled in housewifely arts, knitting, hemstitching, a little embroidering, and a great deal of spinning and weaving, baking, scrubbing and household adjustment occupying her busy hours. She had unquestionably good schooling, such as was possible for prosperous farmers in those colonial days, and she helped her children over their primary pitfalls. She was intensely humorous in her tendencies and that sense of humor formed a balance which carried her over the frequent pilgrimages of her husband to settle up new countries, leaving her with the difficult burdens of childbearing under such circumstances, child-rearing and homemaking.
The family lived sixteen years in Hopkinton, Mass. Here the most of the children were born. Moving in January, 1801, in the violently cold season of New England weather, she accompanied her husband, John Young, into the remote hills of Vermont, settling in the little village of Whitingham, Windham County, living there long enough for Brigham Young to be born, June 1st, 1801, in a log cabin at the edge of the village. Then the family removed to Sherburn, Chenango County, New York, but did not remain there very long. In 1807 they removed to Smyrna, Chenango County, New York, where her younger son, Lorenzo was born. Moving again to Genoa County, New York, the mother died there the 11th of June, 1815. The mother's health was poor for a long time, and it was a family tradition that Fanny, the elder sister, "raised" Brigham. It is a remarkable thing that all but one of Abigail Howe's children, six daughters and five sons grew up, married and all joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with their families, all remaining faithful to the end...
Abigail Howe Young was a born reformer, so we are told. She was an invalid the last few years of her life, troubled with the frequent New England complaint of consumption, but she kept an active finger on the pulse of the neighborhood. Her sympathies were so broad, her vision was so clear, her grasp of human values so perfect that friends would come for her when their children married and take her in wagon or sleigh to spend a few days in counsel and assistance to young couples who were starting out in life. She was greatly beloved by her associates. Her children are her noblest monument.
See history of Lorenzo Dow Young and Persis Goodall
An outstanding collection of resources for the John Young family is available at http://young.parkinsonfamily.org/john/
See also www.ourlittlecircle.com/john_young.html
An article about Abigail, The Woman Brigham Young Called Mother by Arrington, Madsen, and Jones is available on the Deseret Book website http://deseretbook.com/mormon-life/news/printable?story_id=920
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