Mormon History

Memories of Brigham Young - 1857

Daily Quincy Whig July 22, 1857

(From the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser.)

The Mormon Leaders.

Both Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball are New Yorkers. Brigham lived near the line dividing Ontario and Monroe counties, in the town of Victor, at the time he became a Mormon. He had always manifested a proclivity to religious fanaticism, or rather he was a lazy rapscallion, good for nothing except to howl at a camp meeting. He lived in a log shanty, with a dilapidated, patient, suffering wife, surrounded by a host of tow headed children. Occasionally he made up a lot of axe-helves and traded them off for sugar and tea; in other fits of industry he would do a day's work in the hay-field for a neighbor, hoe the potatoes in his own little patch, or pound clothes for his wife on a washing day. But his special mission was to go camp-meetings and revivals, where he managed to get his daily bread out of the more wealthy brethren, in consideration of the unction with which he shouted "ga-lo-rah!" On such occasions Brigham took no thought of the morrow, but cheerfully putting on his old wool hat, would leave his family without flour in the barrel or wood at the door, and telling his wife that the "Lord would provide," he would put off for a week's absence. Poor Mrs. Brigham managed by borrowing from her neighbors with the small hope of paying, chopped the wood herself, with an old sun-bonnet -- Navarino style -- went to the spring for water, thoroughly convinced that her lot was not of the easiest, and that her husband was, to use a western expression, an "ornary cuss;" in which sentiment all who knew him joined. People were getting very tired of Brigham when Mormonism turned up. He was just the man for the religion and the religion seemed expressly adapted to him. He became an exhorter, held neighborhood meetings, ranted and howled his doctrines into the minds of others as weak as himself, and finally went West, with the rest of them, where he has developed his powers until the poor, miserable rustic loafer is Governor of a Territory and the chief prophet of a great religious sect. He has just the mixture of shrewdness and folly which is required for success in fanaticism or quackery. A wiser man could not hold his place. A man must be half fool and half knave to be a successful quack.

Heber C. Kimball was a man of more respectability. He was a born fanatic, and if he was not a Mormon would be something else just like it. In his church -- he was a Baptist originally -- he was one of those pestilent fellows who want resolutions passed at church meetings withholding fellowship from somebody else, and insist on having a political codicil added to the Bible. We believe he had some property. He has much more talent than Brigham Young, but is inferior to him in the elements of quackery. He has very respectable relatives now living in the part of Monroe county from which he started.

Note: For a contemporary account of Brigham Young's baptism into Mormonism, see the Apr. 14, 1832 issue of the Rochester Liberal Advocate.