June 01, 1801
Today is the birthday of a man who will become one of the major religious leaders in the west. Born this day in Whitingham, Vermont, comes from a religious family. Our birthday boy will one day take the reins of a struggling church, known as the Church of the Latter Day Saints, beset by critics and internal strife, and in a search for religious freedom from persecution – their views are not very popular with the locals – lead his people farther west on a journey to some place they can live as they want without worrying about who might be offended by their beliefs. The sad thing is, this isn’t the first time our subject had had to move out of his home territory in search of religious freedom. In 1833, they moved from New England to Ohio, but a scant five years later, they are pushed out again to the west, into Missouri, but have to move again up to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1838. In 1846, they are pushed out once more, this time settling in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Their final journey begins again and will only end in July when they reach the Utah Territory of that year. Things really start to look up for our subject and his followers in 1850, when he is named Territorial Governor of Utah, formerly named Deseret. In 1857, he obtained a contract from the United States to haul mail and freight in the territory. In 1861, he helped in the construction of the trans-continental telegraph line. Four years later in 1865, he took his 50th bride. In 1868, he helped con-struct the transcontinental railroad. He was tried for bigamy in 1871, but he was acquitted, and passed away from peritonitis at the age of 76. Who are we talking about? Happy birthday, to Brigham Young, the leader and builder of the Mormon empire.
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Photo courtesy of wikipedia.com