Excerpted from Brigham Young, "History of Brigham Young," The Deseret News, vol. 7 no. 47 (27 Jan. 1858), p. 1. Reprinted in Millennial Star, vol. 25, no. 20 (16 May 1863), pp. 311 ; also Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1801–1844, ed. Elden Jay Watson (Salt Lake City: Smith Secretarial Service, 1968), pp. i–xxx.
[Transcribed and proofed by Ben Parkinson, Feb. 2006]
My brother Joseph was born in Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Mass., April 7, 1797. In early life he became attached to religion, and was very moral and devoted. He assisted his father in agricultural pursuit. He was a Methodist preacher for many years, and labored in the States and Canada.
On April 6th, 1832, he was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Elder Daniel Bowen, in Columbia, Penn., and was ordained an elder a few days after under the hands of Ezra Landon. After preaching in the State of New York for several months, he took a mission to Canada in the summer of 1832, in company with brother Phinehas, Eleazur Miller and others: they raised two small branches, and returned in about four months. He then went to Kirtland with bro. H. C. Kimball and me. His next mission was to Canada in the winter of 1832–3, in company with myself; we raised a branch of about twenty members in West Lowboro: we were gone about six weeks, and baptized upwards of forty souls.
On February 18th, 1834, he married Jane Adeline Bicknall, who has borne to him five children, viz.: Jane Adeline, Joseph, Seymour Bicknall, Marcus De La Grande and John Calvin.
He went in company with Presidents Joseph and Hyrum Smith, in 1834 to Missouri, as a member of Zion’s camp, returning to Kirtland with the Prophet and others, in the fall.
February 28, 1835, my brother Joseph was chosen and ordained as one of the Seventies, at the organization of the first quorum of Seventies in the church, and was set apart to be a president over that quorum.
In 1835 he went to the States of New York and Massachusetts in company with Burr Riggs; they traveled and preached in many places, sowing the seed as they journeyed along.
In 1836, after having received our blessings in the Temple at Kirtland, he, agreeably to the Prophet’s instructions, accompanied me to the East, amongst our relatives and friends, and preached the gospel to them and bore testimony to the latter day work: we were gone several months, and subsequently many of our relatives and friends came into the church.
July 6, 1838, my brother Joseph and family left Kirtland in company with many of the Saints, and went to Missouri, arriving at Haun’s Mill on the 28th October: he remained until Tuesday, the 30th, and witnessed the horrid massacre at that place, during which catastrophe he was miraculously preserved.
In the winter of 1838–9 he was driven out of the State of Missouri, under the exterminating order of Governor Boggs, and arrived at Quincy, Ills., in May, where he farmed during the season, and in the spring of 1840 removed to Commerce, afterwards called Nauvoo, where he followed the occupation of painting and glazing, and attended to his ministerial labors as senior President of the quorums of Seventies.
In the spring of 1844 he went to Ohio to lay before the people Gen. Joseph Smith’s views of the powers and policy of the Government of the United States. After hearing of the massacre of the Prophets, he returned to Nauvoo.