Young, Joseph

Andrew Jenson, comp., Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 4 vols., 190136, 1:187–88

Young, Joseph, one of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies from 1835 to 1881, was the son of John Young and Nabbie Howe, and an elder brother of Pres. Brigham Young. He was born April 7, 1797, in Hopkinton, Middlesex county, Mass. His childhood and early youth were spent at home, where his kind and affectionate nature was stimulated by the tender treatment and Christian precept, characterizing his parents and their family. He imbibed at an early period of life the spirit of religion, and became an enthusiastic church member. Joining the Methodists, he soon began to preach their doctrines, and was thus engaged, when, in the early spring of 1832, his brother, the late Pres. Brigham Young, brought the glad tidings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, as announced by the Prophet Joseph Smith. His religious enthusiasm proved to be a genuine love of truth, rather than bigoted devotion to a sectarian creed, and he was easily converted to the principles of the gospel, which he received in a grateful and believing heart. He was baptized April 6, 1832, by Elder Daniel Bowen in Columbia, Penn., and a few days afterwards ordained an Elder under the hands of Ezra Landen. 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 his brother Phineas, Eleazer Miller and others; they raised up two small branches, and returned in about four months. He then went to Kirtland, Ohio, with his Brother Brigham and Heber C. Kimball. His next mission was to Canada in the winter of 1832-33, in company with his brother Brigham. Here they raised up a branch of about twenty members in West Lowboro. They were gone about six weeks, and baptized upwards of forty souls. Feb. 18, 1834, Joseph Young married Jane Adeline Bicknell, who bore to him eleven children, among whom may be mentioned: Jane Adeline, Joseph, Seymour Bicknell, Marcus De Le Grande and Brigham Bicknell. 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. He was chosen and ordained one of the first Seventies in the Church Feb. 28, 1835, under the hands of Joseph Smith and others, and the next day (March 1, 1835,) he was ordained a president of Seventies, a position which he honorably filled during the remainder of his life. In 1835 he filled a mission 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 his blessings in the Temple at Kirtland, agreeable to the Prophet's instructions, he accompanied his brother Brigham to the East, to visit among their relatives and friends; they preached the gospel to them and bore testimony of the latter-day work. This mission occupied several months, and subsequently many of their relatives and friends came into the Church. July 6, 1838, Joseph and family left Kirtland, in company with many of the Saints, and went to Missouri, arriving at Haun's Mill Oct. 28th; he remained until Tuesday, the 30th, and witnessed the horrid massacre at that place, during which he was miraculously preserved. In the winter of 1838-39 he, together with the rest of the Saints, was driven out of the State of Missouri, under the exterminating order of Governor Boggs. He arrived at Quincy, Ill., in May, where he engaged in farming 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 Prophet and Patriarch, he returned to Nauvoo. When the Saints, in 1846, were compelled to leave their beautiful city, and Temple, Joseph Young again became an [p.188] exile and started for the great and unknown west. He remained at Winter Quarters and at Carterville, Iowa, until 1850, when he crossed the plains with his family with ox teams, and settled in Salt Lake City, where he resided until his death. He traveled and preached extensively in the Territory, and in fulfilment of a prediction by the Prophet Joseph he visited the British Isles in 1870, and thus preached in the old world. He was greatly beloved by the people everywhere, being one of those lovable dispositions that always attract those with whom they become associated. He was a benevolent and merciful man, full of kindness and good works, and full of integrity to the cause he had espoused. He never wearied of proclaiming its principles. "Uncle Joseph," as he was familiarly called, died in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 16, 1881. He had for several weeks succumbed to general weakness and debility incident to old age, and quietly fell asleep, surrounded by loving kindred and friends. His body was free from disease, and his last days were devoid of pain. Like a shock of corn fully ripe he was gathered home. Having fulfilled his mission on the earth and lived beyond the time usually allotted to man, he realized in his closing hours on earth that "the end of the righteous is peace."