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Reynolds, George, 1842-1909

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1842-1909

Biographical History

George Reynolds (1842-1909) was a Mormon polygamist and church leader in Utah, and is known mostly for being used as a test case for the constitutionality of the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act of 1862.

George Reynolds was born on January 1, 1842, in Marylebone, England. His parents were George and Julia Ann Tautz Reynolds. As a youth he became acquainted with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized at the age of fourteen. In 1865, Reynolds immigrated to Utah and settled in Salt Lake City. He there became Brigham Young's secretary and would continue to serve as the secretary to the First Presidency for the remainder of his life. He likewise served as a member of the municipal council of Salt Lake City from 1875 to 1879.

In 1874, George Reynolds was chosen by both Mormon and civil leaders as a test case for the constitutionality of the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act of 1862. Reynolds was convicted of bigamy the following year, and his conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1879. He was imprisoned briefly in the Nebraska State penitentiary before being transferred to the Utah Territorial penitentiary where he served out the remainder of his sentence of two years. He thus became the first of many Mormons to be imprisoned for practicing polygamy.

Reynolds was actively involved in the Mormon Sunday School system and served on the Board of the Deseret Sunday School Union. Throughout his life Reynolds was a noted author of Mormon polemics and he frequently wrote for the Deseret News and the Juvenile Instructor. He is best remembered for his works on the Book of Mormon. In April 1890, Reynolds was sustained as a member of the First Council of the Seventies, a position he held until his death on August 9, 1909.

Citation

Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, v.1, 1901: p. 206-210 (born January 1, 1842 in Marylebone, England; parents were George and Julia Ann Tautz Reynolds; joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of fourteen; came to Utah in 1865; served as a secretary and municipal council of S.L.C.; acted as a test case for Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act; imprisoned in Nebraska and Utah; active in Mormon Sunday Schools; author of works on the Book of Mormon; Sustained a member of the First Council of the Seventies in April 1890) Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, v.3, 1920: p. 771 (died on August 9, 1909)

Found in 22 Collections and/or Records:

Deseret Museum museum register

 File — oversize-folder: 1
Identifier: MSS SC 598
Scope and Contents The collection includes a fragment of the printer register with handwritten notations, some by Joseph L. Barfoot, curator, and newspaper clippings about the Great Salt Lake and other miscellaneous subjects concerning Utah. Also is an undated loose page of butterfly illustrations from a German publication by Hubner, Exot, Schmett., Vol. 1, plate 6, sent to G. Reynolds, curator of the Museum of Natural History.

Saidee G. Dunn notes

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 50
Overview The collection contains a volume of handwritten lecture notes taken by Sadie Dunn Hains from lectures presented by George Reynolds probably at Brigham Young Academy. The subject was the Book of Mormon. Also included are handwritten copies of songs and recipes.

General Church Board of Education certificate

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 260
Scope and Contents Printed and handwritten certificate. The item is a license which authorizes Hyrum H. Anderson to teach religion classes for the Mormon Church in Provo, Utah. The item was signed by the president of the Mormon Church, Wilford Woodruff, and by George Reynolds and Karl G. Maeser.

George Reynolds certificates and documents, 1863-1907

 Series
Identifier: Vault MSS 10 Series 2
Scope and Contents Contains receipts, certificates, and other documents related to Reynolds. Includes his sentence to prison for practicing polygamy, and a petition for his pardon submitted to President Rutherford B. Hayes. Dated 1863-1907.

George Reynolds correspondence, 1872-1909

 Series
Identifier: Vault MSS 10 Series 1
Scope and Contents Contains correspondence between various individuals, includings leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Topics revolved primarily around the doctrine of polygamy and Reynold's imprisonment for practicing polygamy. Dated 1872-1905.

George Reynolds writings, approximately 1877-1920

 Series
Identifier: Vault MSS 10 Series 3
Scope and Contents Contains writings by or related to Reynolds. Includes records related to the concordance to the Book of Mormon, a draft of a history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a biography of Reynolds by his daughter, Alice Louise Reynolds. Dated approximately 1877-1920.

History of George Reynolds

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS SC 2057
Scope and Contents Photocopy of a handwritten manuscript. The item is a biogaphy on the life of George Reynolds (1842-1909) by his daughter Alice Louise Reynolds. George was a Mormon author who served on the board of directors of the Genealogical Society of Utah and as amember of the First Council of Seventies for the Mormon Church.

George Reynolds autobiography

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 4179
Abstract The autobiography of George Reynolds, an early member of the LDS church from London, England, circa 1878.

George Reynolds letter

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 4000
Scope and Contents Letter of George Reynolds, as Secretary of First Presidency, to Elder Alfred W. Millgate, Clerk of the High Council, Weber Stake, conveying approval for the ordination of John M. Brown as an Elder. Dated 10 February 1891, written on Church letterhead.

George Reynolds letter

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: UA 208
Scope and Contents Correspondence from Reynolds to Abraham Smoot authorizing an order for $1,000 labor and merchandise tithing for the Brigham Young Academy.