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Brigham Young, Jr. and Reed Smoot memorandum to William David Leigh

 Digital Record
Identifier: MSS3319_I2_F1
Image of Brigham Young, Jr. and Reed Smoot memorandum to William David Leigh
Image of Brigham Young, Jr. and Reed Smoot memorandum to William David Leigh


  • 1891 January 31


Biographical / Historical

Brigham Young Jr. (1836-1903) was an early leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including serving as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of from 1899 until his death.

Brigham Young, Jr. was born December 18, 1836, in Kirtland, Ohio, to Brigham Young and Mary Ann Angell. He had a twin sister who died at age seven from injuries sustained in a wagon accident at age two. Brigham came to Utah in 1848, and he served as a guard and scout in the Salt Lake Valley for several years, as well as in the reconstituted Nauvoo Legion.

Brigham married Catherine Curtis Spencer, daughter of Orson Spencer, on November 15, 1855. He would later take additional wives, including Jane Carrington, daughter of Albert Carrington, and Abigail Stevens.

He served in several capacities in the leadership of the Church. In 1861, Brigham was called to the Salt Lake Stake high councile. In 1864, he along with two brothers were ordained as Apostles, although no public announcement was made. Brigham would become an official part of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1868 with the death of Heber C. Kimball. In 1868, he was also a Representative to the Territory of Utah Legislative Assembly. Young Jr. also served as a counselor to his father in the First Presidency of the church from April 8, 1873, until his father's death on August 29, 1877.

From 1862 to 1863, Young served as a church missionary in England, spending most of the time in London. In 1864, Young returned to Europe, this time with his wife, Catherine, as his companion. He was an assistant to mission president Daniel H. Wells. In 1865, when Wells left for Utah, Young succeeded him as president of the European Mission, serving until 1867. Young also oversaw the emigration of British Latter-day Saints to Utah Territory.

From October 1890 until February 1893 Young served for a second time as president of the European Mission. The mission was headquartered in Liverpool, and Young directly supervised missionary work in the British Isles, while also serving as a leader over the mission presidents of the various missions on the European continent.

Young died in Salt Lake City, Utah, on April 1, 1903.

Biographical / Historical

Reed Smoot (1862-1941) was a Republican senator from Utah (1903-1933) and an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1900-1941).

Reed Owen Smoot was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 10, 1862 to former mayor of Salt Lake City, Abraham O. Smoot and Anne Kristina (Morrison) Smoot. Reed Smoot attended public schools and the University of Utah, and graduated from Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah in 1879. After graduation, he served as a Mormon missionary in England. He married Alpha M. Eldredge of Salt Lake City on September 17, 1884. They were the parents of seven children.

On April 8, 1900, Smoot was ordained as an apostle of the LDS Church and became a member of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. After becoming an apostle in 1900, Smoot received the approval of church president Joseph F. Smith to run for office in 1902. He was elected the same year to the United States Senate (58th Congress) as a Republican Senator, representing the state of Utah. His election sparked a bitter four-year battle in the Senate on whether Smoot was eligible or should be allowed to serve, due to his position as a Mormon apostle. As a result, the Senate began an investigation into Smoot's eligibility.[2] The Smoot Hearings began on January 16, 1904. On February 20, 1907 the Senate defeated the proposal and Smoot was allowed to serve in the Senate. Smoot was reelected in 1908. The Senate bill creating the National Park Service was sponsored by Reed Smoot. Additionally, Smoot was Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee from 1923 to 1933 and served on the Senate Appropriations Committee. He served as a delegate to the Republican national convention in 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, and 1924. He was Chairman of the 1928 Resolutions Committee at the 1928 Republican National Convention and chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. Smoot was a co-sponsor of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930. Smoot continued to serve in the Senate until March 1933.

After his retirement, Smoot moved back to Salt Lake City. He died on February 9, 1941 and is buried in Provo, Utah.

Biographical / Historical

William David Leigh (1842-1917) was a Utah pioneer, farmer, and missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Great Britain.

William David Leigh was born 25 August 1842 in Llanelly, Wales, to Samuel Leigh and Nancy Ann David. His parents had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latte-day Saints, and together they emigrated to America in 1849. His mother died near St. Joseph, Missouri, and the family live at Council Bluffs, Iowa, for three years. They came to Utah in 1852 in the William Morgan Company. Soon after arriving they were called to settle in Iron County, arriving in Cedar City in 1853.

William attended high school in St. George and later taught in the public schools in Southern Utah. He married Elizabeth Davis Wood on 9 July 1876 in Cedar City, Utah, and they had seven children together, two sons dying in early childhood.

William made a living as a farmer raising stock. In November 1888 he was called to serve as a missionary for the Church in the British Mission, spending most of his time near his birthplace in Wales.

William David Leigh died 26 August 1917, in Cedar City, Utah.


1 sheet (2 pages) ; 13 x 20 cm

General Note

Memorandum written on the Church's European Printing, Publishing, and Emigration Office letterhead in Liverpool, England. Young and Smoot write to Leigh informing him of the date of his departure from England, which is to be February 7, 1891.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States