George Reynolds certificates and documents, 1863-1907
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.
- Reynolds, George, 1842-1909 (creator, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Open for public research.
Conditions Governing Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from George Reynolds papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
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.
Language of Materials
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcriptions located in folder 34.
- Church and state -- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Civil Procedure and Courts
- Mormons -- Utah -- Correspondence
- Politicians -- Utah -- Salt Lake City -- Correspondence
- Politics, Government, and Law
- Polygamy -- Religious aspects -- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Polygamy -- Utah
- Reynolds, George, 1842-1909 -- Archives
Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States