Who Was His First and How Many Are There?—An Interesting Inquiry by an English Plumber and Glazier.
To the Editor of the New York Herald:
If my conjectures are right, and you are suc-cessful in bringing to light the proofs of this I am about to write, it will astonish the public here and in America, and, at the same time, do a great deal to expose one of the greatest religious impostures that ever disgraced humanity, and that is Mormonism. Joe Smith, its founder, was a bad man and a great impostor, and he came to an untimely end; but it is his successor, Brigham Young that I wish to writh about. To begin, then, I will ask the question, Who is Brigham Young? Where did he come from? What age is he? and can you procure his present likeness and a likeness of him taken years ago? The farther back the better, for I shall go back forty years. I should like to have, if possible, some of his photographs, taken at intervals during the last forty years. Now, I will proceed to give my reasons.
A few days ago I was visiting an old friend in the Almshouse at Stockton-on-Tees, County of Durham, and I cannot do better than to tell you a little of her history. This friend, a Mrs. Brigham by name, has been intimate with our family since she was a little girl. This makes me take an interest in her welfare. She was bred and born in a village called Norton, near Stockton-on-Tees, and later on a man married her in the name of William Brigham, a cooper and lath-splitter, who had served his time to the same trade with a man of the name of George Allen, by trade a cooper and lath- splitter, in Paradise row, Stockton-on-Tees, in the County of Durham. The said George Allen had brought the said Mrs. Brigham's husband, William Brigham, up as a child, and taught him his trade ; but the said William Brigham was an illegitimate child, and, when a boy, up to the time of his marriage, was known by the name of Allen; but, on his marrying, his guardian, George Allen, told him he was to marry in his mother's name, viz: Brigham; his father's name was Young. I will now pass swiftly on. After a few years, the said William Brigham, known formerly by the name of Allen, leaves his wife—viz: the present Mrs. Brigham, now living at Stocton-on-Tees—leaves her and her children, and they become charge-able to the parish. After a time my own father, Thomas Kirtley, bred and born at Nor-ton, near Stockton, was living in London, and searched and found out the said William Brig- ham. My father, who was a tailor, was work- ing in London, and, finding out Brigham, I be-lieve, working at the docks as a cooper, made him write home to his wife and family. He did so, and the parish sent his wife and children up to London, and, I believe, they lived together again for about three years. They then came back to Stockton-on-Tees, and then the said W. Brigham again leaves his wife and four children, his wife being en-ceinte with the fifth. Mrs. Brigham, after hard fighting and severe struggles, is still living with her children, grandchildren, and great- grand- children. But what of Brigham? It is just upon forty years ago since he left his family the last time, and they could never make out what became of him until a few weeks ago. Mrs. Brigham came to the conclusion in her own mind that Brigham Young was her husband, and this is her reason for thinking so: One night a short time ago one of her granddaughters' hus-bands was in a public house, and in the com-pany there was a stranger, and the conversa-tion happened to turn upon the Latter-Day Saints and Brigham Young. The stranger said he knew him very well, he worked with him in Lon-don as a cooper before he went to America and became the leader of the Mormons. This con-versation, through the young man hearing it ac-cidentally, he told to his wife and then to Mrs. Brigham who, knowing her husband had worked in London as a cooper, came to the conclusion that Brigham Young is her husband that left her forty years ago. I asked her if she thought she could remember any thing about him; if she would recognize him by anything. I might just say here that she is now "in perfect good health and still an active woman. Her own age is 81 years, and Brigham was five years younger. She say's he will be 76 next Valentine's Day, the 14th of February, 1874. He was a man strongly built, had a weakness in the sight of one of his eyes, a mark or mole behind his shoulder, and on one of his fingers he had a mark of a cut he got when a boy. When a boy, while standing beside a table, where his master, G. Allen, was preparing the food for his birds,—namely, cutting up a hard-boiled egg,—young Brigham snatched at a piece, and the knife caught his finger-end and cut it deep, and his nail grew in an outward direction. I just say I can gather more information respect-ing him, but it was a hasty visit I paid Mrs. Brigham. I had gone to see my own mother, who lives at Stockton, who also knew W. Brig-ham. My father is dead; so is G. Allen. I think I have now told you sufficient to satisfy you that we are right in thinking that Brigham Young has a wife living in this country. If so, where will the seventeenth wife be in her divorce case? Perhaps she could tell us of his marks and fig-ure. In fact, where are all his wives when the first appears? Perhaps they all can give a little information. If he is the right man he might do something for his first wife and chil-dren, they having the first claim on him. But if he were here the authorities would and could punish him for bigamy and neglect of wife and family. If it is the man in question he is hardly worth powder and shot; but, for the sake of truth and justice, and the exposure of villainy, it is worth finding out. Also, I have it from good authority, a first-class English workman, that Brigham Young was an English Mormon, making it appear more likely to be the same man. I should like to know if you could send his likeness and any further particulars respect-ing some of these things I have written about you possibly might establish. Our supposition is here that he has changed his name from W. Brigham to Brigham Young, his mother's and father's name. Mrs. Brigham, I believe, has a black likeness of his, one of the old style, just showing the outlines. I mean to get it copied, if I can, the next time I go to Stockton. It might be of some service. If you can do any-thing in finding out that our suspicions are right in reference to Brigham Young it will be a great satisfaction to us here, and, perhaps, some good will result in my writing this. I would like to know the age of Brigham Young, that he pro-fesses to be, and his birthday. Some one in Utah will tell us, I should think, something which might be of use. I shall be happy to give any information that lies in my power. I re-main yours, respectfully,
J. K. WESTGATE, GUISBRO, Yorkshire, England.
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