Joseph Young was born on 7 April 1797 in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, the second of ten children born to John and Nabbie (Howe) oung. Joseph was thirty-five years old and a Methodist preacher in Canada when his younger brother, Brigham, introduced him to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph was baptized on 6 April 1832, exactly two years after the organization of the Church.
Joseph served several missions in the United States and Canada over the next fifteen years. He accompanied his brother, Brigham, and the prophet Joseph Smith to Independence, Missouri, in 1834 as part of Zion’s Camp. Four years later he witnessed the Haun’s Mill massacre.
Joseph married Jane Adeline Bicknell in 1834. They had eleven children. The family lived in Kirtland, Ohio; Quincy and Nauvoo, Illinois; Winter Quarters, Nebraska; and Carterville, Iowa, before immigrating to Salt Lake City in 1850 in the Wilford oodruff Company. While living at Nauvoo, Joseph married three plural wives: Lucinda Allen, Lydia Flemming, and Mary Ann Burnham. Lucinda bore five children, while Lydia had three children and Mary Ann had two children. Joseph worked as a painter and glazier at Nauvoo, his line of work when not engaged full time for the Church. Joseph also married Sarah Jane Kinsman sixteen years after his arrival in Utah, adding two children to the Young family.
Joseph was ordained President of the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1835, which calling he held until his death in 1881. In 1870 he traveled to Great Britain on his final mission for the Church. At the age of eighty-four, Joseph died on 16 July 1881 at Salt Lake City. Many sources echo these lines written about him: “He was loved . . . and popular with the people, not alone for his integrity, but for the sunny charitableness of his soul, his genuine kindness of heart. . . . [H]e gave nearly fifty years of his blameless and devoted life [to the Church]” (Whitney, 444–445).
Biographical Record of Salt Lake City and Vicinity. Chicago: National Historical Record Company, 1902.
Cook, Lyndon W. The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Provo, Utah: Seventy’s Mission Bookstore, 1985.
Esshom, Frank. Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah. Salt Lake City: Western Epics, 1966.
Flake, Lawrence R. Mighty Men of Zion: General Authorities of the Last Dispensation. Salt Lake City: Karl D. Butler, 1974.
Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Company, 1901.
Whitney, Orson F. History of Utah. Vol. 4. Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon & Sons Company, 1904.