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Picturing history: Mendon, New York, sites

Brigham Young and his family lived in the area of Mendon, New York, in the early 1830s. It was while living in Mendon that Young joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (then Church of Christ). He and his family evidently settled on part of a farm owned by his father, John Young.

According to the late J. Sheldon Fisher, once a local of the Mendon area, Brigham Young had a shop powered by a waterwheel with a living space above the shop. Fisher, who passed away 2002, conducted archaeological digs on the property and housed some of the artifacts he uncovered in the nearby Valentown Museum.

There is a former church in Mendon, still extant, that has been used as a restaurant. According to the building's owner in 2013, that structure's provenance claimed that Young attended church services there before his conversion to the LDS Church.

Nearby is a wood-framed structure that has survived since the early 1830s when Young lived in Mendon. According to Larry C. Porter in "Sacred Places, Vol. 2," this building at that time was the village’s general store. Porter notes that surviving ledgers list some of Young’s business transactions that occurred there. A branch of the LDS Church in Mendon grew to some 60 members.

By late 1833, most of those new converts of Mendon, including Young, Heber C. Kimball and their families, had left the area to join Joseph Smith and the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, according to "Living in a Chapter of History" by Marjorie H. Rice, Ensign, October 2007.

Kenneth Mays is a board member of the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation and a retired instructor in the LDS Church’s Department of Seminaries and Institutes.