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Picturing history: John Young home, Mendon, New York

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Brigham Young was born to John and Nabby Young at Whitingham, Vermont, in 1801. At about age 16, Brigham was told by his father that he was old enough to go out on his own and provide for himself. His mother had just passed away.


This barn is situated on what was once the Joseph Smith Sr. farm at Manchester, New York. It, or at least the frame, once belonged to John Young, father of Brigham Young, while he lived at Mendon, New York. | Kenneth Mays

His father, John Young, later moved to the area of Mendon, New York. Eventually, Brigham and his ailing wife, Miriam, also moved to Mendon on the back part of his father’s property. They were all practicing members of the Reformed Methodist Church.

In 1832, Brigham, Miriam, John and all of Brigham’s immediate family joined the Church of Christ, later The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All stayed active in the LDS Church throughout their lives.

According to Larry C. Porter, Brigham built a house for his father on his father’s property in Mendon. For some reason, that structure was subsequently divided in two. Half was moved across the street with each part facing the other from opposite sides of Cheese Factory Road. Over time, both portions were added on to, essentially creating two new homes. Both of those altered structures still stand. (See Larry C. Porter, “Brigham Young: The Man for the Hour Will Be Ready Whenever the Hour Strikes,” BYU Speeches, Jan. 27, 1998.)

They are owned by the LDS Church, but they are used as private residences.

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.