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Picturing history: Whitingham, Windham County, Vermont

In January 1801, John and Abigail "Nabby" Young moved to a village known as Whitingham, Vermont. Nabby was expecting a child. On June 1 of that year, Nabby gave birth to a son they named Brigham. Brigham would one day follow Joseph Smith as the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Young led the church for over three years as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and then as president of the church for some 30 years.

Historical marker at Whitingham, Vermont, identifies the village as the birthplace of Brigham Young. | Kenneth Mays

The village of Whitingham is named after Nathan Whiting, an early settler who petitioned for a town charter back before the Revolutionary War. In the village are several signs and monuments noting that Whitingham is the birthplace of President Young. One historical marker states that he "led his people from Illinois to Utah where he founded Salt Lake City and 500 communities throughout the west." Additionally, there is a 12-foot granite monument commemorating his birth. Moreover, there is a headstone-like marker in the front yard of a home identifying the traditional birth site of President Young.

However, according to several authors in "Sacred Places, Vol. 1," edited by LaMar C. Barrett, there is local tradition that he may have been born on another site. There was no village center when the Youngs lived in Whitingham. The first one was established on Town Hill several years after the Young family left the area. The second and current village center is situated near the intersection of SR 100 and Stimpson Road. Some of the buildings there are situated on land once owned by John Young. The small front yard marker mentioned above is on Stimpson Road .02 miles southwest of that intersection.