A Chronology of

Federal Legislation

on Polygamy

Perry L. Porter

January 4th 1998

Introduction and Disclaimer:

When I was in a Graduate program in History at BYU, I video interviewed, my wonderful 89 year old Grandmother, whom had 17 children, about her experiences in a small farming town just 6 miles from Fort Bridger. I asked her if there were any polygamists that lived in Lyman Wyoming. She thought for a few minutes and then said that were Bishop Bruff, and then maybe a Hollingshead that lived on the outskirts of town. Years later, after her death at 96, I learned that her Grandfather, James Henry Rollins, a body guard and Clerk for Joseph Smith, was a polygamist, and an early founder of our home town of Lyman Wyoming. He was the first person buried in the Lyman Cemetery, and was living with his second wife at the time of his death. I am left very puzzled, as to why my grandmother did not mention that her own grandfather was a polygamist. I dedicate this web page to her memory and will attempt to frankly and honestly address this issue, and to do my part so that the next generation can speak accurately and in an informed manner about what has wrongly evolved into a quasi taboo subject.

Six months after I compiled this Chronology I was putting together basic information on my GreatGreatGreatGrandfather on my father's side, Sanford Porter, when I learned that he too was a polygamist. This information from LDS Vital Records: "Marriage Number 2 Porter, Sanford (Male) Spouse: Simpson, Phebe Jane [Family Group Sheet-Self] Date: September 5, 1854."

This was brand-new information to me, I just found out that night at age 42, Aug. 16 1998, that my GreatGreatGreatGrandfather was a polygamist, and I thought I knew lots about him. None of my family genealogy that I ever say indicated that he had a second wife, and I had looked for polygamy in my family line and only saw it in sheets related to my GreatGreatGreatGrand uncles. So now I can dedicate this endeavor to educate, to both sided of my family.

Well live and learn.

The beginnings of this chronology of the anti-polygamy bills for the Utah Territory, come from a hand out I received in a Religion or History class at BYU in the mid 1970's. I have significantly augmented it from 3 pages to about 29 pages, with additional line items from various scholarly History books and professional articles. Any statement that does not have a reference in ( )'s is an assessment of my own, based on intense, but sporadic study of this very subject over the past 20 years.

Most of this material has been in the public domain for almost 20 years, but still NOT common knowledge to members of the Mormon church. Let me affirm right now that I do not believe that anyone has been granted exception to sanction plural marriages, therefore I do not qualify for the label, Fundamentalist.

I have tried to present the facts as they would have been believed by the participants at that period in time, and have not tried to harmonize it with any current misconceptions of how history was or should be. I present this without any deference to any doctrinal implications of who is right or wrong. Nor do I suggest any course of action, based on becoming more familiar with the facts as they transpired. Much of what you will read will be new to you, so please don't shoot the messenger.

I have been aware of much of these little know facts for 20 years, I feel the church has had plenty of time to realign their instructional manuals with the facts, so I will now let the chips fall where they may. The Historical skeletons in our Mormon history, do not effect my "testimony", for I have never ascribed to any infallibility claims. Most of the contradictory statements made by the brethren in the past can easily be ascribed to the fact that leaders are indeed human and act like such.

What I find ironic, is lack of faith, that honest disclosure of our previous humanity, is beyond certain people. Also ironic is that members easily justify that plural marriage was set aside, to fulfill a "higher" law of obeying the law of the land, yet never raise a finger to get these 100 year old, unconstitutional laws reversed. Instead there is a Utah cultural prejudice against those that live polygamy today, whom break the laws of the land in order to live what they believe are the laws of god, as our forefathers did for 80 years! 

1835 August 17, Article on Marriage. "According to the custom of all civilized nations, marriage is regulated by laws and ceremonies; therefore we believe that all marriages in this Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints should be solemnized in a public meeting or feast prepared for that purpose, and that the solemnization should be performed by a Presiding High Priest, High Priest, Bishop, Elder or Priest, not even prohibiting those persons who are desirous to get married, of being married by other authority. We believe that it is not right to prohibit members of this Church from marrying out of the Church, ... The clerk of every church should keep a record of all marriages solemnized in his branch. All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this Church should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. (History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.18, p.247. Plural marriages, "Spiritual Wives" and rumors of such, including accusation about adultery mixed with secrete marriages, are what prompted the statement on marriage, in an attempt to squash rumors and innuendo. Joseph Smith was conveniently out of town, thus he could be seen as supporting the inclusion of that statement from outsiders, while continuing to spread plural marriage privately to select people for many years to come. The issue of preaching conflicting revelations was avoided by his absence. The Article on Marriage was section 101 of the 1835 edition of the D&C. The RLDS church has maintained this section to this day. The LDS church kept it in the Nauvoo editions 1844, 1845 and 1846. It was not removed until SLC 1876 Edition, just before the Death of Brigham Young, when section 132 was inserted.)

They accuse me of polygamy, and of being a false Prophet, and many other things which I do not now remember; but I am no false Prophet; I am no imposter; I have had no dark revelations; I have no revelations from the devil; I made no revelations; I have got nothing up of myself, The same God that has thus far dictated me and directed me and strengthened me in this work, gave me this revelation and commandment on celestial and plural marriage and the same God commanded me to obey it. He said to me that unless I accepted it and introduced it, and practiced it, I, together with my people, would be damned and cut off from this time hence forth.

And they say if I do so, they will kill me, 0, what shall I do? If I do not practice it, I shall be damned with my people. If I do teach it, and practice it, and urge it, they say they will kill me, and I know they will. But we have got to observe it. It is an eternal principle and was given by way of commandment and not byway of instruction, (Joseph Smith, Contributor 5:259)

1849 Petition for the State of Deseret rejected by Congress, State boundaries were too large and most of that large area was unoccupied at that time. ("A Constitution for Utah", Stanley S. Ivins, Utah Historical Quarterly Volume 25 1957 p. 95.)

1850 Fall, A geographically smaller Territory of Utah was approved with Brigham Young as Territorial Governor. (Ivins, p. 95.)

1852 August 29, The revelation on celestial marriage was first made public. It was read in the conference held in Great Salt Lake City, and Apostle Orson Pratt delivered the first public discourse on that principle. (Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, August 29, 1852 ,Sunday, Journal of Discourses, Vol.1, p.53, Orson Pratt.)

1853, Orson Pratt published "The Seer" in Washington DC, it contained Joseph Smith's revelation on plural marriage. "It is hoped the president-elect, the honorable members of congress, the heads of the various departments of the national government, the high-minded governors and legislative assemblies of the several states and territories, the ministers of every religious denomination, and all the inhabitants of the great republic will patronize this periodical." ("The Seer", Orson Pratt, January 1852 issue, p.7, see also Doctrine & Covenants section 132. 1st published 1876 SLC.)

1856, The new Republican party selected for it's national platform a call to abolish the "Twin Relics of Barbarism, Slavery and Polygamy". ("The Mormons and the Law: The Polygamy Cases", Orma Lindord, Utah Law Review, p. 312.)

1856 March 17, The 2nd proposal for Statehood for the State of Deseret, rejected due to growing anti-Mormon sentiment and complaints that unbelievers were said to be mistreated and that the Territorial Government was a shadow or puppet government for the real power or theocratic dictatorship directed by leaders of the Mormon Church. President James Buchanan send a military escort to replace Brigham Young with Alfred Cummings. (Ivins, p.95.)

1862 Jan 20, In just 2 days the 3rd State of Deseret constitution was written as a bid for Statehood, in anticipation of the breaking up of the Union because of a possible civil war. (Ivins, p. 96.)

1862 March 3, An election in Utah ratified this 3rd bid for Statehood and elected Brigham Young as Territorial Governor even though congress had just 4 years earlier replaced Brigham Young, by dispatching the largest piece time military effort to ever be sent to squash a civil rebellion, and thus dangerously depleting Union troops, just prior to the nations most encompassing military conflict.

1862 July 8, Morrill Anti-Bigamy Law, signed by Abraham Lincoln. 1866 Wade bill had provisions to diminish the power of local Government. (Essentials in Church History, by Joseph Fielding Smith, 22nd Editions enlarged, 25th Edition, 1972 Published by the Deseret book Company for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, p. 442.)

1869 May 10, Promontory Utah, the completion of the Transcontinental railroad made Utah less isolated. (Smith, p. 441.)

1869 Proposed Cragin bill constructed to give the appointed Territorial Governor authority to select all local officials.

1869 Proposed Cullom bill drafted by Robert N. Baskin of SLC, was just as radical as was the Cragin bill. (Smith, p. 443.)

1870 Utah's women were given the right to vote, following the lead of their sister State Wyoming. Due to timing of election dates women in Utah were the first in the nation to exercise this new power.

1870 January, a group of intelligent Mormons, called the "Godbeites", lead by prominent Mormons such as Amasa Lyman, whom had difficulties with Brigham Young's strong control over too many aspects of life in Utah, created a news paper which became the organ of the Liberal (non-Mormon) Party, for 20 years. (Smith, p. 446.) 1872 Territorial legislature call for the 4th convention to draft a new constitution. They elected one non-Mormon Senator and one non-Mormon Congressman, whom made an ardent plea for statehood, still it failed. The document contained a concession that years later was denied as an attempt to "swap polygamy for statehood". (Ivins, p. 97, Deseret Evening News, January 16th 1879.)

1874 Poland Law repealed certain Utah statues, transferred duties of Territorial Marshal and Attorney General to Federal offices. These were key positions that had buffered attempts to prosecute polygamists. (Smith, p. 456.)

1874 Brigham Young's secretary, George Reynolds, an acknowledged polygamist with two wives, became a voluntary defendant in a test case to determine the constitutionality of the Anti-Bigamy Law of 1862, in which case he was found guilty in a lower court.

1877 August 29, One time Territorial Governor, Brigham Young dies in his home in SLC, without learning if the unique marriage institution that he had worked so hard build and protect as well as live, was untimely ruled to be against the law of the land. (Smith, p. 459.)

1878 July 7, "I understand the law of celestial marriage to mean that every man in this Church, who has the ability to obey and practice it in righteousness and will not, shall be damned, I say I understand it to mean this and nothing less, and I testify in the name of Jesus that it does mean that." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.20, p.31, Joseph F. Smith)

1879 January 6, in the first constitutional challenge to interpret the First Amendment to the Constitution, the United States Supreme Court upheld the decision of the territorial court and declared that every civil government had the right to determine whether monogamy or polygamy should be the law of social life under its jurisdiction.

1880 Jan 26, A Revelation given to Wilford Woodruff in the Wilderness of San Francisco Mountain in Arizona. "Thus saith the Lord unto my servant Wilford Woodruff. ... My Purpose shall be fulfilled upon this Nation, and No power shall stay my hand. ... And I say again wo unto that Nation or House or people, who seek to hinder my People from obeying the Patriarchal Law of Abraham which leadeth to Celestial Glory which has been revealed unto my Saints through the Mouth of my servant Joseph for whosoever doeth these things shall be damned Saith the Lord of Hosts and shall be broaken up & washed away ... No power can stay my hand. ... Thus Saith the Lord unto you my servants the Apostles who dwell in the flesh fear ye not your Enemies. ... your Enemies shall not prevail over you. ..." (Staker, pp. 140--146 and Scott Kenney, "Wilford Wood ruff's Journal 7 {28 Dec 18880} : 615-21)

1881 Jan 19, Wilford Woodruff submitted a revelation promising the Apocalypse and God's interventions into the affairs of the saints, to church president John Taylor and the Twelve. Wilford was asked to draw up the list of enemies and to write the prayer of damnation , which he did, which contained 400 names of the enemies of the church. The First Presidency and Twelve met together for this reverse prayer in the temple and "we all performed the ordinance of washing our feet against Our Enemies And the Enemies of the Kingdom of God according to the Commandment of God unto us." (Susan Staker, "Waiting for World's End" p. XVII.)

1882 Edmunds act was an amendment to strengthen the Anti-Bigamy Law of 1862.

1882 April 10, Just 19 days after the Edmunds act was approved, the territorial legislature called for the 5th bid for statehood, which also failed, due in part to a new political party in Utah, called the Liberal Party. This predominantly non-Mormon party opposed statehood, as they felt that the shackles of the local theocracy had not yet been removed from all the people of Utah. (Ivins, p. 98.)

1882 Bigamy / Polygamy "Test Oath" for qualification to vote, only restricted immorality, if it was within the "marriage relations", thus applying only to Mormon polygamists and not disenfranchising a common paramour or "Gentile libertine" as Smith puts it. (Smith, p. 484.)

1882 August 23, Rudger Clawson, first polygamist to be submitted to a trial by jury under the Edmunds Law.

1882 September 16, Hoar amendment to the Edmonds law, Governor of the Territory of Utah was authorized to appoint any vacancies of office that were not filled by the election of August 1882 in consequence of the provisions of the 1862 Morrill Act, and filled the vacancies with his own appointees.

1882 October 13 First Presidency and the Twelve met to receive the revelation of God to President Taylor, in which the duties of the Priesthood and of the Saints were set forth. In that same revelation appears the call of President George Teasdale of the Juab Stake, and President Heber J. Grant of the Tooele Stake to the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Seymour B. Young was called to fill the vacancy in the First Council of Seventies and requested to keep the whole law of God as a preparation for his new calling and labors.

1884 - 1887 Segregation strategy allowed each day that a polygamist spent with this wife or support there of, was considered a separate offense and liable for individual punishment. (Smith, p. 488.)

1885 Idaho's Test Oath Law "practically disfranchised all Mormons simply because of membership in the Church" and was "sustained by the supreme court of the territory four years later." Approximately 2,000 eligible Idaho voters were denied the opportunity of voting and holding office. (Larson, pp. 112-113.)

1885 February 1, John Taylor went into the "underground..," and for a number of years Church leaders directed the affairs of the Church from "hiding places known only to a few trusted individuals.," (Smith. p. 470.)

1886 January 1, Wilford Woodruff records in his diary "But we still maintain that God Reigns & will until He puts all Enemies under his feet, and He will fight the battles of his saints and He will bring Judgment upon our Enemies & destroy them in our own due time." One year later, Wilford Woodruff writes in his journal, from inside the St. George temple, where he was hiding from U.S. marshals pursuing his arrest on polygamy charges, "This New years Day [1887] find scores of the Leading Men of the Church in prison and the Presidency and Twelve & many others in Exile for obeying the Law of God ... But the God of Israel Still reigns and He will protect the Righteous and Defend his kingdom and fulfill his promises." (Staker, p. XV.)

1886 September 26, In the Centerville, Utah, home of Lorein E. Woolley with others present, Joseph Smith appeared during a revelation to John Taylor, in which the keys to sanctioning of Plural marriages, was extended to this select group, rather than held exclusively under the direction of the President of the Church. This disputed revelation is the basis of authority claimed by many fundamentalists groups. (Samuel Woolley Taylor, "Family Kingdom", 1974, pp. 174-178.)

1887 June 3rd, The 6th constitutional convention was called to head off the effects of the recently passed, Edmunds-Tucker act. The proposed State constitution contained an article which declared that: "Bigamy and polygamy being considered incompatible with a republican form of government, each of them is hereby forbidden and declared a misdemeanor." Another article provided that the anti-polygamy section could not be amended without the approval of Congress and the President of the United States. The new Constitution was ratified by a vote of 12,887 to 485. It was not viewed as a sincere move toward the suppression of Polygamy, thus Congress also rejected this bid. (Ivins, pp. 98-99.)

1887 July 22 The Mormon people were not publicly notified that they should accept this latest constitution, but they were privately given to understand that they could vote for its ratification without compromising their religious principles. In response to inquiries from his family, Apostle Erastus Snow, then in Mexico where settlements were being established as cities of refuge for polygamists, wrote:

1887 July 25, President John Taylor died in hiding in Kaysville Utah.

1887 July 30, United States Attorney General files suit and confiscates the property of the church as well as that of the Perpetual Immigration Fund Corporation.

1887 March, Edmunds-Tucker Act passed as a supplement the Edmunds Law, which became law without the signature of President Cleveland. This new law included the following provisions:

1887 Dec 12, Rudger Clawson pardoned by Grover Cleveland, cutting only 4 months and 20 days off his 3 1/2 year sentence. (Smith, p. 488.)

1888 May 21, Dedication of the Manti Temple. (Smith, p. 492.)

1888 Dec 20 A document worded to relieve political pressure, similar to the later to be released manifesto, is presented to the interim leadership of the Church. It was eventually rejected, because it was thought that it should be worded as a revelation from the President of the church, for it to be credible. Wilford Woodruff, who was in the midst of a 3 year struggle with the Quorum of the Twelve, to get his choice of George Q. Cannon, approved as a member of the 1st Presidency, rejected any statement and affirmed his belief that "The Lord never will give a revelation to abandon plural marriage," noting that "we cannot deny principle." (Edward Leo Lyman, "Political Deliverance. p. 106. and Quinn, "Extensions", p. 48.)

1889 October 20, The Salt Lake Tribune quoted Woodruff as saying, "I have refused to give any recommendations for the performance of plural marriages since I have been President ... and have instructed that they should not be solemnized." (Woodruff had only been sustained President for 6 months before making this statement. "Mormon Polygamy a History", Richard S. Van Wagoner, 1986, p. 138.)

1889 October 27, Woodruff's attitude toward the law prohibiting polygamy, printed in the Salt Lake Herald, "We mean to obey it. We have not thought of evading or ignoring it. We recognize the laws as binding upon us." He repeated that he had not sanctioned any marriages since becoming president. (Van Wagoner, p. 138.)

1889 Nov 24, Wilford Woodruff, as president, receives revelation which continued the defiant discourse of the church's enemies. Jesus Christ himself promised protection for the church's practice of polygamy: "I, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, am in your midst ... Awake, O. Israel, and have faith in God and His promises, and he will not forsake you. I the Lord will deliver my Saints from the domination of the wicked, in my own due time and way." (Stacker, p. XVII.)

1889 December 23, Mormons Observed a church-wide day of fasting and prayer, seeking God's intervention on their behalf. Church leaders issued an appeal to the nation for greater understanding and tolerance. President Woodruff was "viewed by some of his colleagues as a better fisherman than administrator ..." (Van Wagoner, 1986, pp. 138-139.)

1890 February 3, United States Supreme Court Sustains the Idaho Voting "Test Oath", denying Idaho Mormons the right to vote or hold office it they admitted to merely believing in plural marriage.

1890 Strubble bill proposed that followed along the lines of the Idaho Test Oath. Robert N. Baskin declared that the object of the bill was "to wrest from the hands of the Priesthood the political power which it has wrongfully usurped and shamefully abused."

1890 April The United States Supreme Court sustained Edmunds-Tucker Bill, increasing the threat of total disfranchisement, wherein the Church would be dissolved and its property escheated. The Court held that "Congress may not only abrogate laws of the Territorial Legislature but it may itself legislate directly for the local government. Congress had a full and perfect right to repeal its [LDS] charter and abrogate its corporate existence." ( United States Reports, Vol. 136, pp. 1-68. The late corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints vs. United States, Nos. 1030, 1054.) 1890 June 12, Apostle Abraham H. Cannon noted in his diary that Wilford "showed me a paper which Secretary of State Blaine had prepared for the leading authorities of the Church to sign in which they make a virtual renunciation of plural marriage." Cannon found that his "feelings revolt[ed] at signing such a document." Others apparently felt the same way and the document was not endorsed by church leaders. (Van Wagoner, p. 140.)

1890 August 3rd President Woodruff and several others began a 2,400 mile trip to visit the Saints in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. The eighty-three year old leader was able to see firsthand the terrible circumstances of polygamist Saints. Shortly after returning, Woodruff and George Q. Cannon left SLC for to meet with Republican Party power brokers, which had recently come to power with the Election of Benjamin Harrison. They conferred with Judge Morris M Estee, Republican National Chairman, occasional church agent Isaac Trumbo, U.S. Senator Leland Stanford, and Henry Biglow of the San Francisco Examiner and several others. (Van Wagoner, p. 141.)

1890 August Report of the Utah Commission to the Secretary of Interior expressed regret that an expected Church declaration "in favor of abandonment of polygamy had not been forthcoming. It added, in support of the Cullom-Strubble Bill, "it is believed that 41 persons have entered into polygamous relations in 1889." (Annual Report of the Utah Comm., Aug. 22, 1890.)

1890 September 12, George Q. Cannon, to Republican Party National Chairman Judge Morris M. Estee's promise of support for statehood if the church would make a statement to set polygamy aside, wrote back his concern about the "difficulty there was in writing such a document - the danger there would be that we would either say too much or too little." (Van Wagoner, p. 141, and "LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890-1904." Dialogue 18, Spring 1985 p. 43.)

1890 September 24, Wilford Woodruff met with councilor Joseph F. Smith and three member of the Council of the Twelve, presenting papers containing what Woodruff felt were the solution to the Churches current problems. The only account of this meeting is an emotional portrayal by Frank J. Cannon, a non-Apostle, left the only account of Woodruff presenting the Manifesto to some of the brethren. He paints an emotional meeting where Woodruff presents "his" Manifesto, but the brethren present, strongly protested, saying they were willing to suffer 'persecution unto death', rather than to violate the covenants which they had made 'in holy places' with the women whom had trusted them. Cannon goes on to say that finally his father George Q. Cannon, was in agreement with Woodruff and "ready for the sacrifice". His account was part of a 400 page book entitled, "Under the Prophet in Utah" subtitled "Polygamy after the Manifesto & Church Interference in Politics", By Frank J. Cannon, formerly a United States Senator from Utah, 1911, co-authored by Harvey J. O'Higgins. Frank Cannon was excommunicated 14 March 1905, for "unchristian like conduct and apostasy." As Editor of the Salt Lake Tribune Cannon unleashed a barrage of critical editorial against Church leaders, particularly Joseph F. Smith. Abraham H. Cannon Journal entry of 30 September 1890 and October 1st indicated that some of the Apostles were unconvinced of the inspiration of the press release, Apostle John Henry Smith during a quorum meeting said "I cannot feel to say that the Manifesto is quite right or wrong." (Van Wagoner, pp. 142-143, Cannon may have been trying to clear his name and his father's before Washington political types. Ironically it was George Q. Cannon that took the lead in drafting sanction letters for Woodruff, that would be taken by members to the colonies to get additional wives after the Manifesto of 1890.)

1890 September 27, The Tribune declared that the "manifesto was not intended to be accepted as a command by the President of the Church, but as a little bit of harmless dodging to deceive the people of the East." (Van Wagoner, p. 145.)

1890 June 10, Brigham Young Jr. married 6th wife, Helen E. Armstrong, 1901 Aug., married his 7th wife, who's name has been made unavailable. (Apostle, son of President Brigham Young, bore 1 child in 1902, note that 6th wife was married less then 4 full months before the manifesto, in which Woodruff, makes the false claim that no new marriages were being allowed by the church, Brigham Young Jr., was President of the quorum of the 12 for 3 years and in line to become the next president, when Young died in 1903.)

1890 October 10, John Whitaker Taylor, married 3rd wife, Janet Maria Wooley, 1901, August 29, married 4th wife, Eliza Roxie Welling, on the same day, married 5th wife, Rhoda Welling (a half sister to Eliza), 1909 June 23 married 6th wife, Ellen G. Sandberg. (Apostle, son of President John Taylor, bore children of plural wives in 1893, 1902, 1903, 1907, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1916)

1890 Dec 11, Anson Bowen Call, married 2nd wife, Harriet Cazier, 1898 Mar 11, married 3rd wife, Dora Pratt, 1903 Jan 12, married 4th wife, Julia Sarah Abegg. (was Bishop of Colonial Dublan for 30 years and Patriarch for 10, son, Eran, is currently a new GA as of Oct 1997)

1891 October, Church authorities and lay members, familiar with the private sanctioning of plural marriages, were shocked when they read the testimony of their leaders before the Master in Chancery, as Woodruff, Cannon and Smith all testified that not only had polygamy ceased, but cohabitation had discontinued. Woodruff pointedly stated that the manifesto applied both within as outside of the United States, in an attempt to get the government to return the church's escheated property. (Van Wagoner, p. 154.)

1892 June 10, Franklin S. Bramwell, married 2nd wife, Martha A. Hinkley, 3rd wife, Mary Ann Martin, 1894 May or June, marriage performed by Brigham Young Jr.

1894 Brigham Henry Roberts, married 3rd wife, Margaret Shipp, child from second wife in 1902. (First 7 Presidents of the 70, Utah State Representative, bore child in 1902)

1894 Joseph Charles Bentley, married 2nd wife, Gladys E. Woodmansee, married 3rd wife, Maud Mary Taylor, marriage performed by Mathias F. Cowley. (stake president Mexico 10 years +)

1896 January 4, President Cleveland issues statehood proclamation at 10 A.M. Two days later formal inaugural ceremonies held in Salt Lake City, and Utah's 47 year struggle for statehood was at an end with the successful 7th attempt. (Ivins, p. 116 Note that 15 of the 25 pages of the article are dedicated to the final statehood convention, which lasted 66 days and was much longer then other conventions. The first 10 pages document failed statehood attempts and it's relationship to opposition to plural marriage, yet of the 15 pages on minutia of wrangling in setting up the constitution, the specific statute forever prohibiting plural marriage is not discussed.)

1896 June, Abraham H. Cannon, marries 4th wife, Lilian Hamlin. (Apostle, son of long time First Presidency member George Q. Cannon, who wrote authorization papers for Woodruff, Abraham bears children in 1894 1895 and 1897, dies in 1896, five Cannon men take additional plural wives after the 1st Manifesto)

1897 Sept, Wilford Woodruff, married 6th wife, Lydia Mountford. (President of the church, married Lydia a year before he died)

1898 Oct 25, George Teasdale, married 5th wife, Marion E. Scholes, 1900 May 17, married 6th wife, Letita Thomas, marriage to Marion, performed "upon the high seas" by Apostle Anthon Henrik Lund (Apostle, bore children in 1895 and 1898)

1898 April 13, Benjamin E. Rich, married, 2nd wife, Laura Bowring, married 3rd wife, Andrea Jensen, 1899 October 4, married 4th wife, Alice C. Mc Lachlan.

1899 Matthias Foss Cowley, married 3rd wife, Harriet Bennion, 1905 September 16, married 4th wife, Lenora Taylor, marriage performed by John A. Woolf. (Apostle, disfellowshiped, but never excommunicated, restored to full fellowship 1936, had children from plural wives in 1893, 1902 and 1916)

1900 Aug. 9, Benjamin Cluff Jr., married 3rd wife, Florence M. Reynolds, Seymore B. Young Officiating, first child in 1901, last child in 1904. (one time President of BYU)

1901 Jan , Abraham Owen Woodruff married 2nd wife, Eliza Avery Clark, (Apostle, son of President Wilford Woodruff, bore children in 1899, 1903 and 1904, died in 1904)

1901 Marriner Wood Merril, married 8th wife, Hilda M. Erickson, marriage performed by Matthias F. Cowley. (Apostle, died in 1906, had children of plural wives in 1892 and 1902)

1902 March 13, Joseph White Musser, married 2nd wife, Mary Caroline Hill, 1907 July 24, marred 3rd wife, Ellis R. Shipp, marriage performed by Matthias F. Cowley. (Both marriages performed in SLC Utah).

1904 August 4, Rudger Clawson, married, 3rd wife, Pearl Udal, bore no children.

1885 to 1890 was marked by intensive "polyg hunts" for "cohabs." The Mormon community in the West was terrorized by harsh enforcement of these laws. "Hunting cohabs" became a lucrative employment. Men and women were paid to ferret out offenders of the act. Some assumed the role of peddlers or of tramps and wandered among the Mormons digging up information. Children going to or returning from school were stopped and asked about the relations of their mother and father. At night prowlers peeked into Mormon homes to determine if men were violating the law. Sometimes men broke into Mormon homes without search warrants, and if men did not surrender, they were fired upon. 1904 April 6, President Smith, "Now I am going to present a matter to you that is unusual and I do it because of a conviction which I feel that is the proper thing to do. I have taken the liberty of having written down which I would like to have conveyed to your ears, that I may not be misunderstood or misquoted. I present this to the conference for your action:


"Inasmuch as there are numerous reports in circulation that plural marriages have been entered into contrary to the official declaration of President Woodruff, of September 26, 1890 commonly called the Manifesto, which was issued by President Woodruff and adopted by the Church at its general conference, October, 6, 1890, which forbade any marriages violative of the law of the land; I Joseph F. Smith, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, hereby affirm and declare that no such marriages have been solemnized with the sanction, consent or knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and

"I hereby announce that all such marriages are prohibited, and if any officer or member of the Church shall assume to solemnize or enter into any such marriage he will be deemed in transgression against the Church and will be liable to be dealt with, according to the rules and regulations thereof and excommunicated therefrom.


"President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

(Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, General Conference Report, April 6, 1904 pp. 74, 75.)

1907 April "Address to the World", given at General conference just after the Smoot case was settled. It attempted to clear up statements that were made under oath which sounded damaging to the church. It also declared that the Church stood for the "absolute separation of Church and State ... the absolute freedom of the individual from the domination of ecclesiastical authority in political affairs." (Smith, p. 514.) 

To understand the significance of this story, you must know that at that time C. C. Goodwin win was the Presiding Bishop and also a delegate to the 7th and final Utah constitutional convention.

Andrew S. Anderson of Beaver County complained that a provision exempting Church property from taxation was unjust because the time might come when "probably half the citizens won't believe in any church." This brought a comment from Mr. Thurman that "there won't be any religious worship then," and Mr. Anderson's complaint was ignored.

With the delegates in general agreement on the importance of economy in government, there were no serious disputes over the article on public debt, which limited state indebtedness to $200,000.00 except in certain emergencies. When David Evans moved to strike out the emergency clause, C. C. Goodwin asked how, without it, money could be raised to meet an unexpected need. J. D. Holladay of Santaquin volunteered: "Get it out of the Tithing Office [laughter]." Mr. Goodwin could see nothing funny about the remark, and suggested that Holladay be put out. The Evans' motion was rejected. (Ivins, Page 111.) 


Annual Report of the Utah Comm., Aug. 22, 1890.

Cannon, Frank J. "Under the Prophet in Utah" subtitled "Polygamy after the Manifesto & Church Interference in Politics", By Frank J. Cannon, formerly a United States Senator from Utah, 1911, co-authored by Harvey J. O'Higgins, Boston.

Canton Repository, Canton, Ohio, September 25, 1890, page 2, col. 2.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, General Conference Report, April 6, 1904 pp. 74 - 75. The second manifesto, places the 1st manifesto as on the 26th 1890

Cowley, Matthias F. "Wilford Woodruff His Life and Labors", p.542.

Deseret Evening News, January 16th 1879.

Deseret Evening News. Charles W. Penrose Editor, gives the date as Thursday, September 25, 1890.

Hansen, Klaus J. _Quest for Empire and the Council of 50_.

Hardy, B. Carmon. _Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage_. (Urban: University of Illinois Press, 1992). Page 390.

History of the Church, Vol. 5, Ch. 17, p.336

Ivins, Stanley S. "A Constitution for Utah", Utah Historical Quarterly Volume 25 1957 p. 95.

Jenson, Andrew. Church Chronology, Sunday, August 29, 1852; Journal of Discourses, Vol.1, p.53, Orson Pratt.

Kenney, Scott. "Wilford Woodruff's Journal 7 {28 Dec 1880} : 615-21 [1888 (sp.)]

Larson, Gustive O. "Federal Government efforts to 'Americanize' Utah", Utah Historical Quarterly 19?? pp. 228-229

Larson, Gustive O. _The 'Americanization' of Utah for Statehood_. (San Marino, California: Huntington Library, 1971). Page 60.

Lyman, Edward Leo. _Political Deliverance_. Page 106.

Pratt, Orson. "The Seer", January 1852, page 7; see also Doctrine & Covenants section 132, which was first included in the 1876 edition.

Quinn, D. Michael, "The Mormon Hierarchy, Extensions of Power 1997. p. 181.

Salt Lake City, 1882 Revelation Given Through President John Taylor At Salt Lake City, Utah Territory ... Salt Lake City, 1882, Abraham H.

Cannon, Journal 5 Apr. 1884; A. C. Lambert, _The Published Editions of the Book of DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, In All Languages, 1833-1950_. Published by the author 1950; D.

Michael Quinn, _The Mormon Hierarchy, Extensions of Power_. (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997). Page 181.

Salt Lake Herald printed the Manifesto with the date of issuance of the manifesto being the 24th.

Smith, Joseph Fielding. _Essentials in Church History_. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; 22nd Edition enlarged, 25th Edition, 1972). Page 442.

Smith, Joseph Fielding. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 20, page 31.

Smith, Joseph. Contributor 5:259

Snow, Erastus. Letter from Snow, to his wife, Elizabeth. Edwin Gordon Wolley and Robert C. Lund, convention delegates from Washington County. Ivins, p. 99

Staker, Susan. "Waiting for World's End" p. XVII.

Taylor, Samuel Woolley. "Family Kingdom", 1974, pp. 174-178.

United States Reports, Vol. 136, pp. 1-68. _The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints vs. United States, Nos. 1030, 1054_.

Van Wagoner, Richard S. "LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890-1904." Dialogue 18, Spring 1985 p. 43.

Van Wagoner, Richard S. _Mormon Polygamy: A History_. (Salt Lake City: Sigmature Books, 1986). Page 138. 

Other related pages would include:

Review of Misleading Histories.

D&C 134 Notes or Article on Marriage.

Ciao Perry

Or if that does not work, try this mail form.

All opinions are mine and mine alone, and represent my thinking at this point in time,

(subject to change based on better information).

All original writings of mine are just that, to reproduce, forward or use, parts or whole, you need to get permission from me first.

Spellings constructed for effect and to confound the ridged. ;)

©1996 by Perry L. Porter. All copyrights are maintained by any parties (individual or corporate) which may have originally created any of the information or artwork contained herein. If you see your work, and I've mistakenly not given you or your company credit, please E-mail me, I'll gladly add the appropriate credit, if you feel it's necessary.

plporter@pobox.com (E-Mail)

http://pobox.com/~plporter (Homepage)

ftp://ftp.xmission.com/pub/users/p/plporter (download)

http://www.xmission.com/pub/users/p/plporter (download)

Visitors since I started tracking them on Jan. 1st 1998.

This page updated on March 28th 1998.