The Cemetery of Brigham Young
One of the lesser known historic sites in Salt Lake City that not a lot of people get a chance to visit is tucked away in this little residential neighborhood about a block away from Temple Square.
In this park, you’ll see a monument to the pioneers that came and settled in Salt Lake Valley. On this side, there’s a bust in the portrait of Eliza R. Snow and a representation of her song, Oh My Father. Over there is a monument to William Clayton, the author of this epic pioneer him, Come, Come, Ye Saints.
But the big reason why this park is significant and special is this is the final resting place of Brigham Young. Brigham Young lives from 18 one to 1877 and is a controversial figure in American history.
Some people criticize Brother Brigham a lot for his forceful ways. Other people believe that he’s a Prophet of God. But there’s nobody that disputes the. Brigham Young was an incredible leader and full of determination. It took a really determined and gifted administrator to come here and cause this place to blossom as the rose like it says in Isaiah and sets up not just a city that survives but a city that thrives and becomes the father of hundreds of settlements in the inner mountain west.
So all the way back here, tucked away in the corner of this park, which was originally Brigham Young’s private family Cemetery, is the place where Brigham Young is buried. Underneath this tablet, the marker here says Prophet pioneer statesman. He’s born in Whittingham, Vermont, but ends his life here in Salt Lake City, Utah, and for 30 years, Brigham Young is the leader of the Church, not just the leader of the Church, but the first two years there in Utah, he is the territorial governor set up by the United States.
He’s the Superintendent of Indian Affairs. He is the political, civil and religious leader of everybody that lives in Utah.
And for his entire life, up until 1877, when he passes away, Brigham Young leads the Saints through this intense era of colonization and travel where they’re relocating from sometimes as far away as Europe, sometimes even further than that, to these valleys in the Intermountain West and alongside Brigham Young and the men that led everybody here is an amazing collection of women that come along with them. For instance, one grave that you’ll want to see right here is Eliza R. Snow. Eliza R. Snow writes a ton of really famous hymns, including My Father.
She writes a bunch of poetry. And if there’s a male leader to the Utah Territory and that’s Brigham Young, the female leader of the Utah Territory is Eliza R. Snow, who’s married to Brigham Young and also sealed to Joseph Smith, one of his wives as well. Eliza is an amazing lady who in a lot of ways acts as kind of the priestess of Zion and does a lot to make sure that women are represented in the leadership of the territory and that there are organizations set up to allow women to use their talents to express themselves and to become part of the whole setup.
So over here is one of my favorite statues of Brigham Young.
This is a representation of Brigham Young with some of his children. Imagine a guy like Brigham Young who is practicing plural marriage and has several wives, has a ton of kids. And yet almost all the kids were unanimous in saying that Brigham Young was a good father, that he paid close attention to him. You imagine a little girl like this being someone like Susan Young Gates, who later on becomes such an important Church leader. She’s sometimes referred to as the 13th Apostle.
And she talked about how she idolized her father, and she was just so excited to see him and wanted his attention and constantly wanted him to pay attention to her and talk to her. He’s a family man for sure, several times over. And that’s part of his leadership, too. If he doesn’t just come here on his own, he’s trying to find a place where his family and where everybody that believes in the gospel can come and live in peace with their families, because at this point, they’ve been driven from place to place.
They’ve lost home after home.
And Brigham wants a place that they can finally call their own and that they have a decent chance of not having taken away from them.