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Brigham Henry Roberts

13 March 1857–27 September 1933

Born 13 Mar. 1857 in Warrington, Lancashire, England.[1] Son of Benjamin Roberts and Ann Reed Everington.[2] Emigrated to the U.S. with his older sister Mary aboard the John Bright, arriving in New York 6 June 1866.[3] Migrated to Utah Territory with the Henry Chipman pioneer company, arriving by 16 Sept. 1866; settled in Bountiful, Davis Co., Utah Territory, with his mother.[4] Baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1869.[5] As a youth, worked as a farm hand, in mining camps, and as an apprentice blacksmith.[6] Ordained as a seventy by Nathan T. Porter, 8 Mar. 1877.[7] President of the Young Men’s Club of Centerville, Davis Co., later the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association, 1877.[8] Graduated as valedictorian from the University of Deseret, 1878.[9] Married Sarah Louisa Smith, 24 Jan. 1878.[10] Participated in plural marriage.[11] Served a mission to the southern U.S.; president of the Tennessee conference, 1880–1882.[12] Served a second mission to the southern U.S.; assistant to mission president John Morgan, 1883–1884.[13] Disguised as a tramp, rescued the bodies of two missionaries slain during the Tennessee Massacre, 10 Aug. 1884.[14] Arrested for unlawful cohabitation, 2 Dec. 1886; before prosecution, was sent on a mission to England to edit the Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star.[15] Appointed as a president of the seventy, Oct. 1888.[16] Surrendered to federal authorities to serve out his sentence of five months and pay a $400 fine for unlawful cohabitation, Apr. 1889.[17] Served as a delegate from Davis Co. to the Utah constitutional convention, 4 Mar.–8 May 1895.[18] During the convention, conflict arose with EBW over the issue of women’s suffrage.[19] Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, much to the dismay of EBW, but was denied his seat due to polygamy, 1898–1899.[20] Chaplain of the First Utah Light Field Artillery, later known as the 145th Artillery Unit, 1917.[21] President of the eastern states mission, 1922–1927.[22] Died 27 Sept. 1933 in Salt Lake City.[23]

 

[1] England and Wales Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837–1915, Warrington Registration District, Lancashire, England, vol. 8C, p. 128. “Brigham H. Roberts,” U.S. Passport Applications, 1795–1925, National Archives and Records Administration. “Family Tree,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org, accessed 14 Aug. 2019), Brigham Henry Roberts (KWCN-82J). 

[2] “B. H. Roberts,” in W. Paul Reeve and Ardis E. Parshall, eds., Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia (Denver: ABC-CLIO, 2010), 171.

[3] “Henry Roberts,” Saints by Sea (http://saintsbysea.lib.byu.edu, accessed 13 Aug. 2019).

[4] “Brigham Henry Roberts,” Pioneer Database (http://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/overlandtravel, accessed 7 Aug. 2019). 

[5] “Endowments of the Living, 1851–1884,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Endowment House, vol. H, p. 396, 1872–1878, line 13, Brigham Henry Roberts, 24 Jan. 1878, microfilm 183407 (restricted access), FHL. 

[6] Richard Campbell Roberts, A History of the B. H. Roberts Family (n.p.: Richard C. Roberts, 2009), 98–100.

[7] Truman Grant Madsen, Defender of the Faith: The B. H. Roberts Story (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980), 81.

[8] Gary James Bergera, ed., The Autobiography of B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990), 55.

[9] Richard Campbell Roberts, A History of the B. H. Roberts Family (n.p.: Richard C. Roberts, 2009), 116.

[10] “Sealings of Couples, Living and by Proxy, 1851–1889,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Endowment House, vol. K, 15 Nov. 1875–25 July 1878, p. 447, line 6324, Brigham Henry Roberts and Sarah Louisa Smith, 24 Jan. 1878, microfilm 183401, DGS, 5270324 (restricted access), FHL. 

[11] “Sealings of Couples, Living and by Proxy, 1851–1889,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Endowment House, vol. M, 1883–1889, p. 73, Brigham Henry Roberts and Celia Ann Dibble, 2 Oct. 1884, microfilm 183402 (restricted access), FHL. 

[12] “Brigham Henry Roberts,” Go Ye into All the World (https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/missionary, accessed 7 Aug. 2019). Missionary Department, Missionary Registers, 1860–1959, vol. B, p. 53, line 2083, CR 301 22, image 54/148, CHL. Southern States Mission, Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1832–1978, vol. 3, 1881–1884, LR 8557 2, CHL.

[13] “Brigham Henry Roberts,” Go Ye into All the World (https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/missionary, accessed 7 Aug. 2019). Missionary Registers, 1860–1959, vol. B, p. 69, line 2740, CR 301 22, image 70/148, CHL. Southern States Mission, Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1832–1978, Part 1, 1883–1884, LR 8557 2, CHL.

[14] Gary James Bergera, ed., The Autobiography of B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990), 136–155. “The Martyred Elders,” Deseret News (Salt Lake City), 20 Aug. 1884, 1. “A Detailed Description of the Cane Creek Massacre,” Deseret News, 27 Aug. 1884, 508.

[15] Andrew Jenson, comp., Church Chronology: A Record of Important Events Pertaining to the History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1914), 111. Truman Grant Madsen, Defender of the Faith: The B. H. Roberts Story (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980), 160–163.

[16] Andrew Jenson, ed., The Historical Record: A Monthly Periodical, Devoted Exclusively to Historical, Biographical, Chronological and Statistical Matters (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson, 1890), 9:123.

[17] Gary James Bergera, ed., The Autobiography of B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990), 175. Rosa Mae McClellan Evans, Judicial Prosecution of Prisoners for LDS Plural Marriage: Prison Sentences, 1884–1895 (n.p.: Rosa Mae M. Evans, 1986), 128.               

[18] Truman Grant Madsen, Defender of the Faith: The B. H. Roberts Story (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980), 217.

[19] Carol Cornwall Madsen, An Advocate for Women: The Public Life of Emmeline B. Wells, 1870–1920 (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2006), 274. Sarah Hancock Jones, “Contention at the Convention,” Better Days 2020 (https://www.betterdays2020.com/blog/2018/10/18/contention-at-the-convention, accessed 21 Aug. 2019). Twila Van Leer, “Utah’s Constitution: Framing Our State’s Foundation,” Deseret News (Salt Lake City), 5 Mar. 1995 (https://www.deseret.com/1995/3/5/19162581/utah-s-constitution-framing-our-state-s-foundation, accessed 21 Aug. 2019).

[20] Carol Cornwall Madsen, An Advocate for Women: The Public Life of Emmeline B. Wells, 1870–1920 (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2006), 396–397. Richard Campbell Roberts, A History of the B. H. Roberts Family (n.p.: Richard C. Roberts, 2009), 118.

[21] Truman Grant Madsen, Defender of the Faith: The B. H. Roberts Story (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980), 301.

[22] “Brigham Henry Roberts,” Go Ye into All the World (https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/missionary, accessed 27 Aug. 2019). Missionary Department, Missionary Registers, 1860–1959, vol. E, 1919–1929, p. 68, line 233, CR 301 22, image 73/287, CHL.  

[23] Utah State Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Death Certificates, 1904–1951, Death Certificates, 193, file 1397, Brigham Henry Roberts, 27 Sept. 1933, microfilm 4120487, DGS 2259932, image 1177/1720, FHL. “N.Y. Papers Honor President Roberts,” Deseret News (Salt Lake City), 29 Sept. 1933, 1. “Full Details for Roberts Funeral Given,” Deseret News, 30 Sept. 1933, 1.