By 1812Blockhouse

Her name was Ann Eliza Young, or more officially Ann Eliza Webb Dee Young Denning. She was the 19th wife of Brigham Young, second President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in the latter part of the 19th century she was on a mission to make known the “evils” of polygamy.

Her efforts brought her to Mansfield on Wednesday, April 28, 1875. She arrived as part of a speaking circuit that took her across Ohio that month in an effort to reveal “…the inner side of Mormonism.”

The Boston Post described Young this way: “A slender, graceful woman, with a sensitive face and shy blue eyes, is doing more to rid the country of polygamy than statesmanship has ever been able to do.”

Ann Eliza Young was born in 1844 and was one of Brigham Young’ 55 wives. She became a critic of polygamy and wrote an autobiography titled “Wife No. 19,” and was known as impassioned orator on the lecture circuit. She divorced Brigham Young in 1873 and became an advocate for women’s rights.

The venue for Young’s lecture in Mansfield was the First Methodist Episcopal Church. The church building itself at the corner of Market Street (Park Avenue) and Diamond Street was just five years old at the time. In 1906, the brick church was remodeled and faced with stone, and it still survives at that location.

Local newspapers speculated that the audience for the event would be the largest ever assembled in Mansfield. Tickets were 50 cents, with 75 cent admission for each gentleman and lady. ” The doors opened at 7:30 PM and the lecture started at 8:00 PM.

Young spoke while “…dressed in plain black silk and wore no ornaments of any kind.” Receipts for the lecture were $114. $75 went to Mrs. Young, the remainder to the Library.

More about Ann Eliza Young can be read here.

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