SALT LAKE CITY - Former Augusta Mayor Bob Young and his brother Skip, great-great-great-grandsons of Brigham Young, formally presented an heirloom rocking chair to the Mormon church Friday at a home where one of Young's many wives likely sat in it to soothe their children.
The Youngs say the chair has been cherished by their family, but they felt its historical value would be better appreciated by the church and the people of the city founded by their ancestor.
Bob Young is now the regional director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Atlanta.
In a telephone interview with The Augusta Chronicle on Friday, he said the chair originally came to Salt Lake City with Brigham Young and the original settlers of the city.
"It came out on a wagon train," he said. "A historian at the presentation today said he thought Brigham Young may have made the chair. He was a furniture maker."
The Youngs are descendants of Lucy Decker Young, one of the wives of the church president who led members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Brigham Young had 27 wives, who bore him 56 children, according to a history on the Web site for Brigham Young University. A nonprofit genealogy Web site sponsored by the LDS church lists 38 wives for Young.
Skip Young said he and his brother were reared as Episcopalians, but he remembers talking to his grandmother, Mildred Ferguson Young, about her "Book of Mormon" and they were always aware of their relationship to the man Mormons consider a prophet.
The Young brothers' father, Fergus Ferguson Young, had the chair carefully restored in the late 1960s. It had been covered in fabric, hiding the original cane seat and back.
The chair was given to Skip Young by his grandmother. He said the chair is one of the few possessions he has repeatedly taken with him when he's been forced to evacuate his Hilton Head, S.C., home under threat of hurricane.
Skip said it was after he evacuated with the chair for the third time that he told his brother: "You take the chair and enjoy it, and then let's do the right thing."
"It's history to us, but it's greater history is to the Mormon church and the people of Salt Lake City," Skip Young said.
The brothers delivered the chair to the church about two years ago, Bob Young said.
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