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As an apprentice to John Jeffries, teenager Brigham Young became skilled in carpentry and as a glazier and painter. “He became known for his furniture as well as for ornately carved mantelpieces” (see Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4:1601).

This is one of several examples in multiple houses of a decorative feature commonly made by a young Brigham Young. | Kenneth Mays

Brigham Young later was the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Leonard Arrington cites in his “Brigham Young: American Moses,” a contemporary of young President Young as saying that “Brigham did a variety of custom work … building homes; making and repairing furniture; putting in windowpanes, doorways, staircases, and fireplace mantels; and other handyman types of work.”

When Brigham Young was first married in 1824, he and his wife, Miriam, they lived in the region of Haydenville, Port Byron and Auburn, New York. There are still homes in the greater Auburn, New York, area with traditional claims of decorative features made by him.

The owners of one home say that when they were looking at the property, marketers claimed that at least six fireplace mantels in the home were made by Brigham Young. There is also a fanlight doorway as well as decorative moldings and door casings in that house that share the same provenance.

The historic home of William H. Seward, who was Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state, in Auburn has a beautiful fireplace mantel which, tradition holds, was fashioned by Brigham Young (see “Picturing History: Brigham Young fireplace mantel, Auburn, New York,” Jan. 28, 2015). The Seward House Historic Museum is open to the public for tours.

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