Emeline Free

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Emeline Free was one of Brigham Young’s wives and bore him more children than his other wives—ten. She had her own home, called the Grant House, as it was built by Jedediah M. Grant who was a friend and counselor of Brigham Young. The site of the home is where the present City Creek Mall is located in downtown Salt Lake City.

Emeline (sometimes spelled Emmeline) was born on April 28, 1826, in Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois. She was born into a large deeply religious family who were taught the gospel in the summer of 1830 and were baptized in 1834. They sold their property and moved to Far West. They eventually had to leave their nice home in Far West and joined the Saints in Nauvoo, where Emeline married Brigham on April 30, 1845.

Susa Young Gates remembers Emeline as “beautiful as a dream, magnetic, with dark brown hair, regular features, sparkling eyes, a certain vivacity of manner which instantly won and held the pleased attention of her listeners.”[1]

She died on August 17, 1875. She had been an invalid for many years toward the end of her life and was addicted to the oft-prescribed painkiller of the time—laudanum. Part of her obituary read: “We are seldom called upon to mourn the loss of one more beautiful in character or more mature in christian faith. She was blessed by nature with a rare union of gentleness and strength, of sensitiveness and firmness, of free, joyous life and deep thoughtfulness. Her face was the true index of her heart — it was marked by purity and earnestness… Her trust in God was like that of a little child… In prayer, she found both joy and strength… As a mother, her devotion was unsurpassed… Her ready sympathy and words of encouragement will long live in the hearts of those who were privileged to know her.”[2]

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