Polygamy and Mormon Church Leaders Thomas Woolsey Intro November 3, 1805 – January 5, 1897

30 May

early mormon polygamistsThomas Woolsey and Samuel Morey, have nothing inThomas Woolseycommon except for one thing. Neither name is widely known, much less used outside their respective fields, yet the contributions of both necessitated their presence. One thing is certain, the early nineteenth century produced its fair share of people filled with grit and ingenuity, and two of those are seen here.

Not many people know the first row of sod furrowed in Utah was done so by Mr. Woolsey. His name isn’t heralded in the hallways of Mormon historical annals, but without his determination Utah would likely be a far different place than it is today. The same can be said of the world’s need for Mr. Morey’s resolve to get things started, no pun intended. About the time Mr. Woolsey was moving from Kentucky to Indiana in 1826, Mr. Morey was finishing up his invention of thecarbeurator. While not everyone understands how it works we all understand enough that until recently, vehicles wouldn’t have worked without it.

The unfortunate part of this story is the legacy of worshiping false gods in Mr. Woolsey’s life. Each time we’ve looked at another polygamist’s life we’ve been met with one contradiction after another, and this time around was no different.

To say Thomas Woolsey left behind a large posterity would be an understatement. At the time of his death the number of his clan was pushing two hundred. We’ve found in our investigations he had 8-9 wives, one of which was his step-daughter, with whom he fathered three children. Another claim-to-fame for Thomas was his brother-in-law; John D. Lee, the fall guy for the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

An ominous statement in one of the family genealogical sites noted Thomas had ‘pressed’ Lee to ‘have the Willis girl’. This gives insight into the darker side, and mindset of the man who was a people pleaser for Brigaham Young.

Three of Mr. Woolsey’s wives would be considered ‘jail bait’ in today’s era. Two were sixteen years old, and the youngest only thirteen – the equivalent of a 7th grader. Thomas was 59  years old at the time.

You can read a short bio on Thomas, and learn more about his wives here.

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