THE NAY FAMILY IN UTAH AND THE WEST
JOSEPH BRIGHAM NAY
by Joy Whitney Stubbs
great great grandniece
oseph Brigham Nay was born in Harris Grove, Iowa on the 30th of April in 1847, the sixth child (fourth son) of John and Angelina Nay. His birthplace and distinctive name tell the larger story of faithful Latter-day Saints fleeing the persecution of Nauvoo, Illinois. “Brother Joseph,” the first “Mormon” prophet, had just been martyred in 1844, and Brigham Young, that mighty colonizer of the West, was leading these people to a new Zion in Utah. (The first group reached the Salt Lake Valley in July of 1847.) The Nay family, like many others, stopped to regroup in Harris Grove, Iowa, one of several small “stopping off” settlements in Iowa and Nebraska. Thus, young Joseph Brigham made his appearance into the world in a rough frontier town of newly emigrating pioneers. His honor of this historically significant name is implied in the naming of his eldest son, who inherited the same “Mormon pioneer” designation of Joseph Brigham. Throughout his life, Joseph Brigham Sr. used both of these worthy names at various times, though seeming to favor the name Brigham. (The son was typically known as Joe.)
He appeared as “Joseph B.” at age one in the Harris Grove Branch records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Two years later, at census time, the family was still in Pottawottomi County, Iowa, where he was born. This time the three-year-old boy is listed as “Brigham.” At five years of age, however, he began his many travels, arriving in Great Salt Lake City, Utah in October of 1852 in a covered wagon. He had journeyed across the plains with his family to join the Saints in their new promised land. Brigham Young’s vision of this gathering was far-reaching. Members of arriving wagon trains were often sent on to other destinations in the newly formed Territory of Utah. This was the case for the Allen Weeks’ Company of which the Nay family was a part. Consequently, they helped pioneer Utah Valley, south of Salt Lake City. Nine-year old Brigham is listed with the rest of his family in the 1856 Territorial Census of Stone City, Cedar County (now Cedar Fort, Utah County). While living there in 1855, he was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, being eight years of age.
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