John Young, Brigham Young's father, fought in the Revolutionary War under George Washington. The ninth of 11 children, Brigham was known to say, "It was a word and a blow with my father, but the blow came first." In the words of his daughter, Susa: "The childhood of Brigham Young was marked by plain living and high thinking."
His mother, Abigail, or Nabby, was a gentle woman with a nature that was deeply and courageously religious. Brigham was only 14 when she died of consumption at the age of 49. He was well aware of the suffering she endured as she slowly perished away before his eyes. Rather than becoming embittered, this devoted boy allowed his soul to be drawn out in compassion — a quality he would need in abundance throughout his life.
Of his mother, Brigham said, "She taught us to reverence the Holy Book. She said, 'Read it, observe its precepts and apply them to your lives as far as you can. Do everything that is good; do nothing that is evil; and if you see any persons in distress, administer to their wants; never suffer anger to arise in your bosoms, for if you do, you may be overcome by evil.'"