Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Dear Brigham: “You May Some Day Find Your Fatty Sides Tarred and Feathered”

Dear Brigham: “You May Some Day Find Your Fatty Sides Tarred and Feathered”

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 09, 2011

A lot of people didn’t like Brigham Young. A lot of people, though, didn’t bother to write of their dislike of Brigham Young to Brigham Young (I’m going overboard on the italics because … well, you’ll see). This one came in the early days of Utah settlement from someone who evidently didn’t care for what he saw as he passed on through to California.

Crude much, Mr. Anonymous?

Old Humbug

That means Brigham Young the man called President of the Mormons.

Finding an old sheet of foolscap fit for nothing else, and having to do, I take the opportunity of expressing my opinion of you, “an opinion as is an opinion,” and I must say a very contemptuous opinion.

I am one of that company that had flattering introductory letters to President Young.

I am one of that mess that you swindled $25. out of for a set of harness that you bought from our company for $5.

I put you down for an unprincipled old villain, from the first time I heard you speak, indeed it is a mystery to me how the Emigrants could allow you to bluster away in the manner you did; for my part I should like to superintend the immersion of your Porpoise-like body in those boiling spring out of town, I would “do you up brown.”

There is one “flattering unction you can lay to your soul” – I never heard one emigrant speak well of you, I would advise you to be more circumspect in the future, as to your expressions regarding the authorities in the States, or you may some day find your fatty sides “tarred and feathered.”

Another thing I am down on is your pretending to know so much, and advising the Emigrants to wait in your immoral place, and come by the Southern Route. I was fool enough to delay coming through, but thank Heaven not from any thing you could say. I respect your warnings and visions about the same as I do your life of whoredom, by the way how comes on your Twenty-odd spiritual wives Do you engage any assistance in your amour affairs – dont reduce your system by too frequent indulgencies, however there is rumor of a larger emigration across the Plains this year than ever, doubtless many will come through the Valley, so that the male part of the Travellers can help to do up your chamber work, I think they would condescend to gratify the “spiritual creatures.”

I really did not think the civilized part of the world could produce such a mass of base, disreputable, ignorant, ill-looking, and licentious people, it must be difficult sometimes to tell who is the “Babies Papa.” I am sorry I did not become acquainted with your interesting family, as I should like to send the particulars home to the States, however we all tell what we know, and that is sufficient to horrify any descent person.

There have appeared some articles in the New York papers concerning you and your tribe, that I should like you to read. I would send you a number but they contain other and more interesting matter, and I cannot conscientiously favor any one that does me a wrong. The popular opinion is that the only ties that binds Mormons together are bigamy and polygamy. Oh! how we used to scandalize and laugh at you round our camp fires, the poor spiritual dears used to get handled pretty roughly, but they dont mind that.

I wont write you any of the News for you dont deserve it, had I a last year’s Almanack I would send it.

One of your striking characteristicks and one you are most proficient in – is profanity – you swear as if you were brought up to it, you have a hopeful race of youngsters too that imitate you in this particular, and no doubt your example and constant practice will enable them to blaspheme as vilely as their President.

You cannot imagine how much I am relieved by writing to you, I have intended to entertain you for a long while, but waited for a time when I should have nothing else to do. I like to scribble and as I have written all my letters to my kind fiends I amuse myself scrawling to the keeper of 26 (or more) wives.

I think of leaving the City soon or I would persuade you to write to me, no doubt you would be happy to keep up a agreeable correspondence. I somewhat doubt your knowing how to write, I suppose that is not necessary in Lording it over the deluded Mormons or keeping the many wives.

I cannot think of any more pleasant things to write you, do excuse me till some time when I have no other way to employ myself.




  1. This is amazing. They just don’t write hate mail like they used to!

    Comment by E. Wallace — September 9, 2011 @ 7:56 am

  2. As this letter proves, trolls did not originate with the advent of the Bloggernacle.

    I was wondering about the italicized words in the letter, prior to the invention of word processing. How were these in the original?

    Comment by kevinf — September 9, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  3. Since I have nothing better to do, and find that this comment box is good for nothing else, I will condescend to comment and state that I found this letter highly amusing.

    Comment by Matt — September 9, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  4. Yes, E., some hate mailers could take lessons — the hate’s the same, but today’s wording is rather pedestrian, to judge by the stuff that gets caught by my excellent spam filter.

    Underlining, kevinf, heavy underlining. In the dinosaur days of typewriters, we underscored book titles and ship names and other material that would have been italicized if we had been setting type in a printshop, and it’s a convention now to italicize material that was underscored in handwritten or typewritten documents.

    Thank you, Matt, I can’t tell you how honored and flattered and nearly breathless with pleasure I am to have your most excellent participation.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 9, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  5. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to be inserting “Porpoise-like body” into a lot of my correspondence from now on.

    Ardis, I have a strictly professional and scholarly reason for wondering where you came across this letter and its date. I respect your protection of your research on this blog, but if you don’t mind sharing this info, please email me?

    Comment by Mina — September 9, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

  6. When I looked up the source citation to send to Mina, I used “porpoise-like” as my search term. Oddly enough, this letter was the only document in my vast database to return a hit.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 9, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  7. Wow, who would have guessed that the phrase “Baby Daddy” had its origins all the way back in the 1850’s.

    Comment by andrew h — September 10, 2011 @ 6:58 am

  8. aka a “Dear Sir, You Cur” letter.

    Comment by Bookslinger — September 11, 2011 @ 11:11 am

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