West Point Academy, Richard W. Young, Willard Young, Brigham Young, Mormons and Military Academies, Nineteenth-Century Education, Spanish-American War, World War I


In 1871, Willard Young, eleventh son of Brigham Young, was the first Mormon to receive an appointment to West Point Academy. His attendance at the military academy drew national attention and criticism from opponents of polygamy. Despite the opposition, he soon gained the respect of his classmates and graduated fourth in his class. He returned to teach engineering in 1879, served in the Spanish-American War, earning a commendation from President McKinley, and during World War I was supervisor of army engineering work on the Missouri River. In 1877, one of Brigham's grandsons, Richard W. Young, was the second Mormon to receive an appointment to West Point. Richard also performed well and at graduation was counseled by John Taylor to remain in the army. He resigned in 1888, but volunteered again with the encouragement of Wilford Woodruff at the beginning of the Spanish-American War. He remained in the army through the Filipino Insurrection, where he earned a Medal of Honor. During World War I, he volunteered again and was placed in charge of training at Fort Kearny.

Original Publication Citation

J. Michael Hunter, "The Youngs at West Point," Pioneer, Summer 2002, 26-31.

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Sons of Utah Pioneers




Harold B. Lee Library