Keywords

Mormon history, polygamy, Utah Territorial Penitentiary, Utah history

Abstract

Approximately 1,300 Mormon men were convicted and sent to prison for polygamy in the 19th century, most of them serving time in the Utah Territorial Penitentiary during the late 1880s and early 1890s. Although it was generally understood that by renouncing the practice of polygamy one could avoid a prison term, this was considered by some to be a dishonorable shirking of one’s faith. Mormon polygamist prisoners began to be called “cohabs,” the word being a shortened version of “unlawful cohabitation,” the crime of which the majority of them were convicted. Referred to as “toughs,” non-Mormon prisoners were generally incarcerated for crimes unthinkable to many of the cohabs. This exhibit reveals what life was like for these two populations in the Utah Territorial Penitentiary in the 1880s.

Original Publication Citation

Wiederhold, Rebecca A. “Cohabs and Toughs in the Pen: Mormon Polygamists in the Utah Territorial Penitentiary.” Small case exhibit in L. Tom Perry Collections lobby (Harold B. Lee Library), February 2018.

Document Type

Other

Publication Date

2018-2

Publisher

Harold B. Lee Library

Language

English

College

Harold B. Lee Library

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

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