Zina Young Williams Card
Zina Young Williams Card:
"No Ordinary Frontier Woman"
Donald G. Godfrey, Ph.D.
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunication
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona 852871305
Prepared for consideration by
The Journal of Mormon History
Zina Young Williams Card:
"No Ordinary Frontier Woman"
Zina Young was no ordinary lady. She was more than a sunbonnet pioneer.(1) She was a noble
frontier woman whose life was involved with the divergent forces of her genteel heritage and the
hostility of a colorful era in the history of western United States. She was one of the eldest daughters
of Brigham Young, a position which gave her prominence within the Mormon Church, as well as Utah
and southern Alberta societies. She was among the earliest leaders of the Young Women's Mutual
Improvement Association. She was the first "Ladies Matron" at the Brigham Young University--
appointed to the BYU Board of Trustees by President Joseph F. Smith. She was one of the first women
from the state of Utah working in the suffrage movement, an assignment which gave her international
recognition. She toured the eastern United States as an ambassador, speaking out for her religious
beliefs, and hosted a parade of Canadian dignitaries in her home as a part of the Mormon migration
into Alberta. Zina left the comfort of her Utah home in 1887 to escape the persecution she and her
husband endured at the hands of the U.S. marshals, during the days of polygamy. Zina and her
husband, Charles Ora Card, were among the first of the Mormon settlers in southern Alberta, Canada.
Apostle John Taylor singled out Zina as a major factor in the Canadian Mormon settlement, "Zina had
a mission here [in Canada]"(2) In Southern Alberta the Mormons founded Cardston; and Zina was the
settlements' 'first lady.'
Literature Review and Purpose
In the rush to study Mormonism, feminism, and polygamy, the names of Zina Young
Williams Card and her mother often surface.(3) Campbell mentioned Zina's mother, Zina D. H. Young,
but he did not describe her personal situation in any depth.(4) Higbee noted Zina's birth in her
publication of diary excerpts from Zina D. H. Young, but unfortunately offered no description or
analysis in what is little more than edited excerpts from Zina D.H. Young's diary.(5) Embry who
completed the most extensive work on Mormon polygamous families(6) mentioned the Canadian
migration, and noted that Zina Young Card had advised Annie Clark Tanner to take great care in
Annie's decision as whether or not to give up her home and move to Canada.(7) In her earlier work
Embry again passed only lightly over Zina in spite of her prominence with the Canadian colonies.(8)
Bradley and Woodward provide a stimulating work on Zina D.H. Young and what polygamy meant to
her, but have superimposed feminist theory over their final analysis.(9) Beecher comes closest to the
human element when she described the "Mormon Women in Southern Alberta," and briefly discussed
the significance of Zina's influence.(10) The history of the Mormons in Canada she continued, "has been
written about men and their concerns."(11) This is true in the life of Zina Young Williams Card. The
scholarship is on Charles Ora Card, her husband, and his Canadian exploits is abundant, but little has
been written in relation to Zina's history or her involvement in the settlement.(12)
The archives, letters and family papers tell the interesting story of Zina Young Williams Card.
She reflected, at times, an ominous character in contrast to the glowing family portraits. It is not the
purpose of this paper to present a genealogy or a theoretical analysis. The purpose here is to present a
brief description, a chronological biographical sketch of Zina Young Williams Card that we may probe
into her motives, her personality and the environment that produced her character.
A Daughter of Brigham Young: The Protected and Learning Environment
Zina Young was born April 3, 1850, in the "old log row the first house built [by Brigham
Young] after he entered the [Salt Lake] valley."(13) She was given the name of her mother, Zina Diantha
Huntington Young, by her father.(14) The Huntington family roots dated back to England. The family
immigrated to America in 1633 and established themselves in the state of Massachusetts. They were
strict Presbyterians. Samuel Huntington was reportedly one of the signers of the Declaration of
Independence.(15) Zina D. H. Young herself, Zina Card's mother, was a notable figure of Mormon
history.(16) Married first to Henry Bailey Jacobs, then sealed to Joseph Smith and then Brigham Young,
she was the wife of two prophets.(17) She, like her daughter who would follow, worked in the Church
Relief Society, was matron at the Salt Lake Temple and later, General President of the Relief Society.
Zina Card and her mother, Zina D. H. Young, were close. Family papers are replete with references
to this mother and daughter bond. In the Brigham Young family Zina Card, the daughter, grew up as
one of "the big ten"--this was what President Young called his ten eldest daughters(18) and it gave
young Zina both refined learning opportunities and a position of prominence. She moved into the
"Lion House" when she was six years of age and lived with twenty-nine other children.(19) Zina wrote
affectionately of her life in her father's home:
How joyous were our lives. There were so many girls of nearly the same age, and everything
was so nice. Our mothers all occupied their apartments on the center floor. The upper floor we
children had for bedrooms. Downstairs were the dining room, kitchen, wash room, school
room, weave room, and cellars. The parlor, a large well-lighted, well-furnished and well-kept
room was the place where our father assembled his family every evening for prayers. No scene
is more vivid in my mind than the gathering of our mothers with their families around them,
our loved and honored father sitting by the round table in the center of the room. We all
controlled every childish display of temper or restlessness, and a sweet spirit of reverence
pervaded all hearts. His presence was commanding and comforting, a peaceful control of his
family that brought love and respect for him and each other, and his prayers were the grandest
and most impressive I have ever heard.(20)
Brigham Young tried to provide a good education for his children and "to give everyone in his family
an opportunity for knowledge, improvement and culture".(21) They had a music teacher, a dance teacher
and a governess. When they had learned a song, a dance or a part in a play they performed it for their
father. Zina's first educational classroom experience was conducted in the basement of the Lion
House, where Harriet Cook, another one of Brigham Young's wives, conducted school classes for the
As a child Zina was insulated from the trials which surrounded the Mormon pioneers.
Situations were mentioned only in passing within her papers. She recalled, for example, the hunger
brought on by the famine of 1856, the year the grasshoppers devoured the crops of Utah. She and her
family were in a room adjacent to the kitchen one evening having prayers when a large man came into
the house and ate the "hominy" [cereal] which had been prepared for the children.(23) Zina's mother
explained to the children that the man must have been working and needed the food, therefore, they
"must forgive him."(24) Similarly, when the invasion of General Albert Johnston's Army (the U.S.
Army) occurred, Zina still in her youth, was with Brigham Young's families up in the Big Cottonwood
Canyon picnicking. A group of scouts announced to Brigham that the U.S. Army was coming and
while the children did not understand the circumstances, according to Zina's personal history the mood
of the family outing changed dramatically, but she did not elaborate.(25) Shortly, they were on their way
moving "south"--Salt Lake was empty, the Lion House was boarded up and closed.(26) It had to have
been a traumatic experience--but Zina was forever the optimist.
As Zina grew, her position as one of the "big ten" presented her with opportunities to develop
family and Church-wide leadership. In 1869 when President Young organized the Church's first Young
Ladies Mutual Improvement Association, Zina was among the first appointed to leadership.(27) The
organization, called The Retrenchment Association, was started with Young's own daughters. Its
purpose was to encourage a young woman's "retrenchment in fashions, not to give away too much
luxury and following after the pleasures of the world, but to live the plain upright principles of the
Zina learned finesse at the feet of her parents. She recalled one day when Brigham Young was
particularly frustrated with some personal business, he and Zina, his daughter, were working in his
office when a group of visitors came in for an unexpected visit. The company (three gentlemen and
two ladies) was treated with the utmost courtesy and as Zina was showing them to the door she
overheard one of the ladies saying, "I don't blame Brigham Young's wives for falling in love with
him. I could fall in love with him myself."(29)
Leadership Among Women in the Church and the Coming of a Hostile Environment
Zina's life as a polygamist wife and mother was in direct contrast to the life of her youth in
Brigham Young's home. Zina was first married, at the age of eighteen, to Thomas Williams.
Williams, age 40, was an employee of Brigham Young. He had worked as manager of the Salt Lake
Theatre and as Young's bookkeeper for several years. Little was written of this relationship perhaps
because William's death cut it short.(30)
He was much older than she and she didn't think much of love, but to know him was to love
him. She was his second wifemarried in polygamywith the purest, holiest motivesZina
knew what it was to live the higher order.(31)
At twenty-four years of age and after only six years of marriage, Thomas died in Zina's arms on July
17, 1874; she was left alone--a widow with two small sons, Sterling Williams and Thomas Edgar
Williams. Just three years later, on August 29, 1877, her father Brigham Young died.(32)
No doubt deeply affected by her losses, Zina was thrust into a position of self-sufficiency. She
was a single mother with two small sons. In 1877 she moved with her sons to Provo to attend the
Brigham Young Academy and was employed as the first Ladies Matron, a position she held until 1884.
This meant she was a member of the faculty and head of the "young ladies' department."(33) She was
well acquainted with the workings of Brigham Young Academy (later Brigham Young University) and
its early challenges. Writing in remembrance of Karl G. Maeser, she recalled being distressed about
the financial support for the school given by President Taylor, who had succeeded Brigham Young as
Church President. She was influential and spoke out on the situation.
Being matron to the girls I was well acquainted with its troubles and dark outlook for the
future. I told President Taylor that I could not understand how it was that the Spirit of God
had inspired my father to establish these church schools for the benefit of the youth of Zion
[and] why he as President could not view it in the same light and had not given to the school
the support father had intended for it .(34)
President Taylor told Zina of his vision with President Young and assured her of the "bright
future in store" for Brigham Young Academy.(35)
Later, it was President John Taylor who called Zina to accompany Emmeline B. Wells to the
1879 National Woman's Suffrage meetings in Washington D.C. Here she mingled comfortably with
such notables as Susan B. Anthony. At the meetings Wells was placed on the resolutions committee
and Zina on the finance committee.(36) The suffragists' meeting occurred during the same time the U.S.
courts were hearing their first cases on the issue of polygamy.(37) Congress was just beginning its
discussion of what would later become the Edmunds-Tucker Act which would make polygamy illegal.
Two remarkable events took place at this time when the representatives from Utah were asked to speak
before the United States Senate and at the White House with President and Mrs. Rutherford B.
Hayes.(38) On these occasions "Zina stressed her belief in the sacred principle under which she had been
born and married if sorrows lived in the hearts of women it would be a far greater one to be the
mother of fatherless children who were not claimed, honored, or respected by men who should have
protected them. We ask justice at your hands."(39)
Following Zina's address to the Senate, she was called for an interview with Senator George
Franklin Edmunds of Vermont. The meeting was "cordial," but did little to influence the hostile
Zina expressed her religious sentiment and tried to prove to him [that the Holy Order of
matrimony] seemed far more holy and upright and just to womankind than any other order of
marriage. He smiled benignly at her convictions but could not gainsay them, and thanked her
for the interesting facts she had told him concerning her father's life and her mother's
The involvement of Zina and Emmeline in the suffrage meetings created a little stir among the eastern
suffragists who were uncertain as to how to treat these two women of plural marriages, but in general,
"these two Mormon ladies won the hearts of everyone there and were treated in a very cordial manner
by this gathering of the most noted women of our country."(41) Upon returning home to Utah, the two
toured, lecturing on their experiences--Zina was a fluent and forceful speaker. C. O. Card, her second
husband, recorded a meeting in Ogden where the congregation was addressed by "Zina Young
Williams," who, "had just returned from Washington where they had been to represent the sisters of
our Church "(42) Iverson credited these two, as the first Mormon women "thrust into the movement
and thereafter became active in promoting an enlarged sphere for women."(43) The suffragists movement
was one with which Zina would continue her involvement. She was not one to back away from an
issue. She spoke her mind and tried to win people over with another defense--information and
friendship.(44) Later, in 1898 Zina would be called from Canada by President Taylor to tour the eastern
United States, visiting with dignitaries and talking about her life as a Mormon frontier woman.(45) She
knew the traditions of both Mormon women and eastern cultures, and reflected them affirmatively.
Zina Young Williams Card had risen to her own prominence.(46)
Zina and Charles Ora Card's relationship began at the time she was Matron of the Academy.
Card had two of his own children, from his first marriage, who were in attendance and Zina was
involved in counselling his daughter. Card saw his daughter's disenchantment with her father and his
church as a result of his controversial (polygamous) public life, and he encouraged her to seek out
"Sister Zina and allow her to advise you."(47) Card made several trips to Provo visiting his own children
and was also reportedly heroic in saving some of the books and valuable papers from a fire which
almost destroyed the school.(48) The relationship between Zina and Card grew serious following the
dedication of the Logan Temple. Zina and her mother had been called to work in the Temple, May 19
.(49) They were considering the purchase of C.O. Card's home in Logan where they expected to
live and work in the temple.(50) It was on May 25, 1884 while at her home in Provo making provisions
to move to Logan that she received a letter from C.O. Card proposing marriage:
While she respected him very much she had never thought of [marriage] for him [sic]. She
deferred answering him until she went back to Logan. She had a dream that convinced her that
he was the right man. They were married on the 17th of the following June, 1884.(51)
She was thirty-four years of age, he was forty-five. It was a marriage which would lead Zina into a
Zina In The Mormon Underground
Zina was the third wife to C. O. Card. He was a prominent civic leader in Logan and was the
Logan Stake President.(52) He owned the sawmill, served as city councilman, and justice of the peace.(53)
The 1887 passing of the Edmunds-Tucker Act, however, prohibited him from holding public office.(54)
It was an experience which thrust Zina from her well-to-do positions of prominence down to periods of
hiding and poverty.(55) This was a time when the Mormon women were disenfranchised, the wives
hunted and subpoenaed to testify at the trials of their husbands.(56) The husbands were hunted and when
caught they were jailed.(57) Just one year after Zina and Card were married, and only three weeks after
the birth of their first son Joseph, they were being pursued by the U.S. Marshalls. They were forced to
flee their home in the middle of the night, traveling several miles to find safety. Several times they hid
in "a secret room in the Temple."(58) One time after they had been separated, Zina, dressed as an "old
woman with a basket on her arm and a broken umbrella over her head," had to go out on foot to find
food and shelter for her family. The next day, she was united with her husband only to discover that
they were being watched. They had little to eat, only flour:
Faint with hunger, she [Zina] lay on the ground [Charles] found an old tin plate and put
flour and water and soaked a prairie chicken [that he shot] on the stick. Never did food taste so
Communication between wives and husbands during this time was conducted secretly--letters
were carefully written with the use of aliases. Cy Williams, Jesse Tuttle and Zimri Jorgenson were
aliases used for C. O. Card in exile.(60) Those who dared put their feelings in writing had their letters
hand carried back and forth through the aid of other wives and friends. Writing to Card in exile, Zina
expressed her loneliness and revealed the care being taken in communication.
I thank you for the letter, the lines and the love expressed . If we could meet and talk with
no paper to witness what might be said/or what might not be said--so sad [emphasis in the
In another letter of the same period Zina continued to express fear for her own safety and warned Card
of the pending dangers. "Exum [the marshall who had earlier captured Card only to have him escape](62)
is making threats to everyone, and says if it takes 40 years he will get you." Although Zina was never
subpoenaed, she noted that Sarah Jane Painter, Card's second wife, had already been called to testify at
Card's trial, Zina continued, "I am feeling more uneasy for myself now than ever before."(63) A letter of
October 25, 1886, addressed "Dear Zimri" expressed her emotions and the pending danger:
To know you are well and safe is all the best news, and your safety depends on your keeping
away from here demonic vengeance marks the very step of our enemies. Exum [the
marshall] openly declares he will arrest [you] because the officers said you had "greased"
The Mormon underground produced women with families which were fatherless and unsettled
during these years of prosecution--they were largely single self-supporting mothers for the time.
Fathers were jailed, in hiding, called on missions, working away from the prosecution on the railroads
and/or migrating to Canada and Mexico to escape. Zina's family was no exception. Card's first wife
Sarah Jane Beirdneau fell out of good standing with the Church and divorced him.(65) Card's second
wife Sarah Jane Painter lived alone at 47 N. 3 West in Logan with her children after the U.S. marshals
began pursuing him.(66) Zina, his third wife, also lived in Logan during the first part of her underground
experience, then moved to Canada; and, Lavinia Clark Rigby, Card's fourth wife also lived alone,
moving from Logan to Rexburg, Idaho (and later Teton, Wyoming) with her children during the
The persecution created different family lifestyles than Zina had experienced. Her marriage to
Card was a polygamous partnership, but she and the other families often lived separately and each of
Card's wives managed a completely separate household. Card visited them only as occasion, time,
duties, and the U.S. marshals would permit. There were times when these visits were separated by
almost two years.(68) Each wife was essentially alone, a mother, and during these times, the chief
provider for her family.
Despite hardship, there were few hints of defection among the remaining three wives of
Charles Ora Card.(69) Indeed they seem to have treated one another as sisters, and with the persecution
they grew in strength. This was common in polygamous families as the women often worked along
side of one another and their husbands to support their families.(70) Zina's letters and Card's diaries are
full of optimism, expressions of love and descriptions of the relationships as plural wives. For
example, on one of his frequent trips from Canada to Utah, Charles, Zina and George Cyrus [a son of
Sarah Jane Painter] stopped at Lavinia's home in Wyoming. C.O. Card described the happy meeting of
"my two families "(71) Writing to her husband when he was at the home of another of his wives, Zina
Your presence today would make our little home a "heaven" indeed, but I know you are happy
and blest in the society of your own loving true and lovely wife. And I can say truly I have not
a pang of envy or jealousy, but feel to thank God that those to whom I owe the duty of loving
Zina, Card, and his other wives would have preferred being together as families had before the
persecution, but the opposing tides of the social and political era would not permit it. In one of her
letters she describes the marshals, "Demonic vengeance marks every step of our enemies".(73) Later, she
writes of the people leaving Logan with their families to escape harassment of the legal authorities,
"There is a scattering in Logan, and many are fleeing." A note of encouragement to her exiled
husband follows, "if you get a good place to settle you will soon have plenty of company".(74) There is
a complete change in the tone of her letters as her husband returns from exile and persecution ends.(75)
References to the challenges were rare in comparison to the many expressions of love and optimism. In
Zina's writing, any problem was viewed as a trial, a challenge to overcome, and mention of such was
always balanced with comments of lasting love. Problems were downplayed as Zina preferred an
optimistic outlook toward the future and the "will of God."(76)
Zina is Thrust into the Canadian Experience
It was 1886, only four years before the Manifesto, when John Taylor, President of the Church,
called upon Charles Ora Card to explore the British Territory for Mormon settlement. The catalyst for
the move was to escape the authorities, but President Taylor had asked, according to Card, that he,
"assist in establishing a new colony."(77) After his exploration and return to Utah, Card's wives were
anxious to accept the challenge and conversed "freely" about who would go to Canada.(78) Together they
decided that Zina would make the move.(79) She wrote that she was ready to move anytime. "We are
ready to roll out any day or stay here if you say so."(80) The decision to emigrate to Canada was not an
easy one for Zina. Even though it would provide respite from religious persecution, it meant she
would have to leave her mother. Zina's mother and both of Card's parents had a very close
relationship with their children and their parting was sorrowful.(81)
It was almost spring before Zina and the original forty-one recruits began their journey toward
Canada.(82) Zina and a small party of colonists came north in wagon trains. Everything a family owned
was packed into one, or sometimes two wagons. Years later, The Lethbridge Herald described one of
the first groups of settlers:
Wagons carried crates of chickens a rack was made on the back of the wagon for a newborn
calfThe wagons carried cook stoves, a plow, shovels, axes, picks, pitchforks, wrenches,
camp cooking utensils, as well as flour, vegetables and oats for the horses.(83)
Zina travelled slowly with a hired hand, a herd of cows, a few horses, her son Sterling Williams, age
7, and her baby Joseph, age 3. They were with a company which included John A. Woolf and his
wife, George W. Lewis, Henry Matkin and families--there were "41 souls, 12 heads of families, and
with their wives and children."(84) Zina's only problems occurred when a railroad train ran over one of
their best horses; and when Zina had to dismiss the teamster who had been hired to travel with
them--he had used profane language and she became upset when her young son began mimicking him.
So Zina dismissed the man and drove the wagon alone with the rest of the party.(85) Zina's wagon met
Card just south of Helena as he returned to meet them. He wrote:
I can assure the future perusers [sic] of my Journal that this was a happy meeting for me to
meet a faithful wife and sons who had toiled through a month of cold stormy weather [to
make the trip to Canada]. I found this little Spartan like Band in good spirits for they had
leaned on the Lord.(86)
They drove through streams and rivers reaching Cardston, June 3, 1887.(87) It snowed six inches that
first night, but the families were thankful for their safety "even in the storm."(88) Zina and her little
family lived in a tent through the summer of 1887, after which she moved her family into a single
room log cabin where they remained for 13 years. Card called this home Zina's Canton Flannel
Palace." It was decorated with flannel, the window curtains with Nottingham lace and hand painted oil
cloth. The furnishings were reflective of family living, yet suitable for dignitaries who came to visit.(89)
It was the turn of the century before they were able to construct a new brick home. This home
was built by Card, with Zina insisting on using as much "home labor" as possible. The cost, $6,000,
came from Zina's "own means,"(90) from the inheritance she received from the Brigham Young estate.(91)
A Canadian Frontier Woman and Cardston's First Lady
Zina's role as the new settlement's first lady was an important one.(92) Widespread publicity in
the United States concerning the "Mormon problem" created problems for the budding settlement and
created a lot of work for Zina. The Mormons were a curiosity and Zina played a significant role in the
new colony. As far east as Quebec, the Montreal Star opposed the settlement, commenting on the need
to "teach these Mormons to respect the law when any attempt is made by them to set it at defiance."(93)
Zina functioned not only as a wife and mother, but as first lady of the new colony.(94) She was,
according to Beecher, "the unquestionable female leader of the Alberta colonies."(95) She entertained a
continuous flow of visitors, "hundreds and hundreds of strangers,"(96) as her daughter recalled, these
included Canada's Governor General, Lord Stanley; the Honorable McKenzie Bowell, Minister of
Customs; and a string of curious officials.(97) "Entertaining company at my house," Card wrote, was a
common affair, "[strangers] of which not a few called. Many came out of curiosity as we were
Mormons and now on British [sic] soil."(98) Zina prepared her household for these visits and she was
also an active participant in the political discussions. She was known as the daughter of Brigham
Young, Card's plural wife and, as a result, was continually asked about the Church and polygamy.
Here again, as with the suffragist movement, she met opposition with information, courtesy and
boldness. On August 28, 1890, for example, at a meeting with government officials in Fort Macleod,
"she fired up in defense and some rather sharp retorts were indulged in."(99) Zina organized the
Dominion Day celebrations, inviting not only the Mormon settlers, but their "gentile friends."(100) This
was the big annual event for the settlers. She was the only woman of the new colony to play such a
prominent role in the challenges of Canadian Mormon settlement. She was a curiosity factor for
visiting dignitaries, a political ambassador for the Church as well as a frontier wife and mother. In
1898 she was called on an eastern United States mission, for six months, where she toured with her
half sister Susan Y. Gates.(101) Their objective was to go "through the Eastern states lecturing to allay
prejudice as the daughters of Pres. B. Young."(102)
In 1890, when the settlement petitioned the Northwest Territories for incorporation to establish
a general store, a cheese factory, a creamery, a sawmill and other cooperative businesses, Zina
provided another kind of support for the new colonies. It was Zina who provided major financial
contributions to create these business cooperatives. She had inherited a large sum of money, reportedly
$30,000, from her father's (Brigham Young's) estate(103) and her cash contribution provided a
foundation for the operations while others contributed time and labor to pay for their portions.(104) These
were businesses created for the building of the city and followed the settlement pattern of other
Mormon settlements.(105) Similarly, 13 years after she had arrived on the banks of Lees Creek, it was
Zina's inheritance which was used to help build a large brick home where more, "distinguished
visitors including English nobility were entertained."(106)
During the time Zina lived in Cardston, she was also a spiritual leader. She served as
President of the Young Woman's Mutual Improvement Association--for sixteen years. She formed a
community dramatics association and sponsored local theatre. She was an active participant in all of
the organized Church meetings.(107) She was a chief link to the Church's "governing network in Salt
Lake City."(108) Church Apostle John Taylor noted, "Zina had a mission here [in Canada] and had done
much good in meeting the men and women of this nation."(109) She was the first lady of the new
Canadian Mormon colony!
Zina's Last Years
Zina was a product of her environment. She was born into circumstances that provide her the
best times had to offer its youth. She was educated and cultured in the home of her father--Brigham
Young. She was one of the original leaders in the development of the young women's program. She
was a youngster with leadership, knowledge and position. She exhibited the strengths of her character
in defense of her beliefs. She was an uncritical participant, indeed a proponent of the system of
polygamy. Zina's trials were in defense of a system she lovingly embraced. As the daughter of
Brigham Young she was a curiosity factor. She went to Washington D.C. and toured the eastern states
presenting a foreboding defense in behalf of her Church. She could 'fire up a defense' for polygamy in
the Senate, the White House or with curious visitors in her Canadian frontier home.
In contrast Zina's papers reveal a compassionate softer side of this frontier woman. She was a
loving daughter, wife and mother. She had an extremely close relationship with her mother (Zina D.
H. Young). During her extended stay in Canada she left her own home for a time to serve as secretary
to her mother in the Church Relief Society Presidency. Zina D.H.'s visits to Canada were treated even
in C.O. Card's diaries as significant events for celebration and in the multitude of visits to and from
Salt Lake C.O. Card was always staying at the home of Zina D.H. and speaking affectionately about
her. Zina's frontier home was meager, but it was a 'flannel palace'fitting for children and the
multitude of dignitaries who would visit she and her husband.
Zina returned to Logan from Canada in 1903 after her husband became ill, in Cardston, and
after his death, at age 67, September 9, 1906, she moved to Salt Lake City where she lived the
remainder of her life. Zina had five children--Sterling Williams, Thomas Edgar Williams; and Joseph
Young, Zina Young (the third Zina) and Orson Rega Card. She was appointed as a member of the
L.D.S. Primary General Board, where she served for the next fifteen years, and assumed the duties as
matron of the L.D.S. Business School in Salt Lake City. On January 31, 1931, at 81 years of age Zina
passed away quietly in her sleep. The Lethbridge Herald published the final tribute:
When Zina Young Carddied the last day of January, 1931, in Salt Lake City, there passed
from this world a woman whose memory will never fade nor dim before the light of other
names so long as Cardston remains to testify of her worth. To all Cardstonians she was known
as "Aunt Zina," for she was a sister to every mother and a friend to all.
1. 1. Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, "'Under the Sunbonnets' Mormon Women With Faces," Brigham
Young University Studies 16 (Summer, 1976): 471484.
2. 2. Donald G. Godfrey, "'Canada's Brigham Young' Charles Ora Card, Southern Alberta Pioneer,"
The American Review of Canadian Studies xviii:2 (Summer 1988): 223. See The Diaries of Charles
Ora Card, January 23, 1894. In Donald G. Godfrey & Brigham Y. Card, The Diaries of Charles Ora
Card: The Canadian Years, 18861903 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1993), 243244.
3. 3. Joan Iverson, "Feminist Implications of Mormon Polygamy," Feminist Studies X:3 (Fall, 1984):
518. See also Julie Dufrey, "Living the Principles: Mormon Women Utopia and Female Sexuality in
the Nineteenth Century," Feminist Studies X:3 (Fall 1984): 523536.
4. 4. Eugene Campbell, "Divorce Among Mormon Polygamists," Utah Historical Quarterly 46 (Winter,
5. 5. Marilyn Higbee (Ed.), "A Weary Traveler: The 184850 Diary of Zina D.H. Young," Journal of
Mormon History 19:2 (Fall, 1993): 88 & 118.
6. 6. Jessie L. Embry, Mormon Polygamous Families: Life In The Principle, Salt Lake City: University
of Utah Press, 1987.
7. 7. Embry, 2425 & 156.
8. 8. Jessie L. Embry, "Exiles for the Principle: L.D.S. in Canada," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon
Thought 18 (Fall, 1985): 108116.
9. 9. Martha Somutag Bradley and Mary Brown Firmage Woodward, "Plurality, Patriarchy and the
Priestess: Zina D.H. Young's Naive Marriages," Journal of Mormon History, 20:1 (Spring 1994):
10. 10. Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, "Mormon Women in Southern Alberta," in Brigham Y. Card,
Hebert C. Northcott, John E. Foster, Howard Palmer and George K. Jarvis eds., The Mormon
Presence in Canada (Edmonton: The University of Alberta Press, 1990), 211230.
11. 11. Beecher, "Mormon Women in Southern Alberta," 212.
12. 12. For Scholarship on Zina Young Williams Card see Mary Brown Firmage, "Dear Sister Zina
Dear Brother Hugh," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 21 (Summer, 1988); Beecher, "Each
In Her Own Time"; Higbee, "A Weary Traveler"; also Janet Peterson and La Rene Grant, "Zina
Diantha Huntington Young," Elect Ladies (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990), 4349. For
scholarship on Charles Oren Card, See Godfrey & Card, ix-xxxix.
13. 13. "A Life Sketch of the Life of Zina Young," p. 1, Box 2, Folder 20. Brigham Young University
Archives and Manuscripts Division, Harold B. Lee Library. The Zina Young Williams Card
Collection. Hereafter referred to as the Zina Card Papers. The reader will note that within the papers
of Zina Young Williams Card there are five different personal histories cited. Each is similarly titled;
only one contains an author by line and date, so care has to be taken here to separate these documents.
(1) "A Life Sketch of the Life of Zina Young Card," (2) "A Biographical Sketch of the Life of Zina
Young Williams Card," written by Zina Card Brown, April 3, 1930 (3) "A Zina Young Card,"
appears to have been written by Zina Card-Brown, circa 1949 (4) "A Biographical Sketch of Zina Y.
Card," and (5) "Life Sketch of Zina Presendia Williams Card." It appears all were co-authored by a
member of Zina's family as all present glowing portraits.
14. 14. Zina Card Papers, Personal Histories. All document her heritage. See also Leonard Arrington,
Brigham Young: American Moses (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 171.
15. 15. "A Biographical Sketch of Zina Y. Card," p. 2, Box 2, Folder 20. Zina Card Papers.
16. 16. Martha Sonntag Bradley and Mary Brown Firmage Woodward, "Plurality, Patriarchy & the
Priestess: Zina D. H. Young's Navoo Marriages," Journal of Mormon History 20:1 (Spring, 1994):
84-118. See Peterson & Gaunt; also Higbee; and Beecher; "Each In Her Own Time "
17. 17. Beecher, "Each In Her Own Time ," 126129.
18. 18. "Zina Young Card," p. 1, Box 2, Folder 20. Zina Card Papers.
19. 19. "A Biographical Sketch," 5. Zina Card Papers. See also Beecher, "Each in Her Own Time,"
20. 20. "A Biographical Sketch of the Life of Zina Young Williams Card," Salt Lake City, Utah, March
26, 1930. Box 2, Folder 20. Zina Card Papers. See also the Register of the Zina Young Williams
Card Collection," 2.
21. 21. "A Biographical Sketch of the Life of Zina Young Williams Card ," 4, Box 2, Folder 20. Zina
22. 22. "A Biographical Sketch " 5. Zina Card Papers. See Arrington, 1986: 331.
23. 23. "A Biographical Sketch of the Life of Zina Young Williams Card ," 12. Zina Card Papers.
24. 24. "A Biographical Sketch of the Life of Zina Young Williams Card ," 2. Zina Card Papers.
25. 25. Leonard J. Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, (Chicago: University of Illinois Press,
26. 26. "A Biographical Sketch of the Life of Zina Young Williams Card ," 3. Zina Card Papers.
27. 27. Arrington, 1986, 353.
28. 28. "A Biographical Sketch of the Life of Zina Young Williams Card," 5. Zina Card Papers. See
Arrington, 1986, 353354
29. 29. "A Biographical Sketch of the Life of Zina Young Williams Card," 6. Zina Card Papers.
30. 30. Mary B. Firmage, "Life Sketch of Zina Presendia Williams Card," unpublished paper presented
before the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, May 1984, 4. In Brigham Y. Card Papers. See also, A. James
Hudson, "Third Family of Charles Ora Card," in Charles Ora Card: Pioneer & Colonizer (Cardston:
Published by the author, 1963), 181182.
31. 31. "A Life Sketch...," 1 & 35. Zina Card Papers.
32. 32. Arrington, 1986, 382401.
33. 33. See letter to Aunt Zina Y. Card from H. Bullen Jr., July 18, 1906 for documentation relating to
Zina's work in education. See also Beecher, "Each In Her Own Time ," 122.
34. 34. Zina Young Williams Card, Short Reminiscent of Karl G. Maeser. L.D.S. Church Archives,
35. 35. Zina Young Williams Card, Short Reminiscent of Karl G. Maeser. L.D.S. Church Archives,
36. 36. Annie Wells Cannon, "Zina Young Card," Relief Society Magazine, April, 1931: 204. See
Beecher, "Each In Her Own Time," 132. Also Deseret Evening News, 17 January, 1979: 3.
Documentary History 342.
37. 37. The first Edmunds Act outlawing polygamy was passed on March 22, 1882. However, it was not
rigorously enforced until the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887. During this time between the Acts there
were court challenges and a lot of public discussion as the issue crescendoed.
38. 38."A Biographical Sketch ," 910. Zina Card Papers.
39. 39. Deseret Evening News, Jan. 17, 1879, 3. Deseret Evening News, January 18, 1879: 3. "Mormon
Ladies Calling at the White House," Woman's Exponent, 7:212 (15 March 1879). From Philadelphia
Time, January 19, 1879. Journal History, 264, 342 and 328. See also Firmage, 6.
40. 40. "The Utah Ladies in Washington." Deseret Evening News 27:808 (17 January 1879): 3. Journal
History 342. See "A Biographical Sketch," 1011. Zina Card Papers. Also Firmage, 67; and
Beecher, "Each In Her Own Time," 132.
41. 41. "A Biographical Sketch ," 9. Zina Card Papers. See also Zina Young Card Diary, January
1879. Zina Card Brown Papers, L.D.S. Church Archives.
42. 42. Card Diaries, February 6, 1876. These Logan Diaries are held in the Brigham Young University
Library, Archive of the Mormon Experience.
43. 43. Iverson, 518.
44. 44. Beecher, "Each In Her Own Time," 132.
45. 45. Card Diaries, September 14, 1898. Godfrey & Card, 472.
46. 46.Maureen Ursenbach Bechker, "The Leading Sisters,: A Female Hierarchy in Nineteenth Century
Mormon Society." Journal of Mormon History 9(1982): 27.
47. 47. Letter from C. O. Card to Jennie, January 7, 1887. L.D.S. Church Archives, MS 8537, Reel 3.
48. 48. Firmage, 518.
49. 49. Zina Young Williams Diary, May 1884 - June, 1884, L.D.S. Church Archives, MS 4780, Box 3,
Fd 23. See also Firmage, 6.
50. 50. Nolan T. Olsen, Logan Temple: The First One-Hundred Years (Providence, Utah: Keith W.
Watkins and Sons, Inc.), 142. Eugene E. Campbell, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints," in Joel E. Ricks & Everett Cooley (eds.). The History of a Valley, (Logan, Utah: Cache
Valley Centennial Commission), 285286.
51. 51. Zina Young Williams Diary, June 15-19, 1884. L.D.S. Church Archives MS 4780, Box 3, Rd 23.
See also "A Life Sketch ," 3. Zina Card Papers; and also Firmage, 6.
52. 52. Hudson: 3949.
53. 53. Godfrey & Card, xxxvxxxvii. See also Godfrey, 1988, 223234; Card, 1990, 7799.
54. 54. Leonard J. Arrington & Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-Day-Saints, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 139 & 179.
55. 55. See Tracey E. Panek, "Search & Seizure in Utah: Recounting the Antipolygany Raids, Historical
Quarterly, 62:4 (Fall 1994): 316-334. For example, in Zina's life see Diaries of Charles Ora Card,
February 12, 1887. See also Godfrey & Card, 3334.
56. 56. Letter to Zina Card from Charles Ora Card, N.D., L.D.S. Church Archives, MS 4780, Box Fd 6.
Also Arrington & Bitton, 179.
57. 57. Ricks & Cooley, History of a Valley, 112115.
58. 58. Firmage, 7.
59. 59. "A Life Sketch ," 3-4. Zina Card Papers.
60. 60. See C.O. Card and Zina Young Card Collections for examples of aliases used.
61. 61. Letter to Charles Ora Card From Zina Young Williams Card, n.d. 1886-1887, Box 1, File 11.
Zina Card Papers.
62. 62. Godfrey, 225-226. See also Godfrey & Card, 14.
63. 63. Letter to Charles Ora Card From Zina Young Williams Card, n.d. 1886-1887, Box 1, File 11.
Letter separate from note 18. Zina Card Papers.
64. 64. Letter to Charles Ora Card from Zina Young Williams Card, October 25, 1886. Box 1, Folder 5.
Zina Card Papers. See Card Diaries, February 25, 1889 and February 14, 1890; Godfrey & Card, 2-4, 34 & 111.
65. 65. "Sarah Jane Beirdneau" by B.Y. Card. Life Histories of The Wives of Charles Ora Card.
Unpublished manuscript collection distributed to Card Family. Zina Card Papers. Sarah Jane was
excommunicated from the church.
66. 66. See Application for Membership to the Society of Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, May 22, 1917.
Also, letter from Charles ora Card to Sarah J. Painter, May 10, 1887, addressed to Logan, Utah. In
Life Histories of the Wives of Charles Ora Card.
67. 67. See Card Diaries, January 4, 1892. In Godfrey & Card, 198. Also William F. Rigby Family
Papers, Brigham Young University Library Manuscripts.
68. 68. Card Diaries, February 23-25, 1889. In Godfrey & Card, 73. At times during these visits Card
would undertake various projects to raise cash for the family--he would collect a debt, sell a product
or just work around to help out as he could before he had to leave again.
69. 69. Beecher, "Mormon Women in Southern Alberta," 213. See also, Card Diaries, November 22,
1886; December 12, 1886; and, March 6 & 21, 1887.
70. 70. Maureen Ursenbeck Beecher, "Each In Her Own Time: Four Zina's," Dialogue: A Journal of
Mormon Thought, 26:2 (Summer 1993): 130.
71. 71. Card Diaries, September 3, 1895. In Godfrey & Card, 304.
72. 72. Letter to Charles Ora Card from Zina Young Williams Card, "Cosy Nook", Sunday Morning,
1887, n.d. Box 1 Folder 8. Zina Card Papers.
73. 73. Letter from Zina Y. Card to C.O. Card, October 25, 1886. In Zina Card Papers, Box 1, Folder 3.
74. 74. Letter from Zina Y. Card to C.O. Card, November 5, 1886. In Zina Card Papers, Box 1, Folder
75. 75. See Zina's letters in Box 1, Folders 111 and compare them to any other correspondence. The
optimism is a constant, but intonations of anger and loneliness are gone.
76. 76. See letters to Zina Young Williams Card from Charles Ora Card, January 8, 1879 and compare
with letter of December 26, 1886. Zina Card Papers. Also, see Letter from Charles Ora Card to Zina
Young Williams Card, November 17, 1889. Box 11, File 2. Zina Card Papers and Embry, "Exiles
for the Principle," 116.
77. 77. Letter from Charles Ora Card to John Taylor, August 2, 1886. In Card's Letter Press Copy Book,
18791908, L.D.S. Church Archives, MS 128023.
78. 78. "History of Lavinia C. Rigby Card As Told To Her Grandchildren," The Wives of Charles Ora
79. 79. Card Diaries, March 6, 1887. In Godfrey & Card, 36.
80. 80. Letter from Charles Ora Card to Zina Young Williams Card, November 5, 1886. Box 1, Folder
6. Zina Card Papers.
81. 81. See, for example, Godfrey & Card, 10.
82. 82. For a list of other men and wives making the journey, see Godfrey & Card, 4950 and 5455. See
also Brigham Y. Card, "Charles Ora Card and the Founding of the Mormon Settlements in
Southwestern Alberta, North-West Territories," in The Mormon Presence in Canada, 8889.
83. 83. Jane Woolf Bates, "Trek of the Pioneers, of 1887," The Lethbridge Herald, June 19, 1937.
84. 84. Godfrey & Card, 55.
85. 85. "A Biographical Sketch of the Life of Zina Young Williams Card, 12. Zina Card Papers.
86. 86. Card Diaries, May 12, 1887. In Godfrey & Card, 5455.
87. 87. Godfrey & Card, 58.
88. 88. Godfrey & Card, 58.
89. For a description of the home see letter from Zina Young Card-Brown to Floyd Godfrey, February
17, 1961. Cardston Pioneer Home Museum, Cardston Alberta.
90. "A Biographical Sketch of the Life of Zina Young Williams Card," 14. Zina Card Papers.
91. For a description of this home see C. Frank Steele, "Famous Card House in Cardston, Home of
'Aunt Zina,' to be Razed," Lethbridge News, July 7, 1956. See also "The Settlement of the Brigham
Young Estate, 18771879," Arrington, 1986, 422430.
92. 92. Beecher, "Mormon Women in Southern Alberta," 211228.
93. 93. Quoted in Hudson, 121.
94. 94. Beecher, "Women's Work on the Mormon Frontier," 290.
95. 95. Beecher, "Each In Her Own Time," 122.
96. 96. Letter from Charles Ora Card to Deputy Minister Burgess, Ottawa. See also Card Diaries,
February 21-22, 1890 and November 3, 1888. And "A Biographical Sketch of the Life of Zina Young
Williams Card," 14; "A Life Sketch," 2; and "Zina Young Card," 2.
97. 97. For examples see, Card Diaries, July 1, 1896; August 29, 1896; September 27, 1889; May 31,
1889; September 13, 1889; October 12, 1889; October 29, 1889; August 26, 1890. In Godfrey &
98. 98. Card Diaries, September 13, 1889. In Godfrey & Card, 100.
99. 99. Card Diaries, August 28, 1890. In Godfrey & Card, 149.
100. 100. Card Diaries, July 1, 1888/89/90/91/95. In Godfrey & Card, 59, 96, 137, 196, 297. See specific
reference to Zina's organizing these celebrations in Card Diaries, July 1, 1896. In Godfrey & Card,
101. 101. Card Diaries, September 14, 1898. In Godfrey & Card, 472.
102. 102. Deseret Evening News, Wednesday, 28 September, 1898, 2. See also Card Diaries, September
14, 1898. In Godfrey & Card, 472.
103. 103. Lawrence B. Lee, "The Mormons Come to Canada, 18871903," Pacific Northwest Quarterly,
59 (January, 1968): 19. See Aarington, "The Settlement of the Brigham Young Estate, 187779,"
Pacific Historical Review 21 (February 1952): 1-20. Also, Arrington, Brigham Young & The
American Moses, 497 and Appendix D.
104. 104. C.A. Dawson, "Group Settlement: Ethnic Communities in Western Canada," Vol. VII, In W.A.
Mackintosh & W.L. Joerg, Eds., Canadian Frontiers Settlement (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada,
1936), Part III, 173272. See also, the Lethbridge News, July 23, 1890.
105. 105. Godfrey & Card, p. xxx-xxxii; Ricks & Cooley, The History of a Valley, 3259; Arrington, Fox
& May, 79110 & 223.
106. 106. C. Frank Steele, "Famous Card House in Cardston, Home of Aunt Zina, to be Razed."
Lethbridge News, July 7, 1956. Note the headline is to Zina, not Charles. This illustrates Zina's
prominence, even as it lingered years later.
107. 107. For a dramatic example of this involvement see Card Diaries, December 23, 1894. In Godfrey &
Card, 269. Here at a Sunday School meeting the gifts of the spirit are manifest with Zina
administering blessings to those in attendance.
108. 108. Beecher, "Mormon Women in Southern Alberta," 225. See also "A Biographical Sketch of the
Life of Zina Young Williams Card," 14. Zina Card Papers.
109. 109. Card Diaries, January 23, 1894. In Godfrey & Card, 243.
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