Brigham Angell Holbrook

1856 - 1923

Brigham Angell Holbrook Family
back row:  Horace Cook, David Leo, Ira Cook, Brigham Cook, Lamoni Cook, Mark Cook, Ralph Cook
front row:  Ward, Hannah (mother), Brigham Angell (father), Hannah Ann, Clifford Joseph

    Brigham Angell Holbrook was born near Bountiful, Utah Territory about 10:00 Sunday evening,  February 10, 1856. He was the second son of Joseph and Caroline Frances Angell Holbrook.  He was given a name and a Father's Blessing on February 18th.

    On December 18, 1876, Brigham married Hannah Cook in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.

    Brigham and Hannah were parents to the following nine sons and daughter:

Brigham Cook Holbrook, born October 13, 1877
Ira Cook Holbrook, born December 8, 1879
Horace Cook Holbrook, born October 5, 1881
Mark Cook Holbrook, born October 21, 1883
Hannah Ann Holbrook, born December 3, 1885
Lamoni Cook Holbrook, born February 21, 1888
Ralph Cook Holbrook, born September 27, 1890
David Leo Holbrook, born August 21, 1894
Ward Cook Holbrook, born April 1, 1899
Clifford Joseph Holbrook, born January 5, 1901

    It was with much dedication that Brigham and Hannah reared their children. They all had love for the gospel and tried to live in accordance with the commandments. Likewise, he taught his children to work hard and be obedient to authority. It was said of Brigham that if the sons were out later than their father had expected, they were called an hour earlier in the morning to get their chores done.

    At noontime, when the boys came in for their dinner, it was the custom to kneel around the table and have family prayer.  Brigham read the Bible every night in his favorite chair.    

    Brigham acquired a large number of acres of land in Clearfield, Utah Territory. He divided this land up among his sons and each was responsible for its upkeep. He also had a large farm in Bountiful which was well kept. His sons took pride in washing and arranging the vegetables on the wagon to take to the market in Salt Lake City.

    Ward Cook Holbrook, one of Brigham's sons, wrote the following about his father in his autobiography:

    "Father was a kindly man. I cannot remember his ever hurting me by hand, deed or word, except that often, in fact most of the times that have stuck in memory, I had to work when other kids had time to play. Work and study were always the order of the day. I suspect father was never hungry for long nor was he ill-housed or ill-clothed to the point of personal discomfort. But I am convinced that life was hard, very hard, measured by self-denial, work and disappointments. His school education was limited but his learning was supreme. He was a student, a philosopher and a saint. His acumen in measuring people, situations and business matters was of a high order. He had high regard for educated people and encouraged his children to strive for an education. I recall how disappointed he was when I announced that I loved farming and had decided to make it my vocation in life. Only one of my brothers who preceded me, Horace, had chosen a professional career and even he pursued agriculture with some intensity as a side line and, perhaps, became the largest landowner and farm operator of us all.

    "I do not know much about father's health in the early part of his life. Up to almost the end of his days he could endure a 16- or 18-hour day of strenuous work, six days a week. A day off was a very rare thing for him except, perhaps, in the wintertime.

    "Father filled a mission for the Church under great tribulation which mother shared at home in unmitigated detail. As he left for the mission field, April 9, 1883, mother was three months pregnant with the fourth child. Brigham, the eldest, was 5-1/2 years of age; Ira was 3-1/2; and Horace was 1-1/2. Mark was born 6 months after father's departure for Tennessee. Father's journal tells of his ill health and afflictions while in the mission field. It was, no doubt, distressing to him and to the family at home to know that the spirit of mobocracy was still abounding in the eastern, central, and southern parts of the United States and that many Mormon missionaries were sorely dealt with at the hands of vile men, which, in the case of some, resulted in their being murdered.

    "Mother was left with a small farm, some chickens, a pig, and three cows to milk and care for. It was from these that she gathered much of her meager living. Summer and winter she milked the cows, made butter and sold it and gathered from the land as much as possible of the things required to feed herself and children. Her outside work had to be carried on with the six-year-old, Brigham, caring for his baby brothers. His dependability in this vital assignment earned for him the plaudits of the entire family to the end of his days.

    "Father's daily journal is available for one year of this period. During most of the time he suffered from "Yellow Fever," which reduced his resistance to other afflictions. As a result, his eyesight and his hearing deteriorated greatly in the mission field. Never afterward was his hearing near par and in his late forties there followed a period of almost complete deafness after he suffered a long illness from exposure and severe cold. For the remainder of his days he could hear only when those seeking to communicate with him spoke very loud. His vision improved and he was an avid reader. He had a splendid memory and had committed to memory a vast array of scripture, choice poems, Church songs and general information.

    "Father attributed his hearing difficulties to the compounding of a family weakness through the intermarriage of cousins, his father and mother. This inherited hearing handicap has shown up in children, reaching down now to the fourth generation.

    "Because of this hearing problem father took special delight in spending long evenings, and in his later years, many daytime hours talking to people who would speak loud enough for him to readily understand a running conversation. His two brothers, Moses and Enock, mother's brother, Amos Cook, and his old friend Israel Call, were especially choice company for him.

    "I suspect few people with such a handicap ever made more effort to avoid troubling other people because his situation required special effort for others to converse with him. He also avoided, when in areas where loud speaking would be distracting to others, reasons to communicate. Father obtained, when different devices became available, such aids as would decrease the necessity of loud speaking by gathering and funneling more sound waves into the ear. The only one that seemed to really be serviceable was a pliable tube one inch in diameter, about three or four feet long with a device on one end that covered his ear and one the other end a sort of mouthpiece similar to the one on an old-fashioned telephone.

    "Father liked to talk about Gospel subjects and was always able to support his position by chapter and verse from memory from the Standard Works and from the Prophets.

    "His handicap severely limited him in filling the niches in life in the years of his greatest strength which would otherwise have been open and beckoning to him. He, of course, missed many of the choicer things that normal people can constantly enjoy such as music, the theatre and even the little delightful jabbering common in the home, especially where small children are frequently uttering things so cheering to the ears of their parents. Then, also, there were those unpleasant experiences where an exasperated wife or child thought she got her request, directive or view over only to find the desired response not forthcoming. All too often the inference was made that there was a lack of interest or downright disregard which was sometimes accompanied by unpleasant words or hurt feelings, so often attaching to lack of interest or a don't-care attitude. It is sad that my father could not have had a hearing device as are available these days. Although these, too, are often inadequate. Had this been possible his usefulness to others and his joys could have been enhanced and multiplied.

    "Few men give so much of understanding and of self to their children as did my father. I do hope our responses were compensating to him. Often I heard him say that 'the youth of my generation were superior to those of his own time: that they were more obedient to parents, that they better observed the standards of good conduct and of moral behaviour, and they were better trained and better equipped to serve mankind.' He extended these views and resulting reactions to his daughters-in-law and to his only son-in-law. Grandchildren also felt this radiation of good will and approval. I doubt that any of his in-laws ever had cause to be hurt or even downcast because of any word or deed that emanated from him. I, of course, hope this is a family trait.

    "It seems from this distance in time, particularly to those of less faith, to know of the sacrifices and hardships that a mission imposed would turn one away forever from a willingness to accept any such call again for self or loved ones. Not so. As soon as the oldest son, Brigham, was matured, the aspirations of father and of mother were such that a mission was the choicest of causes for him to pursue. Four other of the boys followed in Brigham's footsteps.

    "My father had some very unique ways of instructing his children. Casting responsibility upon them was one of the most impressive and best remembered.

    "When a very small boy he would hand me his wallet and send me to buy some trifling item. The purse might contain a hundred times as much money as was needed to make the purchase. He never looked in it before he gave it to me or examined it, in my presence, when returned. The sense of pride and of responsibility that I felt on such occasions was almost more weighty than in later years when the legislature gave me a hundred million dollars to spend on the programs of the Department of Social Services.

    "He used to tell that on one occasion when a widow in the neighborhood lost her cow, which was an important thing as it related to the family food supply, he and others decided to raise the money to buy another for her. As they went from door to door telling the story of the widow's loss, always they received a solicitous response --'I am sorry-- that is too bad.' 'What will her family do?' and the like. They finally came to a man who said, 'That is tough for them, I am sorry ten dollars.' Others measured their sorrow in self-sacrifice and a replacement was purchased. He wanted us to know that the expression of sorrow often requires more than words.

    "One of the stories of family interest that persisted in my memory grew out of an incident that occurred, so it was told, when the family membership at home was approaching the peak. As I heard, father learned that an acquaintance of his, a cattleman, who lived some 12 miles away, had just received the top national award for a bull displayed at the Chicago Livestock Show. It was decided that the family should have an outing and the entire group would go see this prize animal. Father obtained a vehicle large enough to accommodate all of the children, lunch was packed, and they were on their way.

    "Upon arrival at the stockman's spread they soon learned that the owner had a fixed price of 50 cents a person for everyone regardless of age, who was permitted to view this beautiful animal. Father did not have, or could not spare the $4.50, so gloom settled over the family. There was some grass and much shade about and father asked if they could get under a tree and eat lunch. The owner continued to observe the family. As he saw mother, who was noticeably pregnant, giving attention to each of the children, and each of the older boys looking after the smaller ones, his heart was touched. He came over and said: 'Brig, are all these kids your'n?' When father answered yes, he said, 'Look, you just take my $5 and come in the shed, I want my bull to see you.'

    "After my marriage, my younger brother, Clifford, took my place that year in selling the produce on the Salt Lake market. In the fall of 1919 father sold the old homesite to my brother, David, whereupon he purchased a modern home on West Center Street in Bountiful City where he and mother lived until his passing, February 14, 1923. Mother continued to dwell in this home until her passing, May 22, 1932.

    "Severe prostate trouble afflicted father in the latter years of his life. Modern surgery in this area of human ailments had not developed at that time, so he came to the end of his life in great distress and suffering.

    "He had arranged for my brothers, Brigham and Ira, and myself to take care of mother and of his estate. Everything was kept in good order and when mother passed away, nine years later, a distribution of available resources was effected with one-tenth going to each of us. No question was raised by either of the children that was not resolved to the complete satisfaction of each. The care of mother to the end of her days and the parceling out of the family holdings did not disturb in any way the love for each other that was always solid and untarnished in the home of our parents."

    Brigham was buried five days after his death at the Bountiful City Cemetery.

Quote taken from Ward Cook Holbrook's autobiography, pages 20-25.
Hit Counter