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Aretta Young, Franklin Young's Daughter
The Daughter to Whom the Letters Were Written

Elizabeth Aretta Young (known as Aretta later in life) is the daughter to whom the letters in the manuscript autobiography were written. She lived with her father in the Fremont River Valley before graduating from the Brigham Young Academy in 1884. She taught art and literature at the BYA before returning to the Fremont in 1885, where she scratched her initials into the Wandering Boulder of Capitol Reef. After rejoining the academy in 1897, she taught there continuously until her death in 1923. During that time, the school's name was changed to Brigham Young University (BYU). At the time of her death, Aretta was a well-known poetess and the senior faculty member at the "Y."

The initials of Franklin Wheeler Young (FWY), his son Lorenzo Howe Young (LHY) and daughter Elizabeth Aretta Young (EAY) on the Capitol Reef Wandering Boulder "Wandering Boulder" from Junction (Fruita) with initials of Franklin Wheeler Young (FWY), his son Lorenzo Howe Young (LHY) and daughter Elizabeth Aretta Young (EAY), along with writings in Young's own hand. Source: Ronald Bodtcher & Franklin Wheeler Young Journal

A Daughter Writes to Her Father

In late 1908, Miss Aretta Young, a leading Utah artist, poet and professor at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, wrote a letter to her father, asking him to provide a narrative of his pioneer boyhood.

Her Father's Response

His replies over the following two years were a series of five letters, all beginning with the phrase, "My dear daughter" and ending with "Your loving father." He also included over a hundred pages of other autobiographical material that you are about to read. These letters reveal a fascinating, first-hand view of early LDS history as lived by Franklin Wheeler Young, an unlikely hero who seems to be on the scene of a rather large number of major events in Mormon history. In that regard, he is sort of a "Mormon Forrest Gump."

After the Letters

Aretta taught at Academy and University continuously until her death in 1923. During that time, the school's name was changed to Brigham Young University (BYU). At the time of her death, Aretta was a well-known poetess and the senior faculty member at the "Y." She died in the same house as he father did. It is located at 653 North 200 East in Provo, Utah.

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