Mary Ann “Polly Gifford Chidester Darrow Young
Mary Ann “Polly” was the first of ten children born in her family. She was born at New
Haven, New Haven, Connecticut on April 30, 1790.
She moved to Vienna, Oneida County, New York with her family as they were caught up
in the westward movement of the times. There she met and married Dr. John Peck Chidester,
who had also originated in Conneciticut. She was nineteen years of age at the time and he was a
mature thirty-four. To this couple were born two sons. They were a very happy family until her
husband died July 10, 1809. Polly was so broken-hearted, she said that she would never love
It wasn’t long before she married George Darrow, a widower who had lost his wife about
the same time that her husband had died. She had two small children with no means of support
except her parents and he had six motherless children. Even though it may have been a marriage
of convenience at first, they soon developed a genuine love for each other.
About the summer of 1828, the family moved to Monroe County, Michigan territory.
John, her second son, was married in 1829. In 1832, he became converted to the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints and followed their journeys through Missouri and to Nauvoo. In
1842, he succeeded in converting his mother and two half-sisters, but his stepfather could not
accept the new religion. The following year, January 23, 1843, George Darrow died and John
we4nt again to Michigan to help his mother settle her estate and bring her and his sisters to
Nauvoo where he could watch over them.
Mary Ann probably came across the Plains with the Chidester family as they were now
caring for her and traveled as independent pioneers in 1850. Sometime after their arrival, she
was persuaded to marry John Young, Brigham Young’s brother.
She lived with him for several years and then went to live at the home of her son, John, in
Washington, Utah. She remained there until her death on July 24, 1875. She was eighty-five
years old. She had sacrificed much for the Gospel as most of her children did not come west