Monday, February 1, 2010

Reed Smoot Hearings: Day 5/6 - Clara Mabel Barber Kennedy

March 7-8, 1904

Mrs. Kennedy is currently 26 years old, lives in Sevier Country, Utah, and has lived there for the last 4 years.  Her family moved from Albany, New York, to Utah when she was 2; both of her parents are Mormon.  When she was 10 years old, her family moved from Utah to Colonia Diaz in Mexico.  She lived in Colonia Diaz for about 7 or 8 years, until she was around 17 years old.  She was raised in a polygamous family (mother was a plural wife), and married as a plural wife at around the age of 17.

Testimony summary:
She states that she married James Francis Johnson (from Mesa, Arizona) as his plural wife.  The ceremony took place in Colonia Juarez (75 miles from Diaz) and was allegedly performed by Brigham Young, Jr., when he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  The marriage took place May 19, 1896, almost 6 years after the manifesto was issued by President Wilford Woodruff.

Mrs. Kennedy left Mr. Johnson, and eventually married Mr. Kennedy and currently lives with him in Utah.  She lived with Mr. Johnson for about 5 years, had two children by him, and one of the two is still living.  This child will be 7 years old this current September.

A good portion of Mrs. Kennedy's testimony centers on the marriage ceremony; who performed it, where was it held, who attended, etc.
Mr. Tayler.  Had you seen Apostle Brigham Young before this time?
Mrs. Kennedy.  Before I was married?
Mr. Tayler.  Yes.
Mrs. Kennedy.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Where?
Mrs. Kennedy.  At Diaz, Mexico.
Mr. Tayler.  You had been living there five or six years, I believe you said.
Mrs. Kennedy.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Will you look at that picture [exhibiting a book to the witness] and tell me if that is a picture of the man who married you?
Mrs. Kennedy.  Well, now, I couldn't say as to that.  It has been a number of years since I saw him, now.  I couldn't say.
Mr. Tayler.  You could not say from the picture?
Mrs. Kennedy.  I could not say from the picture whether that was him or not.
Commentary:  That's a bit of a blow for the prosecution; but not too much.  What Mr. Tayler is trying to do is not only prove that plural marriages are taking place, but that these marriages are being performed with the knowledge of the church and its officials - all post-manifesto.  Brigham Young Jr. is the son of the late church president Brigham Young, and a member of the Twelve Apostles (he died in April 1903).  If it can be shown that a member of the Twelve performed the ceremony for this woman's plural marriage, that puts the church in a bad light.  Mrs. Kennedy, however, cannot positively identify Mr. Young from the photograph.  So while the marriage may have occurred, the person in authority of the ceremony has not been confirmed.

After more questions concerning the ceremony and who was there (bride, groom, officiator - Mr. Young, and Mr. McDonald in whose house the ceremony took place), she is asked why she finally left Mr. Johnson.
The Chairman.  You say you left Mr. Johnson because of the pressure - you could not stand the pressure?  What do you mean by that?
Mrs. Kennedy.  I mean because I was not treated just right; that is what I mean by that.
Mr. Tayler.  State, Mrs. Kennedy, what you want to say about that.
Mrs. Kennedy.  Well, I was not treated right at all.  That covers it.  That is as much as I can say, of course.
Senator Foraker.  Would you have stayed if you had been treated right?
Mrs. Kennedy.  Yes, sir; I certainly should.
Senator Foraker.  It was not then, are we to infer, because of any objection you had to the polygamous state that made you leave?
Mrs. Kennedy.  No, sir; I do not - no, sir; it was not.
The Chairman.  You had been brought up in that faith?
Mrs. Kennedy.  Yes, sir.
Senator Overman.  Are you still a Mormon yourself?
Mrs. Kennedy.  Yes, sir; not a very good one though, but I still cling to that.
Senator Overman.  You adhere to that doctrine?
Mrs. Kennedy.  Yes, sir.
Senator Foraker.  How did Mrs. Johnson treat you?
Mrs. Kennedy.  Well, not very good.
Senator Foraker.  Was it she or her husband who mistreated you, or both of them?
Mrs. Kennedy.  It was both of them.
Commentary:  The only thing of note here is that she left because her husband and his first wife mistreated her in some way.  She still believes she is a Mormon and believes in the doctrines of the church; she even believes in the correctness of plural marriage.

The cross-examination is pretty light.  Mr. Worthington talks with her about confirming dates:  Date of birth (June 16, 1877), date of marriage (May 19, 1896 - so she was "almost" 17 when married), etc.  He then drills down on her recognition of Brigham Young, Jr.  She tells him that she's only seen him three times; once when she was married in Juarez, and the other times when he was in a meeting house.  She is asked to describe him if possible:
Mr. Worthington.  Now, from all these opportunities you had to see the man, I would you would describe the man to the committee.
Mrs. Kennedy.  Well, he was quite a large man.  He was rather short.  I think that he - I do not remember whether he wore a mustache or not.  He had quite prominent features.  That is all the description I could give of him.
Mrs. Kennedy.  He was partly bald.  His hair was not real white.  It was streaked with white.

Mr. Worthington then tries to gather more information about the ceremony, or rather, what happened prior to the marriage ceremony.
Mr. Worthington.  Did you inform the person who performed this ceremony, whatever it was, that the man to whom he was marrying you had already a wife living?
Mrs. Kennedy.  Please ask that question again.
Mr. Worthington.  I asked you whether you informed the man who married you that the man to whom he was marrying you already had a wife living?
Mrs. Kennedy.  No, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  Do you know whether or not anybody so informed him?
Mrs. Kennedy.  No, sir; I could not say.
Mr. Worthington.  Then, so far as you know, he may have supposed he was marrying Mr. Johnson to his first wife when he married you?
Mrs. Kennedy.  I suppose so.
Mr. Worthington.  I understand from that, of course, that nothing was said in his hearing, to your knowledge, to inform him of the fact that Mr. Johnson already had a wife?
Mrs. Kennedy.  No, sir.
Commentary:  It appears that the point of this would not be to discredit the witness or the marriage ceremony itself, but rather to call into question whether the person performing the ceremony actually knew he was performing a plural marriage.  This line of questioning does leave some doubt as to this fact.

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