Zina Presendia Young
Williams Card

Brigham Young Academy Dean of Women
& BYU Board of Trustees
Brigham Young Academy High School
Class of 1881

Zina Young Williams
Zina Presendia Young Williams

Zina Presendia Young: Brigham Young Academy High School, Class of 1881. Zina Young Williams: BYA Faculty & Staff, Training School, 1879-1884. Zina Young Williams Card: BYU Board of Trustees, 1918 to 1930.

A daughter of Brigham Young, Zina Presendia 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." She was given the name of her mother, Zina Diantha Huntington Young, by her father.

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.

Zina D. H. Young herself, Zina Card's mother, was a notable figure of Mormon history. Married first to Henry Bailey Jacobs, then sealed to Joseph Smith and then Brigham Young, she was the wife of two prophets.

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 Presendia 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 Presendia, the daughter, grew up as one of "the big ten"--this was what President Young called his ten eldest daughters 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. 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."

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". 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 in the basement of the Lion House, where Harriet Cook, another one of Brigham Young's wives, conducted school classes for the children.

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 of William's death at a relatively young age.

Zina Young Williams became the first "Ladies Matron" or "Dean of Women" at the Brigham Young Academy in 1879.

John Taylor became the third President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving from October 10, 1880 to July 25, 1887. Some months after becoming President of the Church, President Taylor was visited by Zina Young Williams.

The Academy was less than a decade old and was experiencing serious financial difficulties that, if not resolved, would mean its closing.

After listening to Sister Williams's plea for help, President Taylor took her hand "in a fatherly way" and said: "My dear child, I have something of importance to tell you that I know will make you happy. I have been visited by your father. He came to me in the silence of the night clothed in brightness, and with a face beaming with love and confidence, told me things of great importance, and among others that the school being taught by Brother [Karl G.] Maeser was accepted in the heavens and was a part of the great plan of life and salvation; . . . and there was a bright future in store for . . . preparing . . . the children of the covenant for future usefulness in the Kingdom of God, and that Christ himself was directing, and had a care over this school." [Leonard J. Arrington, ed., The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986), pp. 108-109]

Zina Presendia and Charles Ora Card became acquainted when she was serving as Ladies' Matron at Brigham Young Academy. Card had two of his own children in attendance at the school, from his first marriage, and Zina was involved in counseling his daughter.

C. O. Card saw that his daughter was disenchanted with her father and his Church as a result of his controversial (polygamous) public life. As a result, he encouraged her to "seek out Sister Zina and allow her to advise you."

Charles Card made several trips to Provo to visit his children, and was reportedly heroic in saving some books and valuable papers from the terrible 1884 fire that destroyed Brigham Young Academy's first facility, Lewis Hall.

The relationship between Zina and Card began to grow more serious following the dedication of the Logan Temple. Zina Presendia and her mother had been called to work in the Logan Temple on May 19, 1884. They were considering whether to purchase of Charles O. Card's home in Logan, where they expected to live and work in the temple.

It was on May 25, 1884, while at her home in Provo, making provisions to move to Logan, that Zina received a letter from Charles O. Card proposing marriage.

While she respected him very much, she had never thought of marrying him. She deferred answering him until she went back to Logan. During the interim she had a dream that convinced her that he was the right man. They were married on the 17th of the following June in 1884.

She was thirty-four years of age, he was forty-five.

They spent much of their time in Canada. She hosted a parade of Canadian dignitaries in the Card home as a part of the Mormon migration into Alberta. Zina had 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.

Cardston as it appeared in 1904
Cardston, Alberta, Canada in 1904

Canadian flags - 1900

Log cabin home of the Card family in Cardston
Card family home in Cardston.
LDS Cardston Alberta Temple, dedicated 1923
Cardston Alberta Temple, first dedicated 1923

Zina and her husband, Charles Ora Card, were among the first of the Mormon settlers in southern Alberta. Apostle John Taylor singled out Zina as a major factor in the success of the Canadian Mormon settlement. "Zina had a mission here," he said. In Southern Alberta the Mormons founded Cardston; and Zina was the settlement's "first lady".

Zina was one of the first women from the state of Utah to work in the women's suffrage movement, an assignment that gave her international recognition. She toured the eastern United States as an ambassador, speaking out for her religious beliefs and women's rights.

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; Joseph Young Card; Zina Young Card; and Orson Rega Card.

She was appointed as a member of the LDS Primary General Board, where she served for the next fifteen years, and assumed the duties as Ladies' Matron / Dean of Women at the LDS Business School in Salt Lake City.

In 1918, Zina Presendia was appointed to the Brigham Young University Board of Trustees by President Joseph F. Smith, and she served in this position until her death.

On January 31, 1931, at 81 years of age, Zina passed away quietly in her sleep.

Zina Young Williams Card
Zina Presendia Young Williams Card

Because there were four women named Zina who were related, it is important to have basic information to avoid confusing their stories:
Zina Baker
  • Born May 2, 1786, Plainfield, New Hampshire
    to Oliver and Dorcas (Dimick) Baker
  • Married November 28, 1805, to William Huntington, Jr.
  • Died July 8, 1839

    Zina Diantha Huntington
  • Born January 31, 1821, Watertown, New York to William and Zina (Baker) Huntington
  • Married March 7, 1841, to Henry Jacobs
  • Married October 27, 1841, to Joseph Smith
  • Married February 2, 1846, to Brigham Young
  • Died August 28, 1901

    Zina Presendia Young (Subject of this biographical sketch)
  • Born April 3, 1850, Log Row, Salt Lake City, Utah
    to Brigham and Zina Diantha (Huntington Jacobs Smith) Young
  • Married October 12, 1868, to Thomas Williams
  • Married June 17, 1884, to Charles Ora Card
  • Died January 31, 1931

    Zina Card
  • Born June 12, 1888, Cardston, Alberta, Canada to Charles and Zina Presendia (Williams Young) Card
  • Married June 17, 1908, to Hugh B. Brown
  • Died December 19, 1974

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