Born 1 October 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois, to Brigham Young and Mary Ann Angell, John Willard Young was ordained an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by his father on 4 February 1864. In 1866 and 1867 he filled a mission to Europe. Following his return in 1867, he became a subcontractor under his father in the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad line through Echo Canyon. This was the beginning of a long career of railroad building. Young was one of the organizers of the Utah Central Railroad, which helped connect Salt Lake City to the transcontinental line to the north. In 1871 he helped organize the Utah Northern Railroad, which extended north from Ogden to Franklin, Idaho. In 1872 he became president and general manager of the Salt Lake City Railroad, a horse-drawn streetcar line.
In the meantime, John W. Young had been appointed an assistant counselor to President Brigham Young and, after the death of George A. Smith in 1876, he was chosen as first counselor in the First Presidency. After the death of his father in 1877, he was sustained for several years as a counselor to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
He again began the promotion of railroads and other enterprises. His activities took him to Europe for a time, and he later resided in Washington, D.C. He then moved to New York, where he spent the remaining years of his life. He died 12 February 1924 at the age of seventy-nine.
Doris F. Salmon