Heber Chase Kimball was perhaps early Mormondom's most colorful leader, third in stature after Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, a most dedicated though reluctant polygamist, and an uninhibited preacher. Few other Mormon leaders exceeded his total devotion to Mormonism. For more than thirty-six years, in ten states and in England, he faithfully served his God and his people and strove to build both the spiritual and material kingdoms. From his acceptance of the new faith in 1832 until his death in 1868, he was in the forefront of the excitement, drama, and turbulence of Mormon history.
Born in Sheldon Township, Vermont, on 14 June 1801, he moved in 1811 to West Bloomfield, New York, where he eventually became a potter and blacksmith. In 1820 he moved to nearby Mendon, where he carried out his trade, became a Mason, married Vilate Murray on 7 November 1822, met his lifelong friend Brigham Young, and joined the local Baptist congregation in 1831.