Even though polygamy is illegal in America, experts say there are 30,000 to 50,000 people living in plural families across the country. For generations, taboo kept polygamy out of sight and out of mind in America. Polygamy in the United States has a long, though shadowy history. Many Native American tribes practiced polygamy and European mountain men often took native wives and adopted the practice. Some tribes seem to have continued the practice into the 21th century. Joe Jessup is a polygamist (he is already 88 years old). He has 5 wives, 46 children and 239 grandchildren.