Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
No picture available. Darwin Charles Richardson

1812 - 1860

  • Born 1812 Lisbon, New Hampshire
  • Baptized as a young man
  • Zions Camp 1834
  • Ordained Seventy and called to First Quorum of Seventy 1835
  • Married Jane Cyrene Cobleigh 1839, ten children; later practiced plural marriage
  • Mission to Jamaica failed, thence to England with great success 1853-1854
  • Died 1860 Salt Lake City, Utah

    Darwin Charles Richardson of the First Quorum of the Seventy was born June 29, 1812 in Lisbon, New Hampshire to Barnas Richardson and Olive Harndon. Little is known of his life.

    He must have been introduced to the Church and accepted the Gospel at an early date, for by 1834 he was accompanying the Prophet Joseph Smith and some two hundred others in the expeditionary force called Zion's Camp. Intended to provide relief to the saints in Missouri who were suffering at the hands of the mob, the camp instead provided the next generation of leaders to the fledgling Church.

    In 1835, perhaps because of the valor and faithfulness shown in Zion's Camp, Darwin was ordained a Seventy and called to serve in the newly created First Quorum of the Seventy.

       At some point in his life Elder Richardson received medical training and is referred to as Doctor Richardson. We believe this must have been after Zion's Camp both because of his relative youth at that time and because he is not mentioned as providing medical treatment during the camp, though there were several injuries and numerous illnesses therein. We must note,however that apparently medicine was in his blood as both his father and his paternal grandfather were also doctors.

    By 1837 Elder Richardson was functioning as a typical church leader in the missions. As reported in the Messenger and Advocate (Aug 1837) it is reported that he represented a small branch of five members located in Franconia, New Hampshire.

     In 1839 Elder Richardson married Jane Cyrene Cobleigh in his home town of Lisbon. Darwin would father ten children by Jane. Later in life he practiced plural marriage, taking two additional wives.

    Although most of the Church was centered around the Nauvoo, Illinois area when the prophet Joseph was martyred, certainly not all were so located. Throughout the northeastern United States there were isolated Branches of the Church. After the Church leadership relocated to the Great Basin, there was some desire to locate with the Church. One of the most storied of these groups was that which sailed on on the Brooklyn around the southern tip of South America and came up the west coast to San Francisco. Elder Darwin Richardson and his family were among those.

    Elder B. H. Roberts, in his Comprehensive History of the Church, Volume 4, Chapter 96, page 74 - 75 reports of a mission served by Elder Richardson: West Indies--Elders Aaron F. Fan, Darwin Richardson, Jesse Turpin and A. B. Lambson landed at Jamaica, in the West Indies, January 10th, 1853. They called upon the American consul, Mr. Harrison, who advised them to hire a hall and announce public preaching, as the laws extended toleration to all sects, which they accordingly did; but a mob numbering one hundred and fifty persons gathered around the building, and threatened to tear it down were these `polygamists,' as they termed the elders, permitted to preach therein. Unless the elders could give security for the price of the hall the landlord objected to their holding meetings. The elders informed him that they were not there to force their principles upon the people--to quell mobs, nor to protect property, but to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who were willing to hear it. The elders got away from the island safely, though while they remained they had to run the gauntlet, and two of them were shot at...

    After escaping from Jamaica, the group preached in New York except Elder Darwin Richardson, who went to England and labored there. His return to America in 1854 was accompanied by some 2,711 immigrants from Europe to Zion. The group traveled in nine ships and Elder Richardson served as captain of one of the companies crossing the plains.

    Elder Richardson died November 13, 1860 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Smith, History of the Church, several citations; see index
    Messenger and Advocate, Aug. 1837
    B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.4, pp.74-75

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