Willard Richards (1804-1854)

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813; to Chatham, Columbia Co., New York, by Nov. 1820; to Lanesborough, Berkshire Co., by Nov. 1821; and to Nassau, Rensselaer Co., New York, by 6 Apr. 1823. Traveled through New England, giving lectures on scientific subjects for several years, beginning 1827. Practiced medicine at Thomsonian infirmary, beginning 1834, in Boston. Moved to Holliston, Middlesex Co., 1835. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, Oct. 1836. Baptized into Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Brigham Young, 31 Dec. 1836, in Kirtland. Appointed to serve mission to eastern U.S., 13 Mar. 1837. Served mission to England, 1837–1841. Married Jennetta Richards, 24 Sept. 1838, in Walker Fold, Chaigley, Lancashire, England. Ordained member of Quorum of the Twelve, 14 Apr. 1840, at Preston, Lancashire. Traveled to Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, 16 Aug. 1841. Moved to Warsaw, Hancock Co., 7 Sept. 1841; moved to Nauvoo, 11 Dec. 1841. Member of Nauvoo City Council, 1841–1843. Appointed recorder for Nauvoo temple and Joseph Smith’s scribe, 13 Dec. 1841. Member of Nauvoo Masonic Lodge. Appointed Joseph Smith’s private secretary and church historian, 21 Dec. 1842; church recorder, 30 July 1843; and Nauvoo city recorder clerk of municipal court, Aug. 1843. Admitted to Council of Fifty, 11 Mar. 1844, and served as recorder of council. Participated in plural marriage during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. Before death of Joseph Smith, completed personal history of Smith up to Aug. 1838. With Smith in jail in Carthage, Hancock Co., when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered, 27 June 1844. Moved to Winter Quarters, unorganized U.S. territory (later in Omaha, Douglas Co., Nebraska), 1846. Migrated to Salt Lake Valley and returned to Winter Quarters, 1847. Appointed second counselor to Brigham Young in church presidency, 27 Dec. 1847, at what became Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie Co., Iowa. Led company of Saints to Salt Lake Valley, 1848. Appointed secretary and president of legislative council for provisional state of Deseret. Secretary of Utah Territory, postmaster of Salt Lake City, and editor of Deseret News. Died at Salt Lake City.

Retrieved with permission from The Joseph Smith Papers.