Charles C. Rich

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Charles C. Rich
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 12, 1849 (1849-02-12) – November 17, 1883 (1883-11-17)
LDS Church Apostle
February 12, 1849 (1849-02-12) – November 17, 1883 (1883-11-17)
ReasonReorganization of First Presidency, Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow, and Franklin D. Richards were ordained on the same day to fill four vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
at end of term
John W. Taylor ordained
Personal details
BornCharles Coulson Rich
(1809-08-21)August 21, 1809
Campbell County, Kentucky, United States
DiedNovember 17, 1883(1883-11-17) (aged 74)
Paris, Idaho Territory, United States
Resting placeParis Cemetery
42°12′47″N 111°24′27″W / 42.2131°N 111.4075°W / 42.2131; -111.4075 (Paris Cemetery)
Spouse(s)Sarah D. Pea
Eliza Ann Graves
Sarah J. Peck
Harriet Sargent
Mary A. Phelps
Emeline Grover
Children51, including:
  Joseph C. Rich
ParentsJoseph and Nancy Rich
Signature of Charles C. Rich

Charles Coulson Rich (August 21, 1809 – November 17, 1883) was an early leader in the Latter Day Saint movement. He led one of the first groups of Mormon pioneers west from Illinois under the leadership of Brigham Young after Joseph Smith's murder.

Rich was chosen and served as an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) under Brigham Young after the Church settled in Utah Territory. President Young asked Rich to open up San Bernardino, California, for settlement in 1850, and Bear Lake Valley, located in Utah and Idaho, in 1863. Rich founded many communities in Bear Lake Valley, including Paris, Montpelier, Fish Haven, Ovid, Georgetown, St. Charles, Bloomington, Bennington, Wardboro, Dingle, Glencoe and Pegram in Idaho, and Garden City, Meadowville, and Laketown in Utah.


Portraits of Rich and his wife Sarah de Arman Pea ca 1842. These portraits hung in the Celestial Room of the Nauvoo Temple[1]

Personal life[edit]

Rich was born in on August 21, 1809, in Campbell County, Kentucky, to Joseph Rich and Nancy O'Neal.[2] As an adult he reached six feet, 4 inches in height, and was considered a tall man for the time period.[citation needed] Rich was baptized into the early Latter Day Saint church on April 1, 1832,[2] after having been taught by Lyman Wight in 1831.

In 1838, Rich married Sarah D. Pea, whom he had previously proposed to by letter, the two never having met.[3] Rich followed the church's principle of plural marriage, taking six wives and fathering a total of 51 children.[2]

In 1863, Rich led a party of early Mormons to colonize parts of southeastern Idaho, which at the time was thought to be part of Utah Territory. The communities of Paris and Geneva, Idaho, as well as some other neighboring towns, were under his direction.[citation needed]

Rich was one of the most prominent enslavers in the Utah territory and enslaved six humans.[4]

Church leadership[edit]

Rich was a leader in Caldwell County, Missouri,[citation needed] and fought in the Battle of Crooked River. It was recorded that, during the battle, Rich "dropped his sword ... and administered to wounded Apostle David W. Patten, then assuming command and winning the battle."[2] Rich was also reported to have been shot "while carrying a flag of truce" around Far West, Missouri.[2]

His log house is the only structure from the Mormon period in 1836–38 in Caldwell County to have survived to this day. After the expulsion of the Latter Day Saints from Missouri, Rich settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, where he was made an original member of the Council of Fifty.[citation needed] He also served as a member of the Nauvoo High Council,[5] and as Brigadier-General in the Nauvoo Legion.[2]

Charles C. Rich
in 1880

After the death of Joseph Smith, Rich followed the leadership of Brigham Young and the surviving Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He and his family migrated to what became Utah with the main body of the church in 1847, leading a pioneer company that arrived October of that year. When Young and the other apostles returned that winter to Winter Quarters, Nebraska, Rich served as a counselor to John Smith, who presided over the early pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley. In October 1848, Rich was made the president of the Salt Lake Stake.[6]

Brigham Young appointed Rich a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on February 12, 1849.

Rich helped form a Latter-day Saint settlement in San Bernardino, California.[2] However, this settlement attracted many people who wanted to avoid Young and other leaders of the LDS Church. The members who supported Young were asked to return to Utah in 1857 at the time of the Utah War. At the request of President Brigham Young,[citation needed] Charles C. Rich settled the Bear Lake (on the Utah–Idaho border) region and is the namesake of Rich County, Utah[2] and St. Charles, ID.

In the early 1860s, Rich served as president of the British Mission of the church.

Death and legacy[edit]

After suffering from paralysis, Rich died on November 17, 1883, in Paris, Idaho. He has been remembered as "a man of strength and great power of endurance."[2] His granddaughter, Ada May Rich, became the mother of Laraine Day, who became an actress.[7]


Bust of Charles C. Rich outside of the Paris Idaho Tabernacle.


  1. ^ Major, Jill C. “Artworks in the Celestial Room of the First Nauvoo Temple.” Brigham Young University Studies, vol. 41, no. 2, Brigham Young University, 2002, pp. 47–69,
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i McCune, George M. (1991). Personalities in the Doctrine and Covenants and Joseph Smith–History. Salt Lake City, Utah: Hawkes Publishing. pp. 95–97. ISBN 9780890365182.
  3. ^ "Autobiography of Sarah Dearmon Pea Rich". Archived from the original on 2018-07-25. Retrieved 2009-12-03.
  4. ^ Dennis L. Lythgoe (1971). "Negro Slavery in Utah". Utah Historical Quarterly. 39 (1): 43.
  5. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 124:132 (LDS Church ed.).
  6. ^ Larson, Andrew Karl, Erastus Snow: The Life of a Missionary and Pioneer for the Early Mormon Church (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1971) p. 188.
  7. ^ Evensen, Bruce J. (2011). Day, Laraine (1920-2007), actress. doi:10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.1803824. ISBN 978-0-19-860669-7. Retrieved 2021-06-28. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)


  • 2005 Deseret Morning News Church Almanac (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Morning News, 2004).[full citation needed]
  • Leonard J. Arrington, Charles C. Rich: Mormon General & Western Frontiersman (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1974)
  • John Henry Evans, Charles Coulson Rich: Pioneer Builder of the West (New York: Macmillan, 1936)

External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 12, 1849 – November 17, 1883
Succeeded by