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
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