The Journal of James Richey
(Expanded from his small journal)

I was born in the state of Alabama in Pickens County, on the thirteenth day of August 1821, according to the account given me by my Father and Mother.

My father was a mechanic by trade. I was brought up, partly to mechanism and partly to farming. I lived in the state of Alabama until I was about ten years old. I then went with my father's family to the state of Mississippi, Noxubee County, to live in what was then known as the Choctaw Indian Purchase. My father settled on government land. We opened a farm. My brother and I worked on the farm and father worked on the shop until I was about sixteen years old. After that I worked on the farm in the spring and summer. And in the fall and winter, worked with father at his trade: building machinery to gin cotton and presses, to press it into bales for market. After I had learned the trade, my brother Benjamin worked with me at the trade and father stayed at home on the farm.

We continued to work in this way until in the winter of 1843-44. We were at work for a man by the name of Henson, about six miles from home. We went home on Saturday evening and returned to work on Monday morning. Returning home one Saturday evening, we found the neighborhood quite excited in consequence of a Mormon Elder having preached in the schoolhouse that week and was to preach again at the same place one week from the next Sabbath.

I returned to my work on Monday morning with many thoughts in my mind in regard to that strange people, for I had never heard of them before, but I had resolved in my own mind to go and hear them preach the next Sabbath. I had heard the Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian, and other denominations and tried to get their Religion, but was not successful. It seemed to me after reading the Bible and reflecting on the principles contained therein, that there was something lacking in all that I had heard preached, when their doctrine was compared with the doctrine preached by Jesus Christ and his apostles. For I had read the Bible and was somewhat acquainted with the principles it contained. I had also felt a void and lacking in my bosom that none of the preaching, that I had ever heard, had filled, so I went to meeting at the time appointed to hear the Mormom preach, expecting I did not know what. I seated myself in front of the speaker and listened to a discourse on the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

He produced the book which purported to be a history of the aborigines of the American continent and also an account of God's dealing with them. He proved from the Bible that God had foretold by the mouth of his prophets that such a book would come forth in the last day before the coming of the Son of Man. I went away from that meeting satisfied in my mind that the speaker was in possession of a spirit and power that I had never seen manifest on earth until that day. It filled the void in my bosom and still there was a warefare in me for I found that Mormonism was very unpopular with people of the world and if I embraced it I would have to give up my good name and popularity with the world, so I went to reading the scriptures to see if I could find anything to overthrow Mormonism, but the more I read the more I found that it contained the doctrine preached by the Mormons.

During this time I had finished the job of work that I was engaged on. I then went to work preparing to go to the city of Mobile to dispose of some cotton that we had on hand. The Mormons still continued to preach in the neighborhoods around about. I went to Mobile and disposed of the cotton and returned home and found the Mormons or Latter-day Saints still preaching in the neighborhood and that my mother had united herself with them. I then renewed my investigation of the doctrine and finally became convinced of its truth and the divinity of the mission of Joseph Smith. I then made up my mind that I would embrace the doctrine taught by the Latter-day Saints if all the world stood ready to oppose for the promise was made to those that yielded obedience to the principle taught that they should receive the Holy Ghost as they did anciently with these signs following the obedient as they did anciently.

At this time my father was a hard shell Baptist and was opposed to the gospel as preached by the Latter Day Saints, but I had made up my mind to trust to the promises of God. So on on a sabbath morning the latter part of the winter in the year 1844 I was baptized by Benjamin L. Clapp in a beautiful stream of clear water called Running Water.

After I was baptized and confirmed by the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost I then went about five miles to a Mormon meeting. I felt very solemn for I knew I had taken an important step. I went from meeting to the house of John Sprouse for supper and stayed til after night and then went home. It was late when I got home and the folks were all in bed and asleep. I went to bed but not to sleep. I was meditating upon the principles of the Gospel and all at once the Holy Spirit came upon me and I was filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. I could feel it from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. I very soon awakened all that were in the house and bore a strong testimony to them in regards to the truth of the Gospel as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, in consequence of which my father and brother Benjamin went and were baptized the next morning.

Not long after this, I was at a prayer meeting. While there, I received the gift of tongues and spoke by the gift and power of God, as they did in the days of the ancient Apostles. It was interpreted by one of the brethren and we had a time of rejoicing together, as they did in olden times.

Shortly after this, I think about the last of March 1844, I went in company with B.L.Clapp, Hayden, Church, Johnston and Flake to a conference in the State of Alabama, Tuscaloosa County. Here I was ordained as an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, under the hands of Brother Clapp and others. After the conference was over, I returned to where my father's people lived, in the western part of Pickens County and stayed there to Preach the Gospel to them.

After stopping there awhile, I went to Itawanba County in the state of Mississippi, to visit with and preach the Gospel to my mother's people. Here I met with many lying reports in regards to the city of Nauvoo, which I did not believe. But I could not witness to the contrary, having never been to Nauvoo. So after stopping with friends for a few days I left my horse and saddle with a friend and went to Eastport on the Tennessee River, and took a steamer for Paduca in Kentucky. From there to Cairo at the mouth of the Ohio River. Then went on board a Mississippi steamer for the city of Nauvoo.

When I arrived in Nauvoo, I went to the mansion house, and stopped with the Prophet Joseph over night. Next morning I went in search of some friends that had gone there from Mississippi before I did. I soon found Brother Thomas, with whom I boarded while in Nauvoo. I found the stories that were in circulation about Nauvoo and Joseph Smith, just as I expected. They were false. I visited the meeting of the Seventies in the Seventies Hall and was ordained to the office of a Seventy, under the hand of Brother Joseph C. Young, president of the Seventies. I also attended a meeting in the upper room of Joseph Smith's brick store. This meeting was held to nominate Joseph Smith as candidate for President of the United States of America.

Not long after this, I started on my return home, in company with a number of the Twelve Apostles and others. They were going on Missions to different parts of the States to preach the Gospel and distribute Joseph Smith's views on the power and policy of the Government which was printed in pamphlet form.

We went on a steamer called the Osprey from Nauvoo to St. Louis. I traveled by the way of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers to Eastport by steamer. Then on foot to where my friends lived in Mississippi.

After staying with my friends for a few days in Itawamba County, I went to Chickasaw County to where my Uncle Thomas Adair lived and preached the Gospel in the vicinity. I then returned to my father's house in Noxubee county.

After resting awhile, I again started out in company with Elder Daniel Thomas on a preaching tour. We went into the northwestern part of the State of Alabama on the Buttehatche River. From there we went to Itewamba County in the State of Mississippi and preached to the People in the neighborhood where my relatives lived. A number of them believed and were baptized afterwards into the Church.

We then went to Chickesaw County in the State of Mississippi and Preached to my relatives, and a number were baptized into the Church. They are as follows: Thomas Adair and wife, John Mangum and wife, John Price and wife, William Mangum and wife, my grandmother Rebecca Adair, and John Mesby Adair.

(Inserted from the memory of James M. Richey is the following: At the time my grandmother, Rebecca Adair, had a dream that she had a Bible that was locked and someone brought her a key to it. James Richey brought a Book of Mormon from Nauvoo, and gave to her. She said "Now I have the key to unlock the Bible.")

After this I returned home and gave my attention to the work of preparing to remove with my father's family to the city of Nauvoo in the state of Illinois. To which place we removed in 1845. After we arrived in the city, we had much sickness in the family. While I was gone up the river to help bring a raft of firewood, my oldest sister Rebecca was taken sick and died in my absence, which was a heavy blow to me as well as the rest of the family. In the course of the year, my brother Robert and sister Martha Ann, also died with the measles.

In the course of the summer, I returned to the state of Alabama for my grandmother Rebecca Richey, but her sons kept her money from her, so I failed that part of my mission.

I returned to Nauvoo in company with William Cox and family. We went to Memphis on the Mississippi River and there went aboard a steamer for Nauvoo. I was taken very sick on the boat with choleramorbus and came very near dying. We arrived in Nauvoo, but had very poor health.

When winter began to come on, I found that I could do nothing in that country in winter. My brother Benjamin and I decided to go south for the winter and try to work for a little money to help take the family from the state of Illinois. There had been trouble between the Latter-Day Saints and the Hancock County mob. The Saints had agreed to leave the state for no other reason than that they were trying to live according to the Gospel as preached by Jesus Christ and his Apostles. To return to our trip down the river as far as New Orleans and from there to Vexberg on the Mississippi River. We traveled on foot into Madison county in the state of Mississippi and stopped and built a cotton press for a man by the name of Scott, a non religionist.

His brother-in-law who lived in the same house with him, he suspected us to be Mormons and one day when we came to dinner, he asked me if we were Mormons. I told him we were. He made a few inquiries in regards to our faith which I answered in a straightforward manner. He left me and rather shunned me while I stopped there. But when Scott returned home and found that we were Latter-Day Saints, he acted different and was anxious to hear us talk on the principles as long as I remained at his house.

He obtained the school house for me to preach in and invited the neighbors to attend and I preached to them on the Sabbath day. I preached on the restitution of all things spoken of by all the Holy Prophets, since the world began. I continued my remarks for about three hours. On the close of the meeting Scott made the remark that the discourse could not be beat in the Unite States.

I had an invitation to supper with one of the neighbors. I stayed and talked with them till about midnight, when we took leave of them to return to Scotts to prepare to proceed on our journey.

We traveled on through the state of Mississippi. We stayed a few days in Noxubee County and visited some of our old neighbors, then went into Pickens County, Alabama and stopped a few days with relatives. We then went to Ittewamba County in the state of Mississippi, where some of our relative lived that had embraced the Gospel. But they had all sold their possessions and had gone to Nauvoo. We hastened on to Eastport on the Tennessee River and there took the steamer and went to Nauvoo, arriving in that city some days before our friends that went by land.

When we arrived at home the Twelve with many of the Saint had started West. We stayed in Nauvoo a short time. During which time, I was married to Miss Lucinda Mangum, 28 March 1846 by Elder Samuel Adair. She being one of the party that had traveled from Mississippi by land.

During the winter shortly after my marriage, I crossed the Mississsippi River in company with some of my friends and relatives and started west for the Rocky Mountains. After we left Nauvoo, the mob attacked those that were left and had nothing to move with and drove them across the river. And they were left on the bank of the river without shelter and many wer sick and some died from exposure. It was here that flocks of quail came into camp and the people could pick them up with their hands by the hundreds. The Saints that were on the road stopped by the way and sent teams back for those who had no teams of their own.

We traveled on out into Iowa and stopped at Bonapart on the Des Moines River and worked for supplies, provisions and cows to milk. We then went on to Fox River near Bloomington and stopped and worked for provisions. We then moved on as far as Pisga, where the pioneers had put in a crop the fore part of the season. Many of the poor had stopped to recruit. This was some distance beyond where white people had settled, but near enough so that many went to the settlements for supplies. I was taken sick here and came very near dying but I recovered so far as to be around and at work part of the time, but did not have good health.

I built me a log cabin and cut some hay during this time. My wife was taken down sick with the chills and fever. I did everything that I could think of to break them up, but all without avail. I then concluded to go on to Council Bluffs on the Missouri River. We started and My wife was free from chill the next day. When we arrived at Winter Quarters, it was late in the season. We built a log cabin and then my brother-in-law and myself went to Missouri for supplies. We got a load of cornmeal and pork. I was taken Sick and had to be hauled home.

After we got home Joseph Mangum took the cattle to the mouth of the Soldier River to winter on the bushes. Some time afterwards, I went there on a visit and while there, there came a heavy smow storm and I started for home the next morning on foot. I was two days and one night on the road and when I got home my feet were badly frozen. So that I was laid up in bed for quite a while. I was in this situation, when my mother-in-law who was living with me, was taken sick and died from exposure in traveling so long a journey. She was buried in the graveyard in Winter Quarters.

I will state here that while we were camped on the way side in Iowa, that a company of Saints passed on their way to Winter Quarters and my brother Benjamin hired to them to drive a team. He went on to headquarters and there inlisted in the Mormon Battalion under Colonel Allen, in the war with Mexico. He marched with that command across the continent to California. He died in California. This was another severe blow to me, his never returning. We were raised together and we were never separated long at a time till he left us on the Iowa Prairie to return to us nevermore.

In the spring of 1847, I made two trips to Missouri for supplies. During this time my father had been on a mission to Texas and the southern states, had returned to Pisga with his mother from Alabama. He then brought his family from Pisga to Winter Quarters and built a log cabin adjoining mine. In the meantime, I had cleared some land and had put in a garden and some corn and vines on the Missouri River bottom, which proved a great benefit to my father's family the coming winter.

Though Pioneers had gone under the leadership of President B. Young to hunt a location for the Saints in the Rocky Mountains, the Saints at Winter Quarters were busy, some planting crops and some preparing to follow the Pioneers to the Mountains. It had not entered into my mind to go to the mountains in "forty-seven," until one morning I took my hoe and went out to work at my crop. But before I got to my work, there was a feeling came over me that I should prepare to go to the mountains. I started to hoe in the garden but I could not work, my mind was so impressed with the idea of going west. This feeling was on me so strong that I quit work and went home and set about making preparations to start with the first company of the saints that crossed the plains in "forty-seven."

I left the crop that I had planted with my father's family. There was only two of us, my wife and myself. Some of our relatives had come on from Pisga in the company of Charles C. Rich, on their way to the west. The names of our relatives are as follows: Joseph Adair and wife, George Adair and wife, and a lad by the name of Harvey Clark, and also my sister Emily.

We left Winter Quarters and went out onto a river called the Horn, where the people organized into companies of hundreds and fifties and tens. Brother Jedediah M. Grant was the Captain of the hundred that I traveled in. Willard Snow was Captain of fifty and B. Nobles, Captain of the other fifty, T.J. Thurston Captain of the ten, that I traveled in and on the fifth day of July 1847, we took up the line of march for the great west, there being in the whole out fit, something over six hundred wagons.

We soon began to find that our progress was very slow, moving in such a large body. We then separated and traveled by hundreds and afterwards by fifties. But the companies were only a short distance apart and in this way we traveled faster than we did in larger companies. The herdsman got one of my oxen crippled on Green River and he had to be left, so when I got into Salt Lake Valley, on the sixth of October, I had one ox and one cow left.

When spring came I had nothing but my two hands to help myself with. But I got a few tools together and went to making chairs. I got a little seed wheat in the spring and sowed about one acre of land and planted some corn. I got a little wheat and no corn for the crickets ate the corn. Afterwards took a lease of corn on shares from which I got a little half-ripe corn in the fall.

There was much suffering during the first and second winters for the want of food, especially among the poorer class. And the brothren of the Mormon Battalion though, came on to Salt Lake Valley the same fall that we arrived there in the spring of forty-nine.

I moved from the old fort on to my city lot near the warm spring and continued to work at my trade and attending to my garden.

But while we lived in the old fort our oldest son was born, on April 16th, 1848, named James Moroni. We suffered many privations and trials and difficulties in the first settlement of Salt Lake Valley. Part of the time we lived on such roots and herbs as we could find. There were thistle roots in the winter, on wild onions in the spring.

In the spring of forty-nine I fenced in two city lots from which I raised corn enough for bread, besides vegetables. Bread was very scarce until some time in June the emigrants commenced to come into Salt Lake Valley on their way to the California gold mines and then we could buy some flour from them which was a great help to us. We also had raised some green peas which we traded for flour, bacon, coffee and sugar. The most of the emigrants were over-loaded with eveything that the people needed. The greater part of their teams were not fit to continue their journey so many of them sold their outfit for ponies and continued their journey with pack animals.

The original Journal of James Richey is in the Church Historical Department (or perhaps in the Church Archives these many years later?) in Salt Lake City. Mary Ann Richey gave the original in exchange for a bound copy which she gave to her son Hugh Richey of St. Johns, Arizona.

When James Richey started the cotton mill in Washington UT, the only way to get sufficient teeth to comb the raw cotton was to take 6" (or was it 4") off all the handsaws in the vicinity. His granddaughter Daisy Richey said he took the handle off each saw, cut some off the big end and reattached the handle before returning it to the owner. Then he cut long slots into the metal to form the teeth he needed.
Source: family tradition

James Richey of Washington (UT) built the first cotton gin there on the east band of the creek a short distance above the preseant bridge on Highway 91. In 1862 Richey and Benjamin F Pendleton were granted an enlargement of the Richey facilities by the County Court; this grant provided for a"site for a cotton-gin and such other machinery as they may choose to erect at a place occupied by said Richey." The creek waters were specifically granted to these men "to propel said gin and machery when water is not used or desired to be used for irrigation."

This water right later became the property of Brigham Young, then the Rio Virgin Manufacturing Company (the Cotton Factory).
Source: James G. Bleak, Annals of the Southern Utah Mission, Book A, 148.

James Richey, age 26, born 13 Aug. 1821 in Pickens AL, and Lucinda Mangum Richey, age 22, born 20 July 1825 in Pickens AL, traveled to Utah in the second Ten - Thomas Thurstons company. Reached the Salt Lake Valley 2 Oct. 1847.
Source: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Publications and: Immigration Card Catalog