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
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
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
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
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
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