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Orson Pratt Brown's In-Laws

section header - biography

Charles Wager Richins 1828-1903

Charles Wager Richins

Born: August 17, 1828 at Sheepscomb, Painswick, Gloucestershire, England
Died: August 27, 1903 at Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico

Compiled by Lucy Brown Archer

Charles Wager Richins was the seventh of twelve children born to Richard Richins (1800-1848) and Charlotte Priscilla Wager (1799-1842), both of Painswick, Gloucester, England.

Charles met and married Louisa Shill on January 27, 1851 at Syde, Gloucester, England. Louisa is the daughter of Robert Chapple Shill 1789-1865) and Prudence Goulding Shill (1787-1851). Charles and Louisa had ten children.

Louisa Shill Richins 1829-1903
Louisa Shill Richins

(1)Louisa Shill is the daughter of Robert Chapple Shill (1789-1865) and Prudence Goulding Shill (1787-1851). Louisa married Charles Wager Richins on 27 January 1851 in Syde, Gloucestershire, England.

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Children of Charles Wager Richins and Louisa Shill Richins

Hannah Louisa Richins

Born: 9 September 1852 in England


Died: 18 August 1854 while crossing the plains

Charles Robert Richins

Born: 25 Marh 1856 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah


Died: 30 Nov 1858 at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Wellington Richins

Born: 28 January 1858

Married: Alice Ida Bond on 22 February 1877

Died: 11 June 1933 at Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona

Prudence Priscilla Richins

Born: 8 January 1860 at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Married: Joseph William Bond on 7 August 1877

Died: 5 May 1932 at Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona

Golden Freeman Richins

Born: 31 March 1861 at Henefer, Summit, Utah


Died: 30 April 1861 at Henefer, Summit, Uah

Orsen Oriel Richins

Born: 2 April 1862 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Married: (1) Rachel Hennefer on 25 May 1881 (2) Caroline Fawcett on 20 October 1881 (3) Sarah Amanda Shurtliff on 23 Feb 1895

Died: 16 Dec 1926 at Virden, Hidalgo, New Mexico

Rebecca Louise Richins

Born: 26 March 1864 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Married: Benjamin Lewis Blackburn on 28 December 1885

Died: 5 March 1944 at Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona

dau Richins

Born: 18 September 1866 at Henefer, Summit, Utah


Died: 18 September 1866 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Judith Shill Richins

Born: 11 September 1867 at Henefer, Summit, Utah


Died: 9 December 1867 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Marland Golding Richins

Born: 14 March 1871 at Hennifer, Summit, Utah

Married: (1) Sarah Delilah Sirrine on 4 May 1892 (2) Hannah Zelnora "Zella" Johnson on 17 January 1900

Died: 24 May 1919 at Union, Union, Oregon

Orson Richins, Charles W. Richins, Wellington Richins, Rebecca Richins, Prudence Richins, Louisa Shill Richins
Right Click mouse on image - then click on view image - to see enlarged photo

Esther Stowe Ovard 1842-1924
Esther Stowe Ovard

(2) Esther Stowe Ovard married Charles Wager Richins on March 9, 1861 in Salt Lake City. Esther is the daughter of Thomas Ovard (1815-1890) and Hannah Anna Stowe (1815-1888).

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Children of Charles Wager Richins and Esther Stowe Ovard

Adaline Elizabeth Richins

Born: 5 May 1863 at Henefer, Summit, Utah


Died: 24 September 1868 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Henry Richins

Born: 8 September 1866 at Henefer, Summit, Utah


Died: 14 October 1866 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Hannah Edith Richins

Born: 27 October 1867 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Married: William Thomas Stephens on 12 Dec 1884

Died: 28 August 1952 at Ogden, Weber, Utah

George Madison Richins

Born: 23 November 1870 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Married: Mary Ann Fowler on 26 Jul 1893

Died: 25 Dec 1935 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Abbie Letticia Richins

Born: 19 September 1872 at Henefer, Summit, Utah


Died: 1 Oct 1872 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Emeline Hattie Richins

Born: 15 November 1873 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Married: Alma Ether Richins on 16 May 1889

Died: 15 July 1936 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Olive Richins

Born: 28 July 1876 at Henefer, Summit, Utah


Died: 2 September 1876 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Parley Thomas Richins

Born: 19 Aug 1877 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Married: Fannie Judd on 29 June 1904

Died: 18 Aug 1967 at Coalville, Summit, Utah

Hosea Richins

Born: 3 Apr 1882 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Married: Merriam Ellen Richins on 8 October 1903

Died: 19 April 1920 at Ogden, Weber, Utah

Charles Noble Richins

Born: 18 Mar 1884 at Henefer, Summit, Utah
Married: Electa Victoria Fowler on 1 June 1904

Died: 4 November 1946 at Devil's Slide, Morgan, Utah

Esther Stowe Ovard and her son Parley
Esther Stowe Ovard Richins and some of her children
Hannah Richins, Esther Ovard Richins, Hattie Richins
Richins house in Henefer, Hattie in front
Before 1936

Esther Stowe Ovard Richins died on July 30, 1924 at Henefer, Summit, Utah, and was buried there on August 2nd.

Right Click mouse on image - then click on view image - to see enlarged photo

Right Click mouse on image - then click on view image - to see enlarged photo

Agnes Mary Willmott 1858-1925
Agnes Mary Willmott

(3) Agnes Mary Willmott married Charles Wager Ricins on April 11, 1878 at Salt Lake City, Utah in a double ceremony with first wife Louisa Shill.. Agnes is the daughter of Edward Willmott (1828-1900) and Ann Noble Willmott (1827-1900), both from Cambridge, England.

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Children of Charles Wager Richins and Agnes Mary Willmott Richins

Jesse Wilmott Richins

Born: 16 March 1879 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Married: Alice Jackson on 25 October 1900

Died: 18 January 1957 at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Eunice Ann Richins

Born: 28 November at Minersville, Beaver, Utah

Married: (1) Robert Crawford Maybin (2) James Albert Rowley on 23 October 1904

Died: 31 Oct 1950 at Provo, Utah, Utah

Edward Byron Richins

Born: 22 Aug 1882 at Henefer, Summit, Utah


Died: 27 October 1895 at Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico. dragged by a horse

Lois Elizabeth Richins

Born: 15 September 1884 at Henefer, Summit, Utah

Married: Hyrum Knute Mortensen on 18 January 1903

Died: 14 August 1914

Agnes Priscilla Richins

Born: 4 September 1886 at Pleasant Grove, Utah, Utah

Married: Jesse Alvin Clayson on 9 June 1910

Died: 15 March 1942

Bertha Louise Richins

Born: 20 November 1889 at Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico


Died: 7 August 1891 at Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico

Beatrice Willmott Richins

Born: 9 March 1891 at Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico

Married: Henry Lunt Smith on 17 Aug 1912

Died: 19 December 1976 at Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona

Charles Richard Richins

Born: 14 April 1893 at Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico


Died: 19 November 1894 at Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico

John Willmott Richins

Born: 13 September 1895 at Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico

Married: unknown

Died: 21 December 1973

Eliza Roxie Richins

Born: 25 December 1897 at Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico

Married: Chauncey Lee Bailey or Dayley on 6 May 1920

Died: 23 May 1923

LaPreal Ckayson, John RIchins, Roxie Richins, Jess Richins Clayson, Agnes Willmott Richins, Agnes Priscilla Ricins 1922
Right Click mouse on image - then click on view image - to see enlarged photo

Birth Order Chart of Children of Charles W. Richins and his 3 wives


In a blessing pronounced upon the head of Charles Richins (at times may also have been known as Charles Wager Richins), September 18, 1877, by Church Patriarch John Smith, Charles was told that he was of the blood of Ephraim and because he yielded obedience to the gospel with an honest heart he was entitled to the blessings in store for the faithful. He was admonished to not let his faith fail "for the eye of the Lord hath been upon thee from thy birth. He hath delivered thee out from thy enemies, and many times preserved thy life." The patriarch then told Charles that the Lord had brought him out of Babylon to partake of the blessings of eternal life and that his name would live in the memory of the saints and be handed down with his posterity from generation to generation.

Charles was then told to seek humbly to know the will of the Lord and worship Him with the promise that: (1) he would be blessed spiritually and his understanding would be opened, (2) he would feed many with both spiritual and temporal food, (3) many w would seek him for counsel and rejoice in his teachings, (4) he would have power over the adversary and would be able to control himself as well as the affairs over which he had jurisdiction in a righteous manner, (5) peace, health and prosperity would be in his household and (6) he would have much of the world's goods, in house, lands, men-servants and maid-servants.

This blessing, given when Charles was 48 years old, reveals the greatness of this man and tells some of the significant things that happened in the earlier part of his life, as well as those yet to transpire in the 26 years he lived after the blessing was given. The Lord kept his promise because Charles (as stated in his obituary) "was a faithful Latter-day Saint, universally loved and respected." Charles received the spiritual blessing promised for he was highly respected among his brethren. He was a successful missionary in England after his own conversion. He became Presiding Elder of Sheepscomb Branch. He was Presiding Elder or Bishop of Henefer for 25 years. In Mexico he served in the bishopric and then was a Patriarch at the time of his death.

As promised, Charles had much of the world's goods. He owned many acres of land in Henefer, providing employment for relatives and friends. He had a fruit orchard at Pleasant Grove and then a cattle ranch in Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico. He at one time owned the "big house" in Henefer which was the stopping place for distant relatives as well as friends.

Charles' posterity, at the time of this writing, (1976) is not known but is estimated to be over two thousand. As a polygamist he had 30 children, 10 by each of his three wives. Twelve of his children died young and one (John) didn't marry which left 17 to build his posterity.

This history is written in hopes that the name of Charles and his faithful wives: Louisa, Esther, and Agnes, will live in the memory of their posterity from generation to generation.

Charles at Sheepscomb

We know very little about the early life of Charles. We do know he was born August 17, 1828, in Sheepscomb, Glouecstershire, England, the sixth child of Richard and Charlotte Priscilla Wager. Their children in order of birth were: Hannah, John Edward, Mary Ann, George Thomas, Thomas, Charles, Edwin, John, Edward, and William.

His mother, Charlotte Priscilla Wager Richins died at the age of 43, just a little over two years after William was born. When she died Richard was left with seven sons ages two to seventeen. His sister, Hannah, helped out with the family. Six years later, at age 48, Richard died leaving his family on their own and with relatives. No doubt Charles and his brothers got well acquainted with their relatives. When the census of 1850 was taken Charles was residing with a cousin, Joseph Richins. When he obtained passage to immigrate to Utah he listed his address in care of William Richins, his uncle. When he and Louisa were married his cousin Leonard was one of the witnesses.

The county of Gloucester, England, was noted for its agricultural and dairy farming. The area of Painswick and Sheepscomb, where the Richins families lived was a garden of eden with green grass and rolling hills. The family was poor and Charles, like his brothers ers, learned to work as a laborer at an early age. He had limited educational opportunities, but still learned to read and write and was exceptionally good in mathematics. He told his son Jesse that he only attended school six weeks. He knew the value of a good education, and according to his son Parley Richins, wanted his children to take advantage of all their educational opportunities.

Louisa in Syde

About three miles from Sheepscomb was Syde, the birth place of Louisa Shill. She was born June 22, 1829, to Robert Chappel Shill and Prudence Goulding. She was the youngest of a family of twelve. Her brothers and sisters were Richard, Robert, Mary, Elizabeth Prudence, Susanna, Rachel, John, Charles Goulding, William, Ann and George. Unlike most families at that period of time none of the twelve Shill children died young, but all lived long enough to marry.

Early Converts to the Gospel

In 1837 the first missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints left Kirtland to open up missionary work in England. It is not known for sure when the first Mormon missionaries labored in Gloucestershire but Louisa's brother, Charles Goulding Shill, said there was a religious revival in their area the latter part of 1845 and early 1846. It was at that time that Charles Goulding, Louisa, and some of the Shills, heard the Mormon elders and accepted the gospel. Louisa was baptized by George Humphries, at Caudle Green, on July 17, 1846, just after she turned seventeen. That same day she was confirmed by Brother Humphries.

The Latter-day Saint missionaries set up a branch of the Church at Caudle Green which was less than two miles from Syde and two miles from Sheepscomb. As is typical of converts, they immediately set out to share the good news with family and friends. Charles Goulding Shill became a full-fledged missionary which brought persecution upon him from the ministers of his area. They made it impossible for him to find work so he ended up in the poor house, but he was expelled for preaching the gospel there.

We have no record of how Louisa Shill and Charles Richins first met but we do know that Louisa introduced Charles to her brother Charles Goulding, who helped teach him the gospel and then baptized him December 31, 1849. He was confirmed a member of the church that same day by brother C. Blackwell.

Charles became a missionary himself after his conversion. He was ordained a priest June 16, 1850. Louisa's mother, Prudence Goulding Shill, wrote a letter in 1850 to her son, Charles Goulding Shill, who was in London, in which she stated that she attended church services in Sheepscomb and that they had a full house every Sunday. She then said Charles Richins had baptized 23 people since he was made a priest. Charles was ordained an elder, seventy, and high priest while at Sheepscomb. He worked in numerous church positions, including presiding Elder of the Sheepscomb Branch.

Charles Wager Richins and Louisa Shill

Charles and Louisa were married at Syde, Gloucestershire, England, on January 27, 1851, a little over a year after she had introduced him to the gospel. A baby girl was born to this young couple at Fastons Ash, Granham, Gloucester, England on September 9, 1852. They named her Hannah Louisa Shill.

The spirit of the gathering to Zion must have weighed heavily upon Charles and Louisa because Charles left for Zion five months after his daughter was born. He set sail from Liverpool, England for America on February 28, 1853 on the steamship, "International", in a company of 425 people. With the permission of the ship's captain, and under the direction of Christopher Allen, 48 persons were baptized enroute. The ship arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, on April 25, 1853.

The company of saints went by ship up the Mississippi River to Keokuk, Iowa. The last leg of the journey across the plains to the Salt Lake valley was by ox team in the company led by Joseph W. Young, a nephew to President Brigham Young. The company arrived in Salt Lake City, October 10, 1853.

From an examination of the passenger list it seems that no relative of Charles made the journey with him. It would be most interesting to know why he left when he did and what interesting experiences he had on his journey to the Salt Lake valley. If he had but kept a diary we would no doubt have his personal testimony of how the Lord had delivered him from his enemies and preserved his life as was stated in his patriarchal blessing. It may be that he felt compelled of the Lord to be a forerunner for his family and friends who later followed him to Zion. He was the first of the Richins to make the journey but many followed after him and spent time with him in Salt Lake or Henefer when they arrived until they could get their feet on the ground.

We have no way of knowing why Charles came to America without Louisa and their daughter. It may have been that he wanted to have a home ready for them when they arrived but it was probably because they could not afford for all three of them to come to Zion at the same time. This reasoning is further born out by the fact that when Louisa and their daughter left England for Utah they came under the Perpetual Emigration Fund, ticket order # 138 from the Salt Lake Valley. Charles was in Salt Lake a year when he sent for them. The Perpetual Emigration Fund was set up by the Church so immigrants could come to Zion on money loaned to them and they pay it back after they got here and found employment.

Louisa and her 18 month old daughter, Hannah Louisa, left Liverpool, England, April 8, 1854, on the steamship "Marshfield". They landed at New Orleans, Louisiana, May 29, 1854. A synopsis of the voyage from the ship's record lists two births, one marriage, and one death, Orson William Nield, age five months. The story has been told through the years that Hannah Louisa died and was buried at sea. The ship's record does not bear this out. It may be that she died crossing the plains as family records give her death date as August 18, 1854, which was nearly three months after the ship arrived at New Orleans.

Charles and Louisa in Salt Lake City

For six years from 1854 to 1860, Charles and Louisa lived in Salt Lake City. While living there three of their children were born: Charles Robert Richins (1856 - Died 1858), Wellington Richins (1858-1933) and Prudence Priscilla Richins (1860-1932). When the 1860 civil census was taken for Salt Lake on June 30, 1860, Charles and Louisa were listed as residents along with their son Wellington, age two, and daughter Florance [Prudence] P., age five and a half [months]. Charles was listed as a laborer with real estate valued at $500 and personal property $100. They lived in the 4th ward which was in the area of 6th South and Main. His church calling while there was that of a teacher.

Charles Moves His Family to Henneferville*

In 1860 Charles was called by President Brigham Young to take his family and go to Heneferville, 40 miles east of Salt Lake City on the pioneer trail, to settle. He was to assist in getting a branch of the Church started. He left his family in Salt Lake while he went to Henefer to make a survey of the area in preparation for moving there.

Sometime after June 30, 1860, and before March 31, 1861, Charles moved his family to the sagebrush covered valley of Henefer. They were still living in Salt Lake when the 1860 census was taken on June 30th, but were in Henefer on March 31, 1861 when their son Golden Freeman Richins, was born. The baby died on April 30th, nearly a month later. There is a document in the Church historian's office written by Charles in which he said he moved to Summit Co. (Henefer) in 1860.

* The name was changed to Henefer, Summit County, Utah about the turn of the Century.

On March 9, 1861, three weeks before Louisa had her fifth child, Charles entered polygamy with his marriage to Esther Stowe Ovard. She had been employed by Charles as a general housekeeper sometime after August 30, 1860, to assist Louisa during her pregnancy. We do not know whether or not she went to Henefer with them when they first moved from Salt Lake, but after the marriage she, Louisa, Charles and Louisa's children, Wellington and Prudence lived together in two tents Charles pitched near the Weber River. He then spent a lot of time and hard labor digging three dugouts in the side of the hill. When finished, the dugouts served as the family home for one year.

Part of Brigham Young's purpose in sending Charles Richins to Henefer was accomplished in 1861, where the Henefer Township was surveyed. William Hennefer and James Hennefer settled in the valley at the suggestion of President Brigham Young about 1859. William was made the presiding elder of the Henefer Branch. He served in that postion until 1865 when Charles succeded him.

Esther of Loxely, England

Esther Stowe Ovard was born December 7, 1842, in Loxely, Warwick hire, England. She was the daughter of Thomas Ovard [1815-1890] and Hannah Stowe [1815-1888]. The family consisted of six boys and five girls: Henry, Sarah, Esther, Esther Stowe, Joseph William, Mary Ann, William, George, Betsy, Jacob Israel, and John Alma.

Esther was baptized by her father Thomas Ovard, in October of 1856, and confirmed by Elder Workman. Thomas and Hannah, along with most of their family emigrated to America in 1857. They crossed the ocean on the ship, "George Washington", reaching Boston, Massachusetts, in the month of May. Esther lived in the Lexington, Massachusetts, area until 1860. While there she lived with and took card of an elderly lady who was ill with tuberculosis. In this way she earned enough money to help finance their journey across the plains. The Ovard family crossed the plains in Capt. Jesse Murphy's ox train company arriving in Salt Lake City, August 30, 1860.

Esther, being young and healthy, walked a good part of the way. Their wagon was pulled by a team of an ox and a cow. Jesse Murphy, the teamster became friendly with Esther and was very attentive to her throughout the whole journey. He carried her over streams, brought her fresh cool water, and paid her every courtesy he possibly could. It was thought by the family that the young couple would be married when then reached Salt Lake, but it didn't happen. Instead after arriving in Salt Lake, she hired out as a general housekeeper to Charles Richins. After a few months of work she became Charles' second wife in plural marriage. They were married March 9, 1861, in the Salt Lake Endowment House by Brigham Young.

The "Big House"

The Charles Richins family didn't stay in tents and dugouts very long. After the first year two rooms of red brick were built over the dugouts. The following year three more rooms were added, and eventually the two-story house consisted of fifteen rooms, with two staircases, one front and one back, and two brick fireplaces.

This home was the first one built in Henefer out of material other than logs. The kitchen was a long, narrow room with a wood stove in one end, a brick fireplace in the other, and a great long dining room table in the center. The other room with a fireplace was the parlor. It was furnished with a tall grandfather clock, an organ, a plush settee or two, and a beautiful hardwood table that could be extended to seat twenty people.

The parlor was used for many purposes. Meetings of every nature were held there until the Henefer brick meetinghouse was built in 1872. It was used as a funeral home on occasions. Parley T. Richins recalled in his "Memories", that his sisters Hattie Richins and Alma Richins had their wedding reception in the parlor with every person in the valley invited.

The "big house" was home to most of the Mormon emigrants as they came down Echo Canyon on their way to the Salt Lake Valley. Relatives and friends from England were welcomed, fed, and allowed to stay until they could get their feet on the ground. There was seldom a meal which wasn't shared by someone outside the immediate family. [It took 15 to 20 men to take care of the property operations. Twenty-extra mouths to feed meant cooking and planning for days ahead. Every woman and girl in the house worked from sun up till dark, feeding the hungry men and caring for all the children.]

Louisa was a herb doctor and midwife. She was a stately woman with very small beautiful hands. She attended many of the women at birth of their children. Parley T. Richins said that Louisa was the midwife for his mother, Esther, when he was born. She always served willingly in time of sickness to man or animal. To her, sickness was sickness, whether in man or beast. Louisa kept her medicines and herbs in a room of the "big, house" which no other member of the family was allowed to enter.

The house was used as a tithing and fast offering settlement house while Charles was presiding elder and bishop. Tithing was paid in kind, such as hay, grain, butter, eggs, vegetables, bricks, adobe, or whatever the individual happened to have. One room in the house was used by Leonard Richins, cousin of Charles, as a clock repair shop. (To read more about the "big house" see "Henefer Our Valley Home.")

Human Interest Stories

During the early days of Henefer, Charles had many very narrow escapes of his life. At one time while walking home from his work, which was a distance of about twenty miles, he was attacked by a pack of wolves and his only weapon of defense was a stick he had picked up to aid him in the long walk. With the aid of this stick and an unseen power he came out unmolested by the fierce animals.

There was a time when he had a very severe attack of inflammatory rheumatism which lasted about six weeks. The pain and fever was so severe that it turned his hair completely white.

At one time Charles took Esther and her three boys, Parley Richins, Hosea Richins, and Noble Richins to American Fork. They went from Henefer by way of Kamas where they spent the first night. The next day they traveled as far as Charleston where they stayed with Enoch Richins, brother of Charles, for three or four days. As they came to the crossing of the Provo River, the team and wagon were washed down stream for quite some distance until Charles got full control of the horses and got them up the bank. They had to pay a toll charge to go through Provo Canyon. In American Fork they stayed a few days with Esther's father, Thomas Ovard, and then returned to Henefer.

Charles was known as a friend to the Indians who came to the settlement. Chief Washiki came to Henefer often. At one time he had 1,500 of his Indians camped near the river for a period of three months. Washiki was a friendly Indian. He wanted to be at peace with the white people but he was not particular how much his Indians begged for food or other things they wanted. Washiki and his white squaw spent much time in the little settlement but were never unfriendly.

Charles Richins believed as Brigham Young had taught, that it was better to feed the Indians that to fight them. He was very generous with them and often give them as much as half of a beef to feed their people. The story is told that on one occasion some of the Indians got drunk and got rather hostile. Charles, in order to stop impending. trouble, told the Indians that they could have their choice of any of the beef in his herd. The Indians chose a new prize bull that he had just bought to sire his herds and rather than cause any trouble, Charles let them kill it and eat it.

Charles, Successful Farmer and Stock Raiser

Charles was a successful farmer and stock raiser in Henefer and then later in Colonia-Diaz, Mexico. His boyhood environment in Sheepscomb, England, an agricultural community, prepared him for stock raising and dairying. He accumulated considerable real estate and was financially successful. In 1867, water for irrigation was first brought onto the Henefer bench. Charles was the first to apply for water. At one time he owned over 200 acres of farm land in the Henefer valley. (See back cover of Henefer Our Valley Home for map of Henneferville giving the land owners.) Many residents worked his ground on shares. He was generous with his possessions. He contributed the ground for the first Henefer church house which was built where the present church building stands. He also contributed part of the ground for the Henefer cemetery. On July 24, 1874, a big celebration was held in Henefer which included a great meal. Robert A. Jones wrote in his life story that Bishop Richins furnished the beef.

Charles' son, Parley, said the young children in the family had plenty of work to occupy their time. At an early age the girls learned the art of housekeeping while the boys were taught to milk the cows, till the ground, and do all the other chores that come along with animals and a large farm. He told of one incident when his brother, Madison Richins, while herding the cows, threw a good-sized rock at a cow and struck it in a vital spot on the head and killed it.

Louisa had charge of the milk and cream, churning the butter, preparing the eggs and other products for market. Some of these products were taken to Salt Lake City by ox team and wagon.

In Mexico Charles purchased a large herd of cattle and went into the dairy business. His son, Jesse Richins, said they often milked from fifty to seventy-five cows and made butter and cheese from the milk. According to him, Charles was very particular about his animals. He didn't want them neglected, but saw that they got the best of care. Charles also bought a large tract of ground in Mexico and had a big herd of range cattle. In his later life he spent most of. his time riding the range taking care of the cattle. Jesse said his father always furnished plenty of work for his children besides having some hired help.

While maintaining the "big house" in Henefer, Charles had another home and an apple orchard in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Parley related a time when he and his cousin, Alma Richins, traveled by team and wagon to Millcreek in Salt Lake City to meet Charles who brought four fifty-gallon barrels of apple cider he had made from the apples in his orchard. They took the cider to the "big house" and stored it in the cellar.

Charles - Church and Community Leader

As was mentioned earlier, Charles was made presiding elder in Henefer in 1865. The next year a fort was erected on the site of the present meeting house as a protection against the Indians. In 1872, while presiding elder, he acted as chairman of the building committee, responsible for Henefer's first church building.

On July 8, 1877, when Summit Stake was organized, Heneferville was made a ward with Charles Richins as bishop. He presided until 1885, when on account of persecution for his practicing plural marriage, he was forced to be absent so much of the time, that his counselors Robert Jones and John Curtis Paskett took charge of the ward. A reorganization was effected in 1890 with John C. Paskett as bishop. Charles was ordained a bishop by Elder Lorenzo Snow. Others of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles present at the time of the ordination were Elders John Taylor and Franklin D. Richards. Parley T. Richins, who was born in the "big house" said many of the general authorities of the Church were overnight guests in their home after his father became bishop. He stated that his father felt honored and blessed to be so favored of the Lord.

Besides being active in the Church, Charles became involved in civic affairs. He helped build the first dirt roads in the area. When the Union Pacific Rail Road came through the valley he was given a contract to furnish ties for the first rails laid from Echo Canyon to Ogden. It was a big undertaking. [By December 1868, Ephraim P. Ellison said he worked on one of the railroad crews headed by Bishop Charles W. Richins, who hired available teams, wagons, chains, axes, and saws...] Richins hired men from the area to chop down the trees, bark them and then haul them to where they had to be planed by hand into hundreds of railroad ties. On completion of the project, Charles received for pay a $1,000 bill from the Union Pacific Rail Road.

The canyon west of Henefer where Charles got the timber for the ties was named "Bishops," after Charles. Robert A. Jones said in his life's story that he drove Edward Richins' team of oxen to haul the timber, while his father drove Edward's team of horses. They were paid $10 a day. It took them one day to get to the timber operation, another day to load, and a third day to deliver the ties to the lower end of Echo. This was not the end of Charles' railroading. In 1872, he obtained a contract to build the Summit County Railroad which went from Echo to Coalville and Grass Creek. It was built to haul coal to the main line in Echo. In order to accomplish this task he bought a track laying outfit.

Charles provided work for many men. In 1875 he took the contract to furnish plaster of paris used to plaster the rooms of the courthouse at Coalville. He had teams haul the plaster from Salt Lake City to Coalville. Records show that Charles was involved in the political affairs of his time. He was a county commissioner and at one time was a delegate from Summit County for the "People's Party", which was the party in Utah favorable to the Mormon Church.

Louisa and Children Move to Arizona

In the 1870's the federal government passed a series of laws designed to stop polygamy. Charles, feeling the pressure and knowing that President Brigham Young had advised Latter-day Saints to go to Arizona to help settle the area, decided to send Louisa and her family to that area. He bought two new wagons and arranged for Louisa to take her family, provisions, and herd of cattle to Arizona. All of her children except Orson accompanied her.

On October 3, 1877, they started on their journey by ox team, horses and covered wagons. Accompanying Louisa were her children; Wellington (19), Prudence Priscilla (17), Rebecca (13), and Marland Golden (6), and the spouses of Wellington (Alice Bond), and Prudence (Joseph Bond). Rebecca, only thirteen, rode a horse and helped drive a large herd of cattle from Henefer to Mesa. When the company reached Mud Springs in Kane County, Utah, on November 5, 1877, Alice, wife of Wellington, gave birth to a son whom they named Osborne. Fifteen days later Prudence gave birth to a baby boy who died five days after birth. Wellington took the baby's body by horseback 15 miles to Moenkopi, Arizona, a Mormon settlement, for burial.

The route Louisa and her family took carried them over mountains and through deserts. They arrived in Thompson Valley, situated about 60 miles southeast of Prescott, Arizona, in January 1878. Their trek to Arizona had not been easy. It had been long, strenuous, and was accompanied by much sorrow and heartache. After living at Thompson six months, Louisa became dissatisfied and decided to return to Utah with her two youngest children. Joseph traded his ox team for horses and he and Prudence accompanied Louisa, Rebecca and Marland on the return trip. Their travel back by horse-drawn covered wagons to Henefer was faster and more enjoyable then their trip down by ox team. Wellington and his wife continued on to Lehi and then to Mesa where they stayed.

Agnes of Bassingbourne

Shortly after Louisa returned to the "big house" in the spring of 1878, Charles married his third wife, Agnes Mary Willmott. In spite of persecution, Charles still felt that as a Bishop it was his responsibility to live the law to the best of his ability. The story has been told that neither Louisa nor Esther knew Charles was going to marry Agnes until he brought her to the "big house" to live. If this story is true, it shows the trust and confidence Louisa and Esther had in Charles as they accepted his third wife. Agnes and Charles were married by Elder Wilford Woodruff in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on April 11, 1878. Agnes was a beautiful girl, very frail and delicate. She was 20 years old and Charles was 50.

Agnes was born in Bassingbourne, Cambridgeshire, England, on March 3, 1858. Her parents were Edward Willmott [1828-1900] and Ann Noble [1827-1900]. She attended public school until she was 12 years of age. When she was nearly fifteen she went to London to work for a family as a nurse girl. She was working as a parlor maid with a wealthy family when she heard the message of the Mormon elders. She accepted the gospel and was baptized September 3, 1876, when she was 18 years old. Her mother and an older sister were baptized a few months before she joined the church and they immigrated to Utah in 1876.

Agnes and her younger sister Eliza Willmott came to Zion in the fall of 1877, arriving in Echo on November 7, 1877. Her father and oldest brother John Willmott never did accept the gospel but her brother, George Willmott came to Utah and was baptized at Henefer. Her brothers and sisters were: John, Elizabeth Willmott, George, Eliza and Jane Willmott.

Three Wives in the Big House

There was only a short period of time, between the spring of 1878 and February, 1882, when Charles had all three of his wives with him in the "big house". The reason the wives and families of Charles were seldom together was because of the persecution against polygamy. Either Charles or one or more of his wives were "hiding out" or "on the run" from 1877 until 1890 when the Manifesto was issued by President Wilford Woodruff, declaring and end to the practice of plural marriage by the Church. By 1890, Charles was in Mexico, along with many other Latter-day Saints, because that country had no laws opposing plural marriage.

All of Louisa's children after she and Charles moved from Salt Lake, and all of Esther's children, were born in Henefer. Three of Agnes's ten children were born while she was at Henefer between the years 1879 and 1884.

Parley, son of Esther, said each family had separate bedrooms and living quarters but that they all assembled as one large family to eat their meals and kneel in family prayer. He recalled that they were taught to respect the other wives of their father and to pray for them. "There were no half brothers and sisters, we were all members of the same family and this relationship has remained so throughout our lives," he said.

In the U.S. Census of 1870, for Henefer, Louisa and Esther are both listed in the household of Charles along with their children. In the 1880 census the two wives are listed separately as head of their household along with their children. Charles was not listed with either family because he was in Arizona with Agnes. While Charles was gone he may have hired someone to help his wives with the work as Franklyn, a 23 year old male servant, is listed in the household of Louisa in the 1880 census.

Charles and Agnes go to Arizona and Later Return

In the fall of 1879, because of persecution, Charles and Agnes left Henefer and went to Kaysville to stay with Agnes' mother. From there they went to Mesa, Arizona, traveling the entire distance by team and wagon. They had some very narrow escapes. While crossing the Big Colorado River, the water was so high that Charles had to bring his team and wagon out at a particular spot or they would hit quicksand and lose everything. Agnes laid in the bottom of the wagon with her baby, Jesse, afraid they would not make it, but providence was with them. After crossing the river they camped at the foot of Moocown Mountains where they came in contact with Indians who were on the warpath. They learned that a battle had been fought at their previous nights campground and that they had narrowly escaped being captured. They arrived at the Salt River in the Mesa area, April 1880.

They stayed there until the fall of 1880 when they started their return trip to Henefer. On their way back they stopped at Minersville, Utah, where their daughter, Eunice Richins, was born. When she was six weeks old they stopped in Provo at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Boordman. While staying at Boordman's their small son Jesse was seriously burned and only recovered after great care. They made it back to Henefer sometime in 1881 where they remained until 1885. During that time two more children were born to Agnes and two more to Esther.

Louisa and Family Return to Arizona

Four years after returning to Henefer, Louisa and her family decided to return to Arizona. She, Joseph and Prudence had often been encouraged to return to Arizona by news of the opportunities there. With the harassment over polygamy the situation in Henefer was not the most enjoyable.

In February of 1882, the same group that had returned earlier from Arizona, plus Joseph and Prudence's small children , drove to Echo and purchased tickets for the train trip back to Arizona. They arrived at Maricopa, Arizona, the nearest railroad station to Lehi and Mesa. Wellington met them at the station and took them to Mesa, 30 miles away by team and wagon. The wagon trip took a full day. Before leaving Henefer, Charles gave Louisa some money which she used to purchase five acres of land in Mesa. It was just north of property acquired by Joseph and Prudence. At a later date, her other son, Orson, and his wives moved from Henefer to Arizona where they made their home.

Charles and Families in Utah Harassed

With the passage of the Edmunds Law in 1886, federal officers intensified their efforts to arrest and imprison those practicing polygamy. Once again Charles had to leave Henefer for his own safety, as well as the safety of his wives, Esther and Agnes. He, Agnes and their children went to Kaysville again where they stayed with Agnes' mother for a short time. From there they went to Pleasant Grove, where Charles bought some ground, including an orchard. It was here that Agnes had her first real home. Esther was left in Henefer with her family to take care of the "big house" and the family's livestock and ground. She sold some of the ground at one time and sent money to Charles in Pleasant Grove. There was a time when Esther was responsible to see that fifteen head of cows were milked night and morning.

Peace reigned but a short time. One day in April, 1887, Charles and Agnes were visiting a relative when an unknown woman came to the house. When Agnes was introduced as the wife of Charles she said, "I thought Charles' wife was much older, or does he have another wife?" The relative told her Charles had another wife, Esther, in Henefer. When she had gone Charles arose and said, "I feel the spirit of the devil in this house, let us go home at once." The next morning at sunrise as he took his team of horses to drink at a ditch across the street from his home in Pleasant Grove he was arrested by two federal officers. He was placed under $1,000 bond and given a day to appear in court. Agnes was subpoenaed as a witness against her husband and put under a $200 bond. Jesse (8) and Eunice (6) were also subpoenaed but were not put under bond.

In the meantime an effort was being made to locate Esther so they would have a case against Charles in court. This forced Esther to live for months in the "underground" to escape arrest. She took her small children and moved from place to place not staying in one settlement very long at a time. They lived in nearly every little town along the Weber River, including Croyden, Hoytsville, Wanship and Rockport. She returned to Henefer on occasion at night to see that the affairs at home were being taken care of properly.

Agnes Goes to Arizona, Charges Against Charles Dismissed

Agnes went to Provo one day for trial and their case was not called up. While the search was being made for Esther, and not wanting to testify against her husband, Agnes took four of her children and went to Mesa where she stayed with Louisa. She left five year old Byron Richins with his father and her mother, Ann, who had come from Kaysville to keep house for Charles. Charles was one of the bondsmen for his wife, Agnes, so when she left he had to come up with the money to pay the bond. Esther sold some of the cattle in Henefer and sent $200 to Charles to pay the bond. She sewed the money in the lining of Madison's coat (age 17) and he rode over Big Mountain by horseback to take the money to his father.

Charles stayed in Pleasant Grove awaiting trial. Inasmuch as the prosecutors had no witnesses they continued his case from term to term hoping to get witnesses against him. Charles finally got permission from his bondsman to go to Mexico in December, 1888, on condition that he would return to Provo for the next grand jury session in March, 1889. He took his son, Byron, with him. He met Agnes and their four children at Deming, New Mexico, and from there they went to Colonia Diaz, Mexico. They located a little one-room adobe house where Agnes and the children stayed while Charles returned to Provo for trial.

In March 1889, his case was brought up but due to lack of witnesses, and the fact he had been waiting nearly two years, and had been faithful to his bond, the judge dismissed his case and he was free. Parley once commented to his father that even if he had gone to trial he would probably have spent only a couple of months in jail. Charles replied, "Parley, if I had gone to jail, I would have died there."

Charles Goes to Old Mexico to Live

After being freed at his trial, Charles visited his second family in Henefer. From there he went to Mesa where he stayed with his first family a short time before returning to Mexico where he had left his third family.

In Mexico, Charles purchased a ranch two and one-half miles from Colonia Diaz. About 1889 he built a house which was a smaller replica of the "big house" in Henefer. Next to the house was a windmill and trees and shrubs which mirrored in a pool. Some distance east of the house were adobe.corrals where the dairy herd was milked. There were no water rights, just rain, so it was quite different from his irrigated ground in Henefer. Nevertheless, he purchased a herd of cattle to stock his ranch.

Esther Moves to Mexico for a Short Time

On September 13, 1890, Charles was back in Henefer to sell the "big house" and what remained of his property. William H. Bennett purchased the "big house" and some of his farm ground. The "big house" changed hands a number of times and was later torn down. Charles talked Esther and some of her children into returning to Mexico with him. Emeline and Hannah were married and Madison was ready to get married so they refused to go. Esther and her children Parley, Hosea, and Noble, accompanied Charles, to Deming, New Mexico, by train and from there to Colonia Diaz, a distance of 100 miles by wagon.

Charles picked out a spot on his ranch for Esther to live and started hauling adobes to build the house. She didn't want to go to Mexico in the first place and after she had been there a month she was homesick for her children in Henefer. She said, "I've got three married children in Henefer and three here and I'll return to Henefer and take these three with me." Charles counseled with Anthony W. Ivins, president of the mission, concerning the matter and the decision was made for Esther to return to Henefer.

Charles gave Esther $400 when she left Mexico and she, Hosea, and Noble traveled by train back to Henefer. Parley stayed for about a year and a half to help his father before returning to Henefer via the train. He said his responsibility was to herd the cattle while there in Mexico. At a later date, 1898, Charles wrote and asked Parley to come to Mexico and help on the ranch as Jesse had been called on a mission. Parley returned to Mexico and helped for eight months.

As stated earlier, Louisa purchased five acres of property in Mesa with the money Charles gave her. Despite owning the property she always made her home with Joseph and Prudence who lived near by. She was affectionately known in Mesa as "Grandma Richins". She continued her earlier practice of medicine and was a midwife who was trusted by all she assisted. When notified of illness in a home Joseph would often take her to that home in a wagon with steel­rimmed wheels.

Louisa was a good cook and her specialty was the baking of big, light-brown loaves of bread. She also made butter and cheese, an art she learned while living in the "big house". Louisa loved to read, especially church books and newspapers from Salt Lake City and England. She was small in stature and always neatly dressed. She usually wore a blouse and skirt or a very plain dress, dark laced shoes and a sun bonnet with slat stays to hold it away from her face. (To read more about Louisa Shill Richins click mouse on her name.)

Louisa went into Mexico on several occasions to visit her husband and his third wife, Agnes and family. She traveled by train to Dublan where she was met by one of the family to take her from there to Colonia Diaz. Once Louisa was met by Parley, son of Esther, who did not know her. He used a small picture given him by his father to identify her as she got off the train.

In March, 1902, Louisa returned to Mesa from her last visit to Mexico just in time to assist her daughter Prudence in giving birth to a baby daughter. She loved her children and her grandchildren. She had 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls. Three of her sons and two of her daughter had families of their own. Louisa was always willing to help those in need, even in her advanced years. She was a staunch member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She lived the gospel faithfully and served the church well. She died of a stroke, April 28, 1902, approximately one month after her return from Mexico. She was buried in Mesa.

Charles in Colonia Diaz

In Mexico, Charles, Agnes, and their family went through the hardships of frontier life, but they soon got things around them to make it more comfortable. Jesse said that often they would milked from fifty to seventy-five cows and then make butter and cheese. At times they were short of help on the ranch so the girls had to help with the work. Whenever the girls rode horses, Charles would allow them to only ride side saddle.

Ranch life had its troubles and sorrows. In October, 1895, Byron, Charles and Agnes' thirteen year old son was dragged to death by a horse. It was a Sunday morning and Byron had gone out to get the horses for the family to go to Sunday School. He was riding his horse without a saddle and when he found the other horses he unhobbled them. In getting back on his horse with a long rope in his hands, he accidentally threw a loop around his own neck and his horse jumped from under him and dragged him through the mesquite brush breaking his neck. Jesse said his father and mother lost their love for ranch life after that tragedy.

Jesse tells of an incident when Charles tried to cross the river when the water was so high that the horse could not swim until he slid off its back and held on to the horses tail. He says Charles was thrown from his horse several times and nearly killed

In Colonia Diaz, Charles served as second counselor to Bishop William D. Johnson from 1895 to 1900. In May 1901 he was ordained a patriarch by John Henry Smith, which position he held a little over two years until his death. One writer [Annie Richardson Johnson] said "he dedicated his life to the Church and made spirituality a paramount issue of his home. Profanity was taboo and distance did not prevent the family from attending church, school and socials in town," (See "Heartbeats of Colonia Diaz" pages 148-149),

Charles was a man of great spirituality. He had the gifts of the spirit. On one occasion a grandchild about ten weeks old was thrown from a wagon and the wheel passed over her neck. When the baby was reached she was, from all appearances, dead for she was black in the face. Charles administered to her and she was healed immediately. He also had the spirit of discernment concerning the safety of those away from home. On several occasions he sent out search parties to look for missing ones before he was told something was wrong.

Charles died August 27, 1903, at the age of 75. His death was attributed to his getting over heated while running after cattle while trying to drive them to water A birthday dinner was planned for the 17th of August with over 100 invited guests but was canceled when he got sick two days earlier. After getting sick he lived for two weeks. Charles was 5 feet 6 inches in height, weighed 152 pounds and was fair of complexion with grey hair most of his life.

Excerpts from his obituary in the Deseret News give some indication of the greatness of this man: "The people of our ward are called upon to lay away one of our choicest citizens and Brethren, Patriarch Charles Richins...He was a faithful Latter-day Saint universally loved and respected." Charles was buried in Colonia Diaz. No one knows where he was buried because the Mexicans plowed up the cemeteries after they drove the Mormons out in 1912.

Esther in Henefer

With the $400 Charles gave Esther when she left Mexico, she purchased a piece of ground and log house from James Attack. It consisted of a bedroom, kitchen, hallway and lean-to. She and her boys lived there for several years. Esther made a living for herself and family by taking in washing and ironing from people in Echo. She managed to help support her son, Parley, while he fulfilled a mission. She was a hard worker and had a little garden of her own.

After the death of Charles, Esther went to Mexico seeking a settlement on his property there, but came back without anything. In fact, nearly all was lost by the Mormons when they were driven out by the Mexican government.

When her boys married and established their own homes, Esther lived alone. Her home was next to her son, Noble's. Her family and relatives often took turns staying nights with her. As she grew older her health began to fail. She could only hear out of one ear. One night after dark, she fell through a footbridge that had been removed by halloween pranksters and broke her leg. The leg took months to heal and from that time on she had to use a cane to walk. Soon after the fall, she was taken to the home of her daughter, Hattie, to live. There she had a room of her own and a houseful of grandchildren to keep her happy. She lived with the Alma Richins family for about a year.

Esther was a true Latter-day Saint, living her religion day by day. Her life was not an easy one, but it was a full life and she lived to fulfill her mission here on earth. She was faithful to her husband Charles. She never said anything derogatory about him and would stop anyone else who did. When Esther died July 30, 1924, she was the oldest woman resident of Henefer. She had ten children, five boys and five girls. Two of her daughters and four of her sons had families of their own.

Agnes at Colonia Diaz

A tribute paid to Agnes in Heartbeats of Colonia Diaz, page 149, says she was Charles' "wisp of a wife, weighing not much more that a hundred pounds, was English culture personified. This was portrayed in her manner, speech, and dress, even while mustering pioneer problems such as would be met while establishing a cattle and dairy ranch in an undeveloped foreign country." After Charles passed away Agnes and her family moved into Diaz. At that time she had three children who were married and four not married: Agnes, Beatrice, John and Roxie, ages 6-17. To protect her interest in Charles' estate in Mexico she and Charles had been married by the justice of the peace in El Paso, Texas, on July 9, 1902. Evidently they were afraid the Mexican government would not accept their sealing in the Endowment House twenty-four years earlier.

In 1910 the government in Mexico was very unstable because a revolution was going on between the Francisco I. Madero marauders and the Diaz regime. The government was unable to cope with numerous rebellions and uprisings so living conditions were very hazardous and uncertain. John W. Richins, who was fifteen at the time, said he remembered when two American men were killed by desperadoes. He was sent from Diaz as a messenger to the Richins ranch and to neighboring ranches in Colonia Diaz on two different occasions to tell them to come into town for safety. John tells that on one occasion he borrowed a saddle from Lois' husband, Hyrum, put it on his horse and went with three boys to the Richins Ranch for a load of feed. They stopped for a swim and while swimming someone stole his horse. He later found the horse but the saddle and bridle were missing.

On July 26, 1912, President Junius Romney, leader of the Mormons in Mexico, received orders from General Salazar of the Diaz regime to have all the colonists turn in their arms and ammunition. If they didn't turn them in the rebels threatened to attack the colonists as well as those favoring the Mexican government. The rebels had already taken possession of some of the other colonies. The decision was made o turn in the firearms but to only give them their old guns that were in poor condition and one of the community arms imported from the United States. It was soon learned that weapons turned in got into the hands of the rebels; so on July 28, 1912, they received a message from President Romney advising all colonists to leave immediately for the states.

Agnes, Beatrice Richins and Roxie were visiting in the nearby community of Colonia Juarez with Agnes Clayson [Jackson] when the message came to leave. They were making wedding plans for Beatrice's marriage to Henry L. Smith. That very day they left, along with Jesse Clayson [Jackson], for El Paso, Texas. Agnes said in her history that she landed in El Paso, Texas with the first train load of refugees.

John, in Diaz, helped women and children gather what they could and move out. They could only take necessities. John said, "many choice things that had crossed the ocean with our parents and had been passed on to us for safekeeping were left behind. After turning the livestock loose and opening the chicken coop door, I hurried over to help my brother Jesse's family get loaded into a wagon." Jesse was nearly a hundred miles south of Diaz working on a railroad. Then John and Jesse's family, Lois and Hyrum and their families, left Diaz and went northwest by team and wagon across the border to Hachita, New Mexico in the United States. Once across the border the United States government furnished tents and provisions until they could establish themselves or go to some other destination.

After two weeks in the "tent city" of Hachita, Eunice and James and their family and John went to El Paso, Texas to be with Agnes and other members of the family. On August 17, 1912, Beatrice was married to Henry Lunt Smith in El Paso, Texas.

Jesse W., son of Charles, corresponded with the Mexican Government in conjunction with an effort led by Orson Pratt Brown to get settlement on the Charles Richins property and all other property left behind by the Mormon settlers. After thirty [?] years a settlement of .08 cents an acre was made for the Richins property and the money was divided within the estate.

Agnes and Family Move to Utah and Idaho

On August 20, 1912, Agnes, Roxie, John and Eunice and James and their family, left Texas for Henefer. John said, they arrived in Henefer in time to help with the hay harvest and stayed there for the winter. Agnes said, "Our folks there treated us very kindly."

In December of 1913, Agnes, John and Roxie moved to Richfield, Utah, to be with Jesse and his family. Eunice, James and family went to Tucson, Arizona, and on to Deming, New Mexico. After being in Richfield four months Agnes, John and Roxie left for El Paso. Agnes said she went to El Paso in April of 1913 thinking they could return to Mexico. From there they went to Deming, New Mexico to be with Eunice and James. While living there John and George Richins went to the Hachita Ranch, rounded up all the horses they had brought out of Mexico and drove them to Deming where they sold them.

In the fall of 1914, Agnes, John and Roxie moved to Oakley, Idaho, where Jesse had moved and taken up a homestead. Eunice and her family were also in Oakley. From there they went to Burley, Idaho, and then to Provo, Utah, in the Spring of 1919. John got work in Provo with his brother-in-law, Jesse Clayson. Agnes and John lived with Agnes and Jesse Clayson in Provo.

On February 16, 1925, Agnes Mary Willmott passed away at the age of 67. She was buried in the Provo cemetery.

Agnes was the mother of ten children, four sons and six daughters. Six of her children had families of their own. One other son John Richins never married. Agnes proved herself faithful to her covenants. She sacrificed much to live in the plural marriage. Her life was not easy but she never weakened in her love for her husband and her family. She maintained a close relationship with her children throughout her life.

Charles and His Wives Left a Great Heritage

Although parts of the life of Charles and each of his wives has been written in the past, this is the first time the life stories of all four have been put together. This provides a clearer picture of the Charles Richins family and reveals to us the sacrifices made by all of them.

Each of these great people accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ and came to Zion, a trek that was not easy. They were truly pioneers; not just in Utah, where they first settled, but again in Arizona and Mexico where they moved. Agnes, in her own history said, "I went through the Pioneer days in Mexico. "

Louisa was a pioneer in Henefer and then again in Mesa, Arizona. Esther was in Henefer almost as soon as Louisa, and then remained to take care of the families possessions during their persecution for polygamy. A reading of this history will make the reader aware of the number of times each of the four people involved made trips back and forth from Utah, Arizona and Mexico. Travel in those days was most difficult. The descendants of Charles should not lose sight of the sorrow and heartaches that came to the families from the death of their children while still young. Louisa had five children who died young, Esther had four and Agnes had three.

How different things might have been had Charles not entered plural marriage but remained in Henneferville with Louisa and his first family. But he did enter plural marriage, and it is the writer's conviction that if Charles had kept a diary he would have recorded his call from the President Brigham Young to take upon himself this great responsibility. No doubt he was aware of the sacrifices he would be called upon to make but he was equal to the test. Even after persecution began he still married his third wife. Credit should also be given to the three wives who, from all indications, lived as harmoniously in plural marriage as three wives possibly could. They maintained their love and devotion to Charles, to each other, and to the families of each other even after most of their worldly possessions had been lost. In so doing they helped raise up a righteous posterity, which was the purpose for the practice of plural marriage. Truly, the blessings pronounced upon the head of Charles Richins by Patriarch John Smith were fulfilled.

Charles Richins Memorial

At the Richins Reunion held Saturday, August 7, 1976, in Henefer, a special tribute was paid to Charles and his three wives. A memorial marker, erected by the descendants of Charles, on the Henefer Cemetery was dedicated. The inscription on the monument reads:



Born 17 August 1828, Sheepscomb, Gloucester, England, son of Richard Richins and Charlotte Priscilla Wager. Pioneer to Utah 1853 - Settled in Henneferville 1861. Served for 25 years (1865-1890) as Presiding Elder and Bishop. MARRIED: LOUISA SHILL, ESTHER STOWE OVARD AND AGNES MARY WILLMOTT. Father of 30 children. Died 27 August 1903, at Colonia Diaz, Mexico, where he is buried. Erected by his descendants.

Dedicated 7 August 1976.

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This history was written and compiled by J. Alden Richins, great-grandson of Charles and Esther. First printed by Richins Surname Association, August 1976. This second printing, with a few minor changes, was made in April 1993.

Appreciation is expressed to all who assisted in preparing this history. Special thanks to Naoma Bond Ball, Maxine R. Wright, Erma S. Richins, LaPreal R. Martindale Agnes R. Bice, Henry and Beatrice Smith, and Earl Stephens who contributed either pictures made available history which they had written or had in their possessions. Much of this material was gleaned from memories of people involved and may not be factual in every detail but is correct to the best of our knowledge.

Some of the sources used for this history were:

Henefer Our Valley Home. Fannie J. Richins and Maxine R. Wright

"Life Story of Louisa Shill Richins", Naoma Bond Ball

"History of Charles Wager Richins and Esther Stowe Ovard," Maxine R. Wright

"Life Story of Parley Thomas Richins and Fannie Judd", Maxine R. Wright

"History of Charles Richins", Jesse Richins

"Life History of Agnes Mary Willmott Richins" John Willmott Richins Heartbeat of Colonia Diaz, pages 148-149. Annie R, Johnson

Charles Richins, Charles W. Richins, Brother Richins


PAF - Archer files = Orson Pratt Brown + (3) Elizabeth Macdonald : Elizabeth Macdonald + Pardon Milo Webb > Marguerite Webb Brown + Otto Stronach Shill < Charles Golding Shill + Harriet Stronach Paynter < Robert Chapple Shill + Prudence Goulding > Louisa Shill + Charles Wager Richins. Louisa Shill and Charles Golding Shill are sibliings. Louisa Shill is Marguerite Webb Brown Shill's aunt.

Photos courtesy of Anita Jones Smith.

Daughters of Utah Pioneers biography.


Biography submitted by Melba Smith to DUP Sunset Camp, Utah in 1966.

Copyright 2001 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org

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... Easter 1986 through October 2005


... Published December 2007:
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... Published March 2009:
(unfortunately the publisher incorrectly changed the photo
and spelling of Phebe Abbott Brown Fife's name
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Researched and Compiled by
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... Published 2012:
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Includes O.P Brown's activities as Special Church Agent in El Paso
and the Juarez Stake Relief Committee Minutes of 1912.

...Published 2012:
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Includes O.P. Brown's works as Bishop of Morelos. Written in Spanish.

...Published 2014:
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By Elizabeth Oberdick Anderson [ISBN: 978-156085-226-1]
Mentions O.P. Brown more than 30 times as Ivins' companion.

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... Lily Gonzalez Brown 80th Birthday Party-Reunion
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...... Biographical Sketch of the Life Orson Pratt Brown
...... History of Orson Pratt Brown by Orson P. Brown
...... Journal & Reminiscences of Capt. Orson P. Brown
...... Memories of Orson P. Brown by C. Weiler Brown
...... Orson Pratt Brown by "Hattie" Critchlow Jensen
...... Orson Pratt Brown by Nelle Spilsbury Hatch
...... Orson Pratt Brown by W. Ayrd Macdonald

- Captain James Brown 1801-1863

...... Wives and 29 / 43 Children Photo Chart
...... Captain James Brown's Letters & Journal
...... Brown Family Memorabilia
...... Mormon Battalion 1846-1847
...... Brown's Fort ~ then Brownsville, Utah
...... Chronology of Captain James Brown

- Phebe Abbott Brown Fife 1831-1915

- Colonel William Nicol Fife - Stepfather 1831-1915


- James Brown of Rowan County, N.C. 1757-1823

- Mary Williams of Rowan County, N.C. 1760-1832

- Stephen Joseph Abbott of, PA 1804-1843

- Abigail Smith of Williamson, N.Y. 1806-1889

- John Fife of Tulliallan, Scotland 1807-1874

- Mary Meek Nicol, Carseridge, Scotland 1809-1850 


- Martha "Mattie" Diana Romney Brown 1870-1943

- Jane "Jennie" Bodily Galbraith Brown 1879-1944

- Elizabeth Graham MacDonald Webb Brown 1874-1904

- Eliza Skousen Brown Abbott Burk 1882-1958

- Angela Maria Gavaldón Brown 1919-1967


- (Martha) Carrie Brown (child) 1888-1890

- (Martha) Orson Pratt Brown, Jr. (child) 1890-1892

- (Martha) Ray Romney Brown 1892-1945

- (Martha) Clyde Romney Brown 1893-1948

- (Martha) Miles Romney Brown 1897-1974

- (Martha) Dewey B. Brown 1898-1954

- (Martha) Vera Brown Foster Liddell Ray 1901-1975

- (Martha) Anthony Morelos Brown 1904-1970

- (Martha) Phoebe Brown Chido Gardiner 1906-1973

- (Martha) Orson Juarez Brown 1908-1981

- (Jane) Ronald Galbraith Brown 1898-1969

- (Jane) Grant "Duke" Galbraith Brown 1899-1992

- (Jane) Martha Elizabeth Brown Leach Moore 1901-1972

- (Jane) Pratt Orson Galbraith Brown 1905-1960

- (Jane) William Galbraith Brown (child) 1905-1912

- (Jane) Thomas Patrick Porfirio Diaz Brown 1907-1978

- (Jane) Emma Jean Galbraith Brown Hamilton 1909-1980

- (Elizabeth) (New born female) Webb 1893-1893

- (Elizabeth) Elizabeth Webb Brown Jones 1895-1982

- (Elizabeth) Marguerite Webb Brown Shill 1897-1991

- (Elizabeth) Donald MacDonald Brown 1902-1971

- (Elizabeth) James Duncan Brown 1904-1943

- (Eliza) Gwen Skousen Brown Erickson Klein 1903-1991

- (Eliza) Anna Skousen Brown Petrie Encke 1905-2001

- (Eliza) Otis Pratt Skousen Brown 1907-1987

- (Eliza) Orson Erastus Skousen Brown (infant) 1909-1910

- (Eliza) Francisco Madera Skousen Brown 1911-1912

- (Eliza) Elizabeth Skousen Brown Howell 1914-1999

- (Angela) Silvestre Gustavo Brown 1919-

- (Angela) Bertha Erma Elizabeth Brown 1922-1979

- (Angela) Pauly Gabaldón Brown 1924-1998

- (Angela) Aaron Aron Saul Brown 1925

- (Angela) Mary Angela Brown Hayden Green 1927

- (Angela) Heber Jedediah Brown (infant) 1936-1936

- (Angela) Martha Gabaldón Brown Gardner 1940


- Stephen Abbott Brown 1851-1853

- Phoebe Adelaide Brown Snyder 1855-1930

- Cynthia Abigail Fife Layton 1867-1943

- (New born female) Fife 1870-1870

- (Toddler female) Fife 1871-1872


- (Martha Stephens) John Martin Brown 1824-1888

(Martha Stephens) Alexander Brown 1826-1910

(Martha Stephens) Jesse Stowell Brown 1828-1905

- (Martha Stephens) Nancy Brown Davis Sanford 1830-1895

(Martha Stephens) Daniel Brown 1832-1864

(Martha Stephens) James Moorhead Brown 1834-1924

(Martha Stephens) William Brown 1836-1904

(Martha Stephens) Benjamin Franklin Brown 1838-1863

(Martha Stephens) Moroni Brown 1838-1916

- (Susan Foutz) Alma Foutz Brown (infant) 1842-1842

- (Esther Jones) August Brown (infant) 1843-1843

- (Esther Jones) Augusta Brown (infant) 1843-1843

- (Esther Jones) Amasa Lyman Brown (infant) 1845-1845

- (Esther Jones) Alice D. Brown Leech 1846-1865

- (Esther Jones) Esther Ellen Brown Dee 1849-1893

- (Sarah Steadwell) James Harvey Brown 1846-1912

- (Mary McRee) George David Black 1841-1913

- (Mary McRee) Mary Eliza Brown Critchlow1847-1903

- (Mary McRee) Margaret Brown 1849-1855

- (Mary McRee) Mary Brown Edwards Leonard 1852-1930

- (Mary McRee) Joseph Smith Brown 1856-1903

- (Mary McRee) Josephine Vilate Brown Newman 1858-1917

- (Phebe Abbott) Stephen Abbott Brown (child) 1851-1853

- (Phebe Abbott) Phoebe Adelaide Brown 1855-1930

- (Cecelia Cornu) Charles David Brown 1856-1926

- (Cecelia Cornu) James Fredrick Brown 1859-1923

- (Lavinia Mitchell) Sarah Brown c. 1857-

- (Lavinia Mitchell) Augustus Hezekiah Brown c. 1859


- (Diane Davis) Sarah Jane Fife White 1855-1932

- (Diane Davis) William Wilson Fife 1857-1897

- (Diane Davis) Diana Fife Farr 1859-1904

- (Diane Davis) John Daniel Fife 1863-1944

- (Diane Davis) Walter Thompson Fife 1866-1827

- (Diane Davis) Agnes Ann "Aggie" Fife 1869-1891

- (Diane Davis ) Emma Fife (child) 1871-1874

- (Diane Davis) Robert Nicol Fife (infant) 1873-1874

- (Diane Davis) Barnard Fife (infant) 1881-1881

- (Cynthia Abbott) Mary Lucina Fife Hutchins 1868-1950

- (Cynthia Abbott) Child Fife (infant) 1869-1869

- (Cynthia Abbott) David Nicol Fife 1871-1924

- (Cynthia Abbott) Joseph Stephen Fife (child) 1873-1878

- (Cynthia Abbott) James Abbott Fife (infant) 1877-1878


- (Diana) Caroline Lambourne 18461979

- (Diana)  Miles Park Romney 1843-1904

- (Jane) Emma Sarah Bodily 1858-1935

- (Jane) William Wilkie Galbraith 1838-1898

- (Elizabeth) Alexander F. Macdonald 1825-1903

- (Elizabeth) Elizabeth Atkinson 1841-1922

- (Eliza) Anne Kirstine Hansen 1845-1916

- (Eliza) James Niels Skousen 1828-1912

- (Angela) Maria Durán de Holguin 1876-1955

- (Angela) José Tomás Gabaldón 1874-1915












Contact Us:
Orson Pratt Brown Family Organization
P.O. Box 980111
Park City, Utah 84098-0111