Skip to main content

Richards family correspondence

 File — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Vault MSS 305

Scope and Contents

Contains nine handwritten and signed letters to and from members of the Phinehas Howe Richards family. The letters are from LDS Apostle Franklin D. Richards to his parents, Phineas and Wealthy D. Richards; from Phineas Richards to Wealthy D. Richards; from Jennetta Richards to Wealthy D. Richards; from George Spencer Richards to Phineas and Wealthy D. Richards; and from Mary E. Dewey to Wealthy D. Richards. The materials deal largely with family and Mormon-related issues in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Dated 1838-1846.


  • 1838-1846


Conditions Governing Access

Originals restricted. Photocopies available for public use.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Richards family correspondence must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical / Historical

The Phinehas Howe Richards (1788-1874) and Wealthy Dewey (1786-1853) family began with their marriage on February 24, 1818. They had nine children, including LDS Apostle Franklin D. Richards, and the family became early members and leaders of the Mormon Church in Utah. Their son, George Spencer Richards, died at age 15 in the Haun's Mill Massacre.

Phinehas was born in Massachusetts and is the brother of Willard Richards. He joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1837. He was a member of high councils at Kirtland, Nauvoo, Winter Quarters and Salt Lake City. He also served as a member of the Nauvoo City Council and the 1st Utah territorial legislature, where he also was the chaplain.

The Richards family came to Utah in the F. D. Richards Company in October 1848 and they settled in Salt Lake City and Ogden.

Biographical / Historical

Wealthy Dewey, the daughter of Samuel Dewey III and Milley McKee, was born in 1786. She was a devoted member of the Congregational Church. Phineas met and courted her in Richmond, MA. They were married in 1818. Wealthy was a young woman of culture and refinement, and was skilled in sewing, cooking, and other arts which enabled her to be a capable homemaker. She was called a “walking dictionary, ” and her love of learning was transmitted to her family. Her understanding and wisdom enabled her to assist her husband in the rearing of an outstanding family.   Phineas and Wealthy made their home in Richmond, MA. For nineteen years. They were blessed with nine children, three of which died in infancy. In order to help support the family, the older boys worked outside the home for relatives and friends. For several years after her husband, Phineas, joined the LDS church Wealthy was dubious about joining. She was finally baptized in 1843, 6 years after her husband.   They lived in their wagons and tents during the first winter in Salt Lake. The winter of 1848-49 was extremely cold, and the pioneers suffered much sickness and hardship. Heavy snow in the canyons made it difficult to obtain firewood. The procurement of food was also a problem; they supplemented their meager food supply with sego lily roots. Crossing the plains was very hard on Wealthy, so when Phineas was called to go to Sanpete, she stayed in Salt Lake. She died in 1853, but her husband lived until 1874.


2 folders (0.1 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Provenance unknown.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition unknown.


LDS cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy IV.a.i.1, November 2013).

Existence and Location of Copies

Photocopies of originals available in folder 2.

Processing Information

Updated for DACS compliance; Ryan K. Lee; 2018.

Register of Richards family correspondence
Leslie Evens
2011 October 7
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States