Charles C. Rich
|Charles Coulson Rich was born in northwestern Kentucky 21 August 1809.
The Rich family moved to a farm in southern Indiana in 1810 and then Tazewell County, Illinois, in 1829. In 1832 he joined the Mormon Church. He continued to farm and serve Church missions until 1838.
In 1838 Charles moved to Far West, Missouri with his new wife Sarah. Church members were driven out of Missouri and settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1839. Rich was a civic, military and church leader in Nauvoo.
After the death of Joseph Smith, in 1844, Charles became major general in the Nauvoo Legion, the local militia. He was known as General Rich for the rest of his life.
In 1846 General Rich helped organize the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo. He was named military leader of the 1847 Emigration Company, which followed Brigham Young into Salt Lake Valley in October 1847. He moved to Centerville, Utah in 1848. In 1849 was named to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.
Rich and Amasa Lyman were assigned to supervise Mormons in California. They made efforts to reclaim members who had gone to the gold fields.
Between 1851 and 1857 Rich and Lyman established a colony at San Bernardino, which served as a way-station for immigrants traveling to Utah via the Spanish Trail.
Recalled in 1857, Rich moved back to Centerville. He represented Davis County in the territorial legislature and served as aide to General Daniel Wells of the Nauvoo Legion during the Utah War. Between 1860 and 1862 Rich joined Lyman in England to oversee the Church's European Mission.
In 1863, Elder Rich accepted Brigham Young's call to colonize the Bear Lake region. Rich led his party from Franklin, Idaho, into Bear Lake Valley, settling at present-day Paris, Idaho. In 1864 Rich moved his family to Paris and began a twenty-year struggle to maintain the colony in the face of severe winters, poor harvests, delicate Indian relations, and isolation. Brigham Young honored Rich by naming Rich County, Utah, and the town of St. Charles, Idaho, after him.
Rich remained an active Democrat in local politics and, as a Mormon apostle, supervised both the religious and secular lives of Bear Lake settlers. Elder Rich was organizing the colonization of Star Valley, Wyoming, before being partially paralyzed by a stroke in 1880. He died three years later, on 17 November 1883 at the age of seventy-five.