Friday, July 8, 2016

Biographical Book Review: Charles C. Rich: Mormon General and Western Frontiersman

Charles C Rich: Mormon general and Western Frontiersman, Leonard J. Arrington, Brigham Young University Press, Provo, Utah, 1974
I have been fascinated by this book.   This is a story of an apostle, who experienced many of the early events of the church.  He participated in Zion's Camp, and saw the Lord defend his men through a storm which prevented the gentiles form being able to mount an attack.  He was at Far West when the prophet was taken.  He served missions to England in the early days of the church.  Perhaps one of his most important places in church history was the establishment of San Bernardino in California, which was established as a place for the Saints to rest if they should come around the Horn and up to California and then on to Utah.  I never realized much of the history of this community, and how the Mormons eventually left.  The Church was paying an incredible amount of interest on the property.  They often would have to go to members and ask for donations, this included John Horner who became a wealthy farmer in the Bay Area after traveling to California on the Ship Brooklyn.  Even with donations, in seems there was always another payment due.  Persecution also found its way to San Bernardino, with non Mormons wanting to take over the property of the Mormons.  Finally Brigham Young decided it was time to give up the property rather than making the payments.  He called Charles Rich and other leaders on missions to Europe.  The church owned property was let go.  Some Mormons on private property continued on, but most returned to Utah.
Charles Rich subsequently was called to found the area around Bear Lake and the Utah County is named for him.  This area is incredibly cold in the winter, and the cold weather caused some problems with people being snowed in for months during the winter.  He passed away in Paris, Idaho in 1883.  He was 74 years old.  

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