BY THE SWEAT OF HER BROW
About this time, Edmund made a loom to accompany a spinning wheel he had finished for Mary Ann. Operating the two was work for several hands, but Mary Ann was an expert & very ambitious. After the wool was scoured & had the oil washed out, it was hand picked to remove dirt, straw, or burrs. At the same time it was sorted into four grades. The first grade was to be used in making fine flannel for dresses, the second for linsey sheets & underwear, the third grade was used for jeans or heavy cloth, & the fourth was carded into small bats by hand to be used for making quilts.
At her loom, Mary Ann wove flannels, linseys, jerseys, birdseye, jeans, & later bedspreads. She seldom left the loom at night until she had done three dollars worth of weaving. She also wove silk, for which she had raised silk worms & spun the thread. She was not alone in her task. Other women sat at their looms, & other children, like Emma, would spool & wind bobbins, card wool, & forget to be children.
However, work was glorified by their high purpose of life, & monotony was relieved by working bees & socialized recreation, which might consist of house parties, church dances, observance of special holidays & drama.
MORE FAMILY A Pearl of Great Price
The story of the birth of Charles Edmund & Sullivan Calvin Richardson is a saga of great sacrifice inspired by faith.
Charles Edmund says that since his parents knew nothing of the Gospel in regard to the value & necessity of children, they did not intend to have more than the two they brought across the plains. "So," he explained, "my brother, Sullie, & I owe our very existence on this earth to the teachings of the Gospel after our parents became acquainted with it."
A visit from the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Prophet of the Lord, was considered a major event in all Mormon communities. Every effort was made to insure his comfort during the stay & to assure him of the people's love.
When Brigham Young visited Manti early in January of 1858, he was welcomed by the band at Temple Hill & by a large audience at the Council House.
A hush of expectancy & reverence filled the Council House as the prophet, Brigham Young, stepped to the pulpit. His greeting, "Dear brothers & sisters", was as personal as a handshake & he received unanimous response to his request for their prayer of faith.
Edmund & Mary Ann, clothed with their new dimension of spiritual understanding, absorbed the deep significance of Celestial Marriage as the Prophet explained it. Unspeakable joy filled their beings as they recalled the day of 20 April 1857 in Brigham Young's office as the Prophet, with the sealing power of the priesthood, pronounced them "Husband & Wife for time & all eternity." What a blessing was theirs!
"However," continued the Prophet, "every blessing begets its obligation. In this case the obligation is the responsibility of raising a family."
As Edmund breathed a prayer of thanks for his two children, he was startled to hear the Prophet continue, "It is the duty of every righteous man & woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can . . ."And then, in a voice vibrating with authority, he directed his instructions to husbands & wives separately.
"Is it not a blessing to you mothers," he asked, "to raise up men filled with the glory of God, to go forth & extend the work of God?" . . . "And husbands," he continued, "we understand that we are to be made kings & priests unto God . . . Now, if I am made the king & lawgiver to my family, & if I have many sons, I shall become the father of many fathers, for they will have sons, & their sons will have sons, & so on from generation to generation. And in that way, I may become the father of many fathers, or the king of many kings---or whatever the Father sees fit to confer upon me." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 195)
Without looking at her husband, Mary Ann knew that his head was bowed. And he knew by the pressure of her hand upon his that she loved him despite their eight childless years.
It was the problem of sealing Emma Lynette & George to them that sent the Richardson's seeking an interview with the Prophet. (Details of this interview have been pieced together from fragmentary writings & folklore of the family & from sealing records at the Endowment House from January 1850-1871.)
"I wouldn't worry too much about that sealing," advised the Prophet, "time will take care of that & your other children will be born under the covenant." (Emma & George were sealed to their parents 28 December 1932).
Mary Ann saw Edmund flinch as though struck by a blow, turn pale, & then rise resolutely to his feet. She would have spared him, but she rejoiced to find him equal to its performance. In the strength of his humility, Edmund confessed before the Lord & his Prophet, that in following the false teachings of his former religion & society, he had become a eunuch & more family was impossible.
As Mary Ann stepped beside Edmund to lend him her support, Brigham Young took both their hands & looking deep into their eyes, plumbed the depth of their faith & sincerity, their grief & remorse.
Brigham Young remembered the integrity of Brother & Sister Richardson. He knew how
willingly they had accepted the call to leave Salt Lake City & to settle in Manti, even though they knew it meant facing poverty, hardships, discouragement, & Indian dangers. He noted how Edmund took the brunt of arduous & dangerous assignments, how he had donated $168.00 to the Perpetual Emigration Fund, how he gave time & means toward readying teams & wagons to go to the assistance of emigrant trains. Edmund had fulfilled his every assignment.
"Brother & Sister Richardson," the Prophet said presently, "the teachings & work of the Devil have taken away your posterity. But the teachings & authority of Christ can restore it, if you are willing to make great sacrifices."
After exchanging glances of mutual willingness to share any necessary sacrifice, Mary & Edmund turned their eyes again to the Prophet.
President Young then explained to Edmund that any added children for them would have to come by proxy. He would need to give Mary Ann a civil divorce & allow her to have a civil marriage with another man. Any issue from such a marriage, he explained, would belong to Edmund, because he & Mary Ann were sealed for eternity.
Perhaps the Prophet envisaged the posterity possible with the acceptance of such a plan, but Edmund & Mary Ann were too stunned to think past the separation. That sacrifice they were unwilling to make & returned home, certain they must forego a larger family.
But the peace which usually follows a unanimous decision did not come to them. They were denied the solace of sleep, & pretended sleep taunted them relentlessly for hours. Over & over each relived the interview in the President's office, & searched his soul in the light of its implications. To be denied the love & protection she had enjoyed from her husband was sorrow enough to Mary Ann. To accept another man in his place was unthinkable.
Edmund's agony was magnified by triple factors: his love for his wife, his desire for more family, & his mistake. The very thought of being away from his wife filled him with loneliness beyond expression. If he were absent, who would protect her & his two children? Who would provide for their needs? The thought of someone else taking his place was even less bearable. That was too much to ask of anyone!
And then he recalled the look of yearning he had seen in Mary Ann's eyes as she cuddled other women's babies. Sobs shook his frame as he moaned, "Oh, how I have failed her, my most precious possession."
Mary Ann became aware of his suffering, & was there to mitigate his pain & salve it with understanding.
Compliance with her suggestion that they kneel & ask God to make His will known to them brought the first peace they had found. Sleep soon followed.
Morning brought the "Joy Which Surpasseth Understanding," for Edmund & Mary Ann each had seen a vision, which sent them back to the President's office. "No need for explanations," exclaimed the Prophet as they entered. "Your countenances show that you are ready to accept the plan." Then turning to Mary Ann, he said, "Here is a slip of paper containing the names of three polygamist men whom I consider worthy to participate in our plan. Mary Ann, make your choice."
Before reading the names, Mary Ann fled into Edmund's arms. As he held her close, he whispered, "The Lord will not leave us to walk alone, my dear."
When Mary read aloud the name of Frederick Walter Cox, Edmund was pleased with her
choice, but his lips compressed into a thin straight line & the muscles of his neck stood out like steel cords.
When Frederick Walter Cox was called into conference with Brigham Young & approached with the idea of raising a family for another man, he flatly refused. However, after he was shown in a vision that he should accept, he became the third witness that the plan was divinely inspired. He reported to President Young that he was now willing to participate in the plan.
Again we quote from the diary of Charles Edmund Richardson: "It took three visions & a religion to reconcile others to my coming."
In accordance with his authority as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints & as Governor of the State of Utah, Brigham Young granted Mary Ann Darrow Richardson a civil divorce from her husband, Edmund Richardson. On 9 January 1858, he performed a civil marriage between Mary Ann & Frederick Walter Cox. (Record of this marriage is on file in the Archives at Salt Lake City, Utah).
Because any children from this marriage were to be raised for Edmund Richardson, & also as protection for Brother Cox during the polygamist persecution, Mary Ann retained the Richardson surname & lived in the Richardson home. Edmund voluntarily sent regular checks, or alimony, to support his family, & Mary Ann planned to continue weaving.
THE LONG NIGHT
The separation was bearable to the Richardson's only because it was mutually imposed for the high purpose of Eternal increase & that the plan was sanctioned by the Prophet of the Lord.
As Mary Ann watched Edmund drive away into the loneliness of the next few years, she whispered these words after him: "Greater love hath no man than this, that he giveth his life for another."
She then turned resolutely to her loom & the task of weaving the tapestry of her own purposeful trust.
Edmund's separation might have sent him to Oregon, or back to Vermont, seeking solace, but this did not meet his purpose. His well-laid plans led him to the Tintic mining district seeking employment nearer home.
The world of Tintic District was very different from that of Manti. Edmund was greeted, not with words of welcome as he had as a newcomer to Manti, but with cursing & swearing as the common language.
It was a time of relief & rejoicing when he got this message from Mary Ann. "Our son, born 13 October 1858, will be named Charles Edmund Richardson." Like Adam & Eve, they can say, "We have gotten a son of the Lord." With this added incentive, Edmund closed the deal for a four-acre lot containing an orchard, a garden spot, & a home in Springville, Utah. This he kept as a surprise for Mary Ann. A second son, Sullivan Calvin Richardson was born 26 January 1861 in Manti.
Shortly after Sullie's birth (Sullivan), Chief Walker returned to Manti & staged another of his victory celebrations. Horrified at the cruelties heaped upon Walker's numerous child captives, many Manti families ransomed one or two & took them into their homes. Mary Ann emptied her loom to buy a little baby boy, & immediately gave him a place in her heart.
Out of the loneliness & the turmoil of Tintic, Edmund returned to reclaim Mary Ann. The reunion with her, Emma Lynette, George, & three new sons she presented him were worth the sacrifices they had made, he thought. There was a variety of hair coloring in her gift. One son had red hair, another blond curls, & the third had straight black hair. The joy they brought, however, was not dependent on the hair coloring. The Indian baby's life ended not long afterwards in fever & convulsions.
When Edmund & Mary Ann were remarried, he surprised her with the gift of the lot & home in Springville. (Frederick Walter Cox & Mary Ann were granted a civil divorce.) Edmund explained that he had made some furniture & sent it overland from Tintic. "However, it cannot equal the gifts you gave me," he explained, "but it will furnish all of you with a home."
Before leaving Manti, the Richardson's attended a dancing party given by Frederick Walter Cox & his four wives, which was held in the large room of the unfinished "Cox Big House". The house was begun early in 1860.
A NEW BEGINNING
Mary Ann's appreciation of the Springville lot & orchard was all Edmund had hoped it would be. But her response to the surprise she found inside the house was even more rewarding. Upon entering, she found Charles Edmund rocking a lovely cradle, which his father had made for Sullie, & George was trying out the dining table & chairs.
Then she saw the beautiful chest of drawers. The strength of its work & the precision-cut lines immediately identified with Edmund. She stood silent before its personification of the loneliness & pain of his long exile; mitigated only by hope, love, & faith in the high purpose of eternal increase. Reverently she stroked its polished surface. As she turned from the chest to thank her husband & share the understanding, which she, too, had learned, he lifted Charles Edmund to its polished surface & encircled both wife & child in his arms. Together they thanked the Lord that He had helped them pay the price for their two sons.
Edmund immediately began building a new brick home facing west on Main Street which runs North & South. In the back yard he dug a well, curbed & roofed it, & supplied it with a rope & pulley. Near the kitchen door he built a 100 loaf capacity oven. With this, he opened the first bakery in Springville. In the rear of the lot Edmund built a fine barn. The logs were hewn on both sides so that they fit closely together without leaving much of a crack. Each of the logs, both vertical & horizontal, was pinned with a wooden peg which Edmund had whittled. The logs forming the roof were so strong that years later, a modern hayfork was installed in the barn without additional reinforcement. For nearly eighty years the barn stood as a proud witness to the skill & character of its builder. Some of the pegs are still in existence.
The Richardson's did some mining & farming, besides raising livestock & poultry, & operating the bakery. As Sullie later remarked, "Because of Pa's fine planning to provide for us & Ma's weaving, we enjoyed food & conveniences which many others were denied."
Along with the other things they did, Edmund & his son George operated a tannery, where they finished a fine grade of leather. One day, according to records, they heard a splash in the tanning vat, & George exclaimed, "There goes another hen!" To Edmund's consternation, he discovered not the hen, but Charles Edmund's red hair floating just under the surface of the gooey tanning liquid. Remembering the effectiveness of the camphor when Emma Lynette was near drowning, they poured it on the boy's face. It was effective.
Edmund said his boys were more precious than fine leather, & he discontinued the tanning business immediately. He later filled the vat with wheat from Manti, & with potatoes & vegetables from his own farm.
Edmund & Mary Ann shared their home & their goods with those in need around them.
Proudly Mary watched her boys learn to manage an ox team as they did custom plowing about town. She smiled when the customers told of the fine job the Richardson boys did, even though Charles Edmund was almost too small to hold the plow, & Sullie, the driver, could scarcely be seen above the furrows.
The boys felt like real men when they got a chance to haul lumber from the mill in Hobble Creek Canyon. In this way, they earned lumber needed by their mother to build a two-room addition to her home. Sullie recounts how they would start early, get to the mill about dusk, load up before they went to bed, then get home the next day.
Mary Ann was very proud of her new home especially as she viewed it through the comfort it brought her family. The wall-to-wall rag carpet she had woven & tacked to the floor over a padding of straw added comfort & elegance to the home. George & Charles Edmund enjoyed reading as they sat propped up with the pillows on the couch. Kate (Kate Aldura, an Indian girl adopted by Edmund & Mary Ann) & Sullie reveled in the soft carpet & warmth from the fireplace.
When Mary Ann's beloved husband, Edmund, was not busy with some big project, he loved to sit by the fire & study the Bible & the Book of Mormon, or just whittle. Perhaps the interest of his little sons encouraged Edmund in his hobby of whittling. As the boys listened to their father's stories & watched, he whittled a Noah's ark & many pair of animals for it. He whittled many other things & the boys kept these for years. One day he called Kate to watch as he whittled a doll for her.
Speaking of his father, Charles Edmund wrote, "He was an extra good father to Sullie & me. Dozens of times he has taken me in his arms, telling me how he thanked the Lord for me."
The family appreciated the way in which their husband & father tried to care for his family & spiritually & morally as well. He set the example of family prayer; frowned on playing cards, speaking evil of others, telling obscene jokes, & using profane language.
MARY ANN AS A MOTHER AND TEACHER
Mary Ann had always loved to read & study. As her understanding of the Gospel grew, so did her appreciation of all truth. She was determined that her growing children should have every opportunity to learn. Charles Edmund related in his biography, "Very early my mother taught me how to read. From the time I commenced I learned very rapidly."
Sullie tells of his mother's versatility in sponsoring the right. He says, "Ma was so determined that her boys should be above fighting, & so effectively drilled her ideas into us, that we became the target of much teasing & bullying. When Ma found this out, she instructed us to defend ourselves, but never to pick a fight. Consequently, when a bully kept pulling Edmund's hair under pretense of warming his hands by the fiery-red color, Edmund whaled loose & thrashed him soundly."
Mary Ann became ill with pneumonia & died 13 January 1872. Of her passing Sullie says: "So great a calamity I never imagined could happen to a tender-hearted little ten year old boy. When they called me from the neighbors to come quick if I would see my mother alive, it was a shock I can still feel. And never were the words of sympathy spoken to me at that funeral more needed nor more cherished in coming years. That winter was the dreary, desolate time of my life. Ma understood me better than I understood myself. I can never remember of her striking me. A loving reproof was more than enough to correct me. The thought that she would like me to do a certain thing, seems to me now, to have been the factor that guided my course whenever there was any doubt, & when she died the light surely went out of my life."
In speaking of his mother's passing, Charles Edmund writes: "When my brother, Sullie, & I were very small, mother had a serious illness. When it seemed she could not live longer, she turned her face to the wall, & almost frantically prayed the Father to let her live until her boys & little daughter, Kate, could take care of themselves, promising that then she would be resigned to his call. In telling about it afterwards, she testifies that she immediately began to recover. She said she expected another call just as soon as her children were old enough. During the years previous to her last call, I heard her say several times it would doubtless come soon. With this feeling impelling her, she begged all hands to hurry & get done all temple work that could be done for their dead, so she could go in peace. So arrangements were made to go to the Endowment House to do it. But as my older brother, George, took no interest in religion & was absent, she was fearful that my tender years would prevent my doing the work for her dead ancestors. She had been told that it must be done by an heir. So when we arrived at Salt Lake City, she visited the presiding officer of the Endowment House to ask if a boy of twelve years of age could have his endowments, so he could work as an heir for his dead. Daniel H. Wells, then in charge, asked her to bring me for questioning. After hearing my answers to questions about my belief in the Gospel, he emphatically told my mother that I could be trusted to have my endowments. When he gave this favorable answer, making it possible to have the temple work done, the satisfaction that shone on my mother's face was supreme. When the work was done, she remarked that she was not going to stay with us long, though at that time she seemed to be in good health. Soon after, she was stricken with pneumonia & died."
Soon after Mary Ann's passing, Edmund invited Emma Lynette, his daughter & her family, to move into the home at Springville & to care for her two brothers & little sister, Kate.
INCIDENTS OF EDMUND'S PASSING
Although living with Emma, Charles Edmund & Sullie sometimes spent time with their father at the mines. They were with him at the time of his passing 27 March 1875, some three years & three months after their mother had died.
In speaking of his father's passing, Charles Edmund relates: "On March the twentieth father took cold while working in a mine tunnel of his own, & became very ill. At first I walked over to Diamond City for some painkiller for him. Then, at the insistence of Dr. Wing, I walked over to Eureka for more medicine. During father's sickness of one week, Sullie & I were his only nurses. As Sullie was so young, he could not stay awake, so I passed the part of the week when father was at his worst, with only a few hours of sleep. When I saw that he was getting worse, I walked to Silver City & telegraphed a message to John & Emma, "Pa is very sick. Come if you want to see him alive." When Sullie & I, who were alone with father, saw that he was breathing his last, we frantically called to a passing stranger, who said that since he had never seen anyone die, he would be glad to come in. (Small comfort to two little boys 12 & 14 years of age.) John came with the wagon, in which he laid our father's body, wrapped in the bedclothes. As the strain & anxiety were over, I lay down beside my dead father & slept most of the way, not in his arms as I had been accustomed to, but along side of his dead body, completely overcome with exhaustion. We buried father in Springville beside our dear mother." And for three little children, it was night.