Banjamin Richey was born 10 August 1823 in Pickens County, Alabama, United States to William Richey (1796-1879) and Margaret Ann Adair (1804-1852) and died circa 1849 California, United States of ambushed by bandits.


Benjamin was born in Alabama. In the early 1840's Mormon missionaries arrived in the vicinity preaching the restored gospel. In Noxubee County, Mississippi their family joined the Buttahatchie 1845 LDS Branch of the young LDS Church. Benjamin and his brother James started hearing many rumors about the Mormons and traveled to Nauvoo Illinois to investigate. They arrived in time to see Joseph Smith's campaign for U.S. President (1844). The brothers assisted their family to move to Nauvoo.

In 1846, Benjamin enlisted in the Mormon Battalion (Company C) and marched the entire journey to San Diego, California. Family legend tells that he went to Northern California and was part of the group that discovered gold in that area. His last known communication was that he was journeying home with enough gold powder to help the family live comfortably. But he would never rejoin his family.

It is believed that sometime in 1848-1849 he was traveling to meet his family in Salt Lake City, possibly by the southern route (today's I-15 highway corridor) to avoid the snow clogged Sierra Nevada's. It is believed he was attacked and killed by bandits along the way, maybe in the Mojave Desert.

His disappearence was a big blow to his brother James, as they had been close companions up to the time they he joined the Mormon Battalion.

Uncle Wesley Adair

Benjamin's uncle, John Wesley Adair (1820-1903), was also a private in Company C. It is possible they marched together.

Per the book "The Mormon Battalion, US Army of the West", by Norma Ricketts, G. Wesley Adair was a private in the Mormon Battalion, Company C, and as of March 1882 was a farmer in Arizona. He made it to California and was part of the Hancock-Los Angeles company of about 150 men who travelled up California's Central Valley to Sutter's Fort. Many went on to Salt Lake City immediately, but Wesley was one of the 105 who remained behind and worked for Sutter. Wesley contributed $10.00 to the purchase of two small decorated brass parade cannon from Captain John Sutter to take to the leaders of the Mormon Church. The cannon had been left behind in Moscow as the defeated Napoleon fled during the winter of 1812-13. Later the cannon were brought to Fort Ross in northern California, the Russian fur trade outpost. Sutter purchased the cannon from the Russians, along with other supplies, when the Russians closed Fort Ross. The two brass cannon, a four pounder and six pounder, were put on runners and carried in a wagon by the Holmes-Thompson company to Great Salt Lake Valley of which Wesley was a part. The group of 39 veterans and some others arrived between 24 Sep. and 6 Oct. 1848 in Salt Lake. It is not known where the cannon are today. (Possibility of them having being used for pile drivers at the St. George Temple site.) Wesley was one of thirty soldiers who later settled Arizona and contributed greatly to the colonization of Arizona. His nephew Benjamin Richey was also a private in the same company.




Footnotes (including sources)