Edmund and Mary Ann Darrow Richardson joined the Church in Salt Lake City. They were married for time and eternity on April 20, 1857, by Brigham young in his office in Manti. In January, 1858, President Young visited Manti. He spoke on the obligation and blessing of family. He went on to say, ”It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare all the tabernacles they can. . . . Is it not a blessing to you mother,” he asked, “to raise up men filled with the glory of God to go forth and extend his work?” He then spoke to the husbands about the importance of having children--that they would become Kings and Priests unto God. (Discourses of Brigham Young, p 195)

As Edmund and Mary Ann sat listening to this powerful sermon by a prophet of the Lord, they, no doubt, anguished over not having had children the past eight years. They were also concerned about having their two children sealed to them. They went to see Brigham Young. He told them not to worry at that time about sealing their children to them. The temple in Utah had not been completed. He also said that their other children would be born under the Covenant. Edmund, perhaps with fear and trembling, told the prophet that because of false teachings he had received while a member of another church, he had become a eunuch-priest and could not have more children.

Brigham Young took both of them by the hand and looked deep into their souls for faith, sincerity, and also their grief and remorse. Brigham Young knew of their faithfulness. They had contributed $168.00 to the Perpetual Emigration fund--a very sizable donation for those days--in the Salt Lake Valley, and their willingness to leave Salt Lake City and go to Manti and face poverty, hardships and possibly death by the Indians, proved their commitment.

President Young then said “The teachings of the Devil have taken away your posterity, but the teachings and authority of Christ can restore it if you are willing to make great sacrifices for it.” Probably Edmund and Mary Ann were in a state of wonderment about what the sacrifices would be, but having faith, they were ready to find out. President Young told Edmund that for him to have more children on this earth and to have them sealed to him for eternity, they would have to come by proxy. He went on, “You will need to give Mary Ann a civil divorce and allow her to have a civil marriage to another man. Any children born to Mary Ann will be the children of Edmund and Mary Ann Richardson for time and eternity. . . This is possible only because the Lord has restored polygamy in time to help you.”

Edmund and Mary Ann were stunned at the sacrifice and returned to their home certain they would forego a larger family. They were both under a tremendous emotional strain, wanting the blessings of more family but anguishing over the sacrifice necessary to bring it about. For Edmund to give his wife to another man and her to leave her husband and go to another man was a trial of faith, yet he had watched her cuddle other women’s babies. They prayed and received comfort. Both had a vision during the night. They went back to President Young’s office. When he saw them, he said “No need for explanation. Your countenances show you are ready to accept the plan.” He then said to Mary Ann, “Here is a slip of paper with three names of polygamist men whom I consider worthy to participate in our plan. Mary Ann, make your choice.” Mary Ann went into Edmonds arms. As he held her close he whispered, “The lord will not leave us to walk alone, my dear.” Mary Ann chose F. W. Cox. Edmund was pleased with her selection.

F. W. Cox was called into the Prophets office, and had the plan explained that he would become the father to children for another man. He flatly refused. It is not clear from the record, but probably after going home and praying about it, he said he experienced a vision of inspiration that he should accept what the prophet of the Lord had proposed. Charles Edmund Richardson said in his diary: “It took three visions and a religion to reconcile others to my coming.”

Since Brigham Young was the Governor of the Territory of Utah and President of the Church, he had the authority to grant a civil divorce to Edmund and Mary Ann Richardson; and on January 9, 1858, he performed a civil marriage between Mary Ann and F. W. Cox. (Record of this marriage is on file in archives in Salt Lake City.)

Mary Ann continued to live in her own home. Edmund Richardson moved away and sent regular checks to support his wife and children. He worked in the mines in west Juab County. On October 13, 1858, Charles Edmund was born to F. W. Cox and Mary Ann. Charles Edmund had many baby sicknesses and at one time the great pioneer leader, Isaac Morley, said prophetically about the sick little boy, “The devil stands with outstretched arms to get him off the earth because of the good that he will be the instrument in accomplishing.“

On January 26, 1861, another boy was born to Mary Ann and named Sullivan Calvin. Some time after Sullivan Calvin was born F. W. Cox and Mary Ann were divorced and Edmund and Mary Ann were remarried. They moved to Springville, Utah, to live.

When some of the Richardson family were checking on sealing dates, the executive assistant in the Church Genealogical Society, Henry E. Christensen, told them that the plan to obtain more children for Mary Ann and Edmond was not unique in the Church at that time. There were others approved by President Young. He said, “Your family should be both proud and humble.” He then told them that there is no “better-worked line” in genealogy and temple work than the Cox line. One of Charles Edmund Richardson’s daughters, Annie Richardson Johnson, paid this fitting tribute: “We revere and love Mary Ann Darrow, my grandmother, for her faith and for her devotion to Truth. We love and honor Edmund Richardson, my grandfather, for his courage and sacrifice in the face of trying conditions. We are proud we have the Cox blood in our veins. We are happy to have kinship to such a fine family.” ²

Before leaving Manti, Edmund and Mary Ann Richardson’s family were given a farewell dancing party by Fredrick Walter and his family in the unfinished big Cox home (depicted in a painting by Owen Richardson in 1995). The inside of the home was probably unfinished at that time. The party took place about May, 1861. This home still stands. It is located on First West and Second North on the southeast corner of the intersection, in Manti. F. W. Cox and probably his four wives were present along with a number of his older children. All took part in the dancing and festivities of the evening. F. W. Cox was forty nine; Edmund Richardson was forty five; Mary Ann Darrow Richardson was forty three. Their beautiful daughter, Lynette was past nineteen; a son, George, was past fourteen; and somewhere in the spacious Cox home the two babies were likely sleeping in some bedroom. So all of the Richardson family attended the party. Both of the babies were born under the sealing covenant to Edmund and Mary Ann. Charles Edmund Richardson was past two years of age, and baby Sullivan Calvin Richardson was around four months.

Going West        Farewell and Farewell