IIFRANKLIN SNYDER RICHARDS 1849-1934
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Orson Pratt Brown's Direct Relations from William Brown 1713
Hon. Franklin Snyder Richards
Franklin Snyder Ricards, a native of Salt Lake valley, born while Utah was yet a wilderness, inhabited by wild beasts, savage tribes and a few white settlers, who, some two or three years before, had been flung as outcasts from the face of civilization across the bosom of nature's wastes, the subject of this sketch, Hon. Franklin S. Richards, has lived to see the desert blossom, has witnessed all the stages of growth and development through which the place of his nativity has progressed from the most primitive condition to its present proud, prosperous and happy state. Not only has he beheld that growth, he has contributed to it, assisted in it, and in his way has done as much in that direction as any son of Utah within her borders. A thoughtful student from his earliest years, a lawyer of note during the past quarter of a century, a frequent pleader at the bar of the highest tribunal in the land, defending with eloquent voice the rights and liberties of his people, a lawmaker and a political leader, Mr. Richards has made a name and fame that shine with lustre, not only here but elsewhere. Though of prominent and influential parentage. he is not one of those who owe all to their lineage and nothing to themselves. His promotion, though rapid at times, has not been "through the cabin window." He has faithfully earned and fairly won his laurels.
Franklin S. Richards, the eldest living child of the late President and his wife , was born at Salt Lake City on the 20th of June, 1849. The so-called "city" was then a mere infantile colony, with which the parents had become connected eight months before. The mother had been a great sufferer, having lost her first two children in the exodus from Nauvoo, and after the birth of this, her third child, it was feared for a time that not only his life, but her own would succumb to the hardships and unpropitious circumstances surrounding them. But the mother was not destined to die thus prematurely, and the babe born under these primitive and painful conditions was fated also to survive. He grew and prospered, and though never robust, waged from boyhood up to manhood a successful battle against all the obstacles to his physical and mental progress.
Inheriting from both parents intellectuality, perseverance and concentration, this studious boy was early placed at the best schools in his neighborhood, and while yet a child laid the foundation for the education and culture that were to follow. He was only seventeen years old when his father, an Apostle, departed upon his last mission to Europe, but was so well advanced scholastically that he was able to take charge of a large and select school, which he taught during the next three years. Meanwhile he pursued his own higher studies under private tutors.
On the 18th of December, 1868, he entered the state of wedlock, the partner of his choice being Miss Emily Sophia Tanner, of Salt Lake City. She was a very congenial companion and their married life has been prosperous and happy. [They had five children:
For many years Mrs. Richards has been numbered among the notable women of Utah. Her sons, Franklin Dewey Richards and Joseph Tanner Richards, are prominent members of the bar, having been admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as of Utah and California. Early in 1869, the newly married couple, as a portion of the family of President Franklin D. Richards, who had been appointed to preside over the Weber Stake of Zion, removed to Ogden, and it was there that Franklin S. began to study law, abandoning a previously formed purpose of pursuing the study of medicine and surgery. What helped to determine his choice between the two professions, and caused him to embrace the former after partly fitting himself for the latter, was the advice of President Brigham Young. and the great need existing in his locality for a competent 'legal adviser and practitioner. Ogden at that time had no resident lawyer, there were but few established legal forms, the railroad had arrived, and the public lands were just coming into market.
Appointed clerk of the Probate Court and subsequently elected county recorder, he applied himself to the difficult and important task of formulating methods and devising systems for keeping the public records, to bring order out of chaos in the department over which he presided. He was signally successful, winning encomiums for the excellent condition of the records in his care and the able manner in which he dis charged the duties of his office, from President Young and many others. He served eight years as recorder, nine years as clerk, and then retired, declining re-election. ' Much of the time of this official tenure he was engaged during his leisure hours in reading law, not with any law firm but entirely by himself and without the opportunity of attending a single law lecture. He studied comprehensively and mastered thoroughly the different branches of the science, becoming especially interested in the subject of constitutional law.
On the 16th of June, 1874, he was admitted to the bar of the Third District Court, at Salt Lake City, and in the afternoon of the same day to the bar of the Supreme Court of the Territory. "Rather rapid promotion," critically commented Chief Justice McKean, when the veteran attorney Frank Tilford, without solicitation on the part of Mr. Richards or any of his friends, presented his name for admission to the Supreme Court, only a few hours after his admission in the District Court.
"True, your honor,". replied Tilford, "but the gentleman deserves the promotion. He would do honor to the bar of any court." No further question was raised, and the chief justice blandly said: "Mr. Richards, we take pleasure in admitting you to the bar of this court, and we trust your progress in the profession may be as rapid as your promotion has been today."
The hope thus graciously expressed was abundantly realized, the young lawyer's progress being as rapid as his warmest friends could wish. His first case in court was one in which he defended a man charged with murder, and in which the prosecution was conducted by a very able and eloquent California lawyer. Nothing daunted by the reputation and ability of his opponent, young Richards fought with such skill and vigor as to astonish his friends, vanquish the opposition and secure his client's discharge. His success brought him into immediate prominence in the profession, and not long after he was chosen to act as attorney for Ogden City and Weber County, which dual position he held for many years.
The spring of 1877 found him on his way to Europe as a missionary, crossing the Atlantic in company with President Joseph F. Smith, then one of the Twelve Apostles. They arrived at Liverpool on the 27th of May. During the summer he visited and sojourned in parts of France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and other countries, absorbing with the keen zest of the intellectual tourist and shrewd practical observer the sights and scenes of those historic lands. After returning to England, he sojourned a while in London, and then went to the south coast, but his health failed under the rigors of the climate, so he was honorably released, and returned home in the fall of 1877, with Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith.
Throughout the difficult period of the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887, the Church had several influential advocates in the nation’s capital. These included John T. Caine, Utah’s delegate to Congress; John W. Young, former member of the First Presidency and now a railroad promoter; Franklin S. Richards, the Church’s chief attorney and son of Elder Franklin D. Richards; and George Ticknor Curtis, a non-Mormon.
It was during the successive administrations of President John Taylor and President Wilford Woodruff that Mr. Richards attained to his greatest prominence as attorney for the Church in the long and expensive litigation that characterized and rendered peculiar that eventful period. First came, in 1879, the litigation over President Young's estate, which brought Mr. Richards to the front in all the legal business of the Church. He had as a law partner at that time Judge Rufus K. Williams, formerly chief justice of the supreme court of Kentucky, the name of the firm being Richards & Williams. To the history of that litigation, an entire chapter is devoted in the second volume of this work. It may be said here, however, that the skillful conduct of the case for the Church and the satisfactory and permanent settlement effected with the litigant heirs of the President, were due in no small degree to the intelligence, tact and diplomacy of the rising young attorney. In the spring of 1881, Mr. Richards was admitted to the bar of the supreme court of California.
In the summer of 1882 be represented Weber County in the Constitutional Convention, and at the close of its labors, in which he took a very active part, he was elected one of the delegates to present the Constitution to Congress; Hons. John T. Caine and David H. Peery being his associates. This was several months after the enactment of the Edmunds law and about two years before the penal phase of that statute began to be enforced in Utah and the adjoining Territories. While at Washington, Mr. Richards made the acquaintance of hundreds of noted men, Senators, Congressmen, government officials and others, and formed a close and lasting friendship with the eminent constitutional lawyer, Judge Jeremiah S. Black, who came to the capital to confer with him on legal business in behalf of the people of Utah, whose liberties were assailed by the recent congressional legislation. Mr. Richards, after leaving Washington, visited Judge Black, by invitation, at "Brockie," his beautiful home near York, Pennsylvania, where he remained for several days, the recipient of every courtesy and consideration, while he and his host consulted upon the great question of the rights and remedies of the people of Utah under the Constitution. There were three great questions for them to determine: (1) the situation, involving a knowledge of the history of the people and of the local statutes; (2) to determine therefrom and from the laws of Congress what were the constitutional rights of, the people; (3) the legel remedies, or how to maintain those rights.
November, 1882, found Mr. Richards again at the national capital, in company with his colleagues, Messrs. Caine and Peery, and ex-Delegate Cannon, all working earnestly for statehood. It was Utah's application at this time that gave Judge Black an opportunity to deliver his great argument before the Judiciary Committed of the House of Representatives upon "Federal Jurisdiction in the Territories." During this visit to Washington, Mr. Richards, upon the motion of Judge Black, was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, January 30, 1883.
Journeying homeward in February, with his wife, they had as fellow travelers from New York to Salt Lake City Sergeant William Ballantyne, the famous English barrister, and Mr. Phil Robinson, the noted war correspondent of the "London Daily Telegraph," who was on his way west as special correspondent of the "New York World." It was a happy chance that threw the three gentlemen together, and the opportunity to impart to the distinguished visitors, correct information regarding Utah and her affairs was not lost by their companion.
In August, 1883, Judge Black died, much to the sorrow of Mr. Richards and the vast majority of the people of these parts, whose cause he had so soulfully and powerfully championed. The following October, Mr. Richards, with Hon. George Q. Cannon and Delegate Caine, went east to secure other eminent counsel to plead the cause of the people of this Territory, thousands of whom had been disfranchised by the arbitrary rulings of the Utah Commission. Senator Vest, of Missouri, was retained by them. Before returning home, Mr. Richards renewed his acquaintance with General Thomas L. Kane, another true friend of Utah, whose death soon after was also deeply lamented. Mr. Richards was again at the seat of government, laboring in the same cause, with Hon. Moses Thatcher, in January, 1884, but was obliged to return home within a few weeks to take his seat in the Legislature, he having been elected to the Council from Weber and Box Elder counties.
He was now tendered the office of attorney for Salt Lake City, and accepting the place, was appointed thereto on the 18th of March, 1884. He forthwith removed from Ogden to Salt Lake, thus resuming his residence in his native city after an absence of fifteen years. He held the office of city attorney, to which he was re-elected every two years, until February, 1890, when, through the coming into power of the Liberal party, the municipal control changed hands.
The determination of the government to enforce the anti-polygamy statutes, as shown by its own expressions and in the policy of its local appointees, seemed to crystalize when the Edmunds bill became a law, and with the advent of Chief Justice Zane the most searching thoroughness and indiscriminate persistence were inaugurated. Not only was the relentlessness of former attacks renewed, but new elements were injected into the contest, and many unfamiliar phases appeared. The demand was, surrender or be ground to powder. At the head of the hostile movement were personified the sternness and uncompromising disposition already known to the people, along with a judicial capacity and breadth of legal comprehension with which they were not acquainted. To re-resist the onslaught, it was necessary that able and skillful defenses should be made. For a defender to be a complete master of the principles and practice of law, was not enough; to be in full accord with those proceeded against, knowing their principles and purposes and thus comprehending the entire situation. was not alone sufficient. Nor were these united considerations adequate, unless their possessor's mind, heart and soul were in the work. It is needless to say that such men are rare, but Utah had a few, and a leading one in the person of Franklin S. Richards. A nomination, which meant an election to Congress, was put aside by him at a time when a great reputation could have been made with a smaller outlay of mental and physical application, and, perhaps, greater financial returns secured, in order that his whole time and talents might be the more unreservedly given to the harassed and hunted people, whose cause was his cause, and who looked to him with a confidence which was nobly sustained throughout the long and terrible struggle.
The first trial under the new regime was that of Rudger Clawson, for polygamy, and, in which the open venire process for securing a jury was brought into requisition. In this and the case of Murphy vs. Ramsay, involving a test of the legality of the wholesale disfranchisement wrought by the Utah Commission, as well is the case of the United States vs. Angus M. Cannon, embracing a construction of the term, "unlawful cohabitation.". Mr. Richards was a prominent and effective attorney; but his most trying labors were yet to come, and these witnessed the ushering in of what might properly be termed the reign of terror," the climax of a crusade, than which none more persistent, far-reaching and dangerous ever overtook any community in the name of law.
Lorenzo Snow, the Apostle, had been indicted three times for the same offense (unlawful cobabitation), and under the "segregation" ruling of the trial court, had been convicted; he was serving out a sentence of six months imprisonment on the first of these, and his case on appeal had been taken to the Supreme Court of the nation and lost! The highest tribunal held that it had no jurisdiction, and dismissed the writ of error, thus saying in substance that the accused people of Utah were at last hopelessly in the toils of the Philistine, with every avenue closed against them. The decision was also in the nature of an announcement that no further cases of that character need be brought up, the rule being final as to all. The crusaders did not attempt to conceal their gratification, which, in some cases, amounted to actual jubilation. They thought they had the hounded victims completely in their power, and they looked upon the situation as the beginning of the end; which, indeed, it was, but not in accordance with their program. With grand juries, acting in strict obedience to the mandates of the court, having unlimited power to indict for every month, week, or day that a man had lived in the prohibited relation, during the period prescribed by the statute of limitation; and a trial jury acting in strict harmony,with the grand jury, it was quite practicable to make an offender's incarceration in the penitentiary cover his entire life, and work a complete confiscation of all his property, through the invariably accompanying fines and costs. In this dire exigency, Mr. Richards had the sympathy of even his opponents, his up-hill struggle being waged so zealously and unflinchingly against such merciless and apparently invincible odds. He often worked twenty hours a day, and some nights had no sleep at all. He was thinking, studying, devising, planning. Surely, he thought, there must be a road out of the wilderness somewhere, this grand and magnanimous government may consent to harsh measures in order to prevent violations of. law, but it cannot mean to invoke such extreme methods of subjugation and spoliation; and as if by inspiration, the means of escape came to him. When the Apostle's first term of imprisonment had expired, his attorney applied to the trial court for a writ of habeas corpus, on the ground that the offense of which the defendant had been convicted was expiated by the full service of the sentence, and further punishment was unconstitutional. The writ was refused, of course. and an appeal was again taken to the United States Supreme Court, which, after a full hearing, decided that the writ might issue, and so ordered. Lorenzo Snow was discharged, and the "segregation" bubble burst.
The crisis was now passed, and the fragments of the broken cloud floated gradually away. Those who bad "taken to the wilderness," surrendered themselves, with cheerful alacrity; sentences were served, fines were paid, and a better understanding between the General Government and the people of Utah prevailed than had ever been known before.
Mr. Richards was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1887, and chairman of the delegation sent by it to present the Constitution of the proposed State of Utah to Congress, and work for the admission of the Territory into the Union. During the two succeeding sessions of Congress he was at the national capital most of the time, and became personally acquainted with nearly all the Senators and a majority of the Members of the House of Representatives. including all the leaders of both branches of Congress. He appeared before committees of the Senate and House, and made some of the strongest arguments that were presented to them in behalf of the people of Utah. It can be justly said that during the critical period, no man was more valiant in the cause than he, and none did more to protect the rights of the people and pave the way for Statehood.
In 1888 Emily Sophia Tanner Richards, 38, wife of the Mormon church attorney, Franklin S. Richards, approached church officials with a proposal to form a Utah suffrage association affiliated with the National Woman Suffrage Association. With church approval, the territorial association was formed on 10 January 1889 with leading roles given to women who were not involved in polygamous marriages. Margaret N. Caine, wife of Delegate to Congress John T. Caine, was the president and Emily Richards was appointed a state organizer. Acting quickly, Mrs. Richards organized local units throughout the territory. Many, if not all of them, sprang from the women's auxiliary organizations of the church, most notably the Relief Society. The Woman's Exponent, an unofficial publication for Mormon women, took up the cause with zeal. Yet progress was stalled until the 1890 Manifesto officially declared an end to plural marriage, and Congress passed the 1894 Enabling Act, opening the door to statehood.
From Franklin S. Richards on woman suffrage in Utah: “If the price of statehood is the disfranchisement of one half of the people…I am content to share with them the disabilities of territorial vassalage till the time shall come, as it will come in the providence of God, when all can stand side by side on the broad platform of human equality, of equal rights, and equal capacity.”
Mr. Richards represented nearly all the leading Mormon defendants, and was counsel for them, as well as for the Church, in all the noted trials of the period ensuing upon the enforcement of the Edmunds-Tucker law, including the confiscation suits brought under that law. He even appeared in cases that arose outside of Utah, notably the Idaho test oath case, argued for the appellant before the United States Supreme Court by Mr. Richard and Judge Jeremiah Wilson, in December, 1889. It is worthy of note in this connection, that the brief of appellant contained the Church's "Articles of Faith,'" while they were appropriately a part of the case, as showing the creed of the Church, whose adherents were disfranchised for being members of it, and made the issue more lucid and comprehensive, one can but admire the ingenuity of. counsel in placing them so conspicuously before the court; and we are led to reflect how results sometimes come about in the most unexpected ways, how it is that Gospel principles find their way to all manner of people, the exalted as well as the lowly. In some of the cases before the Supreme Court he appeared alone, and in others he had eminent counsel associated with him, such as Hon. James 0. Broadhead, Senator Joseph E. McDonald, Wayne McVeigh, Senator George G. Vest and George Ticknor Curtis.
Franklin S. Richards' role in devising and facilitating legislative enactment of the "corporation sole" as a legal entity in western states allows ownership and control of church properties to pass smoothly when a Church President dies.
In the great political campaign of 1889-90, which ended in the capture of the government of Salt Lake City by the Liberal party, Mr. Richards marshaled and disciplined the forces of the People's party, or in other words managed their campaign. While it was impossible to defeat the foe, it is due to Mr. Richards and his assistants to say that they "fought a good fight," such a one, in fact, as Salt Lake City had never known. As stated, the Liberal victory ended his connection with the city government. The same year he represented Salt Lake County in the Legislature, and was chosen President of the Council.
At the close of the crusade, when Mormons and Gentiles resolved to bury past differences, wipe out old political lines and become Democrats and Republicans in the era then opening upon Utah, Mr. Richards was among the most active in bringing about the changed conditions that have since prevailed. A staunch Democrat, he gave warm and zealous support to his party, and in days when its prospects seemed dark and many of its leaders were disheartened he was ever found with his shoulder to the wheel pushing uphill, preventing any retrograde movement, and from the platform, in public and in private, giving forth encouragement and good cheer; but he has steadfastly declined office, although easily within reach of anything within the gift of the people.
In the autumn of 1894, Mr. Richards was elected a member of the Constitutional Convention, representing the Fourth Precinct of Salt Lake City, where be resides. In the Convention, which opened on the 4th of March following, he served on various important committees and rendered valuable aid in framing the fundamental law of the proposed State of Utah. He will best be remembered, however, for his learned and logical address in defense of woman suffrage, which, after a spirited and protracted debate, was incorporated in the State Constitution.
When statehood, the object for which he had labored so long and faithfully, was realized, Mr. Richards partially retired from active politics, and devoted himself more closely to his profession, which he had been forced to neglect, in order to perform his political obligations.
At the opening of 1898, the law partnership which had existed for several years between him and his son Joseph Tanner Richards was dissolved, the latter becoming the head of another legal firm, and, in January, 1899, another one was formed between the senior partner and Hon. Charles S. Varian, under the firm name of Richards & Varian. This partnership ended with the advent of 1904, when our subject became associated with his son Joseph and Mr. Edward S. Ferry, as senior of the law firm of Richards, Richards and Ferry. Mr. Richards also continues to be attorney for the Church.. He has conducted many of the most important cases that have been tried in this State, especially those involving questions of constitutional law and water rights, he being recognized as a leading authority on these subjects.
As a Church member, he has always been consistent and zealous. Besides honorably filling a foreign mission, he was for many years a member of the High Council and a home missionary in the Weber Stake of Zion, and has been a home missionary in the Salt Lake Stake ever since he returned from Ogden in 1884. He is a great lover of home, of family, of kindred, and while a staunch friend to his friends, is not an enemy to his opponents. He is also noted for his pronounced public spirit, showing a marked interest in every enterprise that promises to promote the welfare of the community in which he lives. He is quick to recognize and encourage enterprises of this character. As for patriotism, love of country, loyalty to the government and to American institutions, he inherits these qualities from his Revolutionary ancestors. Prudent and practical, he is nevertheless enthusiastic, and has the power of communicating his enthusiasm to others whom he wishes to impress. He is a man of sentiment, of ideality, and at the same time a man of action, energetic, industrious, shrewd, tactful and wise. Silent and reserved, like most students, and often misjudged because of his abstraction, so easily mistaken for aristocratic exclusiveness, he is genial and even jovial at times, and is one of those choice spirits who, when best known, are most appreciated. He has a cultured mind, an eloquent tongue, and ranks among the ablest and brightest members of his profession.
STANDARD EXAMINER OBITUARIES
Saturday, September 8, 1934
RICHARDS, Franklin S.
Dated: Saturday, September 8, 1934
Headline: Franklin S. Richards
Franklin S. Richards, prominent member of the Utah bar for 60 years and L.D.S. leader, was suddenly stricken on Friday.
He was most active in the early history of Utah and served Weber county from 1870 to 1884.
He was recognized as a man of great ability in his chosen profession and a leader in church affairs.
His death takes from Utah another of the strong men who made lasting contributions to building out of pioneer experiences a commonwealth worth while.
Franklin S. Richards was a high type gentleman and a brilliant lawyer. He was a lovable character.
The Franklin S. Richards Community Service Award is presented to deserving recipients who have provided extraordinary pro bono services to those most in need of legal or humanitarian assistance but cannot afford it.
Wives of Franklin Snyder Richards:
1) Emily Sophia Tanner, married on December 18, 1868
2) Jane Harrington Montgomery
3) Jane Burnhope
4) Elizabeth Eastman
PAF - Archer files = James Brown Sr. > Daniel Brown + Elizabeth Stephens > James Stephens Brown + Lydia Jane Tanner > Lydia Jane Brown + Homer Manley Brown > Sarah Edna Brown Brown md. Nathan William Tanner < Nathan William Tanner is the son of Lucy Rohannah Snyder + John William Tanner ; Lucy Rohannah Snyder is the granddaughter of Isaac Snyder + Lovisa Comstock > Jane Snyder + Franklin Dewey Richards.> Franklin Snyder Richards.
"History of Utah Vol. IV" by Orson Ferguson Whitney, October 1904. Published by George Q. Cannon & Sons, Co. Publishers. Pages 532-537.
Journal of Mormon History, Volume 21, No. 2 Fall 1995 “Lawyers of Their Own to Defend Them”: The Legal Career of Franklin Snyder Richards" by Ken Driggs 84.
Additions, bold, [information in brackets], pictures, etc, added by Lucy Brown Archer
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