RICHAN, John

Date of Birth
24/Dec/1799
Place of Birth
Sunderland, Durham, England UK
Date of Death
21/Sep/1878
Place of Death
Pleasant Grove, Utah, Utah USA
John Richan, a Pioneer Tinsmith John Richan was born on 24 December 1799 in Sunderland, Durham, England. At the age of twelve he was indentured as an apprentice to learn the art of a tinsmith.

A tinsmith, sometimes known as a tinner, tinman, tinplate worker is a person who builds and repairs things made of tin or other light metals. A tinsmith will fabricate cold metal items like candle holders, pitchers, forks and spoons that won’t rust. John, as an apprentice, receive a fair education and along the way learned about music. He also became a voice music teacher. At the age of seventeen he became a journeyman tinsmith.

John married Mary Ann Henderson in 1832. Mary Ann and her baby boy died during childbirth. John then married Margaret Rayne Wardell in 1838. They had two girls and the three boys who became tinners like their father.

Elders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met and taught the Richan family in London, England. John was 51 years old, Margaret (41), Canute (13), Caroline (8) when they were baptized in 1851. Bordecia had died earlier and William and Frederick were three and two years old.

The Richan family were active in the church for many years with a desire but they did not have the money to migrate to Zion in the United States of America. Sadly, Canute died in 1859. The Richan family decided to participated in the Perpetual Emigration Fund (PEF). Because of finances, they sent their oldest child Caroline (20) in 1863 to Utah to earn money to help the rest of the family.

Next William (17) came to Salt Lake City in 1864 and established his own tin shop. In order to open a shop William had to purchase tinplate sheets from iron rolling mills in the eastern United States and have the sheets shipped to his shop. Finally, John, Margaret and Frederick came to New York City by ship in 1866.

They continued to travel by train to Wyoming, Nebraska and joined an ox-train company of 375 Saints led by Capt. William Henry Chipman. The Company, while camped near the Platte Bridge, Indians stole about 100 head of cattle. Without the cattle to pull the wagons the Company was stranded.

Another wagon train led by Capt. Arza Hinckley stopped and rescued them by providing 40 sacks of flour and enough cattle to pull the wagons. The family finally arrived in Salt Lake City in Sep. 1866. John and Frederick went to work in William’s tin shop in Salt Lake City for a time.

John then moved to Pleasant Grove, Utah where he opened his own tin shop. Frederick worked with William in Salt Lake City for a while longer then bought a farm and went into farming. William later moved his business to American Fork, Utah and opened a tin shop there.

John and Margaret were sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on 1 November 1868. John was now 68 years old and Margaret was 58. John continued to work as a tinsmith until he was quite old. He served as the music chorister in the Pleasant Grove Ward until his death in 1878.

One of his joys was teaching music to children. Rose Brown Hayes (a music student of John when she was 8 years old wrote)

“It seemed his greatest delight was to tone down and train into harmony the croaking voices of young children”.

John Richan died on 21 September 1878 in Pleasant Grove, Utah at the age of 79. Margaret died fifteen years later on August 26, 1893, at the age of 83. They are both buried in the Pleasant Grove City Cemetery, Pleasant Grove, Utah. John and Margaret were valiant and faithful pioneers.

Compiled by Daniel K Adams, third great maternal grandson of John Richan

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