Franklin Dewey Richards (Richmond, Massachusetts, April 2, 1821 – December 9, 1899, Ogden, Utah) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from February 12, 1849 until his death. He also served as president of the quorum from September 2, 1898 until his death. Elder Richards served the longest time as an apostle of any man who was did not serve as president of the Church, although his 50 years and 10 months in the quorum were less than Joseph Fielding Smith's aproximatly 60 years in the quprum, the longest time served in the quorum as opposed to time in the quorum and in the First Presidency.
Both his son, George F. Richards, and grandson LeGrand Richards were members of the quorum, with his son also serving as president of the quorum from 1945 to 1950. Another of Richards' grandsons, Franklin D. Richards became a general authority of the church, serving as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve and later as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.
Richards also served in the Utah Territorial Legislature in 1852 and 1856.
To fill the vacancy, and to bring the number of the quorum up to twelve, Richards was called and ordained as the fourth of four apostles on February 12, 1849. The other three apostles were Charles C. Rich, Lorenzo Snow, and Erastus Snow.
From 1889 until his death, Richards was the church's twelfth Church Historian.
President of the Twelve
With the death of President Wilford Woodruff on September 2, 1898, President Lorenzo Snow became the president of the church. As the second-most senior apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Richards assumed the role of President of the Twelve. His term was short-lived, as he lived only 15 months longer.
Richards suffered a stroke and paralysis in the autumn of 1899. He died peacefully in his home in Ogden, Utah on December 9, 1899.
The vacancy in the quorum created by his death was filled by Reed Smoot.
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