Oliver Cowdery’s Last Testimony

On 20 May 1848, Samuel Whitney Richards and his brother, Franklin Dewey Richards, arrived at Winter Quarters, Nebraska after nearly two years spent on missions in England and Scotland. Franklin and his wife, Jane Snyder, were able to join Uncle Willard Richards’s company about to leave for Utah Territory. However, Samuel and his wife, Mary Haskin Parker, could not come up with money for a “fit-out.”

Instead, Samuel rented a thirty-acre farm about four miles from Hunsaker’s Ferry on the Nishnabotna River in what is now Fremont County, Iowa. At that time, though, the farm was in Atchison County, Missouri. This was the location of the Austin Post Office which served Winter Quarters between 1846 and 1848.

During 1848, Oliver Cowdery made his decision to return to full fellowship in the Church. He was rebaptized in Kanesville and began making plans to go west. In January 1849, he and his wife, Elizabeth Whitmer, set out from Kanesville to visit her brother, David Whitmer, in Richmond, Missouri. Bitter cold, stormy, weather and almost impassable conditions compelled them to stop at a farm house along the way. There, they discovered Samuel and Mary Richards. It was almost two weeks before Oliver and Elizabeth could continue on their journey, and the two couples held many gospel discussions while sitting by the warmth of the fireplace.

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