Charles Coulson Rich, A Stalwart Early Mormon in the Grice Collection of Daguerreotypes

The Image on the left is of Charles Coulson Rich from Charles C. Rich 1875 – Charles C. Rich – Wikipedia. The image on the right has been flipped horizontally and is from the Grice Collection at the Library of Congress, [Unidentified man with beard, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front] | Library of Congress (

Artworks in the Celestial Room of the First Nauvoo Temple on JSTOR This portrait of Rich demonstrates the difficulties in comparing oil paintings to Daguerreotypes. Was the painting made from a Daguerreotype of a beardless Rich or from life? Since Daguerreotypes are “flipped” horizontally and are thus mirrored images and using the side of the hair part as a “constant,” the painting and Daguerreotype are consistent with Major making the painting from a Daguerreotype.

This Dageurreotype of Rich probably was made 1850-1855, based on apparent age and dress. It has not been flipped horizontally. He was “scalped” either by faulty development or subsequent damage. The Grice image is the most flattering. Charles Coulson Rich – Biography (

Born in Campbell County, Kentucky, Charles Coulson Rich (1809-1883) with his parents crossed the Ohio River into Dearborn County, Indiana, in 1810. Such migrations were common and often precipitated by the fact that land titles in Kentucky were notoriously fragile and by the fact that Kentucky was a slave state. Charles Coulson Rich – Biography ( Rich was a schoolteacher, a cooper, and a farmer who became enthralled with the Book of Mormon.

In April 1844 Rich was called to Preside over the 16 missionaries assigned to assist Joseph Smith’s presidential campaign and preach the gospel in Michigan. (History journal of the Church, April 15, 1844, p.2) Thus he, like so many other Nauvoo Mormon leaders, was not home during the fateful spring of 1844. Rich returned to Nauvoo in July 1844. Charles Coulson Rich | Church History Biographical Database (

Charles Rich went on to be an energetic stalwart of the Mormon Church who, among other things, founded the Mormon community in San Bernadino, California.

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