Willard Willard Richards was born to Joseph Richards and his wife Rhoda Howe June 24, 1804, in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. He took up the practice of medicine near Boston.
It was while so engaged that a copy of the Book of Mormon came into his hands. Captivated, he read it completely through twice in ten days, settled his business affairs and journeyed to the body of the Church in Kirtland, Ohio. He was baptized by Brigham Young December 31, 1836, and was ordained an elder some two months later. Shortly after his ordination, he undertook a three month proselyting mission to the Eastern States. The day after his return he was sent on a longer mission to Great Britain. While on his mission to Great Britain, Elder Richards took his first wife, marrying Jennetta Richards, daughter of the Reverend John Richards on September 24, 1838. Later he practiced plural marriage.
The Ancestral File lists some eighteen wives but with certainty five of them are duplicates. And another one appears to be a duplicate so we can say with relative assuredness that Elder Richards had at least twelve wives.
While still in England, Elder Brigham Young ordained him an Apostle on April 14, 1840. He was with the Prophet and Hyrum in Carthage, Illinois when the two were murdered at the hands of a bloodthirsty mob but survived to bear solemn testimony against the devilish fiends. In 1847 President Young selected him to be the Second Counselor in the newly reorganized First Presidency. He served with honor and distinction until his death on March 11, 1854, in Salt Lake City, Utah.