WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
RICHARD I. BENTLEY
(early resident, merchant, and mayor in St. George)
BIOGRAPHYRichard Bentley was born in England in 1820.
He came from England to Nauvoo in 1843 and then crossed the plains from Council Bluffs Iowa to Salt Lake City in the early 1850s. From there he went to Carson City which at that time was part of the Utah Territory. Returning to Utah, he lived in Nephi during the Indian troubles.
He went on a mission to England in 1860, returning to Salt Lake City on November 3, 1864.
He was offered a load of merchandise by his nephew, the husband of his neice, by the name of William S. Godbe, if he would take Godbe's place as a pioneer to Utah's Dixie. Godbe was doing to well in business affairs to give it up and answer the call of President Brigham Young. Hence his offer to Richard to go as his substitute. Richard's diary relates the following regarding this incident:
Emma Demeba (married Edwin Delworth Woolley Jr.)
Mary Lavinia (married Edwin Gordon Woolley)
William Oscar (married Mary Ann Mansfield)
Annie Elizabeth (married Nelson Terry)
Franklin Richards (married Marion Carter)
Joseph Charles (married Margaret Ivins, Gladys Woodmanfee, and Maude Taylor)
After the death of Elizabeth, Richard married Hannah Cox Welch.
Upon arriving in St. George, he opened a general store. For many years, he was the only merchant in St. George, retiring from business in 1878. Bentley served as mayor of St. George from April of 1877 to 1882 and again from 1888 to April 12, 1990.
He died in March 24, 1906 at his home in St. George. He left a wife, 6 children, 40 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.
PHOTOSPhoto of Richard Bentley while on his mission to England, about 1861
1872 photo of Richard Bentley, trustee of the St. George Normal School
REFERENCESRichard Bentley's obituary from the Deseret News, March 24, 1906
Richard Bentley's obituary from the Inter Mountain Republican, March 25, 1906
Richard Bentley's obituary from the Salt Lake Herald, March 25, 1906