Edward Partridge is known as the “First Bishop of the Church.”
Edward Partridge was born in Pittsfield Massachusetts on August 27, 1793. He was the son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell.
Edward Partridge was a hatter by trade. By 1830 he owned his own hat shop.
Edward and his wife Lydia aligned themselves with different religions when they were first married. He was interested in Universalism and Unitarianism. His wife, Lydia aligned herself with the Campbellite church.
In the fall of 1830 the couple listened to the Latter-Day Saints Missionaries. Edward was not excited about the message when he first heard it, but sent an employee to get a Book of Mormon for him and the Book of Mormon changed his mind. He accepted the truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Even after accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ Edward Partridge still did not get baptized, right away. It wasn’t until he heard Joseph Smith teach when he finally agreed to get baptized. He said he would be baptized but only “if Bro. Joseph will baptize me,” he was baptized the next day.
Edward Patridge was called to be the first Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and continued to have the calling of Bishop even as he went on missions. When Partridge was called as bishop, the Lord described him as one whose “heart is pure before me for he is like unto Nathaniel of old in whome there is no guile.”
Edward Patridge was tarred and feathered in Missouri by the Missouri Mob, in front of the Courthouse in Independence Missouri. With so much abuse to the Latter-Day Saints, Bishop Patridge signed the agreement for the Latter-Day Saints to move from their homes in Jackson County Missouri in 1833.
In 1836 he returned to Missouri but this time to the town of Far West, hoping for better circumstances with the Missouri men. Again, Missouri was not hospitable to Bishop Patridge, or the Latter-Day Saints. There was a lot of apostasy inside the Church and persecution.
Edward was arrested and taken prisoner in Far West and taken to Richmond where he joined the Prophet Joseph Smith and other leaders of the Church.
Edward moved to Nauvoo with the rest of the Saints and was the Bishop of the upper ward. He did not live in Nauvoo for long, while he was helping build a home outside of town and moving furniture when he collapsed from exhaustion. He died ten days later. Edward was only 46 years old.
It’s been said that Bishop Partridge “wore himself out in the service of others.”
After Bishop Partridge passed away his friend David Pettigrew described Partridge as “a Gentleman, filling that high Office which he Occupied, with great dignity, Such as the New Testament States, that a man filling the Office of a Bishop Should be His appe[a]rance was grave, and thaughtful, yet pleasant and agreeable, his family like himself verry agreeable.”
W. W. Phelps wrote of Partridge that “few will be able to wear his mantle with such simple dignity. He was an honest man, and I loved him.”
Eight months after Partridge’s death, the Lord revealed that the faithful first bishop of the restored Church was with Him.
Although, Bishop Partridges life did not last long here on Earth he left a great legacy behind him. Partridge's daughter Caroline Ely Partridge married Amasa Lyman, and through this line he became a direct ancestor of James E. Faust, an apostle of the Church. His daughter Emily Partridge was a wife of the prophet Brigham Young. His son Edward Partridge Jr. made a large impact in the Church as a religious leader and was also a political leader in Utah during the territorial period.
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”Who’s who in the Doctrine and Covenants” By Susan Easton Black (p. 213-216)