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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 214-217 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The surname Richards is of Welsh origin, and from that nationality a majority of those who bear it in this country descend. In Wales, the name occurs with great frequency and is equally common in England. It was first a Christian name, and by adding "s" became a surname when such names came in use. The earliest families of Richards in New England were of Puritan stock, their ancestors emigrating from England at various dates during the seventeenth century. The earliest of mention is Thomas Richards, who came to Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1630, ten years after the landing of the Pilgrims. The history of the family in Essex county, New York, begins with William Richards, whom family tradition asserts came from Wales about 1775, when a young man of twenty years and settled in New Hampshire. He married there and later settled in Springfield, Massachusetts. He married Lucretia ————, in New Hampshire. Children: Joseph (see forward); Daniel, James, William (2), Lucretia and Lois. William (2) removed to Ohio, where he became wealthy, and in his will left a handsome bequest for the cause of education.

(II) Joseph, eldest son of William and Lucretia Richards, died February 18, 1853. He emigrated to the Schroon Lake region of Washington county when he was about eighteen years of age, in company with seven young men. They made a settlement and he resided there until his death. Four of these young men were Daniel Platt, Star Platt, Benjamin Bouker and John Sisson. Joseph Richards engaged in mercantile life, owning and conducting a general store at Schroon Lake, New York. He was wealthy according to those times, and transacted a large business. He obtained his merchandise from Troy, New York, making annual trips in the only conveyance then in use — team and wagon. He was noted for his fine horses, and it is said that his trips were social events in the places visited. His account books of business transactions with Ticonderoga merchants of that day are still preserved in the family. During the war of 1812, he served as private in Capt. Augustus Cleaveland's company of the 9th Regt. N. Y. State Militia, Lt. Col. Commandant Martin Joiner, Sept. 2-16, 1814, siege of Plattsburgh. Joseph Richards married (first) Lydia B. Wooster, of Pawlet, Vermont, a descendant of the Wooster family of Connecticut. Children:

  1. Orilla, born April 6, 1805, died February 25, 1827, married Alpheus Wade.
  2. Maria, August 15, 1807, died October 23, 1825, married Ephraim Grimes.
  3. Orson, see forward.
  4. Hoel S., born February 3, 1814, died January 22, 1878, married Prudy A. Bartlett. Has two children, Mrs. Freeman Tyrrell, of Schroon Lake and Mrs. Egbert Dunn of Glens Falls.
  5. Hester A., born November 18, 1816, died March 1, 1876, married Nelson Warren. Two of their children, William Warren and Mrs. Rachel McGinn, live in Hudson Falls.
  6. Caroline M., born September 30, 1820, died June 21, 1841, married Newell Westcott.
  7. Lucretia, born February 1, 1823, died January 7, 1847, married Erwin Baker. The only living descendant of Erwin and Lucretia (Richards) Baker is Mrs. Samuel L. Finch, a granddaughter, born May 6, 1860, adopted by Orson Richards, March 21, 1865, married Samuel L. Finch, March 10, 1880. She lives in Hudson Falls, New York.

Joseph Richards married (second) Mrs. Abigail (Mills) Frost, a widow, born October 22, 1805, died December 9, 1843. Children of second marriage:

  1. Ann, born June 7, 1834, died May 4, 1836;
  2. Eunice, born June 25, 1838, resides in Hudson Falls, New York, unmarried;
  3. Fletcher, born April 23, 1840, who resided in Plattsburgh, New York, until his death, February 15, 1907.

(III) Orson, eldest son and third child of Joseph and Lydia B. (Wooster) Richards, was born at Schroon Lake, Washington county, New York, December 13, 1811, died September 4, 1879. He was educated in the common schools, and on attaining his majority began his long and successful career as a lumberman. He started business in a small way at Schroon Lake, and in 1837 removed to Sandy Hill. With the exception of a five years' residence in Plattsburgh, New York, 1845-50, Sandy Hill was his residence and principal place of business. From his first start until the panic of 1873 he did a constantly increasing business, and in the heighth of his prosperity was one of the best-known and highly-regarded business men in northern New York. He brought prosperity to Sandy Hill, where his five saw mills manufactured into lumber the logs cut in the Adirondack forests, where he owned large tracts of timber lands. He was also interested in the timber forests of Pennsylvania, owning and operating saw mills at Lock Haven. At one time he also owned saw mills at Plattsburgh, New York. He was an official and director in the First National Banks of Sandy Hill and Fort Edward, the Glens Falls Insurance Co., and in other local business enterprises. He was a man of energy and great public spirit. He maintained at all times the most friendly relations with his employees, who numbered several thousand at various times. He married, September 5, 1830, at Schroon Lake, New York, Julia Ann, born there June 24, 1813, died at Sandy Hill, New York, May 14, 1881, daughter of Eber Fisk, born in Danby, Vermont, August 10, 1771, moved to Schroon Lake in 1819, where he died March 7, 1843. He married at Danby, Vermont, October 30, 1796, Martha Bigelow, born at Springfield, Vermont, May 3, 1781, died at Schroon Lake, June 25, 1861, daughter of Joel and Abigail (McCall) Bigelow. Children of Orson and Julia A. (Fisk) Richards:

  1. Lydia, born September 11, 1831, died August 10, 1900; married, December 31, 1849, John F. Howe. Children: Orson R., Mrs. Julia A. Ambler, Lina F., Emma L., and Mrs. Martha A. Gallup, all of Hudson Falls.
  2. Nelson, born August 2, 1833, died May 12, 1854; married, September 28, 1853, Erie White.
  3. Eber, see forward.
  4. Ralph P., born January 2, 1843; married, December 24, 1862, Francilia J. Harding, one child, Mrs. Minnie H. Roider of Hudson Falls.
  5. Martha, born December 17, 1844, died May 27, 1870; married, January 9, 1867, Silas B. Ambler.

(IV) Eber, son of Orson and Julia A. (Fisk) Richards, was born at Schroon Lake, Essex county, New York, May 6, 1836, died at Sandy Hill, New York, February 23, 1910. His early education was obtained in the public schools of Sandy Hill and Plattsburgh. In 1850 he entered Norwich University, where he remained two years. About 1857 he was admitted to a partnership with his father under the firm name of O. Richards & Son. They continued together in the manufacture and sale of lumber until 1873, and became one of the leading and wealthiest concerns in their line of business in northern New York. From 1873 to 1882 Eber Richards operated saw mills and conducted his lumbering business alone. In 1882 he disposed of all his lumber interests and entered into a partnership with N. W. Wait & Son, and engaged in the manufacture of paper at Bakers' Falls, New York, under the firm name of N. W. Wait Son & Company. In 1883 N. W. Wait retired, and from that year until 1892 Mr. Richards continued the business with J. W. Wait, under the firm name of Wait and Richards. In 1892 he disposed of his paper mills, and from 1893-1905 engaged in the manufacture of wood pulp at Ticonderoga, New York, with his son Frederick B., under the firm name of E. Richards & Son. In 1905 he retired from all active business. He was one of the most genial and sociable of men, and was well known not only among business men but to railroad engineers, conductors, captains and employees of the steamboats on which he traveled. He was one of the few men for whom railroad trains would stop between stations to take on or let him off. From early manhood he took an active part in the volunteer fire department of Sandy Hill, and one of the old hand fire engines owned by the department bore the name "E. Richards Independent." He was one of the best-known summer residents of Lake George, where his pleasure yacht "Theta" was constantly employed for the benefit of his many friends and acquaintances. Notwithstanding his large business interests he never overlooked his duties as a citizen. He served as supervisor of town of Kingsbury; was president of the village corporation of Sandy Hill two years; trustee of the village many years; trustee of the Union free school district of Sandy Hill from its establishment in 1867, and on his retirement in 1896 was the only member of the first board of trustees who had served continuously from the beginning. He favored all public improvements, and generously aided in securing better conditions in civic affairs. He was a lifelong member of the Methodist Episcopal church, which he served many years as a trustee. His fraternal affiliation was with the Masonic order, Sandy Hill Lodge and Chapter, and Washington Commandery, Knights Templar, of Saratoga. His descent from the earliest colonial period gained for him admission to the Society of Mayflower Descendants. He married, at Sandy Hill, September 24, 1857, Mary Eliza, born May 21, 1838, daughter of James and Kezia (Lee) Culver, of Sandy Hill. In 1907 they celebrated their golden wedding. Children:

  1. Caroline Berry, born July 23, 1858, died October 2, 1890.
  2. Nelson James, born December 14, 1861, died May 5, 1862.
  3. Frederick Barnard, (see forward).
  4. Orson Culver, born June 7, 1873; resides at Hudson Falls; superintendent highways, Washington county; civil engineer; married Mable, daughter of William and Mary Caroline (Barkley) McLaren; she was born August 22, 1875, married April 25, 1900; one child, Mac Laren, born October 2, 1901.

(V) Frederick Barnard, son of Eber and Mary Eliza (Culver) Richards, was born at Sandy Hill, New York, August 1, 1865. His early education was obtained in public schools of Sandy Hill. He entered Union College, where he was graduated A.B., class of 1888. In 1889 he became junior member of the firm of E. Richards & Son, paper manufacturers, Sandy Hill, continuing until 1893, when the firm disposed of their paper mill. In the same year, under the same firm name, they engaged in the manufacture of wood pulp at Ticonderoga, continuing until 1905. In 1908 he was chosen secretary of the Standard Textile Company of Glens Falls, an office he still fills. He is also a member of the firm of Hooper & Richards, who as the North River Garnet Company have been engaged in business at North River, New York, since 1894.. He is a director of the Glens Falls Saving & Loan Association, and has other and varied business interests. He is a Republican in politics, and a member of the Protestant Episcopal church, serving as vestryman of the Church of the Messiah. He is secretary and trustee of the New York State Historical Association, a member of the American, Vermont and Ticonderoga Historical societies, the American Buttonists Society, National Geographic Society, Sons of the Revolution, and Society of Colonial Wars. His college fraternity is Psi Upsilon, his social club the Glens Falls. He is a master mason of Mt. Defiance Lodge, No. 794. He married in Granville, New York, June 12, 1895, Constance Emily, born in Jamaica, West Indies, April 1, 1873, daughter of Rev. Joseph Theophilus and Anna Rosina (Leibfried) Zorn, granddaughter of Jacob, and great-granddaughter of George Zorn, three generations of Moravian missionaries to the West Indies. Children, all born in Ticonderoga:

  1. Dorothy, August 14, 1896;
  2. Constance, August 12, 1899;
  3. William Lee, February 15, 1901.

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