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An American Family Database

The Surnames Page

The Descendants of Edward Richards & Susannah Hunting Project

An On-Line Course: Tracing Your Family History Using a Computer

Perpetually Under Construction!

The Descendants of Edward Richards and Susannah Hunting of Dedham, Massachussets

For the past several years I have been working on collecting data on as many of the descendants of Edward and Susannah Richards who both came to the Massachusetts Colony in the early 1630s.

Their descendants are multitudinous, and my Rootsweb WorldConnect database called RichardsMA reflects the many that I have located. I have established some descendants for each of their children, except Dorcas, who died young and without issue. I have transcribed the data in Chapter VI of Rev. Abner Morse's Genealogical Register of Several Ancient Puritans, Vol. III, (1861). I do realize that Morse's work contains some errors, but I still think it's a pretty good place to start. This database now also contains many additions and corrections from several researchers.


Other Richards Pages At This Website

The Richards Researchers Page.A listing of researchers working on this Richards line with contact information and links.

A compilation of Richards references found in The Early Records of the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts 1636 - 1659, The Deadham Transcript, contributed by Joan Hersey Olsson

The Richards Gallery consisting of pages of images from my own collection and those submitted by other Richards researchers.


Online Sources

Genealogical Register of the Descendants of Several Ancient Puritans, Volume III, by Morse, Reverend Abner, A. M., (1861, Boston, HW Dutton & Son) this book (with some flaws, but a great place to start) is posted in its entirety at: http://www.usigs.org/library/books/families/Richards1861/

"Lands and Family: The Richards Farm, Dedham, Massachusetts." by Electa Kane http://www.spnea.org/resources/articles/pdf241.pdf

"Thomas Richards' Sawmill?" A discussion of the use and development of a sawmill near Dedham, Mass., owned by Thomas Richards and his descendants from 1753 to 1810 by authors including Electa Kane:  http://members.aol.com/varabldg/noanetrichmill.htm

The Dedham Historical Society offers a brief history of the town of Dedham at http://www.dedhamhistorical.org/html/history.shtml   and a listing of genealogical resources at http://www.dedhamhistorical.org/html/genealogy.shtml

Ancestry.com has an online version of  William Montgomery Clemens's book American Marriage Records before 1699. Pompton Lakes, NJ: Biblio Co., 1926. There are a number of Richards records in it. http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/inddbs/2081.htm

The American Colonist's Library, on the Covenants of New England page, The Dedham Covenant 1636: http://personal.pitnet.net/primarysources/covenants.html#dedham  

A Narrative of the Pequot War by Lion Gardiner (1660) http://beatl.barnard.columbia.edu/texts/gardeners_narrative.htm

The Richards Genealogy Forum: http://genforum.genealogy.com/richards/

 A transcription of mentions of Edward Richards in the Dedham Town Records.

If you know of any more sources like this, please let me know!


About Edward Richards

SYNOPSIS:
Edward Richards, b. ca 1610 in England was the immigrant ancestor. He came with others of the family somewhere between 1631 and 1635 (various sources give different dates), maybe aboard the ship Lyon (although he reportedly does not appear on the manifest) and was called "a gent". He is recorded as being in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1632; and as a proprietor in 1638. On 10 July 1638 he was married to Susannah Hunting, the sister of Elder John Hunting. Edward joined the Dedham Church May 17 1640, and took his Freeman's oath in 1641 (According to Webster's 9th New Collegiate Dictionary: freeman, one enjoying civil or political liberty. One having the full rights of a citizen.). He was a selectman for 9 years (recorded in 1648) (Webster: selectman, noun beg. 1635, one of a board of officials elected in towns of all New England states, except Rhode Island, to serve as the chief administrative authority of the town.). He was listed as a shoemaker, but appears to have been a gentleman farmer in fact. Edward died in 1684, and his wife, Susannah died soon after him, both in Dedham.

SOURCES
Cutter, William Richard, New England families, genealogical and memorial, V. 2:
"Edward Richards, the immigrant ancestor, came from England with others of the family about 1632. He married Susan Hunting, September 10, 1638, and settled at Dedham, Massachusetts. He signed the famous compact, was admitted freeman in 1641 and was selectman nine years. He died in May, 1684, and his will was proved September 25 following."

Farrington, Robert I., Esq, "Edward Richards of Dedham, Mass," in The American Genealogist, New York, NY, pp. 87-146, sent to me by Mary Hannah.  This article is a critical, scholarly piece putting forth information and several well documented theories as to the family and story of Edward Richards and Susannah Hunting. I have incorporated his information in this database, but have not yet transcribed it here as it is quite lengthy.

Hannah, Mary, MHannah255@aol.com , 30 Jan 2000.
"I have spent some time trying to establish a relationship between Edward and Nathaniel without much luck. The only evidence we have is Morse. I checked his statement about where he got his information and it basically is recollections. Now we know that he was wrong on several accounts about Edward. First, I do not believe Edward moved to Dedham to marry Susan Hunting. The Hunting genealogy in the Dedham Historical Register makes no mention of Susan coming with her brother: I assume she did: however, they did not come until 1638 and moved directly to Dedham. Edward was in Dedham by 1636. Second, Edward did have a house lot in Dedham. When the town would not let him buy the house lot from Robert Feakes; the town gave it to Edward (Dedham Vital Records). Also he did not buy the farm from Mr. Cook. Volume 4 of the Town Records indicates that Mr. Cook's Farm was sold by the attorney for the estate to Fisher and Lusher. Edward then bought it from them. Too bad they never recorded the deed. Anyway, my point is that perhaps Morse is wrong. However, Edward did name one of his sons Nathaniel, which would point to a relationship.

Hill, Don Gleason. The Early Records of the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts. The Dedham Transcript. Dedham, Massachusetts. 1892.  Joan Hersey Olsson has transcribed the portions that mention Edward Richards, and I have copied them to this web site.

Holmes, Frank R., Directory of the Heads of New England Families 1620-1700, (1974).

"Edward [Richards] came to N.E. 1632, married Dedham, Mass 1638.

Morse, Reverend Abner, A. M., Genealogical Register of the Descendants of Several Ancient Puritans, Volume III, (1861, Boston, HW Dutton & Son), 105.
"Edward Richards is presumed to have been the nephew of Thomas, Sr., and the brother of Nathaniel and Thomas, Jr., and the cousin or brother of William and John of Plymouth. He probably came with Nathaniel in the LYON, in 1632, and resided with him at Cambridge until 1636. During 1635-6, the enterprises of planting Hartford and Dedham were undertaken, from the villages of Cambridge and Watertown, then about 1 1/2 miles apart. Nathaniel embarked in the emigration to Hartford. But, if Edward was his brother, why did he not attend him? The cause is presumed to have been a social one. Elder John Hunting of Watertown had decided on removing to Dedham, and Edward had probably become betrothed to Susan Hunting, whom he married Sept. 10, 1638, about 15 months after the principal planters removed to Dedham. She was doubtless the sister of Elder Hunting, and chose to live by her brother in Dedham, rather than remove with strangers to Hartford; and her lover preferred her pleasure to the society of his brother.
"He was received as one of the proprietors of Dedham, 1636-7, then embracing the territory of nine present townships, and became the 62d signer of her social compact. "On ye 17d of ye 5mo 1640 he was received into ye Church, giving good satisfaction;" and his wife Susan was received 19 (11) 1644. With this church they walked blameless through life. In 1641[4?] he took the freeman's oath; and in 1646 was chosen selectman, and by annual elections served nine years. Edward Richards began life with more means than most of the planters of Dedham, and left his descendants good estates. The proprietors having adopted the rule of dividing their lands generally according to estate, he drew an uncommon amount, in no less than 14 lots. In 1648 his county rate was above the average; and in 1651 his house was valued at 18, when only twelve in Dedham were valued higher. In 1657-8 a precious cedar swamp was apportioned to 79 proprietors, and the size of 43 of the lots is given. Of these, Edward Richards received the largest next to Rev. Mr. Allin, the minister. But of these grants he must have made no great account. For, according to tradition, he wore the sobriquet of "Gent. Richards," and obviously aspired to a manor, and was the only planter who did so. Farms, as they were called, i.e. extensive tracts, were early granted by the General Court to the high men of the colony, and to no others. These were expected to be manors. One, prior to the incorporation of Dedham, had been granted within her subsequent limits, to Mr. Cook, probably of Watertown. This, Gent. R. evidently purchased, preparatory to settling in Dedham, and proceeded independently, Receiving no house or home lot in the town, as did all others. Upon his estate he commenced his improvements. Here he read his Bible, communed with his Redeemer, interceded for his race, and ended his pilgrimage.
"In May, 1684, being advanced in age, he walked to a neighbor's, and before witnesses dictated a will, left it to be copied, and died before he had an opportunity to sign it. In this he gave his wife room in his house, the selection of "household stuff" to the value of 40, and an annuity of 12, to be paid by his sons Nathaniel and John. His homestead, the place now owned and occupied by Rev. Dr. Burgess, two miles west of the Court House, he gave to his son Nathaniel, with lots in Fowl Meadow, and on Pon, Poweset, Birch, and Great Plains. "The remainder of Mr. Cook's Farm" he gave to Nathaniel and John. To his son [in law] Bullard he gave 5 in addition to what he had already given him; and to his daughter Mary Bullard 15, if left a widow, to be paid her in three annual installments. To his son [in law] Hearsey he bequeathed 40, in addition to what he had previously granted him. To his grand-daughter Mary (Bullard) Gay he willed 30, in addition to what she had already received. To his son Nathaniel, "if he brought up a son to learning," he bequeathed "60 more out of his estate towards it.
"This will was proved September 25, 1684. [Suf. W., vol 6. p. 472.] In review of it, curiosity inquires why did the father pass by the senior son, and bequeath to the junior his homestead, and a double portion of his other estate? No misdemeanor had happened; no superiority of one above the other can be inferred. Why then this reversal of a common practice? The solution is easy. The ambition of the testator looked ahead. The privations of a new country had affected his family. He wanted his name and place transmitted, and his race to maintain rank. Now John, the elder, had only one son, and he the first born, whose birth had been followed by that of four daughters. By this time the patriarch must have concluded, that if the last had been named Waitstill, which, in other families, had so often brought a boy, it would not insure him another grandson by John, and certainly not a house full to bear up his name, and furnish graduates, ministers, and judges. But, at the date of the will, Nathaniel, the junior brother, had nothing but sons, three already born, another near his arrival, and more in prospect. These were a pledge of the certain transmission of the name and homestead in the line of Nathaniel, and of the birth of many sons to be brought up "to learning," and stand foremost in Church and State. He therefore made him his chief legatee; and a comparison of the first and second sections of this Chapter, will show how correctly the old Puritan reasoned, and how wisely he acted. John had enough, and Nathaniel none too much; for the old homestead continued in his family longer than the crown of Great Britain has remained in one House, or entailment, on an average, in one name."

Savage, Joseph, Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, (showing three generations of those who came before May 1692 on the basis of Farmer's Register. Originally published 1860-1862.), p. 321, gives this information:
"EDWARD, Dedham, m. 10 Sept. 1638, Susanna Hunting, perhaps sis. of the first John, had
Mary, b. 29 Sept. 1639;
John, 1 or 10 July 1641;
Dorcas, 24 Sept. 1643;
Nathaniel, 25 Jan. 1649, not bapt. as Geneal. Reg. XIV. 111, says, next day, wh. was Friday; and
Sarah, 1651;
[Edward] was freem. 2 June 1641. From his will, 1684, shortly bef. his d. we learn, that John and Nathaniel were then liv. that Mary m. Nathaniel Bullard, and ano. d. m. a Hearsey; that a gr.d. was Mary Gay, prob. w. of Jonathan, and d. of Bullard; and that if Nathaniel would bring up one of his s. at the coll. he should have L60. " This family appears to be covered in Genealogy: the James Francis Richards Branch of the A Richards family from New England; that of Edward Richards, Dedham, Massachusetts, compiled by A.W. Richards ... and Benjamin Richards, Sarasota, FL, Star Print, 1942. copy in New York Public Library.""

Virkus, Frederick A., Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy, The, Volume I, 1925, (F. A. Virkus & Company, Genealogical Publishers, Chicago, Illinois), p.1031, identifies Susannah as the sister of Elder John Hunting and gives this information on Edward: "RICHARDS, Edward (ca. 1610-84), from Eng. in the "Lion" with Roger Williams, 1631; at Dedham, Mass., 1632; freeman, 1641; m 1638, Susanna Hunting ".

 


This page was last updated on 02/12/2004

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