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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
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
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
Other Richards Pages At
Researchers Page.A listing of
researchers working on this Richards line with contact information and links.
A compilation of
references found in The Early Records of the Town of
Dedham, Massachusetts 1636 - 1659, The Deadham Transcript,
contributed by Joan Hersey Olsson
Richards Gallery consisting of pages of images from my own collection and
those submitted by other Richards researchers.
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
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
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.
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
Holmes, Frank R., Directory of the Heads of New England Families 1620-1700,
"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
"EDWARD, Dedham, m. 10 Sept. 1638, Susanna Hunting, perhaps sis. of the first
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
[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 ".
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