Early Louisiana Settler 1807-1819
Three times in the US Census records, Samuel Richardson's daughter, Elizabeth, said she had been born in "Louisiana" in 1807. The American State Papers, filed in 1816 and 1820, show that Samuel Richardson was a settler in Louisiana as early as March 1804. The homestead of Samuel and his wife, Rachel Hamilton, was located in St. Helena Parish, north of Lake Ponchartrain, and became a part of the state of Louisiana in 1812.
It is believed that Samuel was a part of a family group that migrated from Richmond County, Georgia, possibly in stages rather than all at once. The group included his mother Mary, brother George and sister Elizabeth. Other Richardsons living in St. Helena Parish in the early 1800s are probably also connected, but we have not yet found proof of those relationships.
Mary (Richardson) was born Abt. 1768 possibly in Georgia. She may have been Mary Ann Harris, wife of Enoch Richardson who died in Jasper County, Georgia in 1815. She purchased land from Absolom Trailor in 1819. In 1820, "Widdow Mary Richardson" gave permission for her daughter, Elizabeth, to marry Jeremiah Spiller. She may be the "Widow Richardson" listed in the 1820 Census for St. Helena Parish.
According to the History of Washington Parish,
"Samuel Richardson is listed as one of fifty-one Privates in William Watson's Company of the 13th Regiment, Louisiana Militia, War of 1812, in the service of the United States, Commanded by Colonel Thomas C. Warner, from the 28th Dec 1814, when last mustered to 31st of January, exclusived 1815."This may be the same Samuel, as some of his friends and neighbors from St. Helena Parish are also listed, including James and Jeremiah Durbin. There are also listings for George Richardson in the Louisiana Militia, and Enoch Richardson in the mounted riflemen.
Samuel Richardson is mentioned in the Minutes of the Police Jury of St. Helena Parish, 19 August 1813. Article 21 states:
"The road leading from Myers landing at Springfield to Tanchipahoa shall be kept in good repair and Samuel Richardson is hereby appointed overseer of said road from Myers landing to the bridge on Ponchatoula; and Skipwith Durbin is hereby appointed overseer for said road from the said bridge at Ponchatoula to Tanchipahoa. The said Samuel Richardson is hereby authorized to call out all the hands subject to work on the roads below Natalbany to Richardson's settlement or where he resides and Skipwith Durbin is authorized to call out all the hands subject as above from Richardson's to Tanchipahoa and up Tanchipahoa to Morgan Cryers."
Samuel Richardson's name appears in the transaction book for an inn in Montpelier, St. Helena Parish, in June 1819. George Richardson is listed in November of that same year. In June 1819, Samuel witnessed the sale of land from David Gaines to Reuben Bevers. David Gaines' wife, Mary Durbin, was the daughter of Skipwith Durbin, and sister of Samuel's future son-in-law, William Durbin.
By 1820, Samuel and Rachel Richardson had a growing family consisting of two sons and five daughters. The two oldest children were Elizabeth 13 and Augustus 11. There was one son under the age of ten whose name is not known, and four girls under ten: Mary (who was called "Polly"), Rebecca, Delilah, and Margaret. In the household, too, was an older man, possibly Samuel's father-in-law. Living in this household with seven lively children must have helped to keep him young, as he is listed again in the 1830 census as being "over 80".
Just three years later, the first of Samuel Richardson's children married and left home. Elizabeth Richardson married Samuel Rankin, a young man of about 30 who had come to St. Helena Parish from Ohio a few years earlier. He and his partner, Richard Wade operated a schooner, the Admiral of Springfield, transporting goods down the rivers of St. Helena Parish to the markets in New Orleans. In a handwritten document, Samuel Richardson gave permission for the sixteen-year-old Elizabeth to marry S. Rankin.
Shortly after their marriage, Samuel Rankin sold the Admiral and became a farmer on 100 acres of land right next to Samuel Richardson. No record of a land sale to Samuel Rankin has been found; possibly the land was a wedding gift from Elizabeth's father.
The next of the Richardson children to marry was Polly. Once again, on 18 December 1826, Samuel Richardson gave permission for his daughter, Polly, to marry Robert Palmer. Just like before, Samuel's new son-in-law was a schooner operator. In fact, he had purchased the Admiral of Springfield from Samuel Rankin in 1824.
16 February 1828, Samuel Richardson gave permission for his daughter, Rebecca, to marry William Durbin. The Durbin family had come to Louisiana from Florida shortly after the Louisiana Purchase and William was born there in 1804. William Durbin didn't have a schooner, but his brother did. James Durbin, who was one of the witnesses to the marriage, had purchased the Bachelor of Springfield in February 1819, and sold it in November of that same year as the Bachelor of Bayou St. John. Two months after their marriage, William Durbin purchased land on the east side of the Natalbany River from his brother-in-law, David Gaines.
The marriage of Augustus Richardson to Ann Gainey in 1829 was truly a family affair. First, on 10 October 1829, Samuel Rankin and Augustus Richardson had to post a $500 bond guaranteeing the marriage. Five days later, 15 October, the family gathered at the home of neighbor, Absolom Traylor, to celebrate the happy event. Samuel Rankin, by this time a Justice of the Peace with authorization to perform marriages in St. Helena Parish, made the whole thing legal.
In the 1830 census, all of Samuel and Rachel's married children are listed with their own households, except for Polly and Delilah. Samuel Richardson is listed with two males, ages 20-25, which correspond to the ages of Robert Palmer and Elihu T. Murray, husbands of Polly and Delilah. Samuel and Rachel had also added two more children: a daughter, Martha 8, and a son, Samuel, 7. Unknown are two males under 25 and the senior citizen, over 80, that might be Rachel's father.
The 1830s brought many changes to the Richardson family. The section of St. Helena Parish where they lived became Livingston Parish in 1832. Other changes included the births of many grandchildren, and the death of their son-in-law, Samuel Rankin. By 1837, his widow Elizabeth had married again.
In 1834, Samuel's daughter Margaret Richardson married William Akers. William Akers had come to Livingston Parish with his family from Mississippi, where he was born in 1808. In 1839, William and Margaret moved to what would become the town of Ponchatoula. Besides farming, the land was a good source of timber for local sawmills.
06 April 1837, Samuel Richardson sold 1440 acres of land to George Richardson, Ralph Smith and Thomas Kennedy (with William Akers standing in for George Richardson). The price they paid for this land was $3000. Samuel made quite a profit on this transaction, for this may have been land that he'd acquired by claim (for which he'd paid nothing); or it may have been purchased at a time when the going rate was 12 1/2 cents and acre.
By 1840, Samuel and Rachel Richardson had just one child still living with them, son Samuel. Samuel Richardson, Sr. was approaching 60 years of age, and his wife of almost 40 years, Rachel Hamilton, was not far behind.
Their youngest daughter, Martha, was married to John McCarroll in 1842. Samuel Richardson died in 1844. Rachel probably predeceased him, as she is not mentioned in the partition agreement. Their place of burial is unknown.
The remaining children and their spouses are all named in the partition agreement signed by them all 12 April 1844. Most of Samuel Richardson's real estate had either been sold or given away by this time. What remained went to Rebecca and William Durbin. The other heirs divided up the thirteen slaves.
Samuel RICHARDSON was born 1780-1789,in Georgia, and died 1841-1844 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. He married Rachel HAMILTON Abt. 1805.
Samuel Richardson was a slaveholder, like many of his neighbors. Records for the purchase of only two have been found. Thirteen slaves were named in the partition of 1844, including six children. Some of the birthyears listed ("Abt.") are approximations.
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