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Rankin Family History Project


Louisiana plantation house circa 1805

Button Early Louisiana Settler 1807-1812
Button Life in St. Helena Parish: 1813-1819
Button Richardson Family Life: 1820s
Button Richardson Family Life: 1830s
Button Richardson Family Life: 1840s
Button Children of Samuel and Rachel
Button Slaves of Samuel Richardson
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Samuel Richardson:
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.

The Georgia Richardsons

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.

Children of Mary Richardson are:

  1. Samuel RICHARDSON, born 1780-1789 probably in Richmond County, Georgia; died abt. 1844 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. He married Rachel HAMILTON Abt. 1805. She was born in South Carolina and was possibly the daughter of Matthew Hamilton. Information in the census records provided by both Samuel and Rachel's children, and George and Margaret's children, show that the Hamiltons were from South Carolina and the Richardsons were from Georgia. That both Samuel and George had wives named "Hamilton" could indicate that the brothers married sisters, a common practice in early western settlements.

  2. Enoch Richardson, born Abt. 1793 in Georgia; died 1841 in Louisiana. No proof yet. Enoch Richardson appears in the 1830 Census for St. Helena Parish. He was 25-30 years old, with a female 20-24 (probably his wife), a son and daughter under 5, and two daughters 5-9 years old. He was the father of at least six children, including a daughter Rebecca and a son, Enoch Jasper Richardson. Their ages match up nicely with the 1830 census.

  3. George Wade Richardson, born September 02, 1795 in Richmond County, Georgia; died May 14, 1858 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. He married Margaret Eliza Hamilton October 27, 1819 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. Their marriage record shows that Margaret was the daughter of Mathew Hamilton. George Richardson's obituary states his birthplace as Richmond County, Georgia. Proof of the relationship between Samuel and George was found in a memo written by Dr. George Colmer of Springfield where he wrote, "Mary married in Dec. 1872 her cousin Richardson, who was a son of young Sam Richardson, and a grandson of the old Sam Richardson". "Mary" was Mary Elizabeth Richardson, granddaughter of George Richardson and Margaret Hamilton. Her husband was John Wade Richardson, grandson of Samuel Richardson and Rachel Hamilton.

  4. James A. Richardson, born January 06, 1798 in Richmond County, Georgia; died March 08, 1861 in St. Clair, Missouri. He married Rachel Elizabeth Young June 13, 1820 in Hancock, Georgia. Based on the birthplaces of their children, James and Rachel were married in Georgia and lived there until 1821. They left Georgia and came to Louisiana, settling near, but not in, St. Helena Parish. Their next four children were born in East Feliciana Parish, their sixth in Washington Parish. They left Louisiana between 1831-1833 and moved to Benton County, Missouri. Samuel Richardson's son, Augustus, also moved to Benton County, Missouri, about 1846.

  5. Elizabeth Richardson, born January 25, 1804 in Georgia; died July 14, 1867 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. She married (1) Jeremiah Spiller May 05, 1820 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. Authorization for the marriage was given by the "Widow Mary Richardson". She married (2) David Wood December 19, 1837 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. Marcus Carter Rownd, Sr. (1884-1948) of Springfield, Louisiana compiled a history of early Springfield, and included comments about Orlando H. Wood's service in the Civil War. "This soldier was a first cousin to my grandmother, Amanda Richardson Carter. I recall two visits he made to see my grandmother, at which time he was living in Texas." Orlando Wood was the son of Elizabeth Richardson and David Wood. Amanda Richardson Carter was the daughter of George Richardson and Margaret Eliza Hamilton.

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.

Life in St. Helena Parish: 1813-1819

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 and George Richardson lived on adjacent properties in St. Helena Parish. At one time Samuel Richardson owned almost 2000 acres, near the southern end of the Ponchatoula River. The land was used for farming and for raising longhorn cattle.

Click on map for a larger view
Click on the map for a larger view

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.

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Richardson Family Life: 1820s

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.


Signature of Samuel Richardson; click to view document.

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.

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Richardson Family Life: 1830s

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.

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Richardson Family Life: 1840s

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.

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Children of Samuel Richardson and Rachel Hamilton

Samuel RICHARDSON was born 1780-1789,in Georgia, and died 1841-1844 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. He married Rachel HAMILTON Abt. 1805.

Children of Samuel RICHARDSON and Rachel HAMILTON are:

  1. Elizabeth RICHARDSON, born 1807 in Louisiana; died 1877-1880 probably in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri. She married (1)Samuel RANKIN on October 29, 1823 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. They had at least 3 children: George, Sanford and Samuel E. She married (2)Thomas McCabe sometime between September 1836 and April 1837, probably in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. They had four children: Mary Elizabeth, Martha Ellen, Minerva Ann, and Thomas R.

  2. Augustus Richardson, born Abt. 1809; died 20 Jan 1851 in Benton County, Missouri. He married Ann Gainey October 15, 1829 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. She was the daughter of Alexander R. Gainey. They had at least six children: Samuel, George, William, David, Thomas G., Serena.

  3. Mary "Polly" Richardson, born Abt. 1810 in Louisiana; died Bef. 1853. She married Robert Palmer December 21, 1826 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. No children of this marriage have been found.

  4. Rebecca Richardson, born 1811 in Louisiana. She married (1) William Durbin February 28, 1828 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. He was the son of Skipwith Durbin of Florida. They had eight children: Levina, Ellis, Rachel, L. J., William J., George R., Harrison and Delilah J. After William Durbin's death, she married (2) James Morrison Abt. 1856.

  5. Delilah Richardson, born Abt. 1813; died bef. 12 Jun 1844. She married Elihu T. Murray Abt. 1830. They had three children: Therese, Mandred, and Mildred. Delilah is believed to be a daughter of Samuel and Rachel, although it has not been proven, there is quite a bit of circumstantial evidence which supports this. Both she and her husband died before the partition agreement in 1844. William Akers, husband of Margaret Richardson, was the administrator of the estate. Their children became the wards of William Wells and his wife, Levina Durbin. Levina was the eldest daughter of Rebecca Richardson and William Durbin. Rebecca Richardson Durbin named her youngest daughter Delilah in 1849.

  6. Margaret Richardson, born Abt. 1817. She married William Akers Abt. 1835. He was the son of Thomas Akers and Martha Mitchell of New England. They had six children: Thomas M., William Samson, Gaston Raoul, Martha, Samuel Edward and John M. They were divorced Abt. 1847.

  7. Martha Richardson, born 1822 in Louisiana. She married John McCarroll of Tennessee, Abt. 1842. They had six children: John Francis, James, Amanda, Levina, Samuel, and Thomas. She is listed as divorced in the 1880 census for Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.

  8. Samuel L. Richardson, born 1823 in Louisiana; he died in 1869. He married Bridget Murray, who was called "Biddie", Abt. 1848. She was the daughter of Michael Murray and Alice Sharkey from County Louth, Ireland. They had eight children: John Wade, Rachel Alice, George, Ann, Samuel Marvin, Joseph Hardy, Georgiana and Young Charles.

  9. There was at least one other son, possibly Alfred, but no proof has been found.

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Slaves of Samuel Richardson

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.

  • Rebecca, born 1804; purchased 28 Oct 1824; former owner Uriah Stevens, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Rebecca was not named in the partition, 12 April 1844.

  • Frank, born Abt. 1814; inherited by Mary "Polly" Richardson, 12 Apr 1844.

  • Luke, born Abt. 1814; inherited by Elizabeth Richardson, 12 Apr 1844.

  • Albert, born Abt. 1819; inherited by Martha Richardson, 12 Apr 1844.

  • Bill, born Abt. 1819; inherited by Margaret Richardson, 12 Apr 1844.

  • Jim, born Abt. 1819; inherited by Samuel Richardson, 12 Apr 1844.

  • Mathew, born Abt. 1819; inherited by Augustus Richardson, 12 Apr 1844.

  • Sarah, born Abt. 1819; inherited by Samuel Richardson, 12 Apr 1844; also her three children: Jane, born 1840; Hana, born 1842; Henry, born Jul 1843.

  • Eliza, born 1821; purchased 06 Apr 1831; former owner Jeremiah Spiller, St. Helena Parish. Eliza was not named in the partition, 12 April 1844.

  • Jerry, born Abt. 1835; inherited by Samuel Richardson, 12 Apr 1844.

  • Ann, born Abt. 1837; inherited by Mary "Polly" Richardson, 12 Apr 1844.

  • Mariah, born Abt. 1839; inherited by Martha Richardson, 12 Apr 1844.

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