THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


   WILLIAM RICHARDS, born January 1, 1819, in Merionethshire, Wales, is the son of Edward and Elizabeth (Hughes) Richards, of the same shire. Grandfather and Grandmother Richards were Welsh, and lived and died in their native country. The former was a leading man in his shire, and died at the age of eighty-two. His wife died at the age of sixty-five years. They had seven children, five sons and two daughters. All grew to maturity. The father of our subject was, like his father, a practical farmer. He came to America with his wife and eight children in 1840, locating first in Oneida County, where he bought a farm near Oriskany. Here he lived for about ten years, moving in 1853 to the town of Nelson, where he purchased the farm on which his son John now lives. Finally, securing property in Williams Corners, town of Eaton, he remained there until his death, at the age of eighty-two. The mother died at the age of eighty-four. Both were members of the Presbyterian church, the father being a deacon. He was a Republican in politics, and the whole of his life was a hard-working, honest, and upright man. There were eight children in this family, seven of whom are living, our subject being the eldest. Catherine, Mrs. Richard Roberts, resides in Oneida County. John is living on the old home farm in Nelson. David is a retired merchant in Utica. Margaret resides in the town of Nelson. Mary, Mrs. J. J. Williams, is residing in Oneida. Elizabeth is the wife of Rev. John H. Jones, who is a Presbyterian minister at Rome; Jane, the wife of Hugh Jones, died at the age of forty-five years.
   William Richards was reared and received a good business education in Wales, and remained with his father, assisting on the farm, coming with him to America in April, 1840. They landed in New York City in June of that year, having been six weeks on the ocean, the voyage having been made on the sailing-vessel “Virginia,” Captain Higgins commanding. They made their way to the wilds of Oneida County, where our subject engaged on a farm, working out by the month. The first wages he earned were fifty cents a cord for chopping four-foot wood. He next went into the harvest field, receiving twelve dollars per month, and afterward engaged on the farms of Thomas Carr and Barnhart Neilis for nearly ten years. Having been economical and prudent, he had saved money enough to start in business, and with his father hired the Neilis farm for about three years. In 1850 they bought three hundred and twenty acres of land, known as the Anson Bailey farm. Shortly afterward the farm was divided, and our subject took one hundred acres, to which he soon added eighty more. This farm he sold to J. J. Williams, and bought his present place in 1857. His landed property now consists of over fourteen hundred acres in the towns of Nelson and Fenner. He has always been a general farmer, but has besides given especial attention to his dairy, keeping on the home farm from fifty to sixty cows, and about eighty on his other farms. The grade of cattle he prefers is the Guernsey, and he devotes a large part of his farm to grazing. For the past forty years he has been a dealer in butter, cheese, and all farm products, and for eighteen years has been extensively engaged in the manufacture of cheese, but at present has only one factory. He was for seven years in the mechanical business in Syracuse, N. Y., and is now, with his son Wellington, carrying on a general store at Nelson Flats, where they sell all kinds of farm produce. In fact, Mr. Richards has been one of the busiest and best known men in Madison County.
   He was married January 23, 1852, to Margaret, daughter of Roland and Margaret Roberts, natives of Wales, in which country she also was born, August 11, 1828. This union has been blessed with nine children, all but one living. Nelson E., born December 23, 1853, is a farmer of the town of Nelson. Wellington R., born August 7, 1855, is a merchant of Nelson. Edwin W., born April 20, 1857, and Newton D., June 2, 1859, both reside in Nelson. Milton H., born May 23, 1861, resides in Chicago, Ill. Washington L., born December 15, 1862, lives in the town of Fenner. Margaret E., born March 20, 1869, and John G., October 18, 1872, reside at home. Everett B., born March 20, 1867, died in 1876.
   Among the old settlers in this town none have a stronger hold on the respect and esteem of the community than our subject and his wife. They are members of the Welsh Congregational church of the town of Nelson, and have been active participators in the success and fortune of the congregation, with whom they are deservedly pre-eminent. In his political opinions Mr. Richards stands shoulder to shoulder with the best and stanchest supporters of the Republican party, and unwaveringly casts his vote for its nominees. He has held some local offices under its patronage, among them that of Assessor for nine years. By his own hard and earnest efforts he has accumulated wealth and prosperity; and in his domestic relations his loving kindness and parental care have secured for him a sunny, happy home, and the best wishes of all his friends are that he may enjoy these blessings for many years to come.

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