Samuel Richardson

Samuel Richardson came to America in 1682, with a grant from William Penn of 1,000 acres, or more, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The land was situated "in the Neck near where Perkiomen Creek joins the River Schuylkill."

In 1692, he was in Port Royal, Jamaica when a violent earthquake occurred. "Upon visiting the scene of desolation, a portion of the place having been submerged beneath the ocean, he espied a lady upon a floating house. On the instant, he sprang in at the risk of his life, swam to her and saved her from the perils of the surging waves. This lady became his wife."

After the wedding, Samuel took his wife home to Pennsylvania. Samuel died in 1719.

Source: Alan Richardson (son of Joseph Lane Richardson and Mary Jacob Jones), correspondence to Joseph Lane Kirkland, December 10, 1979.


How does Samuel Richardson (above) connect with Joseph Lane Richardson (below)? If anyone has the missing links, please let me know.

Joseph Lane Richardson

Joseph Lane Richardson (1776-1855) was raised in the Quaker home of his uncle, near Philadelphia, with his cousin David Thomas (b. 1776). About 1795, Joseph and David rode on horseback to the Cayuga Lake region of New York. Joseph purchased a farm about two miles north of Aurora, and grew wheat. He studied law with Judge Wood and was admitted to the bar in 1802. In 1806, he moved to Auburn, establishing the family home, "The Locusts." He became partner of lawyer Enos T. Throop, who later became Governor of New York. In 1827, after holding several offices, Joseph Richardson was appointed First Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Cayuga County, a position he held for nineteen years by reappointments.

With his wife, Catherine Dole, he had five children:

  • Ann Dole Richardson died in infancy;
  • Charles Richardson, was born October 25, 1813 in Auburn, New York;
  • Henry Richardson, became an attorney and judge in San Francisco and New York City;
  • Catherine Richardson married W.C. Beardsley, and lived at "Rose Lawn," in Auburn, New York; and
  •  Ann Dole Richardson married Fernando Wood, an attorney(?), who was Mayor of New York City during the Civil War.

Judge Richardson's cousin, David Thomas, became a prominent scientist.

Sources: History & Profile of The Village of Aurora, Cayuga County, NY, by Wesley Hardin

Biography of Charles Richardson, by Alan Richardson

Charles Richardson

Charles Richardson

Harriette Foster Ely

Charles Richardson was born October 25, 1813 at the family home,"The Locusts," in Auburn, New York. He died May 5, 1890.

He married first, Cornelia A. Hogan, on March 15, 1843. Cornelia died December 9, 1849, at age 26. They had one child:

  • Cornelia "Cora" Richardson, born July 15, 1845, at "The Locusts,"Auburn, New York.

On February 10, 1853, he married Harriette Foster Ely, the eldest daughter of Adriel Ely and Evalina Foster of Watertown, New York. Charles and Harriette had two children:

  • Evalina Ely Richardson, born May 18, 1862. She was a teacher and lived with her brother Joseph in Atlanta, Georgia, where she died December 27, 1956, and was buried at East Lake Cemetery in Atlanta.
  • Joseph Lane Richardson, born February 28,1864, died September 3,1916.

Joseph and Evalina with step-sister, Cora

Biography of Charles Richardson
by Alan Richardson*

This account of the life of Charles Richardson is based on written statements by his son, Joseph Lane Richardson, letters written and received by Charles Richardson, a newspaper account of his death, and family lore. Reference was also made to family Bibles of Judge and Mrs. Joseph Lane Richardson and Charles and Cornelia Hogan Richardson.

Charles Richardson, son of Judge Joseph Lane Richardson and Catherine Dole Richardson, was born at the family home, The Locusts, in Auburn, New York on October 25, 1813. He was the second of five children born to this union. The first, Ann Dole, died in her infancy; thus Charles was the eldest of the four surviving children. He had one brother, Henry, and two sisters, Catherine and Ann, the latter bearing the same name as the sister who died prior to the birth of Charles. Henry became an attorney, practicing in San Francisco and later New York City. In both cities he also became a judge. Catherine married W. C. Beardsley and lived in Auburn at "Rose Lawn" on land owned by her father and nearby his home, "The Locusts" Ann married-Fernando Wood who, during the Civil War, was Mayor of New York City. I think Mr. Wood was an attorney.

After completing his formal education at the Cortland Academy, the Commodore (as he became known to his family and friends after his naval service) was appointed a midshipman in May 1832 at age 18. Shortly after receiving that appointment he attended the U.S.Naval School in the New York City Naval Yard for a brief orientation.

In June 1832, our Grandfather was ordered to join the "USS Delaware," a ship of the line, then in Norfolk,Virginia. Finding that vessel in drydock, he was assigned for some weeks to the frigate "Java "before reporting aboard the Delaware.

In this day of automobiles, airplanes, earth girdling rockets and trips to the moon, modern and future generations may find it interesting to contrast the problems of travel encountered by the Commodore. The letter to his Father does not give the time involved, but from New York, Charles went by boat to Amboy, the railroad for 35 miles to Bordentown, another boat to New Castle and Frenchtown, another boat to Baltimore, and still another to Norfolk.

The Commodore's service divides naturally into two parts: the Atlantic and Mediterranean to the end of 1834, followed by a leave of absence spent in Auburn, then, beginning in March 1835, the historic voyage of the East India and Asiatic Squadron, consisting of the Sloop "Peacock" and the Schooner "Enterprise," to Muscat and Siam, thence continuing around the world to complete the first such cruise by a US Naval Squadron; a journey of something more than two-and-one-half years.

Fourteen of the letters written by the Commodore to his family while in the Navy were preserved. These, together with other papers pertaining to his naval service, plus some letters relating to his later life, the Commodore kept in a small metal box. The box also contains a miniature painting of him which was made in Canton,China.

While his Atlantic and Mediterranean service was routine for the period, gifted as he was with marked powers of description, the Commodore's letters telling of his cruises and visits to a variety of ports are fascinating.

While in the Mediterranean in 1833 and '34 aboard the "Delaware" and the Frigate "United States," Charles acquired a beautiful pearl bracelet for his future wife, Cornelia Hogan. The multitudinous small pearls were and are strung on horse hair. Because of the age of the horse hair and some resultant deterioration, when the bracelet passed to his son, Joseph Lane, and his wife, Mary, they had the bracelet placed on a velvet band as a measure of protection. Subsequently, the bracelet passed to my Sister Gertrude who, in her great kindness, gave it to my wife, Helen. Since the years have further weakened the horse hair, the bracelet is now encased in clear plastic and rests on the old secretary (made in Uncle John Richardson's furniture factory in Auburn in the very early 1800's) in our living room.

During the same period, Charles visited the Mount of Olives and secured a portion of an olive branch. From this he carved three handsome crosses about two inches by one inch, or slightly more. Later his son, Joseph Lane, had gold plates placed on the front of these crosses with the words "God Is Life, God Is Love" engraved on the vertical and horizontal portions. Around 1915, Father and Mother gave one of these crosses to the Reverend Doctor L.O. Bricker, their close friend and pastor of the First Christian Church, Atlanta. On Mother's death on August 28,1954, Aunty, my sisters and I had the second cross strung on a gold chain and gave it to the Reverend Mr.Wood, with an account of its history, in appreciation for the beautiful service he conducted for Mother. Mr.Wood was Rector of Atlanta's All Saints Episcopal Church. The third cross is, I believe, in the possession of Mary Katherine Reeves Johansen, a daughter of my Sister Katherine.

There were then two grades of Midshipman. During the Commodore's Mediterranean tour, he was promoted to Passed Midshipman. This meant that he was qualified for promotion to Lieutenant when a vacancy occurred and his relative seniority permitted. (The grade of Ensign did not exist in the Navy of the period.)

So it was, that as a Passed Midshipman, that Grandfather Richardson sailed aboard the "Peacock" in March 1835 as a member of the East India and Asiatic Squadron. The Squadron's primary mission was to convey Mr. Edmund Roberts, the American Envoy, to exchange ratifications of trade treaties he had negotiated previously with the Sultan of Muscat and the King of Siam, thence to Cochin China and Japan to negotiate similar treaties with the rulers of those countries. After departing Siam, Mr. Roberts died in Macao. Since the squadron's commander was not vested with diplomatic powers, he brought his ships home via a variety of ports which made this voyage the first circumnavigation of the globe by a U.S. Naval Squadron.

That voyage, historic in itself, might well have been even more so had it not been for three "ifs" of history. The first of these, of course, is the death of Mr. Roberts which precluded the opening of negotiations with Cochin China and Japan. Then, if Mr. Roberts had lived and been successful in his discussions, particularly with Japan, the voyage would have attained the greater historic significance gained by the much later visit of Commodore Perry. Finally, the same significance would have resulted if Siam or Muscat had developed as did Japan.

Following conclusion of his voyage around the world, the Commodore resigned from the Navy in February 1838 and returned to his family home, "The Locusts," in Auburn, N.Y. He then joined his Father, Judge Richardson, in managing the latter's extensive land and other holdings.

The story of Charles' life after his return to Auburn is best told in the autobiography of his son, Joseph Lane Richardson, to which this account is appended. In addition....

On March 15, 1843, Charles married Cornelia A. Hogan. They had one daughter, Cornelia, who was born on July 15, 1845 in Auburn where Charles and his family then lived in "The Locusts." Cornelia, the daughter, was the much beloved Sister Cora, half-sister of my father, Joseph Lane Richardson, and the second of that name, and my aunt, Evalina Ely Richardson. My mother, Mary Jones Richardson, was also devoted to Sister Cora who died in Renovo, Pennsylvania on December 10, 1890 in the 46th year of her age. She is buried in the family lot in Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn. For further references to Sister Cora, please see the biography of my Father.

Henry, Charles' brother, moved to San Francisco at sometime in the 1840's where he practiced law and became a Judge. For reasons I have never heard nor found written references Charles went alone to join his brother in San Francisco in 1849. Presumaby, he intended to seek his fortune in that newly developing section and, when established, to have his family join him there.

Whatever his ultimate purpose, Charles traveled by ship to Panama and, changing to another vessel there, went around Cape Horn to Acapulco, Mexico where, by prearrangement, he and Henry met and proceeded together to San Francisco in 1849. This fact is documented in a letter. But there being neither telegraph, telephone nor anything but long delayed mail service plus the vagaries of travel by sea in those days, the means by which the brothers coordinated the timing of their meeting in Acapulco remains a mystery to me;an intriguing mystery indeed.

Shortly after his arrival in San Francisco, Charles was appointed Pilot of the Port by the Governor of California,by and with the advice and consent of the California Senate. The Commodore's commission to that position is among his papers.

Several letters suggest that Charles and Henry visited the gold fields and may have engaged in a mining venture or so during those gold-rush days. If so, I find no record to indicate what success they may have enjoyed. Neither do I find evidence to tell when the Commodore returned to Auburn or the route he used. In any case, while in California, Charles received the sad news of the untimely death of his wife, Cornelia, at the Locusts, on December 9, 1849 at the age of 26. There is a clear presumption that he returned promptly after his wife's passing to care for their daughter.

On February 10, 1853, Charles was married to Harriette Foster Ely. They had two children: Evalina Ely Richardson (May 18, 1862 - December 27, 1956) who devoted her long and most useful life to the teaching of the young and to the active service of the several parishes of the Episcopal Church to which she belonged. She was known to my sisters and me as Aunty, to our Mother as Eva and to Father as Evie. Aunty died in AtIanta and was buried in the family lot in East Lake Cemetery. After her retirement as Principal of the East Lake Grammar School, a position she held for a number of years but still not enough to qualify for a pension, her life was difficult financially for she had only the income from a small inheritance. Be it to her everlasting credit that we never heard her complain of her lot, even during her long final illness. Throughout her 94 years, Aunty had an abiding faith in the Almighty Whom she served. This plus her courage, good humor and adherence to the niceties of good breeding were her constant hallmarks.

The second child born to the Commodore and his wife, Harriette, was my Father, Joseph Lane Richardson (February 28,1864 - September 3, 1916) who, as is shown in the accompanying narrative, pulled himself up by his own bootstraps to a position of eminence in the railroad world.

Voyage via the Orient
Letters to Home by Charles Richardson

On April 20, 15, a naval squadron consisting of the PEACOCK and the ENTERPRISE departed New York to transport Mr. Edmund Roberts, the American Minister, to conclude trade treaties with Muscat and Siam and to open negotiations with Cochin China and Japan. Mr. Roberts' death in Macao shortly after departing Siam precluded negotiations with the latter two countries.

The cruise, completed in 1837, began the development of trade rights with the Orient and pre-dated by about twenty years Commodore Perry 's famed journey to Japan.

Passed Midshipman Charles Richardson was a member of the expedition. His letters provided to AHI by his grandson) share the Navy 's first round the world voyage. This portion of the letters tells of the cruise from Rio de Janeiro to Siam via Zanzibar, Muscat, and Bombay. 

- Alan Richardson

 Miss Catherine Richardson
The Locusts,
Auburn, New York USA

[Dear Sister Cate,]

On the 3rd of September we arrived at the Island of Zanzibar where we had expected to find His Highness the Sultan of Muscat. [Zanzibar was then a sub-capital of Muscat.] He had left about a month previous to our arrival.

The island, covered with forests of coconut trees, presents a most beautiful appearance. The town had very much the appearance of the huts along the Suez. They are constructed by driving stakes into the ground and weaving the sides with coconut leaves. There are few houses built of stone in a very rough manner. I was very much surprised on going into the house of the Governor Regent (Capt. Hassen) to see a Yankee Wooden Clock standing in bas relief at one end of the room. There seemed to be no end to useful appendages to the house.

The military force at Zanzibar is not very large. I saw but one display of it and that was a company of cavalry mounted on donkeys, which I assure you presented quite a formidable appearance.

At the house of a merchant I was shown into his school where his children were learning the Koran which is considered the most essential part of the education of a true follower of the prophet.

The noise made in an Infant school in the United States was nothing to compare with that made by these children (four in number). I attempted to take one of the books but was immediately repulsed by one of them. The most heartrending sight I saw was the sale of some children that had been lately imported from the East Coast of Africa....

Your affectionate brother,

 Honorable Joseph L. Richardson
The Locusts 
Auburn, New York U.S. of A.

U.S. Ship Peacock
At sea, Oct. 13th, 1835

Dear Father,

. . . On the 8th ultimo we left Zanzibar and until the 20th nothing of interest occurred and what occurred on that night will long be remembered by the officers and crew of the ship. What I shall write would not have been written had I not feared that some incorrect account might reach your ear and thereby excite in you more interest for my safety than is necessary.

At Meridian of the 20th of September got an observation which placed the ship about 60 miles from the nearest land on our charts (Island of Madeira). Under all stud'n sails "low and aloft", ship going through the water about 4 1/2 knots during the afternoon, the water assumed the appearance of soundings which appearance we had noticed in the water some days previous. Got a cast of the lead with 115 fathoms - no bottom. Thought nothing more of it. During the first watch the breeze freshened to about 5 1/2 knots. Saw several strange appearances in the water which were taken for schools of fish by the Officer of the Watch. Felt a slight jar as if she had touched a rock but in a few moments all was forgotten.

At midnight the wind still freshened to 7 knots. Took in some light sail. At about 2:40 AM struck a coral reef. The confusion now existing can be better imagined than described. Those below woke from a sound sleep and maybe from dreams of home, sweethearts and wives to a dreadful uncertainty of their situation, half naked rushed to the deck. I slept in the steerage and strange to relate awoke at the first shock which was much lighter than those that followed. Breaking of the coral told me too plainly our situation.

After awaking those who slept near me, hurried on deck, went forward and saw what I thought to be land, but very uncertain. By this time all Starb'd Stud'n sails had been gotten in and all ports were being closed.

At about 2:55 AM we grounded in about 2 1/4 fathoms--the ship's draft is 17 ft. Lowered a boat and sounded around the ship and found that at about the distance of 50 yards, 3 fathoms and at about 200 yards from 3 to 4 fathoms of water Hoisted out all our boats, got dredges and cable in them, which we laid out to windward, and hauled her head round that she might be more safe. At daylight discovered a very low land appearance, nearly all sand, Iying SE of us which we supposed to be the Island of Madeira. At 8 the tide began to ebb, hove overboard all our spare spars, 2 chain cables and our hemp. At 12 the tide was falling fast. (Immediately after jettisoning our spare spars a raft was constructed of them and a quantity of provision placed thereon.) With the fast falling tide the ship keeled so as to take water in her ports, so shored her up with a main S. mast.

In this situation (men unable to stand on deck without the assistance of a rope or something to hold on by) who should honor us with a visit but five Arab chows having on board 16 to 20 men each. They came to anchor close alongside of us. Not to be caught foul, the Commodore ordered the men to be armed and sent on deck. The intention of the Arabs was not known, but we surmised that they would be glad to relieve us of our money, arms and other valuables. Two of them were allowed on board - fine looking fellows with long black hair hanging in ringlets down their necks. They resemble our Indians in size and in color. Having looked us over and apparently impressed by our formidable appearance, armed as we were, the Arabs took their departure; not in a reassuring manner We then resumed our efforts to refloat the ship.

Under all the circumstances, at daylight the next morning Mr. Roberts, with an officer and six men, left in a small boat for Muscat. He had some very valuable presents for the Sultan of Muscat which he was unwilling to leave to the fate of the ship. The men were armed and provisioned for four days.

The ship was still hardened fast so we hove overboard 11 of our 22 guns. During the afternoon we discovered the Arabs cutting adrift our raft and taking from it our provisions. We fired several musket shots at them but the distance was so great between us that the shots fell short. Manned, armed and sent the launch in pursuit in hopes we might secure them as hostages. The wind being pretty fresh, they hoisted their sails as soon as our boat left the ship. The launch had no sail in her, the men being obliged to pull, the Arabs made their escape. Got the Long Gun to bear upon them. The distance was too great and the shots fell short. During the latter part of the day the ship floated. At 9 piped down and gave the men their hammocks. Hardly able to stand from fatigue and broken rest, all hands - watch excepted - sought the repose they so much required. Parted our cable, drifted to our old berth before the other anchor brought her up.

On the morning of the 23rd boats were sent to grapple for the anchor and cable we lost during the night. Our boats had hardly left the ship before five chows, manned and armed, stood out from the shore with the intention of cutting off our boats. Called the crew to quarters, fired several shots which struck very near them. Finding it a rather dangerous adventure, the Arabs hauled their wind and stood back.

On the 24th we made sail and bade farewell to our Arab friends.

On the 28th, off Muscat, discovered a Man of War under the Muscat flag bearing down on us. She proved to be a sloop of war, 14 guns, that had been fitted out with the greatest dispatch by the Sultan and placed under the command of the officer that had left us with Mr. Roberts and sent to our assistance. It would be impossible for you to conceive our feelings when we recognized Lieut. Taylor standing on the Poop of the "Sultan." We had been in a state of awful suspension since he left the ship. For him to escape the Arabs after their conduct towards us was thought impossible. The moment he set foot on his own ship's deck he was surrounded by anxious messmates and friends eager to devour every word he spoke. His story was truly a very interesting one.

After he had left the ship and day began to break, he discovered several chows anchored inshore and about 8 saw one standing for him. He made all sail and in about three hours the fellows gave up the chase. That night he experienced a severe gale. At one time he gave up all hope of reaching Muscat but fortune favored him and the next morning as day broke the wind lulled. On the fifth day they arrived at Muscat. They had hardly landed before orders had been given to fit out the "Sultani" with all possible dispatch and send her to our relief. At the time the Sultan heard of our situation this ship was Iying a complete hulk....


  1. For more information on the voyage to Siam and Muscat, Chapter VII of the book by Tyler Bennet, "Americans In East Asia" is informative.The interested reader may also wish to refer to the book "Embassy to the Eastern Courts" by Edmund Roberts and which may be obtained through the Library of Congress.
  2. Some geographical notes to save the reader research.
    Cochin China embraced all or practically all of the peninsula except Siam (now Thailand). It included the present Laos, Cambodia, the Viet Nams and several smaller entities. The capital was Hue.
    Muscat was the capital of Oman, on the Gulf of Oman, commanding the entrance to the Persian Gulf. The Sultan controlled, southward, some 3,000 miles of the East African coast and offshore islands. Muscat was a large and important nation in that part of the world until after the mid-l80Os.

Alan Richardson
December 1979


"Biography of Charles Richardson," by Alan Richardson

"Voyage via the Orient - Letters to Home,"by Alan Richardson

© research and design by Katharine Moore, 2005