Page prepared and partially edited by Donald Richardson from email by Vaughn Baker on April 5 1997. (Note: some of the dates and birth order of the children do not agree with others on the web site. These are the opinion of the author and he should be contacted to discuss his findings.)
Robert Richardson (D1682) of Mt.Ephraim.
The records on the first Robert Richardson are very brief. My intention here to flesh out these few facts with other information about the period which will give his descendants some sense of his accomplishments.
Can you imagine what it was like to be the first settler in this, or any, new region. The lands had to be cleared tree by tree. There was no local store to supply your needs, no contractors to help you build your home or plantation, and no medical services in town when a snake bit you, or a branch fell upon your shoulder. In fact, there was no town!
Earlier writers tell us that Robert Richardson had come to Virginia in April of 1635 on the ship Paule bound for St. Christophers Island. In September of 1635, another Robert Richardson sailed to St. Christophers on the ship William & John. A Robert Richardson also sailed to Virginia from London on the "Recovery" in 1660. I don't know if these were our Robert Richardson. see The birth year and birth place of Robert Richardson of Mount Ephraim Plantaion.
I do know that in the year 1660, Richard Smith/ Smythe left 450 acres of land then called Captain Thomas Neck in Accomack County Virginia to his daughter who had married Robert Richardson and I assume was already situated and living with his wife. In 1666, Robert Richardson then patented 500 acres at the head of the land his wife had received. Although we know that Richardson migrated north, he continued to hold and sell portions of this land until 1669.
This land patent was for 500 acres at the head of Occahannock Creek in Accomack County on April 5, 1666. There were many patents recorded on that same date so we can assume that he and the others were already situation and the formal hearing was on April 5, 1666, exactly 331 years prior to the day this was written. A few years later on November 9, 1666, Edward Smith was recorded as living on the north side of Robert Richardson's land. A land patent of five hundred acres was a very significant investment and would indicate that either Richardson or Smythe or both were men of very significant financial means!
I had hoped that Robert's father-in-law Richard Smythe would provide more clues as to Robert's background. Smythe was one of the first to settle on the eastern Shore. In November of 1618, he patented 950 acres in this area on the Eastern Shore. This is a significant fact. In the census of 1625, there were ONLY fifty-one Europeans listed in the eastern Shore musters at the lower tip of the Eastern Shore, but Smythe had already patented a day's sail north of this settlement. However, Smythe was listed as a Jamestown resident in 1624 so apparently he was not yet a resident of the Eastern Shore. see For current questions being discussed about the Richard Smiths in early Virginia
No doubt Richard Smythe (D1659) was a major player for his time. He was an attorney in Jamestown, and I have long attempted to link him to Sir Thomas Smythe of the Virginia Company. Besides wife Alyce and his daughters Susanna Smythe and Alice Smythe (she married Nathaniel Bradford), there was a son Richard. This Richard also appears to have some relationship to Edward Smith, Captain Thomas Smith and Captain Henry Smith who appear so frequently in later land deeds of the eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland, however no definite relationship could be determined. Other than explaining where Richardson started to build his vast tracts of land, Mr. Richard Smythe provided very little in the way of clues.
A little know but very interesting fact I discovered in the Virginia Company records mentioned a conversation between the Chief of the Eastern Shore Indians and Secretary John Pory, the official Secretary of the Virginia Colony. In 1622, Debedeavon, told Pory that there were some fifty very happy Englishmen living north of his camp. The description of the location was difficult to determine other than it was a day's sail north and probably included Occahannock Creek on the southern boundary. Of course they were happy, the government didn't know they had even occupied the land, thus no taxes! But the significance is that there were Europeans living in this region much earlier than had been thought. Another interesting side note is that the reason for Pory's meeting with the Indians was to discuss the PURCHASE of land with the intention of moving the Virginia Capitol from Jamestown to the Eastern Shore! King James got wind of this, and the move never took place.
If Richardson did sail to Virginia in 1635, then this could help explain the twenty-five years before Robert Richardson began to appear in the land records. His eldest son was born in 1640 in this immediate area of Virginia. The date would suggest that Richardson did arrive in Virginia between 1635 and 1640, where he met and married Susanna Richardson. It was most common for ships to first leave passengers in Jamestown, before they went to the plantation.
It is also significant that a neighbor of Robert Richardson was Rev. Daniel Richardson who in 1655 was listed as a colonial minister in the lower parish of Accomack County, the same location as Robert Richardson. Actual tax records show them to be neighbors. Rev. Daniel (David) Richardson joined Robert Richardson in Sinepuxent and died in 1695.
Although today this area of the Chesapeake Bay is very sleepy, it must have been a hotbed at that time. I have done a great deal of research on the early families. Another ancestor of this writer was Hugh Baker (D1664) was located in this immediate area. It became a major jumping off point for the migration north which was later fueled in 1662 by Virginia's demands that Quakers return to the Church of England. Richardson's brother and eldest son were hard core Quakers, and I believe Richardson migrated north for both economic and religious reasons.
In any event, the next most significant mention in the land records is Robert Richardson's 2,000 acres of land at what we know as the family ancestral home. This is located on Sinepuxent Bay. Although plantation owners were required to enter and leave Virginia via the small port of Jamestown, local legend has it that Robert traded directly with England from this new location. Perhaps Richardson would have welcomed Calvert's ownership of Maryland so he would not longer be obligated to first sail to Jamestown.
Maryland's portion of the Eastern Shore did not get cut out of Virginia until 1662. Richardson and others were already well established in the Sinepuxent Bay area before it was Maryland. Once this took place, Richardson and a local delegation decided to travel to St Mary City to negotiate with Calvert so that they could keep their properties. On May 6, 1671, Richardson and several others met with Calvert in St Marys City and their land grants were continued, most likely in a pledge for political support and some discussion on the tax rates for the land. Most likely this was not a head between the knees discussion as Calvert needed support as the Virginian leaders kept trying to get all or portions of the Eastern Shore of Maryland returned to Virginia. The size of Richardson's land holdings would have indicated that he was an important political asset for Calvert to watch the Virginians.
Richardson's major landholding neighbors at that time were John Parremore (1,500 acres), Thomas Selby (1,250 acres), Edward Smith (700 acres), Alexander Williams (600 acres), Stephen Barnes (600 acres), and Henry Bishop (300 acres). Edward Smith had been an earlier neighbor in Virginia and thought to be a Richard Smythe relative. John Parremore was a major landowner on the Eastern Shore, had come in 1622, and married the daughter of Northampton's Sir Robert Drake, believed to be a great soldier in the low countries and nephew of Sir Francis Drake. Lt. Henry Bishop had been in Accomack in 1661 and a neighbor to Richardson, Edward Smith, etc. Note that quite a few of these families had first been neighbors in Virginia.
Before his death in 1682, Richardson had accumulated some 3,000 acres of land which was a princely amount of land for anyone to own.
In the History of Pennsylvania about William Penn, it was quoted from a journal written in 1700 that William Richardson, born 1640 and eldest son of Robert Richardson, was a very good friend of William Penn. see What is the birth year of Robert Richardson's first son William? Assuming that the entire population of the entire Chesapeake Bay was quite small in the 1650's, it is fairly safe to assume that since we know Robert Richardson was living at Occanhannock Creek, and William Richardson was the eldest son of a Robert Richardson, and was born in this part of Virginia, that William was the son of this Robert Richardson. Where I also am confused is the long period between the birth of William Richardson in 1640 and his sister Elizabeth Richardson in 1662.
Is it possible that the first Robert Richardson was the father of both our Robert Richardson and William Richardson. Here again the dates don't work. Our Robert Richardson is thought to have been born in 1615, came here in 1635 at the age of twenty, and had his first child at the age of twenty-five. Why then was there a twenty-two year gap between the births of these children. We need to investigate this before we can understand more about our Robert Richardson.
Family: Rev. Daniel (David) Richardson Edward Martin - Possible cousin? see "hot issues"
Robert's Children: 1. William Richardson (1640-1697), Quaker Minister = Elizabeth Ewen Talbot (B1635) (widow of Richard Talbot.) 2. Elizabeth Richardson (1662-1693) = Robert Cade 3. Susanna Richardson = John Stockley (D1716) (The Stockleys had been an Accomack family) 4. Tabitha Richardson = John Osbourne (He remarried Atlanta Toft) (He was the son of Jenkins Osbourne of Hopewell, Virginia on the James River.) 5. Sarah Richardson (B1675) = Thomas Mumford (D1728) 6. Robert Richardson Jr. (B1677) 7. Charles Richardson (1672-1727)
His wife's family:
Richard Smythe 1. Alyce Smythe = Nathaniel Bradford (His sons moved into Somerset County and Assateague Island across the Sinepuxtent Bay from Richardson.) 2. Susanna Smythe = Robert Richardson 3. Edward Smythe ? 4. Thomas Smythe ? 5. HäŽ®
Sir Thomas Smythe, Treasurer of the Virginia Company 1. Sir Richard Smythe of Leeds Castle = Elizabeth Scott (d/o Sir Thomas Scott of Scotts Hall)