Obituaries of the Richards Family Part 1

These extensive listings of Richards family obituaries were contributed by Lisa Slaski. The Richards were a prominent family of Wilmurt and Ohio, in the northern part of Herkimer County, and later in the village of Herkimer. Lisa has added extensive detail to what are already interesting obits.

"My 2nd ggrandfather was John C. Richards (born Johan Christian Reicherd in what is now Idar-Oberstein, Germany). He was a jeweler in Germany, but left at 22 yrs of age in 1849 to find a new life in the US. He first settled in Fulton County where he met and married Henrietta Fischer, daughter of Martin and Johanna Fischer, about 1853. In 1862 he moved to Ohio Twp, then in 1865 to Wilmurt Twp (both in Herkimer Co.). He moved to the village of Herkimer about 1882. He had 10 children in total, all but one lived to adulthood, and most married and had their own children. Several of his children were born in Wilmurt and many grandchildren as well, including my grandfather William Oscar Richards (1881) and his brother Arthur Richards (who is buried at the church in Ohio).

In Wilmurt, John C. and a couple of his sons served as town supervisors. They were all farmers and lumberman, and ran a mill along West Canada Creek. The lumber business was owned and operated by William and John M. and was a partnership called "Richards Bros." The mill was first leased to his sons, by the original owners two Hinkley sisters (or sister-in-laws), and then sold to them in the 1890s. Much of their lives the brothers lived together and owned property together. William continued to run the business in Wilmurt and was town Supervisor in 1899-1900, 1903-4, and 1914-5. By his death in 1920 he had moved to Herkimer. Much of their lives the brothers lived together and owned property together. In fact, one of them became the County Sheriff and was on his way out of office at the beginning of the "Gillette trial" in 1906-7. I have a lot of information on John C. Richards' descendents. The most accurate information is the first 3 generations, if John C. is considered the first generation, and of course my own branch through the present.

My g-grandfather's house still stands in Wilmurt, and many of the other homes and/or camps of his siblings are there as well. The last I saw John M.'s house it was painted blue with white shutters and is just North-East of Wilmurt Corners after the "twin bridge" crossing of the tributary stream to W. Can. Creek. It's a two story home on the north side of the road, and was built by my g-grandfather, according to verbal history. My g-grandfather rolled his car in Wilmurt in the 1910s, on the hill between his home and the old (no-longer used) bridge across W. Can. Creek just north of Wilmurt Corners. My grandfather's brother, Arthur, was drowned in W. Can. Creek after slipping off an embankment along the edge of the creek where they held the logs for the mill. And there's lots more!!!

Off the top of my head, I know I have at least one other ancestor who lived in Ohio/Wilmurt Twps for at least a little while, and I may have more. The other one I can think of is Basilo Bennett, who's grand-daughter married my g-grandfather, John M. Richards. In these cases I have some limited information on descendents, primarily gleened from census records, but little else, except some additional information on my direct ancestors."

John C. Richards born 14 Dec 1827 in what is now Idar-Oberstein, Germany. Died 26 Dec 1899, Herkimer, Herkimer, NY. Resided in Ohio Twp, Herkimer, NY circa 1862-1865. Resided in Wilmurt Twp, Herkimer, NY circa 1865-1882. Resided in East Herkimer, Herkimer, NY circa 1882-99.

The Journal and Courier, Little Falls, Herkimer, NY - 2 Jan 1900:

Herkimer Obituaries
RICHARDS - In Herkimer, Dec 26, 1899 of pneumonia, John C. Richards, aged 72 years.

Mr. Richards formerly resided in Wilmurt and for several years represented that town in the board of Supervisors. He was widely known and Esteemed. During the past eighteen years Mr. Richards resided in the town of Herkimer. He is survived by his wife, five sons, William H. and John M. Richards of Wilmurt, Dr. M. A. Richards of Little Falls, and Albert and George D. Richards of Herkimer, and three daughters, Mrs. Henry Lawrence of Mohawk, Mrs. Judson Hall of Ilion and Mrs. William VanAlstyne of East Herkimer.

Henrietta (Fischer) Richards (wife of John C. Richards) born 17 Dec 1835, Saxony, Germany to Martin and Johannah (Girard) Fischer. Died 13 May 1912, Herkimer, Herkimer, NY. Resided in Ohio Twp, Herkimer, NY circa 1862-5. Resided in Wilmurt Twp, Herkimer, NY circa 1865-82. Resided in East Herkimer, Herkimer, NY circa 1882-1912.

From a Herkimer newspaper (clipping held passed down in the family):

At her home in East Herkimer yesterday occurred the death of Mrs. Henrietta Richards, one of the well known old residents of this section and a woman who enjoyed in high degree the regard of all around her. In the family, in friendship, as a neighbor and in the other relations of life she evidenced those qualities of heart and character which command respect and elicit affection. She was the widow of the late John C. Richards, one of East Herkimer's former sterling residents.

Mrs. Richards had attained the advanced age of 77 years and was advancing in her 78th. Though born in Germany, nearly her whole life had been passed in this country, and for a quarter of a century she had resided in the town of Herkimer. Two daughters and five sons survive to revere the memory of a good mother. They are Mrs. Judson Hall, of East Herkimer; Mrs. Evan Evans, of this village; ex-sheriff John M. Richards, and William Richards, also of Herkimer; George D. Richards, East Herkimer; Dr. Martin A. Richards, Little Falls and Albert Richards who is living in Massachusetts. There is one sister, Mrs. Minnie French, Hendrix, La. and two brothers B. J. Fischer of Gloversville and W.C. Fischer of Wilmurt. there are several grand and great-grand children.

William Henry Richards (son of John C. and Henrietta [Fischer] Richards) born 5 Jun 1853, Caroga Twp, Fulton, NY, died 30 May 1920, Herkimer, Herkimer, NY. Resided in Ohio Twp, Herkimer, NY circa 1862-5. Resided in Wilmurt Twp, Herkimer, NY circa 1865-1915. Resided in Herkimer, Herkimer, NY circa 1915-1920.

Little Falls Evening Times, Liggle Falls, Herkimer, NY - 1 Jun 1920:


Was Former Supervisor of the Town of Wilmurt - Leaves a Brother in This City

Herkimer, June 1 - William H. Richards died Sunday evening at his home on North Main street, following a stroke of paralysis which he sustained several years ago. Mr. Richards was born at Caroga in 1853, but came to this village at the age of 10. He was the oldest son of the late John C. Richards and Henrietta Fischer. About 40 years ago he formed a partnership with his brother, John M. Richards, under the firm name of Richards brothers, and they engaged in the lumber business in what was then the town of Wilmurt. In politics the deceased was a Democrat. He was a great lover of outdoor life and was a man who commanded the warm regard of his fellows. Surviving are four brothers and two sisters, as follows: John M. Richards of this place, Martin A. of Little Falls, George D. of Atwell, Albert E. of Springfield, Mass., Mrs. Henrietta Hall and Mrs. Mary Evans of Herkimer. The funeral will be held from the late home at 2'oclock tomorrow afternoon.

*** correction from me... William did not come to Herkimer at the age of 10, but to Wilmurt about this time!! He was a resident of Wilmurt until sometime close to his death. ***

An article about John M. Richard (son of John C. and Henrietta [Fischer] Richards), born 28 Sep 1856, Caroga Twp, Fulton, NY. Died 8 Dec 1922, Herkimer, Herkimer, NY, resided in Ohio Twp, Herkimer, NY, circa 1862-5. Resided in Wilmurt Twp, Herkimer, NY, circa 1865-1902. Resided in Herkimer, Herkimer, NY, circa 1902-1922

"The following newspaper account was written by the Herkimer paper columnist, Silas Kim, probably during the first half of the 20th century. He called John M. Richard "A Sterling Product" from the Town of Ohio, Herkimer County. "The town of Ohio has furnished many men who have been conspicuous in the business and social life of not only Herkimer County, but on New York State." This article was clipped from the paper and held within the family."


As the subject of this little sketch, I am selecting one of those Ohio lads and placing him before the boys of today as an example worthy of imitation.

John M. Richard, the son of John Christopher Richard and Henrietta Fisher, was born in the town of Caroga, Fulton County, September 28, 1856. His father was born in Germany at Oberstein on the Rhine and came to this country when he was 19. He was a goldsmith but never followed this trade here but went into the lumbering business instead. He settled on Bleeker, Montgomery County. His name soon became Richard, as the German pronunciation proved to hard to use.

His mother was born in Saxony, near Holland. She came to this country when 6 years old. Her people settled in Bleeker, where she met and married John Christopher Richard.

John M. was the second child born of this union and came when a boy with his parents to the sandlots of Ohio. This country had been pictured as very productive, growing all things in abundance. Not finding things as they expected, they moved farther north and finally settled in the town of Wilmurt, which has now been divided into Webb and Ohio.

January 18, 1880, John M. Richard married Emily Maheux and took her to his home, owned jointly with his brother William. It was known as the Harvey Place. The brothers formed a partnership which lasted all their lives. William made his home with them and by hard work their farm became one of the most prosperous in that township.

Mr. Richard, not being wholly content with farming and having a natural abilitiy for lumbering, decided to branch out. In winter they made hemlock and spruce shingles, also barrel staves and sold bark to tanneries. A few years later they decided to lumber on a larger scale.

Finding it too slow to draw the logs by team to Hinkley or Poland, they rented the old Hinkley up-and-down saw mill, situated on the West Canada Creek about a mile and a half from their home. Later they bought the mill and put in a turbine water wheel and circular saw. The mill was operated by brother William.

John was venturesome and even tried his hand at keeping store, which he had in his own home. This failed because of his generosity was too great. He never stopped his lumbering activities and was finally employed by the Hinkley Fiber Company as a timber cruiser.

It was while working for them that he took a trip to Cananda to look at forests there. It was a hard trip, made in winter with temperatures at times 60 degrees below zero. Snowshoeing was hard there as snow conditions were different and he and his guide could make but four or five miles a day. It seemed strange to him as 12 to 15 miles a day on snowshoes was the average day's travel here.

They stopped in an abandoned loggers camp at the end of one day's trip and had to melt the frost off the door. Mr. Richard rode behind dogs on a dog sled and once was nearly drowned in the ice filled St. Lawrence river, but these things he considered part of his job and felt they added color to his life.


He earned an enviable reputation as an estimator of timber and how much a tract would cut. One such instance in particular, gives an idea of his knowledge. On a 300 acre wood lot he estimated within five cords the exact amount cut.

He served his town as supervisor for three terms. He was an ardent Republican and was a typical old time politician. In 1902, he moved his family to East Herkimer where they resided one year. In 1903 he was elected Sheriff of Herkimer County and served one term. It was during his term of office that the much talked of Chester Gillette trial took place.

From then on he made his home in the village of Herkimer where he resided until his death. In 1913 he went into partnership with Dan F. Strobel. They bought the Hinkley family plot of land known as Butler Lake tract. After cutting off the timber, Mr. Richard became interested in reforesting and through his efforts the Butler Lake tract has been set out with approximately 100,000 pine.

He gave the American Legion 50 acres of land, which they have reforested an also interested many others in the idea. Mr. Richard was a friendly man and generous - a man of the out-of-doors. He died December 8, 1922.

*** Correction from me - John C. was baptized Johan Christian Reicherd, thus his middle name in this article has been americanized to "Christoper". When he first came to this country he went by Chris, Christopher or Christian, but when he moved to Ohio Twp he changed it to John C. His son Christian, also exclusively used Chris or Christopher! ***

John M. Richard (his obit... the last was an article by columnist Silas Kim)

The Journal and Courier, Little Falls, Herkimer, NY - 12 Dec 1922

Death of Prominent Herkimer Man.

John M. Richards died Friday afternoon at his home on North Main Street, Herkimer. Death was the result of injuries to his heart, sustained when thrown from an automobile about six years ago. Deceased was one of eight children, the family of John C. and Henrietta Fisher Richards of the town of Wilmurt. The father, a big lumber dealer, represented the town in the board of Supervisors, as did the son John. The latter followed his father in the lumber business, coming to Herkimer after the lumber supply in the vicinity of his mill in Wilmurt had become exhausted. After coming to Herkimer he was associated with Daniel F. Strobel and other big men in the lumber business in harvesting timber supplies of certain big properties.

In 1903, he was elected Sheriff, defeating Sylvanus J. Waters of this city for the office, and it is a coincidence that he follows Mr. Waters in death by nine days. Mr. Richards was a member of the Newport lodge of masons, The Liggle Falls Commandery, K. T. and the Utica Shriners.

Mr. Richards is survived by his wife, who was Miss Emily Maheux of Morehouseville; one son William; three daughters, Mrs. Leroy Finster, Mrs Harry Humphrey and Mrs. Leroy Yale, all of Herkimer; three brothers, Dr. M. A. Richards of Little Falls, George of East Herkimer and Albert of Springfield, Mass. and one sister, Mary A. Evans of East Herkimer.

The funeral was held yesterday afternoon from the Herkimer masonic temple, in charge of the Little Falls Commandery, Rev. M. Hydon of the Herkimer Methodist Church officiating.

*** corrections and notes from me: John was one of 10 children. One of his sisters died young and a brother died as a young adult, leaving two orphaned children, who were then raised by John's mother. According to family verbal history, John loved cars and at any given time, had several, rather expensive ones. One day while driving on the sandy road on a hill near the old homestead in Wilmurt, he rolled the one of his cars. This was presumably the "accident" talked of in his obit. ***

William Oscar Richard (son of John M. Richard and Emily Mary Maheux) born 11 May 1881, Wilmurt Twp, Herkimer, NY. Died 20 Nov 1963, Herkimer, Herkimer, NY. Married 1st Eva Lodena VanHousen, daughter of Edward G. and Velma L. Rose VanHousen (no issue). Married 2nd Ernestine Mae Wolfe, daughter of Henry Jacob (III) and Adella Diana Temple Wolfe. Resided in Wilmurt Twp, Herkimer, NY, 1881-1902. Resided in Herkimer, Herkimer, NY 1902-1963.

Clipping from a Herkimer newspaper:

William Richard, 82, Long Resident, Dies

William O. Richard, 82, of 313 N. Caroline St., died suddenly yesterday of a heart attack while walking down E. German St. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Dr. Harold T. Golden.

Born May 11, 1881, in Wilmurt son of John M. And Emily Maheux Richards, he was a graduate of Herkimer High School in 1907, and later of Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. He married Ernestine Wolfe. He was employed by the former National Desk Co., and retired when they closed. Surviving are his wife, two daughters, (private), North Syracuse, and (private), Memphis, Tenn.; two sisters, Mrs. Harry Humphrey and Mrs. Nettie Yale, both of Herkimer; 3 grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

Russell Rauscher of Jehovah's Witnesses will conduct services at 10 a.m. Satureday, from the Fenner Funeral Home. Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery. Calling hours are 7 to 9 tonight and 7 to 9 Friday night.

*** Corrections and notes from me: Survivors should also include a sister, Blanche Finster. Also, the National Desk Co. was bought out and last I know, still exists as Remington Rand Library Bureau, located on the west side of Herkimer near the turnpike and Caroline St. William worked as a purchasing agent of the cabinet making company, National Desk Co., and at one time his father held controlling interests in the company. His job included going into the field to inspect a stand of trees, determine their value and negotiate a buying price for the timber. ***

Arthur Richard (son of John M. Richard and Emily Mary Maheux) born 2 Nov 1883, Wilmurt Twp, Herkimer, NY. Died 11 May 1892, Wilmurt Twp, Herkimer, NY. Buried in the church cemetery in Ohio, Herkimer, NY

The Journal and Courier, Little Falls, Herkimer, NY - 17 May 1892


We regret to announce the sad accidental drowning of Arther Richards, aged 9 years, son of ex-Supervisor Richards, which occurred last Wednesday afternoon. Arthur and three other boys of about the same age were playing and watching logs at the covered bridge near Wilkinson's, while leaning over the abutment, Arther slipped and fell into the pond. His body was not seen again till it was recovered two days afterwards. Diligent search was made by dragging the pond, by the use of dynamite, &c; but to no avail, until Friday it was found in a jam of logs above the gorge near the home of George Watkins. Arthur was a bright, active boy and a favorite with all who knew him. The parents and relatives have the tender sympathy of all in their sorrow. The funeral occurred at Ohio on Sunday and the remains were interred in the Ohio cemetery.

Henry Lawrence (husband of Anna Elizabeth Richard) from a Herkimer, Herkimer, NY newspaper - 28 Apr 1914

Mohawk lost one of its most highly respected citizens this morning when Henry Lawrence, a resident of that village for 25 years, and a former resident of this village, passed away at his home on Walnut street in that village as a result of paralysis. Some ten days ago he suffered the first shock and he was apparently improving when he was again stricken this morning and survived but a short time. Deceased was born in Lemington, England, March 7th, 1852, and came to the United States in 1864, taking up his residence in Reynold Bridge, Conn. While still a young man he came to Ilion and was united in marriage with Anna Elizabeth Richard in 1873, who died in 1905. After the death of his helpmate, he returned for a time to Connecticut, and after remaining there for a period of five years, moved to Herkimer, and stayed here for that length of time, being employed in the H. M. Quackenbush factory. Twenty-five years ago he took up his residence in Mohawk, and as long as he was capable of employment, he worked at Ilion in the Remington shops. He is survived by four children, Albert of this village, George and Ralph, and Mrs. Geo. Bacon of Mohawk. The funeral arrangements will be announced later.

Anna Elizabeth [Richard] Lawrence (daughter of John C. and Henrietta Fischer Richard) born 17 Sep 1854, Caroga Twp, Fulton, NY. Died 24 Nov 1905, Mohawk Twp, Herkimer, NY. Resided in Ohio Twp, Herkimer, NY circa 1862-65. Resided in Wilmurt Twp, Herkimer, NY circa 1865-1890. Resided in Mohawk and Herkimer Twps, circa 1890-1905.

from a Herkimer, Herkimer, NY newspaper - 24 Nov 1905

Mrs. Anna Elizabeth, wife of Henry Lawrence, died at 3 o'clock this morning at her home in Walnut street, Mohawk, after an illness of several weeks' duration. Deceased was 50 years of age and was well known and held in high esteem by all knowing her. There survives three sons, Albert of Herkimer, George and Ralph of Mohawk, also a daughter, Mrs. George Bacon of Mohawk. Deceased was a member of Elizabeth Rebekah Lodge, I.O.O.F. and of the Ilion Tent, Ladies of the Maccabees. The funeral will be held Tuesday at 2 o'clock from her late home.

Emily Mary [Maheux] Richard (wife of John M. Richard) parents: Eugene Maheux and Delpine P. Bennett born 23 Sep 1861, Morehouse Twp, Hamilton, NY. Died 9 Apr 1938, Herkimer, Herkimer, NY. Resided in Wilmurt Twp, Herkimer, NY 1880 - 1902. Resided in Herkimer Twp, Herkimer, NY 1902 - 1938.

The Evening Times, Little Falls, Herkimer, NY - 11 Apr 1938


Mrs. Emily Richard, Herkimer, Succumbs to Long Illness Saturday - was Native of Jerseyfield Lake Section.

Herkimer, Apr. 11 - Funeral Services for Mrs. Emily Richard, 76, widow of former Sheriff John Richard, who died Saturday following a long illness, will be held tomorrow afternoon from her home 450 North Main Street, at 2:30 pm with Dr. Albert E. Legg, pastor of the First Methodist Church officiating. Burial will be in Oak Hill cemetery.

Mrs. Richard, the former Emily Mary Maheaux, was born at Jerseyfield Lake, Hamilton county, in 1861, but spent most of her life in Wilmurt and this village. She was a member of the First Methodist church and of Myrtle chapter, O. E. S. Four children, William O. Richard, Mrs. Nettie A. Yale, Mrs. Blanche R. Finster, and Mrs Gladys R. Humphrey, all of Herkimer, survive.

Continue on to Part 2.

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Last Updated: 7/12/98
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