Week 7: Love: Winfield Scott Richards

A little late… but better late than never…

Winfield Scott Richards was the third son of Issac and Jane (Hipp) Richards.  Born in New York in 1840, he had two older brothers, Augustus, about 3 years old and one year old Theodore.  Another brother, Charles, was born 4 years after Winfield.  Winfield’s brother Theodore died in January 1849, he was 3 weeks shy of his 10th birthday.  It is likely that another sibling was born and died young; in the 1865 census Jane was reported to be the mother of 5 children.  Sometime during Winfield’s young life he lost sight in his left eye as a result of an accident by an arrow shot by his brother.

Winfield’s father Isaac was a farmer in Brighton near Rochester, New York.

Winfield enlisted as a civil war soldier at Rochester on 30 August 1862.  He served in the 140 Regiment, company D of the New York State Infantry.  Winfield participated in the battle at Gettysburg.  More about the 140 Infantry can be found by clicking: 140th Infantry Regiment; Civil War; Monroe County Regiment; Rochester Race Horses

After returning from the war, Winfield farmed on his father’s land.  On 14 August 1867, Winfield married Mary Elizabeth Banker.  Her parents were Adolphus Banker and Jenette Hepp/Hipp.  It is unclear if Winfield and Mary were in any way related, however, it seems possible at least, that they were cousins of some sort.  In 1870, Winfield is again enumerated as a farmer in Brighton.  By 1873, Winfield has moved to Rochester city and is working as a sawyer.  In 1877, Winfield was granted land in Michigan under the provisions of the 1862 Homestead Act. Link to: [Land Grant PDF]

In the 1880 census, they are listed as Scott Richards, wife Elizabeth and child Thrody Richards, age 7.   They lived in Higgins township, Roscommon county, Michigan, where Winfield worked as a clerk. In 1881, another son, Charles was born.  In 1893, Winfield was listed in the US National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers; the corresponding image shows he was 5’11”, with a light complexion.  He worked as an engineer and he was married.  His nearest relative was son Thearon Richards of Rochester, New York.

In 1901, Winfield died.  The cause was cerebral apoplexy, a stroke.  Physician records found in Winfield’s service and pension records show he suffered from chronic disabilities prior to his death, and marked weakness on one side of his body, possibly suggesting an earlier, non-fatal stroke.

Winfield Richards is my ancestor by choice, or by love, but likely not by blood.  The first clue that something wasn’t “quite right” with my ancestral line was found in Winfield’s pension application.  There, son Charles Richards is listed, Thearon, my great grandfather, was not.  That raised a question, however a possible answer lied in the situation that Charles was a dependent minor at the time, Thearon was a grown adult with a family of his own.  The 1900 census (and also 1910),  stated Mary Elizabeth, Winfield’s wife, was mother of 4 children, two of whom were living.

Winfield’s mother, Jane Richards, last will and testament provided further information.  In Jane’s will she makes a bequest to “my grandson Charles E RICHARDS the sum of One thousand dollars and to Theron E RICHARDS (adopted child of Winfield S. and Libby RICHARDS) five hundred dollars”

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