Make your own free website on


Samuel Richardson
Stories Home

Samuel Richardson was born in 1635 in London, England. Of his early life, we know very little. In 1670, he was arrested by a squad of soldiers at a Quaker (Friends) meeting in Peel, London, and charged with "having laid violent hands upon one of their muskets." One of the justices asked him, "Will you promise to come no more at meeting?" Samuel replied, "I can promise no such thing." He was fined an amount of "55".

It would appear that he was driven from England because of the persecution of the Quakers and went to Jamaica for a short time. On 3 Jul 1686, he left Jamaica, where he had worked as a bricklayer, and went to Pennsylvania. He bought 5880 acres of land in Pennsylvania, including two large lots on the north side of High Street (now Market) in Philadelphia. He paid three hundred and forty pounds for the land. In Jan of 1689/90, he bought another lot of High Street from William Penn for the purpose of erecting quays and wharves. He then owned on the land on the north side of that street between Second Street and the Delaware River.

In 1688, Samuel was elected a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Council, a body which governed the Province of Pennsylvania from 1682-1776. Soon after taking his seat, he became embroiled in a controversy.

The Council had ordered a case to be withdrawn, with the intention of hearing and determining it themselves, and Samuel had endeavored in vain to have this action rescinded. On 25 Dec 1688, a debate arose concerning these proceedings, and the deputy governor, John Blackwell, called attention to some remarks previously made by Samuel, telling him that it was unbecoming and ought not to be permitted, and "Reproveing him as haveing taken too great liberty to carry it unbeseemingly and very provokeinly." He especially resented "ye said Samuel Richardson's former declareing at several times yl he did not owne ye Goverr to be Goverr."

Samuel replied with some warmth that "he would stand by it and make it good — that Wm. Penn could not make a Cover'; " and this opinion, despite the almost unanimous dissent of the members present, he maintained with determination, until Blackwell moved that Samuel be ordered to withdraw. Samuel defiantly said, "I will not withdraw. I was not brought hither by thee, and I will not goe out by thy order. I was sent by ye people, and thou hast no power to put me out." Blackwell then said that he could not suffer Penn's authority to be so questioned and himself so contemned, and, being justified by the concurrence of all the Council except Arthur Cook, who "would be vnderstood to think and speak modestly," he succeeded in having his motion adopted.

Samuel "went forth, declaring he cared not whether ever he sat there more againc." After his departure it was resolved that his words had been "vn worthy and vnbtcoming; that he ought to acknowledge his offence, and promise more respect and heed for the future, before being again permitted to act with them; and that he be called inside and admonished; but he was gon away."

A few weeks after this occurrence the governor informed the Council that he had made preparations to issue a writ for the election of members in the places of Samuel and John Eckley, and also presented a paper charging Thomas Lloyd with various crimes, misdemeanors and offences.

On 3 Feb 1689, during the proceedings, Samuel entered the Council-room and sat down at the table. In reply to a question, he stated that he had come to discharge his duty as a member. This bold movement was extremely embarrassing to his opponents and they stationed an officer at the door to prevent another intrusion. Upon reassembling, Joseph Growden contended that the Council had no right to exclude a member who had been duly chosen by the people. Within a week, Blackwell presented a charge against Growden, but the fact that three others, though somewhat hesitatingly, raised their voices in favor of admitting all the members to their seats, seemed to indicate that his strength was waning.

The election under the new writ was held 8 Feb 1689, and the people of the county showed the drift of their sympathies by re-electing Samuel. The Pennsylvania Assembly also interfered in the controversy, and sent a delegation to the governor to complain that they were abused through the exclusion of some of the members of Council. They were rather bluntly informed that the proceedings of the Council did not concern them. In the midst of the conversation, Lloyd, Eckley, and Richardson entered the chamber and said they had come to pay their respects to the governor and perform their duties. The crisis had now approached, and soon afterward Penn recalled Blackwell, authorized the Council to choose a president and act as his deputy themselves.

After the departure of Blackwell, the Council elected Lloyd their president. Samuel resumed his place for the remainder of his term, and in 1605 was returned for a further period of two years. During this time Colonel Fletcher made a demand upon the authorities of Pennsylvania for a quota of men to defend the more northern provinces against the Indians and the French, and Richardson was one of a committee of twelve, two from each county, appointed to reply to this requisition. They reported in favor of raising five hundred pounds, upon the understanding that it "should not be dipt in blood,"but be used to" feed the hurgrie & cloath the naked."

He was a judge of the county court and justice of the peace in 1688 and 1704 and for the greater part of the intervening period."

Richardson was elected a member of the Assembly for the years 1691-1698, 1700-1707.

Samuel Richardson lived until about 1705 on a tract of 500 acres of land lying along the line of Germantown, in what was then known as Bristol township, Philadelphia county, which he later conveyed in trust, for the use of his grandson, John Richardson. There he had horses, cattle and sheep. The Friends' records tell us that several grandchildren were born in this house, and from the account book of Francis Daniel Pastorius we learn that when they grew older they were sent to school at the moderate rate of fourpence per week.

He has the distinction of being "The first alderman of Philadelphia," having been appointed to that office by Penn at the head of a list of six when the city was first chartered in 1691.

The Abington monthly meeting in Dec 1701, records: "Samuel Richardson having desired that friends should keep a meeting of worship at his house, and this meeting having answered his request have ordered also that friends do meet at his house on ye sixth day in every month, considering ye weakness of his wife."

Eleanor, wife of Samuel, died April 19, 1703, and on July 20, 1704, he married Elizabeth Webb, and removed to the city of Philadelphia. He lived in a house somewhere near the intersection of Third and Chestnut streets, which contained a front room and kitchen on the first floor, two chambers on the second floor, and a garret. In the same year he was unanimously elected one of the aldermen of the city, and this position he held thereafter until his death. In May 1710 the Town Council determined to build a new market-house for the use of the butchers, and they raised the necessary funds by individual subscriptions of money and goods. Richardson was among the fourteen heaviest subscribers at five pounds each, and after its completion in August. 1713, was appointed one of the clerks of the market to collect the rents, etc., on a commission of ten per cent. The first moneys received were applied to the payment of an old indebtedness to Edward Shippen for funds used "in Treating our present Governor at his first arrival." The meeting of the Town Council on the ist of October, 1717, was the last he attended.

Samuel died 10 Jun 1719 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and left a large estate. Like many others of the early Friends, he was a slave-holder, and among the rest of his property were the following negroes: viz., Angola. Jack, Jack's wife, and Diana. His wardrobe consisted of a new coat with plate buttons, cloth coat and breeches, loose cloth coat and drugget waistcoat, old cloak, old large coat and " Round robin." two fustian frocks and breeches, two flannel waistcoats, three pair of old stockings, two hats, linen shirts, leather waistcoat, and breeches, six neck-cloths, three handkerchiefs, one pair of new and two pair of old shoes.

He had four children. Joseph, the only son, married in 1696, Elizabeth, daughter of John Bevan. Of the three daughters, Mary, the eldest, married William Hudson, one of the wealthiest of the pioneer merchants of Philadelphia, mayor of the city in 1725, and a relative of Henry Hudson, the navigator; Ann, married Edward Lane, of Providence township, Philadelphia county, and after his death Edmund Cartledge of Conestoga in Lancaster county; and Elizabeth married Abraham Bickley, also a wealthy merchant of Philadelphia. Among their descendants are many of the most noted families of the eastern counties of Pennsylvania.

The will of Samuel Richardson, of the city of Philadelphia, he being aged and infirm in body, dated June 6, 1719, proved June 13, 1719, bequeathed to his wife Elizabeth for life the following ground rents ; three pounds, one shilling and eight pence payable from Hugh Lowdon ; three pounds yearly due from Abraham Bickley ; five pounds seven shillings and three pence yearly from James Jacob ; two pounds yearly from Thomas Tresse ; one pound yearly rent on account of the house Mary Pain, widow, then lived in, and thirty shillings yearly from Stephen Stapler and Mary Appleton.

He devised to his son-in-law William Hudson, of Philadelphia, tanner, the yearly ground rents of one pound ten shillings and eight pence due from John Jones ; three pounds and twelve shillings due from James Tutthill ; one pound and sixteen shillings due from Anthony Morris for the White Hart ; three pounds and twelve shillings from Hannah England ; one pound and sixteen shillings from Pentacost Teague ; three pounds twelve shillings from Nathaniel Edgcome and two pounds five shillings from Mary Cooke, all which sums were yearly ground rents arising from certain lots on the north side of High Street, which William Hudson should receive during the life of the testator's daughter-in-law Elizabeth Richardson, after whose decease all the said ground rents were devised to the testator's son Joseph Richardson.

To William Hudson he bequeathed during the life of the said Elizabeth Richardson, two shillings and six pence yearly, due from Randal Spakeman.
To his son Joseph Richardson he left his great copper and great frying pan.
To aforesaid Elizabeth Richardson his great silver tankard.
His daughter Ann Cartlidge was to receive twenty pounds, and each of her children by Edward Lane, namely, William, Samuel, James, Eleanor, Elizabeth and Anne, five pounds ; to her three children by Edward Cartlidge, eight pounds each.
To his son Joseph's seven children, viz. : Aubrey, Edward, Richard, William, Eleanor, Barbara and Elizabeth, he devised ten pounds each.
His great-granddaughter Hannah Cockfield, daughter of Joshua Cockfield, was to receive four pounds. All the aforesaid legacies were to be paid by his executors after his widow's decease, out of his estate on the bank of the Delaware in Philadelphia, as said legatees should attain the age of twenty years, or upon the day of their marriage.
To his son-in-law William Hudson he devised the front house and lot where Thomas Tresse then lived, he paying five pounds to each of his, the said William's, eight children, viz., Samuel, William, John, Mary, Elizabeth, Susannah, Hannah and Rachel.
To his wife he devised his least silver tankard, one silver porringer, one silver spoon, his warming pan and one-half of the household goods. He bequeathed to his grandsons, Samuel and John Richardson, all his wearing apparel, and to his grandson Samuel Richardson, one-half of his household goods.
To his daughter Ann Cartlidge, after his wife's decease, the negro woman Diana.
William Hudson and the said William's son, Samuel Hudson, were appointed executors, and were each to receive five pounds.