Obadiah Richards
of Farmington, Connecticut, d. 1702.

The inventory of Obadiah Richards was taken 24 November 1702, with total value 136 18s. His administration was granted on 2 March 1702/3 to John Richards, son of the deceased. On 8 February 1703/4, the estate was distributed to his widow (unnamed) and to his children John, Obadiah, Thomas, Benjamin, Mary, Hannah, Esther, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Rachel. [ECPR Hartford 2: 106]

Date of birth: say 1638.
Place of birth: Unknown.

Date of death: 11 November 1702.
Place of death: Recorded at Waterbury, CT.
[Waterbury Vit. Rec., 1: 86, FHL film #6,111]

Father: Thomas Richards, d. bef. February 1639/40.
Mother: Priscilla Wakeman, d. bef. 12 June 1671.

Spouse:
Information in secondary sources about the supposed wives of Obadiah Richards is confusing, and what can be found on the Internet is often a total mess. Wives named Hannah, Esther, and Rachel have been attributed to him, and two different maiden names have been supplied for his wife Hannah. In fact, it seems likely that Obadiah Richards was married only once, to Hannah, whose estate record (below) proves her to be the widow of Obadiah Richards and mother of all of his known children.

m. say 1666, Hannah (prob. Andrews).
On 4 June 1725, Mr. John Richards of Waterbury, son of the aged widow Hannah Richards, deceased, and Captain Ephraim Warner, son-in-law of the said deceased, came to court and asked for letters of administration of the estate of Hannah Richards, which were granted to Ephraim Warner. On 4 April 1727, the children of Hannah Richards were listed as John Richards, Thomas Richards, Mary Scot the widow, Hannah when living the wife of Scovill, Esther wife of Capt. Ephraim Warner, Elisabeth wife of Nathaniel Arnold, Sarah wife of David Scott, and Rachell wife of Jeremiah Peck. On 29 May 1727, the estate was distributed to John Richards, Mary Scot, the heirs of Hannah Scovill, Esther Warner wife of Dr. Ephraim Warner, Elisabeth Arnold wife of Nathaniel Arnold Sr., Sarah Scott widow of David Scott, Rachel Peck wife of Jeremiah Peck, and the heirs of Thomas Richards. [Woodbury, CT Probate Register 1: 33, FHL film #6,171] She has usually been identified as Hannah Andrews, daughter of John and Mary Andrews of Farmington, who is known to have married a Richards [see the page of Hannah Andrews]. This likely identification would seem even more probable if it were not for some unexplained statements that Hannah's maiden name was Barnes [e.g., Waterbury, CT to 1895, 1: Appendix, 112; FANH 1384]. I know of no primary source for this. (One possible explanation: John and Mary Andrews also had a daughter Mary who married a Barnes. Has some reference to Hannah Richards and Mary Barnes as sisters caused somebody to conclude that Hannah was a Barnes?)

Falsely attributed other wives:

Rachel.
Rachell was mentioned as the widow of the testator's brother Obadiah Richards in the will of Thomas Richards of Newark, dated 2 October 1706 [Cal. NJ Wills, 1: 382; NJ Wills 2: 17, FHL film #522,714]. Either Thomas of Newark was not Obadiah's brother, or the name Rachel given to Obadiah's widow can be considered a mistake, for unless we are prepared to accuse him of bigamy, Obadiah Richards did not have two widows.

Esther.
I have not found any primary source giving the name Esther for a wife of Obadiah Richards, but the name appears in a number of secondary sources [e.g., Morse (1861), 3: 22; Fam. Early Hartford, 476]. In the unlikely event that Obadiah Richards had another wife, she would have to be prior to his marriage to Hannah about 1666. Thus, since Esther is attributed as a second wife, her existence can probably also be rejected.

Children:
The seven oldest children were baptized together on 21 March 1679/80, with birthdates given to the month for all but the eldest [Farmington Records, 37-8]. The last three children were baptized shortly after birth [ibid., 147-8, 150]. The same ten children are listed in the estate record of Obadiah Richards, with the estate being distributed among the widow (unnamed) and the children John, Obadiah, Thomas, Benjamin, Mary, Hannah, Esther, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Rachel [ECPR Hartford 2: 106]. Except for Obadiah and Benjamin, then deceased without issue, the same children are listed in the estate record of Hannah Richards [see above].

John Richards, b. ca. 1667, bp. Farmington, 21 March 1679/80, d. 2 March 1734/5;
m. (1) 17 August 1692, Mary Wellton, d. Waterbury, 21 July 1722;
m. (2) Mary _____, living 20 June 1733.
[1st mar. & death of 1st wife: Waterbury Vit. Rec., 1: 113, FHL film #6,111] The will of John Richards of Waterbury, dated 20 June 1733, mentioned his wife Mary Richards, his sons Thomas Richards, Obadiah Richards (executor), Samuel Richards, Ebenezer Richards, and Benjamin Richards, and daughters Hannah and Mary. On 22 April 1735, Obadiah Richards presented to court the will of his father John Richards, stated to have died 2 March last past. The inventory was dated 22 May 1735. [Woodbury, CT Probate Register 2: 31, FHL film #6,171]

Mary Richards, b. January 1669[/70], bp. Farmington, 21 March 1679/80, living 6 March 1715/6
m. August 1691, George Scot, d. 26 September 1724.
[mar. & his d.: Waterbury Vit. Rec., 1: 210, FHL film #6,111, giving parentage of both] On 8 January 1724/5, Obadiah Scott of Waterbury, eldest son of George Scott late of Waterbury, deceased, took administration of his father's estate along with his mother Mary, widow of George Scott. The estate was distributed 19 January 1724/5, with the other children being listed as George, William, Elisabeth, Samuel, Edmund, Benjamin, and Ephraim, the three youngest being minors [Woodbury, CT Probate Register 1: 26, FHL film #6,171].

Hannah Richards, b. November 1671, bp. Farmington, 21 March 1679/80, d. 5 March 1720;
m. 6 February 1693[/4], John Scovell.
[mar. & d.: Waterbury Vit. Rec., 1: 112, FHL film #6,111, giving parentage of both]

Esther Richards, b. June 1673, bp. Farmington, 21 March 1679/80, living 15 April 1754;
m. 16 August 1692, Ephraim Warner, d. August 1753.
[mar. & his d.: Waterbury Vit. Rec., 1: 86, FHL film #6,111, giving parentage of both] On 15 April 1754, Esther Warner widow of Ephraim Warner, Benjamin Warner, John Warner, Obadiah Warner, Ebenezer Warner, Ephraim Warner, Nathaniel Warner, and Esther Morville signed an agreement regarding the distribution of the estate of Ephraim Warner [Woodbury, CT Probate Register 3: 15, FHL film #6,172].

Elizabeth Richards, b. July 1675, bp. Farmington, 21 March 1679/80, d. 23 May 1750?;
m. Waterbuery, 13 January 1702/3,
John Richardson, b. 15 April 1672, d. 17 October 1712;
m. (2) Nathaniel Arnold.
[mar. & death of John: Waterbury Vit. Rec., 1: 114, FHL film #6,111]

Sarah Richards, b. April 1677, bp. Farmington, 21 March 1679/80, living 29 May 1727;
m. 10 June 1698, David Scott, d. bef. 29 May 1727.
[mar.: Waterbury Vit. Rec., 1: 116, FHL film #6,111, giving parentage of both] On 29 May 1727, Sarah Scott widow of David Scott participated in the distribution of the estate of her mother Hannah Richards [see above].

Obadiah Richards, of Lyme, b. 1 October 1679, bp. Farmington, 21 March 1679/80, d. bef. 6 September 1720.
Obadiah Richards Jr. was deceased by 6 September 1720 [ECPR Hartford 2: 106].

Rachel Richards, bp. Farmington, 6 May 1683, living 29 May 1727;
m. 14 June 1704, Jeremiah Peck, living 29 May 1727.
[mar.: Waterbury Vit. Rec., 1: 92, FHL film #6,111, giving parentage of both, including Hannah as mother of bride] On 29 May 1727, Rachel Peck the wife of Jeremiah Peck participated in the distribution of the estate of her mother Hannah Richards [see above].

Thomas Richards, bp. Farmington, 9 August 1685, living 6 March 1715/6, d. bef. 25 October 1726;
prob. m. 24 December 1714, Hannah Upson, living 25 October 1726.
[mar.: Waterbury Vit. Rec., 1: 86, 263, FHL film #6,111, giving parentage of both; p. 263 gives surname as Ubsoson(?)] On 25 October 1726, the administration of Thomas Richards was granted to his widow Hannah Richards of Waterbury and to her brother Stephen Upson. The inventory was taken 22 November 1727, and on 13 April 1733, Abijah son of Thomas Richards, now near 15, chose his uncle Ephraim Warner as his guardian, and Thomas Browson of Waterbury was chosen guardian of the other son Joseph [Woodbury, CT Probate Register 1: 46, FHL film #6,171].

Benjamin Richards, bp. Farmington, 5 April 1691, d. 2 June 1714.
[d.: Waterbury Vit. Rec., 1: 86, FHL film #6,111, giving parentage] On 2 August 1714, administration of the estate of Benjamin Richards was granted to Thomas Richards of Waterbury. On 6 March 1715/6, the estate was ordered to be distributed in equal portions to John Richards, the heir of Obadiah Richards, and Thomas Richards, brothers, and to Mary, Hannah, Easter, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Rachel, sisters of the deceased [ECPR 2: 277-8, where the punctuation is misleading with regard to John and Obadiah].


Reference abbreviations

Cal. NJ Wills = William Nelson, ed., Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Vol. 1, 1670-1730 (New Jersey Archives 23, Paterson, NJ, 1901).

ECPR Hartford = A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records - Hartford District (3 vols., 1902-6).

Fam. Early Hartford = Lucius Barnes Barbour, Families of Early Hartford, Connecticut (Baltimore, 1977).

Farmington Records = Nathaniel Goodwin & Daniel Goodwin, "Church Records of Farmington in Connecticut", New England Historical and Genealogical Register 12 (1858): 34-8, 147-50.

FANH = Donald Lines Jacobus, "Families of Ancient New Haven", New Haven Genealogical Magazine (TAG) 1-8 (1922-32). (paginated consecutively)

Morse (1861) = Abner Morse, Several Ancient Puritans (3 vols?, Boston, 1861).

Waterbury, CT to 1895 = Joseph Anderson, The Town and City of Waterbury, Connecticut, from the Aboriginal Period to the year eighteen hundred and niney-five (3 vols., New Haven, 1896).


Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 14 August 2011.