Plymouth County Biographies

Part of the Massachusetts Biographies Project

John Richards

John Richards, immigrant ancestor, was of Eele river, Plymouth colony, as early as July 12, 1637, when the general court placed him under bonds and probably indentured him for one year for some slight breach of the peace; and he "acknowledged himself indebted to the king" with Thomas Little as his surety to appear before the next general court and especially to keep the peace toward Mark Mendall . At the next session of the court he seems to have given satisfaction and was made rectus in curia and November 5, 1638, he received from the court twenty-five acres at Mannamet Pond due to him by indenture. He is supposed to have married late in life Lydia Beman. In 1644 he was a merchant and was dignified by the title of Mr., which was reserved for those of noble birth or special education. In 1652 he was perhaps absent as "Mrs." Richards, as the records call her, a prefix very rare at that time, and indicating the highest social standing, if not quality of birth, is reported in Plymouth as claiming a "stray steere." John Richards was doubtless the brother of William and nephew of Thomas Richards. Sr. His cousins became the wives of Thomas Hinckley , afterwards governor, and of William Bradford, son of the governor, and himself afterward deputy governor. About 1658 he removed to New London with Thomas Crocker and Thomas Leonard and he died there in 1687. In 1660 he purchased two house lots on what is now State street and built his house at the corner of Huntington street, which, according to Miss Caulkins in her history of New London, remained the seat of the family for more than a century. In 1671 he was probably received into the church at New London and had seven children baptized. The order of birth of his children is not known.


John, baptized March 26, 1671;


Mary, born 166 ;

Penelope, baptized with John and Israel;

Lydia, baptized with the others;


Hannah, baptized with Elizabeth and the others;

David, born 1673 .

Source: Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation. Volume IV