Biography - William M. Richards

WILLIAM M. RICHARDS, who owns the fine farm located on section 32, of Richland Township, is a son of P. F. Richards, a native of Pennsylvania. His mother was Elizabeth (Mechling) Richards and was born in Perry County, Ohio. After marriage the parents settled in Ohio but removed to Missouri, and in 1861, just previous to the breaking out of the Civil War, they came to Shelby County, this State, where the mother died in Prairie Township and the father passed away in Richland Township. They were the parents of thirteen children and of these our subject is the second in order of birth.

William M. Richards was born in Perry County, Ohio, October 27, 1840. When he was but two years of age his parents removed to Allen County, Ohio, and there they settled upon a farm. Here he passed the greater part of his boyhood life, remaining with his father until he was about twenty-five years of age. During this time he was engaged in agricultural labors on the home farm and in the intervals of that work was occupied by the application to school studies, and being apt at his books, he acquired a good practical knowledge of the branches that are must essential to a business man.

He of whom we write was married in Prairie Township, July 4, 1865. His wife's maiden name was Miss Mary J. Renner. She had, however, been previously married and at the time of her marriage with our subject, was Mrs. McMillen. She was born in Prairie Township, November 6, 1843. After marriage they made their home in Prairie Township for two years and then purchased the farm whereon they now reside in Richland Township. His farm at the present time comprises four hundred and sixty acres and upon it he has made good improvements. He is a prosperous farmer who is justly successful in his chosen career and calling. The latest improvements in machinery and farm implements are employed in the cultivation of the place. His stock is of the best class and his buildings are good and substantial. His dwelling is located on a slight eminence that commands a charming view of the surrounding country. It is surrounded by fine shade and fruit trees. The interior arrangement is made with a sole view to the comfort and convenience of the occupants.

Mr. Richards and his wife became the parents of eight children, whose names are as follows: Nancy M., Samuel C., Elizabeth F., John P., Simon A., Mary C., Franklin W. and Ann B. The eldest daughter is now the wife of Rev. John B. Webb and is a great assistance to her husband in his work. Samuel C. married Miss Elizabeth Duncan and has a pleasant home of his own. Elizabeth F. died when sixteen years of age, when life spread before her so promising a prospect.

Mrs. Mary J. Richards died in Richland Township December 27, 1890. Since girlhood she had been a member of the Baptist Church, and was an ardent worker in the spread of the Gospel. Mr. Richards is also a member of the Baptist Church. Our subject has always been engaged in farming and agricultural pursuits, and although he has reached the meridian of life is not so set in his opinions that he cannot progress with the times. Since the formation of the Prohibition party he has allied himself with it, believing in the purity of its principle and purpose. For many years he has held the office of Deacon in the Baptist Church.

Extracted 12 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 390-391.

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