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Eli Richards, son of Rowland Richards and Lydia Townsend - PA and VA

Eli Richards, son of Rowland Richards and Lydia Townsend - PA and VA

Posted: 9 Nov 2002 2:25PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 30 Nov 2004 1:04PM GMT
Surnames: Richards, Townsend, McNeely
I am looking for any information concerning a possible marriage or family for Eli Richards. Eli was born 16 September 1771 in Chester County, PA to Rowland Richards and Lydia Townsend, and is reported to have died 25 August 1804, and I would guess that this was in Virginia, as the family had migrated there by that time. Rowland and Lydia also had a son named Townsend Richards, said to have died at the age of ten in 1788.

I am trying to find some link between the above mentioned individuals and my ggg-grandfather Townsend Richards, born in Virginia in 1798. According to the obituary for one of Townsend's sons, he was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, before moving to Columbiana County, Ohio.

Rowland Richards and family also resided in the Shenandoah Valley (Frederick County, VA). Their son Abijah Richards also happened to move into Columbiana County, Ohio. Abijah's family seems to be well documented in Quaker records, and there is no mention of a Townsend among their children.

Another coincidence is that my ggg-grandfather named a son Eli Richards. Townsend Richards married Sarah McNeely in Columbiana County, Ohio in 1820. Sarah was a Quaker, and her family also originated in Chester County, PA.

In 1839, Townsend and a large group of families migrated to Wayne County, Illinois. Most of these families had been living in Columbiana County, Ohio, and most had ties back to Frederick County, VA. Most had been Quakers, but were disowned for various reasons during the 1820's and 30's. Upon their arrival in Wayne County, Illinois, they formed a church based on the Restoration Movement (an effort to reunite all of the churchs into one following).

Due to the naming patterns, the path of migrations, the associations among the various families, and many other similarities, I can't help but think that my ggg-grandfather might be related to Rowland Richards and Lydia Townsend. Of their children, all but Eli can be ruled out as a possible father for Townsend, due to age or deaths or available records. Eli remains an unknown, and any help would be appreciated.

Re:Eli Richards - Father of Townsend and Phebe Richards?

Posted: 25 Nov 2002 7:06PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 31 May 2004 11:47AM GMT
Surnames: Richards, Townsend, McNeely, Whitacre
I have come across some additional information in the past few days. In the 1820 census of Columbiana County, Isaac Whitacre's name appears immediately before that of Townsend Richards. Townsend had just married Sarah McNeely at that point. I have also found that Isaac Whitacre had married Phebe Richards in 1817. I'd bet this is Townsend's sister, given the close relationship maintained between the two families.

Also shown in the 1820 census is a woman aged 45 or older living with Isaac and Phebe (Richards) Whitacre. Many sources show that both of Isaac's parents lived until at least 1840. Again, I'd bet that this is Phebe and Townsend's widowed mother living in Isaac's household, and possibly the widow of Eli Richards mentioned in my previous posting.

While Isaac and Phebe moved to Wayne County in 1839 and Isaac is listed in the 1840 census there, they appear to have moved on by the 1850 census. I have found one Phebe Richards in both the 1870 and 1880 census of Iowa. In 1870, she is living alone and in 1880 she is living with her nephew, John Whitacre. Phebe listed that she and her parents were born in Virginia, and John listed that he was born in Ohio to parents of Virginia and Ohio. The 1870 census for John shows that his oldest child was born in Wisconsin about 1849, and the rest in Iowa. I see from the 1850 census index that there was an Isaac Whitacre in both Iowa and Wisconsin, and I have not ruled either out as yet (lacking the census images to compare).

I would appreciate any information on any of these individuals that may help straighten out the mystery.
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