For week 33 of the 52 Ancestors Challenge, the topic is “troublemaker.” I’ve already written about several black sheep on our family tree so I’m running low on identified problem people. I’m sure there are more but I just haven’t found them yet.
So, for this week, I’ll return to one fellow who already filled two posts with his troubled life. This post contains information about a time later in his life and it comes with some question marks. Edward Xenophon Richards left Kansas sometime after the death of his young wife in 1900.
Seventeen years later, he died in Dillon, Montana, far from his family. I’m guessing that they lost touch with him, as it was five years later that they had his body brought back to Eudora, Kansas.
Was Ed Still a Troublemaker?
What happened during those 17 years, I wondered? I found some stories about a robbery in Butte, Montana, in 1902. An Ed Richards was arrested after they found money and gold hidden in the wall of his room. Two other people were implicated in the theft from a local store. Butte was known for its silver, gold, and copper mining.
In one article, I found a clue to follow, “Richards claims to hail from Great Falls, where he said he worked, as a truckman for the Northern Pacific road.” There was a brief description of the man, “Richards is a big, square-jawed, determined-looking fellow, roughly dressed and with bluish eyes and brown hair.” The description didn’t help me, as I had no pictures of Edward Xenophon Richards.
Then I found an article about the trial and that it ended in a hung jury. For the first time, I saw the accused man called “J.E. Richards.” So this Ed Richards was not a match for mine unless the paper was in error with the initials.
Just to confuse matters further, there was another Ed Richards in Montana. I contacted a descendant of this fellow. I asked if the robber might be her Ed, but she was quite sure her farmer could not be the criminal due to the location.
I found a 1917 mention of Ed Richards’ arrest for wife-beating. After checking my Ed Richards’s death date, I realized that this one could not be pinned on him. He could hardly be in the county jail when he had been run down by a car three months earlier and killed. Whew, how many Ed Richards were there in Montana in the early 1900s?
So I was able to clear Edward Xenophon Richards of the robbery and the wife-beating in Montana. I can at least be sure of having the correct Ed Richards who died in Montana, as I found his death record with his parents’ names. The record says he was working as a cook.
I also was able to clear him of being in Leavenworth Prison in Kansas in 1910. The prison census recorded an Ed Richards, but he was born in Canada and was Black. I’ve been unable to determine Ed’s whereabouts in the census of 1900 and 1910. I should be glad that I found no further issues in the last 17 years of his life, but it troubles me to not know what he was doing during that time.
Here are the earlier stories about his life:
Unexpected Tribulations (his teen years)
Trouble Was His Middle Name (his married years)