Meet the Richards – A Pioneer Family

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In an earlier post, I profiled Dacy Eliza Richards but realized by the end of writing it, that the dates and names didn’t line up properly. It was pretty improbable that she should be the daughter of George Richards and Sarah Ann Sasscer of Maryland and Pennsylvania, who both died within a few years of her birth. Supposedly, Sarah Ann was 59 at the time.

dacy richards tree mistake

Here’s the ancestors that I now realize were mistakes. Some other trees have these names too but I’ve removed them all from my family tree.

Casting about for a more likely family, I found three families of Richards in the 1860 census (Eudora, Kansas Territory). There was a female Dadey in one household. Was it Dacy? The age of 18 was a match, as she was 20 when she married George Washington Joy in Eudora in 1862. The handwritten record is hard to decipher, so  I think it could be Dacey.

Fortunately, as a pioneer Kansas family, and as early settlers in other states, there was quite a bit of documentation. One of Dacy’s brothers, Oscar Grinman Richards, later served in the legislature and earned space in the Kansas Biographical Dictionary of 1879 (pages 300 – 301).

Xenophon Richards (Dacy Richards father)

The entry mentions the father, Xenophon Richards who was prominent in the Indian wars and was a soldier in the Blackhawk War.

Xenophon is an ancient Greek name with some history to it. For our Zenophon Richards, the Biographical Dictionary says he was “a man of but fair common school education.” It went on to say that he was “of superior mental abilities and the highest moral character; universally respected for his integrity, generosity, and philanthropy, and in every respect an eminently good man; he was of Scotch-English descent.” Now perhaps that is just the rhetoric of the times, but it’s fascinating to have this insight into your 3rd great-grandfather.

family histories oscar richards - eudora site

Oscar Grinman Richards. Photo Citation: Family Histories P-R. (2019). Eudorakshistory.com. Retrieved 15 January 2019, from http://eudorakshistory.com/families/PR/family_histories_pr.htm

Oscar Grinman Richards (Dacy Richard’s brother)

His son Oscar Grinman Richards was with the Kansas forces under General Lane during the border-ruffian war. He took a claim near Manhattan, Kansas which he improved and cultivated and then sold in 1857. He moved to the Douglas County area, then known as “the Shawnee Absentee Lands” bringing with him a party of 27 settlers. Those early Kansas settlers included his father, brothers, and others.

ancestry com kansas biographical dictionary 1879 oscar g. richards

1879 Kansas Biographical Dictionary – part of the entry for Oscar Grinman Richards.

This gets us to the point where Dacy Elizabeth Richards meets and marries George Washington Joy in Eudora, Kansas Territory in 1862.

I’m glad to know that my ancestors played a role in keeping Kansas a free state and blocking slavery. It’s sad to see that they also played a role in suppressing the Native Americans and taking their lands in several states. I’ll need to read more about the Indian wars in Illinois and the removal of Indians from Kansas.

One last bit of evidence connecting Dacy to this family. In 1865, Oscar Richards marries his second wife and the wedding takes place at the home of George Joy.

Just a few days ago, I wrote about Dacy as an unusual name. Now, I find that her father and brother had even more unusual names.

Week 3 of the #52Ancestors Challenge – The topic for the week was Ancestors I’d Like to Meet.

Update – January 20, 2019 – I’m in a quandary, as there is another possibility for Dacy’s parents. Since at age 18, she was in the household of Xenophon Richards in Eudora, Kansas in 1860, I assumed that was her father. That was one of the census forms that did not include relationships for the household. Then I found in the 1850 census in Illinois, that Dacy Eliza was living (age 8) with George and Sarah Richards. George was Xenophon’s brother.

So, the question is which one is her father and which is her uncle? I’ll keep looking for further documents relating to her life that might shed light on this mystery.

2nd Update – January 25, 2019 – I’ve found gravestones in New Michigan, Illinois for Sarah and George W. Richards who died in 1851. It seems likely that the 8-year-old Dacy in their household in 1850 was their daughter and that after their deaths, she was taken into the family of her uncle, Xenophon and Lucy Richards. Later, they ended up settling in Eudora, Kansas in 1858.

3rd Update – May 2019 – I have 2 DNA matches who link through siblings of Dacey Richards with a common ancestor of George Richards. This seems to verify that George is her actual father.