X is for Xenophon


I’m fixating on Xenophon, a third great-uncle on my family tree. It was just last month that I discovered him and his family. It appears that he and his wife Lucy raised my second great-grandmother, Dacy Richards, after the death of her father George W. Richards and her mother, Sarah, in New Michigan, Livingston County, Illinois.

x letter pixabay

The part that fascinates me is trying to track the movement of the family and collect information on their anti-slavery activities in the 1850s and 1860s leading up to the Civil War. Having abolitionists in the family tree brings to life from the pages of the history books. The underground railroad and settlement in Kansas to secure it as a free state are no longer abstract bits of our country’s past. I should have paid more attention in grade school.

Kansas reader & history books (2)

Tidbits on Ancestry.com and from online searches give me a rough timeline for the Richards family:

  • 4 July 1804 – Xenophon Richards born in New York state (according to various census)
  • 1812 – brother George Richards born in NY state (Dacy’s father)
  • 1816 – brother Sardinia Richards born in NY state
  • 1819 – sister Diana Richards born in NY state
  • 1832 – Xenophon marries Samantha Whaley, daughter of an abolitionist, Otis Oliver Whaley in Jackson County, Michigan. Otis seems to have lived in Bruce in LaSalle County IL, in Cato in Cayuga County NY, in Skaneateles in Onondaga County NY, in Canandaigua in Lenawee Michigan, in Windsor in Eaton County Michigan, and in 1859 married Lydia Rumery in Livingston County, ILL. I detail all of those because the Richards, the Whaleys, and the Rumerys seem to have married into each other’s families, moved around in some cases together, and participated in anti-slavery activities together.
  • 1836 – still in Michigan. Son, Oscar Grinman Richards born.
  • 1848 – “In 1848, George, Sardinia, and Xenophon Richards, their sisters and brothers-in-law Russell Nelson, made the first settlement on the prairie in Illinois. They were from the state of Michigan.  This was the year of the completion of the Michigan and Illinois Canal and from this time forward, for several years, a good many emigrants came from Northern Ohio and Indiana and Southern Michigan by way of the canal. The Richardses settled in the vicinity of the site of New Michigan, naming it after their native state. They were enterprising and progressive men.”

    Article title: NEWTOWN HISTORY
    Website title: Livingston.illinoisgenweb.org
    URL: https://livingston.illinoisgenweb.org/newtowntownshiphistory.htm


  • 1857 – Came to Kansas, likely with the group of 27 emigrants that included his son Oscar Grinman Richards who had earlier been fighting under Lane in the skirmishes along the Kansas/Missouri border. Counted in Douglas County, Kansas 1860 census.
  • The rest of his life was lived in that area. He died in 1875.

Other Identified Abolitionists Associated with Xenophon Richards:

  • his son, Oscar Grinman Richards
  • brothers – George and Sardinia Richards
  • Dr. Horace H. Hinman
  • Otis Oliver Whaley
  • Moses Rumery
  • C. P. Paget
  • Capt. Wm Strawn
  • and perhaps James Stout

I need to track the Rumery and Whaley families to see where they were in Michigan and New York. This may shed more light on Xenophon and his brothers. If I can uncover the names of their parents, I can add my 4th great-grandparents, the Richards, to my tree.


The History of Livingston County, Illinois – Wm. LeBaron, Jr. & Co. – 186 Dearborn Street, Chicago (1878)

NEWTOWN HISTORY – Livingston.illinoisgenweb.org
URL: https://livingston.illinoisgenweb.org/newtowntownshiphistory.htm

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

History of the State of Kansas (1883) by William Cutler

A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans (1918) by William Connelly

Meet the Richards – A Pioneer Family


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.


George Washington Joy


When George Washington JOY was born on August 5, 1836, in Zanesville, Ohio, his father, Thomas, was 34 and his mother, Amelia, was 20. He married Dacy Elizabeth Richards in 1862 and they had eight children together. In 1863, they were living in Eudora, Kansas when Kansas was a Union border state during the American Civil War.

After Dacy died, he married Mary Weisinger in 1879, sharing the last 34 years of his life with her. They had one son together, Stephen Garfield Joy (1881–1949).

george washington joy grave
George died on December 14, 1914, nine months after losing his wife, Mary. He lived a long life of 78 years. You can see his grave at the Hesper Friends Church Cemetery, Hesper, Douglas Co, Kansas.

JOY LINE 3rd & 4th great grandparents

George and Dacy’s children:

Mary Frances JOY

Sarah Amelia JOY

Lois Adelaide JOY

William Gardner Joy

Harriette Elizabeth “Hattie” Joy

Henry Alfred Alf Joy

Frank Peter JOY

Ella Susan JOY

George Washington Joy’s Parents

We will feature Thomas Tarlton Joy and his wife, Amelia Ann Rollings (or Rollins) in a future post.

Slideshow of their descendants

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