Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Erasing His Name From a Petition – Ezekiel Richardson

B. about 1602 in Westmill, England
M. 25 Feb 1630 in England
Wife: Susannah Bradford
D. 21 Oct 1647 in Woburn, Massachusetts
Emigrated: 1630

Ezekiel Richardson went against the authorities the Massachusetts Bay colony only to a degree, and changed his stance in order to avoid any trouble. He was born in Westmill, England in about 1602 to Thomas Richardson and Katherine Duxford. Ezekiel had at least two brothers. On February 25, 1630, he married Susannah Bradford. Shortly after, the couple sailed to America.

Ezekiel and Susannah settled first in Boston, then moved to Charlestown by 1632. They started a family, and between about 1632 and 1643, they had six children. He was made freeman in 1631, constable in 1633, selectman for Charlestown during 1634-35 and 1637-39, and deputy to the General Court in 1634-35. Ezekiel’s brothers Samuel and Thomas joined him in America in 1636, and the three were given lots in Malden, Massachusetts on the “mistick side above the ponds.”

Ezekiel became a follower of Anne Hutchinson and John Wheelwright, two people who ran counter to the leadership in Massachusetts. Wheelwright was judged to be guilty of sedition, and Ezekiel was one of 80 men signing a document presented to the General Court in 1637 opposing the ruling. But he presumably had second thoughts when he saw the serious nature of signing the petition. Along with many others, he got his name removed from it in order to save himself from being censured.

In 1640, Ezekiel was chosen along with four other men to settle a new town which would become Woburn, Massachusetts. Ezekiel and his brothers took up residence on one of the streets, which became known as “Richardson’s Row.” He was named selectman for the years 1644, 1645, 1646 and 1647.

Ezekiel died October 21, 1647 at the age of 45. He left a will naming all of his surviving children and his wife Susannah. The inventory of his estate was valued at £100.

Famous descendants of Ezekiel Richardson include Franklin Pierce, George W. Bush, Barbara Bush, Katharine Hepburn, former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bartlett Giamatti and actor Paul Giamatti.

1. Phebe Richardson – B. about 1632, Massachusetts; D. 13 Sep 1716, Woburn, Massachusetts; M. Henry Baldwin (~1630-1698), 1 Nov 1649, Woburn, Massachusetts

2. Theophilis Richardson – B. about 1633, Massachusetts; D. 28 Dec 1674, Woburn, Massachusetts; M. Mary Champney (1635-1704)

3. Josiah Richardson – B. about 1635, Massachusetts; D. 22 Jun 1695, Chelmsford, Massachusetts; M. Remembrance Underwood (1640-1718), 6 Jun 1659, Concord, Massachusetts

4. John Richardson – B. about 1638, Massachusetts; D. 7 Jan 1643, Woburn, Massachusetts

5. James Richardson – B. about 1641; D. 28 Jun 1677, Scarborough, Maine; M. Bridget Henchman, 28 Nov 1660, Chelmsford, Massachusetts

6. Ruth Richardson – B. 23 Aug 1643, Woburn, Massachusetts; D. 7 Sep 1643, Woburn, Massachusetts

The Richardson Memorial, John Adam Vinton, 1876
Genealogical and family history of the state of New Hampshire, Vol. 1, Lewis Publishing Company, 1908
Genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of Boston and eastern Massachusetts, Vol. 2, William Richard Cutter, 1908
GeneaStar: Famous Family Tree and Genealogy [website]

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