Richards Family

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18th Century Bareneed

The  Keith Matthews Name Files, at MUN includes a number of 18th Century references to the Richards family that are likely connected to Bareneed. These include:

However the best evidence comes from the Journal of Admiral Hercules Robinson. In 1820 then Captain Robinson in HMS Favorite surveyed the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Vice-Admiral Sir Chas. Hamilton, the Commander-in-Chief at Newfoundland, relying upon the temper and judgment of Capt. Robinson, sent him to arbitrate between the parties, to make bye-laws, and to survey the newly occupied harbours. Source: A Naval Biographical Dictionary by William Richard O’Byrne.

In late September 1820, Robinson, accompanied by Rev. Leigh the Church of England missionary at Harbour Grace, visited “Bare Need” and described it as: a pretty little town, containing about 250 inhabitants. Robinson spent several days at Bareneed exploring South River (near Bareneed) searching for an ancient mill that had been reported there.

One of the local sources he consulted was a J. [likely John] Richards 78 years old (born Bareneed c 1742) son of William Richards of Stepney [East End of Londonin the 18th century most London-registered ships sailed from docks in the parish of Stepney, which then took in much of east London’s riverside]. This J. Richards [John] informed Robinson that his father William came to Newfoundland 92 years ago [c 1728]. This William was likely the father of the four Richards who held Fishing Rooms [aka Plantations at Bareneed] c 1805.

There were several individuals named William Richards born in Stepney between 1700 and 1710 (would be between 18 and 28 in 1728). These include:

Name:William Richards
Record Type:Christening (Baptism)
Baptism Date:8 Jul 1705 [would make this William 25 in 1728]
Baptism Place:St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, Tower Hamlets, Middlesex, England
Father:Edward Richards
Mother:Elizabeth Richards
Register Type:Parish Register
Ancestry Search
Name:William Richards
Record Type:Christening (Baptism)
Baptism Date:6 Sep 1702
Baptism Place:St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, Tower Hamlets, Middlesex, England
Father:John Richards
Mother:Susanna Richards
Register Type:Parish Register
Name:William Richards
Record Type:Christening (Baptism)
Baptism Date:7 Aug 1702
Baptism Place:St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, Tower Hamlets, Middlesex, England
Father:William Richards
Mother:Margaret Richards
Register Type:Parish Register

All of these are recorded at St Dunstan and All Saints Church, Stepney, Tower Hamlets, Middlesex,

This reference to Stepney suggest a link to the Richards Family of Bay Bulls, Nfld. through the following record for a Simon Richards of Bell Lane Middlesex, son and heir to John Richards late of Bristol, who in 1781 sold the Richards Estate at Bay Bulls, Nfld.–%20R%20-%20040%20-%20General.pdf

The connection comes from Bell Lane being a street in Spitalfields, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and part of the traditional East End of London. The Hamlet of Spittlefields, Bell Lane being in  St Dunstan Stepney.

The following are some Documents related Jo john Richards property at Bay Bulls:

28 Sept 1742Gov. John Byng (St. John=s) John Richards named lawful owners of plantations in Bay of Bulls that belonged to the late James Dawson.Registered in the records at St. John= s Sept 26th, 1750
20 Sept 1749Gov. Rodney (St. John=s)Registered in the Records of St. John=sCopy of Petition from Thomas Lyde, ttorney for John Richards. In regards to Plantation possession rights. To be enquired into on 20 SeptCourt proceedings from 20 Sept B several failed to show up for appearance. The following case John DeGrave gains possession of Estate that he is entitled to through last will and testament of John Collins.
30 Sept 1749Gov. Rodney (St. John=s)Several tenants in possession of the Estate to which George Durston lay claim (Bay Bulls)Tenants are not to pay rent until Durston can prove he is entitled to the plantations and not John Richards.
26 Sept 1750Gov. Drake (St. John=s) Court Proceedings:-John DeGrave put into quiet possession of certain plantations of the late John Collins in the Harbour of St. John= s.-Complaint of Richard Sutton against Richard Elliot regarding rights to build on a plantation-Petition of Thomas Loyde(attorney to John Richards) regarding the rights to certain plantations
2 Sept 1751Commodore Rodney (St. John=s) Court asking anyone claiming possession of the Plantations in the Bay of Bulls formerly in the possession of the deceased James Durson to come forward.John Richards is awarded possession.

Prerogative Court of Canterbury 24 April 1783: Simon Richards “Entered at the request messieurs Robert Newman & co with other papers” (see also below, pp. 147-150) [The words “continued from page 15” appears at the beginning of this document, but seems to have no connection with anything elsewhere in this volume] A series of documents, without any document which might provide a context. The documents begin with “Abstract of Mr. Richards title to plantations” at Bay Bulls 9 March 1741; supporting documents dated 1751, 1757, 1770, 1771, 1781, 1782. This appears to be a claim by a number of people on the original inheritance, including John Keats, John Richards, George Dawson, Simon Richards, and others. 10 Feb. 1786: This is another indenture regarding property and the complicated legalities associated with the property originally owned by John Richards and his wife Sarah Richards. The document refers to many children and spouses of children and it appears to be additional claims on the property in Newfoundland. Simon Richards (a son) appears to be challenging a claim by John Barn Staple and Stephen Love who Acquired the land after Sarah Richards died. Presumably the property in question is the same from page 

Name: John Richards Christening Date: 7 Oct 1711 Christening Place: Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
Phillimore Ecclesiastical Parish Father: John Richards Mother: Mary Richards

Name: William Richards Christening Date: 18 Oct 1713 Christening Place: Bristol, Gloucestershire, England Phillimore Ecclesiastical Parish Father: John Richards Mother: Mary Richards

Bristol Newfoundland Merchant Adventurers & Captains, mid-1700’s: a Captain Richards also captained the vessel “Champion” out of Bristol in this era.

Plantation Book 1805

On August 21, 1804, in an effort to help avoid frequent disputes regarding possession and rights of Fishing Rooms, Beaches, Flakes and land, Governor Erasmus Gower issued an order directing his surrogates around the Island of Newfoundland to take an exact account of all Fishing Rooms, Wharves, Beaches, Flakes, etc… within 200 yards from the High Water Mark and register them in a book. The claims of every Merchant, Planter, and Boat Keeper to the land he occupied were to be clearly defined. This official Register of Fishing Rooms was to be admitted as evidence in all land claim disputes. The resulting report Return of Possession held in Conception Bay 1805 (later known as the Plantation Book since most of the people recorded were planters) provides the first complete picture of settlement in this area.

The Plantation Book of 1805 list four Richards who held Rooms/Plantations at Bareneed.

#430 Wm. Richards: 64 yards from E to W bounded on E by Abraham Richards on the W by Elias Filleul- 160 yds. from H.W.M. to the Northward – bounded on the N. by Bay Roberts. 1 Stage, 2 Flakes, 2 Houses, 2 Gardens, 1 Meadow1782 : Bequeathed to him, by his father’s Will
#431 Abraham Richards: 63 yds. from E. to W. bounded E. by John Richards on the W. by Wm. — 160 yds. from H.W.M. to the Northward on the N. by Bay Roberts.1782 : Bequeathed to him, by his father’s Will
# 432 John Richards: 64 yds. from E. to W. bounded on the E by John Richards on the W. by Abram Richards 180 yards from H.W.M. to the Northward bounded N by Bay Roberts.1782 : Bequeathed to him, by his father
#431 Isaac Richards: 88 yards from E. to W. bounded on the E. by Thomas Bartlett on the W. by John Richards 180 yards from H.W.M. to the Northward bounded on the N. by Bay Roberts. – 1 Stage, 2 Flakes, 2 Houses, 2 Gardens, 1 Meadow1778 Bequeathed to him, by his father
Plantation Book c 1805

All four of these Richards holdings were likely situated in western Bareneed between the Cove and Mercers Lane in the west (see Map below)

Bartlett Plantation (Red) and Richards (Yellow) 1805

Census of 1817

In the 1817 Census of Bareneed listed a John Richards Senr and an Isack Richards, both likely situated in western Bareneed between the Cove and Mercers Lane in the west. Both of these are in tha same general area as the Richards Plantations listed in the Plantation Book of 1805 (see above).

The first property enumerated in that section of Bareneed east of Mercers Lane belonged to John Richards Senior.

# 32 John Richards Senr.

32John Richards Senr2143 W PencentD
1817 Census

The record for John Richards Senr includes two adult males in the household, possibly father and son. Only one of these had a wife (perhaps father was a widower) and there were 4 children, 3 male servants and one female servant in the household. The Supplier/ Merchant for this household was W. Pencent and the household was described as “D” (Distressed). W. Pencent was likely William Pincent (2 clients in Bareneed) was a Port de Grave merchant.

28Isack Richards11431Natale & CawleyD
1817 Census

Isack Richards was listed as having a wife, 4 children, 3 male servants and one female servant in the household. The Supplier/ Merchant for this household was listed as “Natale & Cawley” which was likely Nuttall & Cawley, Harbour Grace fish merchants (see History 1805-1818 and Merchant Connections section under the Newell family part of this Web Site for more information on this firm). Isack Richards was also classified as D (Distressed) but both families of Richards employ a number of male and female servants.

In the 1817 Census the record for Isack Richards is separated from the one by John Richards by several members of the Bartlett family (who occupied land to east) but these two properties are likely abutting based on land ownership in 1805 (see below) and later in the 19th century.

The following may be the John of 1805:

Keith Matthews Files

However, the John Richards in 1817 is possibly John son of the 1805 William (see following).

28 Nov 1807JohnRichardsbachelor of BearneedElizabethRichardsspinster of BearneedGeorge Richards, William Richards
Harbour Grace Marriage records

The John Son of John above may be the John who had a daughter baptized in 1814.

The Bareneed Merchant Patten, Graham & Co. was dissolved in Feb 1817 and the company was then reformed as Alex Graham & Co operating with with John McNichol and Duncan McKellar. In the winter of 1817 Patten, Graham & Co. operated a store at Barneed. There is no direct evidence but their store in Bareneed may have been situated on land owned by Abraham Richards in 1805. In May 1814 Abraham Richards had leased his land to Thomas Patton & Co. (in October, 1820 Graham, McNichol & Co. sold the 23 years remaining on this lease).

The following references show that John Son of John and John Son of William were living in Bareneed in the 1820s.

The following shows the burials of two Johns from Bareneed, the first (c 1782-1846) is the son of William and Elizabeth and the second (c1796-1853) is likely the son of John.

Will of John Richards written 2nd March, 1853 probated 1854:

In the name of God Amen, I John Richards of Bareneed in Conception Bay Newfoundland Planter, being in sound mind and aware that it is appointed unto all men once to die do hereby make and sign this my last will and testament, First I surrender my immortal soul into the hands of Almighty God beseeching him to grant it an entrance into His Heavenly Kingdom through the alone merits of Jesus Christ our Lord and my body I request may be decently buried in the burial ground attached to Established Church of England I give and bequeath all my land and property thereon (including residence outhouses &c &c- situated at Port de Grave being at present in the occupation of Mr. James Keeping, also my property situated at the Dock adjoining the land of Mr. John Nevill to my four daughters namely Elizabeth, Anne, Mary and Emma (or in case of their death to their lawful children) the aforesaid property to be sold and the proceeds to be equally divided between my aforenamed four daughters or their children. Also I give and bequeath my property including residence, furniture, outhouses, gardens, stores, stages &c. &c. situated at Bareneed also my property at Cubits and my property at Souther Gut equally between my dear wife Ann and my son Isaac the said portion so willed and bequeathed to my wife to become on her decease the property of my son Isaac

Property #28 in 1817 Census: Isack Richards

Isack (Isaac) Richards listed in the 1817 Census is likely the Isaac buried at Bareneed in Nov. 1828. Bases on his age recorded in his burial records (74) he was born c 1754.

Keith Matthews files

Based on his age we can assume he is also the Isaac in the 1805 Plantation Book who received his land in 1778 from his father (he would have been ~ 24 at that time). In his Will written in 1823, modified in Nov 1828 and probated in 1829 he mentions his wife Elizabeth, his sons William and John plus daughters Mary, Amy, Elizabeth, Jane, Nancy & Rebecca. Their son William was born in 1788 (see below) and based on the Will (order in which sons are named and fact that William was executor) we can assume that John was younger.

Isaac Richards married Elizabeth Butler at Harbour Grace on Nov. 17th, 1778.

Nov 17, 1778Harbour GraceRICHARDS, IsaacPortograve
  BUTLER, ElizabethPortograve

Isaac and Elizabeth are buried in the old COE Cemetery above Shop House Hill, Bareneed (Eastern end of Richards Property). The notes in the following record were added by the transcriber indicating that Isaac was the son of William Richards of Port de Grave, likely the William who died in Harbour Grace in 1782.

NameBurialAgeNotes from Transcriber
Isaac Richards Nov. 21, 182879[son of William Richards of Port de Grave; Isaac & Elizabeth are th gr-gr-grandparent of Capt. Bob Bartlett]
Elizabeth RichardsNov. 1, 182974[daughter of John & Mary Butler of Port de Grave; Isaac & Elizabeth are the gr-gr-grandparent of Capt. Bob Bartlett]

This Isaac was likely the Isaac Richards who was a constable at Bareneed in 1814.

Will of Isaac Richards, from Newfoundland will books volume 1 pages 73 to 75 probate year 1829.

In the name of God Amen I Isaac Richards Senior of Bareneed in Conception Bay Newfoundland Planter being of sound mind and in my proper senses think proper to make this my last last will & testament vis

  1. I leave to my wife Elizabeth in case she survives me enjoyment of my estate for her live time save and except that my two sons William and John are to have the sole use of the fishing room in Bearneed & what boats & craft there may be at the time of my decease equally between them & on the decease of my said Wife Elizabeth they the said William & John are to have the said room in Bearneed including Houses Gardens Meadows Flakes stage Boats Craft &c. &c. &c. Equally divided between them and after the decease of my wife Elizabeth what money or Bills I may possess at my Death to be equally divided between my daughters Mary Amy Elizabeth Jane Nancy & Rebecca Richards.
  2. I like wise leave my son William & John my Fishing Room in Porte Grave at present rented by William Jeffers & Thomas Liston save & except that my wife Elizabeth shall enjoy untill her decease any rents arising there from at the same time allowing them the full & free use of the Fishing part of the Room except a stage erected & occupied by son in law Thomas Liston which I leave to my daughter Amy for the behalf of my grandson Isaac Liston after her decease.
  3. That in case that my sons William & John should not agree than John is to make good to is brother William is part of value of the said room by a fair valuation and should my sons William & John dying without heirs that then property so bequeathed them shall be equally divided among my children remaining alive or there offspring.
  4. That should any of the property bequeathed my wife Elizabeth be remaining at her decease (esept the rooms & Plantations mentioned that it is to be equally shared between all my children alive at the time or if not there children if they have any
  5. I leave all my household furniture beds bedding plate &c to my wife Elizabeth to dispose of at her death as she may think proper

To fulfil all these covenants I hereby appoint my son William Richards and my son in law William Antle Junr of Brigus my sole executors
As witness my hand in Bearneed aforesaid this twenty nith day of July one thousand eight & twenty three before these witnesses Isaac Richards (LS)   John Moore.   John Richards Junr.
This is to certify to all whom it doth or may concern that I Isaac Richards being of sound mind and memory have this day given my son John Richards all my right title and interest in and upon the schooner Good intent of the burthen of seventy six and 76/94 tons to be enjoyed by him after my decease and all my other property I wish to be distributed according to my last will and testament.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal in the presence of Isaac Richards (LS)   John Jacob.   William Brown.   Bareneed November 20th 1828.

This Isaac was also the Isaac Richards who registered the 67 Ton schooner Good Intent in 1819 (built by him) and the William who was Captain was likely his son.

Later John was Captain and part owner of the same ship.

petition filed on November 17, 1830 at Port de Grave filed by Elizabeth’s children list the married names of her daughters:

We the Undersigned Children and Heirs at Law of the late Elizabeth Richards do hereby request the Honorable Supreme Court will be pleased to cause Administration of the Goods Effects and Estate of the said Elizabeth Richards to be granted to William Antle Jr., in whom we have all great confidenceMary Antle, Nancy Bartlett, William Richards, John Richards, Jane Batten, Amey Listen, Rebecca Butler, Elizabeth Hussey. *(All used their marks except sons William & John Richards, who signed. )

Elizabeth Richards, 1831, Brigus, Admin. Vol 2.

A Petition written at Port de Grave, Newfoundland, November 1st, 1830. To: Mr. John Fry, St. John’s.

Sir, Please pay to William Antle Jr., whom we have hereby appointed our Attorney in this matter, the sum of Six Pounds due to us in the right of our late Mother

[ Elizabeth Richards ], for Rent of Premises basis, by William as Executor, under our Grandmother Mary Butler’s Will, to Messrs. Prowse & Wells, Port de Grave. Signed: Mary Antle, Amy Listen, Elizabeth Hussey, Jane Batten, Rebecca Butler, Ann Bartlett, William Richards, John Richards. ( All signed with marks only. ) Witnesses to the document and Signatures of each, William Antle Jr., Charles Fowler.

Isaac’s son William was buried in 1868. A William Richards of Bareneed was owner of the Schooner Ann built in 1832.

Name:William Richards
Record Type:Owner
Residence Place:Bareneed, Conception Bay, Newfoundland, Canada
Vessel Name:Ann
Vessel Type:Schooner
Vessel Registration Number:S832029
Vessel Registration Place:Newfoundland (all ports)
Year Vessel Constructed:1832
Crew Number:1

Abraham Richards who was listed in the 1805 Plantation Book is not recorded in the 1817 Census. This may be because he had leased his land to Thomas Patten & CO.

Keith Matthews Files MUN

This Abraham had acquired land in Port de Grave from his Uncle in 1775.

Abram Richards 34½ yds. from E. to W. by Waterside 60 yds. from H.W.M. 98 yds. from E. to W. bounded on the E. by Isaac Richards on the John Butler 100 yds from S. to N. bounded on the S. by —Hussey on the N. by Jno. Lidston and Wm. Hussey – 3 Flakes 2 Houses 2 GardensPort de GraveBy deed of gift from his uncle Abram Carnell1775

Plantation Book 1805 Back Cove, Port de Grave

An Abraham Richards was buried in the Shop House Hill Cemetery in Bareneed in 1824.

RichardsAbraham Oct. 182472 Yearsson of William Richards of Port de Grave [likely comment by transcriber]

The other brother that had land in 1805 was John. His land abutted Abrahams. Either this John or his son John might be the John involved in disputes with Patten and Graham (see History 1805-1818 for more info on this land).

There are a number individuals on the Ancestry DNA site that trace their roots back to Isaac Richards of Bareneed (1749-1828). Many of these trace Isaac bacl to a WILLIAM RICHARDS born 1732 at Paul, Cornwall, England and died April 21, 1782 at Port de Grave, Newfoundland. This William married an Ann Curnow, also born in Paul (see one tree below).

The problem with this theory is that the Parish records for Paul show that this William did not marry Anne Curnowe until 1755.

Day Month Year08-Nov-1755
Parish Circuit Or ChapelPaul
Groom FnWilliam
Bride Fn Anne Bride Sn CURNOWE  

This couple had their first child baptized in 1756.

1756  Paul    William          RICHARDS    William          Anne

Another tree has Isaac Richards of Bareneed being the son of William Richards Senior (b 1732) of Paul and Jane Hoskin.

There was a William Richards from Paul that married a Jane Hoskins at Paul in 1748 but this William was likely not born in 1732.

Day Month Year30-Apr-1748
Parish Circuit Or ChapelPaul
Groom FnWilliam
Bride FnJane

This couple had a son Abraham born at Paul in 1760.

Day Month Year28-Mar-1760
Parish Circuit Or ChapelPaul
Father ForenameWilliam
Mother ForenameJane

Neither of these Williams look like a perfect match; however, the previous discussion of William Richards of Stepney being the father of John Richards of Bareneed does not rule out Cornish roots for Isaac since he might not be decended from the William who was John’s father.

The Following tree, based on the data presented earlier, list some of the children and grandchildren of the William who arrived in 1728. I have placed Isaac born 1749 under this William but he might be related to William of Stepney.

Gen #1  William Richards Snr of Stepney (c 1700-1782)  
Gen #2William Richards Abraham Richards (1752-1824)John Richards   (c1742 –  )Isaac Richards (1749-1828)Amy Richards
 Married ElizabethMarried Jane Married Elizabeth Butler (1755 -1829) in 1778Married William Pinsent in 1797
Gen #3.William (1779-Jane (1782-John Richards (1796-1853)Elizabeth (1783 – 
 John (1782-1846)Abraham (1788- Jane (1785- 
 Elizabeth (1786-1847)Grace (1788- William Richards (1788-1868) 
  William Richards? John Richards 
  Charlote (1790   

My Family tree for Early Richards of Bareneed

The one question I still have relates to the Isaac of 1805 and 1817. The Plantation Book indicates that John, William and Abraham were living on properties they received from their father and these properties were registered in 1782; however, Isaac’s property was registered in 1778. There are a number of possible reasons for the earlier date on his property including the possibility that Isaac was not their brother (could have been cousin) and he inherited his property from a different father; however, a more likely explanation is that Isaac was living on the original grant which was registered earlier than the properties further west.

The following provides a summary of some later references to the Richards family in Bareneed.

The 1835 Voters List has five Richards listed in Bareneed and one in Port de Grave:

RICHARDS, IsaacPort de Grave
RICHARDS, John of IsaacPort de GraveBareneed
RICHARDS, William of IsaacPort de GraveBareneed
RICHARDS, John of WilliamPort de GraveBareneed
RICHARDS, William of AbrahamPort de GraveBareneed
RICHARDS, Abraham of WilliamPort de GraveBareneed

1835 Voters List Port de Grave Region

John and William sons of Isaac were discussed earlier. They were sons of the Isaac who was listed in the 1805 Plantation Book and the 1817 Census. John of William was the son of the William who owned the western most Richards plantation in 1805, it is not clear if he is the John in the 1817 Census. Abraham of William is likely his brother. William of Abraham is possibly the son of the Abraham of 1805 or another Abraham.

The records of the Church Society for 1847 list five contributors: 2 Williams, 2 Johns and Hannah (possibly a widow). The same report for 1849 list:

Richards, John  
Richards, Mrs. John  
Richards, Isaac (J. ) 
Richards, Wilham  
Richards, John, 
(Boat John) [a separate contribution from the boat]
Richards, John(G.)
Richards, Wm. J'r.

Lovell’s Directory for 1871 list the following for Bareneed:

  • Richards Abraham, fisherman
  • Richards George, fisherman
  • Richards Isaac, planter
  • Richards Isaac, planter
  • Richards John, planter
  • Richards John, fisherman
  • Richards John, fisherman
  • Richards John, fisherman
  • Richards Joseph, fisherman
  • Richards Thomas, fisherman
  • Richards William, fisherman
  • Richards William, planter
  • Richards William, planter

The following list of Newfoundland Captains [from various communities] show that the Richard’s family were noted seafarers.

 Index of Newfoundland Captains, 1820-1889

Richards, IsaacBillow1857129
Richards, IsaacCharles1844137
Richards, IsaacConvoy1865044
Richards, IsaacGood Intent1825135
Richards, IsaacIsaac & Elizabeth1835030
Richards, IsaacRenfrew1860095
Richards, IsaacVolant1852064
Richards, JamesClara1870028
Richards, JohnCreole1852110
Richards, JohnFavorite1825020
Richards, JohnGood Intent1828039
Richards, JohnIsaac & Elizabeth1844022
Richards, JohnLady Ann1831101
Richards, JohnVolant1852064
Richards, WilliamCharles1844137
Richards, WilliamClara Maria1870070
Richards, WilliamFavorite1832029
Richards, WilliamLady Ann1845007

In the 1864 – 65 Directory for Bareneed – Thomas Richards is listed as a schooner owner (see History 1837-1901 Section for more information on this Thomas).