Location: Ray County, Missouri
Before 2020, no genealogies showed any relationship between Ann Richards, Manerva Richards, Austin Richards and Nancy Ellen Richards. And, currently, no know records show their kinship, with the exception of the 1870 newspaper obituary of Ann, which shows that she was the sister of Austin.
There are many records available that suggest that they (Ann, Manerva, Austin and Nancy Ellen) were all born in Indiana and all lived in close proximity in a rural Missouri township. They appear together in households and had marriages performed by the same Baptist preacher. Genetic evidence also supports the assertion that they were related.
Pivotal to their relationships was Nancy Richards, who census records show was born in 1805 in Kentucky. All of the evidence below, taken in whole, supports the assertion that Nancy Richards was the mother of Ann, Manerva, Austin and Nancy Ellen.
It is important to bear in mind that census records were sometimes very loose in identifying precise names and ages during this period. This was also a rural family of probably modest means. The 1860 census indicates that Nancy Richards and Ann Richards could not read or write. The 1900 census indicates that Austin Richards could not read or write (Manerva and Nancy Ellen could). Of Nancy, Ann, Manerva, Austin and Nancy Ellen, only the location of Nancy Ellen's gravestone is known.
Note: for consistency on this page, Nancy Ellen's first two names are always used, though later in life she was usually just called Ellen.
Births in Indiana
Census records show that Ann Richards was born in Indiana c. 1827, Manerva Richards was born in Indiana c. 1834, Austin Richards was born in Indiana c. 1836 and Nancy Ellen Richards was born in Indiana c. 1842.
While Richards might seem to be a popular surname, only about 350 individuals in the state of Missouri had the surname Richards in the 1850 census. Of those 350 individuals, only about 50 were Indiana-born Missouri residents. So it would be extremely unlikely in this period that four unrelated individuals, all named Richards and born in Indiana, would randomly appear in the same rural township in Missouri.
Many records show that Nancy Richards, Ann Richards, Manerva Richards, Austin Richards and Nancy Ellen Richards all lived at some point in their lives in rural Knoxville Township in Ray County, Missouri.
Records showing Ann Richards (as Ann Baker and Ann Teegarden) in Knoxville Township include the 1860 census and the 1870 census.
Records showing Manerva Richards (as Manerva Campbell) in Knoxville Township include the censuses of 1860, 1870 and 1900. An 1897 county atlas shows her husband owning land in Knoxville Township.
Records showing Austin Richards living in Knoxville Township include an 1863 military draft record. The 1850 census, mistakenly calling him "Austin Vanderpool," also shows him living in Knoxville Township.
Nancy Ellen Richards appears with many versions of maiden and married names. She is indicated living in Knoxville Township in the censuses of 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1900 in Knoxville Township. An 1877 county atlas shows her husband owning land in Knoxville Township. The 1850 census, mistakenly calling her "Nancy E. Vanderpool," also shows her living in Knoxville Township.
Records show that Nancy Richards, Manerva Richards, and Nancy Ellen Richards all resided in the south half of Section 15 in Township 53, Range 28, which is located in Knoxville Township.
For context, the center of Section 15 is located at about 39.4015°, -94.0305°. The location is still very rural.
An 1863 land deed shows that Wynant and Nancy Vanderpool sold 40 acres of the NE quarter of the SW quarter of Section 15. The sale was to Wynant's son Alfred Vanderpool.
An 1877 county atlas shows that “E. Hill” (Elijah Hill, Nancy Ellen's husband) owned the same 40 acres described in the 1863 Vanderpool deed: the NE quarter of the SW quarter of Section 15.
The same 1877 atlas shows that “Mrs. M. Campbell” owned 40 acres diagonally adjacent to the 40 acres of E. Hill. An 1897 county atlas shows the 40 acres of Mrs. M. Campbell owned by “L. Campbell.” The only “L. Campbell” in the county at that time was Manerva's husband Lenard Campbell (Mrs. M. Campbell was probably Lenard's mother).
The 1850, 1860 and 1870 censuses all show Nancy Richards and Nancy Ellen Richards in the same household. Austin Richards appears with them in the 1850 census. Ann Richards appears with them in the 1860 census.
In the 1850 census, the household of Wynant Vanderpool includes his wife Nancy Richards (as Nancy Vanderpool). Also in the large household it appears that two of Nancy's children have been mistakenly listed as if they were Wynant's children. "Austin Vanderpool," 13, is actually Austin Richards, and "Nancy E. Vanderpool," 7, is actually Nancy Ellen Richards.
In the 1860 census, the household of Wynant Vanderpool includes his wife Nancy Richards (as Nancy Vanderpool). Also in the household is widowed Ann Richards (as Ann Baker) and her two children. Also in the household is "Ellen Prichard," 17, — Nancy Ellen Richards.
In the 1870 census, the listing of the household of Elijah Hill includes his wife Nancy Ellen Richards (as Ellen Hill, 24) and ends with Nancy Richards (as Nancy Vanderpool), given with incorrect age and state of birth (Indiana instead of Kentucky).
Nancy, Ann, Manerva, Austin, and Nancy Ellen all had marriages recorded in Ray County, Missouri. Records show that the marriages of Nancy Richards, Manerva Richards and Austin Richards were performed by the same person: John Stone, a baptist minister.
In 1849, Nancy Richards and Wynant Vanderpool were married by John Stone.
In 1854, Manerva Richards and Lenard Campbell were married by John Stone.
In 1857, Austin Richards and Polly Bales were married by John Stone.
There are a few clues to where the Richards family might have attended church. The History of Ray County, p. 328, says that the Marion Church, organized in 1832, was a Baptist congregation where John Stone was pastor. That congregation was associated with the Vanderpool family. "At the beginning of the war [early 1860s], a division arose in the church ... Part of the congregation joined fellowship with the Crooked River Church..." An 1876 roll book (image 10) of the Crooked River Church, also a Baptist congregation, lists Manerva Richards's husband Lenard Campbell along with another Vanderpool.
Old Union Cemetery
Nancy Ellen Richards and her husband Elijah Hill have gravestones in Old Union Cemetery along with four of their nine children. Gravestones of four of Ann Richards’s six children are also located in Old Union Cemetery (39.416°, -94.1225°).
Locations of the burials of Nancy, Ann, Manerva and Austin are not known.
Wynant Vanderpool Probate Record
A Ray County probate record shows that Nancy was the administrator of her husband's Wynant Vanderpool's estate in 1865. One of Nancy's bond sureties was David Teegarden, who was the husband of Ann Richards.
Death of Ann Richards
A newspaper report in the Platte County Reveille (Platte City, Missouri) published on 19 August 1870 describes the accidental death of "Mrs. Teagarden" on 26 July 1870. The item ends with an attribution to the Ray county Conservator (newspaper).
- Fatal Accident.—We were pained to learn that on Tuesday, the 26th of July, as Mrs. Teagarden, sister of Mr. Aus. Richards, was coming into the city, on a wagon loaded with wheat, the vehicle was turned over, and she was caught beneath the heavy sacks of grain, and so seriously injured as to cause her death the following Sunday [31 July 1870] after suffering intense pain. Her remains were taken to Knoxville for internment, her late home.—Ray county Conservator.
Genetic evidence on Ancestry.com (as of June 2020) shows that descendants of Ann Richards, Manerva Richards and Nancy Ellen Richards share DNA.
reference — Descendant of Ann Richards, via George Washington Baker
31 cM — Descendant of Ann Richards, via Elvira Teegarden
28 cM — Descendant of Ann Richards, via Austin Teegarden
23 cM — Descendant of Ann Richards, via David Teegarden
22 cM — Descendant of Ann Richards, via Austin Teegarden
21 cM — Descendant of Ann Richards, via David Teegarden
18 cM — Descendant of Ann Richards, via David Teegarden
13 cM — Descendant of Ann Richards, via David Teegarden
12 cM — Descendant of Ellen Richards, via William Hill
9 cM — Descendant of Manerva Richards, via Eliza Ann Campbell
6 cM — Descendant of Manerva Richards, via Amanda Elizabeth Campbell
Note that Austin Richards has no living descendants (he left one known son and one known grandson who died in 1940).
Given the above evidence, the simplest explanation would be that Nancy was mother of Ann, Manerva, Austin and Nancy Ellen. The simplest scenario would be that Nancy was born in Kentucky, c. 1805; married a Richards before 1827; gave birth in Indiana to Ann, Manerva, Austin and Nancy Ellen; and migrated with her children to Missouri sometime between about 1842 and 1847.
However, other explanations cannot be ruled out. Nancy might have been a stepmother, or an aunt, for example.
The identity of Nancy’s husband and the likely father of Ann, Manerva, Austin and Nancy Ellen is not (yet) known. Since at least the 1970s, genealogies of Ann Richard’s descendants call him William Richards. An 1893 publication says that Nancy Ellen’s father was named “William Richards, born and reared in Indiana.” However, no records have been found that match a William Richards.
Despite the fact that an 1893 publication says that Nancy Ellen’s father was named "William Richards," one hypothesis is that Nancy was the same Nancy Adams who married Leonard Richards in 1824 in Bartholomew County, Indiana.
The arguments for the hypothesis are these:
- There was a migration around the 1840s of several families from Bartholomew County, Indiana, to Platte County, Missouri, including especially the Cox family and several related Gabbert families. They settled in an area called Pleasant Ridge, centered around the Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church. Records in Indiana show that Leonard Richard was very close to a cousin named William Richards and they were both close to the Gabbert family (William's wife was a Gabbert).
- There are no records of Leonard and Nancy in Indiana after the 1840 census. Furthermore no records or genealogies show their whereabouts after 1840, except for a small publication that claims they were in Platte County. (Note that this publication mistakes Nancy for another Nancy Adams, daughter of John Adams, who also migrated with the Gabberts.)
- Records show that before his marriage in Indiana to Nancy Adams, Leonard Richards had been married to Polly Allen in Kentucky in 1818. Thus, Alfred Richards, who appears in Platte County records and who married Emily Cox (born in Bartholomew County). Records shows he was born in Kentucky. He was likely the son of Leonard, the stepson of Nancy and the half-brother of Ann, Manerva, Austin and Nancy Ellen.
- Though the 1840 census listing for Leonard Richards does not name his children, the enumerated children in the household fit the age profiles of Alfred, Ann, Manerva and Austin (Nancy Ellen was not yet born).
Based on this hypothesis, the story of the Richards family goes as follows. Leonard Richards and Polly Allen were married in 1818. They had a son in Kentucky named Alfred Richards. In the early 1820s, Leonard Richards migrated to Bartholomew County, Indiana, with his cousin William Richards (who had married Elizabeth Gabbert in Kentucky). Leonard and William farmed land just south of the city of Columbus, Indiana. In 1824, Leonard Richards and Nancy Adams were married. They had children: Ann, Manerva, Austin and Nancy Ellen. William Richards died in 1846 (in his will he calls Leonard Richards his "cousin").
We don't know the fate of Leonard Richards. Did he die in Indiana? In Missouri? Elsewhere? But, according to this hypothesis, the family migrated to Platte County sometime before 1844, when Alfred Richards married Emily Cox. In 1847 in Platte County, Ann Richards married William Baker. In 1849, Nancy married Wynant Vanderpool and moved to Ray County, Missouri. Alfred, remained in Platte County (and later moved to Kansas), but thereafter Nancy, Manerva, Austin and Nancy Ellen spent the rest of their lives in Ray County.