Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

#109--Shopping for Jewelry with the Richards in Attleboro

I am always fascinated by the ways in which genealogy can lead you into an area that you did not expect.  Last week I blogged about Abel Richards and his service in the Revolutionary War.  While researching him, I noticed that two of this brothers, Edward and Nathan had moved from Dedham, Massachusetts to Attleboro, Massachusetts.  So I decided to find out a little about the Richards in Attleboro.

Sometimes, when I do not know much about an area, I start by reading about its history.  On Archive.org, I found Sketches of the History of Attleboro.  I was very surprised to read that Attleboro described itself as the center of jewelry manufacturing.  There were more different jewelry companies in Attleboro than I could keep track of.  Very often, a company dissolved and restructured with a new partner or combination of partners and a number of those companies involved one or more Richards.
I was curious to know whether or not there were any Richards involved in manufacturing jewelry now.  According to Google, the W. E. Richards Company is there and continues to make jewelry.  The site for Jackson Jewels  under Symmetalic described the company as follows:

 “The W.E. Richards Company was founded in North Attleboro, MA in 1902 producing wRe and Symmetalic costume jewelry of sterling silver with 10K and 14K gold overlay metal with jewelry consisting of Art Deco, Edwardian and Victorian designs using finer high quality materials, cultured pearls, Austrian rhinestones and aurora borealis rhinestone crystals, with some pieces produced containing semi precious stones. The costume jewelry included broaches, rings, scarf and hat pins, links, emblems, and pendants. Mark: "wRe". "Symmetalic" since 1936. The company is still in business today and the jewelry is highly sought after."

So my next step was to look see if I could find any of the jewelry for sale.  Both Ebay.com and Etsy.com had a number of pieces. many of which I would be more than happy to wear.  There were lots of pins,

some bracelets, especially scarab bracelets,

and necklaces or pendants.

I was curious to know what kind of jewelry W. E. Richards was making now, so I called their main office in Attleboro.  I discovered that the company sells midrange high quality women's jewelry, typically made with 14 carat gold and colored stones.  The jewelry is sold only through jewlery stores.

I think it may be time for me to shop.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

#108--Abel Richards's Secret Mission in the Revolutionary War

The Fourth of July always reminds me of the fight for independence and the Revolutionary War.  So for this week, I decided that I would blog about an ancestor who fought in that war and whom I did not know much about.  I have previously blogged about Abiathar Richards, Sr. and Abiathar Richards, Jr.—my grandfathers, who fought, so I needed to find someone else.  I did not take long for me to find Abel Richards, the younger brother of Abiathar, Sr.

Abel was listed in the Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War on Ancestry and as a Daughters of the Revolutionary War patriot.  Those are very brief summaries of his service.  He served for nine days as a private in Captain Ellis Company on the Lexington Alarm on April 19, 1775 and served 2 more days at the same time with Captain David Fairbanks.  In addition, he served 4 days at Dorchester Heights, when the company marched to Roxbury in March of 1776.  In June 1776, he was commissioned a Captain of the 6th Company, 1st Suffolk Regiment; he served 1 month and 7 days on a “secret” expedition to Rhode Island.  Two years later, in March, 1778, he captained a company in Col McIntosh’s regiment, and served until April 19, 1778 at Roxbury and Boston.

I always find those summaries both helpful and frustrating.  Helpful because you get information and frustrating, because there is not much information.  So I was pleased to find out that Fold3.org had made its Revolutionary Wary files searchable for free from July 1 to the 15.  Looking for any information on Abel, I found that his wife, Mary, had applied for a widow’s pension and that in the pension file, were several affidavits about his service from men that had served with him.  The one I found most helpful was the one which shed some light on that secret mission.  Joshua Whiting stated “Captain Abel Richards raised or mustered a company of soldiers of nearly 100 men and marched from said Dedham by way of Taunton to Tiverton or Little Compton,in the State of Rhode Island, and and in this expedition did perform military service five or six weeks and were then discharged and returned to Dedham…”  From that description, I am not sure why it was described as "secret."

 Abel was born in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1738.  His parents were John and Abigail (Avery) Richards.  In 1764 Abel married Hannah Newell and with her had five children.  After her death in 1794, Abel married Mary White. Abel died on January 18, 1832 at the age of 94 and was buried Westwod Cemetery in Westwood.Massachusetts.

As always, I would have some questions for Abel Richards.  First, I would like to know about that “secret” mission, which when Joshua Whiting described it.  Just what did they do?  Why did Whiting think it was "secret"?  I also would like a first-hand account of his participation in the Lexington Alarm—how did he hear about the British coming?  How did he get there?  Who else went?