When I saw the theme for this week’s genealogy blog was farm, I thought “Oh no.” I have written about a number of farms and farmers in my family: George Newell, John Hannah, Sarah Hannah. They were all farming in the mid 1800’s in the Midwest and the Agricultural Census gave me lots of information about them. However, I also had farmers in my Richards line whose farms were in Dedham, Massachusetts from the mid 1600’s to the 1800’s. So I decided that I would see what I could gather about one of them.
I looked though what I had and discovered that I had some interesting diary entries and newspaper clippings about my great great great grandfather, Abiathar Richards, Jr. Abiathar was born in April 7, 1754 to Abiathar and Elizabeth (Richards) Richards. He married Elizabeth Smith on April 12, 1782. They had eleven children.
According to various records, Abiathar Richards was a farmer. . Nathaniel Ames was a physician in Dedham and Ames’s diary contains several references related to farming and cattle. “ May, 14, 1814…Ab’r Richards to Calf to sell..(P 1017)”; “June 13, 1816 Ab Richards calf w 23lb” ; “November 22, 1816 Calf 7 w old Ab Richards good Veal 16 lb. hind qrs sold At 10 cents Lb (p. 1068). Dr. Ames also indicates that he was paid by Abiathar in produce or livestock for treating various illnesses.
In the local Dedham newspapers I found several ads from Abiathar related to lost or found livestock. On November 4, 1797, Abiathar advertised that he had five stray cattle and that if the owner could identify them and pay Abiathar for taking care of them, he could have them back. Somehow, Abiathar lost 23 sheep and a 3 year old mare colt who wandered off.
In 1824, Abiathar advertised to sell his farm. From the ad, it appears that Abiathar primary focus was raising, selling and slaughtering cattle. It is not clear what he raised in the orchard.
I have several questions for Abiathar. Where was the farm? How big was it? Did you grown crops and if so, what: Why did you decide to sell it?