The Richardson Family

The John Richardson of the Greene Co., TN court record who was given care of John Goodman’s children, may have been the same Col. Jonathan Richardson of Bedford Co., VA, with whom Ansel and John Goodman both may have served while they were in the Bedford Militia, and who was an early pioneer of TN. The Richardson family in Bedford, VA also included two generations of Amos Richardson, a Jesse, and other given names that seem to have been carried into the line of descendants of the children of John Goodman.

John Richardson was granted 240 ac. on Grassy Branch of Lick Creek in Green Co (NC Grants in TN #1914 John Richardson, 1787-88). His son Obediah (Obed) Richardson and his mother, the widow Susanna Richardson, sold the same 240 ac for $265. on 29 Sept 1800 (Greene Co., TN Deeds, volume 4, page 456) to George Harmon, also previously of Bedford County, VA. Greene County Marriages record that Peter Casteel married to Susanna Richardson on 5/8/1800, who may have been John Richardson’s widow, and the sale of John Richardson’s grant tract followed shortly thereafter.

John Richardson died in TN about 1795, when his will was recorded (Greene Co., TN Court Minutes, No#/391). Wife Susanna (Fuqua) Richardson was named executrix, and the will also names sons: Jonathan, Joseph, Obediah, Jesse, Fuquay (Fuqua?), and daughters Elizabeth, Mary and Siller (Priscilla?). This almost certainly confirms that this John and Susanna Richardson were the same ones that sold 60 ac. of land and plantation 26 Feb. 1748 in Louisa Co., VA, as Susanna’s name is also listed in that transaction. They appear to have removed from Louisa to Cumberland Co. in 1748, then to Lunenburg Co. before 1754, then to Bedford Co. 1764-1783, then finally to Greene Co., TN about 1783. So, this John Richardson would probably have been born before 1727, and would have been 68 or older when he died. If he married Susanna about 1747, their children would probably have been born between 1748 and 1770.

Jonathan Richardson, presumed to be the eldest son, was taxed in Greene County in 1798, in Capt. Edward Tate’s Company, the same Company as his mother Susanna Richardson and brother Obediah Richardson. Jonathan had 50 ac., probably part of his father’s 240 ac tract, as Susanna was taxed for only 140 ac of that tract, and Obediah probably had possession of the other 50 ac., though it is not listed under his name on the tax list. Jno. Richardson is taxed in Blount Count TN in 1800 and 1801, with 200 ac. 

James Richardson, relationship unknown, was Sheriff of Green Co., TN 1787-92. Capt James Richardson served under Gen. John Sevier. He also fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain. He operated the first ferry across Clinch River under an agreement with the Indian Agency (later operated by Thomas N. Clark). He is not named in John Richardson’s will of 1795, and if he was a son of John Richardson, may have been a prominent and wealthy enough citizen in his own right that his father may not have made any bequests to James. In any case, as Sheriff at the time, he may have had a hand in granting custody of the John Goodman children to John and Joseph Richardson in 1790. James Richardson’s 640 ac grand from NC was on the S. side Nolachucky R. He later resided in Roan County KY.

In November 1804, the Blount Co., TN Co. Ct. Minutes B/32, record that orphans Joseph Richeson (Richardson), 11 yrs. & 5 mo. (therefore b. abt. Aug 1793), and Drury Richeson (sic: Richardson), 7 yrs. & 4 mo., were bound to John Black Cusack until they are 21. These boys could have been sons of Jonathan or Jesse or Fuquay Richardson, or of Capt. James Richardson, but probably not sons of Obediah, who removed with his wife Sarah Goodman and their children to Barren Co., KY about 1810-14, and not Joseph, who removed with wife Susanna Goodman and their children to Barren Co., KY about 1804/5.

Joseph Richardson, son of John Richardson, married Susanna Goodman, dau of John Goodman and Epharilla Thorp, in Greene County TN, July 1, 1790. This is no doubt the same Joseph Richardson mentioned previously, who was a son of John Richardson, and was descended from the Richardson family of Louisa Co., VA and later Bedford Co., VA. This Susanna Goodman was most likely an elder sister to the Goodman children mentioned previously. There was a Susanna Goodman, b. abt. 1764, and sister of the Rev. John Goodman b. 1761, and both of these were children of Charles Goodman of Albemarle. However, according to Albemarle Co. Marriages, she m. John Rogers 29 Aug 1789 in Albemarle Co., VA. Therefore these had to be two different Susanna Goodmans, although their ages were probably very close.

Obediah Richardson, son of John Richardson, married Sarah Jane Goodman, daughter of John Goodman and Epharilla Thorp, in Greene Co. TN, May 16, 1797. Obediah died young, before 1813 and probably about 1810/11. Sarah Goodman Richardson married 2nd to Matthew Harper (his 3rd) in Barren Co., KY, Dec 12, 1815, Matthias Reynolds, husband of Martha Goodman, surety. Matthias Reynolds also Surety for Matthew Harper’s 2nd marriage, to Judah Reynolds, likely his daughter, and who d. May 7, 1815. There are two other fairly well documented Obediah Richardsons around 1795-1820, one in Georgia and another in Knox County Indiana, who are NOT the same person as this Obediah Richardson.

Of Jesse and Fuqay Richardson, nothing more is known at this time.

See Bedford Co., VA records on this site, for additional information about the land and marriages of this and related families in Bedford Co., VA.

Ally/Althea/Aletha Richardson

I have seen numerous sources on the internet that claim that Ally/Althea/Aletha Richardson, supposedly 1/2 Native American and the wife/consort of Obediah Goodman of Newmans Ridge, Hawkins County TN, was the daughter of Obediah Richardson and Sarah Goodman of Greene County TN. The close Richardson/Goodman family ties in Greene County, and that Greene is adjacent to Hawkins County, seem to be the basis for this assumption. However, in my opinion, based on what we now know, Aletha/Althea/Ally Richardson could NOT have been a daughter of Obediah Richardson and Sarah Goodman, for the reasons I cite below, with documentary references. Some of this information is further detailed above and on other pages of this site, but I will summarize it here to make my point.

On Aug 1790, (Greene Co., TN Court Minutes, #/170, Source: “Tennessee Tidbits, 1778-1914, Vol. 1”, compiled by Marjorie Hood Fischer) Robert and Amos Goodman, children of John Goodman, were ordered committed to the care of John Richardson until further orders. Stephen and Sarah and Rachel Goodman were committed to the care of Joseph Richardson. John Richardson was Obediah Richardson’s father, and Joseph Richardson was Obediah Richardson’s brother, according to John Richardson’s will, written in 1794 and recorded in 1795 in Greene Co., TN (Will of John Richardson. Greene Co., TN Ct. Minutes No #/391).

By the Aug 1790 court order, it is clear that Sarah Goodman was still a minor and unmarried as of August 1790, and by the order of her naming in the court order, was probably the 2nd youngest child of John Goodman and his wife Epharilla Thorpe. It is interesting, but not too surprising then, that she later married Obediah Richardson, her appointed guardian’s younger brother. From family bible records of Robert Goodman’s descendants in Wilson Co., TN, Robert Goodman was born on February 27, 1775. From the John Goodman Jr. (born October 31, 1772 and later of Oglethorpe Co., GA) family bible records, his brother Stephen Goodman was born March 17, 1777. From his Goodman Family Cemetery tombstone and other records in Munfordville, Hart Co., KY, Amos Goodman was born on February 28, 1782. All of this further confirms that the Goodman children named in the 1790 Greene County TN court order were most likely named in the order of their ages. Rachel Goodman’s birth date is unknown, but it is believed that she is the same Rachel Goodman who married Isaac Gore in Garrard Co., KY on December 21, 1802, so she was likely born ca 1783 or later.

John Richardson and Susanna Fuqua, parents of Obediah Richardson, were both from prominent white Virginia families, with no hint of Native American or mulatto blood on either side, as were John Goodman and his wife Epharilla Thorpe, parents of Sarah Goodman. So if Ally/Althea/Aletha Richardson had any Native American blood, it was not from either of these families.

Obediah Richardson and Sarah Goodman did not marry until May 16, 1797 in Greene Co., TN. It was an extreme May/December marriage, as Obediah was much older then his young bride. They are only known to have had one daughter, Katherine Richardson, and three sons, one of whom was named Larkin. Sarah Jane Goodman, wife of Obediah Richardson, was most likely born after brother Stephen, probably 1779 to 1781, and so would have been no more than 9-11 old in 1790, when Althea/Aletha/Ally Richardson was supposedly born, and between 16-18 when she married Obediah Richardson in 1797. Sarah Jane Goodman, widow of Obediah Richardson, had 5 children with her 2nd husband, Matthew Harper, from 1816 to 1825 in KY. Assuming  she was born in 1778/79, she would have been about 47 years old when her last child was born in 1825, pretty much the upper limit on childbirth for that era. So, it seems very unlikely that she could have been born before 1778/79.

The John Richardson family was living on the Grassy Branch of Lick Creek, Greene County TN, from at least 1787/88 when John Richardson was granted 240 ac in that place, until his son Obediah (Obed) Richardson and his mother, the widow Susanna Richardson, sold the same 240 ac tract on 29 Sept 1800 to George Harmon, as cited above. Obediah Richardson is then taxed in Blount Co., TN from 1801 (then in Capt. Montgomery’s Co.) through 1810. Therefore, Obediah Richardson and Sarah Goodman and their children, presumably all born ca 1798-1810, never lived in or near Hawkins Co., TN or Floyd Co., KY between 1800 and 1810. They were well to the south in Blount Co. TN that entire time, and at least Sarah was in Barren County KY before 1813, and possibly with Obediah until he died between 1810 and 1813.

Therefore, Aletha/Althea/Ally Richardson could possibly have been a daughter of Obediah Richardson by a previous marriage, possibly to an unknown Native American women, but not with Sarah Goodman. But Sarah Goodman may possibly have been her stepmother, contributing to the confusion. Obediah Richardson also had brothers Jonathan and Joseph and Jesse and Fuquay (Fuqua) Richardson, all born ca 1750-1775, and all living at least until 1795 when their father John Richardson died in Greene Co., TN and left his will naming his sons. Any one of those other Richardsons, including Joseph Richardson, Sheriff of Greene County 1787-1792, whose relationship with the other Richardsons of Greene County is uncertain, could also have been Althea’s father, or none of them. So, at this time, lacking specific documentary evidence, it should be stated that Aletha/Althea/Ally Richardson’s parentage is unknown and unproven.

Finally, there is no evidence that I know of to connect Obediah Goodman of Hawkins County TN with any of the Goodmans of Greene County TN.


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