Is your surname Richards?

Research the Richards family

Thomas Richards's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Thomas Richards

Birthplace: England
Death: before February 1639
Immediate Family:

Husband of Pricilla Richards and Priscilla Richards (Wakeman)
Father of Obadiah Richards; Mary Peck (Richards); John Richards; Samuel Richards and Thomas Richards

Occupation: Pequot War
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas Richards

Biographical Summary:

Thomas Richards, Hartford, 1639, a proprietor "by the town's courtesie;" his lot in 1639 was west of the present Lafayette St. He died before February 1639-40; when the distribution was made to "ye widow Richards, ye late wife of Thomas Richards, deceased." She died in 1671; inventory June 12.


  1. John, born 1631; married Lydia, daughter of George Stocking; freeman, 1669; chimney looker, 1657; living in 1712.
  2. Mary, married Peck, of Milford; Savage says that Joseph Peck, of Milford, married Mary, daughter of a widow Richards, in 1669.
  3. Thomas was one of a company from Conn., who purchased, July 11, 1667, a tract on the Passaic River, in New Jersey, including the present site of Newark. He was a deacon in the church, and a prominent citizen; will dated October 2, 1708, proved Apr. 20, 1715; names wife, Hannah; leaves most of his property to his nephew John, son of his brother John.
  4. Obadiah, an early settler of Farmington; freeman, May, 1669; signed the agreement for planting Mattatuck, 1674, and joined the settlement early; married (1) Hannah, daughter of John Andrews, of Farmington; (2) Esther; he died November 11, 1702.
  5. Samuel; freeman, May, 1658; settled in New Haven as a cordwainer, where he died 1662, unmarried.

SOURCE: James Hammond Trumbull, editor, The memorial history of Hartford County, Connecticut, 1633-1884, Volume 1 (Boston, Massachusetts: Edward L. Osgood, 1886), page 256. Retrieved: 3 May 2011 from Google Books

  • Thomas is listed among the first settlers of Branford CT in 1644.

In 1638 the New Haven Colony traded "eleven coats of trucking cloth and one coat of English cloth made in the English fashion" to the Mattabesec Indians for land known as Totokett (Tidal River). The first permanent settlement was established in 1644 when people from Wethersfield came to Totokett, later renamed Branford after the town of Brentford in Middlesex County, England.

Thomas Richards of Hartford, Connecticut, d. ca. 1639.

The inventory of Thomas Richards of Hartford was valued at £38-030-00 [ECPR Hartford 1: 146, from Hartford Dist. Probate Records 2: 50; no date given]. The inventory of Widow Richards was taken 12 June 1671, with total value £24-08-00. On the next day, the estate of was distributed to John Richards, to Mary Peck of Milford, to Thomas Richards, and to Obadiah Richards [ECPR Hartford 1: 226-7, from Hartford Dist. Probate Records 3: 101]

Date of birth: Unknown. Place of birth: England.

Date of death: bef. February 1639/40. Place of death: Unknown (residing at Hartford, CT). In February 1639/40, distribution of his estate was granted to the widow Richards, late wife of Thomas Richards, deceased. [Fam. Early Hartford 476, original source unclear] His children must have born into the late 1630's, so his date of death cannot be long before February 1639/40.

Father: Unknown. Mother: Unknown. The parish registers of Ribbesford, where Thomas Richards was married, have a number of Richards entries, but no baptism for a Thomas Richards at the appropriate period.

Spouse: m. Ribbesford, co. Worc., 19 January 1629[/30], Priscilla Wakeman, d. bef. 12 June 1671. [Ribbesford PRT, 22]


John Richards, bp. Ribbesford, 13 March 1630[/1]; m. Lydia Stocking. [bp.: "John the sonne of Thomas Richards and Priscilla" Ribbesford PRT, 97; mar.: Hist. Waterbury, CT, 176] His marriage is proven by the will of George Stocking of Hartford, dated 15 July 1673, which named his daughter Lydia Richards, wife of John Richards [ECPR Hartford 1: 241].

Mary Richards, bp. Ribbesford, 1 July 1632; m. Joseph Peck of Milford, d. 26 February 1700/1. [bp.: "Mary daughter of Thomas Richards and Priscilla" Ribbesford PRT, 99; death of Joseph: FANH 1409]

Thomas Richards, of Newark, NJ, d. NJ, 2 October 1706 × 20 April 1715; m. Hannah _____, living 20 April 1715. He has been identified with a Thomas Richards who lived in New Jersey. The will of Thomas Richards of Newark, Essex co., NJ, dated 2 October 1706, and proved 20 April 1715, mentioned his wife Hannah, his sister Rachell the widow of his brother Obadiah Richards, his cousin John Richards son of the above said Obadiah, his 2d cousin John Richards son of the above John and grandson of Obadiah, "his brother Thomas Richards who was borne in my house at Newark", his sister Mary daughter of John Richards, his cousin John Richards son of his brother John Richards, the last to have all real estate and be sole executor, with John Prudden and James Notman as supervisors [NJ Wills 2: 17, FHL film #522,714; Cal. NJ Wills, 1: 382, with an inaccurate abstract that makes Mary a daughter rather than granddaughter of Obadiah]. The names of the brothers of Thomas Richards of New Jersey, John and Obadiah, match this family well. The main obstacle to identifying Thomas of NJ as a son of Thomas of Hartford is that the widow of Obadiah Richards of Waterbury was named Hannah, not Rachel [see the pages of Obadiah and Hannah].

Obadiah Richards, d. bef. 24 November 1702; m. Hannah (prob. Andrews), b. ca. 1647, bp. 16 May 1658.

Samuel Richards, of New Haven, d. 1662, unmd. [Fam. Early Hartford, 476; the original source for this son is unclear]

The identification of Thomas Richards

The problem is to make sure that the Thomas Richards of the American records is being correctly identified in the English records. In England, the parish registers of Ribbesford in Worcestershire show the marriage on 19 January 1629/30 of Thomas Richards and Priscilla Wakeman, followed closely by the baptisms of two children named John and Mary, who can definitely be attached to this couple because the mother is also named in the baptisms [Ribbesford PRT, 23, 97, 99]. In the America records, we have the distribution of the estate of Widow Richards on 13 June 1671 to the heirs John Richards, Mary Peck, Thomas Richards, and Obadiah Richards. What proof is there that these records, separated by decades and an ocean, involve the same family? Unfortunately, the first name of Widow Richards is not supplied. While the names John and Mary match for the two eldest children, those are obviously pretty common names.

The record which helps to tie things together is an early will from New Haven, the will of Martha Davis. This will, dated 20 August 1662, mentions, among others, Martha's sister Priscilla Richards and her daughter Mary Richards, her sister Anna Nichols, and her "cousin" Thomas Richards ["Early Probate Records of New Haven" NEHGR 81 (1927): 123]. The word "cousin" was often used during this period to mean "nephew", and that meaning in this instance is made much more probable by the fact that we already know that a sister of the testator married a Richards. Martha Davis, Priscilla Richards, and Anna Nichols were all sisters, daughters of Francis Wakeman of Bewdley, co. Worcester [see the page of Francis Wakeman for details]. Although the residence of Priscilla Richards is not explicitly stated, her presence as a legatee in the will of Martha Davis strongly suggests that she was living in New England. With the geographical range narrowed, the fact that Priscilla Richards had children John and Mary and probably also Thomas makes her an excellent candidate to be the same person as Widow Richards. Although this evidence for the identification is not airtight, the case is a good one.

Reference abbreviations

Cal. NJ Wills = William Nelson, ed., Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Vol. 1, 1670-1730 (New Jersey Archives 23, Paterson, NJ, 1901).

ECPR Hartford = A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records - Hartford District (3 vols., 1902-6).

Fam. Early Hartford = Lucius Barnes Barbour, Families of Early Hartford, Connecticut (Baltimore, 1977).

FANH = Donald Lines Jacobus, "Families of Ancient New Haven", New Haven Genealogical Magazine (TAG) 1-8 (1922-32). (paginated consecutively)

Hist. Waterbury, CT = Henry Bronson, History of Waterbury, Connecticut (Waterbury, 1858).

NEHGR = New England Historical and Genealogical Register.

Ribbesford PRT = Ribbesford, co. Worcester Parish Register Transcripts, FHL fiche #6,344,777 (baptisms), #6,085,626 (marriages and burials).

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 14 August 2011.


view all 11

Thomas Richards's Timeline

Age 14
Hingham, Norfolk, England, (Present UK)
March 13, 1630
Age 30
Of New England, United States
Age 35
New Haven, Connecticut
February 1639
Age 39
Age 39
Hartford, Connecticut Colony