Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson
Showing posts with label Bank of Montreal archives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bank of Montreal archives. Show all posts

Monday, March 23, 2015

More on Mary Curtis and Thomas Richardson

Last month I posted this picture and wrote about it with the caption on the back:
"Robert Richardson
(father of Thomas Richardson
who married Mary Curtis)"

I still not know how Robert is connected to my Richardson family, but maybe the wording indicates that Thomas Richardson married the "well-known of their day" Mary Curtis.

One of my readers from the RICHARDSON roots web list pointed out that there was a Mary Curtis in one of the RootsWeb's World Connect who was married to Thomas Richardson.
Mary Curtis:
b. 9 April 1848 in NYC daughter of Lucien Curtis and Celia Carlton Perkins, 
d. 1 Nov 1931, San Francisco
m. Thomas Richardson, 15 May 1869, San Francisco
On 10 February, I e-mailed the person who posted this information, but have not heard back from that person.

Wikipedia has an article about Mary Curtis Richardson, the impressionist painter who married Thomas Richardson from Canada:
Mary Curtis Richardson (9 April 1848, New York City – 1 November 1931, San Francisco) was an impressionist painter and known as the "Mary Cassatt of the West". Her father, Lucien Curtis went overland to the gold fields of California in 1849. The following year, Mary, her sister Leila and her mother went to California via the Isthmus of Panama to join her father and settled in San Francisco.

Her father was a professional engraver and taught both his daughters to draw and engrave. At age 18, Mary went to New York City and attended Cooper Union for two years. She returned to San Francisco and attended the School of Design.[citation needed] In 1869, she married Thomas Richardson who came to San Francisco from Canada and was in the lumber business. He died in 1913. Mary and her sister Leila established a wood engraving studio. Mary dabbled in painting, but friends encouraged her to seriously take up painting full-time.

An impressionist, she painted landscapes but is probably best known for her portrait paintings with a mother-and-child theme. One of her highly praised paintings, "The Sleeping Child" was eventually acquired by the Legion of Honor. Another child subject, "The Young Mother" won a silver medal at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915).

Her other portrait work included that of David Starr Jordan (first president of Stanford University), Susan Tolman (Mrs. Cyrus) Mills, (co-founder of Mills College) and University of California language professor F. V. Paget.

Richardson was a member of the Worcester Group in the 1890s, which met regularly for informal discussions and to socialize under the leadership of Reverend Joseph Worcester (also an amateur architect). Included in this group were artists such as William Keith and Bruce Porter, architects Willis Polk, Ernest Coxhead, John Galen Howard, Charles Keeler and writer Gelett Burgess.

Mary Curtis Richardson died 1 November 1931 at her Russian Hill studio and home.

The Rootsweb and Wikipedia Mary Curtis and Thomas Richardson, seem to be the same couple.

Thomas Richardson comes from Canada and is "in lumber."  Not much more information on him -- yet.

But why would my Richardson family have Thomas's father's picture?  Was he a relative?

There is another Robert Richardson, who may or may not be related to my family -- but might be a "colleague" of my William Richardson, so of my Robert Richardson.   Not sure if their paths crossed, but they did both work for the Bank of Montreal in Ontario.

When I wrote the archives inquiring about William and maybe Robert Richardson working for the Bank of Montreal, I received a letter (8 November 2005) listing two people's employment:

William 1854 - 1876: starting in the home office in Montreal and then going to various branches (Cobourg, St. Mary's Waterloo, Goderich) all over Ontario, then to St. John NB, finishing in Chicago 1871-1876 (setting up after the Chicago Fire).  He left in 1876 to start an insurance agency in Chicago.
Robert 1845 - retirement in 1897: Port Hope, Perth, Peterborough, Belleville (all in Ontario).

Possibly this Robert Richardson, working in various bank branch offices in Ontario, had a son named Thomas who married Mary Curtis.

Based on starting dates, Robert might have been about 10 years older than William.   Could Robert have a son who was married in 1869, possibly born about 1849?  That would mean he had a son Thomas born about 4 or 5 years after he started working at a bank.  It works age-wise.

Would the paths cross for Robert and William?  They didn't seem to work at the same branch of the Bank of Montreal, but possibly they did meet in some professional capacity.  The Bank did seem to move folks around a lot, maybe they did have some training at the home office.

Or maybe they were also related as cousins, since I have no information on our William's father, Robert Richardson ancestors or siblings or cousins.  As Irish, they did name the eldest son after the paternal grandfather, so possibly Robert Richardson the bank employee was named for the same Robert Richardson who William Richardson's father, Robert Richardson.
Or maybe not --  it is a pretty common name!

Still wondering why my family would have the picture -- after all, photographs then were not like photographs today where you can get multiple copies of different sizes to send to all the relatives for a relatively cheap price.  I would expect there to be a reason to have a ambrotype (1855-1865) photograph of someone else's relative in the mid-1800s.

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©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Robert Richardson, who are you? Mary Curtis, who are you? Thomas Richardson, who are you?

Among the pictures in the box of family pictures was this handsome gentleman.  Written on the back:
"Robert Richardson
(father of Thomas Richardson
who married Mary Curtis)"

From my untrained eye, the photo seems to be an ambrotype (1855-1865).

It was with the photos of my Richardson family.  I have a Robert Richardson (1810, Ireland - 1875, Québec City & Montréal Canada) married twice first to Sarah Allen (abt. 1815 - 1843, Québec City) in 1832 and Harriet Isabella Birch (1818, Québec City - 1902, Montréal) in 1843.

Robert and Sarah had a son Thomas Richardson born 27 October 1837 in Québec City.  I have not found any marriage of him to to anyone, let along a Mary Curtis.

Robert and Harriet had a son Robert who lived less than a year (August 1846 - 13 April 1847).

Maybe, there was another son of Robert who produced a grandson named Thomas who married Mary Curtis.  With a large family you'd expect some potential candidates.

Robert had 14 children with his two wives, at least 5 children made it to adulthood and 6 are known to have died in childhood.  There are potential possibilities of fathers for the Robert shown in the photo:  Thomas (b. 1837), Charles (b. 1848), Frederick (b. 1852), Arthur Henry (b. 1855).  But age wise, any of these sons having a son Robert as early who was an adult to fit the dates of the picture seems improbable.  Their  brother, my Great Great Grandfather William, did not have any son named Robert.

Clearly, this was someone possibly connected to my Richardson family who had very few pictures of family members.  Cousin in Canada?   Cousin in USA?  Cousin in Ireland?

Maybe our Robert had a not-yet-identified brother,  who had a son Robert with a son Thomas?

Another possible clue:  when I was researching my William Richardson (pictured in 4-generation picture above), son of Robert Richardson and Sarah Allen, I contacted the Bank of Montreal.  The Archives shared their records of William and mentioned a Robert Richardson who also worked for the bank.

Any information will be gratefully accepted as I try to figure out my Richardson family.

And if Robert Richardson above is your ancestor, maybe we are cousins!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Family Legend and the Rest of the Story

In the 4-generation picture above, the baby is my mother, and the eldest gentleman is William Richardson.

In my mother's autobiography, written when she was in 8th grade, she said:

"... Long ago the Richardsons were great landholders in the north of Ireland.  After awhile they came to Canada and settled in Quebec.  One son went to Belleville, Ontario where he met a Miss Bogart, whose family had come from New York because they had been loyal to the king.  After the revolution the king gave them a grant of land near Belleville.  Richardson married Miss Bogart.  They had a large family, the youngest of it was my grandfather.  He grew up in a boy’s boarding school and came to Oak Park.  They had two boys, Robert and Harold.  Harold never married.  Robert married Adelaide Harvey and they had two children, Alice and Madelon. ..."

I found her autobiography in her papers after she died in 2001.  When I asked her about the Richardsons before I knew about the autobiography, she said they came from Belfast Northern Ireland to Canada.  Then the family came to Chicago after the Great Chicago Fire (1871) to help with the rebuilding of Chicago.  She said her great grandfather William Richardson worked for the Bank of Nova Scotia.  So that was the family legend I was starting with:  Belfast, Ireland to Québec, Canada to Belleville, Ontario to Chicago, Illinois in 1871 in two generations.  As an adult, telling me about the family, my mother named six children, her grandfather was actually child number two, not six.


I found the wedding of Robert Richardson and Sarah Allen, the parents of William Richardson in the Anglican Cathedral Holy Trinity Church in Québec on 25 May 1832.  William was born on 5 November 1835 in Québec City.  Robert was a cordwainer.  Sarah had four children before she died 28 January 1843, in Québec City.  Robert remarried, this time to Harriet Isabella Birch on 20 September 1843.  They had nine children.  Not all of his 13 children made it to adulthood.  In the 1851 and 1871 censuses, Robert says he was born in 1810 in Ireland.

I have not verified the "great landholders" or the "Northern Ireland." Robert did work as a cordwainer in Québec, he sounds like someone who is working for a living rather than managing an estate of some kind in Québec.  I have not found any passenger records bringing Robert to Québec -- so I don't know if he came as a young adult or as a child.  I haven't found any potential Richardson parents for him in Québec.  I have noticed there are many Richardsons in Northern Ireland, many of them named William Richardson and some own land.  Robert's first son was named William.  So, maybe that part of the story is true.  That is left to be investigated further.


Now on to part two of the family legend:   Robert had a son William who went to Belleville, Ontario, married a Loyalist, and then moved to Chicago after the Fire working for a bank helping in the rebuilding effort.

In the 1851 census, William Richardson is living with his father and step-mother in Québec City and is working as an accountant.  In the 1861 census, William (25) is married to Minnie (19), he was born in Lower Canada, she was born in Upper Canada and they are living in Cobourg, Northumberland, Canada West.  He is working as a bank accountant.

William married Mary A C Bogart, daughter and granddaughter of United Empire Loyalists who came to Canada from New York.  I found a newspaper birth announcement in Belleville Ontario for only one of their six children and this became a clue:  William Jr. was born 16 February 1862, baptized in Cobourg.  The newspaper identifies William Jr.'s father as employed by the Bank of Montreal -- not the Bank of Nova Scotia.

In 2005, I wrote to the Archives of the Bank of Montreal, hoping that they might have some records on their employees.  They did!

"William Richardson
Entered service at Québec in June 1854, was a Teller at Belleville (ON) in 1857.  Between 1859 and 1860 he held several positions at HO (Montréal) before becoming an Agent in Cobourg, St. Mary's, Waterloo, Goderich (all branches in the Province of Ontario).  In 1869, W. Richardson is Manager of our St. John (NB) branch, and in 1871 he is the Manager of our Chicago branch.  He resigned in 1876 when in office at Chicago."

Also in that letter were copies of two newspaper clippings about the Bank, the first was from an 1943 Belleville paper telling about the history of the 100 years of the Bank of Montreal in Belleville.  The other article was from a corporate newspaper, FIRSTBANK NEWS, September/October 1981, page 4, titled "Bank's Chicago office opened in 1861," by Freeman Clowery, Archivist. The article was an interesting history linking banking and the development and growth of Chicago's trade and transportation center.  One particularly interesting paragraph:

     "At the time of the Great Chicago Fire, Bank of Montreal responded quickly, substantially supporting the disaster fund set up to aid sufferers.  Almost before the embers had cooled the Bank opened temporary quarters on Randolph Street, to help get commerce rolling again."

The article included a poor quality photo of the bank office after the Chicago Fire.  Fast forward to 2013.  I contacted the very nice archivist at the Bank of Montreal who I had corresponded with in 2005.  I inquired  whether they could scan the newspaper article so I could actually see a higher quality photo since it is supposed to be William Richardson in the doorway.  After a few inquiring e-mails back and forth, I received a scan of the original photograph, not the newspaper!

     "Manager William Richardson stands in the doorway of the 
Bank of Montreal's temporary premises in Chicago, opened
immediately following the Great Fire of 1871.  After the blaze it
contributed to the establishment of a fund for the relief of those
suffering from the disaster.  The Bank has operated in Chicago
since 1861."
Photo used with permission Bank of Montreal Archives.
Not only does this confirm part of my mother's story about her great grandfather coming to Chicago to help with the rebuilding after the Fire, but it clearly shows the surrounding devastation and challenges in opening up a office for any business in October 1871.

©2013 Erica Dakin Voolich
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