Early descendants of this line had strong connections with Dumfries town, including several Burgesses. It is notable for Sir John Richardson.
The earliest RICHARDSONs recorded were from Cleughfoot, Kirkpatrick Juxta. John RICHARDSON(1) had some eight children, including two notable sons Archibald and Gabriel. Both settled in Dumfries town, Archibald (ca. 1767-1846) being a wine merchant and Gabriel (1759-1820) a brewer. Gabriel married Anne MUNDELL, a descendent of the Maundells or Maundevilles of Torthorwald and Tinwald, Dumfries, who are thought once to have been border raiders. Anne’s mother owned Rosebank, outside Dumfries, and Anne was borne there. The Richardsons were friendly with the poet Robert BURNS who was excise man in Dumfries, and it was for Gabriel that Burns inscribed a whisky tumbler with a poem believed to have run:
Here Brewer Gabriel’s fire’s extinct,
And empty all his barrels;
He’s blest — if as he brew’d he drink —
In upright virtuous morals.
The tumbler stayed in the Richardson family until at least 1923, when it was smashed in a removal. For my own 60th birthday, my son Richard had a replica commissioned. Gabriel lies buried in St. Michael’s Church Yard, Dumfries, near to his friend’s mausoleum, his grave part of the modern Burns trail.
Gabriel’s eldest son John and Burn’s eldest son Robert were of the same age and went to school together. On the first day they were escorted by their fathers and Burns remarked to Gabriel that he wondered which of the would become the greater man. John (later Sir John) became a naval surgeon and then surgeon and natural historian to the arctic expeditions of Sir John Franklin, to whom he was related by marriage.
Several species, especially of fish, are named after Sir John. He was a mentor to Charles Darwin, corresponded with Florence Nightingale on nursing, and in retirement in Grasmere was a neighbour and friend of the poet Wordsworth.
A nephew of Sir John, Benjamin Richardson emigrated to Canada, giving rise to descendants in New Brunswick and elsewhere.
The history of this line has been researched several times by earlier members of the family. There are collections of letters in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge and elsewhere, and several biographies, viz.
- Sir John Richardson, by Rev. John McIlraith, pub. Longmans, Green & Co, London, 1868.
- Sir John Richardson, by Robert E Johnson, pub. Taylor & Francis Ltd, London, 1976.
- Arctic Ordeal, ed. by C Stuart Houstan, pub. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Canada, and Alan Sutton Publishing, Gloucester, England, 1984.
- Richardson, Sir John, by R E Johnson in Dictionary of Canadian Biography
The Franklin and Richardson lines have maintained connections to this day. An overview chart of the ALINGTON BOOTH FRANKLIN REYNOLDS RICHARDSON lines is available as a .pdf diagram here.
Sir John RICHARDSON’s son John Booth RICHARDSON was a painter and carver. For a biography see Art and Artillery: Major-General John Booth Richardson (1838-1923) by Richards Voss in Soldiers of the Queen: Journal of the Victorian military Society, 152, pp3-13, March 2013.
A younger son Willingham Franklin RICHARDSON became a Captain in the Royal Engineers. For a biography see Captain Willingham Franklin Richardson RE (1843-1875): From Hampshire to the Himalayas, by Richard Voss in Soldiers of the Queen: Journal of the Victorian military Society, 170, pp24-32, Spring 2018.
An article about Willingham’s wife Elizabeth Blew PYM and their connection to the REYNOLDS family is available here. Their daughter Caroline Beatrice RICHARDSON was an artist who made many paintings now of historical interest.