Joshua Richards has but recently taken up his abode in Pleasantville, where he is now living retired from further
business cares in the enjoyment of a rest which he has truly earned and richly deserves. He still, however, owns
a farm of two hundred acres in Pleasant Grove township and at a former period was the owner of four hundred and
fifty five acres in the same township. He has made his home in Marion county since 1856 and his memory therefore
forms a connecting link between the primitive past and the progressive present. There are few events of importance
concerning the history of the county and its development with which he is not familiar and he contributed in substantial
measure to the advancement made along agricultural lines.
Mr. Richards was born in Coshocton county, Ohio, March 14, 1837, and is a son of William and Margaret (Thompson)
Richards, who were natives of Bedford county, Pennsylvania. Their marriage took place in Ohio, and they subsequently
removed to Wabash county, Indiana, where they lived for four years but in 1856 they came to Iowa, settling in Pleasant
Grove township, where the father secured land. He spent three or four years in Knoxville township but much of his
time in this county was passed in Pleasant Grove township and with the work of general development and improvement
he was closely associated. He and his wife traveled life's journey together for more than sixty eight years and
both passed away when over ninety years of age. In their family were ten children, of whom five are yet living:
Joshua, James and John, all of Pleasantville; William, whose home is in Montana; and Urias, of Oklahoma.
Joshua Richards was the fourth in order of birth in his father's family and was reared to the age of fourteen years
in Ohio, during which period he attended school and mastered many of the elementary branches of learning. Following
the removal of the family to Indiana he continued his education there. He was reared to farm life and early became
familiar with all the duties and labors incident to the development and care of the fields. When he started out
for himself he took up farming and at the age of nineteen years he arrived in Marion county, after which time he
was identified with agricultural interests until his recent retirement to private life. Success attended his efforts
and as his financial resources increased he kept adding to his holdings until his landed possessions aggregated
four hundred and fifty five acres in Pleasant Grove township. He has since disposed of a portion of his property
but is still the owner of two hundred acres of rich and valuable land. He was married on the 31st of March, 1861,
and soon afterward located upon the farm which he still owns. There he engaged quite extensively in the raising
of Poland China hogs and still has a number of registered animals. He also raised good graded shorthorn cattle
and horses, and became well known as a stockman. He had nothing with which to start out in the business world but
he displayed careful management, sound judgment and unfaltering industry and it was thus that he gained a place
among the substantial farmers of the community.
As stated, Mr. Richards was married on the 31st of March, 1861, the lady of his choice being Miss Frances Shunkwiler,
who was born in Indiana, January 25, 1843, and when three years of age was brought to this county by her parents,
David and Serilda (Bristol) Shunkwiler, who in 1846 settled in Pleasant Grove township, Marion county, where their
remaining days were passed. Her father was killed while serving as a soldier of the Union army in the Civil war
and his wife passed away in this county about forty years ago. They were earnest Christian people and enjoyed the
esteem and f riendship of many. Mrs. Richards had three brothers and two sisters. She was reared in this county
and pursued her education in one of the old time log schoolhouses of the pioneer day. To Mr. and Mrs. Richards
were born eleven children, nine of whom grew to maturity and six of whom are still living, namely: James, who is
a resident of Pleasant Grove township, this county; Ruann Ellen, who is the wife of Henry Hartman, of Longmont,
Colorado; Mary, who gave her hand in marriage to Lawrence Sherman, of Pleasant Grove township, this county; Emma,
the wife of James Evans, of Pleasantville, Iowa; Georgia, who is the widow of O. B. Wright and resides at home;
and Frankie, the wife of Floyd Shoemaker, of Pleasant Grove township, this county. Mr. and Mrs. Richards also have
twenty grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
In his political views Mr. Richards has always been a stalwart republican since casting his first presidential
vote for Abraham Lincoin in 1860. He has always marched under the party banner and has been loyal to its interests.
Since 1867 he has been affiliated with the Masonic order, having been initiated into the craft at Pleasantville.
His wife was formerly a member of the Good Templars Society, which she joined in girlhood, and she is a member
of the Christian church. Their lives have been well spent and they are widely and favorably known in the county.
Mr. Richards has done a good work in a business way. He has made excellent improvements upon his farm, which is
modern in, every particular. He has a system of waterworks whereby water is piped into the house and into the barn
and every modern facility and equipment is to be seen there. He well deserves the rest which he is now enjoying
and equally deserves the confidence and good will entertained for him by his fellow townsmen.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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