During the past five years, beginning in 1909, John Richards has lived retired in Pleasantville, where he owns
and occupies a fine home. He is a retired farmer of the county and a representative of one of the prominent pioneer
families. His birth occurred in Coshocton county, Ohio, December 28, 1845, his parents being Mr. and Mrs. William
Richards, of whom extended mention is made elsewhere in this volume. He was but eleven years of age when the family
came to Marion county, arriving in 1856. Here he attended the public schools. The school building was of logs,
its furnishings were crude and the methods of instruction were also somewhat primitive, but through that early
training and also through later experience, observation and reading Mr. Richards has added largely to his knowledge,
becoming a practical, capable business man and one well informed on many general questions of the day. He has always
followed farming and stock raising and has met with a substantial measure of success.
Mr. Richards remained at home until seventeen years of age and then enlisted in August, 1863, as a member of Company
A, Thirty third Iowa Volunteer Infantry, with which he served until the close of the war. He was with the western
army in a number of important engagements but was never wounded. His brother Josiah was also a soldier, being with
the boys in blue of Company I, Thirty third Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was born July 4, 1843, and died just after
the battle of Helena, Arkansas. John Richards remained at the front until after the close of the war and is familiar
with all of the experiences of military life. He was mustered out on the 19th of August, 1865, after which he resumed
work upon the home farm, assisting his father up to the time of his marriage.
It was in 1870 that John Richards was joined in wedlock to Miss Matilda E. De Haven, who was born in Virginia,
a daughter of Joseph and Rebecca (Rowe) De Haven. Her mother reached the age of ninety three years in September,
1914. She is still enjoying good health, is active and reads the daily papers each day without the aid of glasses
and is thoroughly informed on current events. She makes her home with Mr. and Mrs. Richards. Mr. De Haven passed
away in Ohio forty five years ago. He devoted his life to farming and after his death his widow came to Marion
county, where she has spent the past forty five years. In their family were three sons and three daughters and
with the exception of one son all are yet living.
During different periods of her girlhood Mrs. Richards resided with her parents in Virginia, Ohio and Iowa. By
her marriage she has become the mother of eleven children, four sons and seven daughters, as follows: Bert, a farmer
residing one mile west of Pleasantville, who wedded Miss Nora Silvers, who had been reared in the home of T. R.
Brown; Eva, who is the wife of Benjamin Cleveland, of Pleasant Grove township, this county; Thirza, who is the
widow of Alfred Hickman and is associated with her brother George in the operation of a farm in Pleasant Grove
township; Eunice, who is the wife of E. F. Radloff and resides near Marshalltown, Iowa; Margery, who gave her hand
in marriage to B. D. Orcutt, of Pleasant Grove township; Belle, who is the wife of E. E. Rue, a carpenter and builder
of Melcher, Iowa; Daisy, who taught school for some years and is now the wife of Cecil Shawver, of Pleasant Grove
township; Urias, who wedded Miss George Kerr and follows farming in Pleasant Grove township; Fred, a farmer residing
near Pleasantville, who married Miss Ruth Hayes; George, who owns and operates a farm in association with his sister,
Mrs. Thirza Hickman; and Nora, at home. The children have all been provided with good educational advantages and
in addition to attending the public schools some have attended business college. Mr. and Mrs. Richards have nineteen
Both Mr. and Mrs. Richards are members of the Christian church and their children are all identified with the same
denomination save one son, Bert, who is a Methodist. Mr. Richards belonged to the Grand Army post at Pleasantville
until it was discontinued and he was formerly identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He continued
to own his farm of two hundred and ten acres until January, 1914, when he sold that property. He won a substantial
measure of success in his agricultural activities and gained thereby the handsome competence which now enables
him to live retired and yet enjoy the comforts and some of the luxuries of life.
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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