Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

William Richardson, 1735-1825

Treasurer of the Eastern Shore, 1789-1802 and 1813-1825

William Richardson was born on August 17, 1735, in Talbot County, the son of William and Ann (Webb) Richardson and a descendant of an old Eastern Shore family.

As a young man Richardson moved to Dorchester County where he married Elizabeth Green (?-1811). Their children were William (?-1831), Daniel Peter, Joseph, Thomas, Ann Webb (ca. 1772-1836), Mary, and Elizabeth.

He lived on a plantation called "Gilpin Point" in the part of Dorchester that became Caroline County in 1773. Richardson, a planter, was also a merchant who engaged in trade with England.

First elected to the House of Delegates from Dorchester County in 1771, he also served from 1773-1774. In 1774 he became deputy commissary of Caroline County. Richardson participated in the Provisional Government of 1774-1776 by attending the 1st Convention in 1774 and the 5th in 1775. He was elected to the 6th-8th Conventions but did not serve in 1776 because he had accepted a commission as colonel in the 4th Maryland Battalion of the Flying Camp. He served from July to December 1776 and saw active service at the Battle of Harlem Heights, New York. From December 1776 until October 1779 he was colonel of the 5th Maryland Regiment, Maryland Line, and also helped to quell an insurrection of Tories in Somerset and Worcester counties, ca. 1777.

When the British attacked Philadelphia in 1777, Richardson was commissioned to remove the Continental Treasury from there to Baltimore. Richardson was away from Maryland from June 1780 until the end of March 1782. During part of this time he was held captive in England. Richardson was apparently on a merchant vessel in 1781 when it was captured by the British. Although he hired a privateer to transport him and a Dr. Hindman to France, they were again captured. Both Richardson and Hindman were later released, no charges having been proved against them.

In 1777 Richardson was appointed clerk of the Caroline County Court, but chose a deputy to act for him. He was later to serve as clerk until at least 1790. He was a member of the Constitution Ratification Convention in 1788 and served as a presidential elector in 1789 and 1792. He was a Maryland Senate elector in 1791 and an associate justice, 4th district court, 1791-1793. William Richardson was Treasurer of the Eastern Shore from 1789 until 1802 and from 1813 until 1825.

Richardson died on June 24, 1825, at his residence in Caroline County.


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