SAMUEL K. RICHARDS, the subject of this sketch, grew to manhood on the home farm, being reared to the vocation of a farmer. In 1847 he returned to New York State, and attended the Jordan Academy, in the meantime clerking in a drug store to pay for his board. In 1848 work commenced on the Lafayette & Indianapolis Railroad (now a part of the Big Four system), and his elder brother, WILLIAM C. RICHARDS, a surveyor and engineer, being employed on this road, offered SAMUEL a situation as rod carrier at a salary which induced him to leave school and accept the situation, and with this work he began his studies for civil engineering. After working for the company six months he left, owing to its financial weakness, when he went to Blue Licking Springs, Kentucky, and attended the Western Military Institute, where he was a pupil of JAMES G. BLAINE, who at that time was professor of mathematics in that institution. After an attendance of six months at this school he was sent for to resume work on the road, and his brother, having left, he was appointed to the position of first assistant under the chief engineer. He remained in the employ of the road until 1854, when the track was all laid and the ballasting completed. He was then employed as assistant engineer on the Defiance Division of the Wabash Railroad, but shortly after, his old friend and chief, BACKUS FORD, obtained a position for him on the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad, he having charge of the surveys and location of that line. Two years later, 1857, he returned to Tippecanoe County, and bought the old homestead of his father, who had died during his absence. This property he still owns and occupies. In September, 1869, he became first assistant on the Lafayette, Muncie & Bloomington Railroad, remaining in the employ of that company until the spring of 1873, when he accepted the position of city engineer of Lafayette, remaining there two years, and while employed in this capacity he did the engineering for the establishing and locating the water works and reservoir, and also laid out an important addition to the city, then called Stockton's Grove, now known as Perine's addition. In the spring of 1875 he accepted the position of chief engineer of the Lafayette, Muncie & Bloomington Railroad, which he held until the fall of 1878, after which he served one year in the same capacity on the Louisville, New Albany & Chicago Railroad. For seven months during the year 1880, he was employed on the Lake Erie & Western Road, superintending its construction between Fremont and Sandusky, and in that year he removed from Lafayette to his farm, where he has since resided. In 1883 he was employed on the Seneca Division of the Big Four Railroad, remaining in this employ until the completion of the road, a period of about nine months, this being his last railroad work. While engaged on the C., L. & C. Railroad, now a part of the Big Four system, he laid out all the towns and villages on that line, viz: Fowler, Earl Park, Raub, Templeton, also Boswell, Ambia and Chase, on the Lake Erie & Western line. In 1883 MR. RICHARDS was elected county surveyor for Tippecanoe County, and served a term of two years, since which time he has been largely engaged in drainage and engineering for private individuals, but now devotes most of his time to farming and stock-raising.
MR. RICHARDS was married May 15, 1853, to MISS SUSAN T. WATT, a daughter of ROBERT and JANE WATT, who were pioneers of Clinton County, Indiana. Five children were born to this union, four of whom are still living--CLARA, widow of the late HENRY WARD; MARY M., CLYDE W., and LURA J. MRS. RICHARDS died August 1, 1879. In his early life WILLIAM C. RICHARDS, brother of our subject, taught school on section 13, Lauramie Township, MR. RICHARDS himself, teaching in the same place some years later, when yet a young man. MRS. RICHARDS also taught in the same school previous to her marriage, and two of their daughters have since taught on the same section, and nearly on the same spot of ground, making the name RICHARDS School-house, very appropriate.
During MR. RICHARD's busy life he has been identified with many of the important enterprises that have materially affected the prosperity of the county, and by his sterling integrity and retiring manner, he has won for himself a host of friends throughout the county. Though not prominent as a politician he is an active supporter of the Democratic party. In religious thought he is extremely liberal, and is inclined to favor the views of the advanced thinkers and reasoners of the present day, valuing honesty, morality, and a blameless life more than creeds and dogmas.
Biographical Record and Portrait Album of Tippecanoe County, Indiana,
pp. 632, 635
Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1888
© 2001 Tippecanoe Co., Indiana Biographies
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