Researchers of the Sapp and Richards family lines indicate Charles Harrison Richards and Mary Elizabeth Polly Sapp moved into Texas in the year 1833 and settled near the town of San Augustine in east Texas near the border of Texas and Louisiana. Most of the settlers traveled into Texas by the El Camino Real, which begins in "Natchitoches, Louisiana and runs from Piney Woods through rolling hills to the arid lands of Old Mexico." It is now known as Highway 6 in Louisiana and Highway 21 in Texas and has existed for more than 300 years.
It is not my intention to give you a history lesson, but in order to give you a glimpse of where our first Richards ancestors found themselves in the early years of their residence in Texas, I feel it is important to repeat here some of the events and political questions which preceded the meeting of the first convention to form a constitution in Texas.
“Texas had been a portion of the Mexican republic under the constitution of 1824. That constitution had been overthrown; a military despotism established; troops were already in or marching on Texas from Mexico, to enforce the change, in October, 1835.” H. A. Alsbury said in an address in August of that year, “all those who had immigrated into Texas from the United States, since April 6, 1830, were to be driven from the country or dealt with by the military.” There was a long list of persons to be arrested and tried by “drum-head court”, and future immigrants were to be from Mexico only.
After a Mexican army marched on San Antonio, five hundred more were landed at Matagorda Bay and marched into the interior, all under orders from Santa Anna. A Mexican force was sent from Bexar to demand a cannon that had previously been given to the citizens for defense against the Indians. They refused to give it up, a fight ensued and the Mexicans retreated. The commanding official at Bexar wrote to Stephen F. Austin saying that, “unless the gun was promptly given up war would be commenced on the colonists.”
This roused all the people of Texas. Flight, extermination, or resistance were the alternatives placed before them. They prepared for the latter.
Our ancestors found themselves in the middle of this upheaval and in order to keep their land and the homes they had built and stay in Texas they had to join their neighbors in the resistance.
Mary and Charles had the following children:
1) William B. Richards, born 16 January 1814 in Rhea Co., Tennessee; died 21 December 1892 in Bosque Co., Texas; married Catherine Burch 4 December 1838 in San Augustine, San Augustine Co., Texas.
2) James S. Richards, born 11 December 1816 in Blount Springs, Blount Co., Alabama; died 2 May 1889 in Shelby Co., Texas; married Sallie after 1850.
3) John S. Richards, (MY ANCESTOR) born 1818 in Blount Springs, Blount Co., Alabama; died 6 October 1875 in Shelby Co., Texas; married (1) Nancy S. about 1844; married (2) Caroline Conway about 1851 in Shelby Co., Texas.
4) Stratford Wade Hampton Richards, born 14 August 1825 in Blount Springs, Blount Co., Alabama; died 22 July 1900 in Stephenville, Erath Co., Texas; married Elender Caroline Cooper 12 December 1845 in Shelby Co., Texas.
5) Eliza Jane Richards, born 4 September 1827; married William H. Bean Mays.
6) Charles Hampton Richards, born about 1832 in Alabama; died after October 1899 in Limestone Co., Texas; married Emily Wren.
7) Debby Ann Richards, born 1832 in Blount Springs, Blount Co., Alabama; married James A. Wills.
8) Elizabeth B. Richards, born 1834 in Texas; married Joseph Burns.
9) Susan Richards, born 1835 in Texas.
10) Matilda Richards, born 1836.
If you are a descendant of Charles and Mary Sapp Richards, I would love to hear from you. If you have new information or a correction to my post please let me know.
- Baker, D. W. C. A Texas Scrapbook, Made up of the History, Biography, and Miscellany of Texas and Its People. Reprint. Originally published: New York: A. S. Barnes, 1875. Texas State Historical Association, Austin, Texas, 1991.
- Richards, Phillip Wade Hampton. Autobiography of Phillip Wade Hampton Richards.
- The David Rumsey Map Collection, s.v. “A New Map of Texas, With The Contiguous American & Mexican States” http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~216~20055:A-New-Map-Of-Texas,-With-The-Contig (accessed March 13, 2009).
- 1850 U. S. Census, Shelby County, Texas, microfiche. (accessed January 2007)
- El Camino Real , s.v. “El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail” http://www.elcaminorealtx.com/ (accessed March 23, 2009).
- Carol Carwile Head, a fellow Genea Blogger
- Descendants of Charles and Mary Sapp Richards: Connie Johnston, Melinda Tillman, Sharon Wilson