THOMAS B. RICHARDSON, a retired farmer, residing at 431 East First South street, Carlinville, is a representative of one of Macoupin county's pioneer families, who for more than seventy years were prominently identified with the agricultural development of Chesterfield township. The eldest child to John and Martha (Ronksley) Richardson, his birth occurred on the parental homestead in Chesterfield township on the 23d of April, 1844. His parents were both natives of England, the father having been the second of the three sons born to Robert and Harriet (Moody) Richardson. Robert Richardson died during the early childhood of his boys and his widow later married John Birkby. Subsequently John Richardson and his brothers Thomas and Robert emigrated to the United States with their mother and step-father, who settled on a farm in Morgan county, Illinois. There he grew to manhood, completing his education in the district schools of the vicinity while mastering the principles of agriculture. He began to work for himself about 1832 or 1833 when he removed to Chesterfield township and farmed as a renter for two or three years. His activities proved to be so lucrative that at the expiration of that period he was able to purchase one hundred and sixty acres of land. Unremitting energy, thrift and capable management made it possible for John Richardson to extend his holdings until they aggregated three hundred and eighteen acres. He had cleared and placed under cultivation all of this land, which at the time of his death was classed among the valuable property of the township. Mrs. Richardson died in 1881, at the age of fifty-six years, and after her death the father removed to Medora, where his demise occurred in 1907, after he had passed the eighty-fourth milestone on life's journey. The mother was a daughter of Thomas Ronksley of England, who early emigrated to the United States with his family. He located near Jacksonville, Morgan county, this state, where for some years he operated a blacksmith shop. Later he removed to Chesterfield township, Macoupin county, continuing to follow his trade until age compelled his retirement. He was thrice married. His first wife died in Chesterfield township and to them were born two daughters: Martha, the mother of our subject; and Elizabeth, who remained in England. His second wife was Miss Ellen Thornton, while for his third companion he chose a widow, Mrs. Teague.
Mr. and Mrs. John Richardson were the parents of eight children, six of whom attained maturity: Thomas B., our subject; John, who is a resident of Medora, Illinois; Mary Ann, the deceased wife of Henry Doughty; Genevra, also deceased, who became the wife of James Searles; Priscilla, the late wife of F. A. Sannebeck; William, of Chesterfield township; Harriet, who died at the age of two years; and Elizabeth whose demise occurred when she was three years old. Being conformists, the parents always affiliated with the Episcopal church. Mr. Richardson was ever interested in promoting the welfare of the community where resided, but never chose to play a prominent part in political life, his official service being confined to the position of school director.
It was on his father's farm in Chesterfield township that Thomas B. Richardson learned how to till the fields and care for the stock. His early years did not differ save in details from those of other lads of the community, his education being pursued in the district schools, where he continued to study until he had mastered the common branches. He remained at home with his people until attaining his majority, when true to the highest principles of patriotism he responded to the call of the nation's chief and in February, 1865, went to the front in Company I, One hundred and Fifty-Second Illinois Infantry. He served until the close of the war, being mustered out in April. After the close of hostilities he returned home and in the ensuing autumn began preparations for establishing a home of his own. He cleared forty acres of land that had belonged to his father from whom he also rented some cleared land, all of which he placed under cultivation. He continued to reside there until 1889, then removed to a place containing sixty acres that he bought, located just south of Chesterfield. The cultivation of this property engaged his energies until November 1st, 1907, when he disposed of it and removed to Excelsior Springs, Missouri. After having lived there for six months he returned to Macoupin county, purchasing a nice residence that had just been completed in Carlinville, where he has ever since resided.
On the 17th of December, 1865, Mr. Richardson was married to Miss Martha Dowland, a daughter of Thomas and Mary (Edwards) Dowland. To them were born four children: Levi, Joseph, who is a farmer in Chesterfield township, married Alice Gracy, now deceased, for his first wife, his second union being with Mary Maska, who has borne him two children, Albert and Esther. John Thomas, who is a deputy United States revenue collector in St. Louis, Missouri, married Christa Bauer, and they have three children: Anita, Russell and Cecil, the last two twins. Martha Genevra, the only daughter born to Mr. and Mrs. Richardson, died soon after passing the second anniversary of her birth. Horace James, an osteopathic physician in Colorado Springs, married Nina Maloney and they have one son, Horace Edward. On the 1st of March, 1882, Mr. Richardson was married the second time to Miss Martha Moody, who was born in Chariton county, Missouri, on the 5th of October, 1859. Mrs. Richardson is a daughter of James and Frances (Davis) Moody, natives of Somersetshire, England, who early located near Chapin, Morgan county, Illinois. There the father died on the 3d of July, 1887, having passed the age of fifty-six years. The mother survived until 1902, her demise occurring at Jacksonville, Illinois, when she was more than seventy-two. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Moody: Mrs. Richardson, William Richard, Clara Jane and Frances. Mrs. Richardson's paternal grandparents were Austin and Jane (Perrett) Moody, while her mother was a daughter of William and Ann (Moody) Davis. The union of Mr. Richardson and his present wife has been blessed by the birth of two daughters, Myrtle and Olive.
The Christian denomination claims the church affiliation of Mr. and Mrs. Richardson, while his only fraternal connection is with the Masonic order, his local membership being in Mount Nebo Lodge, No. 76, A.F. & A.M. Politically he gives his earnest support to the prohibition party, thus publicly voicing his sentiments of the liquor question. He is a man of high standards regarding the responsibility of citizenship and has ever striven to live up to his ideals, his honorable life and upright principles having won for him the respect of his community.