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F. M. RICHARDS. The calling of the merchant is one of the utmost importance in any community, and one of its most successful followers at Rome, Douglas County, Missouri, is F. M. Richards, who has been a resident of the county since 1867.
He was born in Monroe County, Tennessee, March 31, 1836, a son of Frederick and Elizebeth (Renfro) Richards. the former of whom was born in Kentucky, a son of John Richards. Mrs. Richards was also born on Blue Grass soil and was a daughter of William Renfro. The subject of this sketch was but two years old when he was left fatherless, and was but fourteen years of age when his mother died. He was one of five sons and three daughters: Samuel, John, Halloway, Peter, F. M., Mallissa, Margaret and Martha. Halloway and the subject of this sketch were soldiers of the Civil War.
The latter came to Missouri in 1856, while still unmarried and engaged in farming in the vicinity of Springfield, in Greene County, and there lie was married after a time to Miss Elizabeth, daughter of John and Barthena Nablett, who died in Arkansas and Greene County, Missouri, respectively. When the war opened the subject of this sketch enlisted in the Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry, and served three months in the Home Guards, after which he was for three years in the regular service, and was first commanded by S.H. Boyd. He attained the rank of sergeant of his company, Company K, and was in the battles of Tupelo, Pea Ridge, Little Rock, Camden, Devall’s Bluff. Cotton Plant, Old Town Bridge, and had charge of the pontoon bridge at Jenkins’ Ferry until he had destroyed it, during which time he was on detached service. He was an excellent soldier, and served his country well in the sanguinary struggle between the North and South. He received his discharge October 19, 1865, returned home, and after a short time moved to Lawrence County, and in 1867 to Douglas County, locating on a farm two miles from Rome, where he remained successfully engaged in tilling the soil until 1872. He then opened a general mercantile store in Rome, where he has since conducted an extensive business, and is considered, with justice, one of the leading merchants of the county. In addition to his large and well-selected stock of goods he owns a fine farm of 350 acres at Rome, and an interest in the roller mills at the same place. He has always been an active member of the Republican party, and belongs to the G. A. R. post at Roy, No. 309. Socially he is a member of the I. O. O. F., and he and his wife move in the highest social circles of their section. He is a public-spirited man, is popular with all classes, has held the office of county registrar, and was postmaster at Rome for twenty-two years. He and his wife are members of church, and he has been superintendent of Sabbath-school for over twenty years.
To himself and wife the following children have been born: Marcus E., a farmer and miller; William, who is a farmer and blacksmith of Lawrence County; Lona J., is a merchant in the Creek Nation; lames M. is a farmer and lives in Rome; E. S. is a farmer of the Creek Nation; Sherman is a farmer at Rome, and also assists his father in the store; and Robert, who is at home. Samuel and a baby daughter died young.