Acton Memorial Library
DIED TUESDAY EVENING AT HIS
HOME.WAS 77 YEARS OF AGE
Saw Active Service in the Army.
Loyal to Country
Passed from this life to life eternal, Tuesday evening, Feb. 20, James Edward Richardson, aged 77 years, four months, ten days.
Mr. Richardson was taken ill about one month ago, and after a few days of intense suffering, went to a hospital in Boston, where a surgical operation was performed, from which he rallied rapidly, and he returned to his home here, Feb. 9, seemingly very comfortable, though not as strong as usual. Friday, the 16th, he seemed very ill and fevered, the next day more comfortable, and through the succeeding days until Tuesday, when he seemed much stronger and in the best of spirits all day, and had several callers with whom he talked and joked until about 5 o'clock, after which he sat up in his room, ate his supper and looked at the evening paper. About 7 o'clock he lay down on his bed and in a moment his hard breathing called the family to his bedside, when it was at once apparent he was beyond human aid, passing peacefully away without any suffering, the worn heart no longer responding to the strong will power.
Mr. Richardson was born in Groton, the son of Shuman and Lydia Blood Richardson, soon after which the family moved to Cambridge. In the spring of '61 he was working on a farm in Groton, and from there heard President Lincoln's first call for troops, and enlisted in Co. B, 6th Mass. Vol. Inf., for three months. A day or so before the expiration of his term of service he was taken ill with typhoid fever, and was left in a hospital in Baltimore.
Recovering sufficiently, he returned to Massachusetts, receiving his discharge and went to the home of his parents in Rindge, N. H., where during convalescence he enlisted with and assisted in drilling a squad of 35 men, which later was added to Co. K, 6th N. H. Inf., then recruiting and encamped at Keene, N. H.
Of these 35 men from Rindge, but one is living today, Hon. Morton E. Converse of Winchendon. The regiment left Keene, Dec. 25, 1861, for the seat of war, and was part of Burnside's expedition, and with it and the Army of the Potomac, followed the vicissitudes of the war until its close, Mr. Richardson participating in all the hardest fought battles. In January, 1864, he reenlisted at Camp Nelson, Ky., with many others and was granted a 30 days' furlough home.
Returning to the front, he received a severe gunshot wound in his mouth at Spotsylvania, May 12, which disabled him for further active service and he was transferred to Co. C, 9th Veteran Reserve Corps, Washington. He was on duty at the time of President Lincoln's assassination, and the subsequent trial and execution of the conspirators ; also saw the body of Wilkes Booth encased in sacking and brought into the old arsenal, and heard the digging of the grave underneath a cell.
These are incidents of his army service. But his love of his country and the flag did not end here. Never was heart more loyal than that which beat in his breast. In the spring of 1880, he said to his wife, Do you know what I miss, and what I want in this village? The flag for which I fought four years. He asked C. B. Stone to draw up a paper for him to circulate through the village to raise money for the purchase of a flag and a proper observance of Decoration day, with a band, a speaker and other exercises. Although working hard in Hall's factory each day, by his indomitable pluck, as one said, he raised the sum of $100, which he placed with D. H. Hall, who purchased aflag, Mr. Richardson cutting and preparing a staff to be placed over the public hall, (now the G. A. R. hall) and on which the first flag was to fly since the close of the Civil war
After paying the incidental expenses of that Decoration day, there was a small surplus of money left. Comrades met at the railway station that evening and formed a Veterans' association, which existed until the organization of the Isaac Davis post in 1882. His family has the paper he circulated at that time filed away with others which speak of his loyal endeavors, also a letter from the captain of his company, who spoke of his bravery at the time he was wounded.
After being directed by Capt. Hanscom to the field hospital, he returned to the company where the minnies were flying in showers, to hand the captain the rollbook of the company of which he was first sergeant, knowing its value to the commanding officer. His whole life was a life of sacrifices for others, industrious, faithful and ever ready to help the unfortunate, a devoted husband and father, a brave soldier and good citizen ; a man who was brave as the bravest in danger, yet had a heart that gained the love of every little child, all of whom throughout the village delighted to call him Grandpa Richardson, and as a last tribute of their affection, the children of the village schools drew up a paper expressing their love for Grandpa, and sympathy for his family, which was sent to the bereaved home.
Mr. Richardson was married to Miss Sara R. Stevens, Feb. 20, 1864, 53 years the day of his death. In 1914 the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, keeping open house. This was a most joyful occasion and participated in by a host of friends.
Funeral services were held at the home Friday afternoon, Feb. 23, and was largely attended by relatives and friends. Rev. C. L. Pierce of the Baptist church officiated, speaking fitting words of eulogy. Oscar E. Stevens, a nephew from Winchester, sang very feelingly, All the Way My Saviour Leads Me, Rock of Ages, and God Will Take Care of You, favorite hymns of the deceased. Acton lodge I. O. O. F., gave the burial service of that order and his comrades of the G. A. R. post their beautiful service. The bearers were Alonzo Joy, Daniel Adams, Bertram E. Hall, William J. Costello, Edgar H. Hall, George W. Burroughs. The body, escorted by the G. A. R. post, with muffled drum, and Acton lodge, I. O. O. F., was placed in the receiving tomb at Mt. Hope cemetery, from which it will be removed and buried in the family lot, with full military honors, in the spring. The profusion of most exquisite and choice floral tributes were mute though touching reminders of the affection he held in so many sorrowing hearts. Among them was a wreath from his only living comrade, M. E. Converse, inscribed Co. K, and a miniature flag.
Besides his wife he leaves three sons and four daughters, Everett A. of Westfield, J. Linwood of Boxboro, Frank P. of Boston, Mrs. Fred H. Dickerman of Wakefield, R. I., Mrs. Thomas A. Johnston of Peak Island, Me., Misses Grace A. and J. Katherine at home. His genial, kindly presence will long be missed in this village, where he has resided nearly 50 years