Sunday, June 22, 2014

52 Ancestors - #25 George Riches – He Traveled to the Americas to Find His Fortune

George Riches was born in May 15, 1835 near Yarmouth, Norfolk County, England. He was baptized on May 20th in the Parish of Brooke in the County of Norfolk, in the Year 1835. His father is listed as Peter Riches and his mother as Ann, late Artis (meaning maiden name Artis though someone when transcribing the records listed her last name as Rute because they couldn’t read the handwritten ‘late’.) According to information on his death certificate his father’s name was Peter, and with the month and year known to be May 1835 and since he was also known to be from an area near Yarmouth, this is our George Riches.  

During the 1841 Census the family was living in the Parish of Brooke, Norfolk County, England. Still at home with George age 6 was a sister Mary Ann age 15, sister Sarah age 10, sister Martha age 8, brother Charles age 4, brother Robert age 2, and the baby, one month old Samuel. George is also known to have older siblings at this time - Edward age 17 and William age 14 that were not living with the family in 1841. The family also was joined by Louisa in 1845/6 and John in 1849. During the 1851 census George is not with his family so it is possible that he is the 16 year old George Riches listed as a servant for the Utting family in the same Loddon Registration district.

It is also possible that they are two more siblings with identical names who died young – another Edward born May 1821 and died June 1821, and another George born May 1834 and died June 1834. In addition there might be an older sister born in 1820 and possibly a sister born in late 1841.

My George Riches traveled to "the Americas to find his fortune" at the age of 18. He married Jane Elizabeth Wilkins, daughter of John and Elizabeth Kelly Wilkins, in about 1855 in New York.
Jane Wilkins was born in New York State in April 1838; Jane’s parents had also emigrated from England.

George and Jane’s daughter Elizabeth was born in 1857 and Anna Jane was born July 9, 1861. Their third daughter, my great grandmother, Martha Matilda or Mattie, as she was known, was born in New York State on February 17, 1863. Sometime after 1863, the Riches family moved from New York and was living in Waterville, Pepin, Wisconsin where their daughter Olive was born in 1867 (possibly July 28th.)  In the July 26, 1870 census George’s occupation is listed as a raftsman. George and Jane’s first son Edward Thomas Riches was born July 28, 1872. On November 10, 1872, their eldest daughter Elizabeth and Edmund Bignal were married by a Justice of the Peace in Waterville. Elizabeth was 15 years old. There was also another son George Bell born on June 20, 1875 at Round Hill, Pepin County, Wisconsin who died just before he was three years old on March 26, 1878 of diphtheria.

On July 9, 1877 George’s daughter Anna Jane married Charles William Atkinson in Maiden Rock, Pierce County, Wisconsin.  Anna Jane was 16 years old.  His daughter Mattie then married H. (Henry) Pember Taylor on February 13, 1879 in Pierce County, Wisconsin when she was also 16 years old.

On April 26, 1880 daughter Elizabeth is married for a second time at age 23 to Horace Gray by a Justice of the Peace. In June 1880 the Riches family was still living in Waterville, Pepin, Wisconsin and George is working as a farm laborer.  At that time, George’s 82 year old father-in-law John Wilkins was living with them. On July 3, 1883 daughter Olive married William T. Patton in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She was 16 years old.

On August 23, 1889, 17 year old son Edward Thomas Riches married Mary (Maime) Gongia. George and Jane’s daughter Olive died after the birth of her third child in 1890. On December 12, 1895 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin daughter Mattie also married again to Jefferson Thomas Graves.

Members of the Riches family then moved to Washington State from Wisconsin. Anna Jane, her husband Charles and family, and Edward and his wife Mary and family settled in Elma, Washington some time before June 18, 1900. On June 20, 1900 George and Jane are living in Mentor, Clark, Wisconsin and their late daughter Olive’s children are living with them while their father works out of town. George is working as a stationery empem (?).

The 1900 census says that George came to the United States in 1844 and that he had lived here for 44 years. Since that does not add up and because of the family information that he came to this country when he was 18 and he was born in May 1835, it is more likely that he came here in 1854 or 1855.

Sometime between June 20, 1900 and July 12, 1903, George and Jane also moved out to Washington with Olive’s husband William Patton and their three children. Mattie and her husband JT followed his father James out to Washington State and settled in the Jackson Prairie/Mary’s Corner area of Lewis County on a farm in 1903.

George Riches died July 12, 1903 in Rayville, Chehalis County (now Grays Harbor County), Washington from complications due to bad kidneys. George was 68 years old. He is buried at the Oddfellows Cemetery in Elma, Grays Harbor, Washington. His wife Jane remarried on September 24, 1908 to Barton Koontz of Chehalis and was living in Elma, Grays Harbor County, when she died on July 6, 1911. Jane was 72.

By April 18, 1910, Edward had moved to Mukilteo, Snohomish, Washington and later settled in Everett, Washington.

Anna Jane died March 24, 1917 at the age of 56 in Olympia, Thurston County, Washington of mitral regurgitation and is buried at the Oddfellows Cemetery in Elma. Martha Matilda (Mattie) died on March 21, 1940 of cardiac failure at age 77. She is buried in Chehalis, Washington at the Claquato Cemetery. Edward Thomas Riches died on September 17, 1955 at the age of 82 in Everett, Washington.

Great Great Great Grandparents: Peter Riches/Ann Artis
Great Great Grandparents: George Riches/Jane Elizabeth Wilkins
Great Grandparents: Martha Matilda (Mattie) Riches/Jefferson Thomas Graves
Grandparents: Effa Belle Graves/Alva Ashbury Tucker
Parents: E. Rosalie Mitchell/Lionell Burris Mitchell

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