Glendale, California Biographies

Richardson, William C. B.

The name Richardson is traceable back to the Norman conquest and is an example of the most common origin of surnames, viz., the addition by the eldest male of the suffix “son” to the father’s name, being in this case the son of Richard. Richardson is said to have been a common name among the Normans, and in fact, to have been exclusively Norman, so that there is no room for doubt as to its origin. It is one of those families also, of which a history is traceable back almost to its beginning, if not to the identification individual who first fastened the “son” on to his father’s name. It is said that the name is common to almost every county in England,, and had achieved eminence as early as the sixteenth century. One of the first of these was Samuel Richardson, the English novelist, author of “Pamela or Virtue Rewarded,” “Clarisse Harlowe,” and “The History of Sir Charles Grandison.” A number of the family were artists and writers.

Ezekiel Richardson came to America, with Winthrop early in the seventeenth century and became the founder of Woburn, Massachusetts. A Number of brothers followed shortly thereafter landing in Virginia. Capt. Edward Richardson was one of those who resister the English at Concord and served all through the revolution. Sir John Richardson, who died in 1865, was a noted Arctic explorer. Major General I. B. Richardson, who was a graduate of West Point, made a record in the Mexican war, and was killed at Antietam, in the Civil War while in command of his division. Albert D. Richardson was a noted newspaper man during the Civil War, and the author of a popular work on western live, “Beyond the Mississippi.”

Wyman Richardson, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was a native of the Granite State and served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War, taking active part in many engagements. Hon. Elkanah Richardson, the father, was reared and educated in New Hampshire, and subsequently moved to Ohio, becoming a pioneer of that state. He was a surveyor by profession, and in pursuit of his occupation became familiar with that section of the country in the early days of its history. Am man of much talent, he became influential in financial business and legal affairs and for fourteen years served as judge of the Circuit Court. His death occurred while he was in the prime of life, at the age of fifty-six years. Sophia Belding, the mother of William C. B. Richardson, was also a native of New Hampshire, and a sister of William C. Belding who was killed in the war of 1812, and for whom the subject of this sketch was named.

William C. B. Richardson was born in Swanzey, New Hampshire, October 28, 1815. He was taken when a boy by his parents to Ohio, where he was educated in the common schools of Summit county. From his father he learned the profession of surveyor, and followed it for forty years in Cleveland and vicinity. A straightforward, thorough-going business man, he met with eminent success in this undertakings, acquiring wealth and distinction. He served two terms as a member of the Common Council of Cleveland, and was a prominent citizen of that place when he came to California in 1868. A brother had preceded him to this state in 1849, and was in the habit of sending back glowing accounts of the El Dorado of the Pacific. It was therefore but natural that Mr. Richardson should turn to California as the land of promise. The brothers made a tour of the state, traveling as everyone did at that time on horseback. Mr. Richardson selected and purchased a tract of land containing six hundred and seventy-one acres, lying along the Los Angeles river, extending into what is now Glendale and named it for the Santa Eulalia Ranch.

Mr. Richardson returned to Cleveland, Ohio, to attend to his many interests, remaining there until 1880, when he returned to the Santa Eulalia Ranch to make it his home. In 1873 the ranch was placed in charge of Mr. Richardson’s son, Elkanah W., who in a few years’ time had the ranch stocked with several thousand head of sheep which were herded on it and adjoining acreage. Soon after the arrival of Mr. Richardson in 1880, sheep raising was given up and dairying was extensively engaged in. Many fruit trees were set out, and in 1903 five hundred acres were given over to about one hundred Japanese for the cultivation of strawberries, the property being generally unimproved, giving it an air of genuine prosperity. The management and improvement of the ranch was due to both the father and the son, who worked and planned together harmoniously.

With the coming of the Southern Pacific railroad in 1872, Mr. Richardson gave the railroad company sixteen acres for a depot site, and when the Art Tile factory was promoted in 1901 he gave the necessary acreage for its site, besides donating a site for the Tropico Presbyterian church and the Cerritos Street school.

At Akron, Ohio, in 1838, Mr. Richardson married Sarah Everett, who passed from this live in 1895, having reached her seventy-sixth year. Three sons arrived at years of maturity. Omar S., the eldest and only one living, is a resident of Glendale ; Elkanah W., a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume; and Burt, the youngest, who was a resident of Glendale at the time of his death in 1915. Mr. Richardson was a Mason as was his father before him. He was a member of the Pioneer Society, and the Historical Society, of Los Angeles county. Politically he was a republican, although while in Los Angeles county he took no active interest in politics. His death occurred July 7, 1908, while in his ninety-fourth year. He enjoyed life to the last, his mind remaining clear and alert. He passed away at his home on San Fernando Road at Cerritos Street, while quietly resting, his demise being unobserved.

From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. P. 321-302. Engraving of W. C. B. Richardson on page 300.