Captain Chancey Richardson
Captain Chancey Richardson, for a long time a resident and one of the most prominent citizens of Ashtabula, Ohio, is at this writing deputy collector of customs at that port, and to him is due the credit of much of the statistical matter in this volume having reference to the commerce of the harbor. He is a son of Capt. Henry and Mary (Cunningham) Richardson, and was born December 23, 1833, at Madison, Ohio. His father was appointed lightkeeper of the Madison docks, Ohio, in 1844, and remained in charge of the lighthouse until it was discontinued by order of the lighthouse board. In 1849 he removed with his family to Ashtabula, purchased real estate, and as a pioneer of that flourishing hamlet became one of its most active and esteemed citizens. He died in 1858 after having lived a useful life.
Chancey, the subject of this sketch, received what was considered a liberal education for those days, in the district schools of Madison and Ashtabula. Early in his life he entered the employ of the Ohio Stage Coach Company, at that time running a line of coaches and hacks between Warren and Ravenna, carrying passengers and mail. This company ran their business on schedule time. The line also performed like services between Buffalo and Cleveland, and in fact between other profitable points in Ohio, before the railroads were built. Young Richardson's first duties consisted in carrying mail on horseback between Warren and Ravenna. It is evident that he gave satisfaction to the management as he was in due time promoted to be driver of a coach and four, a position of far more importance than that of conductor of the fast train of to-day, in the young mind. He drove his four-horse team at a spanking gait into Ravenna at the first train on the Cleveland and Pittsburgh railroad. He remained in the stage-coach employ until the railroad encroached so seriously upon the traffic that it was compelled to carry the business farther west and south. At the specified time all the stock, horses, stage coaches and wagons started for Columbus, where the entire plant was turned over to the new company, young Richardson resigning his own team after his arrival. On his return home he was strongly seized with a desire to become a sailor, with the laudable end in view of attaining to the office of captain of vessels in the dim future. He therefore went down to the lake, and shipped as cabin boy on the steamer Cleveland. The next season, being a well-grown lad, he secured the berth of second porter on the noted steamer DeWitt Clinton. The next three years he passed as cook and before the mast in various vessels, among them the Artic, in 1853, which came out new that year. In the spring of 1854 he shipped as wheelsman in the new steamer Iron City, and was promoted to the office of second mate. He was also second mate of the schooner New Lisbon with Capt. H. G. Morey. In 1855 he joined the schooner Rainbow, Capt. H. Hall, as second mate, followed by two seasons on the schooner Carrington and Seabird as mate, respectively, Captain Hall being in command of the Seabird.
With the lapse of time Captain Richardson became a skillful seaman, and during the period between 1857 and 1860 he was second mate and mate of many good vessels, viz.: Brig Blossom; schooners Altair, Oak Hill, B. F. Wade, Anna C. Raynor, Rocket, White Squall and Sioux with Captain Ford; wheelsman on the propeller Portsmouth, and second mate on the new steamer B. F. Wade, with Captain Goldsmith. In the spring of 1860 he was appointed mate of the schooner Bay State, and the next two seasons he sailed with Captain Hall as mate of the schooner Corinthian, closing the last season on the bark Naomi. In May, 1863, he was promoted to be master of the schooner Jessie, followed by two years as master of the schooner New Lisbon. In the spring of 1866 he shipped as second mate on the steamer Fountain City, transferring to the new schooner Amaretta Mosher, the next year. In the spring of 1868 he joined the schooner York State, transferring to the new schooner Edwin Harmon, on which he closed the season. He and his brother Wesley C., now a prominent vessel owner in Cleveland, then purchased a half-interest in the schooner Transport, which he sailed as master, and his brother as mate. At the close of the season the brothers sold their interests in the schooner Transport, and the Captain decided to retire from active life on shipboard.
Captain Richardson then associated himself as secretary and manager, with George C. Cooper, in his meat market business in Ashtabula, which he conducted successfully for six years. This market was the pioneer in suppying meats to the lake trade at Ashtabula, the first good customer being Capt. C. Allen, of the steamer R. J. Hackett. Captain Richardson then embarked in the grocery business on his own account, and after nine years of successful trade sold out, and soon after went to Lorain to take charge and settle up the business of Mr. Tunty's ship-supply store. In 1885 he shipped for a short time as wheelsman on the steamer J.H. Devereux, of which his brother Wesley is manager. He then passed some years in the grocery store of H. C. Tombes, and as clerk in the American National Express office, also in the store of Gee & Rogers and other business houses, until 1890, when he retired from active business life for a well-earned rest, profiting by the time thus at his disposal, however, by building for himself two commodious residences. In 1894 he accepted the position of deputy collector of customs, tendered by President Cleveland, and is the incumbent at this writing.
Socially, he has been a member of the Odd Fellows fraternity for twenty-two years. He is a man of good influence in Ashtabula, and has hosts of friends, especially among young men, whom it gives him pleasure to assist in getting berths on shipboard and at other employment when occasion arises. Although sixty-four years of age, he has the bearing and appearance of a much younger man, and as a descendant of old Massachusetts stock he gives evidence of great vitality. In official duties he is accurate and careful of details, his reports being rendered with unusual clearness and precision.
On January 7, 1856, Capt. Chancey Richardson was united by marriage to Miss Eliza A., daughter of Adnah Scoville (one of the pioneers of Ashtabula, and an extensive land owner; he was mayor of Ashtabula one term - 1848-49). Two sons, Clarence E. and Charles H., were born to this union. The former is secretary of the Bradley Manufacturing Company, is mayor of the city, being nominated by acclamation, and the latter is bookkeeper in the wholesale house of Richards Brothers. The family homestead is at No. 5 Scoville court, Ashtabula, Ohio, where the family is surrounded by every evidence of comfort and refinement.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.