Lewis F. Richman

In the following lines a brief sketch is given of the life of one of Sugar Creek township, Hancock county's, most substantial citizens, and one who has passed his entire life within its borders. Lewis F. Richman was born on his father's farm in Sugar Creek township, February 15, 1844, being a son of Anton Louis and Louisa (Boehne) Richman, both natives of Germany, the former born in Westphalia in 1807.

Anton Louis Richman spent his youth and early manhood in the place where he was born, laboring at farming, and in 1835, when twenty-eight years of age, he set out for America in company with others of his land. The voyage was made on a sailing vessel, taking seven weeks to cross and in the same company was Louisa Boehne, who afterwards became his wife. Their ship docked at Baltimore and from that point they journeyed to Wheeling, West Virginia, by wagon, thence by boat down the Ohio to Cincinnati, from there to Dayton by canal and the final lap of their journey to Greenfield, this county, by wagon. They left their native land on April 1, 1835, and arrived at their destination June 10, of the same year.

Anton Louis Richman promptly entered eighty acres of land, being the west half of the northeast quarter of section 18, Sugar Creek township, the same being covered by virgin forest. He made the small clearing and erected the small cabin of the early pioneer and was then married, bringing his bride to their rude home in the wilderness. The first year he cleared and cultivated six acres of his farm and something like two years later traded with William Rosener for another eighty-acre tract in Sugar Creek township, being the southeast quarter of section 17. The elder Richman farmed there for about eighteen months when both he and his wife were overcome by sickness and were taken to the home of Jacob Schramm, where they remained for some two or three years. They later traded their second farm for eighty acres in sections 13 and 18 of Sugar Creek township, which latter place had a good log house and stable upon it and about fifteen acres under the plow. Later the east forty in section 18 was sold and forty acres lying to the north of the home purchased but Anton Louis Richman did not live long after this latter transaction, his death occurring abut five years later, in 1858, when he was fifty-one years of age. It is related that the first work he did for others after coming to this section was the flailing of rye. He walked eight miles each day, going to Mars station and received for his labor a bushel of rye per day, making about twelve bushels in all.

There were nine children in the family of Anton Louis Richman, namely: Mary, Charley, Anton, Lewis, Louisa, William, Hermon, Henry and George, all deceased except Charley, Lewis, Henry and George. After the death of the father, the mother continued to manage the homestead and during the Civil War purchased forty acres lying to the west of her home from the heirs of "Uncle" William Richman. She survived her husband some thirty years, passing away in July of 1893, when in her eightieth year. Both Anton Louis Richman and wife were members of the German Evangelical church and were among the sturdiest of the early pioneers.

Lewis F. Richman grew up on his father's farm, receiving such education as was obtainable at the old log school house of district No. 3, his first teacher being John Kaylor. Lewis Richman in his boyhood knew by experience of the limitations and privations of pioneer life and has been permitted to see this rich section of the state develop from primitive conditions to the present his state of civilization and culture.

Mr. Richman is a veteran of the Civil War, having enlisted on August 10, 1862, when seventeen years of age, in Company B, Ninety-ninth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, under Capt. James H. Carr, First Lieut. George Teague and Second Lieut. Robert P. Andis. He served until the close of the war, practically three years, being assigned to the Fifteenth Army Corps, Army of Western Tennessee, under Gen. John A. Logan, this being General Grant's old command. Mr. Richman was in some of the important engagements of the war, among them being the siege of Jackson, Mississippi; the battles of Big Black River, Missionary Ridge, New Hope Church, Dalton, King's Mountain, Marietta, Kenesaw Mountain and the siege of Atlanta. On the 22nd of July, 1864, he was wounded in the arm at the latter place and lay in the hospital at Marietta for three weeks, after which he was sent home on a thirty day furlough. He rejoined his regiment at East Point Station, six miles from Atlanta and from that point was with Sherman on his famous march to the sea. His regiment from there was transferred by boat to Beaufort, and when they were within a few days march of Raleigh, Lee surrendered. They then went on to Washington and took part in the Grand Review before president Lincoln in May, and about June 1, Lewis Richman was mustered out of service, receiving his honorable discharge at Indianapolis on June 13, 1865.

After returning home he managed the home place in company with his three younger brothers, and when twenty-nine years old was united in marriage with Sophia Steinmeier, born in Sugar Creek township, December 27, 1853, a daughter of Christian and Christina (Kruse) Steinmeier, both natives of Germany. Christian Steinmeier, at the age of fourteen, came to America on the same boat which carried Anton Lewis Richman, and the two families had been close friends ever since that time. Christian was with his father and two sisters and the family located about three-fourths of a mile northeast of the Richman home. Some years later the father lost his life in Kansas and the sisters spent their declining years with Lewis Richman's family.

Mr. Richman's mother lived to an advanced age passing away in July, 1893, and on December 31, of the same year, he purchased the home place, consisting of one hundred and twenty acres of some of Hancock county's best land. In the face of many discouragements in the way of fire and sickness, Mr. Richman has kept steadily on in his plans for the improvement of his home farm, and today has it brought to a high state of cultivation.

To Mr. and Mrs. Richman were born eight children: Louisa, Louis, Benjamin H., Emma, Mary, Annie, Maggie and Clara, who died in infancy, and all are deceased except Emma, Mary, Annie and Maggie. Mrs. Richman died on November 10, 1910, and throughout her life she was a member of the German Lutheran church, as he also is. Many years age, Mr. Richman became a member of Henry Kirkhoff Post, of New Palestine, Grand Army of the Republic, and in politics gives his support to the Republican party. His entire life has been passed in the one community and no higher tribute can be paid a man under those conditions than to state he has the confidence and respect of all who know him.

Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Page 984-987.

Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI October 19, 2001.

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