In 1832, Col. Armstead Richardson was a wealthy citizen of Augusta, Georgia, where he owned a residence on Green Street. At this period he wasinterested in banking and owned a large number of slaves, whom he employed in the operation of his farms in Putnam, Jones and Baldwin counties.
From his home in Augusta, Colonel Richardson often rode on his Spanish mare, "Patty Bean," to Cherokee, Georgia, then occupied by the Indians. In exploring that section he stopped in Pickens County, where he purchased a tract of land known as "Talking Rock." There he opened a marble quarry, a property which he later gave to his son-in-law, William Simmons. That section, although he realized its immense wealth in marble, did not appeal to him. Going to Rome, Georgia, and riding southwest from the confluence of the Etowah and Oostenaula rivers through the beautiful and fertile Vann's Valley, he tarried at the home of the noted Indian chief Joseph Vann, who presented him with his best flint and steel rifle which he carefully preserved through his life. Thrilled by the transcendent beauty of the hills and valleys and streams of the prospect before him, Colonel Richardson purchased a large tract of land in the heart of Vann's Valley, and on this tract is situated the present interesting Town of Cave Spring, now in Floyd County.
In all the Southern states there is not to be found a more beautiful and picturesque spot than this sylvan village. The tall mountain, crowned with majestic oak and hemlock trees pointing to the skies, fringed with the evergreen laurel that reaches to the low grounds beneath the immense cave on the mountain side, and its great volume of water swiftly flowing from its base soon mingling with the crystal waters of Littfe Cedar Creek, forms a scene of beauty and grandeur most inspiring to contemplate.
And here the prophetic vision of Col. Armstead Richardson saw, with the eye of a seer, the foundation of a school for Georgia boys and Georgia girls under the protecting aegis of the prohibition of the sale of all intoxicants or betting and gaming within its boundaries.
In harmony with this high purpose, in June, 1839, he deeded five lots, comprising 200 acres of land, to the trustees of the Manual Labor Institution in Vann's Valley, "to be subject to the following reservations, restrictions and conditions: He also requires said trustees in all sales they make to individuals or companies of any part or parcel of said land or any tenant they may permit to live on any part of said premises, be sold or rented so that no sporting, gaming or vending of intoxicating spirits of any kind shall be allowed; and should said Trustees fail to make or enforce these restrictions they forfeit the above amount ($1,000 for each violation) to Armstead Richardson for himself, his heirs or assigns." And lo! Hears School, a high school for males and females, the state institution for the deaf and dumb, with the expenditure of several hundred thousand dollars upon its buildings, was born in the first temperance town on the globe.
Hearn School, in an environment of such exalted ideals of morality and sobriety, has continued in existence for three-fourths of a century, and the benedictions of its alumni from all portions of the South have blessed the genius of Armstead Richardson. The late Gen. John B. Gordon, one of themost eminent and loved sons of Georgia, was one of the alumni of this institution of learning, and while a student in the same he boarded at the home of Armstead Richardson. A few months before the death of this gallant cavalier of the South he declared: "I feared and revered old Major Richardson, and under his roof and within the walls of old Hearn School I received the inspiration that has carried me safely through both war and peace."
Armstead Richardson, six feet and two inches in height, erect in bearing, stern and imperious was a notable figure in any presence. He was an ardent Baptist and was never intentionally derelict in his loyalty to and observance of its ordinances. A pioneer of Georgia, he was a product of the times which made heroes. Buttressed and sustained by the faith and hope of the Christian tenets represented by the Baptist Church, soon after the close of the Civil war, in the autumn of 1866 this strong and good man went to his eternal rest with the simple confidence and faith of a little child holding the hand of a fond parent while crossing a deep stream.
Everard Hamilton Richardson, Sr., the youngest child of Armstead and Fannie (Long) Richardson, was born at Eatonton, Georgia, July 4, 1814. He was educated by the noted Nothan Beeman, at Mount Zion,. Hancock County, Georgia.
In 1833 he received a diploma from the Medical College of Georgia, at Augusta. In the following year he received the degree of doctor of medicine from the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1835 he began the practice of medicine with the celebrated Doctor Foster, at Crawfordsville, Georgia, a friend and contemporary of Alexander H. Stephens. On the 6th of April, 1837, at Pennfield, Greene County, Georgia, was solemnized the marriage of Doctor Richardson to Miss Mary F. Janes, daughter of William and Selah (Gresham) Janes, of that county.
In 1838 Doctor Richardson removed with his wife to what was then known as Cherokee, Georgia, purchasing a large tract of land and settling in Paulding, now Polk County, two and one-half miles from Cedartown. For a number of years he practiced medicine over a large area of territory, but possessing large means, he finally retired from the work of his profession to live a life of leisure, the while he diverted himself by travel and in the entertainment of his friends at his hospitable home. The fortunes of war swept from him most of his large estate, and he endured to the full the tension involved in the great internecine conflict that brought devastation and desolation to the fair Southland. He died at his homestead near Cedartown on the 23rd of May, 1880.
Of his nine children six were reared to years of maturity, the other three having died in infancy. The eldest daughter, Lovicia, who was born in 1840; was educated at the Georgia Female College, at Madison. She was a beautiful and highly accomplished woman. In 1862 she became the wife of Col. J. S. Bryan, lawyer and Confederate soldier, and she died at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in September, 1905. She became the parents of two children, both of whom are deceased. Rosaline. R., the second daughter, was born March 3, 1844, and was educated at Rome, Georgia, this state, under the preceptorship of the famous Major Fouche. In 1868 she wedded G. W. Featherston, a merchant at Cedartown, and here her death occurred in 1893. Her only child, Mrs. F. Bunn, resides at the old Richardson homestead.
Dr. Everard Hamilton Richardson, Jr., the immediate subject of this review, is the eldest of the sons, and the second son, William J., is a prominent and influential planter residing near Cedartown. Armstead, the youngest son, was born at the family homestead, on the 9th of September, 1853, and died at the home of his brother Dr. Everard H. Richardson, in the City of Atlanta, on the 7th of April, 1898, he having remained a bachelor. He was educated at the Hearn School, Cave Spring, and thereafter taught school six years, in Nebraska and Texas. In 1880 he was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law at Cedartown, Georgia. He achieved great success as a lawyer and was elected solicitor general of the Tallapoosa Circuit, in which position he gained reputation for being the most vigorous prosecuting attorney in Georgia. Mary Selah, the youngest of the six children, was born at the old family homestead near Cedartown, on the 17th of September, 1856, and her education was received at Cedartown. In 1880 she became the wife of Mr. H. M. Mountcastle, and she passed to eternal rest in 1900, a lovely and noble Christian woman. She is survived by two children,—Hilliard and William M. The former is a resident of Cedartown and the latter of Atlanta.
Dr. Everard Hamilton Richardson, Jr., was born on the family homestead near Cedartown, Georgia, January 16, 1850. His preliminary education was acquired in the common schools at Cedartown, and in his seventeenth year hecompleted his course of study in the academy for boys at Cave Spring, under M. J. S. Stubbs.