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William H. Richards

Willie

1882

William H., son of Mrs. Eliza Richards and the late Hon. John Richards, 6 died at his home on Wednesday, November 29th, 1882, at 11:55 p.m., aged 29 years, 11 months and 23 days.

 

Mr. Richards' death, although he has long been in delicate health, was a surprise to his many friends in this and other communities.

 

‘Tis the twink of an eye, ‘tis the draught of a breath.

From the blossom of the paleness of death,

From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud.

0! why should the spirit of mortal be proud?

 

He died in the meridian of life, possessed, as he was, of a warm, genial nature and an unrestricted flow of friendship for his fellow-men, many will mourn his loss as a near and dear relative.

 

The good and generous qualities of our human nature were blended in his character, and his memory will ever be cherished by those who knew him best.

 

He lived that he could meet death with all its consequences, and he did meet it without notice when the shadowy hand beckoned him to his journey across the dark continent to the land beyond the sun.  Let us commend the heart-stricken mother, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends to the mercies of him who alone can heal the bruised heart and calm the whirlwind of grief in the soul.

 

His funeral was held from his late home Sunday, and .by his father's his remains were laid to await the glorious resurrection to light the darkness of the grave.

 

Buried in Oak Hill Cemetery

 

1920s

WILLIAM THOMAS ERECTED LARGE SKI SLIDE

         DISTANT VIEW, with ski slide/jump

Sledding and skiing were popular and the best place for these sports in Watertown was located on Richards Hill, near the Octagon House, then still a private home.  William Thomas, grandson of John Richards and himself a quirky sort of fellow, erected a large ski slide on the south side of the house, along what is today Charles Street.  From this slide, one could, if the wind was at your back, slide down the chute and sail clear across the frozen Rock River and end up on the east side of the river. 

 

This was a popular spot on winter afternoons until one day in 1924 when two brothers. Hubert and Leonard Born, decided to slide down the hill at nightfall.  Normally, there was a look-out placed at the base of the hill along Concord Avenue to watch for passing cars and wagons, but since this was at night, there was no one to watch for the traffic.  As the boys came down the hill, they were struck by a horse-drawn cutter and after lingering for a day, they both died.  Since then, it has been illegal to slide down Richards Hill.  [Derived from Watertown: A History, by Bill Jannke]

 

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