RICHARDSON, SAMUEL, surveyor and office holder; b. 1795 or 1796 in Pembrokeshire, Wales; m. Prudence Caldwell; d. 2 March 1843 in Oro Township, Upper Canada.
Samuel Richardson came to Upper Canada in July 1819 and received his licence as a land surveyor on 10 March 1821. That summer he worked for a short time as a supernumerary clerk at Sherbrooke, the naval depot situated where the Grand River empties into Lake Erie, and later served on a schooner, Confiance, based at Grand River, while engaged in a survey of the boundary line between Upper Canada and the United States.
On 6 November, Commodore Robert Barrie named Richardson storeporter in the naval establishment at Penetanguishene, a position he held until discharged in June 1834, after the breakup of the establishment. During this period he also made a number of surveys, and was referred to by William Chewett as “a deputy surveyor belonging to the Naval Department at Penetanguishene.” In June 1829 he was ordered to discover “the most eligible mill site in the vicinity of Penetanguishene, for the use of the Establishment,” and from June to September he laid out 20 lots on the west side of Penetanguishene harbour.
The naval establishment at Penetanguishene shared with traders and settlers the problem of transporting goods from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay. From early days a well-travelled route had existed from York (Toronto) to Lake Simcoe, but there was no short, easy route from there to Penetanguishene. In April 1830 Richardson surveyed a line suitable for a road from Matchedash Bay by Coldwater River to Bristol Channel (now Lake Couchiching) which was used extensively for many years.
A major expedition was organized in 1835 to explore the country north from Mara Township to Lake Nipissing and so to establish the continuation of the division line between the Home and Newcastle districts. It was led by Lieutenant John Carthew of the Royal Navy, with Captain Frederick Henry Baddeley*, a Royal Engineer, as geologist and Richardson and William Hawkins as surveyors. The party worked from July to November, by which time the new line stretched about 78 miles from the northwest corner of Mara to a point probably in the present township of Chapman. The extensive reports of Carthew, Baddeley, and Hawkins were printed in an appendix to the journal of the House of Assembly, but Richardson’s report, which covered only technical details, was not included.
The west side of the Narrows (Orillia) between lakes Simcoe and Couchiching was a strategic point for access to Georgian Bay and to the undeveloped lands to the north. When the Ojibwa Indians in this area, under Chief Musquakie*, moved north to Rama Township in 1839, the territory became available for white settlement. Richardson then received instructions to lay out a town plot on lots 7 and 8, concession 5, township of South Orillia, site of the present city of Orillia. In 1841 he conducted surveys in Eldon Township, and from August to November 1842 he surveyed a number of lots in Barrie.
Some time after the naval establishment at Penetanguishene had been broken up, Richardson had moved to Oro Township. In the summer of 1841 he was appointed treasurer of Simcoe County (after 11 Jan. 1843 Simcoe District); on several occasions he served as a boundary commissioner for the Home District. Richardson took no active part in provincial politics and, shortly before his death, was referred to as a “Soft Tory” in a letter from Benjamin Walker Smith, newly appointed sheriff of the Simcoe District, to Robert Baldwin*. Richardson died on 2 March 1843, survived by his wife, two sons, and a daughter.
AO, Land record index; MU 2114, 1861, no.15; RG 1, A-I-6: 17534–36, 17584–86; CB-1, boxes 9, 22–23, 29, 31. MTRL, Robert Baldwin papers, A65, no.93a; A71, no.57. Ont., Ministry of Natural Resources, Survey Records Office (Toronto), Instructions for crown surveys (mfm. at AO). PAC, MG 24, F66, 3; RG 5, A1: 53115–30; RG 8, III, A, 34. PRO, ADM 42/2199, 42/2202; ADM 106/2002. Simcoe County Arch. (Minesing, Ont.), File information concerning Samuel Richardson. Minutes of the Simcoe District Municipal Council, 1843–1847 (Barrie, Ont., 1895), 4, 40, 69, 122, 153, 162, 164–65, 197. Muskoka and Haliburton, 1615–1875: a collection of documents, ed. F. B. Murray ([Toronto], 1963), xlix–1, 72–82. U.C., House of Assembly, App. to the journal, 1836–37, no.37. A. F. Hunter, A history of Simcoe County (2v., Barrie, 1909; repr. 2v. in 1, 1948), 1: 41, 45, 260; 2: 127–30, 161, 269, 300.