Private Life and Family
In 1806, Richardson formed part of a committee with Louis Chaboillez, Sir James Monk, Sir John Johnson, John Forsyth and John Ogilvie, to build Nelson's Column, Montreal. Richardson's interests spread far beyond business. He was President of the Natural History Society of Montreal and well read in modern and ancient history, law, economics, and British poetry. He maintained an excellent understanding of British, American, and European politics. For the most part he admired the economist Adam Smith, and Lord Byron was his favourite poet, but he neither admired the man or his politics. Edmund Burke had governed his constitutional thinking on Lower Canada, but in 1831, in the thinking of Edward Ellice and Lord Durham he thought a moderate reform of parliament justified. In personality, he had much of the "state and distance" he so admired in General Sir James Henry Craig, which suited his considerable height and majestic bearing.
After his death, in 1833 the Richardson's home on Saint Antoine Street, Montreal, became Orr's Hotel, which accommodated forty guests. In 1820, John Bigsby described a dinner party given at the Richardsons:
At an evening party at Mr Richardson's the appointments and service were admirable; the dress, manners, and conversation of the guests, in excellent taste. Most of the persons there, though country-born, had been educated in England (Great Britain), and everything savoured of Kensington. There was much good music. I remember to this day the touching effect of a slow air on four notes, sung by a sweet voice, and supposed to be a hymn sung before a wayside oratory in Tuscany.
In 1821, Richardson, William McGillivray and Samuel Gerrard formed a committee to purchase land on which to build the Montreal General Hospital. It was built in 1821, and Richardson was appointed chairman of a committee to superintend its construction, and afterwards served as the first president of the hospital. In 1832, the new west wing was named for him and the plaque to his memory commemorated "the public and private virtues of the Honorable John Richardson.. a liberal contributor to its (the hospital's) foundation and support..". He was a member of and generously gave to both the Presbyterian and the Anglican churches. He was an executor of his friend, James McGill's, will.
In 1794, at Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal, John Richardson married Sarah Ann Grant (1773-1847), niece and heiress of The Hon. William Grant and his wife, widow of the 3rd Baron de Longueuil. The Richardsons were the parents of seven children, including,
- Ann Richardson (1797–1880), married firstly David Ogden (1772–1823), son of Chief Justice Isaac Ogden, of Montreal, and grandson of Judge David A. Ogden. Her first husband was a brother of Charles Richard Ogden and Peter Skene Ogden. Secondly, in 1827, Ann married The Hon. Thomas Brown Anderson, President of the Bank of Montreal.
- Eweretta Richardson (d.1874). In 1846, at Montreal, she married Colonel William Denny (1804-1886), of the 71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot, and Tralee, County Kerry. Denny was also an artist, and the son of Anthony Denny (first cousin of Sir Edward Denny, 3rd Bt., of Tralee Castle) and Frances, daughter of William Blennerhassett (1735-1797) of Ballyseedy, Co. Kerry.
- Helen Richardson. In 1816, at Montreal, she married George Auldjo (1790–1846) J.P., of Montreal and afterwards Skene Terrace; Chief Magistrate of Aberdeen. He was a nephew of Alexander Auldjo, the husband of Helen's aunt, Eweretta Richardson
- Harriet Richardson (d. 1855). In 1795, she married George More, of Raeden; Provost of Aberdeen, 1795-97. Their home was a Georgian mansion named Raeden House. It was built by George's father, Gilbert More/Moir and described as "an excellent house, well wooded, with a fine garden, and valuable property".
- Thomas Richardson (d. 1834), merchant at Calcutta, India.
- Charlotte Richardson (1808–1884), married Rev. James Ramsay, of Montreal, formerly of Glebe House, Templemore, Co. Tipperary. He ran a school for the boys of Montreal's elite.
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