Keeping it in the family

Civil War sword comes back to Richardsons
by Jeff Pederson

After 148 years, a piece of Civil War history is back in the hands of the Richardson family. Leonard and Delana Engle of Vonore, Tenn. made the trek to Sheboygan Falls last week with the sword 2nd Lt. Jarius Richardson used in the Civil War Battle of Chickamagua in 1863. The sword was delivered to Richardson Industries Chief Executive Officer Joe Richardson II and company President Joe Richardson III on Monday, Sept. 12, at the Richardson Lumber Co. administration office in Sheboygan Falls. Jarius Richardson, who was a three-year member of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry, used the sword during the Battle of Chickamauga Creek in Georgia. He was mortally wounded on Sept. 20, 1863 and later died in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Oct. 5, 1863. Richardson II had seen a pictured of the sword, but he never thought he would get the chance to see it in person. “I saw a picture of the sword in our family history book,” he said. “Jarius was my great uncle and his brother, William, was my great grandfather. It's really amazing that I am holding it right now. I don't know what to say.” Leonard Engle came across the sword recently at a friend's estate sale in Wadsworth, Ill. “I happened to see this sword at the sale, and it really intrigued me,” he said. “It came with a picture of Robert E. Lee, which I thought was really interesting.” As he examined the sword further, Engle found an inscription on the bottom, which made reference to Jarius Richardson of Wisconsin. “When I saw the name, I decided to research it further to see where it came from,” Engle said. “I didn't get too far on the Internet, so I decided to take the sword to the Civil War History Museum in Kenosha to see if I could learn more. “After that, things fell into place pretty quickly,” he said. “I was able to trace it to the Richardson family in the Sheboygan area.” Engle's next step was to research the sword and its connection to the Richardson family at the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center in Sheboygan Falls. “About two weeks ago, I came up to the research center in Sheboygan Falls, which proved to be very helpful,” Leonard Engle said. “While I was at the research center, I was informed that Jarius is buried in the Sheboygan Falls Cemetery, so I decided to check that out. “I also visited Richardson Lumber headquarters in Sheboygan Falls, just to get a feel for if I had the right family or not,” he said. “I guess you never know, and I didn't want to be wrong.” A short time later, Engle was convinced he had the right family, and he contacted Richardson II to deliver the good news. “I have to thank everyone at the research center for being so helpful,” Engle said. “They do a wonderful job there. I was amazed at the amount of information they have in their collection.” Richardson II was not immediately sure where or how to properly display the sword. “I don't really know what I will do with it,” he said. “I will have to think about it. I'm pretty sure it will go in a special place.” Engle said the friend that had the sword previously lived in Mississippi. He believes it had been passed down from generation to generation. “I'm glad that this sword is back with the Richardson family, who are the rightful owners,” he said.

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