ALFRED STEPHEN RICHARDSON
Grand Master & First Master, 1870
Stephen Richardson, the father of Alfred Stephen Richardson, was a native of Maine and became a Texas resident as the result of being shipwrecked near the mouth of the Brazos River on December 22, 1822. He was on his way to Tampico, Mexico, with a cargo of merchandise and accepted the misfortune as providential and spent the remainder of his life in Texas.
He made his way to San Felipe, the capital of Austin’s Colony, ‘and taught school and assisted in the administration of the Colony in several capacities. In 1829 he married Lucinda Hodges, a daughter of one of the colonists, and that same year settled near the present site of Wallis. Alfred Stephen Richardson was born August 16, 1830, in what is now Austin County, Texas, but then a part of Mexico.
In 1832 Stephen Richardson moved his family to Chocolate Bayou near the present location of Alvin and began the erection of a saw mill. The spring floods swept it away and he moved lower down Chocolate Bayou to the site of Liverpool and there erected a saw mill that was operated by oxen on an inclined plane.
With the outbreak of trouble with Mexico he was drawn into the conflict and participated in the Grass Fight and the capture of San Antonio. He was near Colonel Ben Milam when he fell and was probably the last person to whom the Colonel spoke.
Young Alfred Stephen was old enough to remember the excitement and fear of the settlers as they fled in the Run- away Scrape. They were near enough to hear the sound Of the gunfire at the Battle of San Jacinto.
The family moved to Harrisburg in January, 1838, where a saw mill was erected and operated. In 1849 the Richardsons moved to Houston. Here A. S. Richardson began reading law with Judge Edward A. Palmer and Judge Peter W. Gray. He completed his legal studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts. From 1853 to 1857 he practiced law at Anderson in Grimes County and in the latter year returned to Houston where he spent the remainder of his life.
He became a prominent and successful lawyer and represented Harris County in the Legislature in 1862. He became Secretary of the Houston and Texas Central Railway in 1867 and held that position until 1884. Richardson in northeastern Dallas County was named for him when the Houston and Texas Central Railroad ran through that area in 1872. In that year he became executor of the will of Wm. J. Hutchins and in 1885 was appointed Master in Chancery of the Houston East and West Texas Railroad. He was engaged with the duties of these two positions until April, 1890, when he was appointed Secretary of the City of Houston and served for six years.9 Shortly after retiring he suffered a stroke of paralysis on November 17, 1896, and was confined to his bed much of the time after that.10
His first wife died from tuberculosis on March 10, 1870, at the age of 3311 He later married a niece of Col. William Fairfax Gray.
A. S. Richardson’s father, Stephen Richardson, was made a Mason in 1816 in Middlebury, Vermont, at the age of 2113 His name appears in the Texas records as acting Junior Grand Warden on December 23, 1841.
Alfred Stephen Richardson received the first three degrees in Orphan’s Friend Lodge No. 17 at Anderson in 1857 as follows: 1º February 28, 2º March 28 and 3º April 25. He demitted in 1858 and affiliated with Holland Lodge No.1 on June 9, 1858, and served as Worshipful Master during 1861 and again in 1869. After serving as the designated Master of Gray Lodge &.on June 24th to December 27th, 1870, he was installed as the elected Master for the full year of 1871. In December 1886 he was elected Grand Junior Warden and as Grand Master of Masons in Texas in December 1889 and served through the year of 1890. “No former occupant of the Grand Master’s chair ever presided with more distinguished ability, or greater satisfaction to the craft, and he was loved by the brethren for his manly virtues and unassuming manner.”
He was High Priest of Washington Chapter No.2 in 1860 and received the Order of High Priesthood on June 23, 1860.18 He was appointed Grand Royal Arch Captain of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas for 1860-1861.
He received the Orders of Knighthood in Ruthven Commandery No.. 2, K. T., on March 8, 1858, and was Eminent Commander in 1861 and Prelate from 1862 until 1876 with the exception of 1865. He was Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Texas for two years, 1871 to 1873.
In the hopes of bettering his health, he and his wife went to Canada in the summer of 1899. While on their return to Houston, he died on board the train near Palestine, Texas, on October 30, .l899. After a funeral service at Christ Church, where he had been a vestryman for forty-two years, he was laid to rest in Hollywood Cemetery with Masonic rites by Gray Lodge. Later his body was removed to Glenwood (apparently in 1919) . Among other items on his monument is this statement: “His life was devoted to the service of God, his Country and his fellowmen.”