Nicholas Davis Richardson (Nov. 30, 1832-Jan. 3, 1895)

Nicholas D. Richardson (“Nick”) was the son of William Richardson (1797-1866), a prominent lawyer and, at one point, attorney general of Alabama. His mother was Richardson’s wife, Ann Davis (1810-1861), from Hanover County, Virginia. He was born in Athens, Alabama, where he lived and studied until he was sixteen. (; Speer)

Nick attended the University of Virginia in session 28 (1851-1852), where he studied chemistry, medicine, anatomy and physiology, and surgery. (UVA Matriculation Books) Speer The next year he studied at Jefferson Medical Collection in Philadelphia, and graduated with his M.D. in 1853. (Gayley) In 1854, Dr. Richardson returned to Athens and joined the practice of Dr. T. S. Malone, where he practiced until the Civil War began in 1861.

In 1861, he enlisted in Company F of the 26th Alabama Regiment, as a lieutenant. Soon he was commissioned as a surgeon in the Confederate army and served with various Alabama units until the surrender in 1865. (McClellan, p. 336) He served primarily in the field.

Returning to practice after the war, he remained in Athens until 1881, when he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and continued practicing medicine. Richardson married Sarah Elizabeth (“Bettie”) Hine (1839-1874) on Oct. 27, 1858. They had six children, Roswell H., Ann Davis, Charles B., William E., Mary P., and Nick D. Richardson, Jr. On May 1, 1875, Richardson married Eliza Anna (Echols) Sledge (1840-1915), a widow, as his second wife. This couple had no children. (Davis)

As late as 1888, a biographer described Richardson as “a most attractive and companionable gentleman. He is six feet high; weighs one hundred and eighty pounds; has the face and manners of the typical, warm-hearted, impulsive southern planter, and looks fearless, unsuspecting, independent, and very self-conscious.” (Speer, p. 319) Nick Richardson was buried in Athens (AL) City Cemetery, in the family plot. (


  • Davis, Kathie, “Limestone County AL Archives Cemeteries.” [website] Athens City Cemetery – Partial Survey More to Come. (2007)
  • Gayley, James F. A history of the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, Joseph M. Wilson, 1858, p.56.
  • McClellan, William Cowan. Welcome the hour of conflict: William Cowan McClellan and the 9th Alabama. Tuscaloosa, AL, University of Alabama Press, 2007, p. 336.
  • Richardson tombstones, Athens City Cemetery, Alabama.
  • Speer, William S., comp. Sketches of Prominent Tennesseans: Containing Biographies and Records of many of the families who have attained prominence in Tennessee. Originally published Nashville, 1888. Baltimore, MD, Genealogical Publishing, p. 318-319.
  • University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
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4 Responses to Nicholas Davis Richardson (Nov. 30, 1832-Jan. 3, 1895)

  1. joseph cantey elliott says:

    Interesting article on Richardson. Another U.Va. medical graduate was Dr. Franklin Anderson, Stateburg, SC, also a surgeon in the Confederate army. He died of Yellow Fever in Charleston and is buried in Magnolia Cemetery. He came from a long line of doctors and was the son of Dr. Richard Anderson whose three brothers were also doctors, all attending and graduating with an M.D. from the U. of Pennsylvania. Dr. Richard Anderson was my g-great-grandfather who assisted his brother, Dr. William Wallace Anderson, Borough Plantation, Stateburg, in a historic surgery, the first recorded, successful removal of a jawbone for cancer.1 A Dr. Mott, New York, was probably the first to successfully operate for osteo sarcoma of the lower jaw, but he didn’t have to remove the jawbone.

    I know little of Dr. Franklin Anderson, although he was the brother of my great-grandfather, also a Dr. William Wallace Anderson, one of three, father, son, and nephew. Mine was the nephew and graduated from the Medical College of South Carolina. Dr. Richard Anderson had only two sons, and I believe that Franklin was the oldest. He attended U. Va. in Session 33. He served as asst. surgeon in the South Carolina Volunteers, the Macbeth Light Artillery, organized in the summer of 1861. He was stationed in Charleston and died during the October bombardment of that city. Franklin’s birth date comes from the U. Va. matriculation books and his death date is from his tombstone. Most of this information on Franklin comes from “Students of the University of Virginia, 1825-1874.

    1 The American Journal of Medical Sciences (Philadelphia: Carey & Lea, 1832), 10, pp. 315-318. Gibson, William: The Institutes and Practice of Surgery: Being the Outlines of a Course of Lectures.

    On Sun, Feb 19, 2017 at 7:38 PM, Students of the University of Virginia, 1825-1874 wrote:

    > Jean L. Cooper posted: “Nicholas D. Richardson (“Nick”) was the son of > William Richardson (1797-1866), a prominent lawyer and, at one point, > attorney general of Alabama. His mother was Richardson’s wife, Ann Davis > (1810-1861), from Hanover County, Virginia. He was born in Athens” >

  2. joseph cantey elliott says:

    Dr. Franklin Anderson was also the first cousin of Lt. General Richard Heron Anderson, Borough Plantation, Stateburg, SC.

  3. Ed Childers says:

    Great article – thank you. Nick was my third great-grandfather and I was able to glean a lot of concise information about his life and accomplishments. While perhaps outside of the scope of his time at UVa and of this article, it also is worth noting that he served as Grand Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan in 1868-69 for the chapter located in Limestone County, Alabama. Well written however. Thanks again.

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