My name is Joan Dianne Belyeu Nichols and I am a great-granddaughter of Amelia Margaret Port (of Marion, South Carolina) and Hillard Andrew Richardson (of Palmetto, Georgia). A quote from the Hill & Amelia Richardson story book written by my 1st cousin-once removed, Mary Ann Richardson Grace, will best describe the stories and pictures you will enjoy on this site. It goes like this, "There were eight children, five beautiful daughters and three handsome sons none of which ventured far from the soil where they first planted their feet. All began their married life in Palmetto and all but two lived their entire lives within two miles of the home place. Even Horace and Sweetie only moved about 20 miles away." One of the three sons, Levi Matthew Richardson, is my grandfather. His baby daughter, Emma Nell Richardson, is my mother.
During mama's childhood, the aunts, uncles, and as (Aunt) Mary Ann puts it, COUSINS BY THE DOZENS, worked, played and worshipped together. Strength in family was a way of life...
Today, however, our family tree branches have spread throughout the world. It is through reunions, letters, e-mail, cell phones, and the world wide web that we stay connected.
I am pleased that you have chosen to visit this special site. Our 1984 Richardson reunion, organized by Berta (Sarah Alberta Richardson), was held at the original home site on Hutcheson Ferry Road in Palmetto. I have a few of my own pictures from that special day to share with you. (Aunt) Berta passed away four years later in 1988 and we thought the reunion days had ended.
Well, let me tell you that Berta's baby sister, Mary Ann Richardson Grace, did not let that happen. Inspired by her family book project (which I earlier quoted), Mary Ann contacted, got feedback from, and invited every descendant of Lizzie, Fannie, Matt, Doll, Sweet, Tom, Horace, and Lolie (Amelia and Hill's eight children) to a REUNION at Ramah Baptist Church in Palmetto! In the summer of 2001, I met family that I had no idea I had. We all did thanks to the interest and effort made by Mary Ann.
She did it again this year, June 25 & 26, 2005. This time the reunion was held at the lodge located by a lake (which Uncle Tom said was originally built as a water supply for Palmetto) at the Georgia Baptist Children's Home located on land once farmed by my grandparents, aunts & uncles, their cousins, and more from Palmetto. Uncle John and mama told us about farming pimentos, cotton, and other crops there.
This was a unique reunion as Aunt Mary Ann scheduled a time for those interested to ride by car over to visit the home of Matt & Betty Lou (died in 1921) then Opal (died in 1966) Richardson, now owned by Barry and Debbie Belyeu, and the home of Tom and Annie Richardson on top of the hill. These were special visits and everyone appreciated being welcomed. Also on the tour, though overgrown and hard to reach, was the cemetery on Waterworks Road where many Richardson relatives are buried. Mary Ann gave a brief history including names which I am now unsure of.
I am sharing with you a variety of pictures shared with me by Tom & Helen Richardson, Mary Ann Grace, Nell B. Astin (my mother), Lisa Richardson, Karen Villano, my own sharp shooting, and hopefully many, many more of yours that trickle in. This is my first web site and I hope to keep it interesting, factual and error free so feel free to contact me with additions and/or corrections.
Welcome to the family.