Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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RICHARDS, John William, clergyman, born at Reading, Pennsylvania, 18 April, 1808; died there, 27 January, 1854. His father, Matthias Richards, was for many years an associate judge of the courts in Berks county, and his mother was a daughter of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. He received his classical training in the academy in his native place, began his theological course under his pastor, Dr. Henry A. Muhlenberg, in 1821, and in 1824 was licensed by the ministerium of Pennsylvania, with which body he was connected until his death, and in which he held many posts of honor and trust. He was pastor successively of churches in New Holland, Trappe, Germantown, and Reading, Pennsylvania During his pastorate at Easton he was professor of the German language and literature in Lafayette. He received the degree of D. D. from Jefferson college, Pennsylvania, in 1852. Dr. Richards was a brilliant preacher and a forcible writer. His publications include "The Fruitful Retrospect," a sermon preached at Trappe at the centenary celebration of the laying," of the corner-stone of the church (Pottstown, Pennsylvania, 1843), and "The Walk about Zion," a sermon delivered at the close of his pastorate (Easton, 1851). Among his unpublished manuscripts is the translation of a large part of "Ital-le'sche Nachrichten," a work published in two volumes (Halle, 1887), which is the primary source of American Lutheran history.--His son. Matthias Henry, clergyman, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 17 June, 1841, was graduated at Pennsylvania college, Gettysburg, in 1860, and at the theological seminary there in 1864, and in the latter year was ordained to the ministry, He has been successively tutor at Pennsylvania college in 1861-'3, pastor at South Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1864-'5, and at Greenwich, New Jersey, in 1865-'8, professor of the English language and literature in Muhlenberg college in 1868-'73, pastor at Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1873-'6, and again professor in Muhlenberg college since 1876, and secretary of the faculty. He has delivered a large number of lectures, and is a frequent contributor to periodicals. Since 1880 he has been editor of '" Church Lesson-Leaves" and "Helper" (Philadelphia), and since 1886 the managing editor of the "Church Messenger" at Allentown. Of his numerous sermons, addresses, and other literary productions that have appeared in the various periodicals of the church, only three poems have been published separately in pamphlet-form, and "Church Lesson Leaflet " (Philadelphia, 1887-'8).
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