Richards, Hosea, - 1798
Hosea Richards signed two Mashpee petitions in October and December of 1788. The first was in favor of the continuance of all three non-native guardians: Gideon Hawley, John Percival, and Reuben Fish and the second, because of an emerging conflict between the guardians themselves, was in favor of substituting a guardian in the place of two others who had declined the position. In an attachment to a May 28, 1792 petition, Hosea Richards' name was included as one of 35 proprietor families at Mashpee. The next year, a Mashpee community census found Deacon Hosea Richards and his wife living in a household at Great Neck. Rev. Gideon Hawley, the enumerator, described Richards as "an honest and sober man, but not a man of this world." Several years earlier Gideon Hawley noted that Hosea Richards was admitted to the Hawley's own Congregational Church. Although Richards and his wife had children, none were still living in 1793.
Richards put his name to a petition in May of 1795 that complained of the changes made to the Mashpee government as a result of Acts of the Massachusetts General Court in 1788 and 1789. In particular, the petition, sought to reduce Gideon Hawley's religious and administrative influence in the community. The following year the Tribe submitted another petition. This being an eloquent complaint about the community's loss of liberty in the wake of the Revolutionary War. It bore the name of Hosea Richards, along with 21 others.
On the evening of September 30, 1798, Hosea Richards died, having been afflicted with the sickness that plagued the Great Neck region for several months that year. According to Hawley, he tended to Richards' corpse, preparing it for burial.
Remonstrance of Mashpee Proprietors and Others to the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1788.10.31.00; Petition of the Mashpee Indians to the Massachusetts General Court, 1788.12.29.00; Petition of Sarah Mye and Other Mashpee Indians to the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Hawley Compilation, Richard Andrew Pierce, (1807 Letter from Gideon Hawley, Letter 228); 1792.05.28.00; 1793 Mashpee Census, Autograph File, Houghton Library, Harvard University, transcribed by Richard Andrew Pierce; Petition and Remonstrance of Ebenezer Queppish and Other Mashpee Indians to the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1795.05.20.00; Petition of Noah Webquish and Other Mashpee Indians to the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; 1796.02.22.00; Hawley, Gideon. Missionary journals, 1753-1806, Vol.2, Asset 293, Congregational Library & Archives, http://www.congregationallibrary.org/nehh/HawleyGideon1237.