Matthias Richards

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Matthias Richards (February 26, 1758 – August 4, 1830) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.

Early life and education[edit]

Matthias Richards was born near Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He had many siblings, including an older brother John Richards. His schooling was with a private tutoring, as was typical of many families then.

Revolutionary War[edit]

He enlisted and served during the American Revolutionary War as a private in Col. Daniel Udree’s second battalion, Berks County Militia, from August 5, 1777, until January 5, 1778. He was commissioned a major of the Fourth Battalion, Philadelphia County Militia in 1780.


In 1788 Richards was appointed a justice of the peace and held this office for forty years. He was appointed a judge of Berks County Courts (1791–1797) by Governor Shulze, a nephew.

After being elected to Congress, Richards was appointed an inspector of customs (1801–1802). He was appointed collector of revenue for the ninth district of Pennsylvania in 1813, and clerk of the orphans’ court for Berks County in 1823. He also worked at mercantile pursuits in Reading, Pennsylvania, until his death there on August 4, 1830.

Marriage and family[edit]

Having become an artisan and saddler, Richards married Maria Salome Muhlenberg (“Sally”), then age 15, on May 8, 1782. She was the youngest child of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg.[1] Among their children was John William Richards, who became a minister. His son Matthias Henry Richards became a professor of English at Muhlenberg College in 1868.[2]

Richards was interred at the Charles Evans Cemetery in Reading, Pennsylvania, where he spent most of his life.


Richards was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the Tenth and Eleventh Congresses. He did not stand for renomination in 1810.


  1. ^ Wallace, Paul A. W. (1950). The Muhlenbergs of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 90. She was only fifteen when, on May 8, 1782, she was married to Matthias Richards, a prosperous saddler of Boyertown, Pennsylvania. 
  2. ^ Foster, Gordon B., ed. (1942-05-23), "THE EPIC STORY OF THE HEROIC MUHLENBERG FAMILY", The epic story of the heroic Muhlenberg family, Muhlenberg College, May twenty-fourth to June first, 1942 (txt), Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania: MUHLENBERG BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION, Inc., retrieved 2010-09-06 
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Isaac Anderson
John Whitehill
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 3rd congressional district

1807–1809 alongside: John Hiester and Robert Jenkins
1809–1811 alongside: Daniel Hiester and Robert Jenkins
Succeeded by
Roger Davis
John M. Hyneman
Joseph Lefever