Richard Henry Lee Villard was born in Westmoreland Co., Virginia. He was named for the American Statesman Richard Henry Lee (20 January 1732 - 19 June 1794). Richard's father, André was employed in 1793 to renovate Stratford Hall in Westmoreland Co., resulting in a lifelong friendship between these two families.
In 1819 Richard Villard was in partnership with Cherubin Dufief with their silversmith workshop located on Jefferson Street in Georgetown, opposite J. Peabody's Auction Rooms. (Jefferson [now Thomas Jefferson NW] was a narrow street between Bridge [now M Street] and Wapping [now Whitehurst Freeway NW].)
In the 1820 Georgetown, District of Columbia census, Richard is listed with his un-named wife, as well as an un-named female, aged 45 and older, possibly his widowed mother, Sophia Demeaux Villard.
During the 1820s, Richard was named as an agent for several rental properties in Georgetown, one on Jefferson Street and another on 1oth Street (which may be located in the northwest section of Georgetown).
In 1830, Richard, now located on Bridge [M Street] is the agent selling a 2-story brick house and lot on 10th St. "within a few steps of the (un-named) avenue, & now under a rent of $200 per annum." This same house is listed for unpaid taxes in 1830 through 1835, with the owner listed as Adam Villard. Perhaps this Adam was in fact his father, André.
Richard H. L. Villard is listed as the head of household in the 1830 Georgetown, District of Columbia census. The family includes 1 male under 5 (son Thomas J.); 1 male 30-40 (Richard); 2 females 5-10 (daughters Mary Ann and Sophia Louise); 2 females 30-40 (wife Mary Ann, and an unknown female).
In the book 'A Portrait of Old Georgetown' by Grace Dunlop Peter, there is a mention that "Another silversmith who had a shop on Bridge (M) Street in 1833 was R. H. L. Villard." In 'Marks of American Silversmiths' by Louise Conway Belden, she states that Richard is mentioned in the 1833-35 Washington City Directory as silversmith and jeweler, and in the 1834 directory with E. J. Cohen & Co., jeweler.
"From the Georgetown Metropolitan. BEAUTIFUL CURIOSITY. There has been left in our office, for the inspection of the curious, a small enamel miniature of the most exquisite finish, which was turned up with a hoe by a negro slave, on the farm of Mr. Villard, Westmoreland Co. Virginia. Our high curiosity was raised when we were confidently assured by the owner that good judges had pronounced it an undoubted original of Sir Walter Raleigh, a supposition, which a moment's inspection of the style and features served us to disprove.
"It is a portrait of a man of quality of the last century, in the prime of life. The features are fair, and exceedingly handsome; the hair dressed "a la peruke," and highly powdered, with a bag. There is on the head, a French grenadier cap, trimmed with gold and point lace, and the figure it enveloped in a rich manteau of yellow satin lied in front with a black velvet bow, and splendidly embroidered with black satin and pearls, as heralds would say "enchollope."
"The miniature is about the size of half a dollar, oval, and as a work of art is of high value, the painting, enamelling and finish, being of the rarest beauty. The colors are delicate, and as fresh as if painted yesterday We take it to be the portrait of a French nobleman in his state robes, and notwithstanding its small size, there is an expression of character in the features which is altogether illimitable, and argues the hand of a first rate artist. It was probably lost by an officer of the army during the revolutionary war. It was found without sitting of any kind in forest land, which was then for the first time put under cultivation."
The 1840 Washington, District of Columbia census lists R.H.L. Villard and the following members of the household: 1 male 10-15 (son Thomas J.); 1 male 40-50 (Richard); 2 female 15-20 (daughters Mary Ann and Sophia Louisa); 1 female 40-50 (wife Mary Ann); 1 male slave 10-24.
Richard died on 5 March 1849, with his funeral on 7 March 1849, at 4 o'clock, from his late residence on Bridge Street, Georgetown.
The is a record of "RHL Villard" purchasing a walnut and cherry coffin from the cabinetmaker William King, dated 7 March 1849. The casket was probably bought by his widow, Mary Ann Villard. (William King's Mortality Books:, Volume 2, 1833-1863, transcribed by Jane Donovan, and Carlton Fletcher, Heritage Books, 2004.)
The will of Richard H. L. Villard, of Georgetown, D.C., was dated 4 Mar 1849, and probated 13 Mar 1849. He bequeathed to his son Thomas J. Villard, all his property. He mentions that the children not provided for in the will are loved, but the small estate does not allow for provisions and that if the estate is kept together it will aid in support of his wife. He gave to his daughter Mary Hedges, a gold watch with suitable chain and key for a ladies wear. To his daughter Sophia L. Delany, he gifted 1 dozen silver table spoons, 1 dozen dessert silver spoons, and 1 dozen tea silver spoons. He named as Executor his son, Thomas J. Villard. The witnesses were Otho M. Linthicum, Thomas A. Lazenby, and John Marbury.
Richard married Mary Ann Mulhollen on 13 Sep 1815 at Greenleaf's Point, by the Rev. O. B. Brown, in Washington, District of Columbia. Mary was born about 1798 in Philadelphia, Philadephia County, Pennsylvania. I have been unable to track down her parents. She died on 30 April 1851 in Georgetown, District of Columbia (age 53). She was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown, District of Columbia.
The widow Villard, aged 53, was found in the 1850 Washington City, District of Columbia census living with her son-in-law Michael Delany and family.
Mary Ann's obituary was posted in the 1 May 1851 issue of the Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, District of Columbia:
In Washington, on Wednesday, 30th April, at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Louisa Delany, on Missouri avenue, at half-past 12 o'clock A. M., Mrs. Mary Ann Villard, widow of the late R.H.L. Villard, of Georgetown, D.C., in the 53rd year of her age. Her funeral will take place this (Thursday) morning, at 11 o'clock, from Trinity Church, (corner of Third and C streets,) at which time and place her friends and acquaintances are requested to attend.
Richard and Mary had the following children:
- (unknown) Villard was born about 1820 in Georgetown, District of Columbia. The child died on or about 27 July 1820 in Georgetown, District of Columbia.
- Mary Ann Villard was born about 1825 in Washington, District of Columbia. She died on 20 September 1889 in (aged 64 years). She was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown, District of Columbia. Mary married John Hedges son of Samuel Hedges and Jane Thompson on 17 May 1843 in Washington, District of Columbia. John was born on 27 August 1817 in Tullisses Branch, Berkeley County, Virginia. He died on 27 September 1886 in Fernandina, Nassau County, Florida. He was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown, District of Columbia.
- Sophia Louisa Villard was born about 1823 in Washington, District of Columbia. She died on 4 May 1895 in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. She was buried in Mount Saint Mary's Cemetery, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. Sophia married Michael Delaney son of Thomas Delaney and Margaret Keyne on 28 December 1841 in Washington, District of Columbia. Michael was born on 12 April 1819 in Washington, District of Columbia. He died on 9 October 1896 in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. He was buried in Mount Saint Mary's Cemetery, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.
- Doctor Thomas Jefferson Villard was born about 1825 in Washington, District of Columbia. No record of his death has been found. Thomas married Caroline Columbia Bryan on 25 Oct 1848 in Washington, District of Columbia. Caroline was born about 1827 in Washington, District of Columbia. No record of her death has been found.