Allegheny County’s Black Founders

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Originally our fair county was at one time Westmoreland County. So you can imagine in an age of horse and buggy transportation being so spread out was not very convenient when it came to conduction official business.  The local men of influence came together in 1788 and decided it was time to form their own county. A petition was written and here we are. But what makes this so amazing is that among the signers of this petition were four black men. Think about it, at a time when black men were held as slaves in the same town there were also black men making powerful decisions. Their names were Benjamin Richards, Charles Richards, David Saven, and David Betty.

Of these four men one stands out in particular, Benjamin Richards. He was a local butcher who secured contracts with the military and became at one point the wealthiest man in the region. Not just the wealthiest black, he was the richest man in Pittsburgh. He was significant land owner and very well known. His name and that of his son Charles Richards were cited as being influential in the discussion of abolition in PA. Charles Richards became notable on his own by having what one traveler called the finest inns outside of Philadelphia.  

I searched for more information on these founding fathers of Allegheny County but did not come up with much more than what I have shared. This Black History fact was so exciting to learn that I decided to share it with just this limited information. But I will continue my efforts and sharing anything new I may come across.  

 

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Lanae is lifelong Pittsburgh resident with a brief stint in Ohio for her high school and middle school years. Most of her life she lived in Wilkinsburg but recently became a resident of the north boroughs. Lanae holds an associates’ degree in fashion merchandising and a bachelor’s degree in business management. After college, Lanae, entered the insurance and financial services industry by becoming a licensed agent and a claims specialist. Lanae also is an advocate for cloth diapering and baby wearing. Through her website drybabies.org she offers information and sources offering cloth diapering to all women and families in need. With two boys and 3 girls ranging in ages from 18- 2 most of her time is spent traveling to ballet lessons, band practice, and cello lessons. Also, two of her children are special needs and require various appointments and therapy. When there is time left, she enjoys writing, sewing and cooking. She is currently finishing up her first novel with more already in the works. With a love for travel, Lanae and her family have been to 5 different Caribbean islands and 2 countries in South America. So, look to hear more about the organized chaos that is traveling with 5 kids.

1 COMMENT

  1. Greetings,
    I appreciate your efforts to add pages to the book of Pittsburgh’s history! I have been researching and sharing the stories of diverse people (mostly women) who’ve made this city. My intention is to inspire younger people to make it better.

    Do you know about the Tanner family? Remarkable women and men in all of the generations. I post about Pittsburgh’s unsung history stars on my Facebook page: Pittsburgh Mayors. My email address is gloria.forouzan at pittsburghpa.gov

    Thank you for your work!

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