Richardson, Samuel Q. (1828–1900)

By: Diana J. Kleiner

Type: Biography

Published: June 1, 1995

Samuel Q. Richardson, Van Zandt County saltmaker and county judge, the son of S. Q. and Mary (Harrison) Richardson, was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1828. He was raised in Bourbon County, Kentucky, and Van Buren County, Iowa, after which he began farming. He moved to Texas in 1848 and settled in Rusk County, where he established a mill. He served as Rusk County deputy sheriff in 1851 and 1852, engaged in freighting in East Texas, and was briefly a clerk in Shreveport, Louisiana. In 1853 he established a mill at Henderson and in 1856 a steam sawmill at Tyler. In 1859 Richardson moved to Van Zandt County, where he bought 4,000 acres of land at Saline Prairie, including the salt-manufacturing operations of Frederick J. Hamm, and engaged in saltmaking. During the Civil War Richardson enlisted in Company I of the Twenty-second Infantry, served in Louisiana and Texas, and spent some time in the North. His wife ran the saltworks in his absence, and for a time it was used by federal forces. After the war Richardson returned to Van Zandt County, where he was appointed chief justice and resumed salt production. He produced as much as 200 to 300 bags a day but in 1875 leased his salt works to a St. Louis company organized by G. M. Overlease. Richardson moved to Dallas in 1878, bought fifteen acres on the Houston and Texas Central Railroad for an ice plant, and operated it for several years. He also laid out Richardson's Addition, which became part of the city. After living for a time in Dallas, he returned to Grand Saline, where he established the first deep well to pierce the rock-salt bed and established a salt plant on the Texas and Pacific Railroad that he operated until his death. In 1892 Richardson installed steam lines to increase salt production to 600 barrels a day. His plant was across the railroad tracks from the site of the present southeast corner of Grand Saline. In 1860 Richardson married Mary J. Casen, with whom he had four children, and in 1896 he married Willie Whitworth, with whom he had one child. He died in 1900 and was buried in Dallas. After his death, the salt plant passed through several changes of management and ownership. Heirs of the estate sold their holdings in 1904 to the Grand Saline Salt Company, organized by Emerson Carey and J. Kirk, and in 1920 it became part of the Morton Salt Company.

Margaret Elizabeth Hall, A History of Van Zandt County (Austin: Jenkins, 1976). Wentworth Manning, Some History of Van Zandt County (Des Moines, Iowa: Homestead, 1919; rpt., Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Hunter, 1977). William Samuel Mills, History of Van Zandt County (Canton, Texas, 1950). Van Zandt County History Book Committee, History of Van Zandt County (Dallas, 1984).


  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Diana J. Kleiner, “Richardson, Samuel Q.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 24, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995

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