| Dr. George
W. Richards, who came to St. Charles in the late 1830s from
New York, built this Greek Revival home in 1840. Richards
established the Franklin Medical College in 1842. His association
with the medical college and the incident known as "Richards'
Riot" has made Dr. Richards one of the more memorable of
St. Charles historical residents.
the story goes, a Franklin Medical College student, John
Rood, in his desire to finish his last year of study, chose
to take matters into his own hands. After hearing of the
untimely death of young Marilla Kenyon in April 1849, Rood
decided to exhume the body for his own educational purposes.
The grave robbing was soon discovered by the deceased's
family and traced back to Dr. Richards and the Franklin
Medical College. An angry mob of men decided to question
Dr. Richards. Richards who, at this point in time, had no
knowledge of the theft, denied any wrongdoing. Soon Richards
was informed of the truth behind the crowds accusations.
In hopes of resolving the situation in a peaceful manner,
he requested that Mrs. Kenyon's body be hidden off the premises.
Unfortunately, the matter would not be settled peacefully.
searching for the remains of Mrs. Kenyon, the group of men
found a mutilated male cadaver in Richards' barn; they again
became enraged. In the following moments, gunshots killed
Rood and wounded Dr. Richards. (The bullet holes remained
visible in the front door of the home prior to its removal
in the late 1980s.) Mrs. Kenyon's body was recovered after
the incident, Dr. Richards fled, eventually moving to Dubuque,
Iowa. He died there in 1853, due in part to the wounds that
he received during the riot.
Medical College closed after this incident.
photographs, see these sources,
more fully described in the Bibliography.
of St. Charles p 24
Survey, St. Charles central district, St. Charles:
St. Charles Historic Preservation Commission, 1995.
Hazel. Our Community--St. Charles, IL: Units I-VI:
Historical Information Compiled for Thrid Grade Teachers.
Redner B. Franklin Institute: Illinois' First Medical
School. Geneva, Ill: Grant House Press, 1991.
LeRoy H. "And the Valley Awakened."
M.D., Lucius H. History of Medical Practice in Illinois,
Vol. 1, Preceding 1850. Chicago: The Book Press, 1927.