ANDREW FOREST MUIR
OHN RICORD, whose name likely was Jean Baptiste Ricord-
Madianna, was born in New Jersey, probably at Belleville,
on September 5, 1812, a combination of two contrasting
stocks: old American of Dutch origin and quasi-aristocratic
French emigre. His parents were Dr. Jean Baptiste Ricord-
Madianna and Elizabeth Stryker.
Dr. Ricord-Madianna, the son of a large shipowner and stock-
holder in the Compagnie des Indes and grandson of a distin-
guished physician of Marseilles, was taken as a child, during the
French Revolution, first to Italy, then to the Island of Guade-
loupe, and finally to Baltimore, Maryland. In the second decade
of the nineteenth century, he entered the New York College of
Physicians and Surgeons, from which he was graduated in 1817.
In addition to his professional competence, he was skilled in
music, painting, natural history, and languages. In 1812 he pub-
lished in New York An Improved French Grammar and in 1826
in Bordeaux an illustrated monograph on American poisons.
Family tradition identifies three family portraits as the products
of his brush.
On December 6, 181o, Dr. Ricord-Madianna was married to
Elizabeth Stryker, daughter of a noted Dutch Reformed minister
and descendant of the founder of Midwout, now Flatbush, Long
Island. She was described as "a beautiful girl ... a real lady and
a lovely Christian," from whose lips was never heard "a word of
unkindness, harsh judgment, gossip or idle talk." She was "gentle,
kindly, full of 'sweet reasonableness,' patience, peace." She bore
her husband four sons, the second John. Twice Mrs. Ricord lived
in the French West Indies, immediately after her marriage and
later after her husband received his medical degree.
When John was some eleven years old, his mother separated
from his father. The family tradition is that "he did not make
a happy home" for her. More than likely the basis of their dif-
*Read before the annual meeting of the Hawaiian Historical Society, in Hono-
lulu, March io, 1947.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101121/. Accessed March 31, 2015.