Richard Surplice, grocer, Newaygo, was born in County Fermanagh, Ireland, June 19, 1839. He is a son of Edward and Hannah (Montgomery) Surplice, who emigrated to London, Can., the year following his birth. The father was a farmer, and his son remained at home acquiring his education until the age of 13 years, when he entered the service of a grocer, Alexander Davidson, and a year later was employed by James Geddes, for whom he acted as salesman one year. His father bought a farm of 100 acres near London, and he relinquished his clerkship to aid in the new agricultural project. He worked on the farm until he was 23 years old, when he left home. The next year he went to New York, where he remained only a few months, returning to London. He was engaged there about 16 months as turnkey in the jail, and in the spring of 1866 went to Ohio, where he spent the following summer.
In the spring of 1867 Mr. S. came to Newaygo, where he worked on a farm summers and as a lumberman winters, until 1870, when he opened a saloon. In 1872 he erected a building for the prosecution of his business. In 1875 he added the grocery trade to his previous interest, and managed both at the same place until his property was destroyed by the disastrous fire of April, 1883, in which he suffered a loss of $3,000 above the insurance. He built two brick stores on the site of his former stand, where he is now established. The buildings are two stories in height above the basement, and cost about #5,000. His stock of goods represents a value of $3,000, with yearly transactions of 10,000, and he is doing a good business. He owns also a fine farm of 80 acres in Garfield Township, on section 10, 160 acres of land in Ontonagon County in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and nine acres in Newaygo village south of the depot.
Mr. Surplice was married in Newaygo, July 11, 1870, to Libby, daughter of Samuel and Lucinda Davie, born in Allegany Co., N. Y., in March, 1851. Of this marriage two children have been born, as follows: Cora H., Aug. ?5, 1871, and George S., Nov. 12, 1873. Mr. Surplice is a member of the Order of Odd Fellows.