Monday, November 11, 2013

Mexico pictures!

 This one shows some of my Mexican souvenirs that sit in the trunk.  I will need to get them out and show you some day.  This is in Margie and Melvin's first grade classes.  I used to dance the Jarabe Tapato  (a Mexican dance with this dress) also.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Wonderful message about obedience from Lavona Richardson

Dear Family,

I am grateful that we are a missionary family.  One of my memories of growing up was that my Daddy loved missionary work and often told us missionary experiences from his mission in San Antonio and Laredo Texas.  All of his children served missions. You have heard me say many times that the missions that your Dad and I served together were the crowning events of our lives.  I know that my Daddy and Mother are happy that we have so many in our family involved with missionary work.  I am grateful for the five grandchildren I have serving full time missions and for the two that will be leaving for their missions in January.  I know we are all missionaries and need to find people for the full time missionaries to teach. I am enjoying being a missionary each Wednesday at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City and each week I have some wonderful experiences.  Recently I was assigned to give the spiritual thought in our prayer meeting on obedience.  These are some of the thoughts that I used in my talk.

I have five grandchildren serving missions all over the world with two more with calls to serve. As I visit with them before they leave my advice to them is to be obedient to all the rules even though they might not know the reason for them. If they are obedient the Lord will bless them with His spirit and they will be effective missionaries.  I like the words of the Children’s song “Follow the Prophet”. There are nine verses that tell about the prophets in the Old Testament such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Daniel, Samuel, Jonah and ending with the verse- “ Now we have a world where people are confused , If you don’t believe it go and watch the news. We can get direction all along our way, if we heed the prophets—follow what they say” 

A quote I like about obedience, “A seed of faith is already planted in your heart…But like a growing plant, it must be nurtured or it will wither. Frequent and heartfelt prayers of faith are crucial and needed nutrients. Obedience to the truth you have received will keep the testimony alive and strengthen it. Obedience to the commandments is part of the nourishment you must provide for your testimony.” 
I am currently reading the book Choose Higher Ground by Henry B. Eyring. On page 37 I found another quote about obedience I like.  “However much faith to obey God we now have, we will need to strength it continually and keep it refreshed constantly. We can do that by deciding now to be more quick to obey and more determined to endure”

Joseph F. Smith said, “.Men must not be constrained against their will to obey the will of God; they must obey it because they know it to be right, because they desire to do it, and because it is their pleasure to do it. God delights in the willing heart.”

One last quote that was posted at the MTC when a grandson was there, “Obedience is the price, faith is the power, love is the motive, the Spirit is the key, happiness is the reward, Christ is the reason.”

It is my prayer that we can all obey and sustain the leaders called to direct the work in these Latter-days.  

Lots of love now and forever, Mom, Grandma, Lavona

Friday, November 1, 2013

Conference Center experience

Dear Family and Friends,

I received tonight this letter on e-mail and wanted to share it with you.  I gave this man a tour of the conference center yesterday in Salt Lake City,. I was so impressed with him and his desire to learn.  It was a great thrill for me to introduce the Book of Mormon to him and to bear my testimony about this great book.  I was also privileged to share with him the story of the restoration of the gospel and again bear my testimony.   I could feel the spirit so strong.

I wanted to share with you the letter I received today from this great man.  I hope that the missionaries can continue to teach him.   I am so grateful to be a missionary and the great experiences that I have each week.

Mom, Grandma, Lavona Richardson

     Mrs. Richardson,
  My name is David Stanton and you gave me my tour of the conference center on Wednesday.  I wanted to thank you for your kindness and enthusiasm in sharing a wonderful building and your faith with me.  I have been most impressed by my visit to Salt Lake.  I want you to know I went to the Deseret book store and purchased a copy of the Book of Mormon and look forward to reading it.  I think too often we as people focus on the divisions between us.  This is especially true when it comes to faith.  I am grateful for the opportunity to have met you and the other kind people of faith I have had the pleasure to meet on my visit here.

  I want to tell you again how much your enthusiasm and joy made me feel very welcome as you took me through the tour.  I spent ten years in the US Army.  I spent a year in Saudi Arabia and a year in Korea.  I have lived in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Wyoming, and South Dakota during my life.  In all of my travels I have never been more impressed by a place or the people in it than I have been with Salt Lake City and the good people I met.  I have been told by many people that I must remember that there are bad people everywhere, but I choose to focus instead on the fact that there are good people everywhere.  There are no better anywhere than the Mormon people of Faith, including you that I had the pleasure to meet this week.  As a Catholic I am first a follower of Jesus Christ who seeks to reflect His goodness and to live as He commanded.  We share that belief and I recognized in you and the other kind people I met the hearts of followers of Christ.  I hope to come again, and if I do I hope that I can come say hello to you at the conference center.

Thank you again for your kindness and your time,

In Christ,


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ray Richardson family: 1950s

Family Traditions


By Lavona Richardson

Jay and I felt that family traditions were important.  We tried to take the best traditions from each of our families that we grew up in for our family and then made some traditions of our own.  We instilled in our family the importance of attending Sacrament Meeting and all of our other meetings each Sunday.  We sat together as a family at all the Church meetings except when one was assigned to sit on the stand.  We sustained our church leaders and never spoke anything negative about our ward, stake or church leaders.  Each morning we read scriptures together with each family member taking their turn to read.  We had family prayer every morning and every evening.  We went together to Tithing settlement at the end of each year.   Every Monday night we had family home evening lessons. Before home evening we had a family planning session where each family member told us about the activities they had the following week and we planned the use of our cars and who would go to what event.  It was our family tradition to support each other and as often as possible we would attend together as a family the concerts, ball games, cross country meets, 4-H contests and other events to give our support.  Our children knew that when they had an event we would all support them.  

We celebrated the holidays with special holiday family traditions.  On New Year’s Day I would make sauerkraut and pork following the tradition we learned when we were in Pennsylvania that by so doing we would have a prosperous New Year.  We found that prosperity meant a great family doing good things instead of worldly wealth.  

Valentine’s Day we would send each other valentines.  I made rolled out heart cookies and helped with school valentine parties.  For many years we celebrated Easter as a family by being in the Easter Pageant at the Arizona Temple Grounds.  Usually the Saturday before Easter we planned an Easter picnic at a local park.  Easter Sunday we had a tradition of a family picture in our Easter clothes.

 Another tradition of our family was that of doing our best.  We celebrated at the end of the school year the successes of different family members and attended graduation ceremonies together.  

Some of our summer traditions were family reunions.  The Ray and Verna Richardson family usually had a camp out that we attended.  Around July 24thwe usually went to Snowflake to celebrate at the big Flake Reunion followed by the Founder’s Day Celebration of a parade, pioneer program, rodeo and dance. Another event during the summer months was a family trip to Utah to see married children or the big “M & M Trip” to Church History Sites.  We took various other family trips which will be included in another chapter.

The first day of school was important with father’s blessing for each child and a photo as they left for school on that first day.

Another tradition of our family was to be involved in lots of activities in the school.  It is a tradition in our family to love to read.  I always had lots of good books around to read.  For many years I had a church bookstore in my home which helped us build our own family library.

A tradition for Halloween is to have a Halloween Home Evening together theMonday night before Halloween.  I made pizza to serve and either cupcakes or rolled out decorated cookies.  It is tradition for me to tell the ‘Strange Visitor” story.  I started telling the story to my older children when they were toddlers and have continued through the years.  We have costume parades with the opportunity for each one to tell about their costume and be spotlighted. Another tradition at our Halloween party is to carve Jack-o-Lanterns. Thanksgiving always brings a family dinner together with everyone contributing to the meal. 

 At Christmas time we often would go caroling to our neighbors.  For several years the children would play tunes on our chimes (metal pipes of various lengths) for caroling or special programs.  We usually were able to get pictures with Santa at our Ward Party. Christmas Eve we always had the children act out the story of the First Christmas.  Melvin always wanted to be the narrator.  We had donkeys, Mary and Joseph and the baby and shepherds and wise men.  Another tradition is to sing their Dad’s song of “Mary Sweet Mary” which tells Joseph’s feelings as he and Mary went to Bethlehem.  At the end of the program everyone could open one gift which was always something alike for everyone- new pajamas, a knit cap, mittens, shirts alike or whatever.  We always took a creative photo of everyone wearing their new item received on Christmas Eve. For several weeks before Christmas we would make Christmas goodies.  I asked each one to tell one Christmas goody that they wanted and tried to include making those treats in our family preparations.  I made raisin filled cookies and we had popcorn balls, fudge, cookies and lots of Christmas goodies.  We have a big family dinner together.  

One of the events that I enjoyed the most was working with Jay to put out Christmas.  We would carefully plan for some gift for each child that would surprise and excite them.  The Santa gifts we didn’t wrap. Very early Christmas morning on the years that we had paper routes we had to deliver the papers before we could start our festivities.  To begin our Christmas festivities we would first open our Christmas stockings and each would tell what they found in their Christmas stockings. Their Dad would always be sure he had a big red apple to place in the toe of the stocking.  Next we would have breakfast together.  I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast to have with fruit. 

Christmas morning we always have Christmas races.  Each family member is timed as they run around the tree and a winner declared each year.  We then tell one thing that we saw around the tree such as a new bicycle, game or whatever.  After we go into the tree we take time giving out the gifts and enjoying them.  The person giving the gift can find the gift under the tree and tell about purchasing it for some family member as they give it to them. 


I enjoy photography and made scrapbooks of family events through the years.  The walls of my home are filled with pictures of our family and my children’s families.  My bookshelves are full of family scrapbooks and family memories.  

One of our special family traditions is temple marriages.  Through the years we have always made temple attendance a priority in our lives.  All of our children and grandchildren that are married are married in the temple.  What a great joy this is in my life.  I look forward to many more temple marriages as our children and grandchildren find the one that is right for them. 

I feel that our family traditions are important and make our family the great family that it is.  It is a great joy to see my children incorporating some of these traditions in their families and making even more traditions that give them strong families.  I am grateful for membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and for the way of life it gives us as we strive to live the teachings of Jesus Christ.  I am happy that we are always making new traditions and each day striving to be better than we were the day before. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ray Lot and Verna Richardson

                      The Story of Ray Lot and Verna Richardson

                               by Acel Bernard Richardson
                                         December 2004

           My parents were born in the Mormon Colonies in Mexico. My father Ray Lot Richardson was born in the northernmost Colony, called Colonia Dias, on the 6th of August 1896. Mother, Verna Nelson, was born in a little settlement, called Colonia Garcia on October 12, 1898. While she was still small the family moved to Colonia Chuichupa. Her Father, James Mark Nelson, died and was buried there.

           In 1912, the Federal Government informed the colonists that they could not guarantee them protection from the revolutionary bands that roamed the country and recommended that they leave and go to the United States. The people in Colonia Dias were only 15 miles from the International Border. So they loaded their wagon and headed for the U. S. Border. Several Homesteaded just inside the Border among whom was my grandfather Charles Edmund Richardson.  Others went out to Hatchita and lived in a tent city. The other Colonies went by train to El Paso, Texas. Many tales are told of their suffering and hardships. Eventually both families ended up in Thatcher, Arizona.

          Both parents attended the Old Gila Academy. This is where they first met. Father saw in her the Girl he wished to marry but she loved another and was slow to be won over by this handsome redheaded, athletic, young man. Daddy persisted, courting her in his stripped down Model T Ford and eventually won her consent to marry him.

          Grandfather Edmund bought a farm in Duncan, Arizona and sent a Son and Daughter with their Companions to run it. They were Mother and Daddy, and Orson and Edna Richins. It is the first farm on the right after crossing the railroad going into Duncan from Franklin. There is large adobe house that still stands and still in use where these two couples lived. My older brother Chad Ray was born here, March 13, 1920.  He died of pneumonia, the 7 Jun 1921. I was born Dec. 20, 1921 here also.

          The Railroad Wash comes down by Franklin and drains a very large area. Sometimes it runs very big. In those days it followed the West side of the railroad until it was just opposite the farm. The railroad had put in a dike, that diverted the water on to the farm. They had not provided an outlet to the river, which was later done, a few hundred yards north from the Franklin Store. The crops were ready to harvest, but the flood wiped out everything. The railroad was sued but the Mormons were hated and the Railroad won so the two families were wiped out. The folks moved to Miami, Arizona, where Daddy worked in the Copper Mine. Here on Oct 27, 1925 Erwin and Edwin were born, their first set of twins. I called them my team.

          A short time after the twins were born we moved to the 24 Circle Ranch, which was on the South side of the Gila River, just above the river bridge, where the road comes down off the Lordsburg flat into the Virden Valley. We moved in a late model T, which was closed in like the later Model A. My father had bought it from his mother, Grandma Sadie. Don’t know for how much, but she later came and repossessed it because the Folks couldn’t make the $5.00 a month payments!

The first year we ran the Karl Donaldson farm. Then Dad rented the Lazy B Farm, which he operated for more than 40 Years. We didn’t move over there the first year because The Los Phillips family lived in the house.

 After several years Harry Day who was manager of the Lazy B let Daddy buy 10 acres on the Northeast corner of the farm, but wouldn’t sell anymore because he said he didn’t know what to do with the money! Then later Dad was able to buy the Payne Place, which consisted of 40 acres. It ran along the north and east sides of his ten acres.

          When we lived at the 24 Circle Ranch, we only lived in one half of the house. Some of the couples that shared the house with us were, George and Leah Richins, Floyd and Mina Brown, Ike Skidmore and his wife. Later Karl Donaldson moved the house to his farm across the river and there raised a large family.

          The house on the Lazy B farm consisted of four large adobe rooms. It was one of the oldest houses in the Valley. The adobes at the base of the walls were washing away so badly that we poured a short cement wall at the base to stop the erosion. While living here, there was added to the family, Elaine, born Nov 3, 1927, and then Jorth and Jay, the second set of twins, born 18 Sep 1931. Cecil Roy was born 24 Feb 1937, then finally Chester Ray came along on the 14th of July 1941.

          In about 1935, Dad Arranged to homestead some land north of the highway and East of Riley Wash. A small adobe one-room house was first built, then was added a one-room shack that was moved up from the farm for a bedroom for the folks. He obtained a frame house in Morenci and placed it in front of the adobe. He dug a well and installed a windmill and built a corral. We lived there the required 3 years then moved back to the farmhouse. Bernard and a schoolteacher by the name of Rolf Drang stayed at the homestead at night for a while. Very soon after proving up on the land Dad sold it to Charlie Martin who was a rancher that ran cattle on most of the range-land surrounding that area.

          During the Forties, Dad and the boys began doing custom baling around the valley with a horse-drawn baler that required six men and boys to run it. With that extra income and the increase in the price of cotton the family prospered. In fact the older kids really prospered when because of WWII there was a shortage of manpower to pick the cotton. So the school was held for only a half-day in order to permit the kids to work in the fields picking cotton. The going rate for cotton picking rose from 2 cents a pound to 4 cents, and the energetic and hardworking  students like Erwin, Elaine and Edwin earned what was considered a lot of money for those times. Bernard was on a mission. The folks said many times that the most prosperous years of their lives were when they had a missionary in the field.

          In 1949 the family left the old adobe house and moved to the Gruwell place between Mexican town and the Virden town site. Dad did not like driving back and forth to the farm so after agonizing over costs and debts, they contracted with a builder from Lordsburg to build a home north of the canal on some land that was part of the Payne Place that they had purchased. The outlandish price of the new home was $1200.00. The house was small but a mansion for Mother. They moved into the new home in 1951

          Basketball was the main sport of the Virden School and community. The twins, Erwin and Edwin were on the team that won the State Championship. Jorth and Jay were on a team that won an invitational tournament of the best teams in the state. I don’t think Dad ever missed a game. His voice could easily be heard among the cheering Dads at every ball game. The boys all played Basketball including Bernard, Cecil and Chester. Because the Virden Schools closed in 1956, Charles played his sports at Duncan High School and was able to pitch on their baseball team, much to Dad’s delight. He also excelled at tennis. Elaine was an excellent volleyball player in High School and continued playing on church teams until she was well into her Fifties.

          The men in the valley played Baseball in the 20s and 30s. Dad played on the town team and was a very talented ball player and mostly pitched. Those that I can remember were the Johns brothers, Tex and Floyd. The Pace brothers were Hugh, Irve, Jim and Hyde. Orson Richins and Dad and others like Hans Andersen, who was an excellent ballplayer.

          The Richardson family was very active in the Church. Mother and Dad served as teachers and held leadership callings in the Auxilliary organizations. Five of the boys served Missions. Bernard and Jorth served in the Spanish-American Mission. Edwin went to Argentina. Jay served in the Western States mission with a Special calling to the Jewish People. Cecil went to Mexico. Erwin and Chester married young and were never called as young men but served in many positions of leadership in the Wards and branches where they later lived. Cecil and Chester served as Bishops.

          Sooner or later we are all called upon to leave this life and go to the other side. Erwin was killed in a private plane crash, Feb 12, 1962. Daddy Ray died of a heart attack on Jan. 17, 1970. Edwin suffered from Ulcers for many years and finally underwent an operation, but never recovered from it. He passed away on the June 4th 1970. Mother Verna had a stroke and never fully recovered. She passed away the 5th of January 1984.  Elaine, first married Roy Crum and had five children. He died and she married Marion Farnsworth who had six children, then they had one child between them, making it an even dozen. She was a marvelous homemaker and did a wonderful job. Alzheimers disease over came her and she died July 3, 2003.
          At the present time December 2004, Bernard and Joyce are Temple workers in Albuquerque, NM. Jorth is a retired Language Professor and serves at Deseret Industries as a teacher of ESL and other needed classed. Wife Peggy teaches and looks after grandchildren. Jay and Lavona just returned from a mission in Indonesia. Cecil and Sylvia are trying to arrange their affairs so that they can go on a mission. Chester and Evelyn are serving their second mission in the Mesa Arizona Mission Office. Their first mission was at the Glendale Institute in the CES.

          I sent an e-mail to all the families and according to the figures I have received at the present time, Ray and Verna Richardson have posterity of approximately 573.

          A more detailed Story could be written of this remarkable couple I am sure. If someone desires to do so they are welcome to do it. What I have written is factually correct according to my knowledge. Sincerely, Acel Bernard Richardson

Friday, September 6, 2013

Toastmaster's speech: A tribute to my dad by Ray (January 2011)

A Tribute to My Father -- Toastmaster speech

by Ray Richardson on Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 6:44pm
Our Friend the Cookie Monster one day went to the fair-
Thought he'd like to take some rides, and do some fun things there.
A barker, calling loud and clear, said, "Test your strength, and tell
If you can wield this hammer well enough to ring the bell.
"The man who's strong enough will win a prize, and get a thrill --
So pay your money, get in line, and show your strength and skill."
Old Cookie Monster flexed his arm, said, "This will be a breeze!
I'll ring the bell and win the prize-- just watch me if you please!"
He stepped up, took the hammer, and struck a mighty blow--
But not enough to ring the bell! He turned around to go.
"What was the prize?" he queried, saddened that he'd failed.
"Oh, it was just a cookie," the attendant said and smiled.
"A cookie?!" You could see old Cookie Monster set on fire!
For, cookies more than anything are his burning desire!!!
He grabbed again the hammer, and with gross, unearthly power,
Shattered the air with such a blow, the bell crashed from its tower!
Well, you know this already, what happened with the prize--
Old Cookie Monster had it downed in a wink, as you'd surmise.
Now, if you'd be successful, a coveted prize to win,
You've got to set a goal, then form that great desire within.
For that enthusiasm will carry far beyond
The ordinary thought or wish-- it'll be a magic wand,
And bring within your reach a prize you though you'd never acquire--
Just as with Cookie Monster, desire can light your fire!!
This poem is titled "Burning Desire" and was written by my father.  I chose to start this tribute to my father with this poem because it's one of literally hundreds of poems that he wrote, each one that although entertaining, actually taught important lessons of life.  Through his poems, he taught his children moral values such how to treat each other with respect, how to be your best self, and how to set goals.  He made a little book from some of the best poems that he titled appropriately "Life's Little Lessons".
But my father didn't just talk the talk; he also walked the walk.  He was a dentist known for hard work and excellence in his work.  He would do free dental work for many who were in need.  He was a mild-mannered man who was always in control of his emotions.  One time when another man angrily said something very offensive to him, he chose not to lash back or respond visibly but instead respectfully listened to what the man had to say.  This experience and others like it taught me as much as any written words of a poem.
He was (and still is) a great man, but to fully understand him you would need to understand the most important person in his life: his wife, my mother.  In contrast to his mild manner, my mother is more vocal and energetic.  You may wonder how such opposite personalities would be able to get along so well.  But truthfully they were perfect for each other, drawing on each other's strengths to be most effective.  For example, mom would be the driving force day-to-day urging me to do my best at school, but dad was right there backing her up in his quiet way and being a good example of what I could become.  Think of them as the perfect personification of tactical and strategic action.
Sometimes people who get Alzheimer's become belligerent and difficult to work with.  You become what you really are on the inside.  In fact, now is when my dad's inner spirit shines the brightest.  As you would expect, he is the nicest, kindest person, even now as he suffers with advanced Alzheimers.
In closing, I am grateful for my father's constant and ongoing example to me.  I am who I am today because of him.  He may not remember me anymore, but man, I sure remember him and am grateful for all his "Life's Little Lessons".  Thanks Dad!

An article about Charles Edmund Richardson

This is an article I found about Charles Edmund Richardson.  Him and Sarah Louisa Adams were the parents of Jay M. Richarson's father, Ray Lot Richardson. 

Charles Edmund Richardson

Charles Edmund Richardson was born 13 October 1858 in Manti, Utah.
His high purpose in life was set very early by the fine example of his parents & the magic of his mother's stories. At three years of age, his favorite story was of the "Disappointed Devil". In response to his often-repeated request for the story his mother related, "When you were nine months old you fought off attacks of several bad diseases, just like a big man. But when Brain Fever sneaked in, it almost got the best of you. When Patriarch Isaac Morley came to administer to you, he said, 'The devil stands with outstretched hands to snatch this child off the earth because of the good that he will do.' But Heavenly Father healed you, & the Devil was disappointed. My son must keep the devil disappointed by always doing what is right."
Many other times during his life, Charles Edmund had occasion to know that his life was spared by a power superior to his own. Once he heard a voice say, "Don't let it kill him." Upon one occasion his life was preserved through inspiration given to Frederick Walter Cox (his biological father) of Manti. It happened en route to Brigham City, Arizona. Brother Cox gave him a bottle of consecrated oil & said, "There was a special manifestation at the temple today during the consecration of this oil & I was inspired to give it to you, as it would be needed."
The need arose in Circle Valley Canyon, Utah, when a cow caught Edmund with her horn, & ripped a great gash in his lower abdomen. When no one felt equal to sewing the wound, Edmund did it himself, using some eight stitches. Just before closing the wound, he filled it with the oil, the only remedy he had. The next day, after administration, using part of the oil, Edmund was able to resume the journey. Again, the devil was disappointed.
From the Brigham City United Order, Edmund & his brother, Sullie, learned the art of community living, & mastered skills in many trades, which later proved useful in Old Mexico.
From Brigham City, Edmund was called to fill a mission to the Indians. Here he learned to speak the Spanish language. He translated the hymn, "O My Father", into Spanish. This translation is still used by the Church (1968).
After filling a second mission & marrying two wives, Sarah Louisa (Sadie) Adams & Sarah Rogers, Edmund moved to Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico. In January 1896, he received a mission call to England. However, this call was subsequently changed to that of acting as Legal Advisor to the Colonists in Old Mexico, & at the same time preaching the Gospel to the citizens of the Mexican Republic.
In answer to this call, Charles Edmund enrolled as a law student at the University of Mexico. According to his brother, S.C. Richardson, he completed a four-year course in two years & graduated with honors.
Through a series of circumstances, Edmund became the only attorney for the colonists. This required much travel between widely scattered colonies & between Municipal, State, & Federal courts. All transportation between the Municipal headquarters of Casas Grandes, Janos, & La Ascencion, was effected by means of team & buckboard over 60 or 75 miles of ungraded dirt roads. There was train service to State & Federal offices at Chihuahua City & Mexico City, but from Colonia Diaz, the nearest railroad station was at Guzman, 40 miles distant. To take Edmund to the train & meet him on his return meant a 160-mile drive with team & buggy. All of this was in a manana (tomorrow) country, where it was most difficult to get a case through court without many delays.
This is what Anthony W. Ivins referred to, when he said that Charles Edmund Richardson, who had all the qualities of a great leader, would have gone far in the Church, if his mission had been such that he could have remained in one place long enough to execute routine Church duties.
Many testimonies are given of Edmund's ability as a lawyer & of his fidelity to his calling. A fellow colonist said, "As a lawyer in old Mexico, Edmund Richardson knew his stuff. I have heard the Mexican lawyers say, "If Edmund Richardson is on the other side we will not take the case." He could quote more law & give them the volume, page, & paragraph, than they could read." Because of his great memory, Edmund could study his cases as he drove back & forth between destinations & have them prepared both carefully & prayerfully, when he presented them at court. Thus his name grew to be received with deference as the "Jefectura".
Brother Dan Skousen said, "No one will ever do for the colonists what Edmund Richardson has done. He filled his mission faithfully & well. He knew how to handle the Mexicans, & they knew that -right or wrong- they would receive justice." True it is, that his cases were so technically set up that when used as precedents, they make it possible, even now (1968), for the colonists to live in Mexico. On this & other missions Edmund served some 20 years, never missing an opportunity to preach the Gospel.
Edmund successfully applied his ingenuity & resourcefulness to many other facets of the Mexican Colonization Project. He taught both day & night school, the night subjects being Spanish & points of law. He operated a blacksmith shop, as it was so necessary in those days to keep farm machinery in operation. Here he manufactured everything from wheels & wheelbarrows to fool proof hobbles for animals. The windmill he built, including the pump, worked successfully for years irrigating his & his neighbors gardens & orchards. He built the first water-powered grist mill in Mexico; operated a shoe repair shop, a drugstore, & a cheese & butter factory, which were modern for those times. He was reputed to be the second largest cattleman among the Mormons in the District.
He surveyed, engineered, & built a canal with enough fall to bring the underground water to the surface like a spring, then deliver it to his ranch. When the canal was destroyed by the largest flood ever experienced in the valley, he installed the first gasoline pumps used in Northern Chihuahua.
Yes, Charles Edmund Richardson stood tall among the other stalwarts who pioneered the settling & maintenance of the Mormon Colonies in Old Mexico.
The following character sketch volunteered by Brother Frederickson of Colonia Diaz is worthy of attention: "Brother Edmund Richardson, a student of merit, utilized all his spare time for study. His overland trips were made with a team, buckboard, & a book. He never forgot what he read, & could quote the book & page of his source material. He spoke both Spanish & English fluently. I remember that his interesting & enlightening sermons were second to none, & were enunciated clearly & loud enough to be heard by all. He had the best control of his temper of anyone I ever knew. Once while he was fencing his property, an angry stockman, who favored open grazing, reviled him with abusive language & used every foul name at his command. Richardson went calmly about his work, remarking, 'If you get any pleasure out of calling me such names, just go ahead.' Even when the cattleman threatened to strike him with a shovel, he laughed him out of it. He was regular in his habits, going to bed early & rising early, & he liked his meals on time. He was a friend to everyone, the poor, the sick, & especially to the young people. He often helped them materially, as well as with counsel & advice. Many a poor family enjoyed Christmas better because Brother Richardson helped Santa put dolls & other toys on the community Christmas tree."
Above everything else, Charles Edmund prized his testimony of the Gospel, his membership in the Church, & the Priesthood, which he held. He also considered it a privilege to follow the counsel of those in authority over him.
Edmund Richardson was a family man. In Mexico, he married Caroline Rebecca Jacobson & Daisy Stout. He had 36 children of his own, & raised two orphan children. That his four families loved & enjoyed each other, & lived with a minimum amount of friction was due to their fervent religious convictions, unselfishness, & the wise counsel & just dealing of the husband & father. The love & harmony he fostered remains with the family.
Even now (1968), after the death of all the parents, the children remain united in deep bonds of affection & high purposes in life. The Richardson families sponsor an annual family reunion, where they fraternize socially & also stress temple work for the dead & encourage genealogical research. The children stand proxy for hundreds of baptisms for the dead. This makes them temple-minded, so that there are few marriages outside the temple.
At one of these reunions, a visitor spoke of his surprise & satisfaction at not finding any drinking, smoking, profanity, or vulgarity among the 500 family members assembled. He said he found doctors, lawyers, college professors, schoolteachers, successful farmers & businessmen. Along the religious line, he found Stake Presidents, Bishops & Counselors, missionaries, & workers in all organizations of the Church.
If a man's success can be measured by the love, devotion, esteem, & high ideals of his family, then Charles Edmund Richardson is highly successful. His four wives, thirty-six children, & his numerous posterity, down to the third generation, say, like Nephi of the Book of Mormon, "We are born of goodly parents."

Monday, August 19, 2013

This is the wagon of James Madison Flake. It was driven by Green Flake across the Pioneer trek to Salt Lake City, and is the wagon that Brigham Young sat in when he first entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. The wagon now sits at the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum in Salt Lake City.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lavona Richardson's life history: The value of learning to work


I grew up in a home where I learned to work.  My parents were hard workers and taught us to work.  They would work by our side and taught us to keep working until we got the job done.  They taught us to take pride in a job well done.  My Grandma Stratton used to say, “If it is worth doing, it is worthy doing right”.

Growing up in a rural area I had plenty of opportunity to learn to work.  My parents had a strict division of labor- my Daddy and my four brothers  did men’s work and  my Mother and  me and my two sisters did women’s work, and only in emergencies did we cross over.  I learned to cook on a wood stove by starting a fire under the cast iron top. I learned before starting the fire to cook or bake something to take the ashes out.  I would help with the cooking and baking in our home.  We had no prepared foods.  Everything was made from raw products.  We would make lunches and take them to my Daddy and brothers who were working on the ranch.  It was exciting when we got an electric stove. This made cooking lots easier and cleaner.   I learned to sew.  We made our own clothes and made pearl button western shirts for our brothers.  We would have wash day when we would fill the washer with hot water and homemade soap that we made ourselves.  We would sort the clothes and wash the fine white clothes first, followed by the sheets and then the towels and on to the colored clothes.  The last batch we would wash would be the dirty jeans from my Daddy and brothers.  After the batch of clothes would agitate for a while we would put them through the wringer to a tub of rinse water.  Then move them to rinse water where we had added bluing.   We would then take the clothes and hang them on the line to dry using clothes pins.  I always liked to hang all the sheets together; the towels of one color together, the stockings together, etc.  The underwear we would hang between two lines of clothes where they could not be seen.  We took pride in having clean white clothes. We would always hope for a sunny day so that the clothes would dry before it rained.  In winter the clothes would go stiff almost as soon as we hung them out and would be like boards when we brought them in.  After the clothes dried we would bring them in and sprinkle everything that needed ironing, roll them up and put them back into the washer to be ironed when they were at the right degree of dampness.  Ironing would take an entire day. We had to be sure and get them ironed before they mildewed.  I remember scrubbing floors and making beds.  Mother taught us to keep a tidy house.  

About the only thing I remember doing on our ranch and farm was to tromp the hay as it was pitched on to the back of the pickup.  We didn’t bale our hay so our job was to tromp it down so that we could get more on the load.  We would then get to ride on top of the hay to the barn.  I remember having the assignment to go down to the pasture to bring the milk cow’s home to milk.  The girls in our family didn’t milk the cows but we did take care of the milk when it was brought into the kitchen in big buckets.  We would strain the milk through a cloth to get all the dirt out and bottle it into glass milk bottles which we put in the refrigerator.  

When we were about 12, Leona, Rey and I had a corn patch.  We prepared the soil, planted the corn and worked hard to keep the weeds out.  It was exciting when we were able to see the corn and with the profit buy a watch.  We were given another opportunity to earn money for school clothes while we were in Grade School.  We would hire out to pick cucumbers.  We earned fifty cents for each crate that we picked.  It was hard work. We received 50 cents for each crate.  The stain from the cucumbers and vines would get on our hands and be hard to scrub off.  I still remember the great feeling of having enough money to buy a new dress for the first day of school.

During high school my family ran the Flake Store which was a little grocery store.  Some days I would take the money bag down and open the store and work all day.  At night I would then put all the money back in the bag and walk home.  When school began Mother would run the store.  When we came home for lunch we would take turns staying in the store while mother went home to make us bologna sandwiches for lunch.  We always came home for lunch.  

I worked hard at Brigham Young University to pay my tuition and rent.  I worked at the BYU Laundry ironing sheets, and at the BYU Cafeteria .  I was so happy when I was hired  as a secretary for the BYU elementary school office.  When I ran out of money I would stop and work full time for a semester and then when I had enough money for tuition enroll in school again.  My full time job on the BYU Campus was scheduling the elementary student teachers and filing the assessnents of their student teaching assignments. Often I would take little jobs that would help bring in the little extra money I needed such as working at helping with BYU Registration.  My first years at BYU we didn’t have computers so  the students would visit each department where they wanted to take a class and be given a class card that would admit them into the class.  When the class cards were gone the class was full.  I also worked some Saturdays giving out food samples at various grocery stores and even did some house keeping to earn another dollar.

 I graduated from BYU in 1958 with a major in elementary education and a minor in Spanish.  I taught second and third grades  for two years.    My first salary as a 2nd grade teacher was $3900 for the year.  I felt like I was on top of the world with all of that money. 
After Miriam was born I didn’t work outside the home any more.  I did do phone surveys, baby sit various children and type research papers to get extra money to help with our budget. I am happy that I was able to stay home with my children.  Jay was a hard worker and a good provider.  

When my children were all in school I would walk with them to Broadmor or McKemy and then stay and do the crosswalk in front of McKemy.  I would hold up a sign to stop the traffic while the school children walked across the busy College Avenue.  This gave me a little spending money. 

 When it cost too much to go to the blessing of a grandbaby in Ohio I looked into the possibility of working at America West Airlines.  The children were older and most had left home.  Another advantage of working for the airlines  besides the travel benefits was the health insurance.  Since Jay was a self employed dentist we had to pay lots for health insurance and still didn’t have good coverage.  America West Airlines had good health benefits which helped our family.  It is great having lifetime travel benefits.  I am enjoying the travel benefits now as I travel to Salt Lake each week to work as a missionary at the Conference Center.  I also enjoy being able to travel to different family events all over the nation.

I am grateful that I learned to work.  I learned the value of work by working. I tried to instill in my children a love of work also.   I have always tried to be dependable.  If I tell someone I am going to do something I do it to the best of my ability.

Lavona Richardson's life history: Teaching children


Just before graduating from BYU in August 1958  I sent in an application to teach at the Mesa Public Schools in Mesa, Arizona.  I am happy that I had a good resume and was hired without even having an interview.  I was hired to teach second grade at the Edison School located at 545 North Horne in Mesa.  I graduated from BYU just a short time before the beginning of the school year.  

I found a place to live near Hobson and First Street in Mesa.  I lived just across the street from Ross and Ilene Shumway and a block away from Uncle Jesse and Aunt Mabel Perkins.  My cousin Ilene said that she would always look across the street to be sure I got home safely at night.  My roommate was Martha Barston, a physical education teacher from Phoenix.  The next year she married Don Turley from Snowflake.  We enjoyed some good times together during the week.  She would go home every weekend.   My second year teaching at Edison School I moved with some girls to a home on Broadway and Olive Street in Mesa.  

I was assigned to Room #7 in the Primary wing at Edison School. I had about twenty students in my 2nd grade class.   There were two other second grade classrooms in the school.  One of my student’s had a father who was on the school board.  He liked the reading program I had in my room and made mention of it at a School Board Meeting telling them what a good teacher I was.   It made me happy that he had so many nice things to say about me my first year of teaching school.

I loved teaching and did lots of extra projects with my children.  We had lots of field trips.  When we were studying about trains I walked with my children down to Pioneer Park so that they could see the engine on display there.  For our school Christmas program I helped my children learn a special song about Christmas using the letter of each word to sing about what Christmas meant.   I helped my children make special gifts for their mother’s for Mother’s Day. Carol Ray was teaching a first grade class in Chandler so we shared ideas and special projects.  

After we were married and we moved to Chicago I was hired as a 2nd and 3rd grade teacher for the last half of the 1959-1960 school year.  The classes were overloaded so each teacher gave me some children from their classroom.  My classroom was in the basement of the Fullerton School. The current teachers each gave me some of their students.  I think I got what they thought were their problem children but I took it as a challenge and tried to be an influence for good in the lives of the children that I taught. I began teaching at Fullerton without any books.  As newlyweds we brought back to Chicago only the things we could fit in my car so I didn’t have many teaching supplies.  I used the Children’s Friend and anything else that I could find to help me prepare lessons for my students.   Most of my children had no home life since their parents usually went to work before they left for school and were gone when they got home.  I loved my children and had a desire to uplift them and speak encouraging words. 

I am grateful that I know that we are each children of Heavenly Parents who love us and want the best for us.   I feel that one of the greatest influences a person can have in this world is to influence a child and increase a child’s confidence in himself or herself.   By doing this we can help increase a child’s faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and help each child of Heavenly Father reach their potential.
After we started our family Jay and I felt that it was more important for me to stay home and teach them. I am grateful for a companion who made this possible by providing a good living for us.  Jay said that I never left the classroom because I used my education to teach my own children.  I enjoy reading and was desirous that my children have the same love of reading books that I have.  I read bedtime stories to them and always had lots of books around.

When my children began school I became involved in the Parent Teacher Organization.  I served as President of the Broadmor Family Association for the many years that we had children attending there.  I volunteered to serve as room mother in the various classrooms and helped with class parties.  While my children were in the primary grades I would volunteer to help in the various classrooms once a week.  I enjoyed going on field trips with my children.  I remember spending time in the classroom to show the students how to grind the wheat and make bread.  We had kindergarten groups over to our home for Easter egg hunts.  I helped with the kindergarten rodeo, Halloween Carnival and other school events.  

I continued to be involved with my children’s education when they went to McKemy Jr. High.  I served as president of the McKemy Booster Board for many years.  At Tempe High I also served as Booster Club president.  I initiated the Academic Recognition Banquets to honor those students that excelled in academics.  We also printed up Football programs and sold ads for the program to make money for the various needs the teachers and administration would need funds for.  

Later when I had grandchildren I invited the preschoolers over to my home for Grandma School.  I desired to help them learn to love learning.  

I have always encouraged my children and grandchildren that learning is a privilege.  They need to thank their parents and teachers and school administrators for all they do to help them get an education.   I taught my children to show respect for their teachers in school and church and any other capacity where they are helping them to learn.  

My desire was always to listen to my children and encourage them to always do their best.  I hope my children have great memories of growing up with a Mother that loves them.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Elijah W. Flake (1841-1918): fought in the Civil war

     Elijah Wilson Flake (1841-1918) fought in the historic battle between the Merrimac and the Monitor. William J. Flake, his cousin, was a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elijah W. Flake enlisted in Anson County, North Carolina on Sept. 5, 1861 at the age of 20. He joined the 14th North Carolina Regiment, Company C. While stationed near Smithfield, Virginia, not very far from Portsmouth, where the Merrimac was being made ready for the upcoming conflict, he was transferred to the Navy and assigned to the CSS Virginia (Merrimac) on Feb. 15, 1862. Merely one month later he would be battling the USS Cumberland and USS Monitor in one of the most historic naval encounters of the civil war. This account was later written down in his book, Battle Between the Merrimac and the Monitor. 
     After the Merrimac was scuttled he enlisted in the 26th Regiment Company K on Feb. 1, 1863 and fought under Lee until he was wounded at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. At Gettysburg he served under Colonel Henry King Burgwyn, Jr. Company K apparently distinguished itself on the field of battle while sustaining a large number of casualties.  By his side were his brother John Flake and his cousin Philip H. Flake, all members of Company K.  On July 1, 1863, Elijah Flake's brother died in the battle of Gettysburg.  Two days later his cousin Philip was mortally wounded and Elijah lay injured on the field of battle.  During his recovery at the hospital, Elijah was listed as a hospital steward through Feb. 1865. When he returned to his company the war was coming to an end.  His last official military act was surrendering, with 134 members of he 26th regiment, at the Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Deal is a Deal by Garry Flake

William J. Flake, who founded Snowflake 135 years ago, believed a deal is a
deal. A handshake was as binding as a written contract.

In 1878, he bargained for the land and water rights of James Stinson
in the Silver Creek Valley. The purchase became the town site for
Snowflake. With a handshake, Flake agreed to deliver, over three years,
Utah grade cattle - 200 cows, 150 two-year olds and 200 yearlings. In
exchange, Stinson agreed to sell the land, the water rights, farm equipment
and six mules.

In 1881 when the last cattle were delivered, Stinson wanted to keep a
special saddle mule. Flake said, “No, the mules was in the trade and now
belongs to me.”

Stinson acknowledge that was right and invited Flake to cut five cows out of
the delivered herd so he could keep his special mule. Flake told him, “No, a
deal is a deal and the mule is mine. Pull off your saddle.” With tears in his
eyes, Stinson pulled off the saddle and bridle, patted the mule on the neck
and handed the end of the rope to Flake and walked away.

William J. Flake stopped him and said, “Stinson, we have done a lot
of business in the past three years. For a long time, I have wondered how I
could show you my appreciation. I want to present this mule to one of the
most honest men I have ever met.” Stinson saddled the mule and rode off
without a word.

Does our word or a handshake continue to be honored by each of us?