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