AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
MILTON E RICHARDSON
AND RECOLLECTIONS OF MY PREDECESSORS
I was born October 2, 1912 to Shadrach Milton Richardson and Maggie Evans at 511 East Center St Spanish Fork Utah. This 4 room home soon to be remodiled to an 8 room was Home to my grandparents Joseph James Merriman Evans and Margaret Davis and their 9 living children my mother being the eldest. In those days most births were at home and I presume Mother was there where the family could assist with her care. The attending physician was Dr Hagen.
My father was raised on a farm in Benjamin, Utah but at an early age worked in the mines at Eureka, where the pay was good the working conditions not too bad most of the time out of the heat of the sun in the summer & the cold of the winter maintaining an even temperature the year round. It was near the period of my birth my father left the mines & was irrigating on the family farm. The heat of the day and the hard work caused him to have a sun stroke which left him in a weakened physical condition and was only able to work for short periods over the next 7 years. In the days when the only help came from the family Mother was with her people & my father lived with his parents in Benjamin.
I have no recollections of my first 2 years. At the time my Brother Vern was born my mother was living with my Grandparents & my Father and I were living with His parents in Benjamin. This arrangement continued for about 2 years when my father & mother were again able to rent a home in Spanish Fork and be together again.
I can faintly recall riding in the Horse & Buggy to visit my mother during the time they were apart. My next recollection is living at about 3rd So & Main St a place owned by the Stake Patriarch Jex. He made a great impression on Mother, he was a very deep & faithful Latter Day Saint. At one time I run accross a couple of big eyes looking at me from a culvert run to my mother who was with Mr Jex investigating found a big owl under there. This was a memorable experiance for a small boy. I also would look wishfully at the wagons in the catalog explaining to mother all the good things I could do if I had one. We next moved up to the Street to 2nd or 3 east 2nd South. The elderly landlady had members of her family in the Civil war and told many storys of the suffering in that conflict--she taught mother songs of the time (2 little boys had 2 little toys). I have some memories of starting school in the old Central School on 3 East 2 North starting 1st grade about a year late, my birthday being in October (school started in September).
While living at this location my dad worked on ranches in Idaho but his health was a quite a deterement to his holding a job except where he had friends & no hassarals. His was a tough life but I never heard him complain of his lot. He bore it always pleasant & agreeable had a reputation of an honest man & a good worker.
The Richardson family had to move again I think this move was to a home on 2 East 1st South here I finished attending the 2 grade. My fathers health after 7 years of problems was fairly good & he went back to work in the mines here out of the sun he lost all of his applexy & never had another seizure in the 8 years remaining of his life.
We were living at 3 east & Center Street in an adobe house in 1918 I recall the bells ringing whistles blowing and people rushing out on the streets when the armestus was signed on Nov 11.1918. My uncle Joe-in the army, was set to sail overseas so the family was overjoyed. At this location we enjoyed playing on the bank of an irigation ditch that run around the hill between center & 1st north. Its jungle like cover and trails were quite an adventure setting for small boys, the sand hill above our home also was a place to dig caves & occupy many busy hours. We were fortunate they didn't cave in but I guess we just weren't able to dig that far into the hill.
Our next move was to a home at about 560 East Center St. Here we had a garden and we used to use the tall stiff weeds as they dried for spears one of the boys we played with passed away suddenly which was a sad note at that time. Harvey Frazier or Fletcher I think was his name.
It was at this location--time approx 1919--we had a neighbor boy Harry Dixon. He & I used to take his cow to a pasture each day 2 or 3 miles away, the long walks & talks left an impression on a small boy of 6--the route was up to about 12-15 east & south along the ridge above the bottom a couple or 3 miles. There was a housing tract on this site called Wolf Hollow. It was here at this time Harry, his small sister & I were fooling around with a washing machine.
This particular machine had a wood tub about 30" in Diameter, about 2' deep set upon legs 1' long.
On the lid was the mechanism a handle which stood vertical as it was pushed up & down it operated aplun the washer a wooden tub set on 4 legs which had a handel on the lid operating horizontal gears under an old fashioned hand operated model the agitator being moved by pushing the handle back & fourth moving a horizontal straight gear underneath the tub which in turn pushed under a round cog wheel giving it quite a bit of power. I told Harry to push the handle I would hold the gear it so happened I could not & my index finger on the left hand had the flesh chewed out at the 2nd joint as it was pulled into the cogs causing a great deal of commotion in the neighborhood a good deal of blood spilled & a permenent scar on that finger which fortunately never did give me any trouble.
While living in this location we got up one morning, mother was fixing breakfast on a flat topped wood stove. As I came in I said it sounded like a bonfire in the attic; we dashed out & smoke was coming out of the roof of the stove, the pipe of which went through the ceiling & on up to the roof the owner had put a ft of hay in the attic for insulation. This was close to the hot pipe and so
I tried to hold the cog wheel while he pushed the handle, my left forefinger was chewed up by the cogs, I always carried the scar but fortunately no disablement occured to the joint. The blood flowed profusly & excitement was great for a while.
It was another day sometime later which left a lasting impression on my mind, we had awakened, my dad had made a fire in the stove and as I came into the kitchen I remarked it sounds like a bonfire in the attic. It sure was, the place had been insulated with hay or straw which was to near the hot chimney it burned off the roof and we had to move again.
It was at this time I was 8 years old I was baptized in the font in the basement of the old 1st ward chappel. Leslie Dutch Cornaby a Priest performed the baptism his father Samuel H. Cornaby the confirming, that occasion likewise is a clear recolection of the place & the people; the date April 21 1921.
We next resided at a home at 2 South 2nd East. My father having returned to work in the mines his health being good, out of the sun and even temperature of the workplace although the dust & quartz were creating a gradual silicosis which proved to be
the cause of his complete loss of health a few years later. It was in April of 1921 my Sister Margaret was born we continued living in Spanish Fork my father either commuting or living part time at the mines in Dividend or Eurika Utah.
In September of 1921 the Family moved to Eureka. We had a home at the end of Knight Street near a railroad trestle, since removed and overlooking part of the town, the meadows on the side hill to the north of us was a natures wonder to small boys Butter Cups blue bells and many wild flowers made it a place of beauty in the spring the road leading to Coal Canyon Cliffs & beyond was traveled a good deal on exploration trips the 2 caves on the way having clear cold watter & a can alongside to drink from. This always bring remembrances on a hot summer day when we can really appreciate good water--really the best beverage of all. There were many impressions of Eurica at this time my memory seemed to take hold, I suppose. I entered the third grade here, remember being near the last to go out in spelling contests so I suppose I was generally a good student having good teachers & good friends the one boy I chummed with Stanly Cook being put ahead in the 5 grade the teacher explaining to me to keep up my good work later the
[3A, if there was one, is missing]
same teacher in the 6 grade called me asside & told me she was giving me an A+ she didn't do this often but said I had earned it. However I formed a friendship with the quarterback on the football team I fooled around with & at the end of the year she called me in & said she couldn't understand what had happened she had to give me a C My grades had been declining all year. My scholarship was average from then on. One teacher in the 7 grade telling my Parents I had a don't care attitude. I did wise up at the Y somewhat & may have had a B- average at least in the 2nd year of college. Eureka in 1921 was a booming comunity rent was $35 a month pay about $5 a day & I suppose it was about a 7 day week. I remember running to meet my father one day-his carbide lamp part of his cap, Hat & clothes dusty face red with dirt and under his cap a bandage where a rock had fallen & luckly only made a nick. It was a hard life for him, expenses high no savings seemed to accumulate, on one of his jobs they set a record for sinking a shaft the Tiger Lily, Iron Blossom or something else. He commented that most of the crew lost their health as that was a particularly dusty job- My mother was always looking for the time when
when my father could leave the mines as the Population of the local Cemetary was mostly men & most of those under 40 years of age--a Sad Comentary of life, economics & existance in those days--her premonition proved true as he was one of the casualtys.
My grandparents Richardson were concerned about raising boys in a mining town & we spent some time in the summer visiting & working on the farm my grandfather Richardson was alive the first Summer he was a small man white hair & mustache mother always spoke him as kindly & good natured I don't remember too much of him. As we met each morning at the breakfast table about 6 AM the chairs were turned around & all the family nealt in Prayer a bucket of water & a dipper were at one end of the table meat was always on the menue produced & butchered on the farm. Milk Cream Home made bread vegatables eggs & bottled fruit made the table of this well organized farm one of the best set tables anywhere & my Grandmother one of the best cooks.
My grandfather kept things in good repair the boys in off season hauling wood & cutting & splitting huge piles to be used in the winter our early transportation the 5 or 6 miles to town was a horse & buggy about 1921 or 1922 they got a modlle T Ford which was a
great thing, needing to be cranked to start open air in all seasons, did have isin glass & canvas side curtens for bad weather but a merry automobile. We worked on the ranch tromping hay weeding ___ always busy 6 till 6.
In the afternoon the boys, Wes, Alt, & Sterling, took a siesta for an hour or 2 in which time my cousin Eldon Richardson & I would use our flippers to shoot birds and generally investigate the wonders of the farm world. Morning doves, Night Hawks which were almost invisible on the tree limbs were our targets we hit few however. I recall at one time I was helping my uncle Wes stack straw as it came from the thresher I was doing the tromping the blower blowing the chaff & dust all over us the hot Sun made it a miserable job. After diner I didn't want to go back but he outran me & I finished the job alright. I was approaching 12 at the time. As we weeded sugar beets Vern & I would take one row the men took two it was quite a privilige to take a 5 at the end of the row--hot sun--shady willow trees along the ditch banks were pretty inviting. Some rows were pretty long a drink of fresh well water was great. Alton, Wes, Vern and sometimes Eldon were the weeding crew. Sterling who had an asmathatic condition, cultivated. It was quite a thrill to go to Utah Lake fishing or swimming in the Lincoln beach plunge my uncle Wes caught a few bass there, on one such trip I recall catching 8 or 10 catfish.
Life in Eurika I entered the third grade there we moved from Spanish Fork in August our first experiance Vern I & a couple of other kids was to follow a wagon taking supplies out to a mine north west of Eurika we were gone most of the day & caused some excitement in the neighborhood
by our absence. We had took off on our own following the old teamster on a cut down wagon on which we rode at times & traveled 6 or 8 miles back into nowhere I can still picture the groves of quaking asp we went thro leaves on the ground like a carpet & the trees evenly spaced many leaves stayed on but all turned to color after the first frost yellows the maples red--a beautiful trip. It was dark when we came dragging in Vern was 8 I about 10 my mother was sure we had fell in one of the abandond shafts that dotted the hills at the time. I can remembr some of them we later passed throwing rocks down to see how long it took to hit bottom.
Our recreation was roaming the hills when the weather was right. In the winter we could sleigh from our house all the way to Knight Street--seemed like a couple or 3 blocks, then pull the sleigh back up the hill. My dream was to own a gun and I suppose the continued expression of that wish resulted in getting a Daisy air rifle for Christmas one year. I can appreciate the sacrafice of my Parents as it cost all of __ days work for my dad.
It was while living in Eurika my sisters Eunice & Carol were born Eunice Jan 15 1923 & Carol Oct 14 1925. My grandmother Evans came up to attend mother on the birth of Eunice but had nosebleed & had to leave the hi altitude. Mildred Evans was a great help later. The home we lived in was against a side hill and a room was made by digging out a space & putting a roof over the top attached to the house this was used for storage a door opening into the back of the kitchen.
On one occasion my uncle Joe was working on the Post Office being bilt in Eureka stayed with us for
a while during his stay a skunk burrowed into the cellar room, frightened mother & Joe attempted to run it off probably succeeded but the odor was tough to get rid of.
In the 6 grade I turned 12 and about that time a Whitman boy I associated with joined the boy Scouts. This looked thrilling to me as I watched them march in a parade. So I joined, we had a top notch organization there but we moved away before I did much with it. The Bishop & other mining men had put a little muney into equipment Matts to cover a good section of the gym & we had many games other troops I later joined could not enjoy. I later took an interest at bout 15 & wound up with a few merrit badges-
So much for Eurika the town itself seemed to be a hodge oge of houses scattered over the hills crooked streets except for main and Knight street Knight Street having nice homes The Catholic Church and headed out into the hills.
Main Street a market, hotel butchershop--a second hand place & a few other shops-the second hand place was intriging we bought firecrackers & other old items there it was dusty probably had hardware as well up the street was the LDS Church. It was a busy town till the depression in 1929 then kind of died. A movie theater was also on the street. One event each night was meeting the train as it chugged in kind of an event in the town many People gathered.
this tram being the way out & into town as very few cars were in evidence in those days. I did ride out in a car on one occasion a Model J with Jim Hand a friend of my folks brought us from Eurica to Benjamin in the to__.
One bit of excitement came when a man got up to get his breakfast & found his Kitchen had fallen in a cavein of an old mine shaft which undermined his house. Another memory at this time is the first radio in town.
I suppose we attended church before I joined scouting but my recollection is that my father started in activity for a while and stood in when I was ordained a deacon. I can remember the thrill I got when I passed the sacrament.
So came the time we moved again to Spanish Fork in the basement of Gower Simmons home 3 So and 3rd East. My dad & I took a wagon up to gather firewood up at Diamond Forks an interesting trip. He continued to travel to the mines but worked at the sugar factory & road work his health failed & for 2 years he was not able to do much the help of his family & the Evans family largely sustained us. He did regain enough to work another campaign at the sugar factory & help my uncle Joe set up a house for us this house was moved from Soldier Summit to Spanish Fork my sister Mildred was born here in June 1927. My father passed away in November
1927 of silicosis perhaps but to some extent an infection the Doctor that was caused by drugs he had taken. He was Probably about 5-10 or 11 high in good health about 180 pounds. He had been kicked in the face by a horse when 7 years old which resulted in the sight & color being lost in one eye the color greenish his nose was kicked in so the bridge between the eyes was indented didn't effect his appearance very much but the accident did have an effect on his health in later years.
He was a good man--honest, he did use tobacco, rolled his own "Bull Durham" brand. He finally recognized the health problem & quit two years before he died at 39 years of age. He finished the 8th grade and one of his teachers reported him as one of her best students.
Vern & I had been harvesting sugar beets on our Grandmothers ranch in Benjamin Grandmother called us in one afternoon said your father if very ill. We will go drive up, we got in the model T Ford & drove to Spanish Fork, as we come into the room he was strugeling to breath, but opened his eyes and looked up at me & said "be a man Milt" a few minutes later he passed away with
I am still trying to live up to that classification. I think I have succeeded to some extent but uncover a kink ocasionally which I hadn't recognized in the past. It was a big order--when we consider that our Savior was the Son of Man. & I have merly scratched the surface untill I can apply all I know & eventually know it all.
At the time of his death Nov 7? 1927 I had just turned 15 Vern was 13 Margaret 6 1/2 Eunice almost 5 Carol 3 & Mildred 6 months.
My grandmother Richardson provided the barrael expenses I suppose contributions from relatives & friends were of some assistance but the help we received from
our grandparents Richardson & Evans enabled us to survive. I remember my grandmother Evans buying me a pair of shoes when she noticed the foot was exposed on the side they provided milk later gave us a cow & Kept us in Hay we kept the cow in my uncle Joe Evans barn. He was a great benefactor in many ways--living next door and as fine a man as you could know having 5 children of his own about the same age as my sisters, he ran the Evans Hay farm while Granddad Evans was supervisor of the road from Thistle to Soldier Summit in the Spanish Fork Canyon. Vern, I, Bud & Lew worked on the ranch a good deal in the summer running a mowing machine hay rake, hauling the hay in & bailing a great deal of it at times.
Vern worked at Punching wires Bud at tying I would be with the bales or shoveling Off the stack into the platform where J__ it was a dusty dirty ____ _____ hard job but kept us occupied.
Shortly after my father passed away Mother applied for a job carrying newspapers for Vern & I. The distributer had just set up a couple of boys for the job but finding our situation changed the program & hired us. We carried the Tellegram to start, later carried also the Tribune. Vern had one route, I took the other. We fixed up old bicicles rode the ranch horses & sometimes walked but it gave us $3 or $4s a week, winter weather was bad at times I recall riding a white horse one cold Icy day having his feet slip from under him we both
hit the ground I going over his head & on doin the road as I looked back the horse was laying on his side his neck bent double under him. I had the horrible thot that his neck was broken, I ran back & pulled his head out & up he came almost taking me up with him. He suffered no ill effects however.
Vern & I worked for others contracted thinning beets for several years at $3-$4 per acres 40 rows 40 rod long work a couple of weeks in the spring at this.
The spring after my father passed away I was trying to get a job at the Delmonte Canning Co about a mile & a half or two miles from my home. I had been out a Couple of times 15 years old & didn't seem to have much of a chance but a neighbor Dwight Hamilton put in a good word for me & I went to work for a week trucking trays from the warehouse back to the canners 27c per hour but 10-15 hrs per day & 7 days per week the first year was short other years we worked 3-4 weeks in the summer in the pea canning season one year I worked a few weeks in the tomatoe. Vern obtained a job about the 3rd year & he & I worked together for about 3 campaigns staking cans in the warehouse. Gill Taylor, the foremen, a good man & friend put us working together & I think arranged things so we could do well we laid the cans in 12' wide bins about 10' or 15' high & 20' long.
Where we unloaded as the stack progressed. We would set up a scaffold throw the trays up on the platform & unload from there. The cans were placed in trays about 16 per tray at the corner, then on a truck doly & pulled into the warehouse handling the cans 4 at a time being able to swing them in place flat in long rows about 5 cans deep taking them from the tray sometimes placing 60,000 in a day making $5-$6-$7 for a days work of 12-15 hours. One day we worked 17 then walked home & walked back at 7 in the morning. We would have to work awhile before our stiff joints were limber enough to get into the swing of the job it was tough but the season was short 2-3 maybe 4 weeks a tough job but Paid Well as piecework if we worked fast.
September we went to school but took off 2 weeks in sugar beet season school was dismissed or ev_ wer_ ______ to harvest sugar beets. Here we would start a row 5 or 6 guys with a long knife & a hook on the end. The hook drove into the beet, which had previously been broken loose from the ground by a beet Plow, lifted the beet to the other hand & the top was trimmed off with the knife in one lick & the next beet hooked & cut in the next motion, so back breaking work leaning over all day, the the toped beets were thrown into a rick spaced wide enough for a wagon to run between. When the wagons were loaded with about 3 ton the wagons then took a trip to the scales where the beets were loaded on freight cars. We would stop toping & pick them up from the rick row & toss them high into the wagon box 2 to 4 at a time some beets weighed 10 pounds, we got our exercise in those days.
Sometimes in the springs the frost was on the beets both those we loaded & those we topped but it was good days to remember the horseplay, conversation & friendships are priceless.
The summer before I entered the 8th grade my Grandfather Evans a road supervisor in Spanish Fork Canyon put me on the state payroll, he, I & Lew my uncle lived in a camp wagon the forerunner of the trailer pulled by horses having a wood stove a place for a bed & a table. We were camped above the red narrows in SF canyon. I worked with them about a month. The work I was assigned to crawl into culverts which carried water under the road and dig out the rocks & debrae which sometimes filled the entire space they were about 2' and some 18" in diameter flash floods had caused a great deal of problems that summer & lew & I had to crawl on our stomach dig it out & pull the dirt back a little at a time working from both ends the length of the pipe about 60' it was not dry but watter was not flowing at the time very miserable work but at times driving the horses & scraper to clear the roadways so we had interesting work & scenery.
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