A General Picture of the Richardson Family

by Milton E. Richardson

Richard Vernon Richardson was born August 16, 1914 at 511 East Center Street, in Spanish Fork, Utah, the son of Shadrack Milton Richardson and Maggie Evans Richardson.

At the time of his birth his mother was living at the home of her parents, Joseph James Merriman Evans, Vern's father Shadrack Milton having suffered a sun stroke, and was unable to work for a considerable period of time. He, with the eldest son--Milton E. Richardson--lived with his parents in Benjamin, Utah; this for an unknown period of time which further research may determine, if it can be done (while his sister Lucy Roundy and Eunice Richardson still live).  S. Milton had been working in the mines in Tintic or Eureka, and for some reason or another came to Benjamin to assist his father on the farm for a time or perhaps to get away from the mines. At any rate, while irrigating he suffered a sun-stroke; this brought on a serious type of epilepsy--passing out at times and being unable to hold a job for this reason. Times were tough for seven years for Maggie and Milt; only the help of relatives and the odd jobs he was able to get, pulled them through.

I have a recollection of living in three houses in Spanish Fork before Vern was 7 years of age; the first was about 580 East Center Street. I don't know how long we were there but when Vern was about 5 we noticed that on getting up in the morning a strange noise in the attic; going outside we discovered the roof was on fire, it burned the roof off.  We then moved to about 280 East Center Street, an old adobe home.  We also lived at an old adobe home at 2nd South and 2nd East.  The owner of this was a very old lady who had brothers and relatives in the Civil War and who told Mother many stories of those times which occurred about 50 or 55 years before. We were also taught to sing "Two Little Boys Had Two Little Toys", one of the Civil War songs (click here to see it).  Mother always had a great rapport and friendship with the old folks.

We enjoyed playing in the sand hill which was on the west side of Third East for several blocks--also following the shady ditch where the jungle-like willows and other trees made this a trail to remember.  We later moved to a house on 1st East and the southeast corner of 1st South.  It was here Margaret was born. Vern was at this time about 6 or 7 years old. Our father was again working in the mines, having gone back to the Tintic Standard in Eureka which was a hot mine. His epileptic spells disappeared and he never again had another one. He was home on weekends or driving the 30 miles each day.  In August of 1921 we moved to Eureka, Utah where we lived quite comfortably until about 1925.  Vern entered the 1st grade here and among his classmates was one Allan McKellar, with whom he later worked as a missionary in Sacramento.

One of our early escapades in Eureka was to follow a supply wagon out to one of the mines, a few miles north of Eureka.  This created quite a stir, our parents thinking we had fallen in one of the old shafts which were scattered here and there over the hills. Frequently we threw rocks down and heard them clatter for a while before they hit the bottom.  On this day we were merely following the road and came home late in the day, tired but safe.  Unfortunately, Vern could have written a good deal of his experiences here; he had a good memory and often recalled accurately events that I had forgotten.

One dramatic event occurred in Eureka which was a great trial to Vern and Mother, too.   Vern somehow came down with typhoid fever and was very seriously ill; Mother was his nurse and in the process suffered a nervous breakdown. The two were on the point of death when the Ward Teachers--George Simpson, who had filled four missions for the Church and later became President of the Kolob Stake, and his companion, William Thurgood, who told of being revived from the dead by priesthood administration.

These two men administered to Mother and Vern and both patients quickly recovered, to which Mother and my Dad always bore a strong testimony of the healing power of the Priesthood.

Eunice was born in 1923 and Carol in 1924, in Eureka.  One of our prize possessions was a beebee gun which cost $5.00, a full days work for Dad.  One slight accident occurred when Vern somehow was hit in the head with a pick by his brother; a little blood, no great damage, the aim of small boys and a big pick can be erratic.  I can remember our Dad walking up the hill with his miner's cap on, face dirty, reddish clothes dusty, coming home from work each day.  Then one day we greeted him, a rock had fallen making a nasty cut on his head.  Well I remember our Mother's concern and his joking about it.  He and Mother both knew the mines were a health and accident hazard. Mother remarked at one time that the town cemetery was filled with men 30 to 40 years old.

Vern completed the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grades in Eureka. We traveled around the hills a good deal; there was little to do for kids in a mining town.  Part of one or two summers we spent on Grandmother's farm, Grandfather was alive the first year, but passed away after the first year.  One of the events of the evening in Eureka was to go up to the depot and see the train come in about 7 or 8 in the evening, bringing papers, mail and people, etc.  A good many people congregated there at times; for small boys it was exciting; a few times we took the train to Spanish Fork.

In Eureka we lived on a hill and in the winter time we had a sled which, with a good start, would go 2 or 3 blocks if the snow was right. We had a beebee gun one Christmas--quite an outlay on Dad's income.  There was the first radio to come to town; a family across Knight Street on the hill probably a quarter of a mile away had one.  I can remember it being tuned up to be heard all over that end of town, quite a novelty in those days.  A few years later, when we lived in Spanish Fork, Mildred, Daisy or someone bought one for Grandad, and the family assembled to hear Amos & Andy or some other program.  Occasionally, on all the holidays, the Evans family members got together, for many years; sometimes at the home of Bert Thomas, sometimes at Granddad Evans place. The many cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. formed quite a group and we had many enjoyable times. When the game of Monopoly came out one Christmas we played it all day on Christmas, until late at night.

My memory is quite limited except for my own activities. Mother always took us to Church. I don't remember Vern's baptism; I am sure that took place in Eureka, the old Church still stands, not used by L.D.S. anymore.  When we returned to Spanish Fork we spent quite a bit of time on the Evans farm working in the hay, Vern particularly.  We worked at thinning beets, weeding, picking beans, cherries and whatever came along--didn't make much money.

Dad recovered sufficiently to work in the sugar factory in 1926, and helped Joe Evans set up a home for us at 541 East 2nd North; at the time we were living at 4th North and 3rd East.  Vern was now 12.  We moved into our own home--two big rooms with another two rooms unfinished, in the rear. It was here that Mildred was born, and in November Vern and I had been working on the Richardson farm in the sugar beets. Grandmother Richardson called us in and said with tears in her eyes, "Your Father is very ill".

Vern was 13 at the time.  Vern and I went with them to Spanish Fork.  As we walked into the room Dad roused a bit, and said "Be a man, Milt", then started to choke. We went out and he passed away.

His death was on November 5, 1927; he was buried in a plot in Spanish Fork.  At his funeral service his uncle, Josiah Hickman, spoke.  I remember him using quotations from the Psalm of Life and departing leave behind us footsteps in the sands of time, etc.

Mother had a baby of about 4-1/2 months. Milt, the oldest, was 15; total of six children and nothing except a partly finished home and two sides of the family who were most considerate.  She looked up someone who could get us a job carrying papers, and a fellow by the name of Lundgreen who handled the Tribune and Telegram came up to see us. He had given the route to a Bishop's son, but when he talked to Mother he signed us up to carry the Tribune. Later he gave us the Evening Telegram as well.  So we constantly fixed our bikes, and at times used Grandad's horses.  But we made a little to help out, probably too little. We contracted thinning sugar beets.  At about 15 years of age a neighbor got me a job in the cannery which lasted a week or 10 days, later to a month or two, each year for seven years.  I worked there, then Vern got a job with me and we contracted stacking cans in the warehouse each pea canning season.  I think we worked together for 4 or 5 seasons under a good foreman by the name of Gilbert Taylor.

Vern spent most of his summers with Granddad and Joe on the hay ranch, tying wires on the bailor, pushing them through where Bud Evans tied them; tromping hay in the field, mowing, raking, whatever had to be done. For this they supplied us with milk, flour and some cash, which was quite an item and much appreciated in those days of no welfare, Church or otherwise.

It's a. mystery how things were managed in those years when there was no money coming in. Mother got us both a job carrying newspapers .... so cold, hot and medium mornings we were delivering the Tribune and Telegram; probably made a couple of dollars a week on each route.  Vern stayed with it for about 3 years.

(Note by Madge [Vern's wife]:  I can remember Vern telling about his horse Nero helping him in delivering the papers, and sometimes it was so cold those mornings that the icicles hung down from Nero's mouth, and Vern would just about freeze).

Vern and his friend Max Holt were always together, hunting, fishing, etc.  Max was a crack shot and Vern I guess wasn't bad.  He wore out a single shot 22 somehow in just a few years.  (Vern used to love to go on those hunting jaunts with Max; they were very good friends). 

In the summers Milt and Vern contracted thinning sugar beets, worked in the cannery stacking cans in the warehouse as partners, making about $4 or $5 a day for 10-12 hours work, stacking 50-60 thousand cans in bins.

Years later Vern ran the mile in his senior year in high school.  Vern attended B.Y.U. for one quarter, he and Bud driving a 1928 Oldsmobile we had to Provo and back each day.  Finances limited him to the one or two quarters, however, and the next year he laid out until April, when he came to Los Angeles to live with me.  We found work by driving around until we found someone who would hire us.  We started at $3.00 per day and increased our price at the next job until we reached the non-union scale of $6 each day for carpenters. We first lived a couple of months in a small apartment in Sawtelle (West Los Angeles) ; this had only a single bed and we both slept on it. Later I suppose "move over Vern" or "move over Milt" was automatic.  It was quite crowded.  Later we moved into a small house on Cloverdale, just off Pico Blvd in L.A., with Bert Ludlow and later Heavy Hales.  This was a nice little place. Mother visited us for a week or so and enjoyed her visit. We attended Church first in Santa Monica, then at the Wilshire Ward in Los Angeles.  Here we found great things--150 Gleaner Girls and 75 M-Men, most about our age, many going to Southern Cal and UCLA.   Ward formal dances were held; MIA activities and church kept us pretty well occupied.

We changed addresses up near Western Avenue, where we lived with Blaine Johnson and Ray Alexander.  They were going to school--Ray at Southern Cal and Blaine studying under Florence Jeppersen Madsen.

It was a great experience. I had to leave L.A.--one of the first victims of the smog; lost weight, set out for Sacramento or Sun Valley.  Vern lived with another group of fellows from that time.

We lived in L.A. for about a year, saved up about $300 then went back to Utah, took the roof off the family home, lowered the ceilings and rebuilt the place in about a month or so, then borrowed money to get back to L.A.  Henry A. Gardner, Spanish Fork Stake President, was our benefactor, the only one we could borrow from. We got $60.00, luckily found work quickly when we got back to Los Angeles.  Vern worked for an apartment builder, Roy Clark.  Clark was a labor subcontractor; Vern mentioned one time he was holding a watch timing Vern putting in base in an apartment.  Another time he took his gang out to Luca's Restaurant--an "all you can eat" place for $1 or $1.25. One of the gang was a singer and entertained them.  Vern was quite impressed with his ability.  Among the fellows he roomed with were the one who sang, Roland Gardner, and a hardware salesman named Arnold Dickey.

Vern was called on a Stake Mission at this time, with Richard Taylor and others; They had an enjoyable experience.  He started dating Madge, and a year or so later they were married.  Madge can bring many things to mind, no doubt, in this period.  Vern was working on housing, apartments.  Near the start of the war he went to work in the shipyards in San Pedro, as a pile driver. Later he worked in the shipyards building Victory ships. I think on the finishing end of the ships' construction.  He worked here until after the war, living and working in the Downey Ward, having purchased a home there.  After the war he worked for a housing project building, cutting, and framing roofs.  In 1947 Madge and Vern moved to Sacramento to go into partnership with Richardson Bros.  Vern sold his house in Downey and took over one Lew Evans and I were building here in Sacramento.  We ran out of money and with what Vern had we were able to finish it.

We had a contract for four houses the first year, but failed to figure enough and always building contract jobs made only about wages, but built some fine homes.  Vern was a very careful carpenter and everything had to be just right, even with the rough work, especially with the finish.  One of the finest homes in town was built probably about 1967 for a plumbing contractor, Ray Cook.  He told me that when Vern was left to finish the job he didn't know him very well and was worried, but he said he had as good a job on the finish as he had ever seen, and later his employees mentioned Vern's ability as a finisher.

We kind of interrupted our work in September of 1949 when I took over as supervisor on the First Ward Church building, and Vern continued the building business, building several homes which I hardly saw.  He also worked along with us many nights and most Saturdays for the year and a half I was occupied on building the church, then for a total of 4-1/2 years most of our spare time.

We didn't come out of this period ahead but refinanced our business and continued on making our living and giving a full measure--perhaps more so, to those for whom we built. We were nearly always busy, having a few months slack waiting for a job to start or show up.

We did some big jobs at times. We had only one bad year, but others balanced out---until the 70s, when we finally made enough to pay off our loans and get $10,000 ahead.  And with a few more good years extended it to $20,000.  In 1974 we grossed $200,000 with about $44,000 overhead, so we put a little away and finally had what is needed in this business--cash--to work with.  But it was a bit too late and we failed to buy land which took a big boom from then on to 1977; but investment is always a risk and we at least didn't lose it.  We have built stores, churches, warehouses, homes, interior finish in many shopping centers, and it's all been done right and satisfactory to the owners, many of whom we have worked for again or been called on for another bid.

I have been most privileged to work and associate with R. Vernon Richardson.  A kinder, more considerate man I've never known.  Slow and careful not to anger but quick and forceful when aroused, and I might add, justifiable anger was about the only kind he knew.  Truly a great man by all standards, he weighed about 125 to 130 lbs and stood about 5'7" tall. His stature was such that I told him more than once that I considered him a sure candidate for the Celestial Kingdom.

We haven't got the most we should have out of our association--my fault in thinking the important thing is the work and getting it out. While he went along in this philosophy he also put his Church work first and made it a point to get his assignments out, remembering and thinking carefully about what he had to do that night or that day, or how best to do the job.

Vern held many positions in the Church; he was one of the Presidents of Seventies in the Stake, 1st Counselor in the Bishopric for about 6 years, Secretary of the Adult Aaronic Priesthood and Youth Aaronic Priesthood, High Priest Group Leader for nine years, and filled three Stake Missions.  He never missed a meeting unless ill.  He had perhaps the third largest donated hours total in building the First Ward Chapel.  Vern nearly always had a dog.  One of the enjoyments we had was watching them chase jack rabbits above the cemetery in Spanish Fork, and along the hill that rimmed the river bottoms. One particular dog would run alongside but never grabbed the rabbit.  Our walks to this area were often through the cemetery with which we were very familiar.  The week before Decoration Day each year we would grub out the weeds and clean up the family plots ... no grass in those days, just bare ground.

Milton E. Richardson
Vern's obituary:


  Graveside services for Vernon Richardson, 62, were held Monday, May 2 in the Spanish Fork Cemetery.  Mr. Richardson was born in Spanish Fork August 16, 1914 to the late Milton and Maggie Evans Richardson.  He was educated in the schools of Spanish Fork and attended the Brigham Young University.  He and his brother, Milton, have been residing in Sacramento, California since the mid-thirties where they founded the Richardson Brothers Construction Company and have been successful as building contractors since that time.

  Vern married the former Madge Schulthess in the Los Angeles Temple June 17, 1940.  He is survived by his widow and the following children:  Mrs. Terry (Loa) Willis, Mrs. Kenneth (Ruth) Russell, Mrs. Joan Parrish all of Sacramento and Evan Richardson of Miami, Florida plus 11 grandchildren, a brother and four sisters:  Milton Richardson of Sacramento, Mrs. Margaret Carter of Springville; Miss Eunice Richardson, Mrs. Carol Back and Mrs. Mildred Whipple all of Salt Lake City.  Vern was a nephew of Mrs. Mildred Ream and B. Davis Evans of Spanish Fork, Mrs. Daisy McClellan of Payson, Utah, Alton Richardson of Benjamin, Utah; Mrs. Lucy Roundy of Mapleton, Utah and Mrs. Eunice McKenzie of Salt Lake City.

  Mr. Richardson served his church in many offices including a bishopric, three stake missions and at the time of his death, he was Ward Financial Clerk.

  B. Davis Evans conducted the service and delivered a short eulogy.  Milton Richardson dedicated the grave.

--Spanish Fork Press, May 4 1977, p. 16.

Milt wrote two brief autobiographies in about 1985.  Click here and here to read them.
To return to the Richardson Family index page, click here.

          Two Little Boys
                         --a song of the Civil War--

    Two little boys had two little toys
    Each had a wooden horse
    Gaily they played each summer's day
    Warriors both of course
    One little chap then had a mishap
    Broke off his horse's head
    Wept for his toy then cried with joy
    As his young playmate said ...

    Did you think I would leave you crying
    When there's room on my horse for two
    Climb up here Jack and don't be crying
   I can go just as fast with two
    When we grow up we'll both be soldiers
    And our horses will not be toys
    And I wonder if we'll remember
    When we were two little boys

    Long years had passed, war came so fast
    Bravely they marched away
    Cannon roared loud, and in the mad crowd
    Wounded and dying lay
    Up goes a shout, a horse dashes out
    Out from the ranks so blue
    Gallops away to where Joe lay
    Then came a voice he knew......

    Did you think I would leave you dying
    When there's room on my horse for two
    Climb up here Joe, we'll soon be flying
   I can go just as fast with two
    Did you say Joe I'm all a-tremble
    Perhaps it's the battle's noise
    But I think it's that I remember
    When we were two little boys

    Do you think I would leave you dying
    There's room on my horse for two
    Climb up here Joe, we'll soon by flying
    Back to the ranks so blue
    Can you feel Joe I'm all a-tremble
    Perhaps it's the battle's noise
    But I think it's that I remember
    When we were two little boys.

R. Vernon Richardson
Milton E. Richardson