A lot of times, we try to remember back, of the GOOD OLE Day’s to see if we have progressed or, just to remember those of the family, those passed away and to the few remaining. Lets get started.
First, I was born, 18 February 1926, at the Reese Farm, located North Of Kendallville In. Fair grounds. The 6th of seven children. Starting with Louise. Albert, Sheldon, Raymond Robert, Charles and Billy. I always liked to answer, when asked, how many in the family, I would reply, six boys and we each had a Sister. OH, 12 in your family?? No six boys and one girl.
Remembering tales of Charles & Georgia Richards in their courting days is only hearsay. How ever, it is told that Dad & Friends used to loosen up the spindle nut on buggy’s and when another couple would come out to leave, they would challenge them to a buggy race, With Dad & Mom always’s winning for a wheel would come off the opposing couples buggy. Not much else as far as the courting days have I heard. My Fathers Dad passed away when he was only two years old. His Mother remarried to a gentleman with the last name of Jarret and had several more children. Our Dad only had another older Sister, who married a Charles Haupt.
We moved off the Reese farm to the Kreager Farm, Twin Lakes RD. N/West of Kendallville. This is where our youngest Bro. Billy, was born. N/West corner of the ground floor of the home and delivered by Dr. Foy ( who became a life long Dr. & Friend )
Memories at the krieger farm include those also of Georgia playing the Piano, ( Rolled up the rug ) while neighboring guests came in, Dad, called the old fashioned square dances and the evening begun. We had the old Delco lighting system ( large Battery Set Up ) and this was to milk the cows with. Very little for the household. We had two lakes on the farm and some of the Fraternal clubs out of Kendallville would come out for a party at the lakes and Bro. Bob and I would open the gates for them to go down the lane, to the lakes and we always had our hand out for pennies.
Yes, we were in the depression and, instances of an active Klu Klux Klan some where in the area, for I do remember much talk of a cross being burnt, some where. A few of the memories to share was when our father and Bro. Al, Shell (etc.) were out doing evening chores, the gas lantern blew up and they were able to put out the fire in the barn with no damage. Also, in the wintertime, Dad & Grampa Bradley with my brothers, would go back to the lake and saw ice blocks. Haul them back up to a building that was called the ice shed, store them and pack with sawdust for our future use.
In about the year of 1931, the landlord evicted us and we moved just south of Avilla Ind. A farm called the King Farm. It also had a lake on it that we enjoyed swimming in the summer. BUT, before we left the Kreiger Farm, the Landlord was a cranky ole guy and he came out shouting orders and when he returned to his Model T to leave, he made a smart remark to Louise. She jumped onto the running board, as he was leaving, and slapped him as hard as she could.
Oh yes, some other entertainment done by my brothers, Al, Shel, Ray & Bob were to make handkerchief parachute type, tie them onto one of our barnyard cats, one of them, taking turns, would climb to the top of the windmill, heave the cat out, and watch it plummet to the ground. Always landing on their feet and I guess, never hurt. My Dad’s fun was to shoot rats that came into the kitchen???
On our move to the king farm, All done by horse and wagon, we moved into a large stuccoed home. It even had a copper bathtub up stairs and with a gasoline pump jack, we had water in the house. No stool, just the bathtub.
Memories, The pump jack is where Bro. Billy got his finger caught in the gears, running. He was rushed to the Kendallville Hospital, where Dr. Foy sewed back on the outer joint and it remained, the rest of his life.
It is also the farm where Bro. Shell threw a brick at Bro. Bob out by the well (Brotherly dispute) and Dad saw this happen, the brick did hit Bro. Bob and Shell got a whipping with the lines from the horses.
I started 1st grade at the LaOtto school, with a relative as my first teacher. Mrs. Baker. A very sweet elderly lady. In the depression, she was able to get me a warm sweat shirt. I really liked that. Back to the farm!! It wasn’t long, the summer of 1933, I believe, that one morning, around 9 AM, a whole bunch of farmers with horse and wagons started to pull in the barn yard, along with the Sheriff. Dad went to inquire what in heck was going on and was informed that they were holding a Sheriff’s sale which would include all live stock, machinery, what ever they could sell to pay past debts. This was from Old Man Krieger, prior Landlord.
Dad got them to hold off, I thought we had a phone?? any way, he contacted a lawyer and was advised to give all of them 10 minutes to leave or to start shooting with the shotgun. A very hectic day. Some way the Debt was satisfied and we stayed on the farm till I believe late 1933 or early 1934. From there we moved to the Burns Farm, about 5 miles west of the King farm. Next to the Hopewell School and Church. We were coming out of the depression and had a good landlord. Dad & Mom had an old Jewet car and in 1934, believe it or not, they traded for a brand new 4 door Chevrolet. Had an old Fordson Tractor and two teams of horses.
This is my first memory of doing our own butchering, curing the hams, coldpacking the beef and all the good that goes with it. Oh yes, fresh cracklings. A treat. Along with beefsteak dinners and cold tongue sandwiches for schooldinners. Many memories but for most, those of Louise leaving our Family in 1935 and going to Uniondale Ind. to work in a restaurant. Low and Behold, this is where she met her Husband, Clifford Middaugh, and eventually married. Also where Bro. Al, while plowing with a team of horses and a one hand held plow, found a twenty dollar gold piece.
For me, and very dear memories of my Bro. Bob, we used to cross the road to our neighbors (Landcraft, ) who had a gravel pit on the back of their farm. One evening, Mom, Dad, Bro. Billy, Bob & myself were there swimming /wadding and I fell into a deep hole, I would go down, then back up, after a couple times, I thought it was all over for me, BUT, Bro. Bob saw me and grabbed me and pulled me to shore. THAT, I surely thank him for. He saved my life. We attended the Hopewell church, morning and evening and started to learn about Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Learnings that I have never forgot.
From there, we migrated to the VanFleet farm south of Garrett Ind. Again, by horse and wagon. Bro. Bob, I and Bro. Billy attended the St. Johns School, 2 miles south east of us. Each morning, unless real bad, the three of us walked to school. And yes, back home. My memories for there were the many evenings we sat in the living room and listened to the radio. One of the most memorable was the boxing bouts that Joe E. Louis had and won the Heavy weight championship belt. Will never forget. Dad & Mom traded in the Chevy. For a new 1936 master Sedan. At the farm, we used to watch as the Cord automobile was being tested and they would drive by our farmhouse. Antiques now. Bro. Al was playing basketball with the LaOtto High School, Bro. Shell quit school and Bro. Ray was attending the LaOtto High School. Louise, our Sister had already graduated from LaOtto High School in 1935.
Another memory was that Bro. Al took the new Chevy to a basket ball practice and only got about a mile from home and a rod went right through the block. Car had only 400 miles on it. Bro. Al came back and almost cried. Dad called Rohm Chev. in Auburn Indiana. They came out and got the car and replaced it with a brand new one. Thought that was awful nice of them. Bro. Bob was helping with the chores and Billy & I stayed around the house. Billy was in the 1st grade, I in the fourth and Bro. Bob in the 6th grade. These last two schools were all in one room to the 8th grade level. Outside toilets and wood & coal stoves for the winter.
From this farm, we moved to the Goheen farm on the Carroll Rd. Giving us a Huntertown address and a whole great big school. For me, it seemed as though I had to fight my way out just to become accepted. Bro. Bob seemed to have no trouble. He was a charmer.
The memories to follow are very important, for, as usual, we were dirt poor. Dad started to leave the farming to the older kids and Bro. Bob & I went to work in the onion patch, Orts Farms, a mile North of us, on the Hathaway Rd. If we weeded one row of onions, it paid .50 cents a day, two rows, 75 cents and three rows a$1.00 Bro. Bob wanted a bicycle and Mom promised him if he worked and saved his money, she would take him to Sears & Roebuck, in Ft. Wayne and he could pick out and pay for his own bike. He worked, saved and was able to follow through and bought a black, trimmed in white bicycle. We were so proud of him. ME—to much work,. Remember that we worked on our hands and knees in the hot sun for what we received.
Two things I should mention. At this time, our Mom & Dad still were playing and calling square dances at Skinner Lake. This they ended while we were living here. Also, Mom & Dad started to attend the Anderson Mennonite church, just west of our home. Corner of Hathaway and Hand Rd. Rev. Joe Neuhouser, From Leo Ind. Was the Minister and this is where we met the Beck family. Lots of memories to follow.
For this article, I am going to concentrate on Bro. Bob and my memories of him and to throw in a few other comments. Bringing in to mind, that our parents would often make trips into Toledo Oh. to visit friends and we children stayed home. One time, Bro. Bob & Bro. Shell got into an argument and Shell threw a bottle of Vicks salve at Bob and just missed. Just as Bro. Joe Neuhouser ( Minister ) walked in and commented, when the Cats ( Parents ) are away, the mice will play and, I guess he was right, for we had a heck of a good time, till they came home.
Amanda, your Grandfather was quite a quiet Bro. Very studious and attentive to school. When we moved over to the farm on Hathaway Rd. Our Father became more business like in the trucking industries and less to farming. Your Grand dad was becoming a more progressive student He started to play the Baritone Horn and I the Melephone. He & I both played in the Sons Of The American Legion Band and Traveled on the old interurban trains to different areas in the state for concerts and competition. In High school, we both played in the Huntertown Band and Bro. Bob played many solo parts with the baritone. He also played in the Senior Play named “A STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE” as a leading roll and played a solo in that play.
While this time of our lives were proceeding, through the Anderson Mennonite Church, we became better aquatinted with The Sam & Mandy Beck Family. I with your Uncle Orville and your Grandfather with your Grandmother Glada. Your Grandmother Glada worked at the Wayne Sewing Mills and drove a brand new Pontiac 4 Dr. sedan 1938 or 1939. Their relationship was very sincere and led to a very happy marriage. BUT, soon after your Grandfather had graduated from school, he either had a choice to enlist or be drafted into the armed services. Bro. Bob choose to enlist. How ever, before this happened, as mentioned before, They had married, 5th October 1941.
PLESE NOTE, ROBERT ELSWORTH RICHARDS, YOUR GRANDFATHER, AMANDA, IS A 6TH GENERATION OF RICHARDS. YOUR MOTHER WOUD IS OF THE 7TH GENERATION.
Your Uncle Orville & I were setting in your Grandmother Glada’s new Pontiac, listening to the radio, I had, as often as not, came home with the Beck’s, after Church, on Sunday’s to eat one of your Great Grandmothers Beef & Gravy with Mashed potatoes & home made bread & jell dinners. A real treat.
While listening to the radio, there was a sudden break, 7th Dec. 1941 to announce that the Japanese was attacking us at Pearl Harbor.
History tells the rest along with the WW11 articles that I have passed on to your family'’. Oh yes, one time while Grandpa was in the Boot Camp, I helped drive your Grandma Glada to his Air Force Training Center. Don’t remember where, but it was in a segregated southern region, first time I ever really realized what the Colored people were being subjected to.
After your Grandfather was Discharged (Honorable) From the Air Force, he and Grandma had a hard time getting started in this new life. They lived with my Mom & Dad for a while then into their own home.
Eventually, your Grandfather started his own home construction business. Times were still hard, but, your Grandfather was a very hard and industrious worker.
BUT, times and conditions did not come easy for him and eventually, he had to file bankrupt. This did not stop him and your Grandmother, for he went to work for Leo Applications, paid off all debts that he had incurred at Bankrupt time, managed to start his own very successful business with a large and devoted work staff.
As a family, we were very proud of our Son & Brother and the wonderful Family that He & Glada left in Heritage.
I hope that this fills in some genealogy spots that will help you in your School project and that you will cherish and treasure the many memory’s of this Heritage.