Memories of Grandpa & Grandma
25 June 1976
Dear Sister Daisy,
Did Papa freight alone to Pioche? [NV, northwest of St. George UT] I don't know, but he is like Roy and so many other people, he prefers most anyone's company to being alone. At preschool age I went to the ranch with him (in winter). On the way home on a load of loose grass hay, I was no company but he picked up a Mexican and was happy as could be. He had someone to talk with. I curled up in a ball and shivered very hard, the wind was cold.
The Indians were mostly friendly, I think, but were excitable and prone to kill innocent people when provoked by no-good trigger-happy whites. As I see it there were plenty of renegade and unwise people on both sides to keep hell a-boiling all the time.
Papa once told me that as a boy he rode the range with a six gun strapped around his waist. Said he never had any trouble with the Indians though. When I asked him why, he said because he always gave them his lunch.
On the road to Pioche it was the no-good trigger-happy white renegades that robbed the returning wagons of their gold, until Wells Fargo established a bank at Pioche. Yes, this was not too many years before they came to Ariz.
I did not hear Papa say much about his early freighting. What I heard him talk a lot about was the exploits of "The Great Napoleon." I was raised on the Charge of the Light Brigade and etc. As I see it, in this life our father was a soldier and lawman. For that part of the west to be settled by the Saints, it was expedient that there be men, not with nerves of iron but like our father with nerves of cold grey steel. To strap a six-gun or 2 on and stand between his home & dear ones and the lawless element. On one hazardous assignment he had 2 around his waist and one in each boot. Probably had a rifle also. Did you know that he is an expert cowboy and the last of the great horsemen of the west. Too often soldiers and other heroes are a little like prophets and sometimes mothers, "Not without honor except in their own country and in their own house."
To my knowledge Papa did not do a lot of lumber hauling to St. Johns. Some in my time but not a lot. Years before he had a contract to haul the candy for the old ACMI of St. Johns from Navajo or Holbrook. When I was about 5 he got to haul a load of freight for Beckers from Magdalena.
Mama once told me that when they were first married that she and Papa would stay and farm the 2 places while Uncle Ben took the best teams and hauled freight. Then they would share the money and the crop.
At about 9 I had the privilege of going with Forest with the 4-horse team and 2 wagons, we hauled lumber from Whiting's mill at Kitchen Springs to St. Johns. We were gone a week. Made a round trip in about 3 days. This was to pay for Papa cos,[?] he liked to tell of going to settle up and was asked in surprise, "Hain't you drawed anything?" (On the store.) The answer was yes, a 15 cent can of wagon grease.
Yes, the Little Giant was the only mill near St. Johns at first. It was a fine mill with a well-equipped planer. It made rustic siding, tongue and groove flooring and ceiling and wainscoting, etc.
Don't know if Grandpa ever really claimed any land at Richville. Mother told me that the Richeys bought Richville. (It may have been called Walnut Grove at that time.) They bought from the Smith & T Cattle Co. Water was plentiful that year and they paid for the place with grain from their first harvest.
Papa and Uncle Ben then homesteaded their respective places to obtain good titles. All they got from Smith & T was squatter's rights.
The southeast room of the old ranch house is Papa's and Mama's original homestead house. For protection from the Apaches and the white renegades they moved it across the river near Uncle Ben's, across the "Holler" south above the ditch near the Nielson place. They also had a log room (the old granary) and built a rock room. The ruins of the rock room may still be visible, and you might take another look at the old log granary at Willy's.
It may be that the Nielson place was not included in the Richey purchase. At some time it seems that the Wilkinses, Orsons and Ernest's father lived there, he had a group of log houses near the cottonwood trees east of the river and near the south fence. That the old granary was one of these. That they were arranged in a circle like a fort. Brother Ernest Wilkins told me that he was born at Richville.
Uncle John Sherwood got a piece of the middle of Richville and Uncle Arthur Tenney, Aunt Sue's husband, had the upper place where Joe Baca's place was.
Richville originally was named San Cosmy. Leigh once told me the name of the first owners of Papa's place. Sorry, I have forgotten.
An early house on the ranch was built in the nearest field across the river. It was built of sods from the meadow. The Richeys lived in it at first, later it was used as a blacksmith shop.
Papa once told me that when he first came to Richville that he could step across the Coyote Wash. That during the "Drouth" that they drove their ox teams up and down the river, using it as a road.
May God bless you and yours.