Research Updates    New Ancestors    New Stories    Surnames A-L    Surnames M-Z    Home
      Ancestor Pages -  knowing my family
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Letters of
Mary Ann Chapman and James Moroni Richey's

Holbrook, Ariz
December 24, 1922

Dear Mother,
     How is everything with you now?
     We opened the package today it being Sunday we thought we would prefer our Xmas today. So we opened the things. The letters from you all were the best of all.
     Thanks for the socks, Mother mine, for every stitch in them meant love and also sacrifice on the part of you, father and Jay. God bless you and Papa that you may not have to work so hard as you have done in the past.
     I an sending you a nice bowl, a can opener and two paring knives to try to show in my weak way how much I love and appreciate my mother.
     There is also two pounds of candy. You folks always have home candy but still this will be enjoyed so much I know. I don't suppose you will get these things until New Years but I hope so. I am telling everyone what belongs to them so I guess you can divide all right. Thanks for the candy, whoever sent it.
     Your loving son, Leigh

St. Johns, Ariz.
May 1, 1959

Dear Mother,
     Today is May Day (to be sure it is in time for Mother's Day) and it makes my thoughts go back to May days in Richville. we had such good times I was going to say that the wild roses were in bloom but that must have been on June Day, Brigham Young's birthday, it was a better day for picnics.
     Of course a thousand memories come crowding in. Water Cress, and the spring ditch by the house, The garden, The willow fence, The cottonwood trees, The meadow, with milk cows in it. the river bordered with willows and an occasional cottonwood The lower end springs and canyons, wild grapes, The hills after the rains came.
     Do you remember how the cows would go up the trail to go on top of the mesa the next morning after the first rain expecting gramma grass about a week before it had started. and all just because it had rained.
     Oh yes, I want to thank you for the willowing you gave me when I sassed you and I mean it too, because I never sassed you again.
     I was plowing today and nothing to do but tend the tractor and think, so I thought of Dad. He never told a smutty story, and never took the name of the Lord in vain and never spoke of his Father as the old man, and never told a lie, and never stole anything, and never took advantage of his neighbor or any other man. No wonder I idolized him and tried to be like him.
     He told me to stay away from the very appearance of evil and if it comes upon you get out of there and run just as hard as you can, just like your great grandfather Joseph did who was sold into Egypt. Even if you have to leave your coat.
     He never stopped studying and never failed to tell of the good things he read. I was truly born of goodly parents.
     How I always loved my mother but it took Forest to keep the wood chopped. I am glad that I never saw you chop wood. I remember while we lived across the river of seeing you my mother sitting on the east side of the house in the afternoon shade with Aunt Alice, Maud Barrett, Estella Irwin, and May Sherwood and Aunt Ruth Sherwood and I thought you was the prettiest one of them all, my mother.

With all my love,
Hugh & Nellie

Marysville, Washington, [from Jay]
25 June, 1976

Dear Sister Daisy,
     The church at Pine Valley [UT] was built by a sea captain. Am told that it is built like a ship and is a real treasure. Would like to have gone to church there once and seen the inside.
     Did Papa freight alone to Peoche? 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 Peoche it was the no-good trigger-happy white renegades that robbed the returning wagons of their gold, until Wells Fargo established a bank in Peoche. Yes, this was not too many years before they came to Arizona.
     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, 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 6 gun or two on and stand between his home and dear ones and the lawless element. On one hazardous assignment he had two 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 heros 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 AMCI of St. Johns from Navajo or Holbrook. When I was about 5 he got to haul a load of freight for Beckers from Magdolina.
     Mama once told me that when they were first married that she and Papa would stay to farm the two places while Uncle Ben took the best teams and hauled freight. Then they would share the money and the crops.
     At about 9 I had the privilege of going with Forest with the 4 horse team and 2 wagons, we hauled lumber from Whitings mill at Kitchen Springs to St. Johns. We were gone a week. Made a round trip in about three days. This was to pay for Papa, 'cause 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 wainscotting, 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 & Tee 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 & Tee 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 granery) 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 granery 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, Orson's and Earnest'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 granery was one of these. That they were arranged in a circle like a fort. Brother Earnest 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 was originally named San Cosmy [Cosme?]. Leigh once told me the same of the first owner 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 Coyote Wash. That during the drought that they drove their ox teams and wagons up and down the river, using it as a road.
     Might ask Leigh or Hugh about the dam at Sinder [Cinder?] Knoll, sometime.
     May God bless you and yours.
     Love, Jay

Dear Mother,
     You asked me to write a few things about Papa. I remember how he was always reading, how he would take small children by the hand and dance around with them. (They didn't always like it.) How he would turn a chair down on the floor and put his head on the slanted back of the chair. (I used to think it was very uncomfortable because I tried it.) How his black every-day shirts would get filled with wind and blow out in the back. How glad we were to see him come down to St. Johns in the winter and the milk he always brought.
     Proud was the word I always thought of as a child when I would see you and Papa start off for Sunday School at Richville or off for St. Johns in the wagon. I always remember how pleased he was to go to the old folks parties at Alpine UT. You must have missed social life.
     How when you were in St. Johns with Lou when her first baby was born he used to get up in the night when he heard me cry with the tooth ache and warm cloths to ease the pain. How he tried to make things easier for me then while school was going on and I had the work to do and was lonely too and I could go on. Better stop though, give someone else a chance. Sure would like to be there. As the time draws nearer the more I would like to come. Jay and Mable's car is just too crowded, it would mean riding 4 in a seat way into the night which is too hard for any driver. (They have asked me and would be uncomfortable for my sake.)
     We have all had small-pox vaccination. Some of the children don't feel so very good, not really sick though. All in all I don't feel I should leave. Am sorry to make you feel bad about it so please don't. Would like to see everyone.
     Norma started to copy the biography, Mary Jo and I finished just now. I quit writing on it and started this. I still have three dresses to finish. We are all going to Bonnie's for dinner tonight and have a practice tomorrow afternoon at the temple grounds.

All my love,

Questions or Suggestions?  Email

  Print letters  (3 pgs)
   (no headings)

  Mary Ann/Moroni pages
  download PDF

  right click to save
  includes letters, 8 pgs

  Mary Ann's Story 6 Parts
  download PDF

  Grandchildren's Memories
  download PDF

  Pictures large to print
  download PDF