Historical Details

Richardson, Robert D.

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 02/05/2021


by Grace Wilson

Robert D. Richardson born Oct. 18, 1869 in Missouri, married Sadie Dawson of Kansas, born 1872, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Dawson.

Children were Paul D. March 9, 1898, Bullhead City, AZ.; Howard Feb. 7, 1900, Grass Valley, Calif.; Mrs. Dave F. (Grace) Wilson June 5, 1902, Lusk, Wyo.; Mrs. Robert (Opal) Lincoln July 31, 1907, Fallbrook, Calif;  Goldie B. Richardson Feb. 19, 1906; Ruby Feb. 2, 1906, deceased, 1941; Pearl Cady Dec. 21, 1910 Casper, Wyo.; Della Nance Oct. 20, 1915, Colorado Springs, Colo. One child and first born (Oct. 29, 1895) died Aug. 10, 1896, Gilbert Richardson.

Filled with the pioneering spirit they moved from Missouri to Springfield, Ill., to Coin, Ia., to Fremont, Nebr. and from there to a homestead 1 1/4 mile west of Keeline, Wyo. in March 1908.

My parents came for the free land to build a homestead. Father had come here earlier and filed. Billy Spaugh, brother to Ad Spaugh took my father around to help him locate a homestead.

My mother and us children came on the passenger train while father and the two older brothers Paul and Howard came with the livestock and other possessions in the immigrant car.

Although I was very small when we came, the depot was only a painted boxcar. It was a very old house made of natural stone and grout, a material used to cement the rocks together. We lived here while father and a man by the name of Shippen with help built our homestead house. I believe it was Cody Shippen, Father John Shippen.

It was wide open country when we came in 1908. It would be days on end that you would see no one but your own family or an occasional horsebacker in the distance.

When I was still quite small I remember a large band of sheep were taken through. They camped that night not too far from our house. When they left they headed northwest past our place, leaving their tin cans and bonfire spot plainly behind. There wasn’t any fences in the area. I remember at the time there was some wrangling about the sheep going over the cattle ground.

Mr. and Mrs. M. E. Church stayed in our home with us until their house was built.

Our buildings were not where they are now, everyone had built up across the road to the east. When the country was surveyed again we were on somebody else's land so we had to move about one-half mile across the dividing land. Mrs. Ella Watson was among those who had to move.

Mrs. Ella Watson was my (Grace) first teacher. We walked 1 1/4 to the Keeline school. It was east of the present school, near the road that goes south of Keeline.

Mrs. Watson taught two years of high school.  All grades through 10 were in one room. You could learn Latin from the older ones while you were supposed to be getting your own lessons. Later they built a large school house with two rooms.  Mrs. Watson was a well read and well educated woman.

Later Frank Kelly taught me. He taught the higher grades in the Keeline school. He was also principal of the two rooms, (in one  building).   He also ran the town paper at one time.

You didn't do things in those days like now.If you didn't have it, you went without.

We had hardships, but we really didn't  think of them as hardships. We didn't know any different because we didn’t have any­ thing else to do with.  Many modern things were not developed as yet.

One winter we didn't have any overshoes so we wrapped gunny sacks over our shoes in order to walk to school.

There wasn't a shoe cobbler anywhere and my father had a set of laths and soles. He cut his own leather soles and resoled our shoes.

We raised potatoes and I think we had potato soup for both dinner and supper for most of one year, and of course bread, but­ter, eggs, milk.  We didn’t mind it. We had plenty to eat and we were happy and warm.

Father's first car was a large Studebaker.

My parents and us children went to Kee­line for the lot sale. Some people had started to live there. We had a picnic and spent all day there. It was quite a cele­bration.

I remember one Christmas. It had been a very hard year for my parents. Glen Stevens, the oldest son of the Frank Stevens, came and brought us children some hard candy that Christmas. It was a treat I'll never forget. At Christmas at our home there was always Plum Pudding which has been in our family for over 68 years that we know. Some­ thing that has always been a tradition in my own family.

We children always had fun. We used to do all kinds of things for entertainment as we made our own.

There was a blizzard in 1912. Large ranchers lost many cattle. When the snow melted everyone that could went and skinned out the dead cattle. My father and two brothers skinned for Hitshew and Sam Joss, I believe.

In those days when we had a blizzard we looked after ourselves and each other. Everybody laid in a supply of staples of flour, sugar, coffee, tea and dried fruits not later than the first of October. We put vegetables such as cabbage, turnips, winter radishes, rutabegas in pits and covering them over with straw then soil or stored them in cellars.

My dad farmed 320 acres putting in corn, potatoes, wheat, rye and oats.  He also raised many hogs.

Many years were hard years when we didn't have rain enough, but there were also good years.

To the west of us was a man by the name of Caloway. He took up a 320 acre homestead which he failed to prove up on and my dad bought it, making him 640 acres. Later Dad bought the Scrugs place, which is across the railroad on the south side of the highway. Many years later we were harvesting potatoes on this piece of land when we heard celebrating in Keeline, which was only a half a mile away. Dad went to see what it was all about. It turned out to be a false alarm that the first World

War was over.  Dad's harvest crew there con­sisted of myself and Grace, the two Deeter sisters, my sister. Opal; and a neighbor, Ed Meier who lived east of us.

It was difficult to find help, as all the young men were in the service, as were my two brothers, Paul and Howard. Both of my brothers had signed up for the war. They were ready to go across when the Armistice was signed. Paul and Howard, before they left, lived on places around Keeline.

Dad had begun to raise many acres of potatoes. I know in 1921 he put in 75 acres. He had built a large potato cellar in which to store his harvest.  You drove in one end unloaded the potatoes and drove out the other end.

The hotel in Keeline needed help. A Mr. and Mrs. Oglesby was running it at the time. Emma Wagner later (Mrs. Jim Hoblit) was working in the hotel.

I was 16 that summer. They had wanted me to work in the kitchen and dining room as a waitress, but I felt I was too shy so Emma and I cleaned rooms and made beds.

The hotel was filled every night and the dining room had several large tables which were full for each morning and evening meal. Many of those which stayed overnight were traveling salesman. They got off the train for the night and after breakfast caught the train to their next destination.

My parents sold their place to Del Shoopman in 1925. They moved to Douglas where they worked an irrigation farm for a couple of years.  Then my dad went to Wenatchee, Wash. for two or three years.

He later returned to Douglas where they lived.  He passed away Aug. 1, 1938 and mother resided there most of the time until her death. Mother passed away June 10, 1962. She was buried beside my father in IOOF lot in Douglas, Wyo. Now the place has been sold to Murray Butler.

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