While working on the Nathan Richardson book (“A Big Hearted Paleface Man“), our Richardson collection expanded exponentially. We already had a nice number of artifacts from the family, most donated by Nate’s daughter Mary early on in the society’s history. There were some genealogical documents gathered by previous staff of the historical society and a few newspaper articles. When I started in on researching through our newspaper collection, that’s when things started to mushroom. Nate was always appearing in the local papers, mostly in his own words.
Somewhere along the timeline of researching the book, a researcher contacted me. She was looking for information on the Richardson family. The woman was Toni Davies and she was married to a direct descendent of Nate. When you work in history, it’s an absolute thrill to speak to the descendents of those you are studying. Toni added a new perspective and further information to our files.
Within the past couple of weeks, I got a call from her husband, Hank. He had a letter to send us from his “Gran,” Helen Richardson Voigt. Helen was Nate’s granddaughter, the daughter of Raymond Richardson, Nate’s son. (Got that?) Hank wanted to donate the letter for our collections, telling me that he thought I’d find it interesting. And I did. It’s a newsy letter, with Helen ranging through quite a bit of family history. Because Helen’s parents, Raymond Richardson and Elma Hamilton Richardson, had moved to Fallbrook, California, when she was a toddler, she barely knew her Grandpa Nate. Here’s a bit from her letter:
“When my father died we, mother Clarence & I went to Little Falls for a visit and I saw this Nathan Richardson. Grandma was already dead. He was Judge of Probate there & mama had a cousin who was his office help so I used to play all over the court house. Remember the court room so well. My mother’s best friend was married to Mr. Lindberg the father of Chas L. the aviator. Knew him when he first came a green Sweed straight from Sweden. The mother of Charles Jr was a second wife. Elizabeth Land Lodge another big wig in congress at Washington D. C where Chas Sr. was in congress. He visited us once in Fallbrook. Walked the 3 miles from town to our place. He was my grandfather Taylor’s attorney. Grandpa R. was a teacher (which I hadn’t known) my mother a teacher & me a teacher.”
All-in-all, the letter is thirteen pages long – a priceless and personal addition to our Richardson collection.