(Taken from the History of Hannah Rhead Richards)
Silas LeRoy Richards was born the 25th of October 1882 in Union, Salt Lake County, Utah. His parents were Silas Newton Richards and Mary Norman Goulder. He was born in a small log cabin which stood way back from the road in a field. They did not live there for long as his father built a two-room brick house about a block from the birth place. Here they lived until their children were all reared.
Silas was the oldest child of a family of six boys and four girls. One boy and one girl died early in life.
Silas Newton owned and operated a small truck and fruit farm. Roy (as Silas LeRoy was called) had much to do around the farm, sharing in the work and responsibilities. Very early in his life he had been given a small hatchet which he prized very highly. He innocently proceeded to put it to use by going around the new brick house and nicking up the corners. Just another story of the handy hatchet.
There was always work in the orchard in the fall of the year cutting blue plums to dry. At these times, Roy would become very lonley. He has been heard to make the remark that all through his life, when fall came and the crickets chirped, he would get that lonesome feeling.
At the age of eight Roy started to attend the public school. The school house was a small adobe building on Union Avenue, east of 9th East in Union. His schooling was considerably interrupted as he was obliged to be absent many times to help his father in many ways. He was always a good student, however, and when he had completed the sixth grade, at about the age of fifteen or sixteen, he had to leave school and get a job. He tried first to get work on the railroad as a section hand but failed. Later there was employment as a sheep herder, staying with it but one year. He received $300 for his work, all of which he saved. Next he worked with his father unloading ore at the Highland Boy smelter which was located south of Murray.
In his early manhood he was very anxious to learn how to dance, but did not have courage to ask the girls to dance with him. He tells of his mother taking him to the town hall to dances and paying 25 cents for his ticket and not being able to get him off his chair. But one time came when he got courage to ask one, Nora Shaw, who was willing to dance with him, after which he said he nearly danced her to death. That start must have been a good one as he never ceased to want to dance.
On November 19, 1902 Roy was called to fill a mission to the Southern States. His labors extended over a period of 28 months. The money expended for his transportation to the field of labor, books, tracts, necessary clothing for his departure, and general expenses while away amounted to $280.
He returned from his mission March, 1905. His experience in the mission field had raised his persepctive, so on his return he decided to look for something to do other than smelter work. His first attempt at that something was to sell woolen goods, or rather knitted goods. While on a trip to Coalville, Summit County, Utah, with a friend by the name of Elmo Boggess, he chanced to meet a Miss Hannah Rhead, who later became his wife. Right at this time he was made secretary of the Jordan Sunday School Stake Board. Having become discouraged selling knitted goods, he changed to selling Independent Telephones in Salt Lake City.
After corresponding and kept company with Hannah Rhead for nearly two years, they were married in the Salt Lake Temple, August 21, 1907. For two years Hannah taught school which afforded a chance for him to go to school and better prepare for his life's work. He attended the L.D.S. Business College for three months and his work thorugh the years was in a business line. From 1921 to 1928 he worked for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He held a number of offices in the L.D.S. Church in the different organizations. He served in the bishopric of Burton Ward for eight years, and as bishop of Central Park Ward. He was unable to do much church work as his regular work required his being away from home. During the Depression of 1932-1934 he had a hard time to keep employment, but through the help of a friend he learned the boiler compound business. For fifteen years he traveled over the country selling the porduct and developed a very good business. He retired form active selling work in 1956.
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This is a great story. One of the projects I have been working with is the Murray Museum and they have a LegacyStories account. Not oly is this a great place for ancestor stories, but leaving your personal legacy to your children and posterity becomes more and more valuable as time goes on--as you can tell from the story you just wrote.