By Bob Weaver |
George A. Richards came to the backwoods of Calhoun County in the late 19th
century, and was a former sheriff of Calhoun. He was a merchant and businessman around Little Creek, Rowels Run and
Grantsville. His early life was spent on Little Creek and later owned and operated the
George A. Richards Department Store in Grantsville, formerly Wiant and Barr.
Shortly after returning to Calhoun, I spent time with one of
my old school chums, Dr. Robert Snider, a grandson of Richards. Bob returned to
Calhoun from Billings, Montana to do some family history and visit Little Creek and
the family cemeteries.
He was just retiring from his medical practice as an orthopedic surgeon, and wanted
to learn more about his family roots. Bob was a real gentlemen and a gracious man,
who died suddenly shortly afterward of a heart attack.
George Richards was also the grandfather of my school friend, Vivian Richards, whose brother Bill is a world-class artist in New York.
Bob Snider was vaguely aware his grandfather had written a 145-page book in 1948
"Christianity in the Old Fashioned Way."
Dr. Snider died suddenly at his home in Billings not long after his visit.
Richards wrote about his dedication to faith
and the meaning of the family altar - and very little about the people and the places
in the community. Actually, he didn't use people's names, which I thought would have
been more interesting.
Here is a brief excerpt from his book, given to us by my friend Ron Lynch:
I am a native of West Virginia. My father moved from
another section of the state to Calhoun County when I was a small child. He settled
on a small creek in the midst of a timber forest of several hundred acres.
He owned and operated a saw mill. We had not lived there but a short time when
other mills were brought in and quite a number of crude lumber camps were built so
as to house the men's families that worked on the various mills.
There were quite a number of children in some of these new homes. The Board of
Education built a one room school house (assume he is referring to Little Creek) and
all the kids were proud over our new school building as most youngsters are today
over a new high school building.
Above this timber forest on the head of the creek was a settlement of old pioneers
that had moved in there several years before (probably the Stutlers). They had
cleared up that part and had very nice farms with cattle grazing on the hill sides.
About the midst of this improved section a log church had been erected. The logs
had been squared and used double length so as to make a pretty fair sized
My mother being a highly devoted Christian, on hearing about the log church which
was only one and one-half miles from our home, commenced making some
investigation about the possibilities of a Sunday School. Since the spring season
was near she thought it should be organized in the early spring so as to give the
children that lived so far away the advantage of traveling to and from the church
during the summer months.
As luck would have it one of these pioneer citizens, though up in years, had been a
United Brethren preacher. He was a well educated for a man of his day and the
people of the community had the utmost confidence in him for he was a real
My mother and father contacted him and went over the Sunday
School proposition with him. He seemed to be very anxious to organize since the
lumber camps had added so many more children and adults to their number,
consequently, a day was set which was for the next Sunday.
They all met and organized and appointed the United Brethren preacher as
superintendent. My mother was elected teacher for the Primary Class of which I was
George A. Richards (1880-1968) married Vernie Arthur (1886-1959) in 1905. George
was the son of Dovener Richards, an early Calhoun settler.