Clarence J. Richardson, Sr
Annie Lee Dudding --
Momma and Granddad
My maternal grandparents are Clarence James Richardson, Sr., and Annie Lee
Dudding. I was 28 when Granddad died and 39 when Momma died; I remember
them fondly and I think of them every day.
Photos of Momma and Granddad
Momma and Granddad were married in 1920 -- not certain when
this photo was taken.
Momma and Granddad Richardson, November 1967
These are my favorite photos of Momma and Granddad. In
November 1967 I graduated from the US Army Ranger School, Fort Benning, Georgia,
and was on my way to Germany for my first active duty assignment. Rose and
I went to Mississippi to visit our relatives and I took these photos as we were
leaving Centreville. Momma Richardson is standing in the side yard of
their home; the yellow flowers are chrysanthemums. Granddad is at his
"pepper shed;" an old building in Centreville where he had his woodworking
equipment and where he bought peppers from local farmers and sold the peppers to
a produce company in Baton Rouge, LA.
This photo was taken at the home of their son -- my uncle -- Clarence J.
Richardson, Jr., in Cleveland, Mississippi. I am not certain of the date,
however, this photo and the one below were taken at the time their oldest
granddaughter, my cousin, Merry Lynn Hemphill married John Brennan -- December
1969 or 1970 -- probably December 1969 because I was in Vietnam at the time and
did not attend the wedding. Granddad
died in February 1972. Note the Christmas decorations -- stockings hung on
the fireplace mantel, poinsettia flowers.
This photo was taken at the same time as the one above -- at the wedding of
their oldest granddaughter, probably December 1969. The photo
is of Momma and Granddad Richardson and their four children. L-R:
- Annie Lee Richardson Schlatter (my mother; b. 21 Oct 1924,
d. 18 Mar 2007);
- Granddad (Clarence J. Richardson, Sr.; my grandfather; b.
12 Mar 1896, d. 13 Feb 1972);
- Momma (Annie Lee Dudding Richardson; my grandmother; b. 11
Apr 1899, d. Sep 1983);
- Mary Christine Richardson Hemphill ("Teena;" b. 14 Apr
- Clarence J. Richardson, Jr. ("Brother;" b. 22 May 1937, d.
- Mable Dudding Richardson Savoie ("Mable;" b. 3 Jan 1935).
Here is a tribute to our grandfather -- Granddad Richardson -- that was put
together by my brother.
Clarence James Richardson, Sr., lived most of his life in Norwood,
Louisiana and Centreville, Mississippi. He was my maternal grandfather.
He was married to the former Annie Lee Dudding and the father of four
children: Mary Christine (Teena) Richardson Hemphill; Annie Lee
Richardson Schlatter (my late mother); Clarence James Richardson, Jr.
(deceased); and Mabel Richardson Savoie.
My mother wrote of him as follows:
"He began his work as a clerk in the office of Cohn Flour(?) and Feed
Company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He came to Norwood to work at Bridges
and West Mercantile (and cotton office and gin) where he kept books,
then was a buyer for the store and then as a salesman for the wholesale
division. When Bridges and West had to lay off most employees in the
depression of the early 1930s he opened a grocery store in Centerville,
Mississippi. In addition to that store (Richardson's Cash Grocery) he
acquired the former Bridges and West store and operated it as 'The Brick
"His mother died when he was five and the children (five of them) went
to live with various relatives. He had only two or three years of formal
schooling but was very proficient at math. Had a good knowledge of
writing, spelling, etc., and was an avid reader. At 21 he became the
substitute father to four half brothers and sisters. Established his own
business in 1932. Served on the school board, town council, chairman of
county Red Cross and on the Ration Board in World War II. He never felt
that the world owed him anything and was first to help anyone in need."
"One thing he often said to me was 'The Lord Jesus never met an
Heart problems forced him to retire from the store in the 1960s. He
stayed active doing woodworking and running the "pepper shed" in
Centreville, where he had a workshop and bought peppers from local
farmers for resale to Trappey's.
When Franklin Roosevelt instituted the National Recovery Administration to
make loans for people to start businesses, my grandfather took a NRA loan, moved
the family a few miles to Centreville, MS, and opened a grocery story.
Here is a photo of my grandfather in his store -- this appears to have been an
If you look closely at the photo, in the center, you see three
baskets -- two on the floor and one on top of those two.
According to my mother, shortly after Granddad opened his
grocery store he read an article in the Independent Grocer magazine
suggesting that grocers make hand baskets available to their customers so the
customers could select their own merchandise. At this time, the practice
in grocery stores was for the customer to give their grocery list to the grocer
or a clerk who would then fill the order while the customer waited. The
magazine article suggested that, if customers walked through the store selecting
their own merchandise, they may make impulse purchases, thus increasing their
purchases. An old black man known as
"Stuttering Charlie" lived around Centreville, MS, and Granddad asked Charlie to make three baskets and those three
are the baskets in the photo. One of these baskets with the handle
survived and I inherited it from my mother when she died in March 2007.
In the bottom right corner of the photo you see four round
objects lined up going away from the camera. These are the metal lids on
large glass jars -- you can see part of the jars. These glass jars held
candy and other small products -- customers would unscrew the jars and take out
what they wanted. My mother had one of these jars and it now belongs to my
son, Joe Schlatter III (2010).
Granddad Richardson and Community Coffee
Go to this link
for an interesting story about my grandfather and our favorite coffee.
My brother John wrote this tribute to our maternal
grandmother, Annie Lee Dudding Richardson -- "Momma" Richarfdson.
Born in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, near Clinton, on the "old home
place" called "The Egypt Place."
Married to Clarence James Richardson, Sr., mother of four children: Mary
Christine (Teena) Richardson Hemphill; Annie Lee Richardson Schlatter
(my late mother); Clarence James Richardson, Jr. (deceased); and Mabel
She started work in the family grocery store around 1940 and continued
to do so until the businesses were sold in the mid-1960s. She then
worked part time in a small upscale lady's clothing store until she was
She was my maternal grandmother. My mother described her love for
gardening as follows: "Early morning visits to her flower beds and
shrubs, fertilizing, pruning, weeding. And always cutting a fresh
bouquet for the house, even in winter when she cut camellias."
And, "Mother's mode of operation was 'if there is something to be done,
get up and do it -- now.' And make up your bed when you get out of it."
Momma and Granddad are now resting in
Hillcrest Cemetery, Norwood, Louisiana.
". . . while the descending evening of their lives drew
toward its peaceful close upon the kind land that had bred them both."
William Faulkner, Flags In The Dust
Richardson Family first page