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My Maternal
Grandparents:
Clarence J. Richardson, Sr
and
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
Centreville MS

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 1923);
  • Clarence J. Richardson, Jr. ("Brother;" b. 22 May 1937, d. Jun 1990)'
  • Mable Dudding Richardson Savoie ("Mable;" b. 3 Jan 1935).

 

Granddad Richardson

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 Store.'"

"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 unimportant person.'"

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 advertising photo:

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.

"Momma" Richardson

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 Richardson Savoie.

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 79.

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

 

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