Newell Richins

“Newie” was sixty-six when he passed away at 1:30 a.m. on April 30, 1960. His final sickness of cancer had lasted two and one half years. His last five months were spent almost entirely in the Dee Memorial Hospital, Ogden, Utah.

He was born on June 1, 1894 to Albert Francis and Mary Jane Jones Richins at Grouse Creek, Box Elder County, Utah. He was delivered by a local practical nurse, Ellen Simpson, in the log house across the lane. He was the tenth child of a family of thirteen children.

On August 18, 1894 he was given the name of Newell and blessed by Charles Kimber Sr. The name “Newie” was affectionately attached to him years later by the small children of his brother Wellie. It stuck with him the remainder of his life.

He was only five years old when his father moved the family to the sand rock house on Grouse Creek’s main road. He was the sixth son in a row to be born to Albert and Jane and needless to say there was quite a bit of roughhousing went on among them. One time he and his brother were scuffing in the upper east bedroom and when it was all over a hole had been kicked through the partition into the hallway.

Newell received his schooling in the Grouse Creek School. He completed the eighth grade. He was a beautiful penman and took pride in his writing. On September 6, 1902, he was baptized by William Paskett. He was confirmed a member of the Latter-Day-Saint Church by Charles C. Toyn on September 7, 1902.

He was ordained a Deacon on July 7, 1907 by David H. Toyn, a teacher on March 3, 1912 by Frank Paskett. He did not hold the office of a Priest but he was ordained an Elder on November 15, 1913 by David H. Toyn and a Seventy on November 6, 1921 by John C. Richards. He was a Seventy at his death. The calling of a Seventy is that of a missionary. Possibly his greatest missionary service came in those last months in the hospital for patients who had shared his room. They told of the testimony he had shared with them and his explanation to them of the Mormon gospel.

All his life he worked with cattle and horses. He worked for a time on the Douglas Ranch on the Grouse Creek west side. He was in his teens then and he became attracted to Douglas’ daughter, Jennie. On November 18, 1913 they took out a marriage license in Ogden, Utah and were married the next day, November 19, 1913, in the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah by Alvin F. Smith. Jennie’s full name is Martha Jeanette Douglas, daughter of James Douglas and Mary Elizabeth Jackson Toyn.

Newell and Jennie moved into the house of his birth and remained there until the year 1944 when they moved to the rock house. Just prior to his marriage and soon following it, he did some freighting by wagon team to old Terrace and Tacoma. At times Jennie accompanied him. One time they headed for Tacoma with a big load of grain pulled by a four horse team. When they reached the Jackson Lane they bogged down in deep clay mud, which had been caused by heavy rain a few days before. The wheels were almost hidden in the mire. Newell unloaded a half of the load and pulled the wagon out and then returned for the other half. It was a cold, damp, late fall day. When they reached Tacoma they were nearly frozen and the hotel room was without heat. They were saved from possible frosted limbs and further discomfort by a charcoal foot warmer which Newell’s dad had insisted they take along just in case they needed it.

He was generally accepted as boss of the cattle roundup each fall. He had a vivid memory for landmarks and livestock. His understanding of land maps and familiarity of the area awarded him a position with the Taylor Grazing Organization during the 1940’s and 1950’s.

He was a counselor in the MIA for several years. As such, he was automatically chairman of festivities on the Fourth of July. He was a Sunday School chorister, a member of the ward choir and counselor to the Sunday School Superintendent.

Probably his closest friends in his adult life were Raymond and Herbert Tanner, and George (the Kid) Blanthorn.

He was appointed the administrator of his father’s affairs at the death of his father and eventually became the owner of the Richins’s ranch, homestead and livestock. On his homestead he and his brother Wellie built a cabin. A great many of his most pleasant days were spent at that cabin. It became a haven for the cowboy caught in the storm or overtaken by night. It became a hangout for deer hunters, a residence for cowboys during roundup time and a retreat on a hot, summer day.
His favorite dog was “Toots,” a small black and white dog, who understood her master and her duties. His favorite horse was “Ole Buck,” a proud buckskin.

Newell was a big man, six feet tall and weighed 250 pounds. His hair was light and fine. His eyes were blue-grey. He had a nice bass singing voice. He was a good dancer and good conversationalist. He hated to milk cows, chop wood and haul water. He rose early, built the fire and started breakfast. Mutton, suet pudding and homemade ice cream were his favorite foods.

Newell and Jennie had no children of their own, but they are lovingly claimed by many nieces and nephews. Probably the closest to them are the children of Wellie and Ruby Richins, for Wellie is Newell’s brother and Ruby is Jennie’s sister. Many joys and sorrows were shared by them as if they were one family.

Newell was interred in the Grouse Creek Cemetery.

Written by LaRene Richins Napoli, August 1961