Orson Chester Richins was born in the small town of Grouse Creek, Box Elder County, Utah, 10 December 1889. He was the eighth of thirteen children born to Albert Francis and Mary Jane Jones Richins. Orson’s parents were born in England and came to the United States with their parents. They lived in Henefer, Utah and were married on the 16th of November 1874. In 1877 they moved to Grouse Creek, Utah where Albert constructed a stone house that still stands today.
Orson Chester was blessed 23 Feb 1890 in Grouse Creek, Utah. He was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 2 Jul 1898.
Orson’s father derived income from raising 200 – 300 head of horses and selling them to the U. S. Calvary, so from the time of his boyhood, he became familiar with raising and handling horses. Orson’s son wrote of this venture:
“Frequently, the military people from the Army would come to Grouse Creek to buy cavalry horses from Grandpa Richins. He and his sons would go to the hills, round up wild horses, of their own, which they would drive to the corral. We kids would sit on the fence and watch these military men in the corral, with their whips, sorting out the horses which they thought would be best suitable for their cavalry training and cavalry work. As these horses were driven by the buyers, they would designate the horses that they wanted and then they would be separated from the herd and corralled and then driven off to the railroad docks which were located in Lucin, Utah, about 47 miles south of Grouse Creek.”
Orson and his brothers and sisters went to school in Grouse Creek. After they graduated from the eighth grade the boys worked with their father on the ranch.
On April 8, 1908, he married Harriet Mabel Hunter in the Salt Lake Temple. Orson’s brother Wilford married Lillian Paskett on the same day. All four of them lived in the same log house the first year they were married.
Orson and Mabel went into the pines and cut logs then took them to a sawmill. Orson hauled them to Grouse Creek where they had a home built. They had four children; Orson Martell, Harold Dwaine (died as an infant), Merna Claire, Effie Verness, while living in Grouse Creek, although they were all born at Mabel’s mother’s home in Oakley, Idaho. In 1917 or 1918 they bought Mabel’s mother’s home and moved to Oakley where Wendell H, Mary Louise, Rachel, and Austin H. Richins were born.
Orson did not like farming as much as other types of work. He worked construction jobs with a four horse outfit, did some freighting to the Vipont Mine in northern Utah and to an oil well drilling project on Goose Creek. After 10 or 12 years, he and Mabel left the farm and moved to Declo, Idaho where he worked with his brother Wilford.
While in Declo, Orson received an offer from the Wright Ranches to work for them. His work would be mainly taking care of and breaking their horses and running a cattle operation. He had always loved horses, so he left the family in Declo, where the three younger children were in school and went to Deeth, Nevada.
In later years Orson and Mabel were divorced. Orson married Susan Celestine Karrels in 1940. They raised a son, Kenneth Dee Richins.
Orson Chester worked with horses and cattle all of his life. He contracted to put up hay for area ranches. Miller and Lux (formerly the Douglas Ranch), the UC Ranch (UtahConstruction – Eccles), and the Tin House Ranch. The Tin House Ranch was so large it had a gate that opened into three states, Idaho, Utah and Nevada. He also worked for the Trout Creek Ranch, Jews Harp Ranch and Wine Cup Ranch. He was a foreman for Henry Miller and Charles Lux in the Etna area by the Utah-Nevada border.
He worked on some of these jobs with his father, Albert Francis Richins, as a young man. All work was with Perchon teams, Clydesdale Stallions, 5–6 mowing machines, 2-3 racks to wind row hay, bull rakes and derrick horses.
Orson Chester Richins with grandchildren,Lynn, Stephen, Alene, Robert, and George Richins
Alene Richins Reynolds wrote of her grandfather:
I first met him when I was about 8 years old, in 1949. He came to visit us in Salt Lake City, Utah. When I was about 17 years old we went to visit him and Susie and Kenny at their home near the Utah – Idaho border. We had a wonderful time. I got to ride a horse while they rounded up a few cattle. Susie cooked wonderful meals, big meals, on a wood burning stove. They only had cold running water, so she had to heat water to do the dishes. There were a few ranch hands to cook for too, probably 15 to 18 people total. She would cook breakfast, do dishes, cook lunch, do dishes, cook dinner, do dishes and then rest. Grandpa was very quiet. He and my dad, Orson Martell talked a lot, but unfortunately, as a teenager I did not pay too much attention. One really sad story I remember was that Kenny, also a teenager, was out mowing hay and his dog got in the way and the dogs legs were cut off. They had to kill the dog and it was very sad for them all, especially Kenny.
Orson Chester Richins died 26 May 1961 in Rupert, Minidoka, Idaho. He was buried 29 May 1961 in Oakley, Cassia, Idaho.
History submitted by Alene Richins Reynolds