Sarah LaRaida Richins Olsen

Sarah Mildred Toyn & Sarah Richins

Sarah was born in Grouse Creek, Utah, March 22, 1911, the second child and first daughter of Wilford Richins and Lillian Paskett. When she was 14, her mother died in childbirth, leaving an infant and five young children. This happened on Christmas Day, 1925. Sarah’s grandmother took the infant, but it fell to Sarah to take on the responsibility of the home.

She was very angry with the Lord for taking her mother, and she decided to rebel against the church. Then one night her mother came to her. Sarah said she could see her mother plain as day, dressed in a beautiful rust-colored dress trimmed with fur. She was playing the organ, just like she’d done at all the church meetings.

She told Sarah she was needed where she was and that Sarah was to take care of her brothers and sisters as best she could. Sarah felt better after that, but it was a lot of responsibility for a 14-year-old.

Gerald Blackburn, Orva Richins, Al Blackburn, Verla Blackburn, Sarah Richins & Elda Blackburn

The family had a washing machine made of wooden slats held together with metal staves. Sometimes Sarah would forget to keep the barrel filled with water to keep the slats from shrinking when it wasn’t in use. Eventually, the wooden barrel fell apart, and Sarah was left to do laundry by hand on a scrub board.

They ironed their clothes with “sad” irons, heated up on the stove. They kept trading off so as one iron cooled, there was a hot one to take its place. In those days, everything had to be ironed, and Sarah spent much of her time doing laundry.

Sarah would mix bread dough before going to school, go home at recess to punch it down, and after school she’d form it into loaves and bake the bread. She felt it couldn’t have been too good, because a few months later her dad began taking flour to Aunt Hattie, and she’d bring back bread for the family. Her father eventually married Hattie, and they were blessed with four more children.

After Sarah finished elementary school in Grouse Creek when she was 16, dad decided it was time to move to a more populated area to raise the family, and he bought a farm three miles south of Declo, Idaho. That house was beautiful, with electricity, a phone and indoor plumbing.

Sarah began attending Declo High School as a sophomore, and graduated in 1930, riding to school in day in a “school bus” that was a horse-drawn hay wagon.

On October 15, 1930, Sarah married Glen Dale Olson, and they stayed in declo a few years to work Dale’s parent’s farm. They later moved to Inkom, Idaho, to raise sheep, but the venture turned out to be a disaster, and they moved to Bonners Ferry in the spring of 1936. When they looked out over the valley from where the golf course now sits, all Sarah could see was water, and she cried to go back home. They didn’t, buying a farm 25 miles north of Bonners Ferry, where they lived until 1988.

In those 49-years, they increased their land from 40 acres to 280 acres.

They had the following children:  LaMar, Nathalie and Elda Rae.

Sarah was 92 when she died on December 30, 2003. She is buried in the Porthill Cemetery.