From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 766
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902

MELVIN E. RICHARDSON

   Melvin E Richardson is president of the National Automatic Telephone Company, of Chicago, Illinois, and makes his home in Sterling, Kansas.  He has at different times been actively connected with farming and stock raising interests and is familiar with the history of pioneer life upon the plains of the west and southwest.  He was born in Hopedale, Harrison county, Ohio, January 14, 1852.  His father, John Richardson, was a native of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, born in 1812, and his death occurred in Pettis county, Missouri, on a farm belonging to his son, in December, 1893.  The paternal grandfather, Nathan Richardson, was a native of Ireland, and on coming to America probably took up his abode in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Louisa DeLany and was a native of Hopedale, Ohio.  In that place she gave her hand in marriage to John Richardson and for several years they remained residents of Hopedale, afterward removing to Pettis county, Missouri, where they took up their abode on a farm in 1857.  This was the first farm which Mr Richardson had ever owned, for previous to this time he had carried on merchandising.  The parents had a family of nine children, of whom three sons and four daughters reached mature years, while three sons and two daughters are married, and six are still living:  Andrew M, is a stock raiser of New Mexico; Camilla is the wife of B E Priest, of Pettis county, Missouri; Melvin E is the next of the family; Ella is the wife of Newton Wood, of Pettis county; Granville A makes his home in Roswell, New Mexico, where he is engaged in the practice of law; and Louisa is a resident of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  The mother of this family died at the age of thirty-seven years, and she and her husband were laid to rest in Missouri, the former in Pettis county and the latter in a cemetery in Salina.

   Melvin E Richardson pursued his education in the common schools until fourteen years of age and was reared to farm life.  He was only sixteen years of age when he took charge of a farm in Missouri, and until twenty-eight years of age he carried on agricultural pursuits there, owning and operating one hundred and sixty acres of land.  In 1880 he rented his farm in Missouri and went to New Mexico, joining his brother, Andrew, who had gone to that locality two years previous and was engaged in the sheep raising business.  Our subject became clerk in a store at South Fork, in the Indian reservation, and soon bought a large hay ranch, on which is now located the Richardson postoffice, which was named in his honor.  For four years he engaged in keeping bachelorís hall and was then married, in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the 31st of January, 1884, to Miss Alice DeLany, who was born in Hopedale, Ohio, the daughter of John C and Nancy (Hartzell) DeLany.  Her mother died in Lincoln, Nebraska, December 21, 1900, at the age of sixty-eight years, and is survived by four of her seven children, namely:  Mrs Alice D Richardson; Ella D, the wife of Captain D H Clark, of the Fifteenth United States Infantry, of the regular army; Mrs Laura D Garst, the widow of Charles E Garst, who was a lieutenant in the regular army, but resigned to become a missionary to Japan and died in Tokyo; and Dorothy, wife of William E Macklin, a missionary of Nankin, China.  The father of this family is still living in Chicago.  For some years he was extensively engaged in the live stock business in New Mexico, and was post trader for a number of years at Fort Stanton, New Mexico.  Mrs Richardson was educated at the Howland school, a Quaker institution in Cayuga county, New York.  The marriage of our subject and his wife has been blessed with four children, namely:  John, Taylor, who was born in New Mexico, and died when only two weeks old; Melvin E, whose birth occurred in Lexington, Kentucky, December 11, 1889; Dillard Errett, who was born on the ranch in New Mexico, now the town of Richardson, on the 1st of April, 1891; and an infant daughter.

   Mr Richardson took his bride to his home in New Mexico and there they resided for a number of years.  He went through all the hardships of frontier life in the southwest, enduring many privations and at times being in eminent peril.  He has ridden his wild bronchos on some wonderful trips of several hundred miles, sleeping out upon the prairie, far from the abode of  any man, his pony being the only living thing near him.  He and his brother brought sixteen thousand head of cattle from New Mexico to Kansas, and of this immense herd Mr Richardson has a splendid picture.  He left his ranch in New Mexico on Christmas day of 1893 and came to Sterling, soon afterward taking up his abode in his present home, which is a fine residence built of artificial stone.  He has a forty-acre fruit farm one mile south of the town.  This is one of the most valuable orchards in the locality, and includes many splendid specimens of apple, peach, plum and apricot trees.  He purchased the orchard in 1895 and has found that it is a profitable investment.  In his political views Mr Richardson is a Republican, but the honors or emoluments of office have never had any attraction for him.  His wife belongs to the Christian church.  He is a man of commanding appearance, six feet in height and well proportioned, and he has often acted as marshal of the day on public occasions in Sterling.  He is now the president of the National Automatic Telephone Company at Chicago, also of the Sterling Telephone Company of Sterling.  He is a man who forms his plans readily and is determined in their execution.  His business sagacity is rarely at fault and he carries forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes, so that in his business career he has steadily advanced to prosperity.