Earl Richardson 1910 David Earl Richardson
1884 - 1967

BORN: 05 Aug 1884 - Bancroft, Iowa
         21 Dec 1907
         Minnehaha County Courthouse
         Sioux Falls, South Dakota
DIED: 15 Oct 1967
         Trinity Hospital
         Minot, North Dakota

David Earl Richardson was a merchant and farmer who spent most of his adult life living in or near the town of Parshall, North Dakota. He was always known as 'Earl' or 'D.E.', he disliked his given first name and never used it.

Earl grew up in northern Iowa. He was large for his age, a red-haired, two-fisted Irishman who hated school, preferring instead to go fishing at one of the local lakes. Earl got into more than his share of trouble and gave his father quite a few headaches.

Edith, Nora and Earl Richardson, 1910

Earl was working in a hardware store in Winnebago, Minnesota when he met his bride-to-be, Edith Schlottman. They eloped and were married in Sioux Falls, South Dakota a few days before Christmas in 1907. Their only child, Nora was born in Winnebago the following July.

Nora's health as an infant was not good, she had severe asthma - and so a doctor recommended a change to a drier climate might help her breathe.

They first moved to Sidney, Montana, where Earl worked in a small store owned by his brother Ralph, but the store could not support two families. Edith, Earl and Nora then moved to Dickenson, North Dakota, where Earl worked as a tin smith and carpenter. Earl worked on the hospital, which was still in use some 70 years later.

On September 17th, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclaimation opening up the Fort Berthold Reservation to homesteaders, declaring them "agricultural lands of the first class". These lands was located north of the Missouri River in the western part of North Dakota. Earl, Edith and Nora moved yet again, to Plaza, one of three towns designated as registration points for acquiring free land from the government. While waiting for their name to be called, Earl worked in a local hardware store.

The quarter-section Earl received was located just north and east of what would become the town of Parshall. The three of them lived in a small, one-room sod shack that Earl built onto the property. Cooking was done on a kerosine stove and heat for the shack was provided by a coal stove. They got their water from an open well using a wooden bucket. In addition, Earl built a small barn that housed two horses, a cow, and several chickens and pigs.

Life on the prairies of North Dakota was hard. One time they were threatened by a large prairie fire that burned several of their neighbor's homes, barely missing their own. Everyone was out fighting the fire, trying to beat it out with gunny sacks. Another time the cow wandered off and they drove in their horse and buggy until finally finding it, the cow's hobble rope had become so entangled that she could not move. Because the nights were dark and there was no electricity, Edith would put a kerosene lamp in the window to help Earl find his way home at night.

A few miles south of their land was the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Indians, many of whom could not speak a word of English, would occasionally come begging for food. Edith was frightened by their presence.

While on the homestead, Edith was butted by a young calf and developed spinal tuberculosis from which she never really recovered. From that time on, Earl had to hire help to clean and maintain the house.

The government said that if you stayed on the land for 14-months, it was yours. At the end of that time, Earl bought a trading post in Parshall. When the new townsite was laid out in 1914, Earl's store was the first one on a city lot - although he continued to farm his homestead as well as other lands he rented.

Richardson's General Store
Richardson's General Store
Parshall, North Dakota
late 1910s
Earl is the closest person in the photo.

Earl had always dreamed of owning his own business, enjoying his customers socially as much as he enjoyed selling to them. Earl was very liberal with credit. Many farmers paid their bills only after the harvest and if the harvest was poor, they couldn't pay anything. Because of this, Earl never made a great deal of money, nor was he able to save much.

David Earl Richardson, 1950

In 1923, Earl had a bumper crop on his lands, 60 bushels of wheat per acre. He took the money from that crop and built a house in Parshall where he lived until his death. Edith especially loved this house, built of poured concrete. It had a special sun room where she could sit and watch people walk by.

Earl remained a merchant the rest of his life.

On August 30th, 1967, the clerks in Earl's store noticed that Earl was having trouble counting change. Disoriented, confused and complaining that his head hurt, Earl had strewn money across the counter, telling the customer to "just take whatever you want". He was admitted to Trinity Hospital in Minot later that day and put on blood thinners but soon developed urinary retention. The doctors tried to solve this second problem surgically, but failed to take him off the blood thinners before operating. He bled to death following the procedure. Earl was 83-years old.

David Earl Richardson is buried in the Apostiles Sections of the Memorial Gardens in Minot, North Dakota. His wife Edith was later buried next to him. His only daughter Nora and her husband Clarence are buried nearby.

View the Richardson Family Photoalbum, 1879-1967

WIFE of David Earl Richardson:
    Ida Tina Wilhelmina "Edith" SCHLOTTMAN

PARENTS of David Earl Richardson:
    Robert William RICHARDSON
    Mary "Eve" WARNER

CHILDREN of David Earl Richardson:
   1. Nora Fayme (OKESON)