Ralph Richards
Ralph Richards was a 29-year-old Spanish American War veteran and rural mail carrier in 1908, when he began keeping a journal. For the next 58 years he wrote in his journal every day, right up to the day he died in 1966.

For about half that time he wrote in 5-year diaries, little books called A Line a Day Journals. In fact there are 5 lines allowed for each day, and at the end of the year you turned back to the beginning and started again in the new year.

The LHS has acquired eight of these 5-year diaries covering 1908 to 1948; we found them on e-bay and bought them from an out of state dealer. A few weeks later a couple came into the Schoolhouse Museum to find out about Ralph Richards. It seems they own 13 more of his diaries, covering 1949 to 1966; these are mostly 1-year diaries. They bought them at a flea market.

Ralph Richards couldn’t have foreseen that the daily record he kept of his life would one day be available for the whole world to read. Would he be pleased or dismayed? All we know is that he found it important to sit down every evening and record the events of his day—the weather, the condition of the roads, what he accomplished that day, a bit of gossip he picked up on his route, family doings. He must have thought that someone someday would read them.

Ralph rented a room in a Mrs. Eunice French’s boarding house at Lincolnville Beach to be closer to the Post Office where he started work at 6 a.m. every day. He carried the mail on his 25 mile route by horse-drawn wagon or sleigh, depending on the condition of the roads.

His parents, Adelia and Orlando Richards and his sister Abbielived in North Lincolnville at 2685 Belfast Road. Their house is still there.His future wife, Vesta McKinney, lived with her parents, Cyrus and Josie McKinney, on Belfast Road as well, at 2192, a couple of miles away. He often mentions going “home” or to Vesta’s home. The room at the Mrs. French’s was never “home”.

Ralph disliked the “high society” of Lincolnville Beach; he sometimes referred to the fancy parties put on by the summer folks, and that he wasn’t invited. During the six-day workweek he longed to be back in “God’s Country”, the North Lincolnville neighborhood of his home, a mere few miles away.

But the highlight of the 1908-1912 diary was his courtship of Vesta McKinney; she’s mentioned in nearly every entry. He usually calls her “Sammy”. Watch for the other nicknames he had for her. This “man’s man” -- war veteran, hunter, trapper, builder of boats and every other useful thing – longed for his “little Sammy”, his “Snowball”, in nearly every entry. He was depressed when they had a disagreement, exhilarated when he saw her; he saved his money for years toward the distant day when they could marry.

That day finally came in 1911, but it would be months before they could finally go to housekeeping, i.e. living together. They bought the house at 18 Beach Road and lived their until their deaths, his in 1966, hers in 1971. They had no children.

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