â€œHistory of Huntington County, Indianaâ€1914 By Frank S. Bash pg. 723-24
Ervin E. Richards. Representing a family which has been identified with Huntington county for about sixty years, Ervin E. Richards is a prominent merchant at Roanoke, who has made his prosperity from small beginnings. Among his natural endowments and the results of self-training, energy and business ability have been conspicuous, and upon these qualities as a foundation, he has developed and prospered until today his name is among those of the leaders in commercial affairs in this county. His department store at Roanoke is an extensive establishment, carrying a general line of merchandise with the exception of hardware and drugs.
Ervin E. Richards was born on a farm near Roanoke, January 23, 1859, a son of Daniel and Harriet (Smith) Richards. Both parents grew up and were married in Stark county, Ohio, and early in the fifties came to Huntington county, locating on a farm in Jackson township. That farm remained their home until they were taken away by death. They were quiet people, devoted to the interests of the United Brethren church, made a home and provided as liberally as possible for their family, but never had a conspicuous part in affairs. They became the parents of eleven children, four of whom died in infancy, and six are still living as follows: B. A. Richards, of Huntington; Mrs. R. E. Zent, of Huntington; Marvin W. Richards, of Roanoke; Newton D. E. Richards, of Roanoke; Mrs. A. W. Longsdorf, of Roanoke.
Mr. E. E. Richards was reared on a farm, attended the district schools, and later the Roanoke high school, until he was about seventeen years old. It was at that age that he laid aside his books, and gained the first experience which has led to his business success. For some time he was clerk in a drug store, and worked in that way until 1884. Then with his savings and such money as he had been able to accumulate in the meantime, he started off on his own account, opening a small stock of general merchandise. He bought his stock for cash, and throughout his career as a merchant, during thirty years, has made it a point to discount his bills promptly, and to satisfy every legitimate obligation against him. His business has grown with increasing years, and the stock alone is worth more now than the gross aggregate of an entire yearâ€™s business twenty-five years ago.
In the meantime his relations have also broadened and comprehend several other important concerns in this vicinity. He is vice president and a director in the Roanoke State Bank, and in partnership with E. M. Wasmuth organized and incorporated the Roanoke Telephone Company. Mr. Wasmuth is president and Mr. Richards is secretary and treasurer of this company.
In 1890 Mr. Richards married Ida M. Zent, a daughter of Samuel H. Zent. Mrs. Richards was born and reared in Jackson township, had her education in the local schools and in the Roanoke Classical Seminary, and finished her studies in Otterbein University at Westerville, Ohio. She is a cultured and thoroughly educated woman, has proved a valuable helper to her husband in his career, and has taken a prominent part in the education and training of her sons. There are three sons in the family: Donald, who is a graduate of the Roanoke high school, and is now associated in business with his father, under the name of E. E. Richards & Son; Eldon Z., also a graduate of the Roanoke high school; and Noel E., who is still in the Roanoke high school. The family worship in the United Brethren church, and Mr. Richards is one of the church trustees and has served as superintendent of the Sunday school for the past twenty years. Fraternally he is affiliated with Roanoke Lodge No. 195, A. F. & A. M., and with Little River Lodge No. 275, I. O. O. F., of which he is past noble grand. His politics is Republican.