George Richards and his sister, Ida Drysdale, came to Maple Plain with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. K. Richards, in 1879. There were woods east and north of the village. The cattle ran at large. Rail fences enclosed the fields and yards. There were cattle guards at the railroad crossings to prevent cattle from going onto the track. Prior to the erection of the guards a woman's cow was run over by the train. She demanded payment for the cow. The pay was slow in coming, whereupon she took the matter in her own hands and with a pail, kettle of soft soap and broom she soaped the rails. The oncoming train could not make the grade. She continued to soap the rails until the railroad company paid her for the cow.
George W. Richards was cooperative weather observer (no pay but the government supplied the instruments). In 1951 the weather bureau got around to honor its volunteer observers with a trip to Washington. He was one of four with records of 60 years service or more, but he was the only one able to make the trip. His entries make fascinating reading. He writes of the famous blizzard of 1888 when the temperature here dropped to 40 degrees below zero and two hundred people in Minnesota and the Dakotas froze to death. A freak year was 1886 with a temperature of thirty above on January 30 and on February 7 "sleighing went off." For sixty of his sixty-six years as observer he did not miss a day of service. In 1951 he was given a special citation by the Secretary of Commerce. Failing eyesight forced him to give up the service in 1957. He died in Maple Plain in February 1968, at the age of ninety-five. He had three sons, Myron D., Melvin A. and Vernen D. His grandson, Byron Richards, was one of the honor guards at the bier of President John F. Kennedy in the East Room of the White House.