Alexander Richards was born on September 26, 1844 in Quebec, Canada to Lambert and Serafine (Serois) Richards, Alex was the eldest in a sibling group of eight children. Little is known about his early life in Canada. He immigrated to Michigan in 1866 at age 22 and resided at Fayette where he operated a butcher shop. Richards married Roxanna Knapp in Delta County on January 2, 1869 and seven children were born from this union.
The family lived in Garden, Michigan for a time, but moved to Manistique in 1876. While living in Manistique the family resided in a large home on the corner of Cedar and Walnut Street, which was the future site of the A. S. Putnam drug store. Eight people lived in the home, including a servant. The servant was a necessity, as Richards’ wife Roxanne had gone blind. Richards was very kind to all his children, and only reprimanded them when they moved items in the home which made it difficult for Roxanne to move around and find things. He had a playhouse built for his daughters in the back yard complete with a toy cook stove.