G. T. (Gideon Tibbetts) Ridlon.

History of the ancient Ryedales, and their descendants in Normandy, Great Britain, Ireland, and America, from 860 to 1884 online

. (page 22 of 103)
Online LibraryG. T. (Gideon Tibbetts) RidlonHistory of the ancient Ryedales, and their descendants in Normandy, Great Britain, Ireland, and America, from 860 to 1884 → online text (page 22 of 103)
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resides at Tweedmouth.

Mary-Ann Riddle 4 (2), third daughter of Andrew 3 (1), resides at


[United States Branch.]

James Riddell 1 (1), parents unknown, was born somewhere in the
Lowlands of Scotland ; became a commissioned officer in the army of
William III, and being an uncompromising Presbyterian, fought from
principle during the wars with the Catholic-Irish. He was probably
at the battle of Boyne-water,* and possibly connected with the siege of
Londonderry. He was rewarded for his services in the army by a grant

* Boyne-water, or river, in the east of Ireland, rises in the Bog of Allan, and
Hows through Kildare, Kings County, Meath, and Louth. The Battle of Boyne
took place on the banks of Boyne-water, near Oldridge, on the 1st of July, 1690,
in which William III defeated James II. An obelisk, 150 feet high, marks the scene
of the battle.


of three townlands in the County of Armagh, in the North of Ireland,
and subsequently went there to dwell. He is said to have married Janet
Maxwell, a woman of Scottish descent, and by her had issue, a family of
sons and daughters.


James Riddell 2 (2), a son of James 1 (1), was born in the County of
Armagh, Ireland, about 1670-80 ; married Mary Henderson, of Scotch
parentage, and continued this branch family, being his father's heir. He
was a man of wealth and position, and of powerful physical strength.
He lived to an advanced age, and died leaving three children, of whom


James Riddell 3 (3), a son of James 2 (2), was born in the city of Bel-
fast (the author thinks a few miles out of the city proper), Ireland, in
1746; married Elizabeth Cowden, and had issue three sons, of whom


Leander Riddle 4 (1), son of James 3 (3), was born in Belfast, County
Antrim, Ireland, in 1766; married Mary Brooks, and had issue several
children, of whom hereafter. He was in the British naval service for
four years ; subsequently a cotton manufacturer. Emigrated to the
United States, and settled in Pennsylvania in 1827, where he died in Sep-
tember, 1851, aged 85 years.

James Riddle 4 (4), a son of James 3 (3), was born at (or near) Bel-
fast, Ireland, and became ancestor of the Riddells of Belfast, which
see. He was a half-brother of Leander.

Alexander Riddle 4 (1), a son of James 3 (3), Avas born near Belfast,
Ireland, and never married. He is said to have been a man of herculean
strength, and feats accomplished by him were remarkable.


Elizabeth Riddle 5 (1), eldest daughter of Leander 4 (1), was born at
Parkmount, near Belfast, Ireland, in 1798, and is now living at Glen-Rid-
dle, Perm.

Samuel Riddle 5 (1), eldest son of Leander 4 (1), was born at Park-
mount, near Belfast, Ireland, in 1800. He married for his first wife, Mar-
tha Mercer, and secondly, Lydia C. Doyle, of Chester, Penn., by whom
he has issue four children, of whom hereafter. Mr. Riddle acquired a
fair English education at a private academy, quitting it at an early age to
enter a cotton-factory in Belfast. While at the latter place he acquired
a practical knowledge of cotton-manufacturing, being thus occupied nine
years. He then determined to seek a more profitable field, and in May,
1823, sailed for the United States, but was shipwrecked at Sable Island.
He eventually reached Philadelphia, in the following August, his whole
capital being now reduced to five Spanish dollars. He carried his sea-
chest on his back to his boarding-house, and immediately obtained em-
ployment in a cotton-mill at Manayunk. He removed to Pleasant Mills,
N. J., where he was employed about three years. During this time, by
carefulness and thrift, he had accumulated a small amount of means, with
which he commenced business on his own account. He rented a mill at
Springdale, Delaware County, Penn., in 1827, and engaged in spinning cot-
ton yarns with four hundred and eighty mule spindles, employing only ten


hands. In three years' time he removed to a larger building on Chester
Creek, and commenced operations with three hundred mule spindles, and the
necessary machinery used in preparation ; he remained there prosperously
engaged for twelve years. In 1842 he purchased property at Pennsgrove,
in Delaware County, which he named "Glen-Riddle," for Glen-Riddell, the
residence of a branch of the family in Scotland. This locality was well
chosen ; a beautiful valley on Chester Creek, about fifteen miles from Phil-
adelphia, was the place suited to Mr. Riddle's mind, and here he has added
acre to acre and mill to mill, until at present the estate consists of a tract
of land of several hundred acres, worth about three hundred dollars per
acre. There are five large mills and more than two hundred dwellings in
the town, occupied principally by the mill-operatives, of whom there are
about live hundred employed. The town, a post-office, and railway-sta-
tion derive their name from their projector, Mr. Riddle. The mills ope-
rate nearly ten thousand four hundred cotton and woolen spindles, with
all the machinery for the preparatory work, and two hundred and seventy
power looms ; these are driven by two water-wheels and a powerful Cor-
liss engine. Here Mr. Riddle has prosecuted his business for more than
thirty years, with constantly increasing prosperity, as the demand for his
manufactures augments every year. Mr. Riddle's personal appearance is
very marked ; he is short, quite corpulent, and carries an expression of
great determination in his face. In conversation he is very jocose and
sarcastic ; has a great fund of anecdotes, and can relate them in a pecul-
iarly interesting way. He is fully engaged in his business operations,
conducting the vai'ious branches with great system and carefulness. He
has admitted other members of the family, and the business is now car-
ried on under the firm-name of Samuel Riddle, Son & Co. In addition
to the business carried on at Glen-Riddle, they have a large business as
commission merchants in Philadelphia.

[The author was the guest of Samuel Riddle for a few days after the
family meeting held in Philadelphia, in 1876, and will ever remember with
the most pleasing emotions the hours passed in this beautiful village; ev-
ery attention was bestowed by this hospitable family which could conduce
to the enjoyment of my visit. On the 4th of July, Mr. Riddle's son, in com-
pany with the mother and little Maude, the youngest daughter, took me on
a pleasant drive with a fine barouche drawn by a pair of noble horses; the
route lay through a very rich farming district, and the prospect from some
of the grand hills over which we made our way was extensive and pic-
turesque ; and the cherries that were gathered from the large trees by
the roadside were delicious to the taste. Glen-Riddle was appropriately
named. Beautiful hills surround the village on every side, and nestling
at their base, embowered in groves of luxuriant hard-wood trees that
grow along the margin of the creek, stand the mills, and neat, white
dwellings, where home the families employed by Mr. Riddle. Directly in
front of the mansion-house of Mr. Riddle rises a large hill, the surface in
smooth pastures, except near the summit, where we reach the borders of
a beautiful grove of wide-spreading trees, a cool and delightful resting-
place in a summer day. The family residence is surrounded with parks
and gardens, tastefully laid out and ornamented with a variety of plants
and -flowers; there are fountains pouring forth their sparkling waters
upon the grassy banks along the garden avenues, and all overshadowed
with the foliage of the wide-spreading trees that everywhere abound.
The house, constructed of solid stone, is spacious and stately, situated on




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a lot somewhat elevated from the parallel street, and when built was con-
sidered the most elegant country-house in that county. Nothing that a
cultivated taste could suggest, or money secure, seems to have been over-
looked in the arrangement and furniture of the interior of the Riddle
mansion; the rooms are large and cool, the furnishing rich, and the por-
traits and landscapes in oil, upon the walls, are valuable and artistic. In
front, over the main entrance, is a fine portico, provided with seats and
large rustic chairs; here, in the evening, w r e gathered with the Riddle fam-
ily, and in pleasant conversation touching our family history we passed
genial hours; Mr. Riddle occasionally weaving in a story relating to
the adventures of his ancestors in the old country. The village is sur-
rounded by extensive farms owned by the proprietor, and the acres of ri-
pened grain and luxuriant corn, that were standing upon the field, showed
the high state of fertility to which these lands have been raised. Large
droves of sleek cows go slowly to the hillside pastures in the early morn-
ing, and noble horses graze along the fields. In company with the pro-
prietor we walked about the village and along the willow-shaded streets,
having our attention called to many objects of improvement and interest
at every turn.]

The following lines are taken from a poem on Glen-Riddle, composed
by a lady who taught the village school: —

But whence earnest thou, fair Riddle Glex,

Peopled by noble, active men ?

Dost thou from Scott's Ryedale of old,

Bear a sheaf of rye on thy armor bold ?

Or dost thou Ireland's ancestry claim,

For him who gave thine ancient name ?

But all the same, thou canst contend

With Scotland's or old Ireland's glen.

But where wast thou when Doleraine

Passed through ' Ancient Riddell's Fair Domain,'

To seek the monk of St. Mary's Isle,

In Melrose Abbey's most holy pile?

Thou still wert here, as on creation's morn,

Uncultivated, nameless, thy power unborn.

But 't was thy fate in solitude to dwell,

Till on thy beauties the eyes of Riddle fell.

Long years ago, on our own loved shore,

A Riddle stood, one pound his coffer bore,

But with his own keen native wit imbued,

America, land of the free, he viewed.

He wandered o'er the country far and wide,

Until he stood a gentle stream beside,

And meditative watched its onward flow,

His soul with new-born thoughts aglow,

And in imagination saw an ideal Glen

Where his free fancy painted living men;

He invested — and his one pound grew

To one pound more, then treble two.

Oh ! Perseverance, thou motto grand,

That reared this Glen in our lovely land ;

Linked to Scotland's heraldry of old,

Its builder from the same ancestral fold,

Esteemed of noble heart and kiud,

Of progressive and persevering mind.

How often with the ever-busy throng

Beneath the willow's shade I 've moved along ;

And by the Riddle Mansion wend my way,

Under whose shade the Riddle children play.


" Young Samuel, bent on his boyhood fan,
As full of mischief as an}' other one ;
But though he 's a merry and active lad,
And acts the rogue, we '11 not deem him bad.
And there is Maude, with eyes so bright,
As sparkling ih the stars of night;
And Lottie too, we now must not forget,
For she 's a winsome, cunning little pet.
Then comes wee Willie, who is. I ween,
As full as any Riddle, of vigor keen.
And now we leave them in their childhood sport,
For life's bright morn is at longest short.
Standing where a beautiful stream is spanned
By a rustic bridge-way'- steady hand:
Oh, this is a beautiful spot indeed,
Xo better view in all Glen-Riddle mead.
There I loved to go on a pleasant day.
And watch the sparkling silvery spray ;
Or wander forth by the pale moonlight,
And gaze on the water's surface bright,
Where it gracefully leaps in a mimic fall,
Like old Niagara, but not quite as tall.
This same old stream that many years ago
Pursued its quiet way. its gentle flow,
And so continued as of old, until
A Riddle's mind conceived 'twould turn a mill ;
And now it lends its aid to lessen toil.
And scatter blessings o'er Glex-Riddi.i.'s soil."

Rev. James Riddle 5 (-t), second son of Leander 4 (1), was born at
Parkmount, near the city of Belfast, Ireland, in 1803 ; married Hannah
Nibloek, a lady of Quaker parentage, and had issue several children, of
whom hereafter. After learning to manufacture cotton goods, he emi-
grated to the United States, and commenced work with his brother
Samuel, at Pleasant Mills, Gloucester County, N. J. He afterwards
became manager of these mills, but subsequently entered into partnership
with his brother at Springfield, Delaware County, Penn., where their
success was so apparent that another mill was erected for them on Ches-
ter Creek, in the same county. This mill was named "Parkmount," after
the residence of the Riddells in Ireland. The brothers continued the
business at the latter place about eight years, dissolving partnership at
the end of that time. James, in company with a Mr. Lawrence, rented a
mill on Cruni Creek, Avondale. Here Mr. Riddle took up his residence.
He was connected with manufacturing operations at Chester and Rose-
ville, at the same time. In 1844 he purchased the old "Gilpin estates,"
on the river Brandywine, near Wilmington, Del., where he continued his
connections with Mr. Lawrence until 1857, when he became sole proprie-
tor. From these small beginnings the business grew to proportions of
great magnitude. The property at the time of purchase comprised one
hundred and thirty acres of land, two mansion houses, two cottages, and
several tenement houses. Now, in the cotton-mills are running three
hundred looms and eleven thousand spindles ; two hundred and fifty
hands are employed, and two thousand bales of cotton used annually.
The number of tenement houses has been increased to about one hundred,
and besides the old " Kentmere Mansion," rises up the new and elegant
residence of Mr. William Field, Mr. Riddle's son-in-law. Added to per-
severance and business tact, his moral and religious principles rendered
Mr. Riddle a very useful and influential citizen. Before leaving his




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native land he had been converted, and united with the Methodist church,
and was a local preacher, speaking almost every Sabbath for several years.
He has been heard to say he had two calls : one to preach the gospel, and
the other to manufacture cotton goods ; and he was one of the few who
proved successful in both. He occupied a very leading position among
the local preachers of his denomination, and was president of their
National Convention in 1864. Being a natural and forcible speaker, his
pulpit and platform efforts were received with great favor. Not forget-
ting in the tide of business the calls of duty, he provided well for the
moral and religious welfare of his tenants Upon the brow of the hill,
above the Brandy wine River, with its graceful spire rising above the trees,
is the village chapel, erected by Mr. Riddle. It is of Gothic architecture,
with stained-glass windows, and being located in a pleasant and imposing
situation, becomes one of the most beautiful chapels in the state. For
romantic scenery " Riddle's Banks," known in song as the " Banks of
Brandywine," is unsurpassed, and the shady groves of ancient oaks upon
the hill back of the chapel have been the resort for many years of social
and picnic parties from the neighboring cities. Mr. Riddle was devoted
to his adopted country, and during the dark hours of the late Rebellion,
he was always ready to attest his devotion by word and deed. In 1866
the Republican party made him their candidate for Governor of the State
of Delaware ; in this election he was not the successful candidate,
although, owing to his great popularity, he ran ahead of his ticket in
every township in the state.

His benevolence and kindly disposition were beyond question. He
never received a kindness from others without fully reciprocating the
same ; he was always a man of peace, and was not willing to speak
harshly of any one. The fact that several of his men had been in his
employ for upwards of thirty years, is a sufficient evidence of the amia-
ble disposition which his refined Christian character enabled him to man-
ifest in all his dealings with the world. The spare time of his youth was
devoted to reading and religious exercises, and the large and valuable
library left by him at his decease evinced the fact that his love for books
continued through life. He was fond of society, and Mrs. Riddle always
had her share of visitors. His death occurred Aug. 21, 1874, from heart
disease. During his sickness he received every attention from his kind
and dutiful family, and his last hours were peaceful and happy. His dis-
order had for several years admonished him to prepare for death, and
when the summons came he was found ready to depart and meet the
Master he had so long loved and served. The funeral procession that
followed his remains to their last resting-place was nearly two miles long,
and the ceremonies in the church and at the grave were of a peculiarly
impressive character, — an occasion not to be forgotten as a suitable
tribute to a good man and respected citizen. In his will, Mr. Riddle left
ten thousand dollars to the Church Extension Society, and five thou-
sand dolhu-s to the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
He also directed the formation of a fund for the education of young men
for the ministry, with several other bequests of a similar nature, the total
amount necessary to carry out the religious and charitable bequests being
rising forty thousand dollars.

" And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write: Blessed are
the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit,
that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.''''


[The author culled at " Riddle's Ranks " when returning from a western
tour in the summer of 1874, and was for a few hours the guest of Mr.
Riddle; and the pleasant greetings received from, and kind attentions
bestowed by, this estimable family will ever be cherished among the sunny
memories of life. Weary with a long journey, and weak from a serious
illness of only a few weeks previous, I was made to feel at home, and
while there was the recipient of every comfort that could make my stay
restful, and contribute to my happiness. Mr. Riddle was then in a pre-
carious condition of health, but was able to ride about the village with
me and point out his improvements and the beauties of the place. I
found him a companionable man, genial and tender-hearted. In our con-
versation concerning the history of his Scotch-Irish ancestors, lie informed
me that his family had originally spelled their names "Riddell," which he
recognized as the correct orthography, and presumed the change of spell-
ing was made to accommodate the pronunciation, which, he said, was
invariably Riddle, in Ireland. I was holding his hand at the gate on the
morning of my departure, when Mr. Riddle expressed this sentiment :
" I hope to live about ten years, and then go to dwell with Jesus." His
wife was found a mild, amiable lady, very quiet and modest in appear-
ance, and was a congenial companion for her husband — a noble and
godly man. I little thought Mr. Riddle's stay with his affectionate family
would be so short, for in about two weeks after my return to my pastorate
in Massachusetts, I received intelligence of his death. A portrait of Mr.
Riddle, contributed to this work by his family, is an excellent likeness.
The view of the Riddle mansion is a good representation of the house, but
would have been more pleasing if it had embraced more of the grounds.]

Mary Riddle 5 (1), second daughter of Leander 4 (1), was born at
Parkmount, near Relfast, Ireland, in 1805; was married to Alexander
McDowell ; emigrated to the United States many years ago, and is now
(1876) residing at Glen-Riddle, Delaware County, Penn. Her son, Mr.
Samuel-Riddle McDowell, is connected in the business at Glen-Riddle,
with his uncle.

Jillie Riddle 5 (1), third daughter of Leander 4 (1), was born at Park-
mount, near Relfast, Ireland, in 1807; was married to Hamilton Maxwell,
a man of Scottish descent, and died in 1836.


Henry Riddle 6 (1), eldest son of Samuel 5 (1),* was born in Philadel-
phia, Penn., May 30, 1850; married Oct. 23, 1873, to Annie-M. Reatty,
second daughter of John C. and Jemima Reatty, of Media, Penn.

He has received an excellent literary education, besides a thorough
training in the military and polytechnic schools. "When but eighteen
years old he had the general charge of the factory at Glen-Riddle, and
was admitted into the firm March 11, 1872. Mr. Riddle has made a tour
through Europe, and visited some families of his father's relatives in the
city of Relfast, Ireland. No issue in 1876.

Samnel-Doyle Riddle (2), eldest son of Samuel 5 (1), by his second
wife, was born at Glen-Riddle, July 1, 1861.

Lvdia-Maude Riddle' 1 (1), eldest daughter of Samuel 5 (1), was born
at Glen-Riddle, Dec. 1, 1862.

♦There is a Samuel Riddle residing at Glen-Riddle, in some way connected with
the above family, but I have not the genealogy. I was introduced to him at the
Family Meeting.


Charlotte-Bllffillgton Riddle (1), second daughter of Samuel 5 (1),
was born at Glen-Riddle, Nov. 2, 1864.

Leander- William Riddle (2),- third son of Samuel 5 (1), was born at
Glen-Riddle, Penn., Oct. 25, 1868.

Hannah Riddle (1), eldest daughter of James 5 (4), was born at
Avondale, Penn., in 1840 ; died in 1844.

Hon. Leander-F. Riddle 6 (3), only son of James 5 (4), was born at
Avondale, Chester County, Penn., in 1842, and has been a member of
the firm of James Riddle, Son & Company since 1865; since his father's
death has been at the head of the firm. His father gave him every ad-
vantage for an education, which, supplementing his great energy and
determination of character, constitutes him an efficient and successful
business man. He has informed himself on matters of polity, and was
elected to the State Senate from Newcastle County, Del., in 1872, though
scarcely thirty years old, with a large and complimentary majority, and
was the only Republican member in the Senate at that session. He was
secretary of Delaware State Commission at the centennial celebration at
Philadelphia, in 1876, and transacted a great amount of business in that
capacity. He presided at the family meeting of the Riddells, Riddles,
and Ridlons, held at Philadelphia, in July, 1876, and has manifested an
interest in this book. Mr. Riddle is considered one of the most promising
young men in his state.

Mary Riddle (2), second daughter of James 5 (4), was born (presum-
ably) at Avondale, Chester County, Penn., in 1845, and died young.

Jeannie Riddle (1), third daughter of James 5 (4), was born at
Avondale (?), Penn. ; was married to William Field, and resides near
the home of her parents, at Riddle's Banks, near the city of Wilmington,
Del. Mrs. Field is a lady of brilliant and amiable natural endowments,
supplemented by a fine education and graceful bearing. Unassuming and
modest, commanding the purest language in conversation, she exerts a
charming influence over those in her company. Her husband is a mem-
ber of the firm of James Riddle, Son & Company, and an enterprising
business man. The residence of Mrs. Field, a stately and beautiful house
of modern architecture, is situated on an elevation, almost directly in
front of the parental mansion, and commands one of the widest and
most picturesque prospects to be found, and from the door the shining
waters of Delaware Bay may be seen in the distance. The interior of the
magnificent residence is fitted up with every modern improvement, and
furnished with taste and splendor.

Elizabeth Riddle (2), youngest daughter of James 5 (4), was born in
1853, and died the same year.*


James Riddell 1 (1), descended from ancestors said to have settled in
Ireland in 1641 ; married, and had several sons and daughters. He lived

* Mr. James Riddle, of this family, informed the author that he had not known a
branch of his family in which the Christian names, James, John, Samuel, and

Online LibraryG. T. (Gideon Tibbetts) RidlonHistory of the ancient Ryedales, and their descendants in Normandy, Great Britain, Ireland, and America, from 860 to 1884 → online text (page 22 of 103)