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 41 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 41 of 103)
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and died Jan. 11, 1834, leaving nine children, of whom hereafter. Mr.
Riddle married Jane Ross, his fifth wife, Sept. 30, 1834; she was born in
New Jersey, Feb. 25, 1787, and died at Spring Dale, Hamilton County, O.,
Jan. 4, 1859, without issue.

The subject of this notice was a very remarkable man, — a good type
of the first Western pioneers. From New Jersey he emigrated to Ohio
in October, 1790, twelve years before that State was admitted into the
Union, and located on a tract of land about one mile from the Ohio River,
on what is now a part of the city of Cincinnati, — a city boasting of nearly
three hundred thousand inhabitants. At the time of Mr. Riddle's settle-
ment it was only a small village, known as "Losantville," in the territory
northwest of the Ohio River, opposite the point where the Licking River
disembogues into the Ohio, and contained a population of about fifty souls.
The territory around the old village was thickly timbered with heavy
oak, walnut, elm, sycamore, and, indeed, all the hard-woods indigenous
to the soil where forests abound in the West. At that period, and for
fifteen years afterwards, the Indians were exceedingly troublesome to the
white settlers ; and in addition to braving the privations and hardships
of frontier life, usually the lot of pioneers, the early settlers of Ohio had
to encounter the cunning and craft of the merciless red-man. Volumes
could be filled with legends and stories of dangers encountered by the
settlers around Cincinnati, — of rapacity and cruelty of the Indians, — of
bloody fights and midnight massacres, — of startling and hair-breadth es-
capes; but only two will be submitted, in which our subject took an ac-
tive part.

In the spring of 1791, on the 21st of May, John Riddle (or Riddell),
William Harris (a relative), Joseph Cutter, and Benjamin Van Cleve,
were out clearing a four-acre lot, — near where the Cincinnati Hospital
now stands, — preparing to sow wheat upon it. Van Cleve, as was his
custom, came without his rifle. Mr. Riddle had frequently remonstrated
with him relative to his imprudence, but being a large, powerful, very
active and fearless man, his reply invariably was that "no red-skin's
bullet could catch him." The four men had sat down at the roots
of a large tree to rest and lunch about noonday, and while thus en-
gaged noticed that the jay-birds were unusually noisy, and hearing
a slight rustling in the spice-wood bushes, Riddle remarked that he
believed some Indians were near. The others laughed at him, but
having a small dog with them, it was urged on in the direction of the
noise, and bounded fiercely into the bushes ; but soon returned, manifest-
ing every canine symptom of fear. Van Cleve at once started for the
corner of the lot in a path leading toward the village, and although sev-
eral shots were fired at him by the Indians, lie escaped unhurt. The others
took a circuitous route through the bushes, as each thought best. Cutter
was captured, carried off, and never afterwards heard from. A moment
after Mr. Riddle had struck the path leading to the village, he remem-
bered that he had left behind a fine four-gallon keg. Determined, to use
his own words, "not to let the rascally red-skins have that," he hastened
back to secure it, and thrusting his thumb into the bung-hole, he looked
and saw the Indians on the full jump toward him; but he was then young
and fleet of foot, and reaching his horse, mounted and returned to his
home in safety.

On the first of June following, Riddle, Van Cleve, and Harris, while
working near the same place, were again attacked by Indians. Van Cleve


had no rifle, and Riddle and Harris defended him and themselves as best
they could; they fought from behind trees, and killed more than one of
the Indians, but being outnumbered, and Riddle slightly wounded, all
three took to flight. Van Cleve being very fleet of foot, was, when more
than three hundred yards ahead of his companions, intercepted at a fallen
tree-top by a savage in ambush, and stabbed. The Indian, seeing the white
men approaching with guns, escaped to his party in the rear. They found
Van Cleve lifeless, and leaving him, Riddle and Harris reached the village
in safety, although closely pursued.

For many years during the early history of Cincinnati, the settlers were
compelled to organize for self-defense and protection, — to work together
or near each other, and, indeed, to worship God standing under arms; "for
the Indians were constantly skulking around them, murdering the settlers
and robbing their fields and stables."

In all these defensive operations, John Riddle took an active part, and
for this he was well fitted by his experience as a soldier and sailor during
the Revolutionary war. He entered the army in the month of April,
1778, at Elizabethtown, N. J., under Colonel (afterwards General) Freling-
huysen, in Capt. William Logan's company, with whom he served in the
American States army nearly four years, participating in nearly all the bat-
tles fought during that period.

In the year 1782 it seems he left the army to go into the privateering
service, a very powerful and useful adjunct of the army, inasmuch as our
young government had no navy; and of Mr. Riddle's services and adven-
tures as a privateersman we will let him speak for himself from an old
memoir found among his papers : —

"After I left the army, in 1782, I entered the privateering service un-
der Captain Hiller, a good seaman and a brave, patriotic man, and sailed
for New Brunswick on a cruise, hovering along the coast of New York
and New Jersey as far as Cape May. The first vessel we captured was a
British war-sloop carrying two guns. We boarded her in the night, with-
out loss of life, destroyed her guns and ammunition, and then ransomed
her for four hundred dollars. Elated with our success, later on the same
night we boarded and captured a sixteen-gun frigate, — ten eighteen-
pounders and six sixteen-pounders, — in the midst of the British fleet,
and after passing their guard-ships, ran her aground on a sand-bar.

" At early dawn next morning we took from this vessel fifty American
prisoners-of-war, and after liberating them, made the crew prisoners. We
removed from her all the stores and valuables we could find, including a
large amount of ammunition, then set fire to her magazine, and blew her
up. This vessel was a double-decker, fitted out for a long cruise to harass
our trading-vessels. We learned from the prisoners that one hundred men
were to have been added to her crew the day after her capture.

"About one month afterwards, the captain and fourteen men who had
volunteered our services, took a whale-boat, sailed up the narrows into
New York harbor, then occupied by the British fleet, boarded a British
trading-schooner, and having ransomed her for four hundred dollars, re-
turned to our gun-boats in Sosbury River, without injury or the loss of a
single man. In turn we were frequently attacked by the enemy, and had
some desperate hand-to-hand conflicts; and while on such occasions we
sometimes lost men, none of our crew were ever taken prisoners.

" We had two skirmishes on shore, on Long Island. In one of these
engagements a beloved comrade of mine fell back into my arms, mortally


wounded; in the other, we captured a large quantity of dry goods and
clothing belonging to the British, the whole of which we carried away.

"On one occasion Captain Story, who commanded a privateer from
Woodbridge, X. J., fell in with us in Sosbury River, which was our ren-
dezvous. Captains Hiller and Story ascending the heights, discovered
four vessels, termed ' London traders,' at a distance, moored close to the
highlands. One of the vessels, however, was an armed schooner, carrying
tight guns, and was used as a guard-ship to protect the other three. Our
captain determined on their capture, and we attacked them within a short
distance of the British fleet. The cannonading was very severe on both
sides, but after a hard-fought battle the armed schooner struck her colors,
and we captured the others without difficulty. The guard-ship closed on
us and poured her shot into us like hail, — a solid shot cutting our mast
away just above our heads; but at last we succeeded in running the
schooner first captured on a sand-bar, where we burnt her; and the other
we bilged and wrecked, all in sight of the British fleet.

" A short time afterwards two good men and myself, with permission,
took a small boat and in the ni»ht boarded and took a craft laden with
calves, poultry, butter, eggs, etc., going to the British fleet. A prize of
this kind, at the present day, would be considered of small account, but
at that time it was of great value to troops who were almost starving.

"At another time we attacked a large sloop and two schooners, one of
them heavily armed. They gave us a warm reception, and after a run-
ning fire of some duration, we closed with the armed schooner, and when
about to board her, Captain Hiller cursed the British officer, and told him
if he fired another gun he should have no quarter ; whereupon he seized
a match from the hand of one of his gunners and directed a shot himself,
but owing to the roll of the vessels it did no execution. We then board-
ed her and had a most desperate hand-to-hand conflict for some minutes,
Captain Killer engaging the British captain, and I the second officer.
Our commander was soon victorious, and the British captain, badly
wounded, cried for quarter, which we generously gave him and all his
men. These prizes we ran into a cove on the Jersey shore.

" A few days after, we sailed again, and discovered a vessel with British
colors. Our captain declared he would have her, and after an exciting
chase we found she was an American prize which the British had captured
off the Cape of Delaware, and were sending her, filled with American
prisoners, to New York, then occupied by the British troops and fleet.
We soon boarded and recaptured her, threw her dead overboard, placed
the crew in irons, and I was put in command to take her to a place of
safety. In the evening we found that we were pursued by a sloop-of-war
and two privateers, which had been sent from the British fleet to capture
us, but the darkness of the night enabled us to escape them, and we ran
into Shirk River, where we released the American prisoners and set fire
to the ship.

"Soon after we dropped out again, — flying British colors, — for another
cruise ; but not finding anything along the coast, we ran into Sandy Hook,
alongside the British fleet, and passed through the narrows about sunset.
Here we espied a craft going across to the guard-ship, in pursuit of which
our captain sent a whale-boat, well -manned and armed, but perceiving a
line of soldiers marching down the beach, evidently intending to waylay
us at the narrows, we rowed to the shore and landed fifteen men, who
were to attack in the rear, the enemy in the meantime having crossed the


beacli on the side we lay with our boats. We were but thirty strong, in-
cluding the fifteen we had landed ; the enemy about seventy. While we
were looking over the beach for them from our boats, they came suddenly
around a point within pistol-shot of us, and opened fire on us by a volley
from a platoon ; and twelve of us returned the fire with our muskets in
such quick succession that the barrels burned our hands. The other three
men of our boat-party managed a four-pounder loaded with langrage. It
was growing very hot for us, when our captain cried, ' Men, land ! land !
and we will have them all ' ; the four-pounder was instantly discharged,
we raised the yell, and with the precision of our fire from our muskets
discomfitted the enemy, and they broke to run, but the fifteen men we
had previously landed came up at the moment, and charging in the rear
took the British officer and nine of his men prisoners.

" Captain Hiller's privateer was a terror to the British shipping, not
only because she was considered a very fast sailer, but because the cap-
tain's bravery and knowledge of the coast enabled him to thwart all their
efforts to capture us. On one occasion we made a hair-breadth escape
from capture. We were pursuing and fighting a large British gun-boat,
between Sandy Hook and Amboy, and during the chase we ran in between
a galley and a brig of the enemy that carried an eighteen-pounder at her
bows. The gun-boat had struck her colors, but before we were able to
board her, an eighteen-pound ball passed through our ship, which had
obliged us to make the best of our way to the Jersey shore, and getting
everything out of any value, under a continual fire of cannon and small
arms from the British frigate which lasted until nine o'clock at night,
we left ' The Fair American ' to the British, our ammunition being all
spent so that we could not blow her up."

After peace was declared, Mr. Riddle returned to his home at Eliza-
bethtown, N. J., where he worked at his trade as blacksmith, until 1790,
when he emigrated to Ohio. Although quietly pursuing his occupation
as a farmer and blacksmith, he figured in all of the volunteer military or-
ganizations of the settlement for its defence, or for offensive operations
against the Indians. He was commissioned an ensign by General St. Clair,
and afterwards, Aug. 23, 1797, promoted to lieutenant, and commissioned
as such by Winthrop Sargeant, acting Governor of the Territory. On
the 13th of May, 1804, he was commissioned captain, by Edward Tiffin,
the first Governor of the State, and on the 14th of December, 1806, he
was commissioned major by the same Governor. On the 17th of March,
1811, he was elected colonel of the First Regiment of State Militia, and
commissioned as such by Gov. Jonathan Meigs. In 1805 he commanded
the troops during the Aaron Burr excitement, and the well-deserved honor
of commanding the troops at Greenville, Dark County, O., during the
making of the first and last treaty with the Indians, — a treaty which se-
cured a lasting peace to the people of Ohio, — Gen. William Henry Har-
rison and General Cass being the United States Commissioners on the

Soon after the war of 1812 Colonel Riddle resigned his commission,
and devoted himself to farming operations, taking little part in public af-
fairs. That he was always passionately fond of agricultural pursuits can-
not be better or more briefly shown than by the fact that he planted and
raised the first crop of wheat, and the first apple and peach orchard be-
tween the Little and Big Miami Rivers. In the year 1808 he was elected
a commissioner of Hamilton County, which office he filled acceptably for


a term of three years. His papers show that for many years he held the
office of trustee and treasurer of Mill Creek township.

He was always an active friend of popular education, and long before
he died donated a valuable lot of land for a school-house site, and sub-
scribed liberally toward the erection of the building. This lot and house
are now a part of the eighteenth district graduated school of Cincinnati.
He was one of the original subscribers to the organization of the first
Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati, and was a member of that body till
his death. Colonel Riddle was known all through the Miami valley as an
honest, patriotic, and public-spirited citizen ; and when he died, full of
honors as well as of years, he left a fair fame behind him of which his
numerous descendants may well feel proud. His career was always pros-
perous, and his prosperity the result of his own industry, good sense,
habits, and perseverance. On the 17th of June, 1847, in the eighty-sev-
enth year of his age, he died very suddenly of strangulated hernia. His
remains were deposited in the grave in the family cemetery on his farm,
and were followed to their resting-place by a large concourse of citizens
and soldiers, including the old pioneers then living. The burial was con-
ducted with military and civil honors. His remains have since been re-
moved to the family lot in the beautiful cemetery at Spring Grove, where
an elegant monument has been erected, upon which, in full relief, are em-
blems of his military, civil, and agricultural achievements.

The old dwelling-house in which he lived is still (1878) standing at
Camp Washington, near Cincinnati, O. It was built of heavy oak tim-
ber, hewn square, and trenailed together, but has since been weather-
boarded and otherwise modernized. It is two stories high, narrow, and
quite long ; before the front door are several very large and old cedar trees


William Riddle 4 (4), eldest son of John 3 (2), was born in New Jerl
sey, March 19, 1785. He was a soldier in a cavalry regiment in Genera-
Hull's army ; was a farmer, and died at his father's house, unmarried,
March 19, 1834.

Anna Riddle 4 (1), eldest daughter of John 3 (2), was born in New-
Jersey, Dec. 5, 1787 ; died (unmarried) at her father's house, Oct. 18, 1801.

Johll Riddle 4 (3), second son of John 3 (2), was born in New Jersey,
April 11, 1790; married, April 12, 1814, Catherine Long (she was born in
Kishacoquillas Valley, Penn., Dec. 13, 1788), and died Aug. 24, 1872
(death caused by a fall), and had issue eight children, of whom hereafter.
Mr. Riddle died on his farm at Spring Dale, Hamilton County, O., Feb. 1,

Mary Riddle 4 (1), second daughter of John 3 (2), was born in Mill
Creek township, O., Sept. 10, 1797 ; was married, Dec. 10, 1818, to James
B.Ray, Esq., afterwards governor of Indiana, and died at Brookville, Ind.,
July 4, 1823, leaving issue.

James Riddle 4 (1), third son of John 3 (2), was born in Mill Creek
township, Hamilton County, O., May 13, 1799; married Jan. 20, 1824,

* Col. John Riddle's grandson, John-Jackson Riddle, and Gen. Thomas Young,
who twice married members of the Riddle family, volunteered to undertake the
work of compiling a biography of Col. John Riddle, and a pedigree of his descend-
ants, and all connections of the family should feel grateful for the able manner in
which each discharged his self-imposed work. General Young furnished the bio-
graphical sketch of Colonel Riddle, and John Riddle the records.


to Elizabeth-Haugh Jackson, daughter of John Jackson, of Redstone
Creek, Penn. (she was born in Virginia, April 29, 1803, and died in Cov-
ington, Ky., May 31, 1868), and had issue three children, of whom here-
after. Mr. Riddle was a farmer and dealer in real estate. He died very
suddenly at the residence of his son, John-Jackson Riddle, with whom he
lived, Jan. 25, 1874. The paralysis of which he died was the result of a
very severe sun-stroke received in the city of New York in 1851.

Jacob-Alldei'SOll Riddle 4 (1), fourth son of John 3 (2), was born in
Mill Creek township, Hamilton County, O., Oct. 11, 1801 ; married, Aug.
7, 1823, to Charlotte Tucker (she was born in the same County and State
as her husband, March 4, 1800, and died near Piqua, O., June 25, 1841),
and had issue five children, of whom hereafter. He married, secondly,
Hope Stilwell (she was born in Miami County, O., Dec. 1, 1819, and died
March 16, 1855), and had issue five children, of whom hereafter. He
married, thirdly, Patience Job (she was born in Virginia, Dec. 13, 1813),
June 22, 1855, by whom no issue. Mr. Riddle died at his farm near
Piqua, O., Aug. 16, 1873, of paralysis of the brain, leaving a widow.

Joseph-Ross Riddle 4 (1), fifth son of John 3 (2), was born in Mill
Creek township, Hamilton County, O., March 28, 1804; married, March
18, 1829, to Eliza Smith (she was born in Adams County, Ind., 1805, and
died Sept. 14, 1870), and had issue five children, of whom hereafter.

Hon. Adam-Nlltt Riddle 4 (1), sixth son of John 3 (2), was born in
Mill Creek township, Hamilton County, O., Feb. 6, 1806; married, April
28, 1835, to Elizabeth-Lecompt Cook (she was born in Baltimore, Md.,
Oct. 12, 1818), and had issue six children, of whom hereafter. Like his
brothers and sisters, he worked on his father's farm in summer, and at-
tended school in winter, until his fourteenth year. In his fifteenth year
he entered the preparatory department of the Cincinnati College, and
walked four miles a day, in all kinds of weather, over a bad road, and in
four years graduated, receiving the highest honors of his class. He studied
law with Judge D. K. Este; was admitted to the bar in 1829, and opened
his law office in 1830. His urbanity, attention to business, and family in-
fluence soon secured him an extensive law practice, which he retained
during his life. He was an able counsellor, but not a great advocate.
Although no politician he was elected by the democracy of Hamilton
County a representative to the State Legislature for the sessions of 1832
and 1833, in which capacity he served his constituents and the State faith-
fully; was re-elected by his party without opposition, and being thor-
oughly acquainted with legislative proceedings, became a leading member
of the House.

At the expiration of his second term he resumed the practice of his
profession. He was a delegate to the Convention in 1851, to revise the
State Constitution, and a member of the Standing Committee having
charge of the Executive department of the State Government. He was
chosen one of the first three senators from Hamilton County, under the
new constitution. At the expiration of this term he refused further offi-
cial position, preferring the practice of his profession. Mr. Riddle was
affable to rich and poor alike ; a warm friend of the cause of education ;
liberal in acts of charity; long identified with the Methodist Episcopal
Church as an active member, and superintendent of its Sabbath school.
He died at his residence, Mount Auburn, Hamilton County, O., May 2,
1870, of congestion of the lungs and brain.

Isaac-Bates Riddle 4 (1), seventh son of John 3 (2), was born in Mill


Creek township, Hamilton County, O., Sept. 15, 1808; married, April 7,
1831, to Hester McL. Vanice (she was born Nov. 24, 1810, and died of
hernia, at Carthage, Mo., Oct. 24, 1872), and had issue twelve children, of
whom hereafter. Mr. Riddle lives on a farm near Lockland, O.

Nancy Riddle 4 (1), third daughter of John 3 (2), was bom in Mill
Creek township, Hamilton County, O., Aug. 19, 1811; married, Aug. 19,
1834, to Joseph Jackson (he was born in Virginia, Dec. 2, 1809, and died
on his farm near Mount Healthy, Hamilton County, O., May 7, 1866, of
paralysis), and had issue six children. She is now living (:t widow, 1873),
in a stately mansion-house near the city of Cincinnati.

Henry Riddle 4 (1), eighth son of John 3 (2), was born in Mill Creek
township, Hamilton County, O., May 27, 1813, and died at his father's
house, Jan. 30, 1833, of consumption.

George- W. Riddle 4 (1), ninth son of John 3 (2), was born in Mill
Creek township, Hamilton County, O., April 3, 1815; married (about
1837-8) Sarah O. Pease (she was born in Massachusetts, June 2, 1816,
and died in the city of Cincinnati, June 30, 1845), and had issue three
children, of whom hereafter. He married, secondly, Dec. 26, 1850, Lydia
Orr. Mr. Riddle died June 16, 1874, of dyspepsia, and was buried in the
family lot in Spring Grove Cemetery, Hamilton County, O.

Thonias-JefferSOll Riddle 4 (1), tenth son of John 3 (2), was born
Jan. 30, 1817 ; married Mary E. Newell (she was born in New Brunswick,
N. J., May 10, 1819; died near Spring Dale, O., Oct. 6, 1840), Jan. 24.
1837. He married, secondly, Martha A. Cooper (she was born near Cin-
cinnati, O., Jan. 10, 1823), May 12, 1841. Mr. Riddle had one son by his
first wife, and three children by the second wife, of whom hereafter.

Alfred-Columbus Riddle 4 (1), eleventh son of John 3 (2), was born
Dec. 16, 1819; married Annie-Maria Olver (she was born in Ohio, Oct.
10, 1823), July 25, 1844, and settled on a farm near Mt. Healthy, Hamil-
ton County, O. He died at his home, by a fall from his carriage, Jan. 29,
1870, leaving three children, of whom hereafter.

David-Wade Riddle 4 (1), twelfth son of John 3 (2), was born Oct. in,
1821, and died at his father's house, Oct. 8, 1846, of typhoid fever; never

Eliza-Jane Riddle 4 (1), fourth daughter John 3 (2), was born Feb. 12,
1824; was married to Edward C. Roll, Jan. 6, 1846. Mr. Roll was born
in Hamilton County, O., Oct. 25, 1815, and died July 24, 1854, leaving

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 41 of 103)