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 69 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 69 of 103)
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were fearing the same calamity, and we knew of no place of safety. An additional
source of alarm was, almost every night, being aroused to witness some confla-
gration in the neighborhood — either a dwelling-house, gin, or stable. In four
weeks, seventeen cotton-gins had been destroyed by fire and several dwelling-
houses. Our nights, you may imagine, were full of terror, but no serious cause for
alarm occurred until the 1st of February.

" A negro belonging to Mr. , who had a wife and child at ma's, came with a

party of armed Federals and demanded his wife and child. Ma offered a stout
resistance to his outrageous demands, and told him ' If he crossed that door she'd
shoot him.' After some parleying, he left, saying he would return in two weeks.
The negro's manner was haughty and consequential ; he was armed with two pistols,
strutted about the house with great freedom, talked loud and boldby, and altogether,
the incident alarmed us a good deal. Nothing farther occurred though until the
11th of February. The night was cloudy, moonless, and starless. About nightfall
the family assembled on the gallery to witness a burning house two miles distant,
and it was with a feeling of impending evil that we all went to sleep. No one was
sleeping in the dwelling-house except ma, two young ladies, and myself, and two
little negroes. We had not slept long when our old watch-dog, Carlo, aroused us
by jumping against the back door. It excited me very much, but ma calmed me by
saying, ' Oh, it's nothing, my daughter, but Carlo trying to get in the house ! ' In
a few moments the faithful dog came to the other door and sprang against it with
an angry bark. We were fully aroused now, and ma sprang out of bed, pushed
open the blinds and exclaimed ' Great God ! the house is on fire ! Eliza, Annie,
Leila, Susan, get up, the house is burning up — be calm, my daughter, I'll save
you ; don't be excited — Susan, Leila, run to the kitchen and ring the bell ! ' In the



522 BIDLEYS OF OXFORD, NORTH CAROLINA.

twinkling of an eye all were up — the old plantation bell was pealing forth its first
midnight alarm — servants were rushing in with shrieks and in their night clothes;
some were crying ' Where 's Susan ? where 's Leila ? Save Miss Bettie ; run out to the
office and put out the fire,' etc., etc. Ma was calm, collected, and equal to the fear-
ful scene. She first gave orders to a faithful servant (Hardin), to ' wrap a blanket
around Miss Bettie, give her some brandy, take her to the negro quarter, and keep
her stimulated,' then secured her purse and spectacles and went to work. As I was
taken out, lying across the shoulder of the faithful Hardin, I gave one long, last,
lingering look at the dear old house, so soon to be laid in ruins. The flames were
just spreading over the office — in a moment while I gazed, the roof of that room
fell in with a dull, booming, crushing noise that filled my very soul with horror.
The fire progressed rapidly. Ma, Eliza, Annie, and servants were working with
fearful desperation — all in their night clothes. Only four neighbors dared to come
to our relief. The soldiers were watching from the ice-house and madly exulting
in their midnight work, and all were afraid to come to our relief, or to go in any part
of the yard. The flames spread so rapidly that in two hours all that remained of
our beautiful home was a heap of blackened ashes and embers. I was taken to a
negro cabin, and from that time could only see the leaping flames, the dense vol-
umes of smoke, and hear the crackling fire and dull crushing sound of falling roof
and timbers. Everywhere it was light as noonday. A servant standing by my bed
watching the progress of the fire, exclaimed, ' Oh ! Miss Bettie, look at the light
upon the tombstones ! you can see Miss Virginia's grave as plain as day.' I looked
and saw the pure marble shaft that marks the grave of my beloved sister, and from
the depths of my heart a feeling sprung which I had never known in the eight years
she had slumbered there — a feeling of perfect resignation that she had gone
' where the wicked cease from troubling,' and I exclaimed ' Thank God, my sister
and grandma are at rest in the old grave-yard.'

"The morning dawned in clouds and rain : things that had been saved were in
the yard thoroughly drenched ; soldiers were coming in crowds demanding break-
fast, and exulting in words and laughter over their work of destruction. Then
neighbors came flocking in oti'eriug us homes and comfort. Poor ma, weary and
wretched, was in a state of bold and fierce defiance. She hurled back every insult
the cowards gave, and told them in no measured terms of their cowardice in burn-
ing a house with no occupants but four defenceless women, and one of them almost
dying A carriage was sent for me the next morning by Mrs. K., to take me to
her house, and after I had been lifted into it and placed upon a bed, the soldiers
(?) surrounded the carriage and tried to cut the mules loose. They were only pre-
vented b,y the entreaties of my friends from doing it then, and followed the carriage
to Mrs. K.'s, where, after I w r as taken out, they took the mules. Poor ma ! I left her
behind, in the kitchen, trying to collect the remnant of her household treasures.
All, all gone that she mostT prized — the old cradle by which she had sat so often
and sang lullabies to her darlings, the little arm-chair, the little rocker, a small
pillow, — sacred to her because her baby boy had died upon it, — the family Bible
with its well-filled record, grandma's portrait and pa's library of books. And what
was of more vital importance just then, all her wheat, bacon, corn, and supplies
that she had stored away in the roof.

" Such w 7 as the state of destitution in which we were left. And then comes the
saddest thought of all — the strong arms and brave hearts that would have shel-
tered us from harm, were all absent in the service of our oppressed country, and
our gray-haired sire a lonely exile. These, dear friend, are some of the facts.
Your heart can better imagine our grief than I can describe it. Indeed, that I
could not do, for language fails me."

Dr. Robert-Archibald-Tliomas Ridley 3 (2), third son of James 2 (1),
was born at Oxford, Granville, County, N. C, March 5, 1806 ; married in
1831, Mai - y-Elizabeth Morris, and by her had issue nine children, of whom
hereafter. He was educated at Oxford, and graduated at the University
at Chapel Hill, in 1828 ; was instructed in the study of medicine by his
brother, Dr. Charles L. Ridley, of Georgia, and graduated in the Medical
College at Charleston, S. C, in 1834. Doctor Ridley settled permanently
at La Grange Ga., in 1837. He was a man of fine intelligence, great
energy and ambition ; was eminently successful in business as a planter
and distinguished for his skill in the practice of his profession. He took



BID LEYS OF OXFORD, NORTH CAROLINA. 523



a great interest in politics; was a Whig, and represented the people of his
County in the House of Representatives and Senate. He was in his relig-
ious faith a Methodist. He was a true friend and bitter enemy ; hospita-
ble and patriotic. His useful life terminated on Dec. 20, 1871, at his
homestead, La Grange, Ga.

Rev. Joseph-James Ridley 3 (1), r>- c, fourth son of James 2 (1), was
born at Oxford, N. C., June 28, 1810 ; married to Eliza Kingsbury, — of
the same family as T. B. Kingsbury, who now owns the old homestead of
Dr. James Ridley, and sister of Gen. Charles P. Kingsbury, of Brooklyn,
N. Y., — and died issueless, at Somerville, Tenn., March 10,1878. He
was educated partly at a military school at Oxford, and partly at the
University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill. He read medicine and
commenced the practice of the medical profession at Greensborough, Ga.,
but did not succeed. He then abondoned medicine and studied divinity.
He graduated in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1837; re-
newed his baptismal vows, and became a candidate for Holy Orders under
the late Bishop Elliott in 1841 ; was ordained deacon by the bishop, in North
Carolina, in 1843, and advanced to the priesthood by the same bishop in
1844. From the date of his ordination he resided at Oxford, N. C, and
had charge of the missions at Williamsborough and Louisburgh ; and at one
time held the rectorship of St. Stephen's, Oxford. In 1853 he became
rector of Trinity Church, Clarksville, and held the position with great
usefulness to the church, until June, 1860, when, having been elected
president of the University of east Tennessee, he removed to Knoxville.
Here he remained until February, 1862, when the university was closed
in consequence of the war. Doctor Ridley then returned to North Caro-
lina, but was soon invited to St. Stephen's, Milledgeville. In 1867 he re-
turned to this diocese and accepted the rectorship of St. Thomas' Church,
Somerville. He resigned the parish in 1869, and accepted the rectorship
of Zion Church, Brownsville. His failing health compelled him to resign
his charge in November, 1877, and he returned to Somerville to end his
days. Doctor Ridley's career was one of great usefulness. His whole
soul was in his work. During his seven years residence in Clarksburgh,
he baptized one hundred and thirty persons, and confirmed one hundred
and sixteen. On the hearts of the people his memory is stamped as that
of an ever-zealous and simple-minded Christian, unwearied in well doing.
This interest seems to have been specially manifested in the poor and
young. No day passed during which he was not found in some poverty-
stricken cottage alleviating physical wants and ministering to spirtual
troubles. To youth and early manhood his house was always a pleasant
home, where, aided by his excellent wife, his hospitality was always attrac-
tive, because always genial, intelligent, and refined ; no one ever left his
house without feeling that they were made the better and purer for hav-
ing been there. His idea of serving his Master was truly evangelical ; trying
to copy his Master's example, Doctor Ridley did not conceive his Christian
duties ended by preaching one or more sermons every week, but spent the
time between public services in doing good deeds, in visiting the sick and
needy. He was one of the most accomplished scholars in the ministry ;
a man of extensive reading and possessed of a fine literary taste and dis-
crimination. His sermons were masterpieces of scholarly erudition, and
expressive of genuine and unaffected piety. He had a strong love for na-
ture and was a keen observer of the handiwork of his Maker; especially
did he cultivate a taste for flowers. His subject-matter, gathered from



524 RIDLEYS OF OXFORD, NORTH CAROLINA.

every pathway in which his duties led him, was woven into his sermons in
an original and graceful way. He was an untiring student of books,
human nature, and God's great unwritten book whose pages were the
heavens above and the green earth beneath. His nature was warm, ardent,
and social. All bear witness to his real goodness, and now that he has
gone, those who knew him in life are more than ever conscious of his
great influence for goodness. In his latter years the approach of the
disease that terminated his existence (paralysis) somewhat impaired his
mind and affected his speech, but like a true disciple he continued to
work on till he was worn out in the service.

Dr. William-Morgan-Snerd Ridley 3 (1), fifth son of James 2 (1),
was born at Oxford, Granville County, N. C., Nov. 10, 1817; married to
Caroline Picket, March 11, 1838, and was a practising physician in vari-
ous places in Georgia, Florida, Missouri, and Louisiana. He was a man
of brilliant accomplishments as a talker and musician, and of exquisite
manly beauty. He had a most reckless temper, warm to his friends and
bitter toward his enemies, and was one who had great contempt of
danger. His fine personal appearance, his charming conversation and
agreeable deportment, rendered him a welcome guest and noted man in
society. He was a surgeon in the United States army, and died of yellow
fever at Galveston, Tex., after having withstood the scourge for ninety
days in New Orleans and Galveston. Doctor Ridley was a graduate of
New York University. His first wife died without issue, and he married
twice afterwards. He left a son and a daughter living in Calcutta, India.

Mary-Frances Ridley 3 (2), eldest daughter of James 2 (1), was born
in Oxford, Granville County, N. C, Feb. 25, 1808 ; married to Thomas
Speller, of Windsor, N. C. ; a farmer.

Sally-Clark-Lewis Ridley 3 (2), second daughter of James 2 (1) and
his wife, Elizabeth-Taylor Lewis, was born at Oxford, N. C, Oct. 14,
1815 ; married William Lattie, merchant, of Raleigh, N. C, and died at
Oxford, Sept. 5, 1836.

Maria Ridley 3 (1), only daughter of Archibald 2 (1) and his first wife,
Henrietta-Maria Lewis, was left motherless when a small child, and was
placed under the care of her aunt, Mrs. Park, of Warren County, N. C.
She married to Dr. George Kumin (?), of Virginia, for her first husband;
secondly, to Oscar Britton, of Richmond, and after his death she married
to a Mr. Todd, of Baltimore.

Elijah-Blacksliere Ridley 3 (1), only son of Archibald 2 (1), was born
in Sparta, Hancock County, Ga., subsequent to 1822; married, and had
issud several children'.



Robert Ridley 3 (3), only son of Robert 2 (1) and his wife, Sophia
Cooper, died when a young man, at the age of 23.

FOURTH GENERATION.

Dr. James-Bromfield Ridley 4 (2), eldest son of Charles 8 (1), was
born in Jones County, Ga., Dec. 19, 1825, and was educated under the
instruction of the Rev. Charles-Pollock Beman, at La Grange, Ga. ; studied
medicine with his father, and graduated at the New York State University
in 1846-7. He married Aug. 28, 1848, to Louisa-Josephine Stamper, of
Talbot County, who died, leaving two children, Sept. 11, 1850. He mar-
ried, secondly, Nov. 8, 1855, to Mary G., daughter of Henry and Betsey-



RIDLEYS OF OXFORD, NORTH CAROLINA. 525

Allison Ridley, a descendant of Capt. George Ridley, his collateral kins-
woman, of Tennessee, and by her had issue two children, of whom here-
after. Doctor Ridley was surgeon in the Eighth Georgia Regiment during
the Southern war, and died April 3, 1862, of typhoid-pneumonia. He
resided on his farm in Jones County, Ga., and was a successful agricul-
turalist and eminent physician ; a man of sound thought, deep research,
and brilliant imagination. He was fine-looking, polished, and refined in
manners ; a friend to the poor, and a highly respected gentleman He
made many friends by his social and genial deportment, and was deeply
lamented at his death, which occurred at Savannah, Ga.

Dr. Hamilton-Bonner Ridley 4 (1), second son of Charles 3 (1), was
born in Jones County, Ga., Oct. 21, 1825 ; was educated at Powelton, Ga.,
and Oxford, N. C, under the Rev. Mr. Geir; was a classmate of Bishop
John Beckwith. He read medicine with his father, and attended lectures
at the Pennsylvania State University at Philadelphia. He married Dec.
7, 1849, to his cousin, Mary-Eliza Speller, of Bertie County, N. C, whose
mother was Mary Ridley. He lives on a fine farm in his native County,
and being a gentleman of fortune has devoted his time to agriculture,
current literature, music, and popular sports. He was a captain in the
Sixth Georgia Regiment, and at the time of the war had his plantation
devastated by the Union soldiers. Since the peace he has devoted him-
self to the restoration of his property, and is again living at ease. He
has a good farm well stocked, a large cottage-house, situated on an eminence
surrounded by evergreens and choice flowers. Doctor Ridley is a fancier
of fine horses, fowls, and hunting dogs, keeping a fine, large pack of fox-
hounds. His home is the place of liberal hospitality, Avhere the old and
young congregate to enjoy themselves in the feast, the dance, and social
pastime. He has represented his County in the State Legislature ; is
highly respected for his high sense of honor, his liberality, and rigid
temperance. No children.

Robert-Burton Ridley 4 (4), youngest son of Charles 3 (1), was born
in Hancock County, Ga., April 23, 1833 ; married Aug. 23, 1855, to Lu-
cretia Wamble, of Talbot County, and settled on a farm at Cornucopia,
Jones County, Ga., where he carried on farming successfully. He was
afflicted with lameness from his eleventh year, caused by scarlet fever ;
consequently he was more indulged. He was not fond of books, although
by nature highly endowed and talented. He was fine-looking, pleasant
company, witty, and very liberal. He was ever ready to help the poor
and needy; was fond of fine stock of all kinds, and enjoyed all the good
things of this life, being surrounded with all human comforts. He died
without issue, Sept. 19, 1863.



Maj. Jerome-Shelton Ridley 4 (1), eldest son of Bromfield 3 (2), was
born in McMinnville, Warren County, Tenn., in the year 1832 (?), and
was educated at Cumberland University. He graduated in the literary
department in 1853; in the law department in 1855, — speaking the vale-
dictory in the law department in his class. He moved to Iowa in 1856,
and to Kansas in 1857 ; accumulated a fortune in real-estate speculation, and
lost heavily in the revulsion of 1858. He was in the Confederate army
during the Southern war as major and commissary of Stevenson's Divis-
ion He has since devoted himself to agriculture, and was in 1873 editor
of a newspaper at Elkton, Ky. Mr. Ridley is a man of high culture and
finished literary attainments ; is possessed of great energy of character



526 RIDLEYS OF OXFORD, NORTH CAROLINA.

and executive ability ; determined and persevering, he allows no undertak-
ing to drag on his hands. He has manifested a deep interest in this book
and made an effort to secure a full history of his family; but his business
engagements prevented complete success. He married Margaret McLean,
of Todd County, and has issue three children, of whom hereafter.

Dr. James-Lucas Ridley 4 (3), second son of Bromtield 3 (2), was
born at McMinnville, Tenn., in the year 1838. He was educated at Cum-
berland University ; married Fannie Robertson, and is now in the practice
of medicine in Huntsville, Ala. Doctor Ridley served in the Confeder-
ate army as surgeon in Dibbul's Brigade. He is regarded as a skillful
practitioner, and highly respected as an accomplished gentleman and
worthy citizen. Two children.

Capt. George-Crothwait Ridley 4 (1), third son of Bromfield 3 (2),
was born in McMinnville, Tenn., in the year 1840; married Bertie Jones,
who died leaving one child. He married, secondly, in 1871, to a widow
lady named King, of Triune, Tenn., and is now living in Sumner County
in that State, as a farmer and planter. He served in the Southern army
during the Rebellion, as captain and inspector-general on the staff of Brig-
Gen. Ben. Hill. He was a noble soldier and rendered efficient service in
his department for a long term in the field.

Capt. Bromfield-L. Ridley 4 (3), fourth son of Bromfield 3 (2), was
born in Murfreesborough, Tenn., in the year 1842, and at the age of nine-
teen years (?) entered the service of the Confederate States as a private
soldier. He was promoted for gallant conduct as a soldier, and was cap-
tain and aid-de-camp to Gen. Alexander P. Stewart, from the time he was
brigadier in 1862 to the close of the war. Captain Ridley saw a great
deal of service ; was in many engagements and a dozen pitched battles,
and was slightly wounded only once during the war. He was noticed by
his general for gallantry on several fields; especially in his report after the
battle of Chickamauga, in which he says : " My two aids, Lieuts. Bromfield
Ridley, Jr., and R. Caruthers Stewart, though very young men, and the
latter under fire for the first time, behaved with commendable gallantry."
I have before me a letter from General Stewart, written after the war, in
which he speaks of the subject of this notice in endearing terms, and
imparts some very practical advice. I have also before me a journal kept
by Captain Ridley during the war, from which many interesting extracts
could be taken, but want of space in this work will not admit of its pub-
lication. He is unmarried; is now in the practice of law in the city of
Murfreesborough, Tenn. His portrait represents a man of fine physique
and formidable appearance ; the expression, one of great determination.

Charles-Lewis Ridley 4 (2), sixth son of Bromfield 3 (2), was born at
Murfreesborough, Tenn.; married in 1869, to Harriet Fitzpatrick, of west-
ern Tenn., and has issue two children (1873). He Avas aid-de-catnp to
Gen. Ben. Hill, in the Confederate army, during the Rebellion ; now a
merchant in Nashville.

Granville Ridley 4 (1), a son of Bromfield 8 (2), died in infancy.

Robert Ridley 4 (4), youngest son of Bromfield 8 (2), died in in-
fancy.

Elizabeth Ridley 4 (1), eldest daughter of Bromfield 3 (2), was born in
the year 1834; married to William Blackore (?), of Sumner County, Tenn.,
and died in 1863. She wrote the beautiful description of "Fairmont"
her father's residence, and of the burning of the house by Northern sol-
diers during the war, published in this book under her father's name. She



RIDLETS OF OXFORD, NORTH CAROLINA. 527

is represented as a lady of remarkable intellectual attainments and refine-
ment of manners, possessed of a gentle, affectionate spirit.

Virgillia-R. Ridley 4 (1), second daughter of Bromfield 3 (2), was a
young lady of musical talent, and fine accomplishments, who died at La
Grange, Ga., at the age of seventeen.

Sally Ridley 4 (3), third daughter of Bromfield 3 (2), was born in 1849;
married to Thornton McLean, of Todd County, Ky., and died at Pulaski,
Tenn., at the age of twenty-four. She was educated in the city of Nash-
ville, and was a lady of remarkable mind and refinement of taste.



Thonias-Alonzo Ridley 4 (2), eldest son of Robert 3 (2), was born at
La Grange, Ga., March 31, 1833; died April 24, 1851.

Rebecca Ridley 4 (1), eldest daughter of Robert 8 (2), was born at La
Grange, Ga., June 8, 1837 ; died June 7, 1851.

Dr. Charles-Bromfield Ridley 4 (3), second son of Robert 3 (2), was
born at La Grange, Ga., April 20, 1840 ; graduated at the State Univer-
sity at Athens, Ga. ; served in the Confederate army during the war of
the Rebellion three years ; first, in the infantry, afterwards in the cavalry
with General Duke, in Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississipi, and
after the close of the war turned his attention to the study of medicine.
He graduated at the Medical College in New Orleans. Married March
17, 1859, to Martha-Elizabeth Beall, and has four children, of whom here-
after. Doctor Ridley is a skillful and very promising physician.

Dr. Robert-Beman Ridley 4 (5), third son of Robert 3 (2), was born
at La Grange, Ga., Oct. 18, 1842; was educated at the high school in his
native town, and entered the Confederate army at the age of eighteen
years. He was stationed at Norfolk until ordered to Richmond ; was in
nearly every bloody battle fought in Virginia during the war of the Re-
bellion. His company went out eighty strong and he was the only one
left to surrender in 1864 at Appomatox Court House. He studied medi-
cine and graduated at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Doctor
Ridley married Nov. 28, 1875 to Emma-Leila, daughter of Congressman
Ben. Hill, and has one child, of whom hereafter. He is a practising physi-
cian in Atlanta, Ga.

John-Morgan Ridley 4 (1), fourth son of Robert 3 (2), was born at La
Grange, Ga., March 22, 1845, and was educated in his native town. He
joined the Confederate army at the age of eighteen, and was with Gen.
John B. Gordon until the close of the war, always at his post of duty
regardless of impending danger. He engaged in mercantile business in
New York city after the war, and continued until a short time before his
death, which occurred Aug. 11, 1877, at the family residence; unmarried.

Mary-Louisa Ridley 4 (3), second daughter of Robert 3 (2), was born
at La Grange, Ga., Aug. 4, 1847; died June 6, 1853.

Leila Ridley 4 (1), third daughter of Robert 3 (2), was born at La
Grange, Ga., Jan. 31, 1853 ; died^May 15, 1853.

Francis-Marion Ridley 4 (1), fifth son of Robert 8 (2), was born at
La Grange, Ga., Jan. 1, 1856; was educated at the high school in his na-
tive town, and at the University at Athens, and is now in college at
Nashville, Tenn.

FIFTH GENERATION.

Charles-Lewis Ridley 5 (4), eldest son of James 4 (2), was born in
Jones County, Ga., Aug. 13, 1850, and is now (1878) living with his



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 69 of 103)