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 79 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 79 of 103)
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standing in 1880. Mr. Redlon was corporal in the company of Capt.
Jeremiah Hill, of Biddeford, which belonged to the Thirtieth Regiment
of Massachusetts Foot-Guards, commanded by Col. James Scammon, of
the Revolutionary army. He was one of the soldiers drafted to go in Ar-
nold's expedition to Quebec, Can., by way of the Kennebec and Chaudiere
Rivers ; was in the expedition to Ticonderoga and Crown Point in the
company of Capt. Jabez Lane ; his enlistment in this department was
dated May 3, 1775. He sold bis lands in Saco and Buxton, say 1812-15,



604 i;i;dloxs of holms, maixe.

and removed to Wayne, in Kennebec County, Me., where his sons ha<l
settled. His first wife died in Saco, and he married a widow named
Dorcas Williams (I think her maiden-name was Carter), by whom he had
five children, in addition to the six children by the first wife. His chil-
dren in Wayne changed the spelling of their names to Ridley, after their
removal East, but two sons who settled in Hollis, Me., and Clarendon,
Vt., held the name Ridlon, and their descendants so continue to this day.
He died in Turner, at the home of his daughter, in 1840, aged 89 years,*
and was buried in the family cemetery in Wayne, near the brick-house
built by his grandson, Daniel Ridley. His name upon his gravestone is
Ridley, and should have been changed long ago ; the names of all his
children, with his own, on the records of Saco, are spelled Redlon. He
resembled his father; had broad, high shoulders, was above medium
height, had a large nose, wide mouth and chin, broad, heavy jaws, rnddy
complexion, gray eyes, long, shaggy brows, receding forehead, and wore
his hair in a long cue behind. Was very bald in old age. He is remem-
bered as a very kind, quiet, and honorable man.

Radiol Redlon 3 (1), eldest daughter of Matthias- (1), was born in
Saco, Me., Oct. 10, 1751, and was married April 29, 1773, by Rev. Paul
( "ffin, to Daniel Field, of Narraganset No. 1, — now Buxton. Her hus-
band was a brother of the first wife of her brother Matthias, before men-
tioned. After the death of her husband she lived in the family of her
daughter Annie, who married Joseph Decker, but was subsequently car-
ried to (Greenwood, by her son-in-law, Paul Wentworth, — it is said, much
against her wishes, — who seems to have had a desire to secure her pension-
money, which was granted for her husband's five years' service in the
Revolution. She died in Greenwood at the age of 96. '* She had
drawn more than a thousand dollars in money from the Government, all
of which went into the hands of the Wentworths " : so says her grand-
daughter and namesake, Rachel Miles. Her grandson, Daniel Decker,
says, "I remember grandmother Field well; she lived with us, and at one
time was standing on the door-step, holding a smooth, slender twig in her
hand. Father was about to whip me, for some bad behavior, with a
rough, knotty apple-tree limb, when grandmother held out her hand and
said, 'Here, Joe, swap sticks with me, and lick Daniel with a smooth one.'"
Mr. Decker asks, "And who would n't remember such a grandmother as
that?" She was not tall, but quite stout in old age; her features were
coarse, and her under lip turned out prominently. She frequently fell
asleep in her chair and dropped her work.

James Redloil 3 (1), second son of Matthias 2 (1), was born in Saco,
Me., Dec. 10, 1753 ; married Hannah Cozens, of Kennebunk, and settled
in Little Falls Plantation, on the west side of Saco River, on a tract of
land consisting of eleven hundred and forty acres, called the " Dalton
Right," which he purchased in conjunction with his brothers and others.
Mr. Redlon' s house was on the hill about one mile north of Moderation
Village, on the road from that place to Bonnie Eagle Falls, and on the farm
since owned by his son Robert, and now (1884) by Edward Whitehouse.
When he left Saco and commenced clearing his land, it was in a dense wil-
derness, and the screams of wild beasts could be heard around his home every
night ; his first plantation was made on newly burnt ground, and the corn

* Matthias Redlon was born in 1749, and would consequently have been 89 in
1838. If be lived till 1840 he was 91 years of age at his death.



BEDLONS OF HOLLIS, MAINE. 605



was broken down by bears and 'coons. Neighbors were not near,
roads were poor, and the family only reached Saco Falls by a bridle-
path. His log-cabin was dismantled in a few years, and he erected a
large, low-posted, frame-house, a little back of the more modern one in
which his son lived. This was a great place for " huskings," " frolics,"
"quiltings," and "candy-pulls." "Uncle Jim" enjoyed company, and
being jovial and generous-hearted, always had a house-full. It was here
that the celebrated dance took place between Patience Redlon and Ralph
Bryant. (See Ridlons of Ohio in this book.) Mr. Redlon was a soldier
of the Revolution. He enlisted May 3, 1775, in the company of Capt.
Jeremiah Hill, of Biddeford, in the Thirtieth Regiment of Massachusetts
Foot-Guards, commanded by Col. James Scammon ; he was in the expedi-
tion to Quebec with Arnold, and was one of the company who, after
Captain Hill resigned his commission, joined the regiment of Col. Joseph
Vose at West Point, and was at the surrender of General Burgoyne. He
passed through many hardships in the army and frequently suffered for
want of food when passing through the enemy's country. Mr. Redlon
was quite prominent in the early business of his town, as appears by the
records.

In 1804 he was chosen constable and collector, with the privilege
that his son Joseph may act in his stead if the father would be his
bondsman. He was " Lieutenant Redlon " in 1828 ; also appointed sur-
veyor that year. He was tall and compactly built, and in old age grew
quite corpulent ; had sandy (some say red) hair, gray eyes ; had ruddy
complexion, and his features were of the type so general among the early
members of the family. He and his brother Thomas were much together,
and their families constantly visited back and forth. Mr. Redlon was a
great woodsman and spent much of his time in winter cutting and haul-
ing masts. It was often said among the early settlers at Little Falls
Plantation, " Give Thamas the goard and Jeames the handspike, and their
team will never get stuck." He was an owner in "Ridlon's Mills,"
which were on the brook near the dwelling-house of his brother Thomas.
He was a good, judicious farmer, prudent in his calculations, and generally
successful in the execution of his plans; was a kind, accommodating
neighbor and useful citizen. He came home from a military training sick,
and lived but a few hours, passing away Sept. 12, 1812, aged 61 years.
He was buried in the " Old Ridlon Burying Ground," near his house,
where his tombstone may be seen. Children of James and Hannah, ten.
He always wrote his name in a strong, bold hand, and spelled it " Redlon"
in every instance.

Thomas Ridlon 3 (1), third son of Matthias' 2 (1), was born in Saco,
Me., Dec. 28, 1755 ; married Jan. 24, 1779, to Martha, second daughter
of Lieut. Samuel Merrill and his wife, Elizabeth Bradbury, of Buxton,
and settled in Saco, on the Ferry Road, where his first two children were
born. The house in which Thomas and Pattie commenced life together
was near that of Dominions Scammon, who was taken by the Indians, and sat
back in what is now a pasture, on the hillside, not far in the rear of the
building of the late "Uncle Nat. Ridlon," and was approached by a lane
from the carriage-road ; some indications of the foundation may still be
seen there, and an ancient apple-tree stands near, which may have been
planted by Thomas, though he was there but a short time. In 1782 he
united with his brothers and relatives in the settlement of a tract of land
in "Little Falls Plantation," called the "Dalton Right," which consisted



(',()('. BEDLONS OF HOLLIS, MAINE.

of eleven hundred and forty acres.* Mr. Redlon settled on this land sev-
eral years before he — with the other purchasers — had a deed made out,
but I find by an old letter addressed to the Redlons of Little Falls Plan-
tation, that the}' were called upon tor the taxes by Jeremiah Hill, of Bid-
det'ord. When Mr. Redlon settled on his land, it was covered with a
heavy growth of oak, ash, maple, elm, birch, pine, hemlock, hackmatack,
and other trees indigenous to the soil of New England. lie built a snug
log-house, which, being well chinked with moss and mortar, and warmed
by a stone fire-place, made the family a comfortable abode. The first
clearings were opened on the high, sandy ground, because here, as soon
as the wood was cut and burned, corn could be planted without plowing,
and the ashes, constantly washed down to the roots, enriched the soil and
caused everything to grow rapidly and mature early; indeed the heaviest
harvests of corn and grain were grown on the newly burned and un-
ploughed ground. During the first few years after their settlement in
Littfe Falls Plantation, the Redlons procured much of the subsistence of
their families by hunting and fishing ; their groceries were purchased with
pelts and shaved shingles at Saco Falls, which was the nearest trading-
post, by going on foot or by horse-back. The hay for their stock, before
they had cleared grass-fields, was principally drawn from the salt marshes

* The D alton Right was in a section theu known as " Little Falls Plantation,"
— since called Phillipsburgh, — now Hollis, York County, Me., on the west bank of
Saco River; originally called the " Rope-walk," because ah >ng and narrow township.
I have not learned whether the plantation comprehended the whole town, but think
it was only a narrow tract bordering on the river and reaching, perhaps, from the
old "Smith's Bridge " to Bonnie Eagle Falls. Dalton's Right, so called, was formerly
owned by Tristram Dalton, a wealthy English gentleman, and his two maiden-sisters,
and is described in the deed to the Ridlons as follows : " A parcel of laud containing
one thousand one hundred and sixty-eight acres, being the same tract which was
assigned to the Devisees of Tristram Little, deceased, by Jeremiah Hill, Joseph
Bradbury, and Robert Southgate, a Oommitte appointed by the Supreme Judicial
Court the 16th of July, 1788, and in the return of s'd Committe the 1st day of De-
cember, 1778, is thus discribed : ' beginning at Saco River one mile and a half
from the upper bounds of Pattershall's Lot (so called) computed on a north-west
course; thence running south-east six hundred and fifty-three rods; thence north-
west two hundred aud forty rods ; thence north-east to Saco River ; thence by s'd
river to the first-mentioned bounds, and which s'd moiety or half part, I purchased
of Tristram Dalton, as by his deed to me bearing date the second day of October,
1794, fully appears.'" This land was deeded by Thomas Cutts, of Saco, Aug. 10,
1797, to James Redlon, Thomas Redlou, John Bryant, Ichabod Cozens, Thomas
Lewis, and Kufus Kimball, of the plantation of Little Falls, in the County of York.
A tract of land, known as the "College Right," bordered on the Saco River below
the "Dalton Right," ami was separated from it by a " twenty-rod strip," the south-
east boundary being the present line between the land of Tristram Baton and the
" Hobson Field," so called, which was the lot purchased by Daniel Field, who had
married Rachel Redlon, and settled at Little Falls at the same time as his brothers-
in-law. Mr. Field's original house stood on the elevation near the present line-
fence between the old Martin farm and Hobson's field. After the death of Mr. Field,
Joseph Decker, who had married his daughter Annie, lived in the house, and the
widow lived there with them until carried to Greenwood by Paul Wentworth. The
land of Daniel Field extended down the river to the present line between Amos
Hobson and Daniel Decker. Zachariah Field, a son of Daniel and Rachel, once
built a house on his father's land on the river bank, and near " Decker's Landing"
(now in Mr. Hobsou's pasture); he soon moved to Cornish, however, and some
family now unknown occupied his house. Zachariah came back to Phillipsburgh,
and built a house on the road-side near his father's, just back of the well-known
juniper-tree, and near the creek that crosses the road there. These primitive
dwellings of the early settlers have long since become obsolete, and every trace
(except the iudention of the old cellars aud some fragments of the chimuey foun-



BEDLONS OF HOLLIS, MAINE. 607

in Scarborough on sleds in winter ; at times during summer, nearly all
the men and boys in the plantation were absent cutting marsh hay and
stacking it for winter, while the brave, faithful wives and daughters were
at home, watching the cows and growing crops, and keeping the bears
away. There were no mills near, and their corn was pounded into " samp "
by hand. Almost as soon as their houses were up, Thomas built a "samp-
mill " by cutting down a large beech tree, in the stump of which he burned
out a cavity that would hold about a bushel ; over this he erected a
sweep and pounder, which had a long cross-bar running through it, so ad-
justed that a man could stand on each side and the two work the sweep
in reducing the corn to the coarse meal, then called "corn-samp"; this
was a laborious process, and but little was pounded at one time. Mr.
Redlon's sweep and mortar was the best in the neighborhood and couM
be heard from morning to night, as the neighbors gathered to dress their
corn and took their turns at the sweep-handles. But Mr. Redlon was gain-
ing ground, and as soon as his farm produced sufficient hay, and food for
his family, this rude instrument gave place to the wheel and water power.
All the Redlons were natural mechanics, and with a few tools and plenty
of lumber could construct almost anything, from a boot-jack to a saw-mill ;
and they determined to make the water that was daily running across
their lands grind their grain. " Uncle Thomas " was always the leader in
every pioneer enterprise, and he called his neighbors together one winter

dations) has long ago been removed. The " twenty-rod strip " of land between the
Dalton aud College Rights was " sold for taxes " to Elliot G. Vaughan, who con-
veyed it thence to John Redlon, another brother of Rachel Fields, who built a log-
house near where the present brick house stands, and commenced to clear a farm
there ; he sold to Thomas Ridlon, who lived above, and removed to the State of
Vermont. (See Ridlons of Ohio, in this book) . Thomas Ridlon conveyed the " twen-
ty-rod strip " to his son Thomas, and David Martin, who married his daughter Eunice
(she was living, in 1882, aged 95, and as active as a. girl), and these young men built
their houses on that land; the former, on the hill in the "Ridlon neighborhood,"
so called (now standing and occupied by John Sawyer), the latter, on the same site
where he subsequently built the brick house now owned by Tristram Eaton. Thomas
Ridlon's part of the Dalton Right commenced on the northwest side of the " twenty-
rod strip," and extended up river to the land of his brother, James Redlon, the
present line between the farms of Thomas C. Sawyer and Jacob Townsend. This
land reached backward from Saco River southwest beyond "Young's Meadow
Pond" (now known as Wales Pond), from whence issued " Ridlon's Brook," on
which "Ridlon's mills" were built. Thomas built a log-cabin on the bank of the
brook, near the present carding-mill. James Redlon's division of the Dalton Right
extended from the northwest line of his brother's land (last mentioned) to the Coz-
ens farm, the northwestern boundary being the present line between the farms of
Col. Nicholas Ridlon and the brothers, Joseph H. Ridlon and Greenleaf Ridlon, — all
descendants of the original possessor, who built his first house near where his son
Robert Ridlon since lived. The Cozens portion of the Dalton Right extended
from the northwestern boundary of the laud of James Redlon (who had mar-
ried Hannah Cozens) to the southwestern line of Thomas Lewis, who owned the
farm since known as the " Uncle Joe Ridlon place," and now owned by his eldest sur-
viving son, Dea. Joseph Ridlon, of Gorham, Me. The lot of Thomas Lewis seems
to have been larger than the other divisions of the Dalton Right; at any rate, it
extended northwest as far as the land now owned by Abijah Usher, and possibly as
far as the farm of Orrin Davis and Yates Rogers. Abraham Redlon, a younger
brother of Thomas, James, and John, who first settled at " Deerwander," in the
south part of Phillipsburgh, purchased the laud between the Lewis farm and the
present southeast line of Orrin Davis, and lived there some years before his emi-
gration to Ohio in 1800; but I do not know the origiual owner of this lot. I
think John Bryant and Caleb Kimball had their lots on the southwest ends of
the Cozens and James Redlon lots, and they cleared farms and built houses



008 BEDLONS OF HOLLIS, MAINS.

day, and suggested that they make preparations to erect a mill the next
spring; this proposition received the favorable consideration of all, and
like the servants of Nehemiah anciently, they said, "We will arise ami
build. 1 ' A rude schedule for the frame was drawn out, and before the
snow was gone, the timber was cut, hewed, mortised, and ready to raise.
Thomas yoked the oxen, and with his eldest son started across Sebago
Lake to get the millstones which had been previously ordered of a stone-
cutter on the other side. It was now near spring, and the ice not strong.
When on their return they had reached the lake, and it was smooth sled-
ding, the father commanded Thomas, Jr., to remove the chain from the
stones with which they had been secured to the sleds ; this excited the
curiosity of the son, but subsequently proved the prudence of the father,
for as they were coming near the southern shore the ice gave way, and the
millstones sank to the bottom, while by driving hard the sprightly team
was saved; had the chain which was let through the eye of the stones re-
mained, all would have gone to the bottom together. Another pair of
millstones had to be ordered, as the water was too dee]) to recover the
first set. The grist-mill was completed and ready for grinding the corn
harvested the following autumn. From this time nearly all the inhabi-
tants of South Limington and North Buxton had their grain ground at
" Ridlon's Mill " ; the former bringing theirs on horse-back, and the latter
taking theirs across the Saco River in boats. It must have been a pleas-



there, the foundations of which I saw many times in my boyhood days. The
Bryant house was on the ridge southeast from "Ridlon's Brook," and now in
the field of Timothy Tarbox, and once a part of the well-known " Thornton Lot,"
owned by Gill Thornton, of Saco. The Kimball house was situated on the
high but level land far beyond "Ridlon's Brook" on the northwest, and in the well-
known " old Kimball Field," since called the "Trip Field," because owned by Bill
Trip, the blacksmith, of Bonnie Eagle. There was another dwelling-house in that
neighborhood, called the " Temple Place." It was on the old road that once led
from the house of Thomas Ridlon, the younger, in the " Ridlon neighborhood,"
through the woods to the County-road near the Cyrus Beau place. This house was
at the foot of the hill about half a mile from Thomas Ridlon's, and only a few feet
from a well-known spring of cool water, now in John Ridlon's pasture. When a
boy I have spent many pleasant hours building ovens with the old bricks once in
the chimney of the Temple house, and the old foundation may still be seen. Wil-
liam Ridlon, son of Thomas, Sr., once cleared laud on the " Dalton Right," where
Dr. Edward Peabody has since owned, and built a barn. I think William had a house
there, but am not positive. Mr. Cozens built a barn in a small field on the back
end of his lot, not far from the house of Caleb Kimball. This lot became the farm
of Nicholas Ridlon, son of James, Sr. Thomas Lewis sold his lot to Joseph Rid-
lon, another sou, who built the nice farm-buildings now known as the "Uncle Joe
Ridlon Place," near the village of Bonnie Eagle. The "Dalton Right" has been
divided and subdivided many times, but much of the territory is still owned by the
Ridlons and their descendants; it was a valuable tract of land, and produced every
kind of grain and vegetables in abundance. From early childhood I have known
every acre of this land first settled by my ancestors ; with my venerable grandfather
I followed the mossy paths and winding wood-roads that led through the noble pine
forests around the Ridlon farms; and went with my father, when, with gun in
hand, at the close of the day, he hunted for partridges and pigeons. I have crept
around the greenwood borders of the old, neglected clearings and bush-grown fields,
where the early Ridlons followed the plough and gathered their harvests ; and in
maturer years I have fished and trapped along the " Ridlon Brook," until every
nook and corner is familiar to me. I can still find the cool springs that bubble
from the grassy margins of the woodlands, to which my ancestors went from their
fields to slake their thirst, and point to places where my grandfather killed 'coons
and wildcats long before my memory. Those old pioneers located well, and have
left their descendants a rich patrimony.



BEDLONS OF HOLLIS, MAINE. 609

ant sight when there were fifteen or twenty horses hitched to the trees
around this mill — as was frequently the case — some being unladen and
others all ready to start with their burdens, while the men, who were
waiting for their grists, collected in groups to discuss the news and nar-
rate the latest adventures of the settlement. As provisions for the fam-
ily was the first necessity, a corn-mill was considered a great advantage in
a new plantation ; and as this first hydraulic enterprise proved a success,
the settlers soon entered into a compact to build a saw-mill. Thomas and
James Redlon were chosen to go down to Saco Falls and " view a good
mill " from which to take a plan for the new mill. Together the neigh-
bors went to the woods and cut timber for the mill-frame, which was
hewed on the spot where it fell ; this was drawn to the bank in winter
and put up the following spring. The saw-mill was higher up the stream
than the grist-mill, and the water was carried to the lower wheel by a long
spout. It was a great day for the people of the plantation, when the
saw-mill was dedicated, and started for the first time. All the settlers
were duly notified, and promptly assembled at the house of " Uncle
Thomas " and about the new mill ; every part was carefully examined ;
some thought it would run and others shook their heads. A barrel of
rum was brought from Saco for the occasion. The women and children
were there from every home in the clearing to share in the excitement
and festivities of the day, and when the hour arrived for the ceremony to
commence all were seated on blocks and timber near the mill. Songs
were sung, and Mr. Field made a speech in which he " named the mill."
Thomas Redlon hoisted the gate and the great wheel commenced to
move with a creaking sound ; the saw began to rise, and the astonished
people shouted "There she goes! there she goes !" while the women
clapped their hands and sang, the children screamed, the dogs howled,
and every wild beast escaped to the deep woods. Those were merry
days for the settlers, and the festivities of such occasions served to lighten
toil and drive away care. These mills were the most important adjunct
of a new settlement, and the plantation was looked upon as a permanent
institution from the hour they proved their capacity for grinding their
grain and sawing their lumber. They could now erect good frame and
finished houses, and have the corn reduced to fine meal without making
their way to Saco with pack-horse or sack-on-shoulder. All went to their
work with new and cheerful interest, and feelings of independence;
while the stalwart men were cutting timber for their new houses, they
were animated by the industrious clatter of the new mills ; as the wives
and daughters were at the wheel and loom, they were no longer troubled
about the meal in the barrel, for while the ground produced corn, there
could be no want.

There were times when the families of the Redlons were pinched for
food before their mills were built, and during the first years of their
settlement at Little Falls. Sometimes the mothers would sit up with
their children until midnight, waiting the return of their husbands from



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 79 of 103)