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 80 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 80 of 103)
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Saco, whither they had gone to procure provisions, and would then bake
bread before going to bed to satisfy their hunger. At one time Thomas
Redlon' s family were out of food, and he started early for Saco on foot to
procure meal and groceries. When he reached Smith's (supposed to have
been Daniel Smith, 1st, who lived near Smith's bridge) a woman hailed
him from her door and asked him if he had any breakfast; and on learn-
ing his errand brought him a biscuit as large as his "fist," which he put in
39



610 IlEDLONS OF 1IOLLIS, MAINE.

his pocket and went forward. When he reached Saco Falls he could find no
corn for sale, and was obliged to go down past his old home at the " Ferry"
to the vessel of Colonel Cutts to fill his sack. Returning to the mill at
the "Falls," he rested and ate his biscuit while his corn was being ground.
About two o'clock in the afternoon lie shouldered his two bushels of
meal (minus the miller's toll), and with a bundle of salt fish under his
arm, and a keg of molasses in his hand, he started homeward. He
stopped to rest several times, and once put down his burdens and drank
from a brook. It was a late hour when he reached home, and he was al-
most dead with weariness and hunger, but his good wife Pattie was up
and soon prepared him some food. Robert Martin mentions a similar ex-
perience, and tradition proves that such was the lot of the early settlers
frequently.

Thomas Redlon and his brother James were among the first in the plan-
tation to build frame-houses, and that of Thomas was the largest in the
town at that time. The timbers of which it was constructed were very
large and of the best pine; the clapboards and shingles were shaved by
hand ; the chimney, built of stone, was so large that one could sit in the
corner and look out upon the stars of heaven ; the rooms were partitioned
with wide pine boards, and very capacious, while hanging around the
walls were the small farming tools. The fire-place over which the cooking
was done was so broad and high that the crane would " swing over Pat-
tie's head," and the wood six feet long could be burned. This dwelling
stood on the same spot where the " Aunt Judith Ridlon house '' now
stands, and the barn was between the house and the brook. When this old
mansion was taken down, the beams were sawed into boards with which to
cover the present house. Mr. Redlon lived in the old house until the death
of his wife, which must have been about the years 1820-24 ; for Thomas
B. Ridlon, of Bridgton, was then living with his grandparents, and re-
members when his grandfather came down to the old barn, weeping, and
said, "Tommy, your grandmarm is dead"; he slept with his grandfather
that summer, and says the old man groaned dreadfully as soon as he lay
down upon his bed. The old house was becoming dilapidated and cold,
and as the children had all married and settled in their own homes, a
small house would do for "Uncle Thomas" and his two maiden-daughters,
Judith and Sarah, who lived with him at that time, and the one since
called the " Aunt Judith Ridlon house " was then built. Mr. Redlon
continued to live in his new house until killed at his own door, in the
year 1830. He had been out to his plains-lot for a load of wood, and as
he went between his steers to disconnect them from the sled, they became
restless, threw him down, and drew the load over him, killing him in-
stantly. This was a solemn day for the neighbors, and as the sad news
spread, the people left their work and hastened to the place. David Mar-
tin, a son-in-law, and Samuel Ridlon, a grandson, unloaded the wood, and
took the body to the house. Everybody in the community, for many
miles around, came to Mr. Redlon's funeral. He had been a man of great
influence, and was widely known as an honest, reliable neighbor and
citizen.

In personal appearance he was a most formidable man, and there were
none like him. He was more than six feet in height, and so broad across
his shoulders that he could lie on his back in a team-cart and touch both
sides at once ; his hips were so wide that, when walking, he carried his
legs far apart and made a double track with his feet. His weight was



BEDLONS OF HOLLIS, MAINE. 611

about two hundred pounds, but he was never fleshy ; his frame was gi-
gantic, and clothed with muscles that were strong as iron. No man con-
temporary with him ever claimed to be his equal in strength, nor ever
made an attempt to compete with him. His arms were so long that his
hands reached his knees when walking ; his neck was short and very
thick ; his head large and well formed ; his forehead broad and high, and
in old age was very smooth and fair ; his hair, which was worn quite long,
was jet-black, and fell in curls around his neck; his brows were exceed-
ingly long and thick ; his eyes were dark gray, deep set, and small, but
remarkably sharp and expressive ; his cheek-bones wide and prominent ;
nose short and round at the end ; mouth and chin broad, and his upper-
lip extremely wide and full. There was a peculiar, cool, determined ex-
pression always upon his face when undisturbed. He had great kindness
of heart and generosity of disposition, and a better neighbor could not
be found ; but when his temper was aroused he was like a mad tiger let
loose, and woe to the man or beast that stood in his way.

He was a genuine pioneer adventurer, great woodsman and hunter, and
many stories have been told of his adventures in his tours through the
forests. He once called his dog, and with gun on his shoulder, started for
" Deerwander," some four miles away, to find large game. He soon
heard his dog bark, and approaching the place he saw a large bear in the
forks of an oak. Taking good aim he brought bruin to the ground.
There was no means of taking his prize home but to drag it, and twisting
a withe into the bear's jaws, he took it over his brawny shoulder and
started toward the Saco River. When going down hill he made good
headway, but when he came to an ascent the bear was so heavy he was
compelled to go backwards and pull him along a few feet at a time. He
reached the bank of the river just as the sun was going down, left the
bear on the ice, and returned home ; the next morning he took a man with
him and drew the carcass home, and on weighing it the steelyards indi-
cated over four hundred pounds.

While coming from his timber-lot one day in the latter part of winter,
he discovered a bear's den under a large windfall. Taking his son Thomas
and his dog, and arming himself with a long-handled axe, he started for
the woods again. When he reached the den he placed the boy behind
him and set the dog a-barking before the opening where the bear had
gone in. He had not long to wait before her bearship put forth her head,
and in an instant the axe went crashing through her skull. When she
was taken out, two nice fat cubs were found in the den, which were also
dispatched, and the father and son returned home loaded with game.

He once fell from a mill-frame into the falls on Saco River, and it being
winter, he was carried under the ice. The people who saw him were par-
alyzed with fear, and no one supposed he would be seen again before the
ice left the river, but to their great astonishment they saw him crawling
out upon the thick ice below the falls. When he returned to his work un-
harmed, the master-millwright approached him and said, " Well, Thomas,
I am glad it was you who fell in! " At this Mr. Redlon drew back his
arm and would have dealt the master-workman a blow, but he made haste
to apologize by saying, " Hold ! hold ! Thomas, I mean that no other man
could have gone under the ice and come out alive."

He was once hanging a boom on the west bank of Saco River, and in
company with several others was discussing some political question.
Among the number present was one Ed. Rogers, a saucy Irishman, and



612 TtEDLOXS OF IIOLLIS, MAINE.

as Mr. Redlon had taken the ring of a heavy chain in his hand, and was
stooping down to put it around the boom-stick, Rogers called him a liar.
In an instant the insulted man sprung to the bank, and with herculean
strength struck at his antagonist with the chain. His son Thomas saw
what was coming, and quickly pulled Rogers one side, and just saved him
from being killed. The chain cut a limb from a tree overhead as large as
a man's thumb.

At one time Mr. Redlon's sheep had been scattered by dogs, and it was
a long time before the flock was gathered back. Hearing there was a
stray wether at a barn in Limington, he went there and found it to be
his own. When he could not lead the sheep, he took it across his broad
shoulders and carried it nearly nine miles, to his home in Hollis. This
was a feat of strength few men could carry out.

Thomas Redlon was a soldier of the Revolution. He served two terms
in the army. His first enlistment was in John Crane's artillery, the sec-
ond under Col. James Scammon, of Saco. He was at the fortification of
Dorchester Heights, and at the surrender of Burgoyne. He said when he
reached the army the second time he had considerable money, but finding
his uncle, Daniel Field, and brother Daniel, very destitute, he divided
with them.* One of his company came home from the army sick, and
called at the house of Mr. Redlon to tell his family, "You will never see
Thomas again, for I marched with him so far north that the north star
was south of us, and he has been going in the same direction six weeks
since I came away." Mr. Redlon returned home in a few days after, to the
surprise of his friends. The heavy " Queen's-arm " gun carried by him in
the army was long kept in the house of his son Thomas, and I have fired
it when a boy ; but my father used the barrel to burn out bow-holes in
his yokes, and it was spoiled. This gun was long, clamped, and iron-
trimmed, and with it Mr. Redlon killed many bears and other wild ani-
mals after his return from the army.

He was buried in the "Old Ridlon Burying-ground," on the hill beyond
the homestead-buildings of his brother James, but there is now nothing
but small ledge stones at his grave to mark the place of his earthly rest.
Two of his eleven children are now living, each rising ninety-five years of
age, and well preserved physically and mentally.

Mary Redloil 3 (2), second daughter of Matthias' 2 (1), was born in
Saco, Me., June 2, 1758, and was burned to death in the house of James
Edgecomb, at "Edgecomb's Meadow," so called, April 10, 1767, together
with Reliance, daughter of James Edgecomb, and Elizabeth, daughter of
Samuel Fletcher. Mary was a niece of Mr. Edgecomb, and was at his
home on a visit, when, while the heads of the family were absent for the
night in Scarborough, the house took fire while these children were asleep,
and all were burned so their bodies were not distinguishable when found
in the ruins the next day. This sad occurrence was not known to Mr.
Edgecomb and his wife until, as they were returning the next morning,
they saw the smoke rising from the debris.

John Redloil 8 (3), fourth son of Matthias' 2 (1), was born in Saco, Me.,
Nov. 11, 1760; married Dec. 15, 1779, Abigail Holmes, of the town of

♦Daniel Field married his sister Rachel, and was called "brother;" but who
was the "Uncle Daniel Field"? Was the mother of Daniel Field, Jr., an Edge
comb and sister of Matthias Redlon's wife? He was telling this to his children_
and according to common custom would call his brother-in-law "brother Daniel."



REDLONS OF IIOLLIS, MAINE. 613

Scarborough, and settled first in his native town. He subsequently fol-
lowed his brothers to Little Falls Plantation, now in Hollis, York County,
and cleared a farm on a twenty-rod strip between the "College Right"
and "Dalton Right," so called. Mr. Redlon's house, built of logs, was
near where the brick-house, known as the "Uncle David Martin house,"
now stands, and he owned that farm and the land on the hill in the "Rid-
lon Neighborhood," where Thomas Ridlon, Jr., built his house years after
wards. John lived at Little Falls Plantation only about ten or twelve
years when he removed to Vermont, where he purchased a large tract of
land and built a house ; this was about 1810. His wife died during his resi-
dence in Vermont, and becoming discouraged in cultivating a rocky soil,
and hearing from his brother Abraham from Ohio, about the beauties of
the western country and the fertility of the soil there, he sold out and
emigrated West. Mr. Redlon's first settlement in Ohio was in Miami
County, where he lived many years; but he subsequently removed with
his only surviving son further north, in Auglaize County, where he con-
tinued till his death. He had married a second wife in Vermont whose
name has not reached me, but he had no children by this woman, who also
predeceased her husband.

The surname of this man, written by his father in his family record,
was spelled "Redlon; " during his residence in Hollis and Vermont,
"Ridlon," and after his settlement in the West, "Redley." He was in
the war of the Revolution with his brothers, having first enlisted in John
Crane's Artillery Company, and under Col. Edmund Phinney, of Gorham,
Me. He was with General Knox and frequently saw Washington. Mr.
Redlon spent his last days in the family of his son and namesake in
Waynesfield, O., where he died in 1866, aged 106 years 3 months. He
was never known to be sick, and died of old age. He retained his facul-
ties to a remarkable degree, and when more than a hundred years old
would carry a chair into his orchard and sit to shoot the birds that came
for plums and cherries. He was naturally quiet and sobei - , but when he
had taken some spirits he became communicative, and would spend hours
relating his early adventures in the woods of Maine (then Massachusetts),
and hardships in the army. He was not tall, but resembled his brother
Thomas, before mentioned, in build. He was singularly broad across his
shoulders and hips, but small at the waist. Erect and full-chested, he car-
ried himself gracefully when walking. He had black hair, which inclined
to curl ; bald crown; broad, smooth forehead ; heavy, outstanding brows;
gray eyes, oval face, red cheeks, and a short, thick nose. Like all his
relatives he had the broad mouth and chin so characteristic of the people
of northern Europe, from whence his grandfather came. When a young
man he was seen to spring over a line under which he could walk when
erect. My grandfather has told many remarkable adventures in which
this uncle was involved in the army of the Revolution. He seems to have
been a courageous, unflinching soldier, and a man of peaceable, honest
habits. He had kept some nice black-walnut boards in his barn for many
years, from which he desired his coffin to be made when he died ; this wish
was complied with, but he was so broad that his body could not be
placed in it, and another was made of whitewood. At the burial the
remains were escorted by a detachment of military headed by two gen-
erals mounted on white horses, all attended by a band of music by
which a dirge was played as the procession moved to the cemetery. His
grave was also too narrow to admit the casket, and the sexton was obliged



614 EEDLONS OF IIOLLIS, MAINE.

to enlarge it before he could be interred. Two years after his burial his
body was exhumed for removal to another cemetery, and on opening the
coffin it was found to look as fresh and natural as when he died.

A beautifully embroidered silk banner, now in the possession of his
granddaughter, was made and presented to Mr. Kedlon by the ladies of
St. Mary on his one hundred and sixth birthday. This banner was about
four feet square, corded and tasseled with blue and gold, suspended on a
highly-finished rosewood staff, and bore the following inscription wrought
in large letters with silk : —

JOHN REDLON,

A SOLDIER OF THE REVOLUTION.

AGED 106 YEARS.

This banner was carried in the funeral procession when Mr. Redlon was
buried, and is now kept with the greatest care by his descendants. An ac-
count of his life and adventures was published in the local newspapers at
the time of his death, and a condensed biographical sketch was published
by the author in the New England Historical-Genealogical Register in 1876.
His name on the monument at his grave is spelled "Redlon" according
to his original usage, but his descendants now universally spell theirs
Medley and Ridley.*

Abraham Redlon 3 (2), fifth son of Matthias 2 (1), was born in Saco,
Me., — then Pepperellborough, — Sept. 21, 1763; married Aug. 23, 1786,
to Patience, daughter of Samuel Tibbetts f (sometime of Rochester, N.
H.), and was then styled, — by Rev. John Fairfield, who performed the
wedding ceremony, — "of Deerwander," a locality now in the south-west
part of Hollis, York County, Me. From this I presume Abraham Red-
lon first settled in that section, somewhere near the "Warren Neighbor-
hood," so called, and as his brother Thomas used to go frequently to
"Deerwander" to hunt, I think he may have been joined by Abraham in
his forest adventures. He subsequently removed to " Little Falls Plan-
tation," where his father and brothers had previously settled, and cleared
a small farm on a part of the Thomas Lewis' division of the "Dalton
Right "land and now belonging to the "Uncle Joe Ridlon's place." Mr. Red-
Ion's house is said to have been in the pasture, in front of the Yates Rod-

*The author visited Waynesfield, 0., iu 1876. and spent several days with the
grandchildren of the old soldier, John Redlon. He outlived all his children, and
none of the surname now live in the town; but there are several daughters of his
son John living near their mother in Waynesfield ; these had never seen a person of
the name until the author of this book visited them. The family resembles in
features and habits our New England Redlons, and expressed the deepest interest
in hearing from their kindred in the East. I had the pleasure of preaching in the
neighborhood.

fThe family of Tibbetts is descended from Henry and his wife Eliza, who came
from London, Eng., in the ship "James" in 1635, accompanied by a sister Remem-
brance, and his two sous, Jeremy and Samuel ; the former aged four and the latter two
years. In the ship's clearance Henry Tibbetts is called " Shoe-maker." He settled
at Dover Neck, in New Hampshire, and had other issue. The families were re-
markably prolific, and descendants are now scattered into every state of the Union.
They are noted for their scholarship, mechanical capabilities, precision, order, and
great will-force. They are compact of build, large of bone, muscular, and of Strong
constitution. Many have reached a great age. Nearly all have gray hair when
young. Patience Tibbetts, who became the wife of Abraham Redlon. was aunt to
Gideon Tibbetts, whose daughter Hannah was married to Samuel Ridlon, and her
sou is author of this book. (See note on the Bunker and Walker families in fol-
lowing pages.)



BEDLONS OF HOLLIS, MAINE. 615

g;ers' farm, now owned by John Lane, where there is still an old
well and some other indications of a dwelling. If that was the site of
Abraham Redlon's house, some of the Ridlon family were not very defi-
nite in their description of his place of residence, for they said " Uncle
Abraham's house was on the hill, beyond Uncle Joe Ridlon's, on the old
road, and close to the first school-house." This traditionary account is
supported by an old document in my possession, in which is found the
agreement, drawn up and signed by the settlers, to build a school-house
"near the house of Abraham Ridlon." The " old road " ran back of the
present oak woods, and there are still plenty of men living who went to
school in the first school-house that was built there. In the year 1793
Abraham Redlon had three children to attend school there, according to
the petition before mentioned, which bears his autograph written that
year. Some of the family claim that Mr. Redlon once lived between his
brothers, Thomas and James, on the little knoll in the field of Stephen
Higgins, near the field-corner of Thomas C. Sawyer, which, if true, must
have been previous to his settlement above Bonnie Eagle Village, for he
was domiciled there when he sold and emigrated to Ohio in 1800.

Elder Witham, of Standish, Me., made a tour through Ohio, in the
year 1788, and purchased several thousand acres of land there. He re-
turned to New England the same year, and induced many families to go
back with him to settle on his land. The letters forwarded by those
who had accompanied Mr. Witham, when he came back to Maine the
following autumn, gave such a glowing description of the climate, soil,
timber, and water, that many families in Standish, Buxton, and Hollis
(then Phillipsburgh), emigrated to Ohio the next spring. Each family
was provided with a heavy covered wagon and two strong horses. Mr.
Redlon employed William West to go to Haverhill, Mass., and purchase
a large pair of horses ; these were so broad across the back that Joseph
Decker (afterwards called the " Massachusetts Prophet ") stood upon one
of them and rode about the yard before Thomas Redlon's house. As
soon as Abraham Redlon sold his farm in Phillipsburgh he moved his
family into the house of his brother Thomas, and commenced making
preparation for his emigration. Old Mr. Tibbetts, Mr. Redlon's father-
in-law, was a shoe-maker by trade, and was making harnesses for the
horses, while his wife assisted Patience, her daughter, in making clothes
for the children. Matthias Redlon, Abraham's father, and Thomas, his
brother, built the body for the wagon. When all was ready the family
went down to Moderation Falls, and spent their last night with their aged
parents. At an early hour the next morning all the relatives and neigh-
bors came to Old Matthias Redlon's to see Abraham's family before they
left. It was a sad scene. The aged parents, brothers, sisters, and
cousins, were to look upon their kindred for the last time on earth. Each
moved forward and gave the parting hand ; the children were handed
down from the wagon and kissed for the last time; the "goodbye" was
spoken amid falling tears, and the train moved away toward Salmon
Falls, where it was to be joined by other families. The friends that re-
mained behind, watched their departing kindred till out of sight, and then
returned slowly and sadly homeward.

The journey was a long and tiresome one. The emigrants left New
England in "fiax-bloom time " (June), and did not reach their destination
until " roast-ear time " (September). When they reached western Vir-
ginia their horses had become badly chafed, and their shoulders were so



616 REDLOXS OF HOLLIS, MAINE.

sore that the emigrants made a stop of several weeks to give the horses
rest. They were in a Dutch settlement, and the men threshed grain and
the women spun linen to pay their board and horse-keeping. One of Mr.
Redlon's horses was not in a condition to travel at the time the others
were ready to resume their journey, and it was exchanged for a " tight-
bitted mare." Samuel Ridlen, one of the sons of Abraham, informed
me that they had a very pleasant time on the way to Ohio. The men
raced horses by day, and at evening tested their strength by wrestling.
The women took their knitting-work with them and made the time profit-
able. The teams were drawn together in a circle at evening, and while
the men cared for the horses, the women were busy around the camp-fires
cooking food for supper. The women and children slept in the wagons,
and the men took turns in watching the horses. Xo serious accident oc-
curred till the train reached the Alleghany mountains, where they found
a hard road. The ascent was so steep they were obliged to put two
teams together and draw one wagon up the mountain a mile, and then
return for another. In going down on the Ohio side, the road was so
steep and rough that long poles were fastened to the sides of their car-
riages, and held by men on the upper side, to prevent them from cap-
sizing. On the way down, a colt, on which Timothy Redlon, Abraham's
eldest son, was riding, stumbled and threw the lad, breaking his arm. A
halt was made, and the arm dressed as best it could be, but it was very
painful, and the movements of the colt and the jolting of the wagons
caused the arm to swell badly.

At Redstone Creek, on the bank of the Ohio River, the company tar-
ried several days and built flat-boats upon which to transport their house-
hold goods down to Cincinnati. A young man had joined their company,
who claimed to be on his way to southern Ohio, prospecting for farm-



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 80 of 103)