Data Base

Riddle Newsletter - Identity of John Riddle’s Missing Daughters



Source Information

  • Title Riddle Newsletter - Identity of John Riddle’s Missing Daughters 
    Author Richard Riddle 
    Source ID S369 
    Text Identity of John Riddle's Missing Daughters Discovered
    Richard Riddle
    You will recall that in my book Some More Riddles of North Carolina, John W. Riddle, Sr. sold his land in Stokes County, North Carolina on October 9, 1802, moved his family to what is now Yancey County, where they settled on the banks of the Cain River in 1805.

    Where was John and his family between 1802 and 1805? Was he in South Carolina? If he was, this would explain why, on census records, some of his children claimed they came from South Carolina.

    Based on the 1800 Stokes County census, he had with him four males and six females, including his wife. The 1810 Buncombe (Yancey) County, North Carolina census records the number and ages of John and his family.

    "Of six males, one male less than ten years old, two between ten and sixteen, one between sixteen and twenty-six, one between twenty-six and forty-five, and one over forty-five.

    "Five females are also recorded, two less than ten years old, one between ten and sixteen, one between sixteen and twenty-six, one over forty-five."

    From later census records we are able to learn the names of John’s five sons, William, John Jr., Benjamin, Robert, and Nathan.
    Only two of the five females that appear in the 1810 census have been identified. The female over forty-five is assumed to be John’s wife. Her name is still unknown. The one female between ten and sixteen is assumed to be "Peggy" Margaret who would later marry Charles N. Bailey and had eleven children. The mystery is, what happened to John’s three missing daughters?

    Two of the missing daughters would have been born between 1800 and 1809 and the other one born between 1785 and 1794. Almost 200 years later we may have found John’s three missing daughters.

    On Saturday, September 13, 1997, Sandra Allen Fender of Morganton, North Carolina contacted me and told me that she, Bill Hensley, and Millard Murdock had been working on the McMahan family genealogy and that they had found something that may be of interest to me.
    They had been reading the Yancey County Probate Minute Docket 1834-1846 (Microfilm # c.107.3000.2) and found a series of deeds that dealt with land that John Riddle, Sr. owned when he died on March 18, 1844. John’s son Benjamin Tyre Riddle was appointed by the Yancey County 1844 Spring Court to be the administrator of his estate. These probate minutes are a record of John’s heirs giving or selling to Benjamin their interest in the lands owned by John in settlement of his estate.

    Minutes of Fall Term 1844
    A deed from John Riddle to Benjamin Riddle for his undivided interest in the lands of John Riddle sen. dec. for the consideration of ....... Eighty Dollars bearing the date of August 17th 1844 was previously ..... in open court by Order of William Wilson. A deed from William Riddle, Adniram Allen and wife Lucy, Edmond McMahan and wife Polly to Benjamin Riddle for the consideration of Two Hundred Forty Dollars for undivided interest in Two Hundred seventy acres of land which John Riddle sen. dec. died in possession of, bearing the date of July 9th 1844, was duly processed in open court by John Wheeler ...... Recorded and .. to be Registered

    A deed from Archibald McMahan and wife Jane McMahan to Benjamin Riddle for their undivided interest in ..... Hundred and seventy acres of land which John Riddle, sen. dec. died in possession of for the sum of Eighty Dollars, bearing the date of September 19th 1844, was acknowledged in open court by ....... Recorded and ... to be Registered.

    A deed from Charles Bailey and wife Margaret to Benjamin Riddle for their undivided interest in ...... Hundred and seventy acres of land that John Riddle, sen. dec. died in possession of for the sum of Eighty Dollars bearing the date of October 10th 1844 was .....

    We know that the John Riddle mentioned in the first deed is John W. Riddle, Jr. the son of John W. Riddle, Sr. and that he is conveying his interest in his father’s land to his brother Ben for $80.00. In the second deed, William Riddle son of John Sr., Adniram Allen and wife Lucy, Edmond McMahan and wife Polly convey their interest in John’s land to Ben for $240.00.

    The above record provides a strong circumstantial case that Lucy or Lucendia, wife of Adniram Allen, and Polly wife of Edmond McMahan are daughters of John, Sr. Apparently three children, William, Lucy, and Polly are involved in this transaction with each child receiving $80.00 for their share of John’s land.

    We said earlier that one of the unidentified daughters was born between 1785 and 1794. This is about the age bracket for Lucy. Many of the Allen family researchers have recorded that Lucy’s family name may have been Koon, Koontz, or Coon but no one has provided proof. Until such evidence is produced I will regard Lucy as one of the missing daughters of John W. Riddle, Sr.

    Polly, wife of Edmond McMahan is also mentioned in the second deed. Many of the Wilson and McMahan family researchers claim that the wife of Edmond McMahan was Mary Ann "Polly" Wilson. Jeri Garner is a McMahan family researcher and has accumulated a large amount of McMahan history.

    From Jeri Garner’s Web Page dealing with McMahans we read the following:
    "James Balford ‘Jim Bally’ McMahan went from Sevier County, Tennessee to Greenville, South Carolina via Yancey County, North Carolina to help his father, Archibald McMahan II, taking a drove of mules to market. In Yancey County, North Carolina Ned Wilson, father of Polly Ann, had a ‘stop’ (a place for drovers to bed down, and a pen to keep the livestock).

    Jim Bally and his father stopped at Wilson’s. Polly Ann helped serve breakfast the next morning.

    Jim Bally liked her looks so much that when his father paid him for his work, he bought himself a fine suit of clothes and came back to Wilson’s, as Granny Mc said, ‘this time he came a-courting.’ Later they were married and he took his bride to Sevier County, Tennessee to live."

    So now we find that Mary "Polly" Ann Wilson was not the wife of Edmond McMahan but she was the wife of James Balford, ‘Jim Bally’ McMahan. Polly was over 97 when she passed away and is buried in the Aaron Proffitt Cemetery, Sevier County, Tennessee.
    If the "Polly", wife of Edmond McMahan is not Mary "Polly" Ann Wilson could she be Mary "Polly" Riddle? Considering the age of John Riddle’s two missing daughters, 1800 and 1809, this Polly, born 1805 and the wife of Edmond, fits this age bracket.

    In view of the referenced deed, the supporting information above, and the age match, I am convinced that this Polly is Mary "Polly" Riddle, daughter of John W. Riddle, Sr.

    Next, the deed from Archibald McMahan and wife Jane McMahan wherein they are paid $80.00 for a child’s share for their undivided interest in John Riddle Sr.’s land, adds to the circumstantial evidence that Jane is John’s daughter.

    This Archibald McMahan is the nephew of the Tennessee Archibald mentioned above. He was born in 1803 and is the son of James and Elendor McMahan.

    Archibald and Jane were married about 1823. She is identified as "Jinsey", age 40 in the 1850 Yancey County census.
    In the 1860 and 1870 Yancey County census, she is identified as Jane, age 55 and age 64. My estimate of her birth year, 1804 matches the age bracket, 1800 to 1809, of the remaining missing daughter of John Riddle, Sr. I now regard Jane "Jinsey", the wife of Archibald McMahan the daughter of John W. Riddle, Sr.

    In the deed of Charles and Margaret Bailey, they are paid $80.00 for a child’s share of their undivided interest in John Riddle Sr.’s land.
    That Margaret is John’s daughter has never been questioned as it has been well documented the book Some More Riddles of North Carolina as well as Dr. Lloyd Baileys “The Bailey Family of Yancey Co., North Carolina, Vol. I.”

    In conclusion, the names of John W. Riddle, Sr.’s daughters are: Lucinda "Lucy", Margaret "Peggy", Mary "Polly", and Jane "Jinsey". 
    Linked to Adoniram D. Allen, II
    Charles N. Bailey
    Archibald McMahan
    Edmond McMahan
    Jane Riddle
    Lucinda Riddle
    Margaret Riddle
    Mary Riddle
    Family: Charles N. Bailey / Margaret Riddle
    Family: Edmond McMahan / Mary Riddle
    Family: Archibald McMahan / Jane Riddle