Volume 4, Issue 1, December 1997
• William Riddle 1740 - 1781
• Riddle - Palmer Cemetery
• Identity of John W. Riddle’s Missing Daughters Discovered
• Additional Descendants of Benjamin Tyre Riddle
• Third Meeting of Pensacola Historical Society
• The Riddle Family Keeps Growing
• Riddle Research Trip to Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia
William Riddle 1740 - 1781
Mary E.V. Hill
Until 1991, Riddle family tradition stated that William Riddle, married to Harriet "Happy" Rogers/Roberts, was a patriot soldier in the Revolutionary War, fought with Francis Marion in the South, and was captured and hanged by the British in Georgia.
While reading Lyman Draper’s book Kings Mountain and Its Heroes, Bertha Riddle1 discovered that William Riddle had, in fact, remained loyal to the British Crown during the Revolutionary War and was therefore a Loyalist or Tory.
In the Spring of 1781 Capt. William Riddle captured Col. Benjamin Cleveland, of Surry County, North Carolina, who was a particularly vigilant patriot.2
Cleveland escaped, with the help of his brother Robert Cleveland and others, and shortly thereafter Riddle was caught and hanged by Cleveland, or possibly shot and mortally wounded by Benjamin Greer, according to other accounts.
Cleveland and his associates said he was hanged at Wilkesboro, Wilkes County, North Carolina, but others said he died at his own camp in present-day Watauga County, North Carolina at Riddle’s Knob (now Rittle’s Knob), west of the village of Todd.3
The discovery of William Riddle’s Loyalist activities was a major break-through for family history researchers.
It has since been established that William Riddle lived in Montgomery County, Virginia, in the area that is present-day Grayson County, probably along Peach Bottom Creek in the Elk Creek District of the New River, from about 1772 until about 1780, at which time he apparently went to "Wolf’s Den" on Riddle’s Knob.
Lyman Draper wrote King’s Mountain and Its Heroes, using letters and pension statements concerning the American Revolution as his source material. These he had collected over a number of years.
The following quotes refer to events which took place in the Spring of 1781, when Cleveland was captured by Riddle:
"Unfortunately for the Colonel [Benjamin Cleveland], Captain William Riddle, a noted Tory leader, son of the Loyalist Colonel James Riddle4 of Surry County, was approaching from the Virginia border with Captain Ross, a Whig captive, whom he had taken, together with his servant..."
Several weeks later:
"The three prisoners taken were Captain Riddle, and two of his noted associates, named Reeves and Goss...
The three notorious freebooters were accordingly executed, on the hill adjoining the village, on a stately oak, which is yet standing, and pointed out to strangers at Wilkesboro. Mrs. Riddle, who seems to have accompanied her husband on his wild and reckless marauds, was present, and witnessed his execution."
"Others of the Tory brigands also fell into the hands of Cleveland’s vigilant troupers. One of them was Bill Nichols, a noted and desperate leader, whose wife is said to have been a sister of Captain William Riddle.... Nichols was speedily executed."5
The first record which appears to definitely be this William Riddle is the 1767 tax list, Tithables of Pittsylvania County, 17676 of persons residing in the newly formed Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He is listed as "William Ridle" and next to him on the list is "Moses Ridle (Indian)."
As far as can be determined, Moses Ridle was the father of William Riddle and was of Scotch-Irish, Indian and Portuguese (Melungeon) ancestry.7
By tracking events in the life of William Riddle - who he associated with, where his children lived, and the families into which his children married, a clear pattern of on-going association within these extended families has been established.
All evidence continues to point to and strengthen the conclusion that Moses Riddle and his wife Mary were the parents of William Riddle.8
The next mention of William Riddle is found in the court records of Montgomery County, Virginia. He was involved in court cases concerning land in 1773, 1774, 1776 and 1779,9 and appears in 1773 on a Montgomery County, Virginia tax list in the area of Elk Creek along the New River.10
In 1774 William Riddle (Riddell) was a member of Capt. William Herbert’s militia company, and apparently fought in Lord Dunmore’s War at Point Pleasant on the Ohio together with Neal Roberts, William Roberts, James Wallen, Joseph Wallen, Thomas Wallen, James Wallin, William Ingram, John Cox, George Sizemore, Micajer Bunch, Doswell Rogers, Nathaniel Wilshire, Clement Lee, George Keith, David Cox, Elisha Collins, Lewis Collins, John Collins, John Collins Jr., John Cox, David Cox, Daniel Blevins, James Blevins and William Blevins.11
All of these individuals were closely associated with the Riddle family in records going back more than forty years, most recently to Pittsylvania County, Virginia, earlier to Orange County, North Carolina along the Flatt River (present-day Person County, North Carolina), and earlier still to York County, Virginia, to Louisa and Hancock counties in Virginia along the James River, to Amelia County, Virginia, to Essex County, Virginia as early as 1717, and possibly to the Pee Dee River basin in South Carolina in 1729-1730.12
In Montgomery County court records in 1774 William Riddle (Ridley) and Caijah Bunch are defendants against William Herbert, assignee of Hugh Smith.13
It is significant that in this record William’s surname is spelled "Ridley" rather than "Riddle", and that he is closely associated with Micajer Bunch who was a leader among the Melungeon people.
This connection ties William Riddle (Ridley/Ridle) to Moses Riddle (Ridley/Ridle), who was listed as "Indian" and "malato" (sic.) on tax lists,14 giving strong evidence to the theory that Moses was William Riddle’s father.
A man named William Riddle was the second of four assignees to Jeremiah Clonch, who settled 400 acres in 1776 on the west side of Chestnut Creek, off the New River, in the southern part of Montgomery County (now Carroll County, Virginia, formed in 1842).15
There were four Ruddick men (sometimes mistaken for "Riddle" in old documents) who owned land on Chestnut Creek — William, William Jr., Solomon and John, but they were definitely Quakers.16
These Quaker men were not associated with William Riddle in any records. Jeremiah Clonch, however, was loyal to the British Crown during the Revolutionary War,17 and moved to new locations with members of the Riddle family. I suspect that this William Riddle is, in fact, our ancestor, and that he may have obtained this assignment of land for his service in Lord Dunmore’s War.
William Riddle (spelled "Ridel") swore allegiance to the American cause in Montgomery County, Virginia in 1777 in Capt. Cox’s company.18 There was one other Riddle who signed this same list, namely, Jno. Riddle. A Revolutionary War Pension File, filed by John Riddle in 1833,19 states that he was born on the Flatt River in North Carolina in about 1750.
Moses Riddle and his wife Mary were on the 1755 tax list in Orange County, North Carolina20 and were very likely John’s parents. John Riddle was therefore most likely William Riddle’s brother.
William Riddle was taken before the Montgomery County Court several times as a Loyalist starting in 1779.21
It was not uncommon for individuals to have divided loyalties — to come forward for the patriot cause, and then switch to the British standard — or visa versa. Thus families were often split apart by these divided loyalties. Finally in 1781 William Riddle kidnapped Col. Benjamin Cleveland, a patriot from Surry County, North Carolina.
Cleveland escaped, and shortly thereafter Riddle was caught and hanged. The details of his death contain several contradictions in the letters and pension declarations found in the Draper Manuscripts.
There are three separate accounts in A History of Watauga County, North Carolina with Sketches of Prominent Families and in Draper’s King’s Mountain And Its Heroes.22 One account in the actual Draper Manuscripts states there were five men besides William Riddle hanged23 with him and two other accounts state that Riddle and two sons were hanged together.24
Several accounts assert that three Tories were hanged together at Wilkesboro by Cleveland,25 and one account declares that the three hanged were William Riddle, Reeves and Goss.26
Yet another account states that the tradition in the area of Riddle’s Knob is that, in fact, Riddle was shot in the thigh at the time of Cleveland’s rescue on Riddle’s Knob.
His wife pled for him, and seeing that he was mortally wounded, they left him to die with her.27 In theDraper Manuscripts, 5DD110, W.W. Lenoir corrects his own earlier statement that Riddle and two sons were hanged. He says he now believes the truth of the matter is that Riddle and one son were hanged, together with a third man.
It is my feeling that this last statement is closest to the truth. I believe the name of this son was Moses Riddle, age about 15 years.
This concurs with Scottish naming patterns, wherein the eldest son was named for the father’s father – in the Riddle family, Moses Riddle, (sometimes the first son was named for the mother’s father), and the second son – who was in the Riddle family named "James," was named for the mother’s father.
I therefore suspect that Happy’s father was James Roberts, for whom the second son was named.
In the court records of Montgomery County, Virginia in 1782, Hoppe Riddle – William Riddle’s wife, (spelled "Happy," in other records ) sued for the return of her cow which had been taken illegally by Capt. William Love in 1780 as he pursued Tories.28
Also, her two sons, James and John, were bound out by the Montgomery County Court the same year.29John was listed as seven years old, but research indicates that he was probably actually about nine years old at the time.30
Happy apparently saw her husband hanged, or tended him until he died after he was shot, and then was faced with widowhood and the care of seven small children.
She married William Ingram about 1783, according to information supplied to Ridlon by family members in the 1880s.31
William Ingram or Ingraham was certainly acquainted with William Riddle and appears in Montgomery County court records being accused of Loyalist leanings.32
Riddle family tradition says that Happy Rogers/Roberts Riddle married William Ingram (Ingraham) probably in 1784, about the time of the inventory of William Riddle’s estate in Montgomery County court records.33
However, she died shortly thereafter in present-day Hawkins County, Tennessee, probably in the Kyles Ford area. William Ingraham’s Revolutionary War pension application, filed from Bledsoe County, Tennessee, states that he lived in the Hawkins County, Tennessee area for fifteen years.34 Apparently some of the children were raised by the family of James Roberts in Russell County, Virginia.35 Others were apparently raised by members of the Thomas Rogers family in the Kyles Ford area.
Three James Roberts’ appear on Russell County, Virginia tax lists in the 1780’s, as well as Cornelius Roberts and William Roberts.
Three of the surviving Riddle children married in Russell County, Virginia. Isaac Riddle married Anna Grizzle, daughter of William Grizzle; Joseph Riddle married Rhoda Monk, daughter of Shadrack Monk and Polly Roberts (she was a daughter of Cornelius Roberts);36 and Happy Riddle married Henry Fisher in 1799.37
These children very likely lived in either the James Roberts, Cornelious Roberts or William Roberts households. Ridlon also reported that Thomas Riddle was "brought up in the family of his uncle James Roberts."38
The dates when James Riddle and John Riddle were released from being bound out, as stated in Montgomery County court records, has not been established.
John Riddle married Sara Johnson, daughter of Moses Johnson who lived on Newman Ridge in Hawkins County, Tennessee. James Riddle married Sarah Davis according to family records and settled in Cumberland County, Kentucky. William Riddle married Ellen Choat, who had Cherokee Indian ancestry.39 He purchased land from Thomas Rogers April 23, 1806 in Lee County, Virginia which he sold 9 Sept. 1807.40
Thomas married Mary Igou, daughter of James and Rebecca (Thompson) Igou, in Bledsoe County, Tennessee and died in Bradley County, Tennessee in August, 1859. Mary died on April 14, 1827 and Thomas later married Delilah Burks.41
William "Bill" Nichols was reported in the Draper Manuscripts to be a brother-in-law of William Riddle. He was apparently captured along with a man named Meeks and both were hanged because they killed a prominent patriot from Henry County, Virginia named Letcher.42
In seeking to find William Riddle’s family history, the researcher has to deal with both conflicting family stories and sketchy surviving records. King’s Mountain and Its Heroes states that the father of William Riddle was "the Loyalist Colonel James Riddle, of Surry County."43
Research in the actual Draper Manuscripts, as well as in Surry county, North Carolina land, military and court records, did not produce any man named James Riddle in Surry County, North Carolina in the 1700’s.
However, there was a noted Loyalist, Col. James Roberts, who is referred to a number of times in theDraper Manuscripts,44 and owned land in Surry County, North Carolina45 and in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.46 I believe Col. James Roberts was the person Draper meant to mention in his King’s Mountain and Its Heroes, and Col. James Roberts could well have been the father-in-law of William Riddle.
Col. James Roberts lost his land by confiscation (1776, 1779, 1783, 1788 references).47 It appears that he most likely died in the Revolutionary War, as probate of his estate began in Surry County, North Carolina in 1785.48
Col. James Robert’s son, Capt. James Roberts,49 seems to have survived the war and was in Russell County, Virginia in the 1780’s.50
Surely these were trying times! Corruption in government on both sides of the conflict led to violent measures. In the back country of Virginia and North Carolina, lawlessness allowed many very treacherous acts to occur.
William Riddle and his associates were particularly vulnerable because of loss of land due to double taxation, which came upon them because of Indian ancestry. J.H. Witherspoon described Col. Benjamin Cleveland in these terms:
My father did not admire the character of Col. Cleveland. Though brave was rapacious and cruel. One instance, he was on a scout ... returned to camp and found 9 Tories hanged on the limb of one tree.
He had a great many Tories hanged. Acts of rapacity were frequent. For instance, any body in the county who had [a] fine horse or horses – a report would be started that he was favoring the Tories. A squad of men would be sent and confiscate his stock and he [Cleveland] and his men would get the lions share.51
Few of the descendants of William and Happy Riddle remained long in the Cumberland Gap area. They were on the frontier of western settlement into both Tennessee and Kentucky, then moving into Missouri, Texas, Utah, California and elsewhere.
Their descendants are educated, articulate, loyal Americans. However, the quest for their roots has led to a sober recognition of the price which was paid for what we enjoy today.
EIGHT KNOWN CHILDREN OF WILLIAM AND HAPPY RIDDLE:
1) (Moses?) Riddle - assumed to be the oldest son, and was hanged with his father at Wilkesboro, Wilkes Co., NC in late May or early June, 1781.
2) James Riddle - went to Cumberland County, KY. Some say he died in Cumberland Co., KY and others say he died in Missouri or Illinois. Children: James, George and others.
3) John Riddle - m. Sary Johnson, dau. of Moses Johnson. Went to Bledsoe County, TN and then to Pulaski Co., MO. Died in 1833. Children: At least six children.
4) Joseph Riddle - m. Rhoda Monk, dau. of Shadrack Monk and Polly Roberts. Went to Cumberland County, KY and died in 1856. A number of children.
Rebecca A. Wennermark 3263 South 500 West New Palestine, IN 46163
Jennifer L. Mullen (sister of Rebecca) 6779 West Lora Drive Boggstown, IN 46110
Lourene England Vaden 45 Gloster Road Lawrenceville, GA 30244
Kerry Fleming 237 Braeshire Manchester, MO 63021
Tim Riddle 1120 Carol Lane Cookeville, TN 38501
William R. Riddle 429 Arballo Drive San Francisco, CA 94132
Mildred Church 201 South 6th Street Deepwater, MO 64740
Fairy Neathery 511 Casey Branch Road Burkesville, KY 42717
Marilyn Wilson PO Box 618 Chewelah, WA 99109
Helen Blair 1336 North Eustis Drive Cumberland, IN 46229
Jean Schooler 6195 South State Road 267 Lebanon, IN 46052
5) Isaac Riddle - b. Hawkins Co., TN, moved to Pendleton Co., KY 1805, to Boone Co., KY 1814, to Texas in 1843/1845. d. 1861 in Titus County, Texas. Twelve children.
James I. Riddle III 4247 Goodfellow Dr. Dallas, TX 75229
Chauncey C. Riddle 1146 Birch Lane Provo, Utah 84604
G-Nell Winslow 1101 Jungle Road Edisto Beach, SC 29438
Robert L. Riddle 4200 N. Haltom Rd. Fort Worth, Texas 76117-1202
6) Thomas Riddle - moved to Bledsoe Co., TN, m. Mary Igou and Delilah Burks, d. 1859, Bradley Co., TN. Had at least 10 children.
Sherry Hildreth 1309 Chipwood Drive Knoxville, TN 37932
7) Happy Riddle Jr. - married Henry Fisher 1799, Russell Co., VA. Had eleven children.
Jack Goins 270 Holston View Dr. Rogersville, TN 37857
Glen England Brooklyn, NY
Bruce England 1458 Thunderbird Avenue Sunnyvale, California 94087
Eula McNutt - des. from Catherine Fisher, dau. of Happy Jr. P.O. Box 1092 Gate City, VA 24251
Wanda Aldridge - des. from James Hurd & Nancy Fisher, dau. of Happy Jr. P.O. Box 184 Dyer, Arkansas 72935
8) William Riddle - in 1830 Wm. Riddle was living in Whitley Co., TN, married to Ellen Choat, with several children. In 1850 he was living in Bradley Co., TN where he died.
Tonya Holmes Shook
1. Bertha Janis Allred Riddle, wife of Chauncey C. Riddle, 1146 Birch Lane, Provo, UT 84604
2. Lyman C. Draper, Draper Manuscripts, 5DD14, 5DD17, 5DD108, 5DD109, 5DD112-113, 5DD122, 12DD51, 12DD52, 12DD55, 12DD56, 22VV289-292, 22VV293-296, 22VV336-337.
3. Draper Manuscripts, 5DD111; Arthur, John Preston, A History of Watauga County, North Carolina, (Richmond : Everett Waddey Co., 1915) pp.60-71, 202-205, 288-293; Draper, Lyman C., Kings Mountain and Its Heroes, (Baltimore : Genealogical Publishing Co., 1967) pp. 437-444.
4. The reference to the father of Capt. William Riddle as Col. James Riddle is not accurate. There was no Col. James Riddle in any record extant from Surry Co., NC at that time. There was, however, a Col. James Roberts in Surry Co., NC who was repeatedly accused of being the leader of a Tory gang west of the Blue Ridge. See Draper Manuscripts 2DD51-52, 2DD224-226, 3DD311-320, 5DD109, 6DD160, 12DD51, 4QQ50, 5QQ37, 5QQ40-41, 7VV40-42. See also herein a discussion of the possible relationship between Capt. William Riddle and Col. James Roberts.
5. Draper, Lyman C., Kings Mountain and Its Heroes, (Cincinnati: Peter C. Thompson, Pub., 1881), pp. 437, 444, 446.
6. The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, "Tithables of Pittsylvania County, 1767", vol. 1, p. 372.
7. In the Riddle family of Utah there is a tradition that the family was of "Portugee" ancestry, which is a common tradition among people of Melungeon ancestry. See also Jack H. Goins, "Melungeon Families - Sizemore, Minor, Goins, Fisher and Riddle," Families of Hawkins County, Tennessee (1786-1994), (Rogersville, Tn. : Hawkins County Genealogical and Historical Society, 1994), pp. 537-540.
8. The spellings "Riddle," "Ridley," "Ridel," "Ridle," and "Riddell" can all be found in various documents in connection with both William Riddle and Moses Riddle. For conciseness I will use the spelling "Riddle," indicating when a document spelled the name otherwise, but it must be recognized that spelling of surnames in the 18th century was very fluid.
9. Court Records of Montgomery County, Virginia, 1769 Nathaniel Wilson pltf., Wm. Riddle def.; 1773 Wm. Riddle pltf., G. Keith def.; 1773 Nathaniel Welshire pltf., William Riddle def.; 1774 Wm. Riddle’s assignee pltf., Charles Cox def.; 1774 Wm. Herbert assignee of Hugh Smith pltf., Caijah Bunch and Wm. Ridley def.; 1776 James Wallen pltf., Wm. Riddle def.; 1779 Wm. Riddle pltf., Muse def.; 1779 Wm. Riddle pltf., Sevier def.; 1779 Wm. Riddle pltf., Greer def.
10. Kegley, Mary B., New River Tithables 1770-1773, (Wytheville, VA : M.B. Kegley, 1972).
11. Weaver, Jeff, Lord Dunmore’s War - Grayson County’s Participation, Oct., 1996
12. See tax lists, militia records, court records, parish records and deeds from these localities for family associations.
13. Montgomery County Court Records, Book 2, p. 64.
14. "Indian" - Pittsylvania County, VA Tax List - 1767; "malato" - Orange County, NC Tax List - 1755. The term "mulatto" as it was used in the 1700's in this area of the Southern States referred to persons of skin color darker than European white, and evidence suggests included persons of American Indian, Portuguese, Mediterranean, and Moorish ancestry - anyone who looked "darker" to the individual census or tax list taker. Persons of African black ancestry were generally listed as "negro" on these same tax lists (see Orange County Tax List - 1755). Melungeon people were often labeled "mulatto" or "free persons of color," but also often were called "white."
15. Kegley, Mary B. and F.B. Kegley, Early Adventurers On the Western Waters: The New River of Virginia in Pioneer Days 1745-1800, (Orange, Va. : Green Publishers, 1980), vol. II p.106.
16. Hanneman, John W., The Ruddick Family in America, (Oakland, Calif. : J.W. Hanneman, 1993), pp. 12-17.
17. Draper Manuscripts, 5QQ70
18. Kegley, Mary B. and F.B Kegley, Early Adventurers On The Western Waters, "Oath of Allegience, Montgomery Co., VA 1777", vol. 1, p.146-147.
19. Rev. War Pension File for John Ridley/Ridel/Riddle - Packet Number S.9069
20. A List of Tithables, Orange Co., NC, 1755, FHL film 18072. Mary is listed as well as Moses on this list, and they are counted as "malato." Both were required to pay a poll tax - which amounted to double taxation.
21. Montgomery County Virginia Court Records: 1779 Wm. Riddle and Nathaniel Britain not entitled to invitation of mercy by the court; 1780 "petition of James Roberts, Jesse Meeks and William Riddle received as members of the Community as long as behave as Good Citizens." In this same court session, George Reeves, William Roberts, Neal Roberts, Moses Johnson, Richard Green, Richard Wright, Clem Lee and George Herd were restored their property. Apparently they had also expressed sympathy for the Crown, but were now changing sides.
22. A History of Watauga County, North Carolina, (Richmond : Everett Waddey Co., 1915) pp.60-71, 202-205, 288-293; Draper, Lyman C., Kings Mountain and Its Heroes, (Baltimore : Genealogical Publishing Co., 1967) pp. 437-444.
23. Draper Manuscripts, 5DD108 Cleveland, Jeremiah. 30 Dec 1844. "A short time after this occurrence Col. Ben. captured Riddell and five of his gang all of whom he hung."
24. Draper Manuscripts, 5DD109 W.W. Lenoir - Riddle and two sons captured on Riddle’s Knob, taken to Wilkesboro and all three hung; 22VV336-337 R.F. Hackett, 6 Feb. 1881, Wilkesboro, NC, "I have heard various traditions about the number of Tories hung there, but I think the only one authentic is that by Gen. Lenoir, of three Riddles and two others with him." 5DD110 W.W. Lenoir - corrects himself and says there was only one son of William Riddle hung with his father together with another man.
25. Draper Manuscripts, 5DD98 Yates, Jesse - hanging of Riddle witnessed by Nathaniel Vannoy and John Yates. Riddle offered soldiers whiskey, three were hung; 12DD50-55 Callaway, James - Riddle and two others hung at Wilkesboro; 22VV293-296 Brown, H.S. - three Tories hung Wilkesboro by Cleveland and buried by the Episcopal Church; 22VV297-298, 303-305 Witherspoon, J.H. - three hung at Wilkesboro.
26. 5DD122 Reynolds, James - Cleveland captured by Riddle, Reeves and Goss. These three hung at Wilkesboro.
27. Draper Manuscripts, 5DD111 Bouchelle, Thomas S.
28. Annals of Southwest Virginia, p.769; Court Records of Montgomery County, VA, April 3, 1782.
29. Ibid, p.772; ibid, 11 Mary 1782.
30. See John Riddle’s numbering in his copy of G.T. Ridlon’s History of the Ancient Ryedales for order of children’s births. Book in the possession of Chauncey C. Riddle, 1146 Birch Lane, Provo, UT 84604.
31. Ridlon, G.T., History of the Ancient Ryedales and their Descendants in Normandy, Great Britain, Ireland, and America From 860 to 1884, (Manchester. N.H. : G.T. Ridlon, 1884), p.354.
32. Montgomery County Court Records, as quoted in Early Adventurers on The Western Waters, vol. 1., p. 139.
33. An "Inventory and appraisement of the estate of Wm. Riddle, deceased," which was declared on April 14, 1784 in the Court of Montgomery County, VA, is found on FHL film 32608 (in the last portion of the film called Vol. B, Wills - 1773-1797.) It contains very little information, giving only his name and listing a very few items, including 4 ewes and 3 lambs, 1 old mare, some improvement on his land valued at L.15, 1 ax, small feather bed, 1 old side saddle, a pair of sheep shears and 2 of something I can't read, maybe harrows or hoes - that's all.
34. William Ingraham Rev. War Pension File S21314.
35. Ridlon, p. 354 and Russell County, Virginia tax lists in the 1780's and 1790's.
36. Fugate, Mary D., Implied Marriages of Russell County, Virginia, (Athens, Ga. : Iberian Pub. Co., 1991), p. 57.
37. Henry Fisher Rev. War Pension file R26119.
38. Ridlon, p. 354.
39. Shook, Tonyz Holmes, Displaced Cherokee : Come Home, Come Home, (Hastings, Okla. : T.H. Shook, 1986).
40. Duckworth, Reda Thornton, Lee County, Va. Abstracts Deed Book No. 2 1805-1812, (Signal Mountain, Tenn. : Mountain Press, 199_?), p. 33, 17.
41. Information supplied by Sherry Hildreth, 1309 Chipwood Dr., Knoxville, TN 37932.
42. Draper Manuscripts, 5QQ48 Walter Crockett; 2DD224-226 John Spelts (Spelts seems to have mixed up Riddle and Meeks in this account.)
43. Draper, p. 437.
44. Draper Manuscripts, 2DD51-52 Wilson, Robert; 2DD224-226 Spelts, John; 3DD311-320 Allen, Col. Richard; 5DD109 W.W. Lenoir; 6DD160 Hunter, C. L.; 12DD51 James Callaway; 4QQ50 Preston, William; 5QQ37 Preston, Wm.; 5QQ40-41 Preston, Wm.; 7VV40-42 Marion, Col. Francis.
45. Absher, Mrs. W.O., Surry County, North Carolina Abstracts Deed Book A, B and C (1770-1788),(Easley, S.C. : Southern Historical Press, 1981).
46. Chiarito, Marian Dodson, Entry Record Book 1737-1770, (Nathalie, Va. : Clarkton Press, 1984), p. 240, 241, 349.
47. North Carolina State Records, vol. 24, pp. 263, 424.
48. Surry County, NC Court Records
49. Draper Manuscripts, 12DD51 Callaway, James.
50. The parentage of Happy is an issue which has been much discussed and is yet to be resolved. I favor Col. James Roberts as her father and a Miss Rogers as her mother. John Riddle of Utah told Ridlon in the 1880's that she was a Rogers. Jack Goins inclines towards William Roberts as her father. Others feel her father was a Rogers. Until further documentation can be located, the question remains unresolved.
51. Draper Manuscripts, 22VV305 J.H. Witherspoon.
Riddle - Palmer Cemetery
I began to research the Palmer family around 1991. Since that time, it has grown to a much larger project than I had ever dreamed. The Palmers of Stokes County, North Carolina descend from Tyre Riddle (in part), who was born around 1765.
Tyre’s daughter, Elizabeth Riddle, married William Dollahite, a.k.a. Dollarhite, Dollihite, Dollyhite, Dollyhigh, Dollihide, etc. William and Elizabeth’s daughter, Mary Dollahite, married Elias Palmer, a.k.a. Parmer.
The land on which Tyre Riddle settled in Stokes county was in the area of what is now Francisco, North Carolina, off of Highway 89. This is just a couple of miles east of the Surry county line, and a few miles south of the Virginia line.
The Tyre Riddle land was quite a spread, in excess of a thousand acres. It went from what is now Horseshoe Rd. past Big Creek to what is now Highway 66. Horseshoe Road branches off of Hwy 89, just outside of Francisco.
The land that was left after Tyre’s son, Asa Riddle left the county, was divided between Tyre’s three daughters. Their names were Ursula (b. 1795), Elizabeth (b. 1797) and Mary (b. 1800). Ursula and Mary never married, therefore much of their land was sold or willed to their sister Elizabeth Riddle Dollahite, and her children. Thus, much of the land that Tyre Riddle owned passed from the Riddle family into the Dollahite family.
William Dollahite was the progenitor of all of the Stokes county Dollahites of that day. His daughter Mary inherited most of the land that was passed down from the Riddles.
Her brother Samuel "Solly" Dollahite also received a good portion of land as well. Mary married Elias Palmer (or Parmer) in 1856. Mary Dollahite Palmer died about 1868 and was buried in the family cemetery that had originated with the Riddles on this section of land.
The earliest people in the cemetery are unknown, but it is now obvious that this was the Tyre Riddle Cemetery, and that it passed to the Dollahite family, who in turn left it to the Palmer family. It is now known as the Palmer Family Cemetery. It is very likely that the Riddles were the first to be buried here.
Elias Palmer’s second wife was Clara "Clary" Nunn, daughter of John and Sceny Phillips Nunn, Sr. One of Elias and Clary’s daughters, Victoria Tex "Vickie" Palmer, married George Washington Durham on August 25th, 1898.
Although this land never passed into the Durham family, there were several members, mostly children, of the Durham family who were buried in this cemetery. Almost all of the Durhams buried here, were grandchildren of Elias Palmer.
However, they were not descendants of the Riddles or Dollahites, since the Durhams descend from Elias Palmer’s second marriage, to Clary Nunn. There are clearly three sets of families buried here, most of them related, but also unrelated families. These three sets are Riddle/Dollahite, Dollahite/Palmer, and Palmer/Durham.
This year, I discovered that there are also members of the Shelton family buried in this cemetery. The Sheltons are tied in with the Dollahites as Tyre Riddle’s grandson, Solly Dollahite, was married to Mary Shelton.
Mary Shelton Dollahite had a sister who married a Vaughn, and their son, W.H. Vaughn, was buried here in 1880. At this time I do not know if there are more Shelton/Vaughn grave sites.
As mentioned before, Elias Palmer was first married to Mary Dollahite, granddaughter of Tyre Riddle. His second wife was Clary Nunn. After Clary’s death in 1883, Elias married a third time, to Clary’s sister, Usley.
Clary and Usley Nunn Palmer had a younger brother named Samuel "Babe" Nunn. Sam Nunn’s daughter married Carl Griffith. They had a son named Andy, born in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. And yes, he’s THE Andy Griffith. Although Andy is a cousin to a number of Riddle descendants, he is not descended from Tyre Riddle.
When I began restoring this cemetery, I counted only 25 graves because of the thickness of the underbrush and surrounding forest. I doubt that there had been any sunlight penetrate the area for 15 or 20 years.
In October, my last count was 40 definite grave sites in this cemetery. I have maintained a diary throughout my endeavors and have taken numerous pictures to show the before-and-after results.
In addition to these photos I also plan to post a few of my diary entries on my web site.
I have identified 27 of the 40 people who are buried in this cemetery even though only 11 graves had legible markings. It has taken three years of contacting relatives, studying census records, deeds, and various other documents to compile these results.
My search for the names of the remaining unidentified people continues. A current list of known graves can be found on my web page, Wespatterson.com.
Based on the research that I have done, and the stories that I have been told by Dollahite descendants, there is no doubt that Tyre and Clarissa Riddle are buried in this cemetery.
In addition to Tyre and Clarissa, all three of their daughters are buried here. Of the five Dollahite families at least two of them are interred in this cemetery. They were Mary Dollahite Palmer, and her brother Samuel "Solly" Dollahite.
It’s possible that another sister, Ursula Dollahite East, may have been buried here. Solly’s twin brother, Tyre Dollarhite, was buried in Patrick County, Virginia, along with his wife, Elizabeth Collins Dollarhite.
The fifth sibling was William Harden Dollarhite, who was killed in the Civil War. His grave has yet to be located.
If anyone would care to visit the cemetery or contribute additional information please contact me at the following address:
E-mail: Wes Patterson
WEB Page: Wespatterson.com
Identity of John Riddle's Missing Daughters Discovered
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 bookSome More Riddles of North Carolina as well as Dr. Lloyd Baileys The Bailey Family of Yancey Co., NC, Vol. I.
In conclusion, the names of John W. Riddle, Sr.’s daughters are: Lucinda "Lucy", Margaret "Peggy", Mary "Polly", and Jane "Jinsey".
Additional Descendants of Benjamin Tyre Riddle
Although I have used electronic-mail for many years I am continually amazed by the communication value it adds in doing any kind of research, in particular genealogical research.
As an example, I turned on my computer Monday morning, of October, and found a message from Shirley Skeen Borden of Haywood, California.
She said that she was an Arrowood descendant and had found my e-mail address on the Yancey County Genealogical WEB Page.
Shirley explained that her great-great grandparents were James A. Arrowood and Eliza Crowder but many in her family thought that Eliza’s last name was Britton and not Crowder. She had seen The Riddles of Stokes County, North Carolina WEB Page and wanted to know if I knew why Benjamin Britton Riddle was named "Britton."
Unfortunately I did not know the answer. I believe that James named his son Benjamin in honor of James’ father Benjamin Tyre Riddle. I have found only two Riddles named "Britton", Benjamin Britton and his son William Britton.
Over the next few days Shirley and I exchanged numerous e-mail messages. She told me that James A. Arrowood had a son John Jackson Arrowood that had married Eleanor Riddle, daughter of Benjamin Tyre Riddle and Rachel Austin and that they had 11 children.
I previously noted that "Nellie" Elendor Riddle married John J. Arrowood and the names of two children were George W. and James M. Based on the information provided by Shirley we have added six more descendants of Benjamin Tyre as well as numerous additional dates.
John and Nellie moved from Pensacola shortly after the War of Northern Aggression (1861–1865) to Johnson County, Kentucky. Incredibly we discovered what happened to Nellie Elendor Riddle and her children via e-mail 130 years later.
Third Meeting of the Pensacola Historical Society
(Abstracted from the Yancey County Times – Journal, November 5, 1997 – Pensacola Historical Society Begins Work On Book Project)
The third meeting of the Pensacola Historical Society was held at the home of Frances Higgins on October 22, 1997.
The purpose of the meeting was to continue planning the Pensacola history book scheduled to be published in the year 2000 in conjunction with a community reunion planned for that year. Members of the book committee are: Virginia Wilson Boone, Frances Higgins, Ray Vance Miller, Richard Riddle, Walter Riddle, Kirby Ray Whitaker, Katie Wilson, Bob Wilson, Ben Wilson, Dick Watts, Stewart Wilson, and Helen Baden.
The book will cover the early settlement, Civil War era, and the railroad days, when the now small isolated community became a bustling timber boom town in the early 1900s through W.W. I. Also included will be the period from the 1920s to present day.
The group is interested in old photos from the past, those who served during military conflicts, and family photos and histories. Committee members said the project is still in the early planning stages and further information will be announced as the effort proceeds.
Anyone interested in the project or who has information to share with the committee should contact
Rt. 6, Box 473,
Burnsville, NC 28714,
Those on the Internet can contact Richard Riddle.
The Riddle Family Keeps Growing
Descendants of Dr. Joseph Bennett Riddle
On July 9, 1997, I heard from Kathleen Mathews Hohlstein of Columbus, Georgia. She told me that she had been named in honor of her grandmother Kathleen McRae Riddle, daughter of Dr. Joseph Bennett Riddle and Leonora Jane Ray.
Dr. Riddle was the son of Samuel Riddle and the grandson of Benjamin Tyre Riddle. In May, 1997, Kathleen had attended an estate sale in Burnsville, North Carolina, which included a painting of "Ogle’s Meadow" by Edward S. Shorter. Mr. Shorter conducted an art school in Burnsville and is related to Kathleen’s father by marriage. She bought the painting and began searching for "Ogle’s Meadow". As she passed through the community of Pensacola, something in her brain clicked.
Didn’t her grandmother tell her that her parents, Dr. J. B. Riddle and Leonora Ray, were from Pensacola? Here she was in the birth place of her great-grandfather Joseph Riddle and great-great grandfather Samuel Riddle.
Kathleen has provided an update to the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Dr. Joseph Bennett Riddle and Leonora Jane Ray. Our thanks to Kathleen.
William Allen Riddle, 4th Great Grandson of John Riddle.
In September, I received a phone call from Bill Riddle of Asheville. It turned out that William Allen Riddle is a g-g-g-great grandson of our patriarch John W. Riddle, Sr. His parents are Earl Riddle and Edith Allen.
Bill’s line back to John is as follows: William "Will" Clayton, John A., Nathan, John W. Jr., and John W. Sr. As a result of my contact with Bill Riddle, we have added a few more cousins to the ever growing Riddle clan.
James Kyle Riddle, Jr., Another 4th Great Grandson of John W. Riddle, Sr.
James Kyle Riddle, Jr. is also a g-g-g-great-grandson of John W. Riddle, Sr. Jim’s father James Kyle Riddle, Sr. was born in Unicoi County, Tennessee. He moved to Spruce Pine, North Carolina where he met and married Grace Bailey.
This union produced two children Robert and James Kyle Jr. Jim Jr. grew up in Spruce Pine and graduated from Harris High School in 1941. Almost immediately after his graduation, he traveled to Springfield, Ohio, to visit his mother’s sister.
He took a job there and then enlisted in the Army Air Corp in November 1942. After W.W.II he returned to Springfield where he raised a family.
He has five children and nine grandchildren. Jim’s ancestral line to John W. Riddle, Sr. follows: James K. Sr., John T., James M., John III, John W. Jr., and John W. Riddle, Sr.
Jim is now retired, enjoys doing family research, and thinks a lot about Spruce Pine and North Carolina. Through Jim’s efforts, John W. Riddle’s descendant list is lengthened.
Rodney Lee Renfro, Yet Another 4th Great Grandson.
I heard from yet another g-g-g-great grandson of John W. Riddle, Sr. in August. He is Rodney Lee Renfro from McDowell County, North Carolina.
His mother, Jewell Willean Riddle was born in Dallas, Texas in 1921 and died at home in Yancey County, North Carolina in 1976.
Rodney’s line back to John W. is as follows: Jewell Willean, Blaine J., William M., James, Benjamin T., and John W. Riddle, Sr. Rodney has provided a number of additional descendants of John W. Riddle, Sr.
Belinda Gortney Hudec, One More Time!
Belinda Gortney Hudec of Collinsville, Oklahoma, is a g-g-g-great-granddaughter of John W. Riddle, Sr. She was born in Canton, Ohio to Park Gortney and Helen Bailor.
Belinda married John Vincent Hudec and they have a son Nicholas born on September 3, 1991. Her line to John Sr. is as follows: Park Gortney, Martha M. Letterman, Ellen Louise Riddle, Ansel Riddle, John W. Riddle, Jr., and John W. Riddle, Sr.
Through her efforts we have added a number Gortney descendants to our Riddle line. We welcome her and all our recently identified cousins to our Riddle family.
Riddle Research Trip to Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia
Mary E.V. Hill
Mary E.V. HillMary Hill, Jack Goins, Betty Goins, Jim Riddle, Dick Riddle, Rebecca Wennermark, Chauncey & Bertha Riddle
Saturday, September 6, 1997
Wow, dear Journal, here I sit in Rogersville, Hawkins County, Tennessee in the Hales Spring Inn, on a big old fashioned bed, writing in my Journal. I never dreamed that this day would come.
It has been several weeks of unbelievable pressure to get ready to come here – to write a paper to present to Mrs. Joan Baity of Wilkesboro, Wilkes County, North Carolina on this next Monday, and prepare five notebooks of documentation to give to Jim Riddle from Texas, Rebecca Wennermark from Indiana, Jack and Betty Goins from Rogersville, Tennessee, Chaunce and Bertha Riddle from Utah, and one for me. It was all accomplished, as well as going to work every day, and here I am.
The flight was lovely, and it is always so very interesting to see the lay of the land across this great nation. And Tennessee just beautiful, with rolling mountains and thick woods, and many rivers.
It was a very tender moment for me, as we came into the Knoxville airport, to look to the east and see the mountain range that was so much a part of William Riddle and the American Revolution here in this area, and where the seven surviving children lived. I can not say in words how grateful I am to be here.
Jack and Betty, Chaunce and Bertha, Jim and Rebecca were all at the Knoxville airport to greet me, and we hugged and were thrilled that our great adventure has actually begun.
Jim had driven from Dallas, Chaunce and Bertha from Utah, and Rebecca had flown in from Indiana just a few minutes before my flight arrived. Jack and Betty live in Rogersville, and are our guides and mainstays of support for our great trip. Jack had rented a van that will hold all seven of us, and Jim insists he is going to pay for it. We will be covering more than 1,600 miles in the next eight days.
We went to dinner, visited and got acquainted, and checked on plans for the rest of the week. Jim, Chaunce and Bertha and I came to the Hales Spring Inn, here in Rogersville, and Rebecca went to Jack and Betty’s home to spend the night.
Sunday, September 7, 1997
Dear Journal, today has been just a precious day. Chaunce, Bertha and I went to church, and it was a perfect beginning to a perfect day.
After Church we changed to pants and Jack and Betty had prepared a lovely dinner at their home, with all the trimmings. It was just delicious, in true Southern style. Their home is lovely and large with a beautiful balcony that looks out over the Holston River. Everyone was very congenial, and all in all, it was wonderful.
About 3 P.M. we headed out for Kyles Ford, Fisher Valley and the Clinch River were Jim, Jack, Chaunce and Rebecca’s ancestors lived. What an experience. This area is made up of mountains and deep hollers, with small streams running, and beautiful woods.
The farmable ground was small, down in the bottom of the hollers and we commented this evening that we could see why these people have all left the area and gone west.
It is absolutely beautiful, but how do you make a living there? There is practically no one left living in these hills and hollers, and it was quite an experience to have Jack take us from place to place I have seen on a map and find it pristine and beautiful, without folks there.
Much of the ground has been bought up and is used for private hunting. We went to the home of Zachariah Minor, who had good fields and a tobacco barn and a home up above the Clinch that has been occupied since the very early 1800’s.
Grandma Herd, of the family that now owns the property, was sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair, and grandpa and their son on the back porch. We walked up through the barn, with tobacco hanging in it, and up to the family grave yard on the hill. There must have been 30 grave stones, and it was very well kept. It was lovely. Herd’s and Minor’s are buried there. We took lots of pictures, and really enjoyed ourselves.
Then we went up the road to where there is a gate, and Jack had obtained the key to the gate. We went in, and went up to where Henry Fisher (1759-1839) and his wife Happy Riddle Fisher (1777-1878), daughter of William and Happy Riddle, are buried.
There are many other graves there too, James Fisher I think, and many others. We took many pictures, and wandered around quite awhile. It is very rustic, up in the woods. One would never know the graveyard was there if Jack had not known about it and arranged to take us. It was precious to be there. I am really overwhelmed. I can not really believe I was there today, finally, after all the dreaming and effort and hopes and emails to Jack. Bless Jack’s heart, he is a precious gift to the rest of us. There is no way we could have done this without him. No way.
We went up one side of the Clinch, and down the other, and took many pictures and talked a lot, and had a lovely time. We saw Indicut Gap, and Rebecca walked over the hanging bridge there that crosses the north fork of the Clinch. Andrew England and his wife Catherine Fisher had a mill there.
I hated to leave, it was so very peaceful. We returned to Jack and Betty’s home and ate a supper of Betty’s delicious leftovers and poured over maps and talked and had a fine time all in all.
Tomorrow we drive to Ashe and Watauga counties, North Carolina, and see where William Riddle had his Wolf’s den hideout during the Rev. War, and was captured. We will go to Wilkesboro and see where he was hanged, and give my paper to Mrs. Joan Baity. I hope it all goes well. I truly do.
Monday, September 8, 1997
Dear Journal, today was another truly lovely day. We are all getting along together famously, and having a wonderful experience. We set out at 8 A.M. from our hotel. Jack and Betty picked us up and we drove to Riddle’s Knob, Elk’s Creek, and the South Fork of the New River by the village of Todd, where William Riddle took Col. Benjamin Cleveland, up the South Fork of the New River and then up Elk Creek to Riddle’s Knob and Wolf’s Den, his hideout. Richard Riddle from Winston-Salem met us at Todd, and we were all so pleased that he could join us.
We saw the spring with the sign on it, "Rittle’s Spring," (it’s misspelled now, but it was our Riddle’s Knob for sure 200 years ago), and Meat Camp Creek, and Riddle’s Creek, and went into the old Todd store, and took many pictures and talked and read documentation and had a wonderful time together.
Then we headed for Wilkesboro, and after lunch which Dick Riddle bought for us, we went to the Court House and old jail and saw Col. Benjamin Cleveland’s statue, and met with Mrs. Joan Baity and presented her with my paper on William Riddle. There were probably 20 or more people there in the old jail, where we met, and the press too, and it was a very good visit and interview with the reporter.
We all went out and had our picture taken by Tory Oak 3rd, on the site where the original Tory Oak stood until it was destroyed in a storm a few years ago. Tory Oak Jr. is a large oak a few feet away, by the old Court house. I was able to tell the reporter more about William Riddle and his children, and it was a good experience, although Joan Baity loves the Clevelands and the reporter was guarded, though very interested. Such is life.
Then we saw old Robert Cleveland’s home, which they have brought from "the west end of the county" and reconstructed there in the center of the town. It was a very interesting old two story home.
Then I went into the Court House with Jim and Rebecca, and for the first time in my life actually looked up deeds that dated all the way back to 1788. Elizabeth Roberts. It was amazing. I choked up and was teary eyed to see these actual deeds right there in the court house.
I’ve always searched from microfilms, rather than in the actual court house records, and it was truly a thrill to have my first hands-on experience with the actual old records.
We had supper and then drove back to Todd and took more pictures, especially of Riddle’s Knob. We were home by 8:30 P.M., worn out but full of a wonderful day. Jack is so knowledgeable, and there is such a good feeling by all.
Tuesday, September 9, 1997
The things we saw today were wonderful, and the experiences were most insightful. We drove up along the Clinch River to Russell County, Virginia where three of the Riddle children married, Joseph Riddle to Rhoda Monk, Happy Riddle to Henry Fisher, and Isaac Riddle to Anna Grizzle. We saw the original old court house, that is now being developed into an old village area. It was most interesting.
Then we drove to Cleveland, and went looking for a Grizzle Cemetery. That was an experience. They were very hard to find. It was raining, and the first one we tried to find was across a fenced field and quite a ways from the road. We gave up because of the rain.
We had a U.S. Geo Survey map, made in the 1930s, which showed us the existence of two Grizzle cemeteries. We also had a DeLorme atlas of the area. But the two maps did not seem to jive. Finally Chaunce took over the map guidance, and he was able to figure out the differences, and went to the right place to find the second cemetery.
Lesson: the U.S. Geo Survey maps are great to identify old cemeteries, schools and churches, but were often made 60 years ago and things have changed. There was a dam, for instance, up Dump Creek holler, that was not mentioned on the U.S. Geo Survey map and that really threw us off. DeLorme did mention it, however.
The cemetery was on top of a high hill, and really was a fascinating place. Elam Grizzle and his wife Nancy were buried there, together with several others. Many tombstones.
It was really quite an experience and Chaunce was thrilled to find it, like I felt about the Court House at Wilkesboro yesterday. He was like a little boy at Christmas. He would not give up, when others were saying, "Let’s forget it." He really honed in on the right place.
I had brought my Russell County, Virginia file, and in it had the FHLC printout for the Sutherland Collection, with the note that I’d made when I looked at the Collection in Salt Lake City, that there were cemetery records for Elam Grizzle and his wife Nancy, in the Collection, and this was the exact graveyard we found. There were more recent burials there, from the 1950s, that are not in the Sutherland Collection. It was in a very mountainous region, with a huge coal mining and power plant operation right in the area.
It was of course not like that when the Grizzles lived there, but that is what is in the area today. This experience settled for us the spelling of the name "Grizzle." John Riddle had written "Grizzel" in the margin of his copy of the Ridlon book, and so Chaunce and Bertha had kept that spelling.
The tombstones showed them that it was "Grizzle" instead. Also, we have always pronounced it "Gri-zell" (accent on the second syllable) but all the locals here call the name "Griz-il" (accent on the first syllable) that was totally new to us, but which Chaunce and Bertha said they accepted and would use. It was neat.
We had lunch in a tiny cafe in Cleveland, hamburgers for all, and drove on to Christiansburg, Montgomery County, Virginia.
(Continued in the next issue.)
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR