The Riddle Newsletter

Genealogy is Heredity

Volume 3, Issue 2, December 1997

• Samuel Riddle, First Postmaster of Pensacola, NC
• Jimmy Riddle, Killed At Work
• Sir John Riddell
• Riddle Blood Flows Through Many Kings
• The Tory Oak Is Gone
• Blanchey Allen, Granddaughter of Capt. "Teges" Adoniram D. Allen
• The Children of Mary Jane Riddle and John Allen
• Riddle Coat-of-Arms Mug
• Additional Riddle Web Site Online

Samuel Riddle, First Postmaster of Pensacola, NC
Richard Riddle

While I was researching Pensacola, North Carolina, trying to ascertained how and when that part of the Cane River became Pensacola, I ordered some material from the National Archives. I discovered that the United States Postal Service had stored the names of post offices, dates of their establishment and closings, and the names and dates of the postmasters. What I hoped to do was to discover when the first post office was formed in Pensacola, as this would be an indication of when Pensacola received it’s name.

It took several weeks and a few phone calls, but I finally got the information that I ordered. Based on photo copies of these postmaster appointment records, the first Pensacola post office was established on June 11, 1875.

It was located one-fourth mile (west) from the east of the Caine (Cane) River and one-fourth mile (east) from the west side of the Cattail Creek. Burnsville was seven miles (now ten miles by road) north and was the nearest post office to Pensacola. Barnardsville was nine miles (now 17 by road) in a southwest direction. The nearest railroad station was 40 miles southeast of Pensacola at Marion.

To my surprise, Samuel Riddle was the first postmaster. I think that this post office was located in a small building that may have included a store, and was located near or was actually a part of Samuel’s residence.

Samuel Riddle (1838-1920) was the eighth child of Benjamin Tyre Riddle (1800-1875) and Rachel Austin (circa 1803-1850). While fighting for the South in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, he was wounded in his left leg which had to be amputated. He was thereafter known by his nickname, "Peg-Leg Sam." He married Mary Naomi Rust (1843-1930) on September 29, 1867 in Yancey County.

Mary Naomi, known as "Aunt Molly Tate" by many in Pensacola, was from Bridgewater, Burke County, North Carolina, near Morganton.

She was the second great-granddaughter of Samuel "Rock" Tate, who came to America from Ireland in 1763 aboard his own ship. Mary’s Rust and Tate families were quite prosperous and influential in the Bridgewater and Morganton area.

Sam and Mary had nine children, all born in Pensacola. By the time Sam opened the Pensacola Post Office, he and Mary had three children, Sarah (Sally) born 1868, Joseph born 1870, and Cora born 1872. At that time, Mary was pregnant with their fourth child William, born 1875.

Sam continued as postmaster for the next 18 years. During that period Sam and Mary had five more children; Evie born 1877, Robert born 1880, Bertsie born 1882, Belton born 1886, and Harry Lee born 1891.

Sam served as Yancey County Register of Deeds and County Treasurer for several terms. In November, 1893, a proposal was approved and the post office was moved 40 yards south of the original location. Mary N. Riddle (as she signed her name) was made Postmaster.

Sam and Mary’s children were well educated. Sally became a graduate nurse, Joseph became a doctor of medicine and surgeon, Robert at age 13 published a weekly newspaper called the Pensacola Citizen and became a lawyer, and Harry Lee became a pharmacist and business leader. Joseph, Robert, and Harry Lee migrated to Morganton and became prominent citizens of that community where many of their descendants live and prosper to this day.

In July, 1900, William E. Hensley became the postmaster of the Pensacola Post Office and moved it one-half mile north.

Jimmy Riddle Killed At Work
Richard Riddle

On Monday, September 16, 1996, David Mark Hill walked into the North Augusta office of the Aiken County, South Carolina Department of Social Services and shot to death three caseworkers Josie Curry, age 35, Michael Gregory, age 30, and Jimmy Riddle, age 52.

Hill was upset because his children were being placed in foster care. Hill later shot himself, but survived and is awaiting trial for murder, assault and battery with intent to kill, kidnapping and other crimes.

On Tuesday, September 24th, about 500 people, including Governor David Beasley and his wife, gathered at the First Baptist Church of North Augusta to honor the slain Social Services employees.

The Reverend Grady Redding began the memorial service with the sobering message "that there are no safe places left in this world." He also said, "If you have listened carefully these past eight days, you know the eerie, unforgettable sound of hearts breaking."

Gov. Beasley declared: "We come here confused, quite frankly hurting. Some of us are rather numb. Others of us are just rather angry about this senseless act of violence that’s inexcusable. We wonder if we will ever know peace again."

Jimmy was descended from a long line of Yancey County Riddles. He is the fourth great-grandson of William Riddle. William and his son James W. served as guides for Professor Elisha Mitchell in his 1844 quest to locate the highest mountain in the eastern United States. This is now known as Mount Mitchell.

Jimmy’s father was Troy Riddle, born in Burnsville, North Carolina. His mother is Lois Frady, born in Fletcher, North Carolina.

Troy and Lois moved from North Carolina to Virginia shortly after their marriage in 1941. Jimmy Lester Riddle was born April 9, 1944, in Richmond, Virginia, the second child of Troy and Lois.

The following has been provided by Shirley Riddle Wilmoth, Jimmy’s sister:

"Jimmy was a red-haired, blue-eyed mischievous little boy throughout his childhood in Chesterfield and Powhatan Counties in Virginia. As a boy he loved the outdoors and was always fishing, hunting. As a youngster, Jimmy began playing the guitar when he was about 11 years old. He continued playing all through his life.

Jimmy particularly liked country music (in particular Hank Williams) but played in a rock 'n' roll band during his high school years to make spending money and just for the joy of playing his guitar.

Jimmy was very involved in all the school activities at Powhatan High School. He played football (positions: tight-end and quarterback) and was co-captain of his team in his senior year. He received an athletic scholarship upon graduation, which enabled him to continue his education at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, Virginia.

Jimmy obtained his bachelor's degree in political science from VCU and did one year of graduate work at the University of Richmond. Afterward, he taught for one year at Powhatan Elementary School before entering the U.S. Air Force.

While stationed in Montgomery, Alabama, Jimmy worked as a historian at the USAF Historical Archives at Maxwell AFB.

During his four-year tour in the Air Force, he attended Troy University and obtained his Masters Degree. He also met and married Joyce Blewitt in Montgomery and became the father of two children, Keith Aaron Riddle in 1971 and Lisa Michelle Riddle in 1975.

After separation from the Air Force, he attended Auburn University and obtained his doctorate in school administration. He then moved to Columbus, Georgia, and became a high school principal.

This particular branch of the Riddle family began to relocate to South Carolina in the early 1990s, and in 1994 Jimmy also moved to the North Augusta, South Carolina area with his second wife Margaret, and her two sons.

He began working for the Department of Social Services in 1995. He took this job because he wanted to make a difference for children.

On September 16, 1996, due to a senseless act of violence, his life came to an end.

At age 52, he left behind a mother Lois, who will never come home and be surprised by a vase of wildflowers on her kitchen table, hand-picked for her by Jimmy.

He also left a son and daughter, who had also lost their mother Joyce, in July. Additionally he left behind his grandson, Troy, too young to know his grandfather.

Life goes on, but it will never be the same without him."

Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family of Jimmy Riddle.

I know that all of his Riddle cousins join me in praying that God will grant peace to those who must wait to see his smiling face in a happier place.

Sir John Riddell
Richard Riddle

Rush Beeler’s wife, Nancy uncovered the following information in the Biographical Register of Saint Andrews Society of the State of New York, Vol. I, page 83, while researching her mother’s relatives who had married Scottish immigrants. Editorial comments are added as (ed...) for the benefit of Riddle Newsletter readers.

Rush Beeler is a third great-grandson of Benjamin Tyre Riddle. Rush’s mother was Dora Riddle, daughter of James Sherman Riddle.

Sir John Riddell, VIth Baronet of Riddell, was the third son of Walter, Vth Baronet of Riddell and Margaret Watt, daughter of John Watt of Rose Hill, Edinburgh.

Margaret was the sister of Robert Watts, the father of the Honorable John Watts, member 1756.

Being a younger son, John was sent at an early age to America to his Uncle Robert Watts, and by him was "brought up."

On coming of age he went to Curacoa, (ed. An island about 50 miles off the northwest coast of Venezuela in the Netherlands Antilles) where he became a merchant. On the death of his elder brother Walter, (ed. who was a captain in the services of the States of Holland, died unmarried and before his father and therefore did not succeed) he returned to the ancestral home by the way of Philadelphia and New York.

He became an honorary member of the Saint Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia in 1761, the year of his return (ed. to Philadelphia).

As his name appeared on the Honorary list of the Society published in 1770 without date of election, the year 1761 also has been adopted as the year that he became connected with this Society.

He married Jane, the daughter of James Buchanan of Sunden, in the County of Bedford, England, to whose estates she succeeded in 1772, on the death of her brother Archibald Buchanan. Sir Walter (ed. Vth) died May 13th, 1765, and John succeeded to the baronetcy, (ed. as Baronet VIth) to the estates and died at Hamstead, Middlesex County, England, on the 16th of April, 1768, leaving three sons, (ed. Walter, James, and John) his son Walter succeeding to title and estate (ed. as Baronet VIIth).

His sister Elinor had married Robert Carre of Caver-Carre and through that alliance the Cavers-Carre eventually came to the Riddell family. - Riddell Genealogy; De Peyster Genealogy.

Riddle Blood Flows Through Many Kings
Richard Riddle

Recently the Arts and Entertainment (A&E) Channel has been showing a television series based on the book Ivanhoe, written by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832).

As I watched this series, I was reminded of the Riddle connection to Prince John, one of the major villains in the Ivanhoe story.

In addition, I was also reminded of Sir Walter Scott’s connection to the Riddles of Roxburghshire, Scotland.

Much of Scott’s Ivanhoe is based on historical fact. Richard I (Richard the Lion-Hearted) was the King of England and Duke of Normandy. Richard I ruled from 1189 to 1199.

He joined Philip Augustus, King of France in the Third Crusade to the Holy Land.

While Richard was away on the Crusade, Prince John, his younger brother, ruled England as the country degenerated.

In 1192 Richard, after learning of the problems in England, elected to return to England but was seized and held for a large ransom by Leopold, Duke of Austria.

When the ransom was paid, Richard returned to England and regained his throne in 1194. He soon returned to Normandy to fight a war with Philip Augustus King of France.

In 1199, while leading the siege of a French castle, Richard was killed. Prince John was made king in 1199 and ruled until 1216.
Isabella, daughter of Aymer Ridel (Riddle), Count of Angoulesme (Normandy) married John.

Their son, Henry III, became King of England and ruled from 1216 until 1272.

Almost every sovereign who sat on the throne of England descended from Isabella. The Riddle blood flows through many kings of England.

Sir Walter Scott developed his interest in Scottish history at an early age.

He spent much of his childhood at his grandfather’s farm on the Scottish border.

As a result of his many narrative poems and romantic historical novels, Scott became a popular and wealthy author.

He built a large country home, Abbotsford in Roxburghshire, Scotland.

The Riddles received some of their land in Roxburghshire from King David (r.1124-1153) of Scotland.

Most historians date the Riddle (Ridel-Riddell) Roxburghshire estates and lands as after 1120.

Scott was convinced that the Riddell family had the "Riddell House" several years prior to 1120.

He wrote these words about this Riddell estate:

"Ancient Riddell’s fair domain.
Where Ale, from mountains freed,
Down from the lakes did raving come;
Each wave was crested with tawny foam,
Like the mane of a chestnut steed."

In 1823, the ancient "Riddell House" was sold. As he was preparing to enlarge the house, the new proprietor found an antiquated stone in the west side wall.

The Riddell coat of arms was on one side and a version of the Kerr arms on the other.

It is known that the Riddells and Kerrs formed an alliance about 400 years prior to finding the carved stone.

Also on the estate grounds was an ancient church and castle. The date when these structures were erected is unknown, but they are believed to have been erected early in 12th century.

The Tory Oak Is Gone
Richard Riddle

The following story is based on an article "Uprooting History - Wilkesboro Will Put Tory Oak’s Storm-Ravaged Remains To Rest," which appeared in the Winston-Salem Journal, March 22, 1997. Readers of the Riddle Newsletter will recall the significance of the Tory Oak to the Riddle family. See "Captain Riddle Hanged in Wilkesboro, N.C.," Riddle Newsletter, Vol. 2, Issue. 2, June 1996, and "William Thomas Riddle Troy or Patriot?" Vol. 3. Issue. 1, December 1996.

WILKESBORO, Friday, March 21, 1997

Joan Baity, the executive director of the Old Wikes, Inc., historic-preservation group, gave her last student tour of the Tory Oak.

About 50 students form the Roaring River Elementary School gathered around Joan and the stump of the Tory Oak. The oak was at one time 50 feet tall and a spread of 40 feet. It was estimated to be 250 to 300 years old and in 1980 was the largest black oak in North Carolina.

Joan informed the students that Col. Benjamin Cleveland had hanged five men on the branches of this tree.

In 1779, two Tory marauders, John Brown and James Coyle, were hanged by the order of Cleveland for taking a horse from a Whig major in Lincoln County.

In May, 1781, Cleveland had Tory Captain William Riddle and two of Riddle’s Tory associates hanged for capturing and holding Cleveland. Cleveland’s brother Robert led a raid on the Riddle camp that gained Ben Cleveland’s release.

An image of The Tory Oak has been on the Wilkesboro town seal for years. Mayor Pete M. Mann said "It’s very sad to know that it’s finally over for the Tory Oak."

Joan Baity allowed the students to sit on the grassy area surrounding the stump and remove pieces of its bark for souvenirs.

Baity urged them to remember the Tory Oak long after it is gone. She told them "You will always remember that today you got to sit under the Tory Oak for the last time. I want you to tell your children and grandchildren about today."

Blanchey Allen, Granddaughter of Capt. "Teges" Allen
Richard Riddle

Blanchey Allen was James Riddle’s (1832-1867) mother-in-law. On February 17, 1848, James married Elizabeth Hensley, daughter of Blanchey Allen and an unknown Hensley.

James Riddle was the grandson of John W. Riddle Sr., the ancestor of most of the Riddles in western North Carolina.

The following is based on information supplied by Kathy Allen Fleming and Janice Allen Bertram, descendants of Captain "Teges" Adoniram D. Allen I.

Blanchey is descended from a distinguished and notable line of Allens. She was the granddaughter of Adoniram D. Allen I.
This Adoniram Allen was born in 1734 in what is currently New Hampshire, near the border of Vermont.

He was the son of David Allen, born in 1714. David Allen’s father was Samuel Allen II (1665-1718) and his mother was Mercy Wright.

Samuel and Mercy were also the parents of Joseph, father of Ethan Allen, (1738-1789) leader of the Green Mountain Boys of American Revolutionary War fame.

Samuel’s parents were Nehemiah Allen (1649-1684) and Sarah Woodfor.

Nehemiah’s father was Samuel Allen I, born in Essex Braintree County, England in 1588, who settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about 1632, then moved to Winsor, Connecticut in 1640.

David and his son Adoniram were in Elizabeth Town, New Jersey in 1761. The date they moved to Elizabeth Town and the date when Adoniram married Martha Riddle are unknown.

They journeyed to North Carolina by the way of the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road and they both fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain.

At that time, 1780, David was 66 years old and Adoniram was 46. A family legend claims that Adoniram was awarded a land grant of five thousand acres on the south fork of the Kentucky River for his services during the Revolutionary War.

Clay County, Kentucky historian Jess Wilson states that "Captain ‘Teges’ Adoniram D. Allen was a remarkable man. Past seventy years when he migrated (1807) with his family to Clay County, built his saw and grist mill, and his home. He began a new life when most people at age seventy are no longer able to work."

The known children of Adoniram Allen I and Martha Riddle are John (born 1787), Adorniram D. II (born 1788), Allie (born 1790), Morris (born 1794), Phoebe and William.

Adorniram D. Allen II remained in North Carolina and married Lucinda Koon (Koontz). They had the following children: John, Blanchey (mother-in-law of James Riddle), Benjamin, Margaret, William, James (married Rachel Riddle, daughter of William Riddle), Nathaniel, Mary, Adorniram, Irvin, Jobe, Nancy, Jane, and Lucinda.

It is believed that all 14 children of Adorniram and Lucinda were born in Yancey (Buncombe at that time) County.

The Children of Mary Jane Riddle and John Allen
Richard Riddle

On February 23, 1997, I received an e-mail message from Brent Bertram who was searching for information about Mary Jane Riddle. Brent’s wife, Janice Allen is a great-granddaughter of Mary Jane Riddle and John Allen.

At that time, I knew that Mary Jane was the daughter of John Riddle, son of Benjamin Tyre Riddle and Rachel Austin. I also knew that Mary Jane had married John Allen but I had no record of their children.

Brent sent me a copy of his Allen database that contained information about the 13 children of Mary Jane and John, as well as his wife’s line forward to her granddaughter.

Mary Jane Riddle was the daughter of John Riddle and Nancy E. McKinney who were married in Buncombe County, North Carolina on March 21, 1858.

John Riddle was a son of Benjamin Tyre Riddle and Rachel Austin and the brother of Samuel Riddle (see related article,
Samuel Riddle, First Postmaster of Pensacola, North Carolina).

John was also a brother of James Riddle, my great-great-grandfather (see related article,
Blanchey Allen, Granddaughter of Capt. "Teges" Adoniram D. Allen). Mary Jane was born on February 22, 1859 and married John Allen on October 14, 1874 in Yancey County, North Carolina.

John Allen was born on October 15, 1852. He was the son of Adniram D. Allen III and Rachel Roland.

John’s grandparents were Adoniram D. Allen II and Lucinda Koon. His great-aunt was Blanchey Allen, my great-great-great grandmother.

Mary Jane and John had the following children:

• James Henry, born 1876, married Catherine Robinson.
• William Tilden, born 1878, married Nancy McMahan.
• Lillie, born 1880, married Gilbert McMahan.
• Idella Emma, born 1882, married William York McMahan.
• Charles Ellis, born 1884.
• Alonzo, born 1886, married Mytle Gardner.
• Emiett, born 1888, married Dlsie Ann Adkins.
• Maggie married Fred Moore.
• John Robert, born 1892, married Bertha Haney.
• Niram Houston, born 1895, married Margaret Garland.
• Joseph Jennings Bryant, born 1897, married Mattie Lou Wheeler.
• Onnie, born 1899, married Robert Henry McMahan.
• Eullah, married Horace McMahan.

With five of their 13 children marring McMahans, it not surprising that we find them buried in the McMahan/Allen Cemetery between Murchison and Eskota, just off the Ewart Wilson Road. Mary Jane died August 14, 1905 and is buried beside Adniram D. Allen III. His grave maker indicates that he served in Co. K 3 NC MTD INF (Company K, 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry) in the Civil War.

John died July 2, 1916, and is buried beside Mary Jane. Several of Mary and John’s children are also buried there:

  • William Tilden (grave maker says, Tilden W. Allen, 1879-1923) and his wife Nancy McMahan (grave marker, Nancy M. Allen, January 31, 1881 - February 2, 1958).
  • Alonzo (grave marker, Alonzo Allen May 30, 1886 - April 24, 1918).
  • Charles Ellis (grave marker, Charley E. Allen August 3, 1884 - July 17, 1886).

Janice Louise Allen, Brent Bertram’s wife is the granddaughter of Joseph Jennings Bryant Allen and Mattie Lou Wheeler.

Joseph and Mattie Lou married September 1916 in Asheville, North Carolina, and had three children: Velma born 1918, Bryan Fay born 1920, and Lenora, all were born in Asheville.

I am not sure when Joseph moved his family to Michigan, but it appears that they were there by mid-1945 because Bryan Fay Allen married Rosalie Myrtle Thompson from Ann Arbor, Michigan on June 5, 1945.

Joseph Jennings B. Allen died May 31, 1988 and is buried in the Balcom Cemetery, Ionia, Michigan.

Mattie Lou Wheeler died December 29, 1972, and is buried in the same cemetery as Joseph.

Bryan and Rosalie have three children: Janice Louise, Robert James, and Brenda Kay.

Janice Louise Allen first married Larry Hayden and her second husband was Brent Regan Bertram.

Janice is the mother of five children: Greg Alan, Dena Sharon, Carol Lynn, Martin Fredrick Terrence, and Laura Christine. She is also the grandmother of Chelsea Leigh.

My thanks to Janice and Brent for allowing me to add more relatives to the growing list of descendants of John W. Riddle, Sr., the progenitor of the Riddles in western North Carolina and as well as a few in Michigan.

Riddle Family Crest Mug
Richard Riddle

The Andrew Jackson Riddle Family of Texas will be celebrating their 50th Riddle Reunion on July 4, 1997, in Italy, Texas.

As part of that celebration, they plan to make commemorative mug with the Riddle Crest on one side and a 1928 photo of the A.J. Riddle family on the other.

Jenine, Herman Riddle’s wife, is taking advance orders for the mugs. If there are not enough pre-production orders, she will have to cancel and none will be made.

The 11 ounce mugs are, almond in color, and come in a boxed set of four for $15, plus a postage and handling charge of no more the $5 per set.

Time is the problem. They would like to have the mugs available at the 50th Riddle Reunion.

If you are interested in one or more sets of these mugs you must order now.

Mrs. Herman F. Riddle
3015 Cotton Cross Drive
Germantown, TN 38138

Jenine does not require the money now but does need commitments for production.

Additional Riddle Web Site Online
Jim Hartung

We’re happy to report that there is now an additional Riddle Web Site online. This new page is hosted by Wes Patterson, who’s son is a descendant of Tyre Riddle (circa 1765-circa 1840), one of the three original Riddle brothers who settled in Stokes Co., North Carolina.

In addition to the Tyre Riddle line, Wes is also interested in the Palmer, Durham, Cox, Dollarhite, Nunn and George families of Stokes County.

The following is part of an e-mail message from Wes dealing with the Tyre Riddle family:

"Tyre’s daughter, Elizabeth married William Dollarhite (Dollihite), stayed on the Tyre Riddle land in Stokes County, and she and her children all inherited much of the Riddle land that Tyre had left to his three daughters (two of which never married).

The Dollarhites named their two daughters after Elizabeth Riddle Dollarhite’s two unmarried sisters, Mary and Ursley.

William and Elizabeth Riddle Dollarhite had five children, two daughters, and three sons.

Tyre and Samuel "Solly" Dollarhite were twins. The other son, William Harden Dollarhite, was killed in the Civil War. Tyre Dollarhite also fought in the Civil War, as did their sister’s husbands.

Ursley Dollarhite married Burwell East, and Mary Dollarhite married Elias Palmer, sometimes spelled Parmer.

Elias and Mary Dollarhite Palmer inherited the main land that had passed from the Riddles to the Dollarhites, including a family cemetery that I have been restoring.

I believe this cemetery was the main Riddle family cemetery, then became the Dollarhite cemetery, and finally the Palmer family cemetery.

This cemetery in Stokes county is located off of Horseshoe Rd, just outside the town of Francisco, North Carolina.

When I first began cleaning this cemetery in 1993, I detected about 25 graves. Since then, the total has grown to at least 40 or 41!

Most of the surrounding land is unused and owned by Herbert Dillard who lives in Winston-Salem. He has given me permission to work on the cemetery.

I know this is where Elias and Mary Dollarhite Palmer (my sons g-g-g-grandparents) are buried. Samuel "Solly" Dollarhite and family are also buried here, and I am 99% sure that William and Elizabeth Riddle Dollarhite are also here. I am about 75% sure that Elizabeth’s sisters are here as well, and would like to verify whether or not Tyre Riddle is interred here.

Wes can be contacted via
e-mail or by regular mail at:
Wes Patterson
648 Lantern Ridge Dr.
Winston-Salem, NC 27104
910-760-9657 (H)
910-716-4073 (W)

Wes Patterson’s Web Site.