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James W. Ridley, 1831-1889


Posted By: Emmet County IAGenWeb Coordinator (email)
Date: 3/10/2009 at 06:56:24

Died 15 Jul 1889

There were very few people comparatively speaking, who, when the announcement was made Monday morning, that Mr. Ridley was dying, had heard of the fatal accident that had befallen him. Those of us who for years had been accustomed to see him always on duty, cheery and good natured could hardly realize that he had gone from us. The circumstances attending the accident from which he died were peculiarly unfortunate. At about half past three o'clock Sunday afternoon, while harnessing a wild colt the animal while he was bucking the girth turned and kicked him in the abdomen. The blow received was terrible, yet he went to the house, remarking that he thought he was not badly injured. In a few moments he was taken with a violent fit of vomiting, physicians were called, and although everything was done that skill could suggest, he sank rapidly and died at 9:30 Monday morning.

Born in Harpswell, Maine, September 5th, 1831 his early life was spent in New England, and for many years he resided in Boston. Several visits were made to this county where his parents and many of his relatives wee settled; during these visits he was so well pleased with the country that in 1870, he cast his fortunes in the west. Since that time he has been a conspicuous figure in this part of Iowa. He was of the type of men, so necessary in a new country. Self-reliant and aggressive; fearless and independent, versatile, and possessed of almost boundless resources, as well as indomitable energy, he never turned aside from any enterprise--no matter what difficulties might appear. His native independence of character and blunt manner in speaking oftentimes caused him to be misjudged, and misunderstood; but beneath that rugged mannerism, beat a loving and sympathetic heart. No person in distress, friend or foe, it mattered not what the conditions were, was ever turned away by him without material aid, and in all cases, he literally compiled the scriptural injunction "let not your left hand know what your right hand doeth." There were scores of people at the funeral, who remembered many kindly acts and aid extended, though the giver had long since forgotten them.

Mr. Ridley came into possession of the Emmet House, in the latter part of 1875. He improved the property as the growth of the country and needs of travel demanded. In addition to the duties of hotel keeper, he has been largely interested in farming, and was known as one of the heaviest stock dealers in the northwest. As a result of his ventures, nearly all of which were successful, he accumulated a large amount of property.

He leaves a widow and four children, an aged mother, who has made his house her home for two years past, two brothers residing here, one sister in California, one in St. Louis, and one in Washington territory.

The funeral which was held in the Baptist church Tuesday at 10:30, was the most largely attended occasion of the kind ever known in the county. The church was crowded and many were unable to gain admittance. All of the local pastors took part in the exercises. There were over sixty vehicles in the procession that followed the remains to the new cemetery [Oak Hill].

Judge Rothrock of the supreme court Wm. Bartlett, S. E. Bemis, M. Blow, P. J. Sargent and E. R. Littell were the pall bearers.

F. L. Soper, prominent in business circles at Madison, Dak., brother of Mrs. J. W. Ridley, attended the funeral of Mr. Ridley, Tuesday. Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Soper, Miss Ruby Soper and E. B. Soper, Jr., of Emmetsburg, were in attendance at the funeral of Mr. Ridley Tuesday.

Contributed by: Ruth Hackett. Source: Northern Vindicator, Estherville, Emmet County, Iowa.


Emmet Obituaries maintained by Lynn Diemer-Mathews.
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