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Notes on William W. Ridler
From Past and Present of Fayette County, Iowa, (1910)
WILLIAM W. RIDLER
The subject of this sketch ranks among the leading farmers of Fayette county and has long enjoyed worthy prestige in the township of which he is an honored resident. His father, William Ridler, was born January 28, 1826, in Devonshire, England, as was also the mother, who bore the maiden name of Mary Kingdon and who first saw the light of day on March 26, 1821. These parents grew up in the same neighborhood and were married on the 29th of April, 1847. Later they immigrated to the United States and settled in Genesee county, New York, where they lived until about 1848, when they removed to Fayette county, Iowa, located on eighty acres of land in Jefferson township. He also bought a small log house in which the family lived for several years, and in the meantime addressed himself to the improvement of his land, which was in the condition that nature had made it. Subsequently he erected a much larger and more comfortable dwelling, the one now occupied by the subject and his family, and in due season had a fine farm under cultivation and was on the high road to prosperity. He added to his improvements at intervals, made substantial progress as a tiller of the soil and was in comfortable circumstances at the time of his death, January 20, 1890, Mrs. Ridler departing this life on January 2, 1897.
In early life Mr. Ridler was tailor, which trade he learned in his native land, but after coming to America he devoted his attention principally to farming, in which, as already stated, he met with the success that usually follows sound judgment and well-directed industry. He enlisted in the One Hundred Fortieth New York Infantry at the breaking out of the great Rebellion and served one year at the front, and it was shortly after his return from the army that he disposed of his interests in New York and came west. As a neighbor and citizen he stood high in the confidence and esteem of all who knew him, and the deep interest he ever took in promoting the social and moral welfare of the community gave him a wide reputation throughout the county. In religion the Presbyterian church held his creed and in politics he was loyal and unswerving in upholding the principles of the Republican party.
William and Mary Ridler reared a family of six children, namely: Fannie, born November 4, 1848, married Peter Harford, of Oelwein; Mary Jane, who was born March 20, 1851, is the wife of Charles Knight, of Denver, Colorado; Josephine, born December 4, 1853, is now Mrs. H. W. Keniston, of Oelwein; William W., of this review, is the fourth in order of birth, the fifth being Frederick John, a retired farmer of Fayette county, living in Oelwein, whose natal day was January 12, 1858; Emma Lucinda, the youngest of the family, was born September 21, 1863, and married George Teague, a well-to-do farmer and substantial citizen of Jefferson township.
William W. Ridler was born July 6, 1856, and spent his early life in his native state, receiving a good practical education in the public schools of Fayette county. He was reared a farmer and remained with his parents until his marriage, which was solemnized on the 8th of September, 1880, with Nina Bennett, of Jefferson township, who was born October 27, 1859, the daughter of DeWitt and Eleanor (Wood) Bennett, both natives of Orange county, New York.
Mr. and Mrs. Bennett came to Fayette county, Iowa, in 1858 and settled in Jefferson township, where they lived the remainder of their days, the former dying December 24, 1870, the latter in the spring of 1875. They had eight children whose names are as follows: Martha E., wife of A. J. Miller, of Oelwein; Carrie, wife of John Morton, of Cedar Rapids, this state; George, a farmer of Jefferson township, died November 8, 1908; Ruth, who married John Foley and lives in Union county, Iowa; Lewis, of Clinton, Minnesota, and by occupation a farmer; Nina, wife of the subject; Fred, a resident of Oelwein, and Andrew, of Bryant, South Dakota.
Father Bennett was an excellent man and praiseworthy citizen, and wielded a wide influence for good among his neighbors and friends. He followed farming for a livelihood, voted the Republican ticket and was a devout Christian and un untiring student of the Holy Scriptures. The deaths of this good man and of his estimable wife were greatly deplored and they will long live in the memories of those with whom they formerly mingled.
For one year after his marriage William W. Ridler lived at Oelwein, but at the expiration of that time went to Sanborn county, South Dakota, where he entered a quarter section of land and pre-empted a like amount in the same locality, on which he resided during the nine years ensuing. Disposing of all his land in the year 1891, he returned to Fayette county and, purchasing the home farm of his father, has lived on the same ever since, adding to its improvements and value the meanwhile and taking a front rank among the successful agriculturists and stock raisers of Jefferson township. He carries on general farming, raises high grade cattle, horses and hogs, and by diligent attention to his vocation has surrounded himself with a sufficiency of this world's wealth to make his future secure and independent.
Mr. Ridler is a public spirited man and takes a lively interest in whatever tends to promote the welfare of his community. He is a Republican in politics, a worthy member of the Christian church and, fraternally, belongs to the Modern Brotherhood of America, at Oelwein.
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