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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Richard Ridgely, 1774-1863 Pioneer

Westall Ridgely Jr., the first son of Westall Sr. and Sarah Isaac Ridgely, was born in Frederick Co, Maryland about 1735. He and Sarah Urith were married about 1750. During the Revolutionary War, he, with his brother Jacob, served on the Committee for Observation for Frederick County, Maryland. They took the Oath of Fidelity and Support on December 27, 1775. He died before April 13, 1779, the date his wife was appointed the guardian of their minor children.

One of their children was Richard Ridgely, born October 12, 1774, in Frederick Co., Maryland and married August 28, 1789 to Mary Hymes. During the War of 1812, Richard enlisted in Frederick County, Maryland as a private in Capt. Matthew Murrays’ Co, 3rd Regiment. For his service, he was granted a military warrant November 10,1851, for 40 acres in Richland County, Illinois.

Richard and his family moved to Ohio in 1822, where they lived until April, 1839, when they emigrated to Illinois, settled in Lawrence County, and were counted as residents in the 1840 census. Richard died December 20, 1863. His will dated April 21, 1863, (Will Record B, Page 103, Lawrence County, Illinois ) directed that “his body be interred in the burying ground on his son George W. Ridgley’s land” in Lawrence Co. This cemetery is now known as the Ridgley or sometimes White Cemetery.

Richard bequeathed his wife a life estate while four of his children, Westall, Ann Basford, Sarah Doan and Richard were each to have 50 cents. The rest of his estate was divided among his other eight children: Heirs of George Wm 1/8, Daniel 1/8, daughter Rebecca Johnston 1/8; Elias 1/8; Daughter Elizabeth Kidd 1/8; Ezra 1/8; Mary Ann Jones 1/8; and son John Lawrence 1/8. John Lawrence Ridgley was named the executor. Richard signed with his mark and the will was witnessed by Stephen E. Morgan and John Moore.

After Richard died in 1863, his wife Mary lived with her younger son, John Laurence Ridgley and his family in Lukin. Her age is given as 99 in 1870 census although this is probably incorrect based on her birthdate. Mary was allowed a pension for Richard’s military service on her application executed September 26, 1871, while residing in Lukin Township, Lawrence County Il., Post Office Summer, Il. She passed away on February 2, 1873, and was laid to rest beside her husband at the age of 94 years. Surveyors at Ridgley cemetery found no tombstone in 1971.

The Research Library has four binders plus misc. files on the Ridgley/Ridgely families of Lawrence County and Wabash County. If you would like to find information about this family, the library is open from 9-12 Monday, Wednesday and Friday or by appointment. Call 618-943-3870 or email If you believe that you would be eligible to join the DAR based on Richard’s Revolutionary War record, contact Debbie Lemeron at the above phone number or email.

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