John or William Ridgeway

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John or William Ridgeway

Birthdate: (68)
Death: August 1911 (68)
Immediate Family:

Son of John Ridgeway and Tabitha Ridgeway
Husband of Matilda Jane Ridgeway (Blair)
Father of William Ridgeway

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About John or William Ridgeway

William Ridgeway, b. September 03, 1842 Buchanan Co., Mo., went over the Oregon Trail in 1845 with his parents John and Tabitha (Wilson) Ridgeway, d. August 04, 1911 Polk Co., OR. He married in Polk Co. June 30, 1878 to Matilda Jane Blair, daughter of Thomas Rainey Blair and Emeline Buell. (Emeline was daughter of Elias and Sarah (Hammond) Buell; Elias led a wagon train to Oregon in 1847. Thomas Blair came to OR in 1845) Matilda b. December 29, 1853 at Blair home near Buell, OR, d. August 19, 1920. Their children were:

Mary Cleveland Ridgeway b. 8/20/1884 (known as Clevie)

William Ridgeway II b. 8/6/1886

Lloyd Ridgeway b. 4/4/1889.

Sarah Emeline Ridgeway b. 9/19/1890 (known as Emma)

Inez Mercedes Ridgeway b. 11/1/1892.

1. After William lost his arm in a farm accident, he went back to school. He later taught in rural schools and encouraged his children, boy and girl alike, to study. Three of his children (William, Emma and Inez) taught. He was 19 when he had the hunting accident, slipping and causing the rifle to go off, hitting his hand. Blood poisoning set in, and his hand was amputated with a carpenter's saw. It spread, and a 2nd amputation took place above the right elbow. It took him nearly six months to recover. Because of his missing arm, TR Blair would not consent to the marriage to Matilda Jane Blair until William had saved $1,000, which took him 5 years.

2. William interpreted for Indians at the Buell post office, served as justice of the peace, and organized the first school board.

3. See History of Willamette Valley, pg. 644, for a biography. See also Oregon census records for 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910.

Lang, H. O., ed. "The History of the Willamette Valley, Being A Description of the Valley and its Resources, with an account of its Discovery and Settlement by White Men, and its Subsequent History; Together with Personal

Reminiscences of its Early Pioneers." Portland, OR, Geo. H. Himes, Book and Job Printer, 1885. p. 644.


Born in Buchanan County, Missouri, September 3, 1842; came to Oregon and settled at Mill Creek, Polk County, which is still his place of residence; he is a farmer by occupation. In 1878 he married Matilda J. Blair, and they have one child -- Mary C.

4. Inez wrote later, "How great was our pride when our Dad rode at the head of the parade in Sheridan several times. He was Marshal of the Day, with a red, white and blue sash draped over his shoulder and knotted at the opposite side below his abbreviated left arm. He would be mounted on a very pretty bay horse, Dolly R. She had been a racer, and she could dance and prance when the band started playing. Five children proud of a fine father and mother."

5. Probate records show William died August 4, 1911, with all of his surviving family in Buell, except Emma Seth, who was living in Boise, Idaho. His estate was estimated to be $20,000.

William and Matilda are buried in Sheridan Masonic, end of NW Evans St, Sheridan OR. Their parents are in the Blair cemetery north of Mill Creek, north of Buell.

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John or William Ridgeway's Timeline

September 4, 1842
August 6, 1886
Age 43
August 1911
Age 68