Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

ABNER RIDDLE. - Among the honored pioneers of Sangamon county should be numbered Abner Riddle, who now makes his home with his son, Dr. H. R. Riddle, in Mechanicsburg. He was brought to this locality by his parents during his boyhood and is today the oldest living settler of the county, having been an eye witness of almost its entire development and upbuilding. He was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, in October, 1813, and belongs to a family of Scotch-Irish origin which was founded in Pennsylvania during the early settlement of that state. His grandfather, John Riddle, reared his family and spent his entire life in Pennsylvania. The father, David Riddle, was also a native of the Keystone state, whence he removed to Ohio, where he was married, and subsequently came to Illinois, locating in Sangamon county, among its earliest settlers. Here he opened up a farm and in the course of time became the owner of several good farming properties. He was a prominent and well known agriculturist and pioneer and died at the age of sixty-six years.

Amid pioneer scenes Abner Riddle grew to manhood in Sangamon county, pursuing his education in its public schools, which were far inferior to those of the present day. After attaining his majority he was united in marriage to Mary Ann Pickrell, a native of Sangamon county and a daughter of colonel William F. Elkins, one of the pioneer settlers and prominent and influential residents of central Illinois. He served as sheriff of Sangamon county, was also a member of the state legislature and filled other positions of honor and trust.

Following his marriage Mr. Riddle engaged in farming in Williamsville township, where he owned an extensive and valuable tract of land. He was quite successful in his business operations and in connection with the tilling of the soil engaged in raising stock, for which he found a ready sale on the market. Before the era of railroads he drove fat stock to St. Louis and on one occasion marketed nine hundred fat hogs in that way, which was probably the largest drove ever delivered there by one man from central Illinois. At the age of eighteen he took a drove of two hundred to Milwaukee, averaging in weight three hundred pounds. As there were no roads at that time he followed an Indian trail and encountered many obstacles, it being especially difficult to cross the streams owing to the lack of bridges, but he never lost a hog. On reaching his destination he sold the drove for ten dollars per hundred and received the amount in gold, which he brought back to Sangamon county. This trip occupied about seven weeks.

On the old home farm Mr. riddle reared his family but subsequently removed to Ottawa, Kansas, where he resided for ten or fifteen years. In March, 1842, he was called upon to mourn the loss of his first wife, whose only child was Dr. Riddle, whose sketch follows this. Later Mr. Riddle was again married and his second wife died in Kansas about 1878. Subsequently he returned to Illinois and for the past seventeen years he has made his home with the Doctor, being now a hale and hearty old man of ninety years. During his long residence here Mr. Riddle has become widely and favorably known and his name should be among the foremost on the roll of Sangamon county's honored pioneers.

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