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"R" Family Histories

Thompson's Station

Williamson County

The following Family Histories have been taken from the book by Sue Oden titled "Hold Us Not Boastful - History of Thompson's Station, TN." This biographical collection includes 86 histories of pioneer families of Thompson's Station and Southern Williamson County. The stories are about families who are proud of their roots and their place in history. We hope that you will be able to connect your roots with ours, and become part of us

If you are just beginning your search, this will be a good place to start.

Please note the following:

"The correctness of this biographical material cannot be guaranteed. It was obtained through interviews with family members, research they had done and my own research at the Williamson County Archives. Research in such detail is always subject to error. Everyone must validate the facts for their own use."

Individual Family Histories are found on the following pages:




Dr. John Roy Ragan, Tennessee State Veterinarian, was born and grew up in Thompson's Station. His story follows in his own words:

"I was born in the house across the road from the Methodist parsonage.My parents, sisters and I lived in two rooms and my Grandmother and Grandfather Ragan lived in the other two rooms.

About the time I started to school my parents bought the frame house where I grew up on the corner of Thompson's Station Road and Old Thompson's Station Road.

My first recollection of growing up in Thompson's Station is that we were always busy. I am constantly appreciative of the opportunity of growing up in the country store my parents ran in the farming community and knowing everyone for miles around.

Besides the store my parents ran, there were two others. One was run by Joe Greer Nichols which was located just in front of Craig and Sarah Benson's home. The other was where the present store is located and was run by Leon Smith and Vester Early.

When my parents, Roy and Angie Ragan, first opened the store it was open seven days and seven nights a week. I remember my parents telling about the two preachers in the community getting together and persuading the store owners to close their businesses on Sunday morning during church. Later they closed all day on Sunday.

During the week our store opened at six in the morning and closed around eight or nine in the evening. On Friday and Saturday nights closing time would be ten and sometimes midnight.

After we closed on Friday and Saturday nights we had several sacks and boxes of groceries to deliver. Many of the residents were share croppers and did not own a car.

By eight on Sunday morning there were several people knocking on the door because they had forgotten to buy an item the night before. There were not many off hours in those early days.

I grew up with the other children in the neighborhood. There were Dean and Donnie Nichols across the road. Martha Ann and James David Porter lived on the other side. John, Bill and Louise Akin lived two doors down.

Wesley Dean Brown lived across the creek and although he was a couple years older than I, we were contemporaries. I envied Wesley because he worked mules for Mr. Fred Kinnard and also for Bill and Hugh Dodson. He would come home for lunch or at the end of the day driving those mules and I thought he had an awful lot of authority for an eleven or twelve year old boy but he did a good job. The Nevils children were also close friends during those growing up years.

Mr. Fred did not have enough land to be a serious farmer but he always kept a pair of mules he was proud of and some Tennessee Walking Horses. His wife, Miss Jimmie, was the postmistress most of the time I was growing up.

Mr. Gus Watson built a store and tourist courts on the corner of Thompson's Station Road and Columbia Highway. By the late 40's these were being rented out to families as residences. I remember three or four boys from the Edwards and Paragin families who lived there. Joey Bradford lived in the Darby's rental house.

All the children went to Thompson's Station School. Mrs. Alva Jefferson taught the first three grades. Mrs. Kathryn Cotton taught the fourth grade. Miss Bessie Eunice Bond was principal and also taught some classes.

There was much activity going on during the five years I attended school there. So many students were in attendance that the old West Harpeth School building was moved in to provide extra classrooms.

The Thompson's Station Home Demonstration Club started the first hot lunch program. They set up a kitchen in the basement and cooked the food. Previously we had brought ham and biscuit in a sack from home. Having a hot lunch provided on the premises was pretty luxurious.

There was a water pump on the north side of the school building with a concrete trough built into it. When one child pumped, water would come out tiny pipes imbedded in the concrete and about ten children could drink. I thought this was an amazing idea on someone's part.

Blythe "Doc" Gillespie and his sister, Mary, drove a pony and cart to school every day. They would stable the pony in an old barn out behind the school.

The larger boys would climb up on the top of the barn and tell stories or chew tobacco or whatever happened to be going on. There was no indoor plumbing and the boy's outside restroom was a gathering place where they hid out at recess and after school.

Sports were rather disorganized but we did have a baseball team in spring and summer. I remember once going to one of the other community schools to play against their team. For the most part our games were informal and among our own students.

We enjoyed running across Columbia Highway to C. D. McCroy's store at lunchtime. His was more a convenience country store and less complete than the others. He had a large stick of bologna hanging down right over the cash register. If you wanted a dime's worth he would reach up and slice a piece off.

One of the things that always got my attention was the flies taking off when Mr. McCrory grabbed the stick of bologna.

The last two years I went to school at Thompson's Station, my job was to build the fires in the four potbellied stoves. One day my class was quietly studying when Norman Taft went over and threw a handful of 22 rifle shells in the red hot store. Things began to happen when those shells started going off. Mrs. Cotton didn't know for sure who did it, or, she probably knew but didn't have any way to prove it. The kids wouldn't tell.

As well as building fires for the school stoves, I helped milk four or five cows. We watered them from a well. The water was drawn up in long, cylindrical, tin well-buckets. When I was in a hurry those cows could drink an awful lot of water.

At Ragan's Store lots of the working residents would come in to buy lunch. Sometimes there would be twenty or so people sitting on the front porch or in the parking lot eating. Some would go across the road and sit on the loading docks at the train depot.

The railroad and depot added a lot to the community for the children. We would walk down the tracks almost to Spring Hill then up to West Harpeth the other way. There were always stories circulating about someone being run over by the train.

When my parents began operating the store the tracks were very busy. My dad was freight agent and either he or Luck Steel would meet the train for the mail. Sometimes they threw the mailbags off traveling about 30 miles per hour. If they misjudged, we had to walk down the tracks a way to retrieve the bags.

When the store first started getting ice cream delivery on a regular basis Sealtest would pack it in dry ice and send it out on the train. It had to be picked up quickly so it wouldn't melt.

I grew up about 500 feet from the railroad tracks and depot. People have asked how I slept through all the noise. I never heard it except in winter when snow and ice would be on the tracks. After the engine stopped there was quiet a commotion getting it going again. We thought it remarkable that some of the engines could pull a hundred freight cars.

An interesting event for the children occurred near the railroad track behind the present Blythe Hatcher home. There was a large outcropping of limestone rock. Sometimes on Friday or Saturday night there were gatherings with lots of lively partying. If things got too far out of hand someone would call the law.

It was fascinating for us to go there during the week and see what sort of relics were left in the area. We probably expanded on the variety and level of activity that went on.

We didn't have a lot of leisure time but one of our favorite things was checking out all the swimming holes in the area. We would go down to Kennedy Gibbs' (where Malcolm Gibbs lives now), run the hogs out of the pond and swim early in the season. Another of the ponds was on Mrs. Bales' place and one on Mr. Staley Horn's place where Jim and Janet Rosenburg live now.

When I was in the 6th grade Mr. J.B. Akin from Battle Ground Academy visited many of the schools in the different communities. The BGA officials had decided that if their school was to survive there had to be more local involvemnt. Scholarships were offered to various students throughout the area.

In 1949, after six years at Thompson's Station School, Roger Cotton, Kennedy Gibbs, Jr., William Pennington and myself, among others, began our school life at BGA.

The opportunity to attend BGA was a tremendous advantage for a country kid. The first year I was there it still had the old European prep school atmosphere with the rural flavor. I remember a boy from College Grove bringing a five gallon can of milk to the cafeteria every day to help pay his tuition.

Over the years the school took on a Nashville influence as the students began to come from the suburban areas.

My big frustration with BGA was the fact that there were never any snow days. More than half the student body lived in the dorms. There were always enough to hold classes.

During the big blizzard of 1951 when we had no telephone or electricity for two weeks, I had to get back to school after two or three days. The students attending the local school were out playing in the snow.

One of my dad's diversified activities during my days at BGA was hauling for people. At the end of World War II trucks were hard to get. Everything was diverted to the war effort. Tires and gasoline were rationed and one had to have coupons to obtain these things. There were special exemptions for agricultural communities. If you could get designated as the person to haul produce to market you could then get the required coupons. My dad and Joe Greer Nichols were the only ones with trucks and we had an amazing variety of things to haul.

We would start at five or six in the morning and stop at the dairies, picking up cull milk cows, two or three slaughter hogs and a few lambs.

We always had a few good lamb producers in the area. Miss Ruth and Geneva Arnold had a first rate flock of lambs. Grading lambs at the Arnolds was an annual ceremonial affair. Miss Carrie Pope always had good lambs, also.

We picked up chickens and eggs from the farmers to take to market. We would place 2 X 4's over the livestock to hold the chicken coops.

After gathering up the livestock we would go to Union Stock Yards in nashville, unload the cows, hogs and lambs, run them through the scales and dicker with the commission people on the price.

Sometimes the farmers would go with us. They would take an entire day off to go to market and sell a couple of cull cows. If the price was not right we would wind them back through the bins, put them back on the truck and go to Neuhoff Packing Co. where they might bring a little more.

From Neuhoff's we would go to Alloways Poultry Co. where they would weigh and buy the chickens and eggs.

On the way home we would stop at Continental Grain Company for shell corn, go to Kittrell Feed Company for three or four bags of dairy feed and a few blocks of salt. We would also stop at C. B. Ragland to pick up canned goods, dried beans, flour and meal and other staples needed at the store. Trucks did not deliver to stores during this time.

During severe winters and dry summers there were supplemental feed programs for farmers. Cottonseed hulls or whatever was available through the USDA would come in on the railroad cars and we would deliver that to the dairies.

We could always get someone to work around the store or the depot but no one ever wanted to load and unload coal, except Ralph Starnowsky.

Ralph was an unusual person for our part of the country. He had been all over the world in the Merchant Marines and could tell all kinds of tales. He was very humble and unassuming and self contained. I always enjoyed working with him.

He was of Polish descent and had worked in the coal mines in Pennsylvania before the Merchant Marines. The harder and dirtier the work the better he liked it. He would stop for a drink of water or to eat lunch, then go right back to work.

In later years, Ralph was in a wheelchair. He and his wife, Claree, lived in the old bank building in the heart of Thompson's Station. Claree had two brothers, Tommy and Bob Carver.

The Ridley family was one of our biggest coal customers. The Ridley home on Columbia Highway is now owned by Mrs. Hubert Hill. The house was so large that it took twenty tons of coal in the winter to heat it. Theirs was one of the few homes that had a stoker.

For some reason we never had a hopper or elevator. The coal was always moved with a shovel. We unloaded the coal from the railroad cars onto a flatbed truck, took it to the back of the Ridley home, unloaded it onto the ground, moved the truck and scooped it into the basement. By the time we got it to the stoker that coal was about worn out. I always dreaded hearing the Ridleys had placed an order.

The Taft boys had a big impact on the community. Their dad, James T. Taft, was a fascinating character. He was highly energetic and somewhat eccentric. He had been county judge in Van Buren County, Tennessee and worked hard to get Fall Creek Falls made into a state park. They had lived there and thought it was a resource that should not be wasted. Van Buren was the poorest county in the state much in need of a new high school.

Judge Taft told them if they would elect him superintendent of schools he would find a way to build a new high school.

He was elected and borrowed money to buy a rock quarry. It was a quarry that produced the Crab Orchard stone which was in such demand. With help from the local people they quarried enough of the stone to build the high school. Mr. Taft then sold the quarry.

In his later years he put together the Peckerwood Charcoal Co-op in Van Buren Co. he gathered some of the locals who had no means of income. They cut hardwood, made concrete kilns and fired the hardwood to make charcoal. This operation continued years after he left the area.

After Mr. Taft was superintendent of schools in Van Buren County, he moved with his family to Thompson's Station. He was principal at the local school for some time.

Mr. Taft was the best scrounger anywhere around. He would go to the stores and tell either my dad or Joe Nichols he needed to borrow their truck. They couldn't refuse since it was for some school project.

Some way he got a fortune of army surplus supplies donated for the Boy Scout troop that was very active under his leadership.

We went to Nashville in the truck with the cattle racks. We came back loaded to the top of the racks with sleeping bags, field mess kits, and tents. There was enough for a small army. With only six or seven boys in the troop, we were the best camping equipped troop in the county.

No one had a pair of pants and shirt the same color. We didn't win a lot of merit badges in the formal activities but when it came to camping or athletics we always swamped the Franklin boys.

Mr. Taft kept us active in camping because he liked to stay in the woods himself. He was a good cook but he made terrible coffee. We always poured in out when he wasn't looking.

He brought a lot of community involvement into the school. He would buttonhole people for contributions or whatever the school needed.

He died in the Veterans Administration Hospital in Nashville. His funeral was held in the gym at the school in Spencer in Van Buren Co. He is buried in Fall Creek Falls with a monument to him.

Mrs. Aloise Taft retired from teaching in the Thompson's Station community and their three boys went on to do well.

Chesser was much like his father. He received his PhD and is a professor. Paul joined the Marines, later returned to Franklin High School when he was in his twenties, graduated and went on to become a teacher. Norman also became a teacher in Donelson.

When I graduated from BGA I went to Tennessee Tech in 1955 and majored in animal science. After being there a year I added a pre-veterinary curriculum. After their four year program I received my degree in animal science and met my pre-veterinary requirements to get into vet school.

It was eleven years from the time I graduated from BGA until I graduated from the veterinary school at Auburn.

On Oct. 3, 1959 I went to Pensacola, Fla. I had become interested in flying airplanes my last two years in college and wanted to get into the Naval Aviation Program. I was there two and one-half months when I received a medical survey because of high blood pressure.

I worked a while before going to Auburn where I entered vet school in 1962, graduating in 1966. I went to Goldsboro, N.C. for my internship in a mixed livestock practice.

I heard of a vacancy in the diagnostic lab at Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville. I was there four and one-half years when Dr. Kord passed away in Nov. 1970 leaving the position of state veterinarian vacant. I took the position of acting state veterinarian and was appointed state veterinarian in March, 1971.

To make a long story short, I spent my full time supporting and assisting the livestock industries of the state and in controlling and eradicating infectious diseases in livestock.

At the time I began work at the center there were 200 practicing vets in the state. Now there are about 1100.

I came back to Thompson's Station to make my home because I wanted my son, John Matthew Ragan, II, to have the same type of growing up experiences that I had.

Although the community is still small, a lot of the rural character is fading away. There is no wading in the creeks, fishing in the streams or going and coming at will for the children growing up as it was when I was a boy.

Matthew attends The University of Memphis where he is a senior in the School of Music.

Time moves on and changes occur, regardless of how we long for less complicated days of an earlier time.


John Matthew Ragan and the former Ida Lee Brown owned a farm in Maury County near Spring Hill where their son, Oscar Roy Ragan, was born. After the death of his wife, John M. Ragan married the former Susie Langley.

John Matthew Ragan's parents were Andrew J. Ragan and Elizabeth Winchester, both from families who had roots in Maury County history.

Roy lived the typical life of a small boy growing up on the family farm. The Ragans raised food for the table, grew a tobacco crop and milked a few cows.

When he was about 12 years old, Roy's family moved to a farm on Buckner Lane, near the present Claude Sanders home.

He finished grammar school at Thompson's Station, where one of his teachers was Miss Jane Owen. He went back to Spring Hill for his high school work.

During this same time in Dandridge, Tennessee, Harriet Angeline Fagala was growing up. Her parents were William Ponder Fagala and the former Jesse Love Snodgrass. Her paternal grandparents were George Washington Fagala and Angeline Hayes. Her maternal grandparents were William R. Snodgrass and Harriet McGuire. It is apparent why she was named Harriet Angeline.

Angeline's family owned a river bottom farm in Dandridge. When TVA built the Norris Dam-Douglas Lake area, it covered their land, forcing them to relocate. They moved to a farm on Duplex Road near Spring Hill.

As you have probably guessed, Roy Ragan met Angie Fagala and they were married in 1934, moving to Thompson's Station.

Their first home in Thompson's Station was accross the road from the Methodist parsonage. They lived in one side of the house, and Lois and Vester Early lived in the other.

For almost five years, Ragan worked with Brittain and Fristoe, a Purina feed store and produce house, in Franklin. He went to the Purina farm in St. Louis for training in salesmanship while associated with this operation.

Ragan decided if he could work for the other fellow, he could work for himself. In 1938, he and Mrs. Ragan bought a store building and began a general merchandise trade on the site of the present day care center. John Matthew Ragan was part owner in the store for a while, but soon sold out to his son.

Besides groceries, the store carried fence wire, plow points, shoes, work clothes and salt herring in a keg. Seed and sugar was sold in bulk, and had to be weighed when purchased.

Some of the produce was grown by local farmers, but most came from a produce truck that served the area. A room was made on the back porch for live chickens and a place to candle the eggs to be sure they were fresh.

There were two gas pumps in front of the store and a pump for kerosene.

The Colonial bread delivery truck came by the store at daybreak and left the order in the breadbox by the front door. When the Ragans opened the store, they put the bread on the shelves inside.

In the winter, heat came from a pot-bellied stove. The floors were oiled to keep down dust. There were several ladders on tracks around the walls enabling the storekeeper to reach things on the wide shelving overhead.

In the back of the store was a finished balcony that ran the entire width of the building. Stove pipe and fittings were kept here among other items.

Clayton Arnold owned the two rooms on the east side of the store after the post office was moved to the west side.

For a short time, a family moved into these rooms. They had a small girl who would go into the store and rearrange items to suit her fancy, causing general confusion.

One day a train came into the Station at an unusually slow speed. It inched its way onto the switch track and the brakeman stopped the train. The engineer had suffered a heart attack and died. Vester Early was one of the men who helped get the engineer off the train.

Besides running the store, Ragan also sold coal. The train would bring coal to the Station, leaving the cars on the siding until they could be unloaded. To get the best price, it was necessary to contract for the coal in the summertime making for hard, hot work.

Ragan then loaded the coal into one of his trucks for delivery. For a period of time, he furnished the entire Williamson County school system with coal. He remembers it took 85 tons to see the Bethesda School through winter.

Lewis (Luck) Steele, whose wife was named Alice, worked for Ragan. He pumped gas, cleaned the store, met the train with a two-wheeled cart and worked at many other things.

One day, Luck was behind the store pulling up a stump with a tractor. It reared up and overturned, killing him immediately.

The social life of the community at this time centered almost entirely around the church and the Home Demonstration Club. The club organized an outing for the families every Fourth of July. The women would take covered dishes with more than enough food, and an entire day would be spent at Percy Warner Park.

The Ragan children - Harriet Ann, John Roy and Mary Etoile - were growing up during these years and attending Thompson's Station School. They went to the Thompson's Station Methodist Church.

The Ragans owned this store for 25 years. The building had metal shingles that were welded together. When it burned, the roof collapsed - all in one piece. They also owned the present Thompson's Station Store several times during the following years before retiring.

A stone building was built to replace the store that burned. This building was used for performances by country music hopefuls. It was later bought by the Thompson's Station Baptist congregation and used as a church before the one on the highway was built.

When the Thompson's Station Baptist Church moved, the building was bought by Tommy and Patricia Smithson for their Thompson's Station Child Care Center.

For many years, the Ragans were involved with the post office when it was in the building next to the store. Mrs. Ragan was postmistress and her husband was a substitute carrier.

The Ragans remember one day when a truck loaded with rock and driven by a young man passed by the store and post office. The engine was sputtering and missing. Just as it pulled onto the track it stopped. A train happened to be passing at the time, hit the truck and killed the driver.

After some years in the new store in Thompson's Station, the Ragans sold it and opened a paint store in Franklin. They sold Briggs Brothers paint and all the necessary equipment for painting. They also carried Old Hickory linoleum rugs.

At the present time, the Ragans are enjoying their retirement.

Ragan likes fishing and golf and Mrs. Ragan enjoys travel. They visit a daughter and family in another state once every other year, among other trips they take.


Life in Thompson's Station in earlier times revolved around the church,the school,the Home Demonstration Club, and during the 50s, the Thompson's Station Community Club Association which was the forerunner of the present Thompson's Station Community Association. Ollie and Howard Redman were staunch supporters of all these institutions.

Ollie Darthula Lynch Redman has lived in the Thompson's Station community for over 50 years. She was born in Cooliege, Texas but moved to Chattanooga, Oklahoma when she was three years old. She was one of 13 children. Her father was James Day Lynch who was born in Knox County, Tennessee and her mother was Martha Matilda Marrs, who was born in Springfield, Arkansas. Her paternal grandparents were James Edward Lynch and the former Charlotte Calhoun (or Crouch or Couch) of South Carolina. Her maternal grandparents were Christoper Marrs and the former Harriett Wynn of Springtown, Arkansas.

Ollie began attending a little country school near her home. She went to high school at Cameron which was a boarding school in Lawton, Oklahoma. She graduated as valedictorian of her class, was a member of the basketball team, a member of the girl's quartet, president of the Girl's Literary Society for two years and the Young Peoples Sunday Night Christian Organization which met at the school. Her higher education was obtained at Oklahoma University.

After college, Ollie taught school for seven years but decided this was not the profession she wished to follow for the rest of her life. She took a beauty course at a cosmotology school in Dallas, Texas. After receiving her degree, she worked in a beauty salon in Lawton, Oklahoma for several years.

Ollie read an advertisement for an opening for a teacher in a beauty school in Franklin, Tennessee. She boarded a train alone and came to apply for the job. The two men planning the school had a disagreement and the venture never got off the ground. However, she did find a position in one of the two beauty shops which were in Franklin at the time.

Ollie and a friend, Jo Lawson, decided to open their own shop. It became the Iris Beauty Salon and operated very successfully for many years.

Ollie met John Howard Redman at a gathering of young people at Polly Duncan's house. They were married in Murfreesboro in April, 1939.

Howard was born and grew up in Thompson's Station. His parents were John Paul Redman and the former Manie Howard. Manie had a brother, John E. Howard, Jr. who married Nora Rainey, and a sister Cora who married Gus Watson.

Howard's paternal grandparents were John Collins and Frances Cornelia Reid (Banks) Redman. His maaternal grandparents were John Edward Howard, Sr. and the former Laura Walton who were from Maury County. Howard had one brother, Ben Collins Redman, who married Jo Lawson (Ollie's partner in the beauty salon). Another brother was Thomas Paul Redman who died at birth.

The Redman house on Buckner Lane was built in 1840. John Collins Redman acquired it in 1870. "Maple Lawn" on Buckner Road was another house owned by the Cash branch of the Redman family. Still another branch of the family (the Banks), at one time, lived at Homestead Manor where Dr. and Mrs. William J. Darby now live.

Ollie and Howard Redman were active in the Thompson's Station Methodist Church which he had attended since childhood. He was a member of the Official Board of the Methodist Church and also a member of the Layman's Club. Both were members of the Spencer Gary Sunday School Class. Ollie was a member of the choir and often sang duets with Elsie Petway Gary. Howard was the finance chairman of the previously mentioned Thompson's Station Community Club.

In later years, when Howard became sick, Ollie moved her beauty shop to her home in Thompson's Station. Many of her customers came from Franklin, she gained new customers from the community and the shop did well for many years. When Howard died, his wife continued to run the shop until she retired after 50 years of continuous operation.

The Redmans had twins, Glenda Lee Redman and Glenn Lynch Redman. Glenda married Tom Bowman and Glenn married Linda Plant.

Glenda and Tom Bowman's children are Sandra Lee (who married Mike Serkownek and has a daughter, Rachel) and William, who is deceased.

Glenn and Linda Redman have a daughter, Melody Ann, who married James Sullivan, and three sons, Michael David, John Paul and Steven Plant.


George Ridley was the son of Colonel Thomas Ridley and the former Amy Scott of Southampton County, Virginia. Thomas Ridley was a Major in the Continental Army at Brandywine. George Ridley was born January 11, 1737 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. He died September 29, 1835 in Nashville, Tennessee. He was married September 20, 1761 to Elizabeth Weatherford (1740-1766). After the death of his first wife, George Ridley married Sarah Vincent (1754-1836) in 1777. She died in Williamson County, Tennessee.

George Ridley was a private in the Battle of Point Pleasant under Captain Evan Shelby. He resided in North Carolina and Virginia during the Revolutionary War. The children of George and Elizabeth Ridley were: Beverly who married first, Ann Williams and second, Elizabeth Gooch; George; John who married a German lady; William; Patsy who married James Wright; Betsy who married first, William M. Smith and second, a McMinn; Sally who married Major John Buchanan; and, Lettie who married James Roberts.

The children of George and Sarah Ridley were: Captain V. Ridley who married Lydia Everett; Thomas who married Margaret Harwood; Moses who married Kate Howard; James who married Amy Hamilton; Abigail who married Dr. Charles Mulherin; Wimford who married Thomas Garrett; Samuel who married Sally Hay; and, Henry who married Elizabeth Allison.

George Ridley left Virginia and settled on the Holston River in East Tennessee. Desiring to move onward, he transported his family down the Holston River in large flat-bottomed boats to the Tennessee River. Winding through Northern Alabama, Western Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. He traveled on until he reached the place where the Tennessee River meets the Cumberland. He went down the Cumberland River to Nashville where he brought the boat to rest in the middle of the stream to guard against attack by hostile Indians.

In 1790, George Ridley purchased a large tract of land in Middle Tennessee and settled within a mile of the site of Nashboro, later to become Nashville. He erected a timber block house surrounded by blockades for safety from the Indians and wild animals.

James Ridley, son of George and Sarah Vincent Ridley, married Amy Hamilton February 9, 1806. Their children were: Samuel Jones who died young; Hance Hamilton who married first, Susan B. Everette and second, Amanda R. Joslin; Sarah Vincent; George Thomas; Mary W. Dodson; James Ridley who married Hannah Williams, John Boyd Ridley who married Mary Agnes Ellen Rachel Jackson Dodson Fitzgerald; Moses McNairy who married first, Ann E. Baker and second, Prudence Eason; and, Anna who married Pleasant H. Mitchell of Humbolt, Tennessee.

James and Amy Ridley lived on a farm adjoining the Hermitage, home of Andrew and Rachel Jackson. James served under Andrew Jackson in the Indian Wars. They lived within three miles of each other. A strong friendship existed between them and when Jackson died, James Ridley was one of the pallbearers.

James and Amy Ridley's son, John Boyd Ridley, probably met his future wife, Mary Agnes Ellen Rachel Jackson Dodson Fitzgerald, there as she visited in the home of Jackson.

John Boyd Ridley (1818-1882) married Mary (or Mack) Fitzgerald (1828-1880), daughter of Bird and Julia Fitzgerald, on January 9, 1835. They had seven children: Julia Franklin who married Thomas Leaneard Critz; two sons named James Boyd Ridley who both died at the age of two; John Boyd Ridley, Jr. who married Nancy Irene Creath; Fitzgerald who married Juliet McCann; Sallie Morgan who never married; and, Lee W. Ridley.

John Boyd Ridley, Jr. (1857-1937) and Nancy Irene Creath (1864-1956), daughter of James Abernathy Creath, an Irishman, and Martha Rogers Ammonette, a Frenchwoman, had three pchildren: James Creath Ridley who was quite a track man during his school years; John Boyd Ridley, III who died of whooping cough and pneumonia at the age of 13; and, Joseph Lee Ridley who married Virginia Morton Terrell, daughter of Joel and Ella Morton Terrell. Virginia Morton Terrell was a direct descendant of Edward Swanson.

Nancy Irene Creath had a sister, Mable Creath, who married Boyd Critz. Nancy was raised at Cordova near Memphis, Tennessee. She came to Franklin as a young lady to teach at the Tennessee Female College.

James Creath Ridley married Addie Blanch Crenshaw. Their children are James Creath Ridley, Jr. and Jane Ridley who died in 1994.

Joseph Lee Ridley attended Battle Ground Academy and the old Branham & Hughes Military Academy at Spring Hill, Tennessee where his friends gave him the name of "Hokey" which followed him throughout life. He was a well-known farmer and, later in life, was with Roberts & Green Real Estate Company. He was deputy commissioner of conservation for the late Governor Buford Ellington and served many years both as a representative and a senator, as well as many other areas of public service.

Joseph Lee and Virginia Ridley lived in the homeplace now located at 4541 Columbia Highway, the home of Lillian Hill and the late Hubert Hill. The house next door, now the home of Hardy and Mary Fields, was formerly the home of Lee Ridley, son of John Boyd and Mary Ridley, Sr.

Joseph Lee and Virginia Terrell Ridley had one child, John Boyd Ridley, IV, who married Elizabeth Adell Osborn, daughter of Ernest Leon Osborn and the former Thelma Jackson.

John Boyd Ridley, IV and Elizabeth Osborn Ridley have twin daughters, Virginia Marciano who has three boys and a girl; and Nancy, who married first, Michael Walter Slater and had three daughters. Her second husband is Timothy George Stauropulos.

John Boyd Ridley, IV entered the service in 1942 with the Infantry. He served in Germany and was wounded on April 15, 1945 and was hospitalized in both France and England before being returned to the States.

John B. and Elizabeth Ridley live on Hillsboro Road in Franklin, Tennessee.

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This page updated October 14, 2010.