Monday, February 20, 2017

The Alvin Ridley Mystery




Attn Petty First Cousins:  Ready for some interesting Ridley genealogy information?

Our grandmother Frances Viola Ridley (1885-1968) married William Elijah Joseph Petty.
Viola's parents were Thomas Jefferson Ridley (1859-1938) and Maryetta Ludarken Pullen (1856-1914).
Thomas Jefferson Ridley's parents were Henry Ridley, Sr (1833-1901) and Nellie Malinda Killian (1824-1898).
Henry's parents were William Ridley (1803-1903) and Mary Polly Giles (1801-1875).
William's parents were Matthew Ridley (abt 1782-bef 1830) and Mary Feagans (abt 1785-  ?   ).
Matthews parents were William Ridley (1739-abt 1825 -  ?   ) and  Jane Purlsey (abt 1750 -   ?  ).

William was born in England and Jane was born in Ireland.  William was a shoe cobbler and teacher in Boston when he enlisted into the America Army and fought in the Revolutionary War, where he met Jane in the Kings Mountain town, near Kings Mountain, near the border of North and South Carolinas.
William and Jane had six children:  one daughter and five boys.  One son was named William Ridley, Jr (1783 -     ? ).  William married  Mary Ann Smith and they also had five sons and one daughter.  Then, Mary Ann died and William married Margaret Maxwell.  They had one son.  Then William died.
Now, get this:  Margaret sold three of her five stepsons into servitude.
HOWEVER!!  They ran away or escaped.  Ales, Charles, and Asa Ridley went to Tennessee, just above the Alabama state line, Eastern Alabama, in the Sands Mountain area, and as far south as Heard County, Georgia.  Of course the three brothers off-springs multiplied, and some of the extended families ended up in Chattanooga and Ringgold, Georgia.
Now back to our Grandma Petty: Frances Viola Ridley.  Her closer Ridley kin have also multiplied and extended the extended families.  They are in Chattanooga, Ringgold,  and so on. 
My point is both sets of Ridleys have detailed listings of all their family members, but somehow Alvin Ridley, TV retired TV repairman in Ringgold, Georgia, is not listed in at all.
Who is Alvin Ridley?
Alvin Ridley is a very eccentric man who was accused of keeping his wife locked up in their house and starving her to death.  He had to go to trial and the jury found him not guilty.  The reason was, being a recluse he refused to let anybody in their house.  When his lawyer tricked him into getting into the house, the lawyer found the alibi proof he needed:  Walls covered with paper with crammed notes on each sheet of paper written by his wife Virginia.   She wrote her opinion on everything and when she ran out of opinions she would write poetry.  She wrote she quit taking her medicine and she autopsy showed she had the same symptoms of somebody with her disease, if they had quit taking their medicines.

I saw two TV specials on Alvin Ridley through the last dozen years and this weekend I heard a NPR program with his lawyer, the last elected Democrat in office, in Ringgold, talking and recounting it all.
With a little mini-research I found Alvin was born in 1943 and with further research I cannot find him listed in any Ridley family papers.  Apparently, neither Ridley group one wants to claim him

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