John Ridenhour and Christina Zumwalt

John Ridenhour’s death at the hands of the Osage Indians is well documented in the history of Franklin County, Missouri. John was my great-great-great-grandfather. His story began about 1757, in Robeson Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, and ended in Franklin County, Missouri with his death in 1803.

Burt, Charles, Birth Record

Map of Berks County, PA Showing Robeson Township¹

John was born to John Adam and Wilhelmina (Dotterer, Marolf) Reitenauer in Robeson Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. He was one of five children. His brothers and sisters were Bernhardt, Anna Maria Ursula, Adam, Jr., and Henry. The name Reitenauer was later Americanized to Ridenhour.

When John was five or six, the family moved to Frederick County, Maryland. “On 3 May 1776, the four brothers, Adam, John, Henry, and Bernhardt purchased two-hundred acres of land from John Haas for one-hundred and eighty pounds. The land was identified as “All that part of a tract of Land called, The Resurvey of the Den of Wolves.” However, evidence indicates that John Adam Reitenauer, Sr. purchased this land and placed it in his four son’s names as a means of ensuring their inheritance. His will provided that the land should be divided when the two youngest sons, Henry and Bernhardt, came of age.”²  The land was divided in 1782 when Bernhardt turned twenty-one.

The struggle for independence from Great Britain took place during John’s early-adult years. According to Wikipedia, “the Continental Congress was faced with defending a huge amount of territory from potential British Operations. Washington recommended forming a “flying camp”, which in the military terminology of the day referred to a mobile, strategic reserve of troops.”³  Most of the two companies raised in Frederick County were of German descent.

A John Redenour was enrolled in Captain Mantz’s Company. There is no direct evidence that the man listed is our ancestor. But there are clues or indirect evidence. The name directly above John’s is Rudolf Marolf. Rudolf is the son of John’s mother, Wilhelmina, by her first marriage. Also, on the list is John Dutterer (Dotterer), John’s cousin. Neighbors of the Ridenhours are listed as well.

On 17 July 1776, John was listed as a Private in Captain Henry Fister’s Company in the German Battalion commanded by Colonel Nicholas Haussegger. The battalion was present at New Brunswick, New Jersey on 1 December 1776 and at the Battle of Trenton on 26 December 1776. John’s brother, Bernhardt, served in this battalion as did his half-brother Rudolf Marolf.⁴

John married in Frederick County, Maryland about 1780 to Elizabeth (?). Two children were born to the couple. Mary was born about 1782 and her brother Henry was born about 1784. The land in Maryland was sold and John and Elizabeth had moved to Frederick County, Virginia. While there, Elizabeth died prior to 1 August 1786, when John Ridenhour signed a marriage bond in Rockingham County, Virginia prior to his marriage to Christina Zumwalt. The marriage bond was a license to marry, prepared in advance of the wedding, with a bond posted to ensure both parties were free to marry. It’s unclear when John and Christina married after the bond was issued.

Christina Zumwalt was born circa 1765 near Toms Brook, Frederick County, Virginia. She was the daughter of Henrich (Henry) and Catherine (?) Zumwalt. Her grandfather, Andreas Zumwalt, arrived in America in 1737. He lived in York County, Pennsylvania until about 1750, when he moved his family to Frederick County, Virginia. Christina was thought to be the oldest of the eight daughters of Henry Zumwalt. The others were: Rachel, Elizabeth, Catherine, Margaret, Barbara, Mary, and Susan.

Henry Zumwalt sold all of his property on Toms Brook in 1775. The next day he bought one-hundred-and-ninety-five acres across the Massanutten Mountain, in Powells Fort Valley, Dunmore County which later became later Shenandoah County, Virginia. This land was near George Adam, Henry, and Adam Ridenour. The closeness of the Zumwalts to the Ridenhours is most likely how John met Christina. Henry Zumwalt migrated to Kentucky, then on to Upper Louisiana Territory, which later became Missouri where he died in 1804.

It has not been determined where John, Christina, and their family lived during the period between their 1786 marriage in Rockingham County, Virginia and 1796, when John Ridenhour was listed on the tax books of Bourbon Co., Kentucky. The family may have been in Pennsylvania during some of this time as their son Barnett_Bernard was enumerated in the 1850 census as being born in Pennsylvania. The 1850 census also indicated that John and Christina’s daughter Elizabeth was born in Kentucky. Her age was listed as fifty-six years indicating the family may have been in Kentucky as early as 1784.

Since the family lived in western Pennsylvania or western Virginia, it is most likely they traveled to Kentucky via the Ohio River. Once pioneers made their way to the river, a flatboat was hired to float them and their belongings down the river to their destination. Flatboats were rectangular, flat-bottomed boats that were built in various sizes depending upon the length of their trip. Mid-range boats called Kentucky Boats were used by families moving west.

John and Christina’s son John was born in 1797 in Missouri, most likely in what is now Franklin County. The book, Reitenauer Immigrants, The Early Years states “Spain took formal possession of “Louisiana” west of the Mississippi (including all of the future State of Missouri, among others) in 1769. Since Spain was a Catholic nation, attempts were made to colonize Upper Louisiana (Missouri) with Catholic families. This policy kept villages like St Louis and St. Charles small and vulnerable to Indian raids. In 1787, Spanish authorities tried another tact by allowing American Protestant families to settle in the area, providing that they marry and have their children baptized by the Catholic Church. This change in policy opened up virgin farmland to settlers who, having depleted available land in Kentucky, were eager to move on.

During the next several years, extensive grants of land were made to settlers in Upper Louisiana. The procedure for obtaining a grant or “concession” was relatively simple. The applicant first sought permission from the commandant of the district where he wished to settle; stating his circumstances, the size of his family, and where he wished to obtain land. The commandant forwarded the application to the Lt. Governor, who granted the concession as described in the petition. A surveyor marked off the land and placed the petitioner in possession. The owner was required to take possession and put minimal improvements on the property within a certain period of time. This gave the owner an “incomplete title” to the land. A “complete title” could be obtained only if the title was registered in New Orleans.

However, the Spanish authorities were lax in this regard; and it was done in only a handful of cases. Daniel Boone, who had settled on the Missouri River, west of St. Charles, circa 1795, was said to have been granted several thousand arpents of land for using his influence to bring more than 150 families from Kentucky; only to lose it later because it was never recorded in New Orleans.

James Mackay, “an educated man from Scotland”, had established the village of “St Andre del Misuri” in May 1798 in St Louis District. It was on the south bank of the Missouri River, approximately twenty-five miles west of St Louis. He was named Commandant and served the area well for several years. His name appeared in many of the early Ridenhour documents. He had a wagon road built in 1798 connecting St Andre’ to St Louis. This provided a way for people of the area to get their products to St Louis markets. It was also a way for new settlers to reach their land grants by road. St. Andre’ was later washed into the Missouri River.”⁵

Ridenhour map

A Survey Map of John Ridenhour’s Land

Through Survey No. 53, dated December 1799, John applied for a land grant about fifteen to twenty miles north of the Missouri River, in the St. Charles District, where most of the Zumwalt’s settled. At the same time, John applied for 500 arpents of land near Point Labadie in the District of St. Louis on 7 December 1799. A square arpent is about 0.84 acres. The land, located in township 44 North Range 2 East, was on the south bank of the Missouri River. It is doubtful that the Ridenhours lived on Survey 149. This conclusion has been made based on records and testimonies that took place during of hearing after John’s death.⁶

Living in the era was difficult. Money was scarce and trade took place through barter. John most likely hunted and trapped animal pelts and fur to use as his main currency. Beaver, lynx, and otter were plentiful. His livestock, including horses, were allowed to roam freely. If he raised crops like corn, wheat, flax, or tobacco it would have been on a small scale for the consumption of his family.

In a history of Franklin County, an “old-timer” recalled in the early days his family came to the area of Point Labadie about 1800. He said, “The old settlers of the county, as I can recall, were the Ridenhours, Calvins, Reeds, Zumwalts, Crowes, ….. and many others. And here let me bear[sic] testimony to the truth that a more honest, hospitable people was not to be found anywhere. One would be ashamed to have a lock on his door among such people. They had neither lock nor bars. They had their hunting dogs and bear dogs – no bull and watch dogs to guard off the thief.”⁷

Daniel Ridenhour Baptisim Record

Daniel and Jacob’s Baptism Record

Daniel Ridenhour, the couple’s third child, was born about 1797. Daniel was baptized at St. Charles Borremeo Church with his seven-month-old brother Jacob.⁸ The children were baptized by a Catholic priest in compliance with orders of the Spanish authorities for those who petitioned for land. The baptismal records show that John and Christina were residents of Post St. Andre’. The godfather was James Mackay, Captain Commandant of the said post. Their last child, Jacques [Jacob], was born in 1799. Daniel died sometime between when he was baptized and 1803. On 31 October 1802, John our ancestor was born near Point Labadie.

Osage Sioux Indian Warriors

Osage Warriors by George Catlin

It was the act of letting their horses roam freely that caused John’s death. Several accounts of his death have been recorded but the version most often repeated is the one recorded by historian, Lyman Draper. Draper interviewed Uri Musick, a neighbor of the Ridenhour’s. The account verbatim with misspellings and poor punctuation says, “Ridenhower and his wife, both mounted were out horse-hunting – met Indians, who wanted them to give up their horses. Ridenhower desisting, they shot him, and he soon died. When the Indians came near Ridenhower, they cried out “Stop”, but Ridenhower rather hastened on – several shots were fired at him. He soon fell off, from his wounds. His wife did not try to get away, but dismounted, and took off the bridle, and scared her horse away; and all the horses, 8 or 10, scampered home together. Mrs. Ridenhower, after scaring off her horse, gave Ridenhower some water from the branch in her shoe. The Indians, as they came up, slapped her with their “whipping?” sticks for scaring off the horses, but let her go. Capt. Conway pursued the trail (of the Indians) several days, without avail.”⁹  After John’s death, several settlers in the area left their land grants.

Draper cited Point Labadie Creek, on the bluff just below the Point as the location of John’s death. However, topography in that area has changed so much it is impossible to identify the exact location. John is supposedly buried in a private cemetery in the south of Survey No. 161. He is buried in an unmarked grave where Ridenhours and Reeds were later buried. The creek on which the survey was located was named Ridenhour Creek but was later changed to Fiddle Creek.

Sometime between April and June 1803, Christina Ridenhour took the six children, and moved closer to St Andre’. On 15 June 1803, an inventory of John’s estate was conducted by James Mackay. Ephraim Richardson was named the executor for the children consisting of four boys and two girls. Survey No. 161 was appraised at three hundred dollars. A horse and foal were appraised at one-hundred and forty dollars. It’s understandable why John risked his life to protect his string of horses.

About a month later a sale of the items in John’s estate took place. As his widow, Christina received half of the estate valued at six hundred and sixty-eight dollars. The other half belonged to the children. Survey No. 161 was not sold and was kept as part of the children’s share of the estate.

Christiana [Christina] appeared before the Federal Land Commission Board, on 26 January 1806, to claim Survey No. 161 for herself and her children Henry, Mary, Betsy, John, Barnett, and Jacques. The purpose of the Land Board was to hold hearings to straighten out the titles of the Spanish Land grants caused by the sale of the land to the French and the subsequent takeover of the territory of Louisiana by the United States in 1803. She produced a certificate from the Lt. Governor, dated 7 December 1799, and a certificate of Survey dated 19 December 1799. The Land Board rejected the claim. A certificate confirming the title was finally issued to Christina and her children on 7 February 1809 after Congress loosened the requirements.

The document below reads: “Christiana widow of (John) Ridenhour claims 500 arpens situate in the District of St. Andrew granted to their deceased father John Ridinhour by a concession which they produced of a permission to (?) Dellasus the 7th Dec 1799 and claimed by the aforesaid persons as representatives of their Decd father who had cultivated & inhabited the same on the 20th October 1800. Wm. Belle agent for the aforesd.¹⁰

2 (2)

On 27 September 1806, Christina bought another one-hundred fifty arpents of land adjoining her other two-hundred arpents on Wild Horse Creek.

Christina married John Johnson sometime between 1809 and 1820 when a legal notice appeared in the Missouri Gazette Newspaper for a pending suit concerning some land in the estate of Andrew Zumwalt. Andrew was Christina’s grandfather. The notice listed Andrew’s heirs and Christina was identified as “Teney Johnson, nee Teney Zumwalt. Teney was a nickname for Christina. John Johnson died sometime before 14 October 1825 when Christina was appointed Executrix for his estate. Christina swore that John Johnson’s heirs were brothers and sisters living the County of St. Louis.

John Ridenhour and Christina (Zumwalt) Ridenhour are my fourth great-grandparents.

John Ridenhour (Abt. 1755-1803) m. Elizabeth (Abt. 1760-?)
Mary Ridenhour (1782-Aft. 1830)
Henry Ridenhour (1784-Bet 1840 and 1850)

John Ridenhour (Abt. 1755-1803) m. Christina Zumwalt (1765-?)
Bernard Ridenhour (1792-1856)
Elizabeth Ridenhour (1794-Bef. 1852)
Daniel Ridenhour (1797-Bet. 1800-1803
Jacob Ridenhour (1799-Aft. 1850)
John Ridenhour (1802-1852)


¹Fagan, L, H. F Bridgens, T. S Wagner, and Friend & Aub. Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania: from actual surveys. [Philadelphia: Published by H.F. Bridgens, . Phil’a Philadelphia: Printed by T.S. Wagner, 38 Hudson St, 1860] Map.
²Reitenauer Immigrants, The Early Years, Mona McCown and Nona Harwell
⁴Maryland State Archives database, Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution ( :accessed 31 Aug 2017), Listing for Ridinghour [Ridenhour], Volume 18, Page 261.
Reitenauer Immigrants, The Early Years, Mona McCown and Nona Harwell
⁶Land Record for John Ridenhour, Book C, Page 195, Dec 1799, Commissioner’s Certificates, U.S. Recorder of Land Titles, digital images, Missouri State Archives, “1st Board of Land Commissioners, U.S. Recorder of Land Titles,” Missouri Digital Heritage ( : accessed 30 Aug 2017).
⁷A History of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Crawford, and Gasconade Counties, Missouri, Goodspeed
⁸St. Charles Borremeo Church (St. Charles, Missouri, United States), “St. Charles Borremeo Church Records,” Baptism Record for Daniel Ridenhour, s0138 I, P. 61, State Historical Society of Missouri, St. Louis
⁹Draper’s Notes, Lyman Draper (Microfilm) Jefferson Memorial Archive, St Louis, Mo
¹⁰Christiana Ridenhour filed claim dated 7 Dec 1799 with Board of Land Commissioners for 500 arpens granted to John Ridenhour, 20 Oct 1808; Original Claimants – 1st Board of Land Commissioners, U.S. Recorder of Land Titles; digital images, Missouri State Archives, “Land Records, 1777-1969,” Missouri Digital Heritage ( : accessed 23 Aug 2017).


A great deal of information can be found in the document Reitnauer Immigrants, The Early Years. The document can be found online. I have checked out the information I referenced in this document to concur with McCown and Nona Harwell. Some of the information is so well written that I have copied the information verbatim, or slightly paraphrased, into this story and have marked these passages with quotes. There is a great deal of sources that I need to find, however. Unfortunately, so many of the online documents, like maps, are in French and are very hard to read because of their age.


John Ridenhour

John Ridenhour was born 31 October 1802 in the Upper Louisiana territory. The land, which was part of a Spanish land grant, was under control of the French who sold the land as part of the Louisiana Purchase to the United States government on 30 April 1803. The land where he was born lay on Ridenhour Creek near Boles, Franklin County, Missouri.

John was the last of seven children born to John Ridenhour and Christina (Zumwalt) Ridenhour. They lived on land that was wild, uncultivated, and teeming with animals. This was also the land of the Osage Indians, the Indians that killed his father on 3 April 1803. His mother had to petition the U.S. government to honor the land grant that her husband John had purchased from the Spanish.

John married Elizabeth Reed about 1824. She was born 30 November 1800 near Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky to Edward Reed and Margaret (Close) Reed. The Reed’s moved to Missouri around 1810. During the next six years their three children, Reuben, Martin (our ancestor), and Amelia were born.

Ridenhour, John Deed

John Sold his Portion of Inherited Land to his Brother Bernard

On 5, March 1832, John sold his share of the land inherited from his mother to his brother Bernard. The land had the Missouri River as a boundary to the north, on the east and west were lands of the United States and the land to the south was owned by his brother Reuben. This was the land granted to his father by the Spanish government. He then moved the family to Gasconade County where they were enumerated in the 1840 Census. Living with them were their children Reuben, Martin, Amelia, Elizabeth, and Elvira. Adam, their son, was born after the 1840 Census was taken. Thomas Benton was born in 1842 and their last child, Christina, was born in 1846.

On 21 August 1841, John purchased 83.36 acres of land from John Hutten. The land, located in Osage County, was in the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section twenty and the southwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section twenty in township forty-one, range seven west.

1850 Ridenhour Census

1850 Census²

By 1850, the oldest of John and Elizabeth’s children were out of the home leaving Elvira, Adam, Thomas, and Margaret. Amelia, their daughter, most likely died before 1850. Living next to them was their son Reuben and daughter Elizabeth and her husband Samuel Hawkins.

At the time of his death, John owned two hundred acres of land. He sold the land purchased from John Hutten to his son Martin in February 1852 indicating that he was possibly ill and unable to use the land. John died six months later on 4 August 1852. He is buried in Backues Cemetery in Maries County, Missouri.

John died without a will. His son-in-law, Samuel Hawkins, was appointed the administrator of his estate. After his death, Reuben, Martin, and Alvira quit-claimed their undivided portion of land inherited from their father’s estate to Samuel. Reuben sold his land first for fifty dollars in 1853 followed by Martin and Alvira who received one hundred dollars each.

A year before the Civil War, Elizabeth was living with her daughter Margaret, aged fourteen. Margaret was listed as a farmer in the 1860 census. Three of her sons, Martin, Adam, and Thomas enlisted in the 34th Regiment of the Enrolled Missouri Militia. After their discharge in 1864, they enrolled in the 50th Regiment Infantry. Their discharge took place after a month of service on 27 April 1865, after the Civil War was over. The Civil War era must have been very stressful for Elizabeth, a widow, having to support a young daughter, and having three sons serving in the Missouri Militia.

My beautiful picture

John’s Headstone in Bachues Cemetery

Elizabeth was not found in the 1870 Census so little is known of her life between 1860 and 1870. She died 2 June 1872 in Belle. She is buried in Backues Cemetery in Maries County with her husband John.


Elizabeth’s Headstone in Bachues Cemetery










John Ridenhour (1802-1851) m. Elizabeth Reed (1800-1872)

Reuben Ridenhour (Abt. 1826-1877)
Martin Ridenhour (1827-1904)
Amelia Ridenhour (Abt 1830-Bef. 1850)
Elizabeth Ridenhour (Abt 1832-?)
Elvira Clara Ridenhour (1836-1914)
Adam Ridenhour (1840-1915)
Thomas Benton Ridenhour (1842-1927)
Margaret Christina Ridenhour (1846-1909)

¹Franklin, Missouri, Deed Records, B: 431-432, John Ridenhour to Bernard Ridenhour, 5 Mar 1832; Franklin County, Missouri Recorder of Deeds, Union.

²1850 U.S. census, Osage, Missouri, pop. sch., Jefferson, p. 422A, dwell. 123, fam. 123, Household of John Ridenhour.


Martin Ridenhour

When Martin Ridenhour was born his family had already been in Franklin County, Missouri for close to thirty years. He was born on 14 December 1827 to John S. Ridenhour and Elizabeth (Reed) Ridenhour. His grandfather, John Ridenhour, and his grandmother, Christina (Zumwalt) Ridenhour had arrived in the area as early as 1797. Martin never knew his grandfather as John was killed by the Osage Indians in 1803.
While Martin was a young boy the family settled for a while in Gasconade County and then moved to Osage County. That area eventually became Maries County. They resided their entire lives west of Belle, and close to the county line separating Maries from Osage County. The land was rich and well-watered.

Martin was one of eight children, four boys, and four girls. These children were born over a period of about twenty years. Martin was very close in age to his older brother Reuben. Three girls, Amelia, Elizabeth, and Elvira were born over the next nine years. Two boys, Adam and Thomas Benton followed and the baby of the family, Margaret Christina, was born in 1846.

Ridenhour, Martin, Marriage Record, (2)

Martin and Sarah’s Marriage Record

At the age of twenty, Martin left this large family and married Sarah Ann Mahon on 2 November 1848.¹ They lived not too far from Martin’s father and mother and his brother Reuben. Their first child John Shepherd was born on 14 December 1849. He was the first of twelve children who were born between 1849 and 1872. This family would know heart-ache. Four of their children died before they did. Their son William Alexander died in 1863 at the age of six. The next child to die was Martha Louise who died in 1882 at the age of twenty-seven. Thomas Huston died in 1899 at the age of thirty-one. The last child to die was David Jasper who died in 1901 at the age of thirty. All but William Alexander left spouses and children behind. It’s so sad that three of their grown children were struck down during the prime of their lives.

On 24 February 1852, Martin and Sarah purchase forty-one acres of land from his father John. It is possible John was sick at the time of the sale and was divesting his land for John died about a week later on 5 March 1852. John had amassed quite a bit of land during his lifetime. In March 1854, Martin quit-claimed his undivided portion of his father’s land to Samuel Hawkins, the husband of Martin’s sister Elizabeth.²

Ridenhour, Martin, Osage County, MO, Recorder of Deeds, Book E, P. 220 (2)

Martin Ridenhour Provided a Quit Claim Deed to Samuel Hawkins, his Brother-in-Law, for His Undivided Portion of Land in his Father’s Estate


During the summer of 1862, guerrilla forces were organizing and threatening the citizens and county governments through the state of Missouri. As a result on 22 July, the Missouri State Militia and United States military command began organizing a militia to put down robbery, plunder, and guerrilla warfare. Every able-bodied man was commanded to enroll in the nearest military post and report for duty. Each man was to bring his gun and horse if he had one.

Ridenhour, Martin, Civil War Records, Missouri Archives, Civil War-World War I Database (2)Thirty-four-year-old Martin enrolled in the 34th Enrolled Missouri Militia, Company F, on 22 August 1862 Shortly after their daughter Sarah was born.³ Martin’s younger brothers Adam and Thomas enlisted in the unit at the same time. Adam and Thomas were called into service on 28 September 1864 at Jake’s Prairie in Gasconade County. The purpose was to repel Price’s invasion of Missouri. Skirmishes took place on the Osage River on October 5-6, Jefferson City October 7, and on the Big Piney River on November 1, 1864. All three brothers were discharged on 10 November 1864. The record indicates that Martin served twenty-seven days of actual service. Adam and Thomas would enroll again, this time in the 50th Regiment Infantry Volunteers. They would serve from 20 February to 5 August 1865.

The Civil War was a time of disruption, not only to the every-day life of Missouri citizens but to their financial welfare. Many people lost loved ones and saw their wealth drain away; but not Martin. Between 1860 and 1870, according to the census records, the value of his estate increased considerably. Not only did he own six horses, a mule, and a pair of working oxen, but also four milk cows and twenty-five head of cattle, twenty-seven sheep, and thirty swine. Martin tilled the land which produced winter wheat, oats, Indian corn, Irish potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Sarah was responsible for the family garden, and butter and molasses production. All of this was accomplished with forty acres of land and forty acres of timber and the hard work of all family members.
This prosperity continued into the 1880s. Martin had increased his ownership of land to eighty tilled or fallow acres, eight acres of permanent pasture, one-hundred and twenty acres of forest, and thirty-one acres of old fields. With the part-time help of Andrew and Thomas, he continued to raise cows, sheep, and pigs. Education was important and all of the children attended school as soon as they were able.

Ridenhour, Martin, Headstone (2)

Martin Ridenhour’s Headstone

Records are sparse for the years between 1880 and 1900. By 1900 the children had left home. Martin was seventy-two and Sarah was sixty-six. They lived with their son Adam and his family. Four years later Martin left this earth on 6 December 1904 leaving a large family behind and a legacy of hard work. All of his children would prosper and have families of their own. Sarah lived another fourteen years with Adam and died at the age of eighty-four on 25 February 1918.

Martin and Sarah are buried in Pilot Knob Baptist Church Cemetery in Osage County along with ninety-six Ridenhour descendants. Today the Belle High School sits on the land where Martin and Sarah’s house once stood.

Martin Ridenhour (1827-1904) m. Sarah Ann Mahon (1833-1918)

John Shepherd Ridenhour (1849-1920)
Nancy Elizabeth Ridenhour (1851-1928)
Mary Jane Ridenhour (1852-1927)
Martha Louisa Ridenhour (1854-1882)
William Alexander Ridenhour (1857-1863)
Susan Margaret Christina Ridenhour (1859-1947)
Sarah Frances Ridenhour (1862-1924)
Andrew Jackson Ridenhour (1864-1945)
Virginia Harriett Ridenhour (1866-1945)
Thomas Huston Ridenhour (1868-1899)
David Jasper Ridenhour (1871-1901)
Adam Louis Ridenhour (1872-1937)

¹Osage, Missouri, marriage record, Marriage Book A, 1845-1861, Martin Ridenhour [Ridenhour]-Sarah Ann Mahon [Mahon], 1848; Osage County Recorder of Deeds, Lynn.

²Osage, Missouri, Deeds, E: 220-221 , Martin Ridenhour sold his undivided land portion from John S. Ridenhour estate, 16 March 1854; Osage County Recorder of Deeds, Linn.

³”Soldiers Records: War 1812-World War I,” database, Missouri Digital Heritage ( :accessed 24 Oct 2017) Record for Martin Ridenhour, Box 69, Roll s00783

Sarah Frances Ridenhour

Schwegler, Julius and Ridenhour, Sara

Julius and Sarah, Possibly Their Wedding Day

I know very little about my great-grandmother Sarah Frances Ridenhour other than information taken from her marriage and census records. She was born in Maries County, Missouri during the Civil War to Martin Ridenhour and Sarah Ann Rebecca (Mahon) Ridenhour on 12 September 1862, or possibly on 12 November 1861 as shown on her death certificate. She was the seventh of twelve children; six were boys and six were girls.

I am very fortunate to have a picture of Sarah and Julius Schwegler, the man she married on 28 November 1880 in Osage County, Missouri. A few observations from this picture tell me she is a pretty woman. She was as tall as Julius; the Schwegler men were short in stature. At best, she was 5’4 or 5’5 inches tall. Her dress most likely is traditional German or Swiss wedding attire.

Schwegler, Julius and Ridenhour, Francis - Missouri Marriage Records 1805-2002

Julius and Sarah Were Married by a Justice of the Peace

Sarah was the mother of six children born over the span of twenty-three years. Her first child, Oliver Martin, was born in 1881 when she was just eighteen years of age. This poor little boy died four years later in 1885. At that time her second child, Harley Defraney, was two years of age. Benjamin Franklin was born in 1886, followed by my grandfather Wright Harrison in 1892. Her only girl Ida, born in July 1901, only lived four months. Her last boy, Rainey Adam, was born in 1904.

Ridenhour, Sarah Frances, headstone

Rest in Peace Sarah

I’ve wondered what it would be like to live with six men and no daughters to help with the household chores. My mother once told me that her father and uncles were quiet men. They didn’t talk much and preferred to be alone. Hopefully, Sarah’s daughters-in-law provided some talk and interaction that women need.  

Unfortunately, my mother never knew her grandmother as Sarah died three years before my mother was born. Sarah suffered from chronic nephritis and valvular heart disease. She died at home on 17 August 1924 and was buried the next day in Bethel Cemetery in Paydown. Her headstone reads “Peaceful be thy Silent Slumber.” Sarah was sixty-two years of age.

Julius Schwegler (1859-1943) m. Sarah Frances Ridenhour (1862-1924)

Oliver Martin Schwegler (1881-1885)
Harley Defraney Schwegler (1883-1965)
Benjamin Franklin Schwegler (1886-1969)
Harrison Wright Schwegler (1892-1978)
Ida J. Schwegler (1901-1901)
Rainey Adam Schwegler (1904-1990)