Wabash (IN), Jefferson County (OH), and Niagara Falls, Canada
04/15/2007 - 04/22/2007

Paul Ridenour

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In 1990, my dad suggested we attend a Ridenour reunion in McAlester, OK.  We did not know anyone there.  I had searched my family about three months earlier based on a letter from uncle J. D. Ridenour, who disappeared in 1978 at the Grand Canyon, never to be found.  He had the family traced back to my third great grandfather.  When we arrived at the reunion, we met Pat Carr [Pat Ridenour] and Ken Ridenour, a Ridenour expert from Arizona.  He showed me a book titled "The Ridenour Family History and Genealogy" by John Ridenour of Stone Creek, Ohio, 1973.  The book had my 7th great grandparents down to my great grandfather (page 80).  I was fortunate to have this information.  I made a copy of it.  When we got home, I called John Ridenour's wife.  He had died in 1980.  I asked if she had any more books left and she did not.  Six months later she called because she found two unused books and she sent one to me.

I have always wanted to visit the graves and homesteads of my 3rd great grandparent's David Ridenour Jr. (1802 - 1874) and Sarah Shauver in Wabash, Indiana, and my 4th great grandparent's David Ridenour Sr. (1775 - 1854) and Margaret Wiles in Knox Township, Jefferson County, Ohio.  David and Margaret Ridenour founded the Good Hope Lutheran Church in Knox Township with ten other families.  The church disbanded circa 1932 but the building is still being used today.

I am trying to become a member of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) because David Sr.'s father Mathias Ridenour supported the army with grain for their animals and he signed an oath of allegiance.  The only proof I have so far in linking David Sr. to David Jr. is the John Ridenour book.

This vacation was to visit those two places and try to find local information on my two David's.  The rest of the trip was to spend a couple of days in Niagara Falls, Canada.

We were warned on how bad the weather was going to be since it had snowed in the north and northeast the previous week.  The temperature was perfect the entire trip - 70s during the day and in the 40s at night.

I didn't realize until this trip that I am a Buckeye and a Hossier.

I drove 3,172 miles in eight days.  I took 1048 photographs and three short videos [of Niagara Falls].

SUNDAY April 15

Left Dallas at 7 PM and spent the night in Little Rock, AR.

Monday April 16

Left at 8 AM and drove to Indianapolis via I-40, I-55. I-57, then I-70.  Ate dinner at the Cracker Barrel in Gas City, IN, at 8:30 PM, with Glen and Linda Wheat.  They live nearby and I had only dealt with Glen via something I bought from him on eBay and we have emailed each other ever since.  We were only about 45 minutes away from Wabash.  I called Linda Jervis of Wabash and she told me where to stay.  She had recently sent me pictures of David and Sarah's gravestones in the Lutheran Cemetery.  We arrived in Wabash at 11 PM and stayed at the Wabash Inn.  We then drove to the cemetery and took pictures in the dark with a flash.

Tuesday April 17

While Dottie was getting dressed, I drove to the Wabash courthouse to look for David Jr.'s Will.  He does not have one.  We visited the Lutheran Cemetery and took more pictures.  There are 18 Ridenours buried there including daughters Barbara Ridenour and husband Samuel Unger, Susannah Ridenour and husband Jeremiah Roser, Lydia Ridenour and husband Isaac Roser, and son David C. Ridenour and wife Catherine Smith.  There was a grave for an Abraham Gochenour.

Before leaving town and not expecting to find David Jr.'s land, Dottie saw the building for the Wabash County Historical Museum.  Inside was an archive library.  Archivist Heather Allen said she will look in the original Wabash "Plains Dealer" newspaper and send us David Jr.'s obituary.  The newspaper was on microfiche at the city library but we did not have the time to go looking through the fiche.  Heather also showed us the original Wabash County map showing David Jr.'s acreage/homestead.  The director Tracy Stewart showed us a quilt with Ridenour/Stouffer/Roser names on it and Marion Meeks showed us a map of Wabash that had Ridenour Rd. on it.  I had forgotten that I read that James M. Ridenour is the president of the board of the museum.  They called him but he was out of town.  He is going to send us a signed copy of his book.  He was the head of the US Parks Department under President Bush (1989-1993).  The first time I saw him was on "Nightline" while coming back on a plane from communist Russia (the USSR) in 1991.  He is from Wabash and is related somehow, I just have not looked him up in the Melvin Ridenour database*.

We now had to go see Ridenour Rd. and David Jr.'s land.

We drove down Mill Creek Pike and saw the Friends Cemetery.  We stopped to see if there were any Ridenours buried there.  There were so many Ridenours, Ungers,  Rosers [three Ridenour sisters married Rosers], Stouffers [three Ridenours married three Stouffers], and even some Wiles buried there.  I have never seen so many Ridenour gravestones.  There was also a grave for a Don Gardenour.  We drove down Ridenour Rd. which is now just County Road 420.  Still nothing but flat farmland and the Mill Creek where David once had a sawmill.

We drove back through Wabash and bought a book on the Friends Cemetery and Lutheran Cemetery.  We also bought his land plat.

We left Wabash to visit the Allen County Library in Ft. Wayne, the second best genealogical library in the country.  I was looking for the Defiance County Atlas of 1876 that has George Ridenour mentioning his parents David and Margaret Wiles. I was hoping he would mention his brother David Jr.  They had it on microfilm and the films were so unorganized that we did not have time to look though them.  I decided I would just write Defiance County and get it after I got back home.  I had forgotten that I sent my small booklet to the library in 1990 titled "The Ridenour Family Genealogy to The George T. Ridenour Family of Texas."  I saw it for the first time in hardback and it was surrounded by other Ridenour books including one on Peter D. Ridenour, Ken Ridenour's book, John Ridenour's book, an Index to John Ridenour's book, and others.

We drove though Lima and Columbus and spent the night in St. Claireville, Ohio, near Steubenville, the County seat of Jefferson County, Ohio.

Wabash Courthouse - the first electronically lighted city in the country and at one time, the capital of Indiana

Lutheran Cemetery - 18 Ridenours are buried there along with Rosers and Ungers, located on State Rd 124 between 300W and 400W

Update 2009:  Corey Rosier of Ben Wheeler, TX, and a descendant of David Ridenour Jr.'s daughter Susannah Ridenour and Jeremiah Roser, contacted me and he said the Lutheran church was located here, but has since been torn down.  David was one of the founding members of the church which was called Mills Creek Martin Luther Congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, also known as St. Luther's.

Update 2009: Mills Creek Martin Luther Congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
[Digital photo of a 25-year old Polaroid sent by Corey Rosier]

Sarah Shauver [Sallie Shauver] and David Ridenour Jr.

My 2nd great grandfather George T. Ridenour's bother John Ridenour.  They married sisters.   George married Mary Ellen Bent and John married Emma A. Bent.

Quilt of Ridenour, Stouffer, and Roser names at the Wabash County Historical Museum (circa 1907) - I have a list of every name on the quilt

David Jr.'s son David C. Ridenour [David Christopher Ridenour] and wife Catherine Smith Ridenour

Stouffers and Ridenours

Original Wabash County map (1861) at the Wabash County Historical Museum

Ridenour Rd - now County Road 420
Prairie Rd is now County Road 700
Elliott Rd and Cooper Rd are still named
Mill Creek crosses those roads

David Ridenour Jr.'s 160 acres along with son David C. Ridenour's 80 acres and I. Roser's 80 acres

From the original 1861 County map, it shows David Ritenour Jr.'s land, son Daniel Ridenour has a portion of land on the left, and J. Roser at the top

Friends Cemetery - Lillie Stouffer and Joseph Mont Ridenour
[You couldn't hardly move without bumping into a Ridenour, Stouffer, or Unger grave]

Friends Cemetery - Loy H. Ridenour and Harriet Ridenour

Mill Creek Pike - lots of old farm buildings in the area

Mill Creek at Ridenour Road

David Ridenour Jr.'s land

Update 2009:  I received an email on 1/22/2009 from Samuel Unger, son of John Unger.  Sam said that this is Ridenour Road but it is not David Ridenour Jr.'s land.  David's land is actually about 1/2 mile west of the Lutheran Cemetery.   Now I'll have to make another trip back up to Wabash.

Ridenour Rd.

David Ridenour Jr.'s daughter Barbara Ridenour married Samuel Unger and this building with John Unger's name is facing David Jr.'s land on Elliott Rd.

Update 2009:  Not David Ridenour's land, but John Unger is the father of Samuel Unger mentioned above.

Allen County Public Library [Ft. Wayne, IN] - My Ridenour book is the thin blue one in the middle between the Ken Ridenour book and the John Ridenour book

Wednesday April 18

We drove beside the Ohio River.  The water was brown and all we saw were old steel and coal plants.  It was kind of ugly but at the same time, neat to see.  One does not see that in Texas.  We went to the Steubenville courthouse and got a copy of David Sr.'s Will.  However, it was the wrong David.  This was David and Elizabeth Ridenour, who died in 1849.  I think this is the David Ridenour who married Elizabeth Easterday and he is buried in the Osage Cemetery.  I decided there must not be a Will for my David Sr.

We drove to the Osage Cemetery which is on State Route 152 between Richmond and Knoxville.  The Good Hope Lutheran Church building is still there and is now called the "Lighthouse Mission."  It is the second church building built in 1852 for $500.  They met in homes in 1806 and the first building was built in 1816 at the cost of $371.  David Sr. gave three acres for the church property and $30.  I have a copy of the "Good Hope Lutheran Church" book which has all of the David Sr.'s children born after 1806 and their baptisms at the church.  David Jr. was born in 1802 and in Pennsylvania.  The John Ridenour book says he was born in Pennsylvania and so does the 1850 Ohio Census. It is funny!  I am proving all of David Jr.'s siblings but unable to prove him to his siblings and to his parents other than the John Ridenour book.  However, in the Good Hope Lutheran Church book, it mentions a David Ridenour Jr. donating $2.

We left the cemetery and drove up and through Erie, PA, and took the toll road [only $2.60] through the Seneca Indian area of New York on our way to Buffalo.  We saw several signs - "Keep your treaties with the Indians" and "Break a treaty, break a law." Buffalo is one old town.  We drove over the Peace Bridge into Canada and made it to Niagara Falls, Canada, at dinner time.  After it got dark, we drove to the falls and took photographs at night.

The 1852 building (second building) of the Good Hope Lutheran Church in Knox Township, Jefferson County, Ohio

David Ridenour Sr.'s homestead across the street from the church

Osage Cemetery - L to R: The leaning forward gravestone is that of Margaret Wiles Ridenour, then David Ridenour Sr., and daughters Susannah Ridenour Notestine, and Eve Ridenour

The Ridenours

Thursday April 19

We stayed in a high-rise Travelodge that was only $59 a night.  It was a great time to be there because no one was there.  School was still in session and the weather was perfect.

We had breakfast at an expensive Denny's and then walked around the falls and took photographs.  I went up the Skylon Tower ($12) to take pictures high above the falls.

After lunch we went to the Bird Kingdom aviary.   They had bats and toucans and even a scorpion.

Niagara Falls, Canada, from our dirty hotel window
[Basically like Vegas but family friendly and two huge waterfalls]

Our Travelodge - red building

Niagara Falls - Canada

U. S. Niagara Falls and Canadian Niagara Falls - the Horse Shoe Falls

U. S. Niagara Falls


"Like a rainbow" - Mick Jagger

U. S. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls - Canada

Dottie Ridenour at the Canadian Falls

Lights shown on the Falls at night

U. S.  Niagara Falls

The Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls, Canada

Froot Loops anyone?  Bueller?

A black scorpion until a black light is shown on it

Friday  April 20

We ate breakfast at the hotel and drove 10 minutes NE to the Butterfly Conservatory.  I like taking pictures of butterflies.  We first stopped at the "whirlpool" but did not take the gondola across it.  We then drove another 10 minutes to a small Scottish town named Niagara On The Lake.  We ate lunch at the Prince of Whales Hotel.  There was a girl there named Irena and I wanted to ask her "What former soviet block republic are you from?"  I didn't because the last time I did that the person was from Poland.  So I asked her "Where are you from?"  Sure enough, Irena was from Kazakhstan, a place I had been in 1991 when it was still the USSR, or in Russian, the CCCP.  We had a nice conversation about the changes in her country and the pop band "A' Studio" who are now living in Moscow.  Irena came to Canada in 1999.

After a fine lunch, we walked and shopped the town.  We also walked down to Lake Ontario which still had some small icebergs. We ate dinner and then left for the good ol' USA.  We spent the night in Ashland, Ohio.

The Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Canada

Prince of Whales Hotel in Niagara On The Lake

Niagara On The Lake

Lake Ontario at Niagara On The Lake

Saturday April 21

By sheer accident, we drove by the Ohio Historical Society Library in Columbus.  We had to stop of course.  They had the actual Defiance County Atlas of 1876 book but George Ridenour (born 1811) did not mention his brother David.  George founded the town of Georgetown in Defiance County.   The town is now called Ney.  There were two History of Defiance County books but the oldest one had a picture of George Ridenour.

We found other documents that I can use for the SAR.  We also found the correct Will index for David Ridenour Sr.  - Will Book 5, 1848 - 1859, Jefferson County, Ohio, Page 187, General File 741, which mentions David Ridenour, Susannah Ridenour (now widow Notestine), Polly, and Eva Ridenour. The Will was 1850 but probated in 1854, about a week after his death.

The John Ridenour book mentions an 1850 Ohio Census where David Sr. is living with Susannah Ridenour Notestine (widow of Jacob Notestine), Mary Ridenour (never married), Eva Ridenour (never married) and three foster children.  John Ridenour goes onto say that Margaret Wiles Ridenour had headed west with the 6 boys.  I could never find that 1850 census record John Ridenour mentions and I looked for a long time at the Columbus library.  David Sr.'s Will index mentions Susannah Notestine and Eva Ridenour but who is Polly?  A foster child?  Shouldn't  it be Mary?  I will contact the Jefferson County courthouse when I get home to get his Will.

We spent the night in Blytheville, Arkansas.

Sunday April 22

We arrived at home at around 5:30 PM.

After the trip Update:

Heather Allen was surprised that there is no obituary in the "Plains Dealer" newspaper for David Ridenour Jr.

I received David Ridenour Sr.'s Will and it only mentions that he gives everything to his three daughters - Susannah, Eve, and Polly (?).

*James M. Ridenour emailed me and said his great grandfather was Levi Ridenour.  I looked him up and found out that James descends from his 2nd great grandfather Isaiah Ridenour who is the brother of my 2nd great grandfather George T. Ridenour, and their parents are of course David Jr. and Sarah (Shauver) Ridenour.

I received James' book about our national parks - "The National Parks Compromised: Pork Barrel Politics and America's Treasures."  He is a very talented writer and funny!

I found my answer on 5/2/2007

In John Ridenour's book, he has David Sr.'s first two children (Susanna and Daniel) born in Aurora, Preston County, WV, and the next two born in PA (Margaret 1800 and David, Jr. 1802).  He says the rest were born in Jefferson County, Ohio.  That is incorrect because Samuel was born in 1804 and they moved to Jefferson County in 1805 and started the Good Hope Lutheran Church in 1806.  Wherever they were born, they were baptized at the following church.

Ancestry.com showed a Chris E. Wilt who had a source on David Ridenour.  That source was "Aurora Documents: An Accurate and Complete Translation and Transcription of Books I and II of the Original Records of Saint Paul's Lutheran Church, Aurora, Preston County, West Virginia [founded March 24, 1787]."

Book I

Page 8
Baptized        Children                            Parents
7/17/1798       Susana 3/31/1798           David Reidenauer and Margareta

Page 9
Baptized        Children                            Parents
3/15/1801       Margareta 12/25/1800    David Reidenauer and Margareta

Page 10
Baptized        Children                           Parents
5/12/1802       David 2/7/1802                David Reidenauer and Margareta - "This is the gold I was looking for"

Page 11
Baptized        Children                           Parents
4/8/1804         Samuel 2/17/1804           David Reidenauer and Margareta

One of the elders at the church  was church councilman Jacob Reidenauer who married Susanna Stemple.  Jacob is a brother of David Sr.

Each baptism had a sponsor and sometimes Jacob Reidenauer and Susana were sponsors and sometimes David Reidenauer and Margareta were sponsors.  Even Margaret [Wiles] Reidenauer's father John George Wiles was a sponsor for some of the baptisms at the church.  Several children of Jacob and Susana Reidenauer  were baptized at this church.

David and Margaret Ridenour's first born son Daniel born 1799 must have been baptized at another church.  Daniel founded several Lutheran churches.

I have one more source for Aurora, Preston County, which mentions David Sr., Margaret born 1800, David born 1802, and David Sr.'s brother Jacob marrying Susanna Stemple.  That source is "A History of Preston County, West Virginia" by Oren F. Morton, published 1914.

If one can believe Ancestry.com, I searched on my second great grandfather George T. Ridenour and famous people related to him.  Well, going through his grandmother Margaret Wiles and her dad John George Wiles and beyond, I am related to the following famous people:

Norman Rockwell, Lucille Ball, Mary Baker Eddy [the un-Christian "Christian Science" founder], Robert Frost, Julia Child, First Lady Lucretia Rudolph Garfield, President Millard Fillmore, Robert Louis Stevenson, Laurence Olivier, George Orwell, Robert Morris, Robert Treat Payne, First Lady Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge, Gregory Peck, First Lady Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, President Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Morse, Clement Moore, John Steinbeck, Edgar Lee Masters, Spencer Tracy, First Lady Ellen Louise Axson Wilson, Walt Disney, Poet E. E. Cummings, B. F. Skinner, French artist Eugene Delacroix, Katharine Hepburn, and 7th cousin twice removed T. S. Elliot.  That is odd because Elliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" has always been my favorite.


I was accepted into the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution [SAR] on 9/24/2007 - #169991