Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Hill Country Story Told In Stone: The Ridings Family

by Terry Thornton
A few days ago I read the May 1938 transcription of burials at Pine Grove Cemetery, Monroe County, Mississippi, done by Horace Baker and published by W.A. Evans in Monroe County Mississippi Cemetery Records. At that time I had never been to Pine Grove Cemetery in the extreme northwestern part of the county near the Itawamba and Lee County lines.

But the names of H.B., A.F., and CREOLE RIDINGS from that inventory of more than seventy years ago jumped at me because Mr. Baker had placed the notation "(Murdered)" after each of the three names. I have not been able to verify that tragic event locally --- and not until two days ago was I able to show that the word "murdered" is indeed on the grave markers for Mr. Ridings, age 25, Mrs. Ridings age 16, and their two-year-old daughter Creole Ridings.

A visit to the cemetery on September 28, 2009, showed the markers for these three individuals to be a "triple marker" and that the notation "Murdered on December 17, 1880" is inscribed on it.

The picture below will give more information about their names, dates, and death --- but reveals nothing about the circumstances of their murder. (Click image for larger view)

Last week I posted about the three individuals and included some information about the family from the 1880 census (click here to read). A query has been sent to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in the hope that their researchers will have access to newspaper and/or court records that will state more of the facts about this case.

Thanks to Mary Anna Riggan, Lackey, Mississippi, for specific directions to the cemetery and the grave marker and to Bob Franks, Mantachie, Mississippi, for a map showing other cemeteries in the area. The Monroe County Discussion Group (Mary Anna Riggan, Bob Franks, Lori Thornton, Judy Sullivan, Rita Thompson, Jerry Harlow, James Alverson, Terry Thornton) generated several emails about the Ridings family and as a result of that discussion a decision was made to send the request for research help to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Photographs of the Ridings Family grave marker, Pine Grove Cemetery, Monroe County, Mississippi, September 28, 2009. Terry Thornton, Fulton, Mississippi.

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