Nelson McNaire Ridings

From: "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois Illustrated 1908, edited by Newton Bateman, LL. D. and Paul Selby, A. M., Volume II, Schuyler County", edited by Howard F. Dyson, pages 914-915, a Reprinted by Stevens Publishing Company, Astoria, Illinois 61501, 1970, is sold by the Schulyer County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  Ridings, Nelson McNaire - The success of Nelson McNaire Ridings is a logical conclusion of his inheritance and environment.  For many generations his people have tilled the soil, and perfected farms which ever have represented the best thus far achieved in agricultural science.  Mr. Ridings himself has proven no exception to the family precedent, but in Section 9, Camden Township, operated a property the equipment and fertility of which is not surpassed anywhere in Schuyler County.  Born in Hancock County, Ill., December 2, 1849, he is a son of James E and grandson of William Ridings, both natives of Tennessee, and early settlers of Hancock County.  Some time later the family moved to Woodstock Township, Schuyler County, from the vicinity of Pulaski, Hancock County, locating near the home of Robert Brown, where the last days of William Ridings were spent in comparative retirement.  He had seven children, of whom William McNaire and Mrs. Jane Skinnett are living, the latter being a native of Joplin, Missouri.  Three of his sons, Mack, David and Washington, served four years each in the Civil War, one in a Missouri regiment, another in the One Hundred and Sixteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and the third in the One Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.  In Hancock County, Ill., James E. Ridings married Elizabeth F. Bennett, a native of Ohio, and daughter of an Ohio farmer.  Mrs. Ridings came to Schuyler County with her parents and her uncle, Joseph Newberry, from Ohio, settling in Bainbridge Township, where Newberry Post office was named for the uncle.  James Ridings was a blacksmith by trade, and this he followed after his marriage in 1846 in the village of Rushville.  He later lived in Bloomington for a few years, then moved to Missouri, and after the death of his father, in 1861, returned to the home farm in Woodstock Township, which he took charge of and lived upon until his death, November 7, 1903.  Like his father before him he was the parent of seven children, of whom Lorain died in infancy; Nelson McNaire is a farmer in Schuyler County; Flora is the wife of James Greene, a farmer in Iowa; Eliza (deceased) was the wife of Jacob Harmon, Jr., of the vicinity of Rushville; Charles is a farmer of Walnut Grove Township, McDonough County, Ill., Abbie is the wife of Eugene Betrauch, of Iowa; and Arthur lives on a farm near Rushville.
  Through a close application to study during his leisure hours Nelson McNaire Ridings acquired a much better education than does the average farm-reared youth, who depends solely upon instruction of the local schools.  The hardest kind of work claimed his very early years, and when but ten he drove a team that hauled pork to Beardstown, where his uncle, David ridings, would help him unload.  During several winters he devoted his energies to teaming, and the summers were spent in driving the horses for the old horse-powered threshing machine.  His father worked for several winters in the packing department of Ray & Little, and the son aided him with this work until his twenty-first year, when he began farming on land he had rented from his father.  January 14, 1872, he was united in marriage to Emma Z. De Counter, born February 28, 1853, a daughter of Samuel De Counter, mention of whom may be found elsewhere in this work.  To Mr. and Mrs. Ridings have been born the following children: Laura Isabell, born December 19, 1872, wife of Walter Warrington, a farmer of Camden Township, and mother of a daughter, Lena; James Samuel, born November 10, 1874, married to Lenora Head; Katie E., born December 21, 1876, deceased wife of Louis French, and mother of Altie and Jessie, the latter of whom died at the age of three years;  Daisy, born December 4, 1878, deceased wife of Lee Myers, a farmer of Huntsville Township; Clifford M., born December 2, 1881, living a home with his parents; Logan J., born April 9, 1887; Raleigh, born February 9, 1889; and Guy, born November 18, 1893.  Logan Ridings studied law at Des Moines, Ia., graduating in 1908; and Clifford is a graduate of the Rushville Normal and Business College, Class of 1902.
  After living on rented farms for several years Mr. Ridings in 1877 bought eighty acres in Camden Township, which remained his home for twenty-six years.  He was successful at general farming and stock-raising and in 1903 moved to the farm owned by Samuel De Counter, which consists of 300 acres in Section 9, Camden Township.  He at present is extensively engaged in the breeding of Poland-China hogs, black cattle and Belgian horses.  He ships several car loads of stock annually, and is known as one of the best judges thereof in Schuyler County.  The farm he occupies has the finest of modern improvements, has special facilities for stock, and is adapted to the various kinds of produce associated with the Central Western States.
  Mr. Ridings has always has the best interests of Schuyler County at heart, and has vigorously endorsed good roads, good schools, churches, benevolent organizations, and fraternities.  Though not a member, he contributes liberally to the Christian Church, of which his wife is a member, and he has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Huntsville, Ill., for many years, having joined the Rushville lodge of the order about 1872.  In politics, he is a Democrat, but the emoluments of office have never drawn him from the more peaceful interests of his home.  He is a man of the strictest personal honor, the kindliest disposition and generosity of heart, and the noblest aims in the large things which make for character and development.

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