Museum the New Llano Colony

Richard "Rollie" Ridgway

Birth: He was born around 1863 in Indiana.  

Family Information: Married to Emma Ridgway.

Father of Ida, India, Alice and Lelah Ridgeway.  


Pre-Colony History: During his early manhood he'd taught school for a number of years, before entering the mercantile field which he followed for more than thirty years in Missouri.

In 1900 he and his wife were living in Missouri with their children and one servant while he worked as a dry goods merchant. In 1910 they were still living in Missouri and he was working as a salesman in a general store.

In 1920 they were living in Oklahoma with their widowed daughter, Alice Denney, and her two children and all were unemployed.

He and his wife arrived in the colony in April 1930.  

Home in Colony: The family lived next door to Mother Pickett who visited them often. He and his wife felt honored at the privilege of "sitting and listening to her talk." They felt that she'd done a wonderful life work in teaching her son, George, to stand up and work for the new system that would help the poor and give them plenty.

In May 1936 they moved from an apartment in the Apartments de Llano, into the Rose House in Harriman Circle, where Dr. Kimmel had formerly resided.  

Job in Colony: In 1930 was working as an escort in the colony. In 1932 he had several visitors in tow. One of those, Mr. Gaylord, from Washington, D.C. made an obeisant bow to Esther Allen which she very much enjoyed.  In 1934 he was guiding a "tenderfoot" through the steam laundry.

He also wrote for the colony diary section of the "Llano Colonist". 

Other Info: In 1935 was helping to clean out "Hell's Half Acre" (Harriman Circle). Ridgeway pointed out that more ditches were needed to drain the low-lying land and that those ditches would pay on the basis of sanitation alone.

He was visited in 1935 by Mr. Cothran from the Hoag Ranch while he was laid up from a sprained ankle. Mr. Cothran brought two fine persimmons along with him and mentioned that they grew wild in the woods near the ranch.

In December 1935 he informed the librarian, Mrs. Bartlett, that he would be putting a copy of Townsend's Weekly on the library reading table. Also that month, he and his wife, along with Rex K. Dell and Charles Eldred were huddled in their hotel room over some Townsend plans.

In 1936 Rex K. Dell went into Ridgeway's backyard and found him making some rustic porch rocking chairs at which he was an adept. "Brother" Ridgeway was sitting with tools at hand, surrounded with saplings and twigs from which he could turn out a chair each day. He also made miniature chairs for dolls, the exact replica of the bigger ones.

In 1936 he also displayed some of his Miracle beans. The original seed beans had been provided in 1935 by Mother Dunn of Houston. He'd grown his first crop then and was about to plant his second. He stated the beans could stand the drouth the best of any he'd ever seen.  

Post-Colony History: At the time of his death, he and his wife had been associated with the Baptist denomination for some years.  

Death: He died of Bright's Disease in 1937 at a Shreveport, Louisiana hospital. The body was brought back to the colony by Roy McLean and Bill Brough.

Funeral services, directed by Dr. Robert K. Williams, were held in the family home in the colony and were largely attended by relatives and members of the colony. At Mrs. Ridgway's request, Dr. Williams sang "Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep," other numbers being "Now the Day is Over," and "Nearer My God to Thee." He was buried in the Llano Cemetery.  

Sources: US Census: 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930; "Llano Colonist": July 26, 1930, April 23, 1932, April 28, 1934, March 2, 1935; November 23, 1935, December 14, 1935, May 16, 1936, July 11, 1936, November 14, 1936, October 2, 1937;  


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