Birth: May 9, 1844, Lancaster (Wabash County), Wabash County, Illinois.
Death: 1927, Girard, Crawford County, Kansas.
Wife: Elizabeth Frazier Ridgely.
Married September 1, 1903.
Burial: Girard Cemetery , Girard, Crawford County, Kansas.
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At the age of eighteen, August 12, 18,62, he enlisted in Company C as a private, immediately going with his company into active service, sharing its fate and that of the regiment without asking or receiving furlough or leave of absence to the end of the war ; in the meantime he was promoted to sergeant. During the entire three years his company was never under' the enemy's fire without his presence, rifle in hand, doing his share of the fighting. Sergeant Ridgely had a thrilling experience at the battle of Nashville. While the Union lines were charging the enemy's works and a Confederate battery immediately in front of the 115th was pouring shot and shell into its ranks, a shell struck in front of his position, throwing much earth against him, knocking him down and leaving him for a time unconscious.
After some minutes he proceeded to rejoin his regiment, which had continued the charge, and was then halted about 400 feet in advance. As he crawled forward to his company his comrades expressed astonishment, as they supposed the shell had cut his body in two. After leaving the army he spent a short time with his parents, then participated with others in a contract to build a large school house at Olney, learning the brick mason's trade while thus engaged. Later he attended school at Batavia, Ill., but his health failing, he removed to Girard, Kan., and with his brother Stephen R. Ridgley, engaged in general mercantile business, which they have pursued almost to the present time. in the meantime he carried on the cattle business, making several trips over the trail to and from Texas, California, Oregon and Washington.
In 1896 he was unanimously nominated by the People's party as its candidate for Congress for the 3d Kansas District, and was also nominated by the Democratic party, and after a heated campaign, elected by 4,500 majority. He was nominated and re-elected in 1898, and is now, in 1900, serving in the 56th Congress. At the time of the Civil War he was an abolition Republican, but joined the Greenback party in 1876, because of the financial question, and has continued with its successor, the People's party, and steadily grown more and more positive and favorable to its policy. His present residence is at Pittsburg, Kansas.