Birth: May 9, 1844, Lancaster, Wabash County, Illinois.
Death: 1927, Girard, Crawford County, Kansas.
Wife: Elizabeth Frazier Ridgely.
Married September 1, 1903.
Burial: Girard Cemetery, Girard, Crawford County, Kansas.
US Congressman. Born near Lancaster, Illinois, he served as a volunteer in the 115th Illinois Infantry Regiment, Union Army during the Civil War and after the war, moved with his brother to Girard, Kansas, in 1869. There he engaged in the general merchandising business known as the Ridgely Brothers and also in agriculture. He abandoned his business in 1876, lived in Ogden, Utah, (1889-93) and then moved back to Kansas. In 1897, he was elected as a Populist to the Fifty-fifth and Fifty-sixth Congresses, serving until 1901. Not a candidate for renomination, he resumed his agricultural pursuits until his death at age 82 in Girard, Kansas.
HON. EDWIN REED RIDGELY, son of William S. Ridgely and Ann Eliza Crowell Ridgely, was born May 9, 1844, near Lancaster, Wabash County, Ill.. His parents were farmers, and he shared the lot of a pioneer farmer's son, helping to clear away the timber, enlarging the farm, replacing the log cabin in which he was born with a brick dwelling, and constructing barns. His education was acquired during the few weeks of winter weather at the district school in the village of Lancaster.
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, Kan.
Authors note . The above was published in 1900.
Authors note. In 1906 he was living in Crawford County, Kansas, in Washington township in section 4, He was a Dairy Farmer and was the proprietor of the Ozark Dairy Farm which was 240 Acres large. His post office address was Mulberry, Kansas, which was two miles east from the farm..