genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.

Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893.  Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

JAMES RIDGE is one of the most enterprising and well-to-do farmers of Assumption Township, his home being on section 21. He is a native of England, having been born in Devonshire [ed., probably the county of Devon in South West England], January 11, 1829, and is a son of James and Charity (Lewerthy) Ridge, both

likewise natives of Devonshire. Our subject grew to manhood in England, having fairly good educational advantages. Having arrived at the age of twenty-two years, he took passage on a vessel bound from Plymouth [ed., England] to Quebec, and arrived at his destination May 5, 1851.

He proceeded directly to Illinois, and joined relatives in Greene County. His wife's brother, Richard Tucker, had located in 1844 in the Prairie State, and this influenced our subject's choice of a settlement. For the first year he worked as a farm hand, and then rented land, which he engaged in farming for eight years.

In 1859 Mr. Ridge left Greene County and located in Christian County, settling on a tract of land he had purchased the fall previous. This consisted of one hundred and twenty acres of wild land, with only a log cabin on it in the way of improvement, and was the home of the Ridge family for several years. With characteristic energy, our subject proceeded to clear and cultivate the farm, and after some years had passed he bought an adjoining forty acres, now having one hundred and sixty acres within the boundaries of has farm. It is all under good cultivation, has a commodious residence, good barns and outbuildings. The house is about forty rods back from the main road, and the entire farm is fenced with a neat and well-trimmed osage hedge. There is also a beautiful grove of forest trees, which were planted by Mr. Ridge, and these trees now measure nearly two feet in diameter.

The marriage of Mr. Ridge and Mrs. Sarah Sage was celebrated in Devonshire, England, in the spring of 1851. Two children graced the union: David, whose sketch appears on another page of this work; and Sarah A., wife of William Moreton, who is engaged in farming on the Ridge homestead. They have a daughter, Mrs. M. E. Litt, who resides in Assumption. Mr. and Mrs. Ridge and daughter are members of the Baptist Church.

Since becoming a voter Mr. Ridge has been identified with the Republican party, and cast his ballot for Abraham Lincoln. He has never desired official recognition, but has preferred to devote his entire time and attention to his farm. He was one of the first Directors of the school district, and served as a member of the School Board for nearly a quarter of a century. Largely through his influence the first schoolhouse in the district was erected.

He is a member of the Assumption Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and was elected President of the Association in January, 1893, after having acted in the capacity of Treasurer for fifteen years. During the thirty-four years which have elapsed since his settlement in Illinois he has seen great changes, and has assisted materially in its welfare. He is a man of pride and integrity and manly worth, and is held in the highest regard by all who come in contact with him. In 1883, accompanied by his daughter, he returned to England and spent several months visiting old friends and the scenes of his youth.


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