Thursday, June 1, 2017


To review, before reading, return to this earlier post:

and review the family of Timothy McCarthy:

Tiimothy McCarthy Family Names and Dates

We have many cousins we do not know! On both the Gearen and Ryder family sides.  In early May, 2017, I received a message through from the granddaughter of Frank T. Ryder's youngest sister, Margaret Ryder.  Her father Bernard, who was adopted, is still living but is not well. We discussed many things, including the distance between families.  My research shows the family's great accomplishment of migration and their struggle to succeed in difficult economic times.   In fact, it might account for that distance.


East High Faculty - Miss Ryder - U.S.Yearbooks, 1880-2012

She was very gracious to correspond and share information with me.  The connection was made through one class photo (above) of Miss Margaret Ryder, a teacher at Sioux City East High School in an Ancestry database featuring yearbook class photos.  I had included it in Margaret's photo gallery from my family tree. Hopefully, sometime soon, we can have a post from her for Long Since Dispersed about her family, her father and her siblings. Two children were adopted by Frank's other sister, Anna Ryder - Mary Catherine and Francis. Neither of them are still alive now.  I received some additional family information, so I will research them.

The information below is an edited and extended version of what I wrote to her about our family history (some of this repeats earlier blog posts).

The Rider/Ryders

Our great-great-grandfather (Frank Ryder's grandfather) Azariah Rider, his wife Mary Jo Jacobs, and their son Fred (our great-grandfather born in McHenry County, Illinois, moved to Sioux City soon after his discharge from Company F, 95th Infantry Illinois, Union Army during the Civil War.  They were probably seeking a new life outside Dorr Township, part of the "Virginia Settlement" in McHenry County northwest of Chicago and near the western shore of Lake Michigan. Azariah was born in Virginia and his father Thomas J. Rider and some members of his family were pioneers in McHenry County.

Read the history in a free ebook in Google Play Books:  History of McHenry County, Illinois

Azariah served almost four years in the Union Army.  He later received a Civil War pension and after his death Mary received a widow’s pension.  Azariah's military service is described in an earlier Long Since dispersed post at:  Azariah Rider's Civil War Service

He was not shown on the 1870 census in McHenry County, Illinois so they had moved  before 1870, probably earlier than 1868 when Mary McCarthy was born in Galena.    The 1880 census  records them in Sioux City, Iowa.  By 1900, Timothy and Mary were shown with their son George on a farm at Plymouth, Iowa.  They returned to Sioux City, Woodbury, Iowa within about five years and Timothy died there in 1921.

The Timothy McCarthys

Timothy and possibly his son John McCarthy were blacksmiths (I cannot determine if this is his son or another relative, or someone of the same name unrelated to him).  These links document their exact locations.

Historic 1884 and 1886 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps at the Library of  Congress document exactly where the Iowa Business Gazeteer states his business was located, 201 Fourth Street.

Sanborn Sioux City Map, April 1884, Image 1 with Legend

Sanborn Sioux City Map, April 1884, Image  3, 201 Fourth Street (Zoom in to the left side, lower corner)

In August, 1886, the building is still there although it is not labeled as "blacksmith" in that version:

Sanborn Sioux City, Aug 1886, Image 3

By 1890, the 313 and 315 Jackson Street properties have been developed, along with the entire mapped block, labeled the "Massachusetts Block".

Sanborn Sioux City Map, 1890, Image 13

Sioux City had enjoyed growth and prosperity for several decades but by 1893, a national financial panic initiated almost 50 years of intermittent economic difficulty there including the Great Depression years.   A website Sioux City History explains the impact of the panic:  The Financial Panic of 1893 in Sioux City.   The Sioux City Museum's virtual collections feature these problems at:
Overcoming Adversity a virtual exhibit at the Sioux City Museum.

Azariah and Mary Jo Rider remained in Sioux City but their son Fred and his wife by 1910 were reported in the census on Chicago's East 99th Street.  By the time of Frank’s World War I 1916 draft enrollment, they were back in Sioux City but Fred was not shown as head-of household.  Fred was in and out of the household and the cause of the family dysfunction is really not known.

Why did they stay in Sioux City?  Perhaps because the economic problems were severe everywhere, because they lacked the resources to migrate, perhaps their elderly parents were there or some other reason. Nevertheless, except Frank's family which relocated between Sioux City and Omaha NE several times and some McCarthy brothers, they remained.  

The McCarthys remained in and close to Sioux City, as well. Our great-grandfather Fred Rider and his wife Mary McCarthy were married in Galena, Illinois.  In fact, Mary and several of her siblings were born there, as well. Galena, located in northwest Illinois near the Mississippi River, was a lead mining community for a time and blacksmiths may have been a desirable skill group.  

Galena and It's Lead Mines a free ebook in Google Play Books

Timothy's wife Jane Ann Scott, daughter of  Robert Scott, a Scotsman

Locating our Jane Anna Scott presents the same problem as there are many, many Jane Scotts, and Anna Scotts and Jane Anne/Anna/Ann Scpotts all over America.  Her Granddaughter Anna Ryder was the informant on the death certificate in 1923 and Anna stated that (Jane) Anna Scott's parents were Robert Scott of Scotland and Margaret White.  A census entry says she was born in Albany, New York.  The only Margaret Scott who has a daughter Jane Anne (in this case) Scott is located in New York City for a time. Research will continue but will be difficult.

Their Sioux City Residences

The Azariah and Fred Rider/Ryder, Timothy McCarthy and Scott families lived in a part of Sioux City, 907 (Rider/Ryders), 905 (McCarthys) and 903 (McCarthy/Scott) Main Street, blocks from the the Missouri River.  For a time, I learned, Bernard's family later lived for a time in 907 Main. The area was called Area D in census terminology and it is likely that this was an area, adjoining Perry Creek which joins the Missouri River a very short distance away, not very desirable for residences at the time.

Relocation to Chicago and Return to Sioux City

Timothy's work  as a blacksmith was of less and less demand as motor vehicles were introduced. Cudahy Packing, where Frank ultimately worked was already in Sioux City and I think many of the family worked there early on, including his son-in-law Fred Ryder.  The Sanborn maps show several packing plants over the years before Cudahy, and they cannot have been  pleasant places.   Violent labor conflicts were common for 50 years in the Midwest.  Fred and Mary left for Chicago, probably in search of better opportunities because of the economic climate.  In Chicago, according to the census reports, Fred and his son Ben worked for the Chicago Surface Streetcar Company as drivers and one of Timothy McCarthy's sons, Timothy and Frank Ryder worked as conductors.

Family Dysfunction and Limited Education

For many years, I had the impression that Fred had abandoned the family when Frank was quite young, perhaps as young as 11 or so, and that Frank dropped out of school to work but I am not sure if it was that early.  The 1940 census report indicates Frank had one year of high school (and our grandmother Ruth Gearen Ryder had two).  Apparently, he was a voracious reader and self-educated himself to what probably was the equivalent of an early 20th century electrical engineer.

Injury, Prayer and Recovery

There is another family legend about Frank that probably affected his whole life.  Somewhere along the line, never certain if Sioux City or Chicago, in his young adulthood Frank fell from a pole (telephone, electrical, a wall?) and had a severe leg injury, critical enough that the doctors proposed amputation.  He apparently refused and sent a message to the Poor Clare convent asking them to pray for a miracle for him.  He survived, with a limp, but he survived and despite not being a regular church-goer, he always contributed food and money to the Poor Clares who would ride around town in a horse-drawn cart ringing a bell to attract attention soliciting alms.  Whether that was in Sioux City or Chicago and if it caused him to return to Sioux City or not, I don’t know.  He was not yet married so someone had to care for him during that time and it had to have been a drain on the families. 

Eventually, Frank was a management man, rising to Chief Master Mechanic of Cudahys (probably electrical, mechanical and facilities).  He was not fond of unions and he followed Senator Joe McCarthy, including on a early television set he built from a kit.  I’ve never connected the McCarthy families but the name was the same as his mother’s maiden name so they may have been influenced by that. 

Anna Ryder

During this time, his sister Anna probably had to be out working. She was a fitter, seamstress and dressmaker at several Sioux City department stores including J.C.Penney, Younkers and Martin's department stores.  Perhaps she learned to sew from a neighbor dressmaker who lived at 904 Main in Sioux City. It is also possible that there was no four year public high school for her to attend.

Margaret Ryder

His sister Margaret would have been four years younger and perhaps by the time she was age appropriate, there probably were both public and Catholic schools and high schools.  She completed four college years according to the census reports, probably Iowa University in Iowa City, and that is all I know except that she taught for all many years at Sioux City East High School.

Benjamin Ryder

Another family legend was about their brother Ben Rider/Ryder who was killed in a train robbery. If Fred was not supporting the family, then obviously they all needed to work but I cannot explain why Ben who had already had a job in Chicago was in a train boxcar in the southern Plains working harvest in 1915 when they had jobs in Chicago before that time.  I took that as another indication of family dysfunction.

It was a great surprise to me that Ben was not headed west on a passenger train to California and then mounted gunmen swooped down the main line, stopped the train and robbed everyone as my imagination had been fed by Western movies and novels.  As the newspaper article relates, some uncles traveled with Fred to retrieve his body.  There were McCarthy uncles (George and Tom) in Sioux City and vicinity at that time and others in Chicago so I can’t say who traveled with Fred after the murder.  Fred also had a brother Charles B. Rider in Sioux City.  And I had never heard a connection between that story and Marge’s education as quoted in the newspaper.  

The  Careers of Anna and Margaret Ryder

Most of Frank's son Jim Ryder’s (Dr. James E Ryder, M.D.) high school years, Frank and Ruth were living in Sioux City and Jim had been attending high school, probably Morningside High School. When Frank was transferred back to Omaha, Jim stayed behind with another aunt and uncle - Marge Gearen Wilson and her medical doctor husband Leo Wilson - and for Marge's tutoring in math and Latin.  It may have been a short time as he is shown on the census in both Sioux City and Omaha. Jim attended Creighton University in Omaha through an Army medical program and served in the Army at the close of World War II in the Philippine Islands.   Frank was very committed to education, all of his children attended Catholic schools.  His daughters had at least one year of college if they wished.  His youngest son Tom became an attorney.

Frank's sister Anna worked as a seamstress for many decades. One of the recollections recently shared with me was that Anna sewed until late in her life and never used a mechanical sewing machine! She taught my mother to sew including coats, and my mother made most of her siblings and many of her own children’s clothes for years.  My mother enjoyed it and although infrequently she sewed until well after she went to work when all three of us were finally in school.   Connie Ryder's story will add to this information about Anna. Unfortunately, it seems we missed an 2016 exhibit in Sioux City about Sioux City's historic department stores:

Historical Sioux City Department Stores

Visits Between the Sioux City and Omaha Families

Frank’s family and his sisters were in touch and they sometimes visited Omaha. One of my cousins remembers that they would drive down and park in the driveway at Frank and Ruth's on Rockbrook Drive but not come in the house.  I recall very little of seeing them, but remember clearly that in the months before my grandfather died in 1957 they came down to visit him.  I’m not sure who drove but I remember their car in the driveway. They brought him a hand loom with which people wove hot pads, perhaps to give him something to do.  He handed me the loom later, and I made a few hot pads.  I was only 11 and didn’t realize how sick he was.  He died in October, 1957 but I’m not sure of the date of their visit. 

Frank’s sisters came one other time one and that was when Frank’s daughter, our beloved aunt Bernadette, died in 1966.  Anna and Marge (I don’t remember anyone else from their families attending) arrived at my aunt Franny Ryder Wear's house for lunch after the burial.  They would not come in the house because the walls were green and that was bad luck.  I’m not sure who talked them in but they did come in for a time.  As you might imagine, we thought that was maybe an old Irish superstition, or maybe just odd.    In reality, Anna and Marge were simply people who in 1966 were from another time in America and I probably missed an opportunity to know them.   
The Missed Opportunity to Know Anna and Margaret

Every generation of Americans experience enormous and often rapid economic and cultural change. Our Ryders shared those experiences and those who stayed in Sioux City have such stories and struggles, as well, and I hope our cousin will add more to their stories soon.