Friday, December 15, 2017


Please read this post in connection with the Long Since Dispersed post Finding The Ryders of Ryder Run.  The sources and links included there are all associated with the people and places of this story. 

In 1837, our 3x great-grandfather, Thomas J. Rider, joined a group of Rider relatives who made additional trips starting in Bath County, Virginia, to scout for agricultural land in areas that were rapidly opening for settlement in new states and in territories about to become states.  They found lands in several different places and most who left Bath County had moved before the 1850 census. 

Gordon Ryder, the engineer, genealogist and author of The Rider/Ryder Family of Virginia, interviewed hundreds of people with the name Rider and Ryder over 12 years.  He visited Bath County, Virginia and many other communities, libraries, museums, county governments, genealogy and history centers, wrote and received many letters, made many phone calls, placed ads in local community papers and ultimately wrote of the information he gathered during that time.  Everyone he interviewed is listed as an appendix in his monograph.  Scores of descendants are listed and provided with genealogy details. 

At considerable length,  and with extended explanation, Gordon Ryder wrote about William Rider, his family, their life in Bath County, Virginia, and the travels and relocation of some of them to McHenry County, Illinois. 

Martha Theressa “Ressie” Ryder Hine was one of those he interviewed.  She told Gordon Ryder "she was living two miles north of the original Rider land grant."  During the course of our visit she showed me a six-page article, “My father’s travels”, which had been written by her grandfather Aaron Ryder.

"This was a story of Aaron’s father and his quest for good farm land in states to the west.  The story relates that William J., in the company of four cousins, went west in search of good, level farm land."

Aaron did not name the cousins, but Gordon Ryder determined through deed and land records that they were John Ryder’s (brother of Thomas's father James Rider) sons George, William, David and a son-in-law George Bumgardner.

"The first scouting trip was made in 1827.  They rode their horses over the mountains from Back Creek, Virginia, to the ”Falls of the Ohio” [the Falls of the Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area is located around Clarksville, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky] and beyond, to look for land in central Ohio, north of Columbus.  For several days the men rode over the area, which we now know was eastern Delaware County.  From there they went to Bloomington (now Muscatine, Iowa) on the Mississippi River. After inspecting the land for many miles on both sides of the river, they continued west about 100 miles through land which was an unorganized area of the United States."

"Turning their horses eastward, they traveled to an area that would become McHenry County, Illinois, located about 60 miles northwest of Fort Dearborn, which is now Chicago. There they viewed areas of land that looked good to them.  Again riding eastward toward Ohio, they located large areas of level land in northern Indiana.  They retraced their trail through Delaware County which they had scouted early on their journey.  Two months after they had set forth, the party of five men arrived in Bath County, Virginia, having traveled more than 1,200 miles.

"The following year the group of men revisited those areas that they scouted in 1827. On this trip they rode to the Ohio River, where they loaded their horses and equipment aboard a boat which carried them to the Mississippi River, thence upriver to Bloomington.  From there they scouted 100 miles further west than they did the previous year before turning back towards Illinois.  While in Illinois, William J. and a cousin William C. made contracts to purchase land.  Later, in northern Indiana, George Bumgardner selected the land he wanted.  Returning to central Ohio, Daniel marked land and made contracts in Marietta for the purchase of this acreage.

"Some nine years later, in 1837, Thomas J. Rider and Charles Callahan joined William J.,   George C., and William C. Rider as they again made the trip to the West.  This group traveled by boat to Bloomington…the group returned to northern Illinois.  At this time…Thomas J. Rider located a tract about 20 miles to the north (of William J. Rider, Charles Callahan, William C. Rider).

"In 1843, William J. and his brother returned to McHenry County to finalize their land purchases. Two years later, in 1845, the families of William J. and Thomas J. Rider and Charles Callahan settled in McHenry County.

"The author believes that George Bumgardner and William Curry Rider were the leaders of the first three trips, even though it was the son of William J. who wrote of their adventures.

"It has been interesting to find that members of this family of Riders were on the leading edge of the northwestern movement and settlement of our country."


Ryder, Gordon J. The Rider-Ryder Family From Virginia, 1993, Gateway Press succeeded by Bay-Books Family History Publishers.  ISBN xvi, 349p, ill 24 cm. [This hard copy and copyrighted monograph or compilation authored by Gordon J. Ryder is available at the Milstein Division of the New York Public Library and 10 other World Cat libraries listed at:  The Rider-Ryder Family From Virginia].  You may be able to get a library near you to arrange an inter-library loan.

Originally published by the author by Gateway Press, Inc., North Calhoun Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21332.  The current digital card index for this book now shows Bay Books The Family History Publisher but there is no web information available for this company, or Gateway Press, and both are assumed to be out of business.   

[Note of  November 28, 2017:  Mr. Ryder died in September 1998; letters to his family were not acknowledged.]

Library of Congress Card Catalog Number 93-70030
Transcribed by Sherry Wilmes November 28, 2017

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