Saturday, February 18, 2012

Quarreling With the Reverend – Gawn Riddle

B. about 1700 in Londonderry, Ireland
M. probably Bedford, New Hampshire
Wife: Mary Bell
D. 22 Dec 1779 in Bedford, New Hampshire
Emigrated: about 1738

Gawn Riddle was one of the founders of the Riddle family in America. He was from Londonderry, Ireland (which is now Northern Ireland). His family was of Scottish descent and the name was sometimes spelled "Riddell." It is believed Gawn was born in about 1700, although some genealogies list his birth year as 1688 and others as 1713. Gawn had brothers named Hugh, Robert and John and a sister Margery, and the siblings all migrated to America in about 1738.

Gawn married Mary Bell who was also of a Scottish heritage and born in Ireland. Between 1754 and 1765, they had six children. Gawn lived in Bedford, New Hampshire as early as May 10, 1750, when his name appeared on a petition to the Governor of New Hampshire for a charter for the town of Bedford. Gawn held many offices including constable in 1751, selectman and clerk of the market in 1754, surveyor of highways in 1758, and collector of taxes in 1770. He was also on a committee to build a meeting-house in 1759 and a committee to examine town-accounts in 1773. The Riddle family lived in a house east of "Riddle's Mill," which he owned in 1754. Gawn also owned a large tract of land here which he divided amongst his sons.

Gawn's farm was next to one belonging to Reverend John Houston. One Saturday morning, they met and had some sharp words about their cattle and the fence that they shared. Some townsmen witnessed them arguing. The next day, Gawn attended church service as usual. Some of his neighbors, who had seen his argument, said, "Mr. Riddle, we thought you would not be at meeting today to hear your neighbor Houston preach, after having such a quarrel with him." Gawn replied, "I'd have ye to know, if I did quarrel with my neighbor Houston yesterday, I did not quarrel with the gospel." As it turns out, Gawn wasn't the only one who had issues with Reverend Houston — in May 1775, the town petitioned to have the minister ousted because he was a loyalist. 

Gawn died on December 22, 1779 in Bedford. His wife Mary outlived him by many years and died on January 7, 1813.

1. John Riddle – B. 30 Oct 1754, Bedford, New Hampshire; D. 18 Nov 1812, Bedford, New Hampshire; M. (1) Mary McDuffee (or McAffee); (2) Sarah Hartshorn

2. David Riddle – B. 16 Mar 1757, Bedford, New Hampshire; D. 18 Dec 1839, Bedford, New Hampshire; M. Mary Dunlap

3. Susannah Riddle – B. 1759, Bedford, New Hampshire; D. 5 Nov 1841, Bedford, New Hampshire; M. Solomon Hutchinson

4. Hugh Riddle – B. 1761, Bedford, New Hampshire; D. 17 Aug 1833, Bedford, New Hampshire; M. Anna Maria Houston (~1765-1837)

5. Isaac Riddle – B. 10 Jun 1762, Bedford, New Hampshire; D. 26 Jan 1830, Quincy, Massachusetts; M. (1) Ann Aiken (1764-1804), 5 Jun 1788; (2) Margaret McGraw (1776-1816), 1806; (3) Margaret Lincoln (1760-1837), 1820

6. William Riddle – B. 5 Jul 1765, Bedford, New Hampshire; D. 14 Jul 1838; M. Janet Gilchrist (1768-1839), 29 Sep 1791

History of Bedford, New Hampshire, Alfred Mudge, 1851
The History of Bedford New Hampshire from 1737, 1903

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