JOHN A. RIDGE, who is meeting with fair success in his farming labors in Menard county, was born in Scott county, Indiana, March 6, 1860, his parents being Samuel A. and Mary (Kenney) Ridge. The father was born in Indiana, October 9, 1830, and came to Menard county in 1870, bringing with him two dry-goods boxes, containing the household effects, and one hundred dollars in money. He worked by the day and month for eight years as a farm hand in the employ of Colonel John Williams and others. At the end of that time he rented land and then carried on farming for himself for eighteen years, during a part of which time his only son, John A. Ridge, worked with him, and later he went to live with his son and there he was called to his final rest May 1, 1904, the funeral services being conducted by the Rev. R. D. Miller, who has officiated at all such occasions for the family. His wife passed away on the 28th of May, 1890. In their family were four children, two sons and two daughters, but John A. is the only one now living. Susanna B. died March 6, 1879; Lena died July 29, 1881, and an infant son on the 27th of January, 1870.
John A. Ridge spent the first ten years of his life in the state of his nativity and then accompanied his parents on their emigration to the new world. His youth was a period of earnest and unremitting labor in which he had few advantages. His education, however, was acquired in the public schools. After arriving at years of maturity he was married to Miss Mary E. Reed, a daughter of Ephraim C. and Ann Elizabeth (Gibbs) Reed. Her father came to Menard county from Kentucky in 1834 with his mother and her family of children, his father being at that time in the Mexican war. Ephraim Reed was born in Kentucky, October 28, 1830, and when sixteen years of age he began work as a farm hand. When twenty-one years of age he commenced farming on his own account on what has now long been known as the old Reed homestead. He has added to his original purchase from time to time until he is now one of the extensive farm owners of the county, having seven hundred acres of arable land on which many improvements have been made. There are five houses upon this tract, all in good condition. There are also a number of substantial barns and other modern equipments. On the 17th of November, 1853, he was married to Miss Ann Elizabeth Gibbs, a daughter of William and Margaret Gibbs and with her parents she came to Illinois from Maryland in 1839. Her birth occurred in the latter state, May 31, 1827. The journey westward was made with team and they were six weeks upon the way. Mr. and Mrs. Reed have two living children: Mary E., born in September, 1858; and Edward C., who was born in December, 1860, and is now living in Menard county. Those deceased are Elizabeth Jane, Katie Ann, wife of Gus Jones, and an infant unnamed. Mr. and Mrs. Reed are members of the Presbyterian church, contribute generously to its support and take an active interest in its work. For nine years or more he has been a member of the school board and the cause of education finds in him a warm friend. In politics he is a stanch Republican, believing firmly in the principles of the party. He ranks today as one of the most prosperous men of the county and he enjoys in high measure the respect and good will of his fellow citizens, because he has always been found reliable in all business transactions, never taking advantage of the necessities of his fellow men in any business affair.
The wedding ceremony of Mr. and Mrs. Ridge was performed by Rev. R. D. Miller on the 24th of February, 1891, and four children were born to them: Ephraim and Samuel, twins, born February 4, 1896, both died in infancy; Mary E., born April 28, 1899, also died in infancy; John E., born June 22, 1901, is the only one living.
Not long after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Ridge removed to their present home. They have a fine brick house surrounded by shade and fruit trees and everything about the place is in excellent condition. Mr. Ridge is one of the largest stock feeders in the county and during the recent strike at the stock yards in Chicago he shipped a carload of hogs to that market. He now has on hand about two hundred and fifty head of hogs, which he is feeding for the market. He owns in Menard county two hundred and forty acres of as fine land as can be found in central Illinois and it is well known that there is no richer agricultural district in all the country than that in Menard county. He is very progressive in his business and he owes his success entirely to his own labors. He started out without assistance and has received no aid from any one, but has worked on persistently and energetically and is now the owner of valuable farming property. Mr. Ridge is a member of Floral lodge, No. 644, I. O. O. F., at Athens, and the Modern Woodmen camp at Sweetwater. He is identified with the Republican party, politically, and keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day. He belongs to the Presbyterian church, while his wife is a member of the Christian church and both are widely and favorably known in Menard county.