Sunday, December 13, 2015

Photo of the Week: Lydia (Callahan) Ridgeway

(By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist)

The John Corbly Gregg Collection shared with Greene Connections by John Rohrman, features rare ambrotype and tintype, as well as card photographs, of several early Greene County, Pennsylvania, families. This beautiful collection has been a highlight of our project for several years, but this month received an update including improved scans of several existing images and four incredible additions.

In a new blogging effort to feature the treasures in our collections and help visitors learn to better use and navigate the GC project, we are going to begin featuring a photo here each week. In light of these most recent contributions, the John Corbly Gregg Collection seemed like the perfect place to start!

Lydia (Callahan) Ridgeway
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Lydia (Callahan) Ridgeway, pictured here circa 1860, was the widow of David Ridgeway and the matriarch of a large family, including many descendants whom still reside in Greene County, Pennsylvania, today.

Her identified tintype photograph was passed through the family of her grandson Rev. Joseph South Barmore [1849-1880] and his wife, Anna Mariah Harvey [1849-1934], to their daughter Edna Claudia (Barmore) Gregg [1875-1954], to her son John Corbly Gregg [1910-1996], to his daughter Clarice (Gregg) Rohrman, to her son John Rohrman who owned and shared the photographs with the Greene Connections: Greene County, Pennsylvania Archives Project between 2010 and 2015.

Lydia's life story is beautifully told in a detailed obituary, transcribed by the author, from the Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 30 March 1881.

"Almost A Centenarian

Mrs. Lydia Ridgeway died at the residence of James Thomas, her son-in-law, in Center township, on Wednesday last, March 23, in the 98th year of her age. Her long life has been a somewhat eventful one, and a brief history of her experiences cannot otherwise than prove interesting to our readers.

She was born in the State of Delaware in December 1783. She emigrated thence with her parents to Philadelphia some time during her minority, when in course of time she married John [sic David] Ridgeway, a shoemaker, whose name she bore to the day of her death.

About the year 1806, when she was yet but 22 years old, she with her husband left their humble home at No. 29 Sixth street, between Race and Vine, and started on foot towards that point towards which the 'star of Empire takes its flight,' she carrying a tender babe, and he a kit of shoe maker's tools. After many days of slow and weary marching, they arrived in Greene county. They settled on a tract of about thirty acres of land now belonging to Mr. John Braden, four or five miles north east of Waynesburg. Here they lived for about 30 years, when her husband died, and was buried in the old grave yard at Morrisville, one mile east of this place. The farm was then sold for $600, the widow retaining her dower and received $80 per year while she lived, a sum in the aggregate amounting to near twice the value of land.

After her husband's death she made her house among her children, of whom she was the mother of thirteen. Several of them still remain in Greene county. Two are in Iowa, one in Minnesota, one in Missouri, one in Tennessee, some elsewhere and some dead. It is estimated that her descendants already number over one hundred souls.

For a number of years prior to her death she lived with her daughter, Mrs. James Thomas, with whom she ended her pilgrimage. She was of delicate stature, but a healthy and thorough going woman, and retained her intellectual faculties unimpaired to the last.

In 1876, when her grandson, Hiram M. McGlumphy, of this place, returned from a visit to the Centennial at Philadelphia, she became much interested in his narration of what he saw, and made many enquiries about the growth and appearance of the city. She then told him when she left there, the place was only a small town of a few thousand inhabitants, with 12th street as its westward limit; whilst the first bridge was just in course of construction over the Schuylkill river, whose bottom she was enabled to see, they were in the act of laying the foundation stone of the heavy piece that were to sustain that structure.

She died without any apparent disease or sickness. For two or three days previous to her death, she would at times experience a sensation of numbness in her limbs, but would work it off by walking around and exercising her body. And when she died it was seemingly without a struggle. Her faculties of body and mind ceased to act as the pendulum of a clock stops when it runs entirely down. She was indeed calm in death. The undertaker remarked upon the peculiar appearance of her features. It was scarcely wrinkled and was as smooth, velvety and fresh, more resembling a maiden in health than a centenarian in death.

Her remains were brought to Morrisville and buried along side the grave of her husband whose burial she had witnessed upwards of forty years before."

To learn more about Lydia, view her Greene Connections profile in our tree (under construction) by clicking this link: Lydia (Callahan) Ridgeway profile. This tree is hosted on Ancestry and is free to access. If you do not have an Ancestry account, request an invitation by emailing You do not need a paid subscription to view the tree.

To see more of the John Corbly Gregg Collection photographs, simply click this link: John Corbly Gregg Collection.

To search, view, and learn about the Greene Connections Tree and Photo Archives contents, click these links and explore the pages on this site: Tree and Photo Archives. is a free local history archival project. Sponsored by LOLA Energy.

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