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Wilson Irwin Riddle, a pioneer Texian of San Antonio, now deceased, was born near Dublin, Ireland, in 1811, and at the age of eight years was brought to America by his parents, who settled in Howard County, Penn., where his boyhood and youth were chiefly spent. At about the age of twenty he went to Nashville, Tenn., where he became a clerk in the mercantile house of Robinson, Gibson & Co. From that city he went to Pulaski, where he was in business for himself for about five years. From that place he went to New Orleans and there, in 1839, joined Fisher & Miller's colony and moved to Texas, coming direct to San Antonio where he took up his residence and at once embarked in merchandising. Mr. Riddle was successfully engaged in business at this place until the capture of San Antonio in the spring of 1842 by Vasquez. In the meantime he paid two visits to Tennessee, one in 1840 and another in 1841. On the occasion of his last visit he married (April 26, 1841) Miss Elizabeth Menefee, of Pulaski, Tenn., and immediately brought his bride out to Texas. This lady, now Mrs. Canterberry, is still living in San Antonio, and is one of the oldest American residents of the place - a lady of intelligence, with a memory richly stored with reminiscences of early days in Texas. She is a native at Culpepper County, Va., and a daughter of John and Elizabeth Menefee, also of Virginia birth, who, about the close of the first quarter of this Century, moved to Middle Tennessee, where their daughter was reared, her education, which was ample, being obtained in Nashville.

Mrs. Canterberry gave the writer an interesting account of her bridal trip to Texas. The journey was made by the river route from Nashville to New Orleans, thence by the gulf to Houston, and thence San Antonio by private conveyance, her husband having arranged for his servants to meet them at that point with a carriage and baggage-wagon and necessary camping outfit. The time consumed in making the journey from her old home in Tennessee to her new home in Texas was one month, lacking two days.

On the occasion of the Mexican raid under Vasquez, in the spring of 1842, Mr. Riddle was among the last of the Americans to leave the city. There had been so many rumors of invasions that he had come to distrust such reports, and it was not until be was shown a letter from Mexico by one of the ideal priests, Padre Calvo, that he finally became convinced. As soon as lie was satisfied that the Mexicans were coming, he rolled what powder he had on hand - six kegs - into the river so as to prevent its falling into the hands of the enemy, and, abandoning the rest of his goods and household effects, took his family to Gonzales for safety.

Mr. and Mrs. Riddle's only child, now Mrs.. Sarah E. Eager, was then an infant ten days old. All of Mr. Riddle's property fell into the bands at the raiders, and all of it, except a piano, which had been hastily boxed up, was either appropriated to their use or destroyed.

In the fall of 1842 he returned to San Antonio to attend court, and was taken prisoner when the city was captured by Adrian Woll. The District Court was in session, and the judge and lawyers in attendance were captured. He was chained to one of the attorneys, William E. Jones, and taken to Mexico, where he was imprisoned at Perote for eleven months, at the end of which time he was released and returned to San Antonio. His wife had in the meantime (October, 1842) returned to the city and was occupying their property on Commerce street, and looking after her husband's interests as best she could in the then unsettled condition of affairs. She was residing in San Antonio when the Somerville expedition was organized at that place, and knew Gen. Somerville well, he being a warm personal friend of her brother, Judge George Menefee, of Indianola, Texas. In passing, it may be mentioned that she met, at one time or another, a majority of the men who figured in the history of those times, many of them having been guests at her home.

After Mr. Riddle's release from Perote and return to San Antonio be settled on a ranch eighteen miles distant from the city, where, a few years later, September 12, 1847, he died, his death resulting from the exposure and hardships endured by him during his imprisonment in Mexico. His widow subsequently married Mr. Harvey Canterberry, from Greenup County, Ky.; whom she now survives. His death occurred December 21, 1859.

By her marriage with Mr. Riddle Mrs. Canterberry had two children - Sarah Elizabeth, now Mrs. Eagar, of San Antonio, and James Wilson Riddle, recently deceased, who was for many years a resident of Eagle Pass, Texas. By her second marriage Mrs. Canterberry has two children – John Warner Canterberry, of Monterey Mexico, and Mrs. Mildred Lee Watkiins, of Eagle Pass, Texas She has a number of grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Her eldest born, Sarah Elizabeth was married to Robert Eagar in 1866. Mr. Eagar was born in Nova Scotia, and came to Texas in 1850, at which date he settled in San Antonio. He was for a number of years a merchant in that city and died there February 1, 1883.

To Mr. And Mrs. Eagar three children were born -- Florence (single) Blanche, who was married to F.J. Badger, December 17 1890, and Fannie who was married to E. J. McColloch, January 16,1890.

W. I. Riddle is mentioned in the Memoirs of Mary Maverick and was a witness at the Wedding of William Hesskew and Mary Ann Tronson. ( pictured right is Captain Jack Hays )

It is likely that Mr. Riddle was an aqaintance of Jack Hays and many of the early settlers and visitors to San Antonio.


W.I. Riddle was a witness of the payroll records of Hay's Spy company in 10/1841 as well as June and July of 1843.

On the 1843 records he was a witness of payment for James Dunn.


Handbook of Texas Online: HAYS, JOHN COFFEE
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame - John Coffee Hays
John C. "Jack" Hays (1817-1883)
The Texas Rangers: They Rode for the Lone Star
Captain Jack Hays

Vasquez Campaign | The Battle of Salado and Dawson Massacre | Walls Campaign

The Journal of James Wilson Nichols 1820-1887 who describes his participation in the Battle of Salado Map of the Battle grounds


11/11/01 12:37 PM