of John and Lydia (Ridlon) Sawyer, Sept. 30, 1860, and has had issue four
children. He worked on the homestead farm, attending
school in winter, until his fifteenth year, when he went to the city to
learn the iron machinist's trade ; this business he followed, being employed
in several cities in Maine, and in traveling to introduce cotton-spinning
machinery into new mills in the South and West, until his twenty-fourth
year, when, having been converted the winter previous, he commenced
preaching as an evangelist, traveling from place to place about two years,
and was ordained and settled as pastor over a Christian church he had
gathered in Harrison, Me., where he continued nearly four years, during
which time he baptized about one hundred and forty members.
His next settlement was at Salisbury Point, Mass., where he bestowed his labors one year; he then commenced evangelistic work at Amesbury, Mass., gathered a church, and was continued there about three years, till the financial revulsion of 1873 so reduced the resources of the new society that he was obliged to resign his charge. At this time the two Christian churches at Harrison, Me., where Mr. Ridlon had been settled previously, were without preaching, and at their call he returned and became their pastor, continuing about three years ; during this time he preached one summer at Lovell, Me. He subsequently preached at Lewiston, Fairfield, Dixmont, and Newburg, and was encouraged by seeing many begin a Christian life.
During these years Mr. Ridlon had devoted much time to this work, and in writing for the press, and by overwork so taxed his brain that he suffered a partial paralysis of the right side, which so impaired his memory and the right hand that he was compelled to turn away from study and the use of his pen, and seek rest for his weary mind and body. After consulting the best medical advisers with but little encouragement and no permanent improvement, he resumed work at his trade for one year, and was so far recovered that he settled as pastor of the Christian church at Manchester, New Hampshire, a city with a population of forty thousand, where he has continued about three years. He has baptized over five hundred souls during the past fourteen years, and gathered four new churches. Served as secretary of the New England Christian Convention. Was a member of a conference in western Maine about eight years, but declared his independence and left to escape a spirit of intolerance and coercion, and has since been one of God's freemen, looking to no man or body of men for his authority, but to Him who commissioned him to preach the gospel to all the world.
Mr. Ridlon served during the war of the Rebellion in the Seventeenth Regiment of Maine Volunteer Infantry, and endured many hardships from long marches and exposure. During his early years, possessing an ardent love for the woods, and a spirit of adventure, he spent many weeks each year with dog and gun, roaming along the rivers and lake shores of northern Maine and New Hampshire, and in camp among the mountains, hunting and trapping. He has always been a student of nature, and is charmed by the beauties of shady woodland and flowery field; he sees the wisdom and goodness of the Creator as clearly revealed in His handiwork as displayed in the great, unwritten book, as in the inspired volume, and draws much of the subject matter, woven into his sermons, from these sources.
From early years a persistent reader, he has cherished a love for books, and has now a rare collection, many of them purchased in Europe. He has also many interesting, beautiful, and rare pictures and engravings. Having an interest in antiquarian pursuits, he has spent considerable time in researches for ancient documents, and has much valuable material of an historical, biographical, and genealogical character stored away, which may some day be found in print. He has been a correspondent for several English and Scottish historical and genealogical publications, and has contributed frequently to the historical magazines of this country. Being a member of several historical and literary societies, he has formed the acquaintance of, and corresponded with, many distinguished historians and men of books, and his files of letters contain the autographs of men that are of eminence in America and Europe.
Mr. Ridlon has written and published works entitled " The Early Settlers of Harrison, Maine," and "Contributions to the Genealogy of the Burbank Family," and has assisted in compiling several other genealogies and town histories. He has devoted much attention to the science of heraldry, and has become sufficiently acquainted with the system to draw coats-of-arms from the heraldic descriptions in abbreviation. During the fourteen years in which he has applied himself to this book, he has gratified his love for traveling and sight-seeing, by several tours through the Western and Southern States; going there in search of genealogical information, and for the purpose of seeing his kindred, for whom he entertains a profound esteem. He proposes making a tour through England, Scotland, and Shetland, to visit his kindred and view the lands and home of his ancestors.
Mr. Ridlon's life has been a singularly changeable and adventuresome one from his early years. Being possessed of a daring, impulsive temperament, he has moved in many dangerous ways, and accidents have frequently befallen him that came near terminating his life. When only a lad he fell from the great beams of the barn and was taken up unconscious, but without broken limbs. A few years subsequently he accidentally cut an artery in his head, and before a physician could reach him, nearly died from loss of blood. He once fell from a bridge on Saco River, eighteen feet into the falls, and sustained injuries from which he was slow to recover, but managed to swim to the shore, where he lay till men carried him to his home. At the age of fourteen he was thrown from a horse, and had his right arm badly fractured and dislocated ; and in the winter of 1881 he was carried down through an iron bridge, in a train of cars on the Boston & Maine Railroad, and seriously injured, barely escaping with his life. In all these experiences a wonderful protective power has seemed to attend him, and he has good grounds to believe that God has preserved him for a wise end. The subject of this notice is tall and erect, has dark brown, curly hair, hazel eyes, clean-cut features, nervous temperament, and great adhesiveness of will. He delivers his public speeches extemporaneously and fluently, in a clear, distinct voice.
The following verses were composed soon after Mr. Ridlon commenced to preach, and are expressive of his feelings at the time.
During the Civil War he served as a private in Co C, 27th Maine Infantry. He would later become a Baptist minister, as well as an author of several genealogies. He died in his native town of Hollis.;
" Waymarks in Experience.
" Among New England's noble hills,
Where flow the cool, refreshing rills,
My Christian mother gave me birth,
And reared me at the fireside hearth.
" While dwelling in that peaceful home,
Before my feet had learned to roam,
My parents read the Scriptures there,
And daily joined in humble prayer.
" From early dawn to close of day,
I through the woodlands loved to stray,
Breathing the fragrant mountain air,
Guarded with kind, parental care ;
" But soon the leadings of my mind
Caused me to leave these scenes behind,
And tread, the remnant of my days,
Life's rugged steeps and thorny ways.
(i The counsels of those early years
Oft caused mine eyes to flow with tears;
The memory of the good-night kiss
Still moves my heart to tenderness.
In later years the tempter's hand
Would bind me with its iron band;
Yet thoughts of home and mother's prayer,
Oft kept me from his fatal snare.
When on Virginia's tented field,
God proved my guide and guardian shield,
He strengthened me to live, and bear
The hardships I must there endure
" While in the dark and dreary night,
Around the camp-fire's glimmering light,
Where sleeping comrades near me lay,
I bowed my head and tried to pray.
" When there upon the cold, damp ground,
No peaceful angels gathered round,
But chains of guilt my soul confined,
And weighed upon my troubled mind.
"As on the lonely picket's line
I walked, these" thoughts employed my mind,
Of home and friends, who gathered there
At nine o'clock, to kneel in prayer.
" Yet through these scenes of toil and strife,
The Lord preserved my worthless life,
And through his care and guardian grace,
Restored me to my friends' embrace.
" When safe at home the vows I made,
And calls of God I disobeyed ;
I walked destruction's awful road,
And shunned the just commands of God.
" But soon my darling, dark-eyed child
Was taken to the spirit world;
My home was made a lonely place,
And still I spurned my Saviour's grace.
" While wicked thoughts my mind employed,
A messenger in haste appeared;
He said my mother soon must die,
And wished to see and counsel me.
" Her loving heart soon ceased to beat;
The work of life was made complete;
And while her friends around her mourned,
The angel took her spirit home.
" I then my life and works reviewed,
And solemn promises renewed;
I changed my course, and sins confessed;
God heard, and oh ! how I was blessed !
" My soul was filled with holy love,
And all my thoughts were raised above ;
I loved the straight and narrow way,
And praised my Saviour night and day.
" My home was like a paradise,
My heart the Spirit's dwelling-place;
I told the news to all around,
What glorious comfort I had found.
" I had to leave my friends and home,
Through valleys, and o'er hills to roam;
A ' woe ' upon my soul was laid,
If I refused, and disobeyed.
" My home I loved, my friends were dear;
More precious still did souls appear;
Through storms and calms I since have been
To warn my dying fellowmen.
" The gospel trump I love to sound,
When anxious sinners gather round.
God gives me raiment, food, and friends,
And I must preach till life shall end.
" And when I lay my armor down,
I hope to gain a warrior's crown,
And with the blissful, happy throng
To sing the victor's conquering song."
Text has wife 'Lydia-Ellen, twin daughter of John and Lydia (Ridlon) Sawyer, 30 Sep 1860' Marriage certificate has wife Martha Harriet Bordeau, 6 Jan 1891 as his second wife.
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