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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

RIDDLE, ALBERT G. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

RIDDLE, ALBERT G. (28 May 1816-16 May 1902), lawyer, politician, and promoter of equal rights for AFRICAN AMERICANS, was born in Monson, Mass., to Thomas and Minerva (Merrick) Riddle. He moved with his family to Newbury in 1817, began studying laws under Seabury Ford in 1838, and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1840, establishing a practice in Chardon and Painesville and being elected Geauga County prosecuting attorney within a year. In 1848 he was elected to the state legislature with the FREE SOIL PARTY, and in 1850 he moved to Cleveland, resuming his law practice with SAMUEL WILLIAMSON†. Riddle was the principal defending lawyer in the 1859 OBERLIN-WELLINGTON RESCUE case; and was asked to defend John Brown, but received the message late so did not arrive until the trial had already begun.

In 1861, Riddle was elected to Congress, the first to support arming the slaves when the CIVIL WAR broke out. The war ended Riddle's political career. He viewed the first battle at Bull Run, and after the confused retreat, wrote a letter to his wife which was published in the CLEVELAND LEADER without Riddle's knowledge. The Cleveland Herald, the Leader's rival, published another account depicting Riddle as a coward, which caused Riddle's reelection defeat in 1863. After the war, Riddle moved to Washington, becoming a lawyer in military cases and attorney for the District of Columbia. In 1873, Riddle wrote the novel Bart Rigby; and in the 1880s, a series on the Civil War and American leaders of the time. Riddle married Caroline Avery on 22 Jan. 1845. They had 7 children: Florence, Mary, Caroline, Henrietta, Albert, Alice, and Frederick. Riddle died in Washington, D.C. and was buried in the Rock Creek Cemetery there.

Finding aid for the Albert Gallatin Riddle Papers. WRHS.
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2012 10:17:01 AM

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