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Death of Risdon and family history
March 1, 1984


pix # 1 - When this was printed in The Review Times special edition of 1954, the subjects were listed as Col. L.S. Hissong, left, and David Risdon.

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of articles about the Risdon family, the first part having appeared in the Feb.9 issue of The Review Times.)

After the death of his wife in 1843, David Risdon went to Iowa to survey lands for the government. Completing that commission he located at Morengo, Iowa City, Iowa, and bought large tracts of land that he divided and sold to people who were settling in that area. He was responsible for interesting a large number of his old friends from Seneca County and as a result many migrated to the new country, which is now Iowa City.

The following are notes from Iowa County Commission minutes.

"On July 11th, 1850, a road was surveyed by Risdon from Marengo bridge west to Kosta, and on west to county line."

"On July 2nd, 1850, Risdon was allowed $15.00 for six days service for surveying the road from Marengo to south county line."

The following are from Iowa County History 1880.

"On March 7th, 1850, county judge ordered David Risdon to examine, select and survey Iowa County swamp lands. He was Iowa County surveyor from 1850 to 1854, died in office."

"In 1854 he secured options on very valuable lands between Marengo and Iowa City. The new Iowa was infested with land-sharks who were also trying to secure these and other lands."


"David Risdon and his helpers were camped in their tents on the night of August 15, 1854, where the new cemetery is located. His son Henry had gone to the Ohio neighborhood to visit friends."

"When Henry returned, he found his father in his tent, murdered. All of his charts, records, plats, etc., gone. They left the compass and chain which in time came into possession of Harold B. Risdon via his father, William J. Risdon. The murderers were never found."

"David Risdon was buried in the old Marengo Cemetery, east of the new one, August 17, 1854."

According to a letter from a member of the Iowa County Historical Society dated Oct. 1, 1980, the old cemetery where Risdon is buried is unkept and overgrown with weeds. There is a marker on his grave, but the presence of high weeds prohibits showing it in a photograph.


The picture with today's article is believed to be of L.S. Hissong and David Risdon. It appeared in The Review Times in 1954 along with some early history of Fostoria. There are no reference files to determine where the photo came from or to verify the authenticity of the subjects.

The picture was probably two separate etchings joined to form one, indicated by the unusual positions of the two men. Photography had not yet been developed in the early 1800's.

David Risdon and his brother, Orange, both served in the War of 1812. Both subjects have similar facial features, which leads to some conclusions that the subjects could be the Risdon brothers. No one will ever know for sure.


In England, the country of it's origin, the name Risdon has been on record as early as 1210, when a farm named "Risdon" alias Raysdon, in Jacobstow parish, three miles north of Okehampton, Devonshire, is mentioned in court proceedings at Exeter. The lineal connection of the American Risdons and their antecedents in England has not been ascertained, but it is fairly evident that, despite old family records and traditional stories, the Risdons of America descend from those of Devonshire, England, according to the Risdon book.

Josiah Risdon Sr., ancestor of the Risdons who originated in England, was born Oct. 18, 1753, place unknown, and died in 1830, at Ballston Springs, Saratoga County, N.Y. He served in the Revolutionary War. His father was Elisha. Josiah Risdon Sr.'s wife was Martha (Patty) Cochran.

To them were born 10 children with David, who was featured in last week's column and earlier in today's column, being the seventh. Others in order of birth were: Josiah Jr., June 21, 1776; John (M.D.) March 3, 1779; Patty, Jan 15, 1780; Betsy, Nov. 9, 1782; Charity, Dec. 31, 1784; Orange, Dec. 28, 1786; David, July 6, 1788; Thomas, Nov. 5, 1790; Electa, Nov. 7, 1792; and Patience, Sept. 9, 1794.

It is from the Josiah Risdon Jr. family and later the David Risdon family that developed what may be called the Ohio Risdon branch with descendants today living in or near Vermillion though other descendants migrated further west.

The following are brief resumes, extracted from the Risdon book about the male members of the Josiah Sr. - Martha Cochran branch. Very little data about the female members is given.


It appears that grandsons of his were more famous than the sons. Frank Anson Risdon and Sidney Albert Risdon, grandsons, established at Naugatuck, Conn., about 1910, the Risdon Manufacturing Co. The company is still operating under the name even though Risdons are no longer associated. The company was the manufacturer of total packaging for cosmetics, personal, household and other consumer products and home sewing notions such as common pins, needles, snaps and other accessories.

Also descended from that branch of the family was Stetson Mansfield Risdon, who today is the head of Risdon Enterprises of Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles.



Two items told to Potluck by Veterans of Foreign Wars members when the recent articles were being prepared somehow got lost. They inquired what happened to them.

One of the items concerned another civic activity of Post 421. For a number of years they have donated trophies to the most outstanding athletes at St. Wendelin and Fostoria High Schools, named each year for participating in football, basketball and wrestling.

The other item pertained to the VFW Band, which is no longer in existence. The uniforms are stored at the headquarters on West Tiffin Street.

After all the passing years, the uniforms are not in the best condition but anyone wishing a uniform for memorabilia may claim it by telephoning the VFW at 435-2282 and specifying a time when he or she will be there to pick it up.


This part of today's article is written because of a letter received from Citizens for Decency for Law, Inc., and signed by Charles H. Keating Jr., a lawyer who has been fighting against pornography since 1957. Part of his letter is quoted here.

"I've been leading the fight against pornography in this country for many years. But even when I first began, I was afraid it would lead to something worse. It has.

"It has led to something so unimaginably worse that only the most insanely perverse minds could have conceived it. It goes beyond obscenity, beyond masochism, beyond even child pornography as we know it. It is this. There has begun in this country a nationwide campaign to normalize sex between adults and young children...and to promote incest.

"This is where pornographers have finally led us. This is where we find ourselves, a nation being taught to devour its own children to satisfy a sexual appetite as monstrous as anything Satan himself could conceive. The sign are everywhere.

"So-called sex psychologists write newspaper columns describing the 'benefits of incest' calling it the 'last taboo' as though it were some primitive and uncivilized belief. It is an absolute inescapable appalling fact. Child molesting is about to become an accepted part of American life.

"If this is allowed to go any further, does anyone doubt that God will destroy us?"

We need only to look at God's word to see that incest is forbidden. Incest is sexual intercourse between closely related individuals other than man and wife. Here are Bible references: Leviticus 18 : 6-18, and 20 : 11-21; Deuteronomy 27 : 20-23; Genesis 19 : 30-38, and 35 : 22.

When will the God-fearing people of America rise up and remember that this country was founded on Christian principles...and start to demand that today's trends be reversed...and that this be "one nation under God, indivisible."

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