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The son of Samuel and Mary Ridenour, Solomon was born on November 13, 1831, in Jefferson Township, Williams County, Ohio. Just before the war, in the 1860 census, he lived in Brady Township, same county, with his parents as a 27 year old.
In August, 1861, an article went out in the papers stating that Indiana was going to form one German, one Irish, and one Railroad regiment. Solomon must have been drawn to the idea of an Irish unit because he enlisted in the 35th Indiana Infantry, otherwise known as the "First Irish" on November 15, 1861.
The unit organized in Indianapolis, mustering in on December 11, 1861. The first unit was issued special clothing to distinguish them from the rest of the army - an emerald green kepi, chasseur coats, and dark trousers.
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Before leaving Indianapolis, they were also presented with a green regimental flag with their motto, "Be Just and Fear Not."
Two days after organizing, the regiment left for Kentucky and then Tennessee, where they were involved in the Battle of Stone's River and Chickamauga. They suffered heavy losses.
In December, 1862, many reenlisted as a veteran unit and then they were granted a furlough home. The unit was back by February to join the Atlanta campaign.
"At Kennesaw Mountain, it was in the front line and received a fierce and unexpected attack, but rallied from a momentary confusion and fought hand to hand with stubbed muskets and bayonets until finally, with the assistance of another regiment, the enemy was driven back. The 35th lost eleven killed, including Major Duffey, and fifty four wounded." (www.civilwarindex.org)
The Irish entered Atlanta on September 9 and then pursued Gen. Hood through Tennessee, reinforced by 400 drafted men and substitutes in the spring of 1865. Then they were ordered to Texas, and it was there they were mustered out at the end of the war on September 30, 1865. Solomon reported that he was injured in the shoulder and back on the 1890 census.
After the war, he married Anna Riegel in 1870, but they could not be located in the 1870 census. By 1880, he and Anna had settled in Farmer Township with their only child, James Allen, who was 6, and Solomon's sister-in-law, Charlotte Reynolds, 63. In 1883, Charlotte died on December 23, and the funeral was held on Christmas Day.
Solomon owned land in Mark Township, as well, and his son apparently lived there. One newspaper reported that in 1902, Solomon was building a home for his son who was residing in Mark Township. And so, in the 1910 census, Solomon, 78, and Anna, 66, have as their neighbor their son, Allen J., 37, and his wife, Dessie, and three children. The Ridenours were all farmers.
In 1909, Solomon and Anna hosted the Ridenour Reunion. The Defiance Daily Crescent reported on the event on August 19:
Solomon died on November 11, 1912, of stomach cancer, according to his death certificate. He was 80 years, 11 months and 18 days old.
The source of the following obituary is unknown:
"Solomon Ridenour was born November 13, 1831, in Jefferson county, Ohio, died November 11, 1912, at his home in Farmer township, Defiance county, Ohio, aged 80 years, 11 months and 29 days. At the age of eight years, he moved with his parents to Defiance county.
On November 15, 1861, he enlisted as a soldier in the Union army then engaged in the Civil War, becoming a member of Co. J, 35th Indiana, and he served until December 15, 1863, when he was discharged. The next day here-enlisted in the same company and served until discharged September 30, 1865.
He was married to Anna Reigel November 18, 1869 and to this union one child, Allen J. was born, who with one brother and two sisters, a widow, three grandchildren and a host of friends and relatives are left to mourn his death and cherish his memory.
Funeral services were held November 13th by the Rev. Davenport at his residence which had been his home for 35 years. He was a member of the M.E. church at Farmer for 33 years and also a member of the Lew Bowker Post, No. 725."
Anna lived on ten more years, passing away in June, 1922. Her obituary appeared in the Crescent-News on June 10, 1922: