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from Biography & Historical Record of Ringgold County, Iowa

Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago, 1887, p. 310


Robert H[arman] RILEY, was one of the first settlers of Athens Township, Ringgold County, locating on section 23, in the autumn of 1853. He laid a claim of 120 acres before the land had been put in the market, and afterward entered it from the Government. When Athens Township was divided the southern part was named RILEY, in honor of the RILEY family, they being early settlers. He was born in Marion County, Ohio, a son of William and Love (VEZY) RILEY. He was reared in his native State, and was there married. He brought a family of children with him to Ringgold County, and made what is now Riley Township his home until March, 1873, when he moved to Decatur County, Kansas, where he still lives.

NOTE: Love (VEZEY) RILEY, William RILEY Sr.'s first wife, died at the age of 31 years in December of 1830.

Robert Harman RILEY was a half-brother of Lawrence D. RILEY. The RILEYS later moved to Oberlin, Decatur County, Kansas by wagon train. There, Chief Dull Knife and approximately 800 to 900 Cheyenne escaped from their reservation in Oklahoma and passed through the area, attempting to make their way north to their ancestral lands, killing over 30 of the settlers along the way. This incident was portrayed in John FORD's film Cheyenne Autumn. Robert Harman RILEY laid out the town of Oberlin, Kansas.

From The History of Marion County, Ohio: "John REILEY (sic), (Prospect Township) farmer, was born in Pickaway County, Ohio. August 23, 1818. His parents, William and Love (VEZY) REILEY (sic), were from the State of Delaware, and settled in this county about the year 1823; they both died in Marion Township. Mr. Reiley is one the few early residents of this county still living who remembers the Indians who inhabited this region. He was married, March 19, 1840, to Miss Nancy Ann FOUTY, a native of Mason County, Va., where she was born, near the mouth of the Big Kanawha River, April 16, 1820, a daughter of Stephen and Drusilla (BIGGERSTAFF) FOUTY. Mr. REILEY bought his present farm, ill the north part of Prospect Township, in 1853; only twelve acres of it was cleared land, while now, principally by his own labor and industry, there are sixty-five acres in excellent condition. The fine property that he now owns was acquired by the industry of himself and his good wife; as when they were married they commenced with very little means. Mr. and Mrs. REILEY have had six children, two of whom are living, as follows: Love J. born October 9, 1842, now the wife of David CRATTY, and Nancy A., born May 29, 1861, and now the wife of Edwin L. BUTLER [rest of biographical sketch missing]."

Robert Harman RILEY died February 5, 1913 in Nebraska. Rachel (LOVE) RILEY was born October 30, 1830, and died May 15, 1908. Robert and Rachel were interred at Oberlin Cemetery, Decatur County, Kansas.

Biography & Historical Record of Ringgold County, Iowa, p. 310, 1887.

"Prospect Township" History of Marion County, Ohio, Leggett, Conaway & Co. 1883

WPA Graves Survey

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2009

Biographical Sketches Pages Index: A - F,   G - L,   M - R,  S - Z

To submit your Ringgold County biographies, contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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