Page 489-490, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


J. W. Riffe, a Civil war veteran and Butler county pioneer, who has been a factor in the affairs of this section of Kansas for nearly half a century, is a native of Kentucky. He was born in 1844, and is a son of P. B. and Julian (Wadkins) Riffe, also natives of Kentucky. They were the parents of ten children, only two of whom are now living: Mrs. Rowena Tucker of Springfield, Mo., and J. W., the subject of this sketch.

J. W. Riffe was educated in the public schools of Kentucky and St. Mary's College near Lebanon, Ky. When the Civil war broke out, J. W. Riffe, then a boy of only sixteen years, enlisted in the Union army at Lebanon, Ky., and became a member of Company D, First regiment, Kentucky cavalry, serving three years and four months, and was mustered out and discharged at Camp Nelson, Ky., December 24, 1864. He took part in a great many battles and important campaigns, among which were the engagements at Camp Wildcat, Ky.; Mill Springs, Ky.; Kenesaw Mountain; Resaca. Ga.; Cass Station, Ga.; Rocky Ford, Tenn.; siege of Knoxville, Tenn.; Bean Station, Tenn.; Strawberry Plains, Tenn.; General Stoneman's raid, Macon, Ga. An unusual thing concerning the engagement at Macon is that General Stoneman surrendered, but it seems that the First and Eleventh regiments, Kentucky cavalry, under the command of Colonel Adams, regardless of the commanding generals surrender, cut their way through the rebel lines and succeeded in getting to Marietta, Ga.

After Mr. Riffe was discharged from the service, he settled at Lebanon, Ky., where he followed farming until 1870, when he came to Butler county, Kansas, locating in Bloomington township. He first located a claim which he lost through the artifice of a "claim jumper," which was a common occurrence in those days. In 1872 he bought a


farm on Hickory creek, eleven miles southeast of Augusta. He was successfully engaged in farming there until 1883, when he removed to Augusta and engaged in buying and shipping live stock, principally to the St. Louis markets. In 1900 he engaged in the real estate business at Augusta and has successfully conducted that business to the present time. During the past sixteen years Mr. Riffe has handled a great deal of property, and is one of Butler county's extensive real estate dealers.

In 1868 Mr. Riffe was united in marriage at Jeffersonville, Ind., with Miss Sarah (Texas) Withrow, a native of Marion county, and of Kentucky parentage. To Mr. and Mrs. Riffe was born one child, Norma, who died at the age of twenty, and Mrs. Riffe died in 1891. She was a high type of Christian woman and she and her husband were very much devoted to each other. Mr. Riffe married Mrs. Mattie McRoberts, of Liberty, Ky., in 1904, while at the world's fair at St. Louis, Mo.

Mr. Riffe is a Democrat, and since coming to Butler county has been an active factor in the fight for Democary[sic] in nearly every political campaign. He is not what might be termed a fair weather Democrat, but has stayed with his party in defeat as well as in victory. He bears the distinction of having been chairman of the first Democratic convention ever held in Butler county, which was held at El Dorado in 1872. At that time the numerical strength of the Democratic party in Butler county was only four or five hundred voters, while the Republicans numbered fully three times that many. In 1876, Mr. Riffe was his party's candidate for the legislature against L. C. Palmer, Republican, and was defeated by only eighty votes. In 1889 he was elected trustee of Augusta township over John Middleton, Republican, and re-elected to that office, defeating Charles Hawes. Mr. Riffe relates many interesting and amusing incidents concerning the history of early Butler county politics at a time when political feeling was bitter. He still takes an active part in politics and is one of the influential men of Butler county.

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Pages 489-490,