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Andrew A. Riley
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Birth: 1791
Bedford County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Nov. 29, 1840
Randolph County
Indiana, USA

Andrew A. Riley was the Justice of the Peace in Stoney Creek Township, Randolph County, Indiana, until 1837

A Memorial Head Stone was erected in Fountain Park Cemetery in honor of James Whitcomb Riley's Grandparents and his heritage within Randolph County. The Riley's are not buried here, they are in unmarked graves on The Old Riley Farm near Windsor, Randolph County, Indiana.

Andrew A. Riley, Irish grandfather of James Whitcomb Riley, was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania in a Deutsch speaking community. Andrew's parents were Rebecca Harvey, born July 11, 1769 in England who died in Montgomery County, Ohio on Sept. 7, 1849, and James(or John "William") Riley born 1752 in Torsnagh, Cork, Ireland who died in Bedford, Pennsylvania before 1820.

Andrew's wife, Margaret Slick, was the daughter of John Slick born about 1769, the son of Philip Slick born about 1740 in Germany, and Elizabeth Wilson. Andrew A. Riley and Margaret Slick were married in Bedford, Pennsylvania, but the Family Bible gives no date. It must have been around 1820 since they started West soon after that date. They stopped first near Cincinnati, Ohio and then at Richmond and finally located on a farm a short distance southeast of Windsor in the western part of Randolph county on what was later known as the Joshua Swingley farm, with Andrew remaining there and running a tavern until the time of his death about November 29, 1840. He was also the local justice of peace for Stoney Creek Township until 1837 according to the bond records of the county. The farm was on a knoll along Stoney Creek.

Coming to frontier Indiana was a daring family trip. During the 400 mile journey from Pennsylvania, Andrew sold all of his belongings for $30 except a horse, a "carry-all" and some clothing. He and his older sons walked while the mother and daughters rode in the wagon. Reuben Riley was one of those sons who walked. He was the fifth in a family of 14 children.

During this westward trek, the family lived in the open, building campfires in the woods at night. In the Allegheny foothills, their fare was slight. When they reached Randolph County, Indiana, they were able to find a bounty of food from wild deer, black bear, squirrels, wild turnkey and wild vegetables growing along Stoney Creek.

Andrew and Margaret had the following children: Sarah Ann Riley, born about 1815 who married Tom D. Shepherd; Job Harvey Riley, born about 1816; John Sleek Riley (Dr.) born Dec. 12, 1817; Reuben (the poet's father) born June 2, 1819; Andrew Pinckney Riley, born 1820 who married Elizabeth Cline; James Anderson Riley born about 1821; George Washington Harvey Riley born about 1823 who married Emma C. Nex; Joseph Sleek Riley, born about 1824; Benjamin Frank Riley born about 1826 who married Elizabeth Patterson; and Martin Whitten Riley born about 1828 who married Elizabeth Dodson.

Andrew's agricultural labor produced large crops and one winter it is said he helped save a tribe of starving Miami Indians by loading their ponies with corn. In another time of scarcity, a stockman offered him 75 cents a bushel for his corn, but he chose to sell it to needy neighbors for 25 cents a bushel. Shortly before his death, Andrew said, "I have never intentionally wronged any man. I have not been vulgar or profane. I have tried to do right. I do not fear to die."

Not all Hoosiers could say the same.

There are no records of Andrew's death in the Family Bible and his date of death in 1840 is derived from the records in the Randolph County probate court records of that date. A Dr. Dynes was the attending physician during Andrew Riley's last illness. Dr. Dynes made daily calls for some
days prior to November 20, 1840. His itemized claim filed against the estate shows a charge each day up to and including November 19th for a call and medicine left. On the 20th day a charge is made for just the call - no medicine.

This was the doctor's last call so Andrew probably didn't need the doctor anymore. Andrew Riley was buried on the farm where he lived.

In the probate court order book of Randolph County, vol. 2, page 139 is this entry:

"Be it remembered that on the fifteenth day of December in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty; letters of administration of all and singular the goods and chattels, rights, credits, monies and effects which were of Andrew Riley late of Randolph County in the State of Indiana, deceased, was granted by George W. Monks, clerk of the probate court in and for said county to Reuben A. Riley, he, the said Reuben A. Riley, having first filed bond in the sum of fifteen hundred dollars with Lewis Remmel and Smoot securities and he was duly affirmed as such administrator." Reuben Riley's authority to handle his father's estate was later revoked by this entry:

"In the matter of Reuben A, Riley, administrator of the estate of Andrew Riley, deceased. It appearing to the satisfaction of the court, from the affidavit of Margaret Way, late Margaret Riley, widow and relict of said Andrew Riley, that the said Reuben A. Riley has emigrated to and is now a citizen of Iowa Territory. It is ordered and adjudged by the court that the letters of administration heretofore granted by the clerk of this court to the said Reuben A. Riley, on the estate of said deceased, be and the same are hereby revoked and nulled and made void. Whereon on application of the said Margaret, it is further ordered by the court that administration de bonis non of said estate is hereby committed to Thomas W. Reece, and thereupon said Thomas W. Reece appears in open court and accepts said appointment and files bond in the sum of twelve hundred dollars, with William Dickson and George W. Smithson as his securities."

The burial places of Andrew and Margaret Riley are in the Clevenger Cemetery about a mile south of Windsor. The exact spots are no longer locatable. The lettering of the stones is mostly erased in this cemetery, vegetation has overgrown it and most tombstones are broken or at least half-buried. Windsor might well have become the birth home of James Whitcomb Riley. Reuben Riley owned a lot there and was licensed to practice law there in 1842 but Riley's stay was short and he sold his lot in Windsor to Andrew West on August 18, 1842.

Biography was found at URL address:
Family links: 
  Margaret Sleek Riley (1793 - 1881)
  John Schleyk Riley (1813 - 1915)*
  Reuben Alexander Riley (1819 - 1893)*
*Calculated relationship
Fountain Park Cemetery
Randolph County
Indiana, USA
Plot: Section 18
Created by: Lynn /Blansett/ Messina
Record added: Feb 16, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13360929
Andrew A. Riley
Added by: Lynn /Blansett/ Messina
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I have a DNA match for his wife's father.
- smokeysf
 Added: Dec. 21, 2014
I am a possible descendant. Wondering if anyone besides myself has done a DNA test.
- smokeysf
 Added: Nov. 10, 2014

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