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 • Jonesboro
 • Jackson Parish
 • Louisiana
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Bessie Mitchell Riddle
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Birth: Aug. 16, 1888
Death: Aug. 25, 1973
West Monroe
Ouachita Parish
Louisiana, USA

My materal grandmother:

Bessie Mitchell Riddle was born to J.H. and Mary E. Kimbell Mitchell in the Louisiana Piney Woods. Bessie's early years were spent in the Claiborne/Lincoln parish area. J.H. was private in the CSA, a member of Gray's(Grey's) 28th Louisiana Infantry, Company I. He passed away from some form of facial cancer and is buried in Hico, LA. Mary is buried at Mill Creek Cemetery in Saline, LA beside her daughter Lilla Autrey. Bessie had three brothers: Floyd, Charlie and James Talmadge Mitchell. Her sisters were Fannie Riddle (Bessie and Fannie married brothers Frank and Ben Riddle), Nannie Collinsworth, Leola Bailey, and Lilla Jane Autrey.

Bessie met her husband, Ben Edward Riddle, in the late 1800's while he delivered mail to her house on horseback. They had the following children: Vester (called Brother), Grace (Mathews), Earl, Mary LaDell (Poindexter), and m my mama: Ruby Christine (Blackstock). Vester, Grace and Earl were born many years before Dell and Chris were. Dell and Chris' nieces and nephews were closer to their age and they were extremely close to them.
Bessie and Ben were called "Maw" and "Paw" by their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The Riddles lived in Saline (Bienville Parish), Readhiemer (Natchitoches Parish), and finally made a move to the bigger town of Jonesboro (Jackson Parish), first by the Jonesboro cemetery, then to Main Street. They belonged to the First Methodist Church of Jonesboro.

Ben owned a pool and domino hall downtown, while Bessie took care of their garden, livestock, cleaning, sewing, and cooking. Her kids told tales of her corraling their horse with her apron strings, her obsession with bedbug prevention by sunning all the mattresses outdoors, and her amazing sewing skills. She made fabulous quilts out of scraps and old clothing, her huge quilting frame was a fixture in a spare bedroom.

Bessie's other talent was cooking and she was well known for it. It took her kids until the mid-60's to convince her to buy her chicken at the grocery store instead of raising and killing her own. When she was older, Sunday dinner at her house was literally cooking for a army of kids, grandkids, cousins, brothers, sisters, and whoever showed up hungry. Her biscuits were legendary, cat-head sized made in a simple wooden bowl where the ingredients were never measured or combined by a utensil, only by hand. She only made ONE PAN of them so us cousins had to lie in wait to grab one! Maw also made the most awesome fried chicken and there was usually a fight over the pulley bone. The Sunday spread would more than likely include: beef roast, pork roast, fried chicken, rice and gravy (usually a choice of gravies), peas, turnip greens, butterbeans, sweet potatoes, field corn, those biscuits, coconut cake, chocolate pie, ice box cookies, fried apple pies and all the sweet tea one could drink. Everyone ate in shifts, shift number one was the men, then the women and the kids ate of course, usually on the side screened in porch. A favorite family story was at one dinner (which is LUNCH in the South)when Maw's turnip greens tasted a little odd. My Daddy fished around in the bowl and came up with...Maw's Brillo pad! When she was washing the greens, the Brillo pad had fallen off it's place above the sink, and wound up getting cooked along with the greens. That was the only time a dish she'd made was avoided and became a family legend!

Bessie adored her grandkids/greatgrands and always stood up for them. It was nice to have Maw come live with us in her later years to buffer me whenever I had a bad math grade! We have a family joke concerning Maw and her sister Nannie. When traveling between Jonesboro and Ruston and back, Nannie would always point to an acreage of land and say, "Dr. Thomas lives there!" Dr. Thomas was a beloved Lincoln parish doctor. My mom said it'd make Maw irritated because she did that every trip. After Nannie died, we'd again, collect Maw to come home with us. EVERY TIME we passed that farm, Maw would say, "Doc Thomas lives there!"

Maw always wore a shirtwaist dress with a little belt and hose, she never got up from her chair without her purse, loved Daniel Green slippers and of course, her one vice: snuff!

In 1973, Bessie had a stroke and passed away in West Monroe, LA at Glenwood Hospital. Her funeral was at Edmonds Funeral Home in Jonesboro. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ben, and her son Vester. 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Jim H. Mitchell (1841 - 1904)
  Mary E. Kimbell Mitchell (1846 - 1920)
 
 Spouse:
  Ben Edward Riddle (1884 - 1965)*
 
 Children:
  Robert Vester Riddle (1908 - 1953)*
  Grace R. Riddle Mathews (1909 - 2001)*
  Earl E. Riddle (1912 - 1998)*
 
 Siblings:
  Lilla Jane Mitchell Autrey (1870 - 1961)*
  William Floyd Mitchell (1872 - 1953)*
  Charlie J. Mitchell (1878 - 1940)*
  Fannie Mitchell Riddle (1878 - 1958)*
  Nannie Lee Mitchell Collinsworth (1885 - 1971)*
  Bessie Mitchell Riddle (1888 - 1973)
  James Talmadge Mitchell (1893 - 1968)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Jonesboro Cemetery
Jonesboro
Jackson Parish
Louisiana, USA
 
Created by: Scout Finch
Record added: Jun 24, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 38691580
Bessie <i>Mitchell</i> Riddle
Added by: Scout Finch
 
Bessie <i>Mitchell</i> Riddle
Added by: Scout Finch
 
Bessie <i>Mitchell</i> Riddle
Added by: Scout Finch
 
 
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Just made your ice box cookies! Love you, Maw.
- Scout Finch
 Added: Nov. 17, 2014
Happy Birthday, Maw!
- Scout Finch
 Added: Aug. 16, 2009
My beloved grandmother, Maw Riddle
- Scout Finch
 Added: Jun. 24, 2009
 
 
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