Select Ryder Miscellany

Here are some Ryder stories and accounts over the years:

Ryther in North Yorkshire

Ryther is a village in north Yorkshire six miles from Tadcaster in one direction and six miles to Selby in the other.   It originated as a parish in the wapentake of Barkston Ash in the West Riding.  It is bounded on the north by the Wharfe river and has often been at the risk of flooding.

Ryther is the site of the 13th century All Saints Church, a Methodist chapel, public house (the Rythre Arms), and a village hall.  From the 12th to the 16th century, the village was the site of Ryther Castle, the principal seat of the ancient de Ryther family, the Lords of Scarcroft
 who inherited Harewood castle in 1388 (which they held for some 200 years).  Several of the de Ryther knights have effigies at the All Saints Church in Ryther.

The village once had several shops and many farms.  Census returns show how many residents were farm laborers or had jobs in nearby Cawood.  There were two public houses, but only one remains

The Estates of Sir William Ryther

In 1440 Sir William Ryther of Ryther in Yorkshire died.  Born in 1380, he had been the son of Sir William Ryther of Ryther and his wife Sibyl, the daughter of Lord Aldeburgh.  As a young man he had survived the political turmoil with the accession of Henry Bolingbroke and been granted a pardon for alleged treason and felony in 1405.  Although not a major landowner himself Sir William Ryther had standing in his community and had been Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1426, 1430-1, 1434 and 1438.

His family had taken their name from Ryther, about 6 miles northeast of Selby, and been associated with the place since about 1166. if not before.  However, their manor at Ryther was not in good condition in 1440, according to the post mortem inquisition. The capital messuage and two gardens were worth nothing, along with eight waste messuages worth nothing and eight waste cottages worth nothing.  The main value of the estate was some 700 acres of attached meadow and woodland.

In 1280 Sir William’s ancestor, also named Sir William, had acquired Scarcroft manor near Leeds and made it his chief address.  By 1388, after the death of Lord Aldeburgh, Harewood manor – also in the vicinity of Leeds – came to the Ryther family.  In
1440 the Rythers also held other estates at Spofforth near Harrogate in Yorkshire and at Keal Cotes in Lincolnshire.

The barony of Ryther fell into abeyance in 1543 with the death of Sir Henry Ryther.  But the family line continued through his second cousin William Ryther.  His descendant John Ryder would move to Ireland in 1597 and become Dean of St. Patrick’s in Dublin

Some Distinguished 19th Century Ryders

Nathaniel Ryder, created Baron Harrowby in 1776, had some very distinguished offspring.

His eldest son Dudley was a political supporter of William Pitt andserved as his Foreign Secretary.  He was later made Earl Harrowby in 1809.  His second son Richard was Home Secretary from 1809 to 1812 and his youngest son Henry served as Bishop of Gloucester and Bishop of Lichfield between 1815 and 1836.

Henry’s line included both clergymen and soldiers.  Among his sons was Alfred, a naval officer who became Admiral of the Fleet.  Among his grandsons were Henry Ignatius Ryder, part of the Oxford movement who became a Catholic priest in 1863; Sir George, a civil servant in the Treasury; and Charles a colonel in the Royal Engineers.

Ryders and Riders Today

Numbers (000's)

Michigan Ryders in the Civil War

The Ryder family first arrived in Michigan in December 1827.  David and Polly Ryder and their children had moved from New York state where they had been tenants on a large Dutch patroon estate.  They brought their goods across New York on a flatboat on the Hudson river through the newly opened Erie Canal and then across Lake Erie on a sailing boat. 

Polly and the children spent the winter in Detroit while David scouted for land, making his purchase of 80 acres in what would become Livonia township and starting a cabin before bringing the family there in early 1828.

Their first grandson Alfred was born in Livonia township in 1840.  With the onset of the Civil War, he enlisted in the First Michigan cavalry company.  He was taken prisoner at Bull Run, Virginia in 1862, but later paroled.  However, the next year he was badly injured at the Battle of Gettysburg.

His last letter, written on July 8, was dictated to a friend from the hospital:

"I was wounded in the side by a ball. I am not without hope.  My brother John is here also in one of the hospitals but not badly wounded."

He died just over two weeks later.  And his brother John also died of his wounds.

Both Alfred and John Ryder were buried at Gettysburg with wooden markers on their graves.  In November 1863 the Ryder family arranged to have the bodies exhumed and returned for local burial.  They were buried in the family plot of the Newburgh cemetery in what is now Westland, Michigan.  They each have simple white headstones, as well as a larger shared monument.

William Rider in Texas

According to family legend, Heinrich Reyder’s parents were killed in a mountain slide while farming.  The children were all young adults and chose to emigrate to Texas after the tragedy. Another story has it that the sons of the family fled to Texas to avoid conscription in the Prussian army.

They left Prussia with many other German immigrants under a contract known as the "Verein Papers" arranged by the Texas Government, the German Emigration Company, and Fisher-Miller Colony. This contract provided for the reception of ten acres upon immediate arrival to the Colony for his personal use. He would later receive a donation for 320 acres after the appropriate surveys were made and fees were paid. He paid a total fee of 93 guilders for the trip from Antwerp to Galveston along with a one dollar hospital fee.

Wilhelm and his brother Daniel departed from Antwerp and arrived in Galveston on the Colchis in 1846.  They traveled to Mexico but later moved to Fredericksburg, Texas where there was a community of German immigrants with many German customs.

Wilhelm wished to become more Americanized and changed his name to William Henry Rider.  He left Fredericksburg for the same reasons and moved to Nacogdoches county where he obtained 120 acres along the Naconiche Creek.

William Ryder and His Gold Adventures

William Ryder grew up in London, the son of a baker.  Around the age of twenty he heard of the gold finds in Australia and rushed off there.  He followed the herd to Ballarat and Bendigo. 

He may not have found any gold.  However, before his return to England, he was a partner with another man in buying stock from graziers and driving them to the diggings and selling the meat to the miners. This venture was evidently successful as he was able to buy a return passage to England.

All travel in those days was by sailing ship.  Gold was used as a currency.  As the accommodation on the ship was crowded, the captain persuaded all the passengers to deposit their canvas bags of gold with him for safekeeping in his cabin.  While taking on supplies of fresh water in Rio de Janeiro, all of the bags went missing.  So William Ryder arrived back in London in 1853 with only the gold which he carried in the pouches of a canvas belt which he wore around his waist.

He married Ann Cousins back in England and, undeterred by his past misadventures, departed for New Zealand with his bride later that year

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