Bullitt County History

Samuel Howard Ridgway, M.D.

In 1912, E. Polk Johnson published A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians - The Leaders and Representative Men in Commerce, Industry and Modern Activities. In Volume III, on pages 1274-5, he provided a biographical sketch of Dr. Samuel Howard Ridgway, and his ancestors. That sketch is transcribed below.


Samuel Howard Ridgway, M.D.—A careful, skillful and progressive physician of Shepherdsville, Samuel Howard Ridgway, M.D., occupies an assured position in the medical fraternity of Bullitt county and is eminently deserving of the success which he has attained as a practitioner. A son of James W. Ridgway, a venerable resident of Shepherdsville, he was born March 24, 1872, in Bullitt county, not far from Cupio. He is of Virginia ancestry, his grandfather, William Ridgway, and his great-grandfather, Samuel Ridgway, having both been natives of Virginia. Brought up in Virginia, Samuel Ridgway migrated from there to Kentucky in an early period of its settlement, becoming one of the original householders of Bullitt county. Buying a track of timber lying six miles northeast of the site of the present courthouse, he erected a log cabin for the use of himself and family, and from the dense forest hewed a farm, which he operated with slave labor. There he lived and labored many years, passing away at the age of seventy-five years, leaving two sons, Joseph and William.

William Ridgway was probably born in Virginia, although his birth may have occurred after the removal of the family to Bullitt county. He assisted his father as soon as old enough in the pioneer work of clearing a homestead, and as a young man was given by his father a deed to a portion of the parental acres. On this land, lying six miles from Shepherdsville, he continued his career as a general farmer and stock-raiser until his death at the age of seventy-five years. He married, August 22, 1805, Nancy Wells, who spent her entire life of three score and ten years in Bullitt county. To them ten children were born, all of whom were trained to the habits of industry and honesty.

Born in Bullitt county, Kentucky, July 31, 1827, James W. Ridgway was reared to agricultural pursuits and early selected farming as his life occupation. When ready to settle in life he bought land near West Point, and there, until 1902, was diligently engaged in improving his property, continually adding to its value and attractiveness. From 1902 until 1904 he occupied the farm which he had previously purchased, eight miles below Shepherdsville on Salt river, but since that time he has lived retired in Shepherdsville. He has been married four times. He married first, at the age of twenty-four years, Margaret Brashear, who was born in Bullitt county, Kentucky, a daughter of Robert and Betsy (Unsel) Brashear, natives of Bardstown and descendents, respectively, of German and French ancestors. She died in 1883, leaving eight children, namely: Nanny, William, George, Ben, Robert, Augustus, Samuel, Howard and Lindsey. James W. Ridgway married for his second wife Henrietta Nicholson, a cousin of his first wife. She was born in Bardstown, Nelson county, Kentucky, and died on the home farm in Bullitt county in 1896, leaving one child, Thomas Ridgway. Mr. Ridgway was married the third time to Mrs. Nannie Harshfield and the fourth time to Mrs. Malinda Hardy, both of whom were born in Bullitt county and buried in Bullitt county. No children were born to these unions.

James W. Ridgway is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Politically he cast his first presidential vote for General Zachary Taylor, and is now a staunch supporter of the principles of the Democratic Party, being one of its oldest voters. He is a member of Bullitt Lodge, No. 155, A.F. & A.M., and is the sole survivor now, in 1910, of the one hundred members belonging to that organization who first united with it.

Samuel H. Ridgway received his elementary education in the public schools, after which he continued his studies at Pitts Point Academy, under the tutorship of Professor Gwynn. His desire being to enter the medical profession, he began reading medicine with Dr. Roberts at Cupio, and in 1893 was graduated with a degree of M.D. from the Kentucky Medical College in Louisville. He has since kept himself familiar with the best medical literature and research, and in 1904 took a post graduate course in medicine at Chicago. The doctor was in active practice at Pitts Points, Kentucky, until 1905, when he removed to Shepherdsville, where he has now an extensive and lucrative practice.

Dr. Ridgway married in 1895, Margaret May Hardy, who was born in Bullitt county, a daughter of Frank and Malinda Hardy. Two children have blessed their union, Willie May and Samuel Howard, Jr. The doctor is a member of the Bullitt county Medical Society; of the Kentucky State Medical Association; and of the American Medical Association. Fraternaly he belongs to Bullitt Lodge, No. 155, A.F. & A.M.; to the Improved Order of Red Men and to Modern Woodmen of America.


In 1922, Judge Charles Kerr edited a series of volumes published by the American Historical Society under the title, History of Kentucky.

In volume IV on pages 550-1, he provided another sketch of Dr. Ridgway which, while similar in many cases to the sketch above, does provides some additional details about the Ridgway family. It is transcribed below.


Samuel Howard Ridgway, M.D. A resident of Bullitt County throughout his life, and prominently identified with the medical profession here for a number of years, Dr. Samuel Howard Ridgway is not only known as one of the leaders of his profession, but a man whose ripening judgment and sterling traits of character have benefited his community and its institutions and enterprises. While he has not sought prominence in public life, his career has been one that has been before the people of Shepherdsville daily since 1905, and in all of the duties and responsibilities which have devolved upon him he has been found capable and faithful.

Dr. Ridgway was born on a farm in Bullitt County, Kentucky, March 24, 1872, a son of James Wells and Margaret Caroline (Brashear) Ridgway, and a grandson of William Ridgway, a lifelong farmer of this county. James Wells Ridgway was born in Bullitt County, and for the greater part of his life devoted himself to agricultural pursuits. He was honest in all of his transactions and was fairly successful in his business affairs, being accounted reasonably well-to-do among the people of his community. Politically he was a democrat, and his fraternal connection was with the Masons, he being an ardent devotee of that order and a past master of his lodge. His religious faith was that of the Methodist Church, to which his worthy wife also belonged. In addition to rearing nine children of his own Mr. Ridgway opened his home and heart to several orphans and brought them to worthy maturity. In his later years he divided his time between operating his farm and conduct in a portable saw mill, and in these occupations continued until his retirement, some years before his death, which occurred when he was eighty-four years of age. He was thrice married, his first wife being Margaret Caroline Brashear, a native of Nelson County, Kentucky, who died at the age of forty-five years. They became the parents of eight children, all of whom grew to maturity, and one of them is Lindsay Ridgway, the popular county clerk of Bullitt County. After the death of his first wife Mr. Ridgway married again and into this union was born, Thomas R. Ridgway, now a resident of California. There were no children born of his third marriage.

Samuel Howard Ridgway was reared on the home farm, and in his boyhood acquired his early education in the country schools. Subsequently he attended Pitts Point Academy, and at the age of nineteen years began the study of medicine. Two years later, in 1893, at the age of twenty-one years, he graduated from the Kentucky School of Medicine, with the degree of Doctor of Medicine, and at once started practice at Brook Station, Bullitt County. There he continued until 1905, at which time he located at Shepherdsville, which has since been his home and the scene of his professional success. In the same year that he came to this locality he took a post-graduate course at the Chicago Post-Graduate Medical School. He has continued to be a student and investigator, and assists in keeping himself abreast of the advancements made in his profession by maintaining membership in the Bullitt County Medical Society, the Kentucky State Medical Society, the Muldraugh Hill Medical Society and the American Medical Association. In his political allegiance he supports the principles and candidates of the democratic party, and as a fraternalist he is affiliated with the Masons, in which order he has attained to the Knight Templar degree.

In 1895, in Bullitt County, Dr. Ridgway was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Hardy, of this county, and to this union there have been born two children: Willie May, a daughter, and Samuel Howard, Jr.


Both of these volumes are digitized by Google Books, and are available there.


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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jul 2015 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/samuelridgway.html