RIDLEY, ALONZO (1826–1909). Alonzo Ridley, trader, Indian agent, engineer, and Confederate officer, was born in Bowdoin, Sagadahoc County, Maine, on June 3, 1826, to Ambrose and Abigail (Nash) Ridley. Ridley was raised in the North until January 28, 1849, when he left Massachusetts bound for California aboard the steamship Pharsalia. In the early 1850s Ridley worked among the communities of southern California. In 1852 he established himself as an Indian subagent and trader along the Tule River near Fort Tejon. Around this time he pursued a relationship with a woman from the Tejon Indian tribe that produced one daughter. In 1856 Ridley led a company of militia in sporadic warfare with American Indians in Tulare and Kings counties. Later, he served as undersheriff for Los Angeles County.
In February 1861 a petition was circulated in Los Angeles County that called for the creation of a company of cavalry to be contributed to the Confederacy. Volunteers were abundant, and Ridley was elected captain of this unit, referred to as the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles. Ridley and the Mounted Rifles joined Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston's expedition across the Southwest desert to bring California troops to the Confederate Army. After reaching Texas in July 1861, the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles disbanded. Ridley remained with Johnston and served as his bodyguard through the battle of Shiloh in April 1862. Following Shiloh, Ridley returned to Texas, where he received training as an engineer. In February 1863 Ridley joined the newly-formed Third Texas Cavalry Regiment, Arizona Brigade, as a major. He was later promoted to lieutenant colonel. On June 28, 1863, during the battle of Fort Butler, near Donaldsville, Louisiana, Ridley was captured. He spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner.
At the end of the war, Ridley refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Union. Instead, he traveled to Mexico and found employment building railroads and bridges for the Mexican government. Ridley remained in Mexico until 1877, whereupon he traveled to Cuba briefly before ending up in Tempe, Arizona, where he established himself as one of that city's prominent citizens. He also made occasional trips to California. Ridley died in Tempe, Maricopa County, Arizona, on March 25, 1909, and is buried at the city's Double Butte Cemetery.
Gene C. Armistead, "California's Confederate Militia: The Los Angeles Mounted Rifles," California and the Civil War, California State Military Museum (http://www.militarymuseum.org/LosAngelesMountedRifles2.html), accessed March 16, 2011. Eugene L. Menefee and Fred A. Dodge, History of Tulare and Kings Counties, California (Los Angeles: Historic Record Co., 1913). Robert P. Perkins, "Heroes and Renegades: A History of the Arizona Brigade, C.S.A." (http://members.tripod.com/~azrebel/page14.html), accessed March 22, 2011. Wallace E. Smith, This Land was Ours:The Del Valles and Camulos (Ventura, California: Ventura County Historical Society, 1978).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "Ridley, Alonzo," accessed February 22, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fri57.
Uploaded on April 8, 2011. Modified on May 26, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.