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Mini Bios of People of Scots Descent
Harry Carson Riddle

Denver, History of Colorado, BIOS: RIDDLE, Harry Carson (published 1918)

"History of Colorado", edited by Wilbur Fisk Stone, published by The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. (1918) Vol. II p. 198, 200-201


Much has been said and written concerning heredity and to what extent it influences and shapes the life of the individual. There is no one, however, who is not proud of an honored and distinguished ancestry or of an untarnished family name, and the record of the Riddle family is one of which Harry Carson Riddle has reason to be justly proud. He is descended from Scotch and Scotch-Irish ancestry. The founder of the family in the new world was John Riddle, who crossed the Atlantic at an early period in the colonization of the new world and who was a representative of one of the old families of the Highlands of Scotland. The great-grandfather, James M. Riddle, was admitted to the bar of Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, on the 19th of November, 1814, and his son, George R. Riddle, also prepared for the bar and both became leading and prominent attorneys of Allegheny county. The latter wedded Mary Ann Williams and they were the parents of James H. Riddle, who was also born in Pennsylvania. Earlier representatives of the family served as soldiers of the Revolutionary war and in the maternal line Harry Carson Riddle is also descended from those who fought for American independence. James H. Riddle did not follow the profession to which his father and grandfather had devoted their energies but became an expert accountant. He continued to make his home in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, until 1881, when with his family he removed to the west, becoming a resident of Denver, where he still resides. He is now living retired, enjoying the fruits of a well spent life, and has reached the age of seventy-nine years, his birth having occurred February 24, 1839. At the time of the Civil war he responded to the country's call for troops, serving at the front with a Pennsylvania regiment, and his entire life has been characterized by equal devotion to the best interests of the country, for he is as true and loyal in days of peace as in days of war. He married Rosanna Elizabeth Carson, a daughter of David and Mary (Patterson) Carson, who were also natives of Pennsylvania and represented old families of that state of Scotch-Irish ancestry. Mrs. Riddle is a direct descendant of Archibald Burns, the grandfather of Robert Burns, the sweet singer of Scotland, and other distinguished names appear on the family record, including the names of some who fought for American Independence. To Mr. and Mrs. James H. Riddle have been born five children three sons and two daughters.

Harry Carson Riddle, the eldest of the family, was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, on the 4th of February, 1869. He had the advantage of instruction in the schools of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and completed his studies in the schools of Denver. He was a youth of seventeen years when he started out to earn his own living and his first employment was that of a range rider or cowboy. He devoted five years to stock raising interests and during that time his thoughts turned to the profession in which his grandfather and great-grandfather had won a creditable name and place. While still riding the range he secured law books, which he began reading, and later he more earnestly took up the study of law in the office and under the direction of Charles H. Brierley, with whom he remained for three years. He was admitted to practice in January, 1896, and at once entered upon the active work of the profession. He soon gave demonstration of the fact that he possessed the same qualities which had made his sires famous at the bar of Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. His mind is naturally analytical, logical and inductive, his reasoning is clear, his deductions sound and his arguments strong and logical. It was not long before he had demonstrated his ability to successfully handle intricate and involved legal problems and he has always been accorded a large and distinctively representative clientage. He is a valued member of the Denver Bar Association and for two terms was one of its trustees and also chairman of the grievance committee for one term. He likewise belongs to the Colorado State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Aside from his professional activity Mr. Riddle has been quite prominent as a leader in political and civic affairs in Denver and is a stanch and stalwart advocate of the republican party. He has labored earnestly for many years to promote its interests, believing that the adoption of its principles will prove an important factor in good government. He served on the first election commission of Denver under the new charter, which was adopted March 29, 1904, occupying that position for two years. In 1906 he was elected judge of the district court and served upon the bench from the 8th of January, 1907, until the 14th of January, 1913, or for a six years' term. His course as a judge was in harmony with his record as a man and lawyer, being characterized by marked devotion to duty and by a masterful grasp of every problem presented for solution. At the present writing, in 1918, he is a member of the state board of pardons, having served since March, 1916, when he was appointed by Governor George A. Carlson, while the present governor, Hon. J. C. Gunter, reappointed him to the position. His activity in behalf of public interests has been of a still broader character, for he is now a member of the board of 
trustees and the vice president of the Westminster University, a position which he has occupied for several years. He is an active member of the Central Presbyterian church, in which he has served as elder for a number of years, occupying that position at the present time. He has also been vice moderator for two years and he is interested in all that tends to advance the moral progress of the community.

On the 27th of May, 1905. Mr. Riddle was married at the residence of Professor J. E. Ayers of Denver to Miss Elsie Carlton Ayers, a native of this city and a daughter of Professor J. E. and Anna (Rea) Ayers, members of an old and prominent family of Denver, connected with the city from the early '70s. To Mr. and Mrs. Riddle have been born a son and two daughters: Carson, who was born in Denver, March 23, 1906; Lucy Ayers, born August 7, 1907; and Elizabeth Rea, born April 4, 1911. Mrs. Riddle is a lady of broad and liberal culture. She was graduated from the academic department of Colorado College and afterward went to Chicago, where she pursued a special course in kindergarten work and was graduated. At the time of her marriage she was supervisor of kindergarten work at Fort Collins and had figured prominently in educational circles for several years. Like her husband, she is very active in religious and charitable work of the city and is continually extending a helping hand to those in need of assistance. She formerly served as president of the Ladies' Missionary Society of her church and is now president of the Parent Teachers Association in the Boulevard school district of Denver. She is thus studying deeply many questions relative to the training of the young and to the attitude and relation of the parent to the school and has done much for the social uplift of the community. Mr. Riddle belongs to the Interlachen Golf Club find also to the Lakewood Country Club-associations which indicate something of the nature of the interests to which he turns for rest and relaxation. Aside from his law practice he is a director in several mining companies of Colorado but his time and attention are chiefly concentrated upon his law practice and his devotion to his clients' interests is proverbial.

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