Ancestor 13 Araminta Elizabeth Robertson

Minta Robertson married her cousin, Ben Riddle, but it didn’t go well for her from what I can tell.  Funny that she is ancestor number 13.  No photo.  No grave.  I feel bad about that.   I hope that someday a photo will show up but I won’t hold my breath.  Due to Confederate pensions, Virginia was nearly bankrupt, so no deaths were recorded between 1896 and 1912 in Virginia.  It seems that sources about her exact date of death and cause are missing.  It wasn’t until 1912, that the United States government required states to require death certificates.  All evidence suggests that Araminta died sometime in 1910, but more about that later.

When Araminta Elizabeth Robertson was born on March 3, 1854, (I’m still looking for the source of this exact birth date) in Staffordsville, Giles, Virginia, her father, Charles “Charley” P Robertson, was 28, and her mother, Katherine “Kate” Simpkins, was 28.  She had two older brothers. She was the third child out of what would be a total of seven children.  Both the 1860 and 1870 US census confirms her parents.

At 20 years of age, Minta married Benjamin Franklin Riddle, her first cousin, on October 15, 1874, in Pulaski, Virginia and her mother’s name is confirmed as Cath on the marriage record.  Ben’s mother, Sophia, and Minta’s father, Charles, were siblings, so they were first cousins.  It is not known if the marriage of cousins was discouraged, or acceptable, in this small community.  Little is known about their life together but they had nine children in eighteen years.  They remained near Staffordville in the Walker Creek area in Giles County, Virginia.

Araminta was admitted to the Southwestern State Hospital in Marion, Virginia on October 14, 1906 with cause of admission listed as Spinal Meningitis.  Araminta Riddle Hospital Record

It seems a very strange cause of admission for a mental hospital but I do see that it can cause an altered mental state.  Is that what happened to her?  In 1906 a husband could easily have a wife admitted to a mental hospital for a variety of reasons.  Minta remained hospitalized Southwestern State Hospital just under four years and was released on September 30, 1910.  The discharge does say she had improved.  During this time, the hospital was overcrowded and plagued tuberculosis and other serious diseases.   There is interesting history about the hospital at

Per a story told me by one of her granddaughters, Mildred June Riddle, Araminta was hit over the head by her husband, Benjamin, and he told everyone a mull had kicked and killed her.  The fact that Benjamin remarried seven months after she was released from the hospital seems to give credence to this story.  Another strange thing is that Araminta show on the 1910 census as a patient at the mental hospital in Marion, Virginia AND with Ben at Walker’s Creek, Giles County, Virginia, in April 18, 1910, when hospital records indicate she had not yet been released.  Who reported her living at home and why?

No death certificate, no grave, no obituary.  Love to you great-grandmother – you deserved better.

Note:  There is no source to support the Findagrave memorial that indicates she was buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery.  She is just as likely buried somewhere on the farm.