Robert Sewell

"Old Bob Ridley"

Robert Sewell, or "Old Bob Ridley," as he was known to all, lived near Log Chain, Kansas. He was quite a character on the Overland Stage Line in the early '60's, driving mainly between Atchison and Fort Kearney. Bob was a quiet, good-natured fellow, and greatly admired by his friends. He was also a great story-teller, a good conversationalist, and he never failed to entertain his listeners. In the early staging days on this line it seems he had the foresight to select a quarter-section of choice land near Log Chain station, which he steadily improved; after his staging days, he settled down to hard work on the land and became a farmer.

Levi Hensel who lived along the trail of the Overland Stage route near Seneca Kansas wrote this about "Old Bob" around 1900:

"Bob was a humorist; and he had a great faculty for begging tobacco of the passengers, when he met the up- or down-coming coach. A man would pass his plug to Bob, who would cut off a great chunk and put in his pocket, and then, as he was about to pass the Plug back, cut off another piece, remarking: 'I have a brother that chews, and I guess I'll take a little for him.' Congressman Champ Clark, of Missouri, was one of his victims; and when he made the stereotyped remark about his brother chewing, and handed back the remnant of the plug, Clark examined it, and then threw it at him with the remark: 'I guess the whole family chews, and you'd better take the rest.' The laugh was on Bob that time, but he picked up the tobacco and thanked the congressman very politely. He kept all the stock tenders and other drivers on his run in tobacco. He was a very liberal fellow, and only begged tobacco out of 'pure cussedness.' for the 'fun of the thing.'"

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