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Viola Riddle[1, 2]

Female 1890 - 1975  (85 years)


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  • Name Viola Riddle 
    Born 1 Jan 1890  Mansfield, Clay Co., Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 3
    Gender Female 
    Died 2 Nov 1975  Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Person ID I145187  My Genealogy

    Father Stephen A. Riddle,   b. 1863, Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1947, Smocksville, Parke Co., Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years) 
    Mother Jeannette Barton,   b. 1861, Clay City, Clay Co., Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married 21 Mar 1886  Parke Co., Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 5
    Family ID F59691  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family John Cleveland Hoffa,   b. 18 Feb 1882, Owen Co., Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1920, Brazil, Clay Co., Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 37 years) 
    Married 15 May 1909  Parke Co., Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 6
    Children 
     1. Jennette P. Hoffa
     2. William Henry Hoffa
     3. James Riddle Hoffa,   b. 14 Feb 1913, Brazil, Clay Co., Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Jul 1975, Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years)
     4. Nancy M. Hoffa,   b. 16 Aug 1914, Clay Co., Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Jan 1988  (Age 73 years)
    Last Modified 24 Jan 2013 
    Family ID F59708  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • This information was taken from the Book HOFFA , written by A. Sloane:
      NOTE: This passage is written about Viola after the death of her husband John C. Hoffa.

      Viola, who was already taking in laundry to supplement her husband's relatively meager income, was now forced to take on additional employment to support her family and to serve as both mother and father as well.

      Nothing if not strong-willed, the new widow attempted to keep the family together in Brazil by cooking in a restaurant on Main Street, doing housework for the wealthier townspeople, and accepting even more washing. Her older daughter Jennetta helped her with the ironing while her two sons did the delivering. Jimmy and his one-year-older brother Billy also helped the family finances in other ways: to augment the food supply at the Hoffa table, the two typically barefooted small-town boys stole apples and pears, shot rabbits and trapped birds, and strung clam lines in the local river.

      Opportunities remained limited and the pay modest in the drab mining town, however, and Viola was finally forced to move her brood-----first to Clinton, Indiana, in 1922, and two years later to the West Side of Detroit, where boom times in the automobile industry were attracting thousands of immigrants from the rural Midwest and South. After first working in a Detroit laundry, she took a job in an automotive parts production line and eventually became a polisher of radiator caps in the Fisher Body Fleetwood plant. As her son Jimmy saw her, she "worked damned hard and always looked tired."

      One of her daughters-in-law was later to say of her, frequently, "Oh, She's Mean!" And a granddaughter remembers her as being"kind of sour," while one of her grandsons has described her as a "selfish old frontier woman who looked as though she came across the country in a stagecoach." But whatever the later Viola Riddle Hoffa was like, there is no question that she held her family together in these critical years and that she ingrained in her children a respect for hard work. Unwilling to risk spoiling her offspring by sparing the rod, she used both the razor strop and castor oil as weapons of discipline for all of them, but particularly her two sons, when they failed to live up to her Protestant ethic.

  • Sources 
    1. [S760] Census, 1930 Wayne Co., MI, (8 Apr 1930).

    2. [S761] Clay Co., IN Birth Records 1882-1920, (2 Oct 2005), Indiana Births, 1880-1920
      Name: Hoffa, James Riddle
      Father: John C
      Mother: Viola Riddle
      County: Clay
      Gender: M
      Birth Date: 14 Feb 1913
      Reference: Clay County, Indiana
      Index to Birth Records
      1882 - 1920 Inclusive
      Volume I
      Letters A - K Inclusive (Reliability: 0).

    3. [S48] One World Tree, Ancestry.com, Compiler: Ancestry.com.

    4. [S2564] SSDI, (Ancestry.com, http://ancestry.com), Social Security Death Index
      Name: Viola Hoffa
      SSN: 370-20-9144
      Last Residence: 48226 Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United States of America
      Born: 1 Jan 1890
      Died: Aug 1975
      State (Year) SSN issued: Michigan (Before 1951 )
      Source Information:
      Social Sec (Reliability: 0).

    5. [S701] Indiana Marriages, 1845-1920, Indiana Marriage Collection, 1800-1941
      Name: Stephen A. Riddle
      Spouse Name: Jennettie Barton
      Marriage Date: 21 Mar 1886
      Marriage County: Parke
      Performed By: M. G. D. S. Kally
      Source Title 1: Parke County, Indiana Rockville, Indiana
      Source Title 2: (Reliability: 0).

    6. [S740] WWI Draft Cards, US Governement, (US Government, Washington, DC, 12 Sep 1918), John Cleveland Hoffa
      18 Feb 1882
      Brazil, Clay Co., IN
      Coal Drilling
      Viola Hoffa
      Brazil, Clay Co., IN (Reliability: 0).