Birmingham News
by R. E. Hogan
News Special Correspondent

Former Slave, 106 And Wife Get New Home

Talladega, Ala. -- A 106 year old Negro and his wife were living in their new house five miles from here today. But it took a fire to move them out of their old one, in which they had lived forty years.

The couple, Jack Riddle and his wife, said "We just couldn't give up that house." But they watched it burn yesterday, and this morning with few clothes and with but little furniture they are now in the new one.

Riddle, a former Georgia slave had paid for the old house with his meager savings of years. It was the only thing he had ever owned.

It wasn't an old house to him and his wife, Josey. But his son decided that it was and built a new house for them nearby. But they ignored his appeal for them to move. The fire broke out yesterday about Noon. They don't know how it started but before long the house they loved was an inferno.

The Rev. Jack Smelley saw the smoke and called the Fire Department. W. C. (Cap) Holmes and his volunteer crew rushed out, despite the fact they are ordinarily limited to fighting fires within the city limits. But they arrived too late.

All Riddle and his wife Josey could say as they leaned on others for support and trembled with grief as their home burned down, "We want to thank everybody for what they have done."

Riddle said he was born in Atlanta 106 years ago and in his early teens was sold on the block for $50. He was later sold to the Pope family at Talladega.

After The War Between The States, Riddle, his mother and the other children were freed and had no place to go said Riddle. When Judge Hardy Riddle's grandmother took us in and my mother became her cook. That is how we got the name Riddle.


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