FATHER: Henry T. Riley
MOTHER: Frances Catherine Leonard (1850-1910)
MARRIED: Carmen Switzer
April 10, 1912 (Botetourt Co., VA)
ARAMINTA VIRGINIA RILEY (ADAMS) (1913-1992)
Robert Thurman Riley, Jr. (1915-1997)
Rodney Burman Riley (1915-1970)
Rosley Herman Riley (1915-2000)
Samuel Switzer Riley (1919-1982)
Hugh Woodram Riley (1921-2004)
Isabel Carmen Riley (Briggs) (b.1928)
Occupations: Farmer, police officer (lieutenant), security guard
Called Bob Riley.
Granddaddy Riley grew up on the Riley farmstead in what is now Carvin's Cove, near Roanoke, Virginia, and was the third generation to live there. He tried his hand at farming, working for Senator Kern and his wife Araminta (the namesake of Bob Riley's first daughter, my grandmother). Nevertheless he disliked farming and did poorly at it, and only continued for a short while longer after he married Carmen Switzer and his first child, Araminta, was born. Araminta was born at the Riley home in the "Happy Valley" (what the Carvin's Creek area was called before being inundated by a dam in the 1940's); but he moved his new family to Roanoke City the following year and became a policeman on September 6, 1918 (making lieutenant in the Fall of 1928). His next children--the triplets Robert Junior, Rodney, and Rosley, the "miracle babies" (as the Roanoke Times called them) born on Christmas Day of 1915--were born in Roanoke, not Botetourt.
His wedding announcement:
His brother Letcher was cripped with arthritis early on in life, and so Bob would visit Letcher from time to time--and would always give each of Letcher's young daughters a quarter when he visited. (At that time, a quarter was enough to, say, buy five bags of candy!) The girls were terribly shy and would sometimes hide when their Uncle Bob came to visit, but he would always wait to leave until they had gotten their quarters. In later years, when daughter Ruby was married with children of her own and her father was living with them, Granddaddy Riley would still come and visit--and then give quarters to Letcher's grandchildren.
Granddaddy Riley was one of the (almost) witnesses in a historic 1935 moonshine trial in Southwest Virginia. While I can't find out anymore information about this (if indeed there is anything more about his role to find out), the following comes from the book The Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935 by T. Keister Greer, and includes a transcription of the trial from June 24, 1935:
The Government called Clarence Gentry, the clerk, to the stand. Gentry had been an assistant United States attorney.
Q: Do you recall when Willie Carter Sharpe was tried for piloting?
Q: Do you recall talking to Captain J.L. Manning, and telling Captain Manning that you wished to be in a position to impeach the veracity of Mrs. Sharpe?
A: Yes. Captain Manning told me she was a notorious violator of the law, but he knew nothing to impeach her truthfulness. I was told the same thing by Lieutenant W.S. Newton and Lieutenant R.T. Riley. ...
Q: Mr. Clerk, did the defense subpoena N.C. Alexander as a witness?
A: They did.
Q: How about Lieutenant Riley?
A: They subpoenaed him too.
The implication of this questioning and cross-questioning was that both the Government and the defense had witnesses available whom they decided not to use. ...
Granddaddy Riley is the fellow top and center.
This portrait is from a 1939 collage of police officers of the Roanoke City Police Department.
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