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The following text is reproduced from (the report of the) Forty-Ninth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 11th, 1918.

p46 Jacob Rhoadsa Riblett
No. 2431. Class of 1872.
Died June 19, 1917, at Bellaire, Michigan, aged 72.

Riblett was born in the State of Illinois in March, 1845, and was 23 years and 3 months old, at the date of his entrance to the United States Military Academy on June 1, 1868.

Prior to his admission to West Point he had worked at the Printer's trade.

He served from August 9, 1862, to August 2, 1865, as a Private and Hospital Steward in the 108th Illinois Infantry during the war of the Rebellion.

There were also two other civil war soldiers who entered with the Class of 1872. These were Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.A. E. Wood and Charles Buchanan,b who were also over 23 years of age at the time of their admission. They were admitted under a special act of Congress authorizing to men entrance until they were 24 years of age who had served in the Civil War.

Riblett was my room mate during the first six months of the Fourth Class Course at the Academy. He possessed a remarkable memory, and had only to read a lesson over once to know it and remember it. He studied his lessons the least time of any one I knew at West Point, yet he graduated number twenty‑one in his class. Had he devoted as much time to his lessons as the average cadet did, he would have graduated much higher.

For a man of his age, and one who had seen then three years of actual warfare and had gotten out of the habit of studying, it is remarkable that he was able to stand so well in his class, which shows that he had more than ordinary ability for learning.

Riblett was contented to float with the tide, and had very little ambition to get ahead of his fellow beings.

Soon after graduation he married and was assigned as a Second Lieutenant to the Fifth Infantry, and was stationed at Fort Scott, Kansas, September 28 to Oct. 9, 1872 and at Fort Dodge, Kansas, from the latter date until he resigned May 1, 1873.

In passing thruc Fort Dodge in March, 1873, I saw Riblett and his wife who were then living there, as also were our classmates Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Henry and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Nichols, all three of whom resigned their commissions early and entered civil life, and now have all passed over the Great Divide.

After resigning from the army Riblett engaged in the newspaper publishing and the printing business. For four years he published the Rapid City Rustler at Rapid City, Michigan, and afterwards moved to Alden and published the Alden Argus.

p47 At the time of his death, June 19, 1917, he was working in a printing office at Bellaire, Mich., and in passing a press in operation, his arm was caught and he was pulled into the machinery and killed.

Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.F. West


Thayer's Note:

a The printed text spells Rhodes. I've adopted the spelling found in Cullum's Register and Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army.

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b Charles Jay Buchanan, born in New York, appointed at large: he did not graduate, resigning on Oct. 20, 1870.

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c Sic in the printed text. The form, now a minority spelling and mainly in the United States, is an old one: the Oxford English Dictionary records it as early as 1400.


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Page updated: 3 Jul 14