Charles D. Ritchey
Biography

From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 546-548, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  Charles D. Ritchey, a substantial farmer and influential citizen of Littleton township, Schuyler county, was born in this county on June 11, 1862. His father, Addison B. Ritchey, is a prominent pioneer of Schuyler county, and a sketch of his life is subjoined. Our subject was reared on a farm and was educated at a college in Valparaiso, Indiana, from which institution he graduated with honor.
  He was married June 13, 1889, to Miss Dena Saunders, a native of Atlanta, Macon county, Missouri, in which place she was born June 15, 1864. She was a daughter of James W. and Martha A. (Stone) Saunders. Her father was born in Kentucky, and accompanied his parents to Missouri when he was but nine months old. His father, Woodward G. Saunders, is also a native of Kentucky, and is still living, at an advanced age, in Missouri. George W. Saunders, father of Woodward G., was a school teacher, and died in Missouri a number of years ago. Woodward G. Saunders located on a farm in Missouri, where he and family began the life of pioneers, experiencing all the inconveniences and hardships incident to those similarly circumstanced. Here, James W. Saunders was reared, and was educated at the William Jewell College, located at Liberty, Missouri, and was for twenty years a Baptist minister. It was in Missouri that he met and married Martha A. Stone, a very attractive lady, and daughter of Hiram and Laura J. (De Freire) Stone, both natives of Tennessee, the father still surviving in Macon county, Missouri, a graduate from the high school in Ellettsville, Monroe county, Indiana. Our subject's wife was a school teacher for more than sixteen years, and is a highly educated and interesting lady, of superior ability and culture.
  After his marriage, Mr. Ritchey went into business with Mr. DeWitt, in a general store, where he remained for some time. He was later elected Clerk of Littleton township, in which capacity he served for one year. He was afterward elected Collector of that township, serving for two years in a highly creditable manner.
  Mr. and Mrs. Ritchey have one child: Edna M., who was born December 25, 1890.
  Mrs. Ritchey is a member of the Baptist Church, to which she contributes liberal aid.
  He is a Republican, and cast his first vote for James G. Blaine. His constituents have demonstrated their esteem by electing him to two of the most responsible positions in their power to bestow.
  Of unswerving fidelity and integrity, and high morality, together with generous impulses and cordial manners, he enjoys the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens.
  Addison B. Ritchey, one of the oldest pioneers of Schuyler county, is a native of Ohio, and was born in Green county, of that State, September 17, 1817. His parents were John and Elizabeth (Reed) Ritchey. His father, a native of Pennsylvania, was born in Allegheny, that State, and was a farmer all his life. He went to Ohio in 1816, and in 1824 came all the way to near Rushville with a four-horse wagon. All the worldly possessions of the family were in the wagon and they had very little money besides, as they paid their last fifty cents for being ferried across the river at Beardstown, then known as Beard's Ferry. He had come out for the purpose of taking land, for which he had a patent, but after camping on the land, for one night, he would not remain, and moved to near Rushville, where he located on a quarter section, building there a small log cabin about 16x18, in which they lived for several years. His was the thirteenth family in the county. In 1826, he traded his claim for 160 acres of land in Littleton township, in section 35, on which he built another log house, where they lived for one season, then rented land and removed to his former farm, where on account of some trouble about trade, he moved to Rushville, buying there 160 acres adjoining the town, on which he built another log house, in which he and family lived for about eight years. He then sold and came back to Littleton township. During all this time our subject was employed in various pioneer work, splitting rails, plowing and doing whatever other work he found to do. His father died in 1842, aged fifty-three years. His father's father was a native of Ireland, from which country he emigrated in the early days of this country, and died many years ago, in Pennsylvania. His mother, Elizabeth Reed, was born in Pennsylvania, and died in Ohio when our subject was but three years of age. Our subject remained at home until his father's death, after which he spent one year with a brother, in the meantime farming the old homestead on his own account.
  On June 4, 1845, Mr. Ritchey was married to Miss Mary Ann Hayes, a native of Vermilion county, Illinois, where she was born October 3, 1829. Her parents were John and Debora (Hankins) Hayes. Her father was a native of Virginia, from which State he emigrated, first to Kentucky, afterward to Illinois, at a very early day, where in Vermilion county he rented a farm, which he worked for some time, when he later came to Carroll county, and still later to Putnam county, finally going to Henry county, all in Illinois, in which latter place he died, aged seventy years. His wife, Debora Hankins, was a native of Tennessee, in which State she was born and is at present living with a daughter in Kansas. Grandfather Hankins also came to Illinois at an early day, where he died, at the advanced age of ninety-three years. Grandmother Hankins also died in Illinois, aged sixty-five years. Grandfather and grandmother Hayes were also pioneers of Illinois where they died, in Whiteside county, both very old people. The Hayes were of Irish descent. Our subject's wife was one of seven children, four of whom are yet living. Our subject is one of three children, of whom he is the only survivor; he has, however, a half-sister and half-brother, both of whom are living.
  After marriage, our subject lived in section 34, in his old home, where he remained for two years, at the end of which time he bought 160 acres of wild land, on which there was a log house. Here he and his wife lived until he built his present home. He has improved the farm in numerous ways, until now it is the finest in the county. He has erected a large and comfortable residence, and commodious barns for the accommodation of grain, stock and machinery, besides adding other modern improvements and conveniences to facilitate agricultural pursuits. He has planted ornamental trees and shrubs around his house, which now only renders his place attractive from a distance, but is a welcome retreat from the sun's too ardent rays on a mid-summer day.
  He has reared fifteen children, eleven of whom are living. His oldest son, John Q. Ritchey, served for four months in the war in Company K, One Hundred and Thirty seventh Illinois Infantry, and also was in the hundred days' service.
  Our subject's father was an old-line Whit, as was also his son, who was later a Free-soiler, and now a Republican. Our subject cast his first vote for General William H. Harrison. His father voted for John Quincy Adams. Neither he nor his father were politicians in the modern acceptation of the term, never desiring office but wishing only the advancement and welfare of their country.
  Mr. Ritchey and wife are members of the Baptist Church, to which they have liberally contributed.
  Commencing life in a new country, without means and without friends, he now has both money and friends, which have accumulated and increased with the progress of the country. He is the oldest living pioneer of his county, and as such enjoys a pre-eminence among his neighbors, which superior age always bestows. Of superior ability and unswerving integrity, he has retained the regard of all through his checkered career, and now holds an eminent position in the community.



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