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.