William J. Ritchie

Carroll County IL Biography

William J. Ritchie, one of the most practical and successful farmers of Washington Township, makes a specialty of raising blooded stock, especially Norman horses, and is part owner of the valuable stallion “Develle,” one of the most popular equines along the northern line of the county. Mr. Ritchie also has a fine herd of Short-horn cattle, and a large number of Poland-China swine. His farm embraces 332 acres on section 1, is well-watered, and is familiarly known to the residents of this part of the county as the “Ritchie Camp Creek Stock-Farm.”

Our subject has occupied his present homestead since the fall of 1872, and has himself effected nearly all the improvements which are to be seen upon it. He is a native of Northern Illinois, having been born in Hanover Township, Jo Daviess County, Feb. 18, 1854. His father, Adam Ritchie, a native of County Monaghan, in the North of Ireland, was the scion of an old Protestant family of Scotch ancestry, and while a young man emigrated to America, and coming directly to Illinois, located on a tract of wild land in Hanover Township, where he built up a good farm, and where his death occurred in 1856, at the age of fifty-four years. He was a United Presbyterian in religion, and a Whig in politics, and these elements combined to make him an honest man and a good citizen.

The mother of our subject, who in her girlhood was Miss Martha Anderson, was born in County Cavan, Ireland, and came to the United States with her brother John, they locating in Galena, Ill., where she lived until her marriage in 1849. She still survives, and now makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. Letitia Speer, of Hanover Township. She is now sixty-one years of age, and, like her husband, has been a life-long United Presbyterian. The parental family consisted of two sons, and three daughters, of whom there is living only our subject and his sister, Letitia, already mentioned. The deceased were: William, Anna, and Elizabeth; all of whom died young.

Mr. Ritchie was a child two years of age at the time of his father’s death. He remained under the care of his mother, pursued his first studies in the district school, and later entered the Union school at Mt. Carroll, where he completed a practical education. His next business was to set about the establishment of a home of his own, and he was married in Pleasant Valley Township, at the bride’s home, Sept. 11, 1879, to Miss Martha White. This lady was born in that township, Feb. 3, 1855, and is the daughter of James and Elizabeth (Frazier) White, the former of whom died at his home in Pleasant Valley Township, Feb. 20, 1877. He was one of its best-known citizens, and a good man in the full sense of the word. The mother is still living, and continues to make her home in Pleasant Valley, being now sixty-two years old.

Mrs. Ritchie was reared to womanhood under the parental roof, and of her union with our subject there have been born three children – Bessie M., Adam B., and James H. Our subject, politically, is a stanch Republican, and in religious matters both he and his estimable wife remain faithful adherents of the Presbyterian faith of their fathers, attending services at the United Presbyterian Church in Woodland Township.

Transcribed & Contributed by Carol Parrish from Portraits and Biographical 1889 Pg 894

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