Family Stories

Francis P. Ritchey, Biography

Note by Phyllis Brown:  George Franklin Ritchey was a brother to Charles Ritchey, great-great-grandfather to my husband, Ritchey Brown.

From Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Volume II, Schuyler County:

Francis P. Ritchey

The influx of settlers into Schuyler County in 1831 included George F. Ritchey, a man with a venturesome spirit, a steady purpose, and considerable mercantile ability.  He came from a family of farmers and pioneers, and his father, James Ritchey, was an early arrival in Ohio, where the son was born in 1814.  The lad was educated in the early subscription schools, married Lucinda J. Walker, of Cloverport, Kentucky, and during the summer of 1831 came overland to Illinois, settling on Government land in Rushville Township.  Soon afterwards he embarked in the grocery business in the village of Rushville, disposing of the same five years later and purchasing the farm in Rushville Township, which he operated with fair success until his death in 1888.  The same courage and capacity of endurance which brought him to the wilds of Illinois induced him to seek his fortune in the gold mines of California in 1850, and he undertook the long journey across the plains in an ox train, driving a team of sturdy oxen from early morn until nightfall for six months.  He seems not to have been especially successful as an Argonaut, for in 1853 he returned and took up the burden of farming and stock-raising.

At the age of thirty years, his son, Francis P. Ritchey, left the home farm in Rushville Township, and went to seek his fortune in the State of Kansas.  He had received a practical education in the public schools, had profited by a commercial course in Indianapolis and in Illinois, as in Kansas, engaged in school teaching for several terms.  He also embarked on an agricultural enterprise in the latter state, but the uncertainty of the seasons and the failure of crops interfered with the realization of his expectations and he returned to his former home in Rushville Township in 1876.  The same year he was united in marriage to Catherine Sands, a daughter of Robert and Frances Sands, natives of Ohio and Kentucky, respectively.  Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Ritchey:  Laura E., wife of Noah Moore, of Rushville; Frances; George F.; and Robert F.  These children have all been given excellent educational and general advantages, and are developing into capable and useful members of society.  Frances is attending a school of elocution in Chicago; George F. is qualifying as a physician and surgeon at the St. Louis Medical School; and Robert F. is in charge of the old home place in Rushville Township.

At the present time Mr. Ritchey owns 265 acres of land in Section 6, in the above named township, all of it improved, and equipped with modern implements.  In addition to general farming he always has on hand various kinds of stock, including high grade horses, cattle and hogs, and is promoting one of the most modern and scientific farming enterprises in the State of Illinois.  He is a Republican in politics, has held, among other offices,  that of Supervisor of Rushville Township, and with the rest of his family, is a devout and consistent member of the Christian Church.  Fraternally, he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  Mr. Ritchey is a man of fine breeding, tact and consideration, and is well informed upon the subjects which interest progressive and intelligent people.  Farming has enlarged and broadened his mind and perceptions, instead of narrowing them, as is the case with less inquiring men, and he is physically, mentally and morally, a representative of the best agricultural element of his time and place.

2 replies »

    • Robert,
      I love finding these old biographies – they usually have such great information – information that you generally wouldn’t find in other places. They make the person come to life! There are several other Ritchey blogs on my site – just do a search in the box under my name and short bio.

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