John W. Rickel


JOHN W. RICKEL, truck farmer of Washington township, occupies and operates part of the tract originally settled by his. grandfather and grandmother, George and Elizabeth (Christman) Rickel. He is a descendant of one of the Hessian soldiers who came to America during the Revolutionary war, a number of whom refused to return to their own country. The soldier was his great-great-grandfather. His great-grandfather, George Rickel, lived in Bedford county, Pennsylvania.

George Rickel, grandfather of John W. Rickel, settled with his wife in Washington township, Armstrong county, Pa., in 1816, owning a tract of 159 1/2 acres, part of which is now the farm occupied by their grandson, John W. Rickel. It was then in the woods, and he built his log cabin and set about the work of clearing and improving the place, accomplishing much in his illustrious life. George Rickel was a good mechanic, and he used to repair guns for the lndians then living in the vicinity, with whom he was always on good terms. In politics he was a Democrat and Whig in turn. He died in 1840, and his wife died in 1847.

Henry Rickel, son of George and Elizabeth (Christman) Rickel, was born May 30, 1829, in the log cabin home of his parents. He learned carpentering, which he followed in connection with farming all his life.

He was a Republican in political sentiment. Mr. Rickel married Rachel Bish, who was born Oct. 9, 1840, and survives him. He died Aug. 17, 1888.

They had children as follows: Henry, John W., Samuel E., Nancy J., George W., Otto Laurence and David.

John W. Rickel was born May 28, 1863, in Washington township, and grew to manhood there. He went to the common schools, and pursued his more advanced studies at summer school. For two years he was engaged in teaching, at what is known as the Rickel school, No. 9, located on the homestead. He devotes the principal part of his time to market gardening, in which he has been highly successful. Few men of the locality have been as closely associated with the direction of its public affairs. He was first elected to office when twenty years old, becoming auditor of the township, attaining his legal majority the May after the election, which took place in March, and has been connected with the local government in one capacity or another ever since. He has served three years as school director, has been justice of the peace for three times and tax collector for ten years, holding the latter position at the present time. For two years he was postmaster at Wattersonville during the Taft administration.

In political connection he is a Republican.  

Mr. Rickel has been very prominent in fraternal work, having belonged to the Odd Fellows at Cowansville (and Rebekah degree), Eagles, Owls, Home Guards, Grange, Independent Americans, Farmers' Alliance and Order of United American Mechanics, but he has recently given up considerable of his activity in some of these orders. He is particularly interested in Odd Fellowship, having served a number of years as noble grand of his lodge. Mr. Rickel has never married.

Source: Page 468-496, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J. H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed May 1999 by Michael S. Caldwell for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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