Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery

RITNER, GEORGE

p. 1537

Surnames: RITNER, LUKENS, CAHALL, McILVAINE, NAGLE

George Ritner, proprietor of the Neversink Ice Company, was born March 5, 1846, in Reading, son of Joseph and Leah (Lukens) Ritner, natives of this city.

Joseph Ritner was educated in the common schools and when a young man learned the dual trades of brick laying and hatting, following the former during the summer seasons and the latter in the winter months. He was a very good workman, was a kind neighbor and useful citizen. Mr. Ritner's death occurred in 1876, when sixty-nine years of age, his wife having passed away the year before, aged sixty-four years. Like her husband she was noted for her kindness and charity, and was especially beloved by those who were suffering or in want. The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Ritner: Mary, died single ; Frank, deceased ; Sarah, married John Cahall ; George ; and Anna and Caroline, deceased. In religious belief the family were members of the Roman Catholic Church.

George Ritner received his education in the common schools of Reading, and during his vacations assisted his father. After completing his schooling he found employment at the Reading Cotton Mills, later apprenticing himself to the trade of machinist, in the machine shops of the company. He later worked in the McIlvaine Son's sheet mill until 1864, when he enlisted in Co. I, 196th P. V. I., as corporal, serving until the expiration of the war. After receiving his discharge he returned to Reading and followed the machinist's trade until 1874, when he engaged in the ice business. For twenty years he handled natural ice, but for the past twelve years he has been producing artificial ice, his office being located at No. 311 South Sixth street. Mr. Ritner is one of the oldest ice dealers in business in Reading, and has a large, steady trade.

In 1872 Mr. Ritner was married to Miss Mary K. Nagle, daughter of Alexander Nagle, eight children being born to this union, six of whom survive, as follows: Joseph ; Annie ; Charles ; Franklin ; George and Genevieve. In politics he is a Democrat, and was alderman from the second ward from 1885 to 1890, serving also as register assessor. He and his family are members of the Roman Catholic Church.


RITTENHOUSE, JACOB S. (DR.)

p. 467

Surnames: RITTENHOUSE, SHAFFER, TREXLER, BRUNNER, GRIESEMER

Dr. Jacob S. Rittenhouse, one of Readings leading medical practitioners, has been in constant practice in that city for the past twenty-four years, during which time he has won the confidence and esteem of the entire community and has occupied positions of honor and trust. He was born June 3, 1861, son of Dr. Samuel R. and Anna M (Shaffer) Rittenhouse.

The Rittenhouses originally came from Holland, the family being established in America in 1690, in which year the progenitor established the first paper mill in America at Germantown, Pa. Dr. Samuel R. Rittenhouse, father of Dr. Jacob S., was born near the Trappe, Montgomery Co., Pa., Jan. 16, 1832, son of Jacob D. Rittenhouse, one of the substantial agriculturists of that section, who died of apoplexy aged sixty-one years, April 17, 1843. Samuel R. Rittenhouse attended the public schools of his native town during his younger years, and then took a medical course in the University of Pennsylvania from which he was graduated in 1853. He immediately entered upon practice as an allopathic physicians near The Trappe, but not being satisfied until he had received the best education possible, he returned to the University the following fall and attended another course of lectures, also taking advantage of the Clinics at the University hospital. During the following year he formed a partnership with Dr. Lesher Trexler at Longswamp, Berks county, and they acquired a large and remunerative practice which they held until 1855. At the time he had no faith in the Homeopathic School of Medicine, having been led to believe that it was nothing more than a delusion; but the wonderful accomplishments of that year opened his eyes, as it did those of every other man who was deeply interested in the advances of medical science. He decided, therefore, to make a careful investigation, and at once read the Organon and studied the Homeopathic Materia Medica. With the coming of faith in the new school, faith in the old school began to wane and finally made its departure, when upon testing the medicines in active practice he became thoroughly satisfied with the principle of Hahnemann-Similia similibus curantur. In 1857 he removed to Millerstown, now Macungie, Lehigh county, where for years he had charge of a large practice. Indeed, it grew to such an extent that it required his entire attention, his health became greatly impaired, and, fearing that it would be necessary to relinquish his practice entirely, he removed to Reading in October, 1868 where he hoped to better the condition of his health. He soon after took up practice again, and continued with much success until his death, June 26, 1895. Dr. Rittenhouse was a member of the Homeopathic Medical societies of Berks and Schuylkill counties, the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania, and the Reading Society of Natural Sciences. He frequently contributed papers to medical journals of both schools, and was a writer of merit.

During the Civil war he was an enthusiastic advocate of the Union cause, and contributed numerous articles to local papers intended to stimulate patriotism in the people and to continue the support of the Union. He was a consistent Republican, and in 1863 was the popular candidate of his party for the State Legislature, but was defeated at the election. At the time of his demise he was acting as consulting physician of the Medical Staff of the Homeopathic Hospital, and was also the first president of the Hahnemann Medical Society of Reading. By his marriage to Anna M. Shaffer, he became the father of two sons and two daughters: Jacob S.; Anna; Hannah; and a son who died in infancy.

Dr. Jacob S. Rittenhouse was but seven years of age when his father removed the family to Reading, and there he obtained his elementary education in the public schools, later taking a course in languages and the natural sciences at the Scientific Academy under the preceptorship of the Hon. D. B. Brunner, after which he matriculated in the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia in 1882. On April 3, 1885, he was graduated, and the degree of Doctor of Medicine was conferred upon him. During the last year in college he was elected by the class to "quiz" them on the subject of pathology and the practice of medicine. After his graduation he became associated in practice with his father in Reading, and during the winter of 1887-8 he attended the New York Polyclinic and other well-known hospitals, devoting particular attention to the diseases of the ear, nose and throat. He has since made a specialty of these subjects, and is at present the Special United States Pension Examiner for the district of Berks county on ailments of the ear and eye. He was one of the first surgeons on the staff of the Reading homeopathic Hospital. He has been successful in practice beyond his fondest expectations, and numbers among his patients many of the leading citizens of the county. For twelve years Dr. Rittenhouse has had his home at Lorane, Pa., although actively continuing his medical work at his office in Reading.

Professionally Dr. Rittenhouse is a member of the Reading and the State Homeopathic Societies, and is an ex-president of the Hahnemann Medical Society of Reading. His fraternal connections are with Vigilant Lodge, I. O. O. F.; the Encampment, I. O. O. F.; and the A. O. U. W. For many years he had been extensively interested in horticulture and fruit growing, and he is one of the judges of apples at the fairs of the Berks County Agricultural Society. He belongs to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and to the American Pomological Society. Dr. Rittenhouse is a man of high character and is greatly respected by his fellow-citizens and practitioners.

On June 12, 1888, Dr. Rittenhouse was married to Emma K. Griesemer, daughter of Benneville D. and Hannah K Griesemer, and four children were born to them, namely: Roger G., who died at the age of eleven months, after a severe illness of a few weeks; Mary Esther, born Jan. 18, 1892; Samuel B., born Oct. 14, 1893; and Ruth Helen, born Dec. 14, 1897.


RITTER, ALBERT

p. 423

Surnames: RITTER, BECHTEL, SNYDER, KAST, KESSLER, SEIDEL, CHRISTIAN, FRAILEY, ROLAND, HART, NEVIUS

Albert Ritter, who has been known to the citizens of Reading for nearly half a century as a professional musician, was born in that city Feb. 26, 1838, son of Joel and Angeline (Bechtel) Ritter, and member of a family long known in Eastern Pennsylvania.

The Ritters are of German descent. The first American ancestor was one of the early settlers of Oley (or Exeter) township, and his descendants have lived in that locality for a period of one hundred and fifty or more years.

Francis Ritter was born in Exeter township, where he carried on farming successfully all his life. On Jan. 3, 1797, when Der Reading Adler was established, he purchased an interest in same, and put his son John in the office to learn the printing and publishing business. He was the father of seven children, namely: Daniel, born in 1776, married Susanna Snyder, and died in 1853; John is mentioned below; Jacob; Samuel, born April 3, 1792, m. Catharine Kast, and died Sept. 8, 1860; Mrs. Charles Kessler; Mrs. Nicholas Seidel; and Mrs. Samuel Christian.

Hon. John Ritter, son of Francis, was born in Exeter township, Feb. 6, 1779. He was reared upon a farm, and at the age of eighteen went to Reading and entered the Adler office to learn the printer's trade. He devoted himself to study to make up for lack of early advantages. He continued with the Adler office, and on June 29, 1802, became the owner of a half interest in the plant. He was prominent in public affairs, and during President James K. Polk's administration served (1843-47) as a member of Congress. He was a loyal Democrat and a strong party man. Mr. Ritter died Nov. 24, 1851, aged seventy-two years, and his wife Catharine (Frailey) Ritter, in 1863, aged eighty years. Mr. and Mrs. Ritter were the parents of nineteen children, all of whom are buried in the Charles Evans cemetery, having been formerly interred, however, in the old Reformed Church cemetery at the corner of Washington and Reed streets. All of these children, with the exception of three, died before reaching their majority. The three reaching mature years were: Joel; Louis, born April 3, 1813, who obtained the Adler from his father and was its proprietor for many years, and who died Oct. 16, 1889; and Aaron, born April 15, 1816, also a printer connected with the Adler, who died at No. 232 Penn street, Reading, Nov. 11, 1873. The family were originally members of the Reformed Church, but later became Universalists, Mr. Ritter donating the plot of ground on which the Universalist church now stands. Mr. Ritter was a man of high principles and was widely known for his great part in advancing the interests of the city of Reading.

Joel Ritter, son of Hon. John, was born in Reading Dec. 15, 1811, and was educated in Reading Academy. He, too, was a printer by trade, learning this and gaining the knowledge of how a journal should be conducted in his father's office. He then became editor of the Jefferson Democrat, and continued as such some time. He next embarked in the lumber business in Reading, locating in the lower part of the town, where he continued until 1850, when a freshet greatly damaged his property, and he abandoned the business. He was always interested in politics as a firm believer in Democratic principles, and from 1839 to 1842 served a prothonotary of Berks county. During President Buchanan's administration he held a position in the United States Customs Department at Philadelphia. For several years prior to his death Mr. Ritter was an invalid, and he passed away July 18, 1868, aged fifty-six years. He was twice married, his first wife, Angeline Bechtel, dying in 1840 when twenty-six years of age, and leaving two sons, John Francis and Albert. He married (second) Miss Barbara A. Roland, and to this union were born: Anna and Francis, who both died in infancy; Henry, who was assistant city treasurer and died in 1899; and Ida, who resides at No. 325 Washington street, Reading. Mr. Ritter was past master of Lodge No. 62, F. & A. M.; was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in 1841; and made a Knight Templar in St. John's Commandery in Philadelphia in 1848.

John Francis Ritter was born Jan. 24, 1836. He received his education in Boyertown Academy, and was appointed to the West Point Military Academy July 1, 1852, graduating therefrom July 1, 1856, at which latter date he was appointed second lieutenant, 5th United States Infantry. He served in Florida against the Seminole Indians, 1856-57; in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., in 1857; frontier duty in the Utah Expedition, 1857-60. Mr. Ritter's army record continues as follows: March to New Mexico, 1860; Fort Fauntleroy, N. M., 1860; Fort Dodge, N. M., 1860-61; Fort Union, N. M., 1861; promoted first lieutenant, 5th U. S. Inf., March 27, 1861; transferred to 15th U. S. Inf., May 14, 1861; in New Mexico in command of battery, May 1861, May 1862; promoted captain, May 14, 1861; engaged in action of Apache Canon, March 28, 1862; Peralta, April 15, 1862; brevetted major March 28, 1862, for "gallant and meritorious services at the battle of Apache Canon, N. M."; in campaign resulting in the dispersion of Confederates under Gen. Sibley, May, 1862; made Colonel, 1st Missouri Cavalry, Aug. 9, 1862; in camp near Helena, Ark, Sept.-Nov., 1862; acting inspector general of the Army of the Southwest, November, 1862; in the defences at Memphis, Tenn., Dec., 1862-July, 1863; commanding brigade 16th Army Corps, March, 1863; in command Third Brigade, Davidson's Cavalry Division, in campaign resulting in the capture of Little Rock, Ark., Sept. 10, 1863; brevetted lieutenant-colonel, Sept. 10, 1863, for gallant services at the capture of Little Rock; on leave of absence Oct. 14, 1863-Jan. 6, 1864; in command of cavalry brigade, 7th Army Corps, Little Rock, Ark., January-March 1864; on General Steele's Campaign to Camden, and returning, March 23-May 2, 1864, being engaged in several skirmishes; on veteran furlough, May 16-July 29, 1864; in command of cavalry brigade, 7th Army Corps, and scouting about Little Rock, Ark., July 29-Dec 5, 1864; in command of recruits (resigned volunteer commission Dec. 5, 1864), Fort Adams, R. I., January-April, 1865, and of company at Lookout Mountain, Tenn., April-August, 1865; on leave of absence, Aug 12-Sept. 24, 1865; in garrison at Mobile, Ala., Sept. 24, 1865-Jan 18, 1866; Vicksburg, Miss., January-September, 1866, being acting assistant inspector general of the Department of Mississippi March 7-Sept. 25, 1866; transferred to 33d U. S. Inf., Sept. 21, 1866; in command, Natchez, Miss., Sept. 21, 1866-Dec. 1, 1866; Macon, Ga., Jan. 4-April 15, 1867; and Rome, Ga., April, 1867. His last regiment was the 8th United States Infantry. He died at Catskill, N. Y., Aug 1, 1872, and was buried in the family plot in the Charles Evans cemetery, Reading. He had the respect and esteem of officers and men alike, all recognizing his great kindness of heart and irreproachable character.

Albert Ritter was educated in the common schools of Reading, and also at Clinton Liberal Institute, Clinton, N. Y. Returning to Reading he engaged as a dry goods salesman for Asa M. Hart for two years, and then took up the study of music. For thirteen years Mr. Ritter was organist of St. Peter's Church (Catholic), and for ten years at Trinity Lutheran Church. He has given his life to his art, studying under both French and German instructors, and he taught music in Reading for a period of forty-five years. He retired in June, 1908. Mr. Ritter is well known not only all over the city of Reading, but in the surrounding country as well, having been one of the leaders in his profession. He is a member of St. John's Lodge, No. 435, F. & A. M., in which he is past master. He was made a Mason May 14, 1869; is past high priest in Reading Royal Arch Chapter, No. 152; member of Creigh Council, No. 16; past commander of De Molay Commandery No. 9, K. T.; and is a thirty-second-degree Mason, formerly belonging to Wilmington Consistory No. 16. He is a charter member of Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., and also belongs to the Masonic Veterans. For eleven years he served on the board of managers of the Masonic Home of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia. In 1862 Mr. Ritter enlisted in Company E, 11th Pennsylvania Militia, Emergency Corps, and later re-enlisted in the 42nd Pennsylvania, serving as first corporal until discharged by General Orders. He is a member of Gen. William H. Keim Post, No. 76, G. A. R.; and at present (1909) he is serving as Aide-de-Camp on the staff of Gen. Henry M. Nevius, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic. He is connected with the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Department of Pennsylvania, being in Class One, by inheritance from his brother, Col. John F. Ritter, and the number of his Insignia is 9,513.


RITTER, DANIEL K.

p. 927

Surnames: RITTER, SCHAEFFER, KNABB, SNYDER, SAILOR, WIEST, KLINE, HARTMAN, HERBINE, RHOADS, HECKMAN, MASSER, GOODHEART, LEVAN

Daniel K. Ritter, who is carrying on agricultural operations on the old Captain Schaeffer farm in Exeter township, Berks county, was born Nov. 11, 1853, on the old Ritter homestead in this township, son of John D. and Henrietta (Knabb) Ritter, the latter the daughter of Abraham Knabb, who was the first steward of the Berks county almshouse.

John D. Ritter was born and reared in Exeter township, where he died in 1866, at the age of fifty-one years. He was a farmer all of his active period, was a Democrat in politics, holding various township offices, and in religious belief was Reformed, serving as deacon and elder of the Schwartzwald Church of that denomination. He and his wife, Henrietta Knabb, were the parents of nine children: Samuel K., a farmer of Exeter township, died when fifty-five years of age; Elizabeth m. (first) Daniel

Snyder and (second) Franklin Sailor; Mary Ann m. Zacharias Wiest, a carpenter of Reading; Josephine m. Henry Kline, a clerk of Reading; Daniel K.; Calvin K., proprietor of the "Gechter Hotel," m. Catharine Hartman; William, a farmer of Exeter township, m. (first) Judith Hartman, and (second) Mandilla Herbine; and Henrietta m. Nathaniel Rhoads, of Amity township.

Daniel K. Ritter was educated in the public schools of Exeter, and was reared on the farm, but spent two years in a grist mill at Oley, then returning to farm life. After his marriage he located on the Herbine farm in Oley township for four years, and he then came to his present fine farm of 152 acres which he farmed as a tenant for ten years, and then purchased. He does general farming and dairying, keeping about twenty cows, and conducting a milk route to Reading, which latter is operated by his son,

Charles H. In politics Mr. Ritter is a Democrat, and he has served as school director and supervisor. He is a member of Schwartzwald Reformed Church, and has served as deacon therein for three terms. On April 12, 1878, Mr. Ritter was married to Miss Emma Heckman, daughter of Joseph and Louisa (Masser) Heckman, and five children have been born to this union: Charles H. m. Matilda Goodhart, and has a daughter Margaret; Monroe, a bookkeeper for the Roebling Construction Company, of New York City, was formerly a teacher in the public schools of Exeter township; Sadie m. Jacob Levan, a weaver of St. Lawrence, and they have twin daughters, Anna and Emma; and Annie and Brooke are at home.


RITTER FAMILY

p. 656

Surnames: RITTER, SAEGER, KECK, SCHNECK, FRANTZ, KLINE, KESSLER, SEIDEL, CHRISTIAN, SNYDER, SCHNEIDER, GERRISH, KEISER, HAWLEY, GETZ, PERSHING, SHEARER, SHANEMAN, LUDEN, HOFMANN, MCCORMICK, GRABER, CRESSMAN, DEURER, FRAILEY, BECHTEL, ROLAND, DOEBLER, BABB, HAAS, WERNER, BRINER, KOCH, KENT, BRENEISER, PALM, KUTZ, DETER, BOYER, HECHLER, HERBINE, MASSER, NINE, RIFE, SCHMUCKER, KLEVER, PHILLIPS, DRUMHELLER, ESTERLY, EAST, BECKER, GREGG, HENNINGER, HAHN, MOYER, BILLMAN, RUTH, DICK, NEIN

Ritter. The history of the Ritter family has been very hard to trace, but the yearly reunions which have been held of late have brought to light many new or little known accounts of their origin and have awakened interest in their early days in this country, where the Ritters are now numerously represented.

The name, which signifies "knight," originated during the Middle Ages. When the Crusades were organized over central Europe to redeem the Holy Land a society having for its object the defense of the faith, the protection of the weak and the honor of womankind, came into existence in central Europe; it was known as die Ritterschaft, that is, the Knighthood. It flourished for a few centuries, and many people of rank as well as of the middle and lower classes belonged to it, but in time it became corrupt and was disbanded. About this time surnames were coming into general use, and many if not all who belonged to this society assumed that of Ritter, so that there were soon a large number of the name in central Europe. Their principal stronghold seems to have been in the Palatinate, as nearly all who came to America emigrated thence. The emigrations began during the middle of the eighteenth century, and we give some of the port entries, most of these sailing from Rotterdam; Casper Ritter, 1750, ship "Friendship"; Martin Ritter, 1749, ship "Phoenix"; Christopher Ritter, 1731; Heins Ritter, 1731; Mary Ritter, 1731; John and George Ritter, 1736; Aaron Ritter, 1738; Martin Peter Ritter, 1749; Joseph Ritter, 1749; Jacob Ritter, 1750; Hans Ritter, 1731; Jacob Ritter, 1751; Nicholas Ritter, 1752; William and Polly Ritter, 1753; John Godfrey Ritter, 1755; Michael Ritter, 1765; William Heinrich Ritter, 1772; Anton Henry Ritter, 1773; Carl Ritter, 1775. These are a few of the names found recorded at different ports, and no doubt nearly all became heads of families in this country, but we give only such history as we have of the two first named, Casper and Martin Ritter, who are supposed to have been brothers.

Casper Ritter landed at Philadelphia in 1750, and tradition tells us that he and his brother Martin first settled in Delaware, but as the soil and climate did not suit them they came into Pennsylvania. Casper proceeded to Easton, then the county-seat of what is now Lehigh and Northampton counties, and was granted a patent for a tract of 510 acres located on Fels creek, a few miles west of its confluence with the Lehigh river. The present town of Laury's is situated where the Fels creek joins the Lehigh river. Casper Ritter's original farm included the farms now owned by Reuben Saeger, Prof. David S. Keck and John and Jeremiah Schneck, with perhaps a few smaller tracts. No doubt the tract granted him was forest land and required clearing, the log house had to be built and the soil brought to cultivation from its primitive state. The old log house which sheltered him and his family was razed to the ground only a few years ago. Whether his wife accompanied him across the ocean, or whether he secured her in this country, is not known, but it is known that six of his children reached maturity: Jacob, Mrs. Johannes Frantz, John, Heinrich, Mrs. Nicholas Saeger and Mrs. Heinrich Frantz. Casper Ritter and his wife were both buried on their farm, on a small elevation a short distance from the house, and their graves are still to be seen. With the exception of a few of the children of Mrs. Heinrich Frantz who moved to Clinton county their descendants settled in the same community, and they are still numerous in that locality. Their annual reunions are notable events. Most of the Ritters living in Leigh and Northampton counties north of Allentown, and many living in Allentown, are descended from this Casper Ritter.

From Martin Ritter descend principally those of the name who live in Allentown and south of that place, between Macungie and Freemansburg. He came to this country, as stated, in 1749, and secured a patent for a tract of land in what is now Salisbury township, a few miles south of Allentown. He was the father of seven children: Martin, Henry, John, Daniel, Michael, Jacob and Gretchen (Mrs. Solomon Kline).

Philip Ritter was the ancestor of the Ritter family in Schoenersville, Rittersville and the region over toward Nazareth.


Francis Ritter seems to have been the ancestor of the Berks county Ritters. His father, George Ritter, was a pioneer. Francis, born in 1741 in Exeter township, Berks county, died in 1825. To him and his wife Barbara were born four sons and three daughters; Daniel, John, Jacob, Samuel, Mrs. Charles Kessler, Mrs. Nicholas Seidel and Mrs. Samuel Christian.

It is a matter of interest that the only printing-press ever constructed in Berks county was designed and made in 1796 in Exeter, near the Oley line, by John and Jacob Snyder and Francis Ritter. The Snyders were descendants of Hans Schneider, who secured a warrant for 300 acres of land in Oley as early as 1717. The Ritters and Snyders intermarried. On this hand press Der Readinger Adler was originally printed, the first number appearing Nov. 25, 1796. The paper was started by Jacob Snyder and George Gerrish, and Francis Ritter, who had helped to build the press, bought a half interest in the establishment in 1797, after the publication of two numbers, and placed his son John in the office when the latter was eighteen. John Ritter learned type-setting and the details of the printing business, and was one of the publishers of the Adler from 1802 to 1851.

Originally the Ritters lived in Oley and Exeter townships, and the pioneers are buried in the cemetery near the Schwartzwald Church. According to tradition, the pioneer settler secured a large tract of land from the Indians, bargaining for as much land as he could walk around between sunrise and sunset. Later, when William Penn took possession in Pennsylvania, he claimed that the Indians had no right to sell land that the king of England had given to him, and the pioneer of the Ritter family lost his claim.

Daniel Ritter, eldest son of Francis (1741-1825), was born in Exeter township, Berks county, in 1776. He engaged in farming on the old homestead quite successfully all his life, and he died in 1852. He married Susanna Snyder, daughter of Benjamin Snyder (and sister of Elizabeth, his brother Jacob's wife), and she died in 1876, aged eighty-four years. Their children were: Benjamin, Esther, Daniel, Louisa, Ferdinand, William Snyder and Franklin.

William Snyder Ritter, son of Daniel and Susanna (Snyder), was born in Exeter township Sept. 13, 1828. He remained on the home farm until he was seventeen, receiving such education as was afforded by the common schools, and then was apprenticed to his uncle, John Ritter, in Der Readinger Adler office, to learn the printer's trade. He finished his apprenticeship, and continued to work in the same place, in time becoming foreman. In 1856 he gave up work at his trade, and spent eight years in the mercantile business in Reading, the major portion of that time having for his partner David Keiser. In 1864, with Jesse G. Hawley, he purchased the Adler, and under the name of Ritter & Co. -the same under which it had been conducted by its former owners - they carried it on with great success for ten years. In 1868 they began the publication of a daily evening paper in English, the Reading Daily Eagle, and in the same year purchased the Reading Gazette and Democrat, of J. Lawrence Getz. The partnership was dissolved in 1874, Mr. Ritter becoming sole proprietor of the Adler, and Mr. Hawley taking the two English papers and Der Readinger Kalendar. In 1876 Mr. Ritter erected what was then the largest printing establishment in Reading - a four-story brick building. Some time after this he founded the English daily paper, The Reading Daily News, and the English weekly, The Reading Weekly News. He also got out Der Neue Readinger Alder Kalendar, and all these he published successfully until his retirement, in February, 1891. He was a Democrat in politics, and his publications were intelligent exponents of that faith. His pen was vigorous in its warfare for the principles he advocated, and his honesty and fearlessness won the respect of all. In 1875 he was a delegate to the State convention that nominated the Hon. Cyrus L. Pershing for governor. In 1861-62, 1864-65, 1874-76 he was a member of the common council, and during his second term was president of that body. From 1877 to 1882 he was prison inspector. He was public-spirited and progressive, and was influential in securing the Reading waterworks. Whatever position he held, the duties pertaining to that position he conscientiously and impartially fulfilled. He gave great encouragement to the Agricultural Society, and was its treasurer for twelve years. His death, May 2, 1891, was a severe loss to the community.

In 1853 Mr. Ritter married Julianna Shearer, daughter of Jonathan Shearer, and they had seven children: Milford Newton; Jonathan Shearer; William Clinton; Francis Daniel; Henry Snyder; Laura (m. William F. Shaneman); and Annie (m. William H. Luden, of Reading).

William Clinton Ritter, son of William Snyder and Julianna (Shearer), was born in Reading Jan. 22, 1860. He obtained a good education in the public schools of the city, which he attended until he was sixteen years old. He then learned the printer's trade, serving an apprenticeship of four years in Der Readinger Adler office, and he has ever since been employed as a journeyman, for a number of years having had charge of the press-room of the Reading Telegram. Since he first joined the force of the Adler that paper has passed through different hands. Mr. Ritter is a man of sterling worth, and is held in high esteem. He is a member of the Royal Arcanum. With his family he attends the Universalist Church, to which the Ritters have belonged through several generations. Mr. William C. Ritter married in 1878 Mary A. Hofmann, and they have two children: (1) Julia, a musician, who while a student in the Boston Conservatory met and married F. P. McCormick a musician at Boston; and (2) Harold H., a graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., and now an officer in the United States navy.


Hofmann. The Hofmann family to which Mrs. William C. Ritter belongs is not of long residence in this country, Mrs. Ritter's father, Rev. Andrew Hofmann, having been a native of Germany. He was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, attended the German schools, and there prepared for the ministry. After his ordination he came to America, and located at the Swamp in Montgomery county, being pastor of the Swamp charge for twenty-five years. He died in 1860, aged sixty-five years. His wife, Lovina Graber, was born at Pennsburg, daughter of Andrew Graber, a farmer. She died in 1880, aged fifty-eight years. They had eight children: Emil; Oscar; Doris, of New York; Amelia, deceased; Fannie (m. Jesse Cressman, of Sumneytown, Pa.); Ferdinand (of Philadelphia) and Ferdinanda (deceased), twins; and Mary A. (m. William C. Ritter, of Reading).

Emil Hofmann, son of Rev. Andrew and brother of Mrs. Ritter, is a retired citizen of Reading. He was born at the Falkner Swamp in Montgomery county Dec. 7, 1847, and was educated in the public schools there, working on the farm out of school hours. His father dying, he was at the age of thirteen obliged to earn his own living. In 1873 he came to Reading, and for nine years was successfully engaged in the shoe business at No. 803 Penn street; before that he had spent twelve years in the same line on Penn street, above Ninth. This business he had learned in Sumneytown. In 1898 he retired and visited Europe, traveling through Germany, France and England for three months, accompanied by his wife. They reside at No. 19 South Eleventh street, Reading. Mr. Hofmann is a member of Zion's Reformed Church, of which he was deacon and elder for many years. In 1885 he married Louisa Deurer, daughter of Frederick Deurer, a native of Germany, who came to America in 1850. Mr. and Mrs. Hofmann have no children.


Hon. John Ritter, son of Francis and Barbara, and brother of Daniel, was born in Exeter township, near Schwartzwald Church, Feb. 6, 1779. His early education was limited, and all in German, except for three months when he studied English. When he was eighteen he left his father's farm, and entered the office of Der Readinger Adler (of which his father was half-owner), and there learned the printer's trade. His spare time was devoted to improving his education. In 1862 his father's interest in the paper was transferred to him, and two years later his brother-in-law, Charles Kessler, purchased the other half-interest, and the firm became John Ritter & Co. Mr. Ritter died Nov. 24, 1851, respected by all. His integrity was well known, and even those of opposing political parties regarded him and the news he printed as absolutely unimpeachable. Under him the paper was known as the "Berks County Bible." He was a Democrat, and for two terms, 1843-48, represented this district in Congress, being a member of that body during Polk's administration. He was offered the nomination a third term, but refused. He was one of the five delegates from Berks county to the Constitutional Convention in 1837. In 1803 he married Catharine Frailey, daughter of Peter Frailey (who was sheriff of Berks county when the Adler was started), and they had three sons: Joel, born Dec. 15, 1811, long prominent in official position, m. (first) Angeline Bechtel, and (second) Barbara A. Roland, and died July 18, 1868; Louis, born April 3, 1813, is mentioned in full below; and Aaron, born April 15, 1816, connected all his life with Der Reading Adler, m. Louisa Doebler, and died Nov. 11, 1873. The Hon. John Ritter was a member of the Universalist Church, as have been all the family for generations, and in 1830 he assisted liberally in the erection of the church edifice, giving it his support as long as he lived.

Louis Ritter, son of Hon. John and Catharine (Frailey), born in the city of Reading April 3, 1813, died Picture of Louis Ritterthere in the house in which he was born, No. 353 Penn street, Oct. 16, 1889. He received his preliminary training in the select schools of Reading, and at an early age entered the Adler office to learn the printer's trade. Here he continued in various capacities until the Ritter interests were purchased by Charles Kessler Mr. Kessler was associate editor and manager of the Adler while the Hon. John Ritter was in Congress, and Louis represented his mother's interests in the paper. He was a very conscientious, accurate and painstaking news gatherer, extremely exact in all of his details, and he was a financier of rare ability. His friendship was sincere and disinterested, and he was courteous and affable, having a kind word for all. He was interested in politics, but although often urged to do so would never accept office. Many years ago he, with Jacob Babb, was in charge of the State printing at Harrisburg, this being the only official business with which he ever had any connection. Mr. Ritter was also one of the stockholders of the old water board, but this was before the city purchased the water works. His father was also one of the original members of the board. Fraternally Mr. Ritter belonged to Montgomery Lodge, I. O. O. F.

Mr. Louis Ritter was twice married, his first wife, Maria B. Haas, dying in 1880. In 1882 he married Miss Mary E. Werner, daughter of Daniel Jackson and Esther (Briner) Werner, and she survives her husband and makes her home in Reading. Mrs. Ritter is a member of the Universalist Church of Our Father. She is connected with a number of charitable organizations, among them being the Widows' Home, the Homeopathic and Reading Hospitals, the Bureau of Employment and the Humane Society. In former years Mrs. Ritter was prominently identified with musical circles, being organist for Dr. Bausman for four years, and assisting in singing in the choirs of Reading's leading churches. Her father, Daniel Jackson Werner, was born in Cumru township, and for many years was foreman for Seyfert & McManus, in their iron foundry. He passed away after an illness covering eight years, at the age of sixty-four in the faith of the Universalist Church. His wife, Esther Briner, was a daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Koch) Briner.

In the death of Louis Ritter the poor of Reading lost one of their most generous friends, it being seldom that any subscription for a worthy object did not contain his name. The Rev. George W. Kent, in his sermon at Mr. Ritter's funeral, said: "Who can think of Death as anything but a messenger of peace when it closes such a life? Yet here is one who never professed religion in the accepted sense. His religion was not a matter of profession; it was just a matter of devout and childlike loyalty to his God, and of steadfast good will and faithfulness to his fellow-creatures. Would that Man had more of such religion."


Taking up the line of Jacob R. Ritter, of No. 235 Washington street, Reading, the indications are that he is a descendant in the sixth generation from (I) Ferdinand Ritter in both the paternal and maternal lines. Tradition says that this pioneer ancestor was obliged to leave his native land for some offense against the pope, for which he was to be beheaded. All his property was confiscated by the government. There was an Indian camp in Berks county near the Schwartzwald church, and there he lived with the Indians. It was said he married an Indian woman. At any rate, the story goes that a woman who was with the Indians was exchanged for another woman, and married a Ritter. He and his wife were buried in a fence corner on what is now the Charles Breneiser farm in Exeter, formerly owned by the late Benjamin Ritter, who was a son of Daniel Ritter.

At the rooms of the Berks County Historical Society may be found the early tax receipts of the county, from 1754, in which year George Ritter paid L18, 4s., 6d., and Ferdinand Ritter, L36, 9s., tax in Exeter; there are no tax receipts for Ritters in that year from Oley.

(II) George Ritter, son of Ferdinand, was the next in line of descent to Jacob R. Ritter, whose line on the paternal side seems to come through (III) George, (IV) Isaac and (V) David Ritter, his father. On the maternal side his line from (II) George is through (III) Francis, (IV) Jacob and (V) Susan Ritter. It is known that his paternal and maternal grandfathers were first cousins. (III) Francis Ritter and his descendants are fully mentioned in the early part of this record.

(III) George Ritter, son of (II) George and grandson of (I) Ferdinand, was the great-grandfather of Mr. Jacob R. Ritter. He was a farmer, lived a little more than a mile below Schwartzwald church, and died in Exeter when over ninety years of age. Among his children were Christian and Isaac. This George Ritter was a Revolutionary soldier, and his grandson, David Ritter (father of Jacob R.) had the bayonet he used while in the service.

(IV) Christian Ritter, who died in Reading in 1874, in the ninety-sixth year of his age, was born in Oley township, Berks county, in 1779, a son of George Ritter. Christian Ritter passed his early years on his father's farm. One of the events of his boyhood was the visit of President Washington to Reading on his way to Carlisle during the Whiskey Insurrection. In his own words he told the story: "Early in the morning of Oct. 2, 1794, when I was fourteen years old, I left Exeter for Reading with a number of residents of Exeter and Oley, all on horseback, having heard that President Washington was in town. We dismounted at the corner of Callowhill and Thomas (now Fifth and Washington), where the President was stopping at a hotel while on the way to Carlisle. When he departed we followed on horseback across the Schuylkill, and then we went along the King's highway and made the first stop at the house of Dr. Peter Palm, at Sinking Spring, at 9:30 in the morning. The Doctor invited the entire party into his house and refreshed them with red-eye, and he gave a toast to the President, who occupied a settee, which is still in the Palm family. At 10 o'clock the President and his escort pursued their way to Binckley's Inn, a few miles west. At 10:30 they galloped on their steeds to what is now known as Womelsdorf, reaching there at noon, and all took dinner at Stouch's Inn. At 2 o'clock the President and his party left for Stitestown, now Lebanon, while the Reading, Exeter and Oley people returned to their homes."

At the age of twenty-two Christian Ritter left home and learned the miller's trade, subsequently being employed in four different mills. After his marriage he came to Reading, and began distilling oils from the flower and vegetable kingdom, ether, wine, sweet spirits of nitre, horse powder, etc. His knowledge of chemistry he had gathered from books alone. He manufactured a blood purifier which he sold in many counties of the State, many doctors buying his medicines. He was but a boy when the first newspaper was started in Reading, the Reading Zeitung, by Johnson, Barton & Youngman, Mr. Youngman having been a teacher of Mr. Ritter in Exeter township. Mr. Ritter married Elizabeth Getz, and they lived many years at No. 36 South Third street. After her death he made his home with Charles H. Palm, at No. 38 North Third street, and there he died in his ninety-sixth year. In politics he was a stanch Democrat, and in religion a Universalist. In 1798, he came into possession of an old powder-horn bearing the date "1734," which had belonged to one of the first Ritters to come to America.

(IV) Isaac Ritter, son of George and brother of Christian, was the grandfather of Jacob R. Ritter, of Reading. He died on his farm in Exeter in 1852, aged sixty-eight years. The old house in which he lived, and which stood on what is now the Samuel and Adam Kutz estate, in Exeter, was razed by his son John in 1862, and before its destruction his grandson, Jacob R. Ritter, took the dimensions herewith given. It was a two-story structure, 30 by 50 feet, as it then stood. The first part built was of logs, 30 by 30 feet, and the addition, which was of stone, was built eighty or ninety years ago (1909). The fire-place in the log part was 16 by 4 feet in clear. It commenced in the basement, and the walls were 3 feet thick at each end, and the back narrowed to 18 inches in the second story, after which it tapered off up to the roof, projecting 3 feet above the roof, about 3 1-2 feet square. John Ritter said he hauled away over a hundred loads of stone. In front of the house was a good spring and a large pond, and, to one side, what is now the Jacob R. Ritter meadow. The spring has long been known as the Trout Spring from the numerous trout found there. At that day there were three times as many trout as at present, thanks to the care Isaac Ritter took to preserve them. He did not allow fishing unless somebody was sick in the neighborhood, or as far as Reading, when he would fetch trout for the sick without a cent of pay. The fish were not sold. He tended to them himself. Whole bucketfuls of buttermilk, after the cream was taken off, were thrown into the spring to feed them. He did not care to get as rich as some of his Ritter cousins.

When he was a younger man he had an apple-jack distillery, which was razed about seventy years ago, and the foundations of which are still to be seen near the site of the old house. Some of his apple-jack was hauled to Pittsburg. He also made his own wine. He was also a great lover of bees. He went to the woods and caught them in the straw beehives which he made himself. He had sometimes as many as twenty-five or thirty. Sometimes he raised them in the fall. When Jacob R. Ritter was a boy Isaac Ritter called all his children and grandchildren home to kill as many as ten or twelve hives of bees, which were destroyed in the following manner: A hole was made in the ground about six inches deep, sulphur was pulverized, made hot and smeared on small racks, which were laid in the hole; the sulphur was set on fire and the beehives set over it. In a half hour the bees were all dead. The house was full of people on this occasion, and they called it the bee thrashing or bee slaughter. A big long table was set with plenty on it, and each went home with his share of honey.

The old Isaac Ritter barn, with its straw roof, also razed in 1862, is another structure well remembered by Jacob R. Ritter, who drove the horses to thrash wheat there when he was ten years old. Isaac Ritter was an old-line Whig in politics, in which he took much interest, being a man particularly well informed on historical matters. He had a number of great histories of the old countries. His wife was a born Englishwoman, by name Deter. Eight of his children lived to a ripe age. His family was as follows: David, John, Joseph, Jesty (m. John Boyer), Harriet (m. William Boyer, brother of her sister's husband), Elizabeth (m. Daniel Hechler), Hannah (m. Moses Herbine), Apigalia (m. David Masser) and Mary (m. Daniel Nine).

(V) David Ritter, eldest child of Isaac, born in 1809, was killed in a runaway accident near the Black Bear May 8, 1847. He was a man of mechanical ability and thorough training, learned the millwright's trade, and built mills and thrashing machines. He got up the first corn-shelling device used in this section, and which helped to do away with the old method - laying a spade on a trestle and sitting on it and peeling the corn off. One of his corn-shelling contrivances is still preserved by Amos Rife, of Exeter, below the "Black Bear Inn," for a relic. Mr. Rife recently retired and sold his farm stock, but he kept the corn-sheller. It could be operated by power or hand, shelling two hundred bushels in a day by power, fifty or sixty by hand. David Ritter also built horse-powers for thrashing-machines. It was claimed that six horses equaled an eight-horse-power engine, but the power was not so steady.

David Ritter married Susan Ritter, his second cousin, who was a daughter of Jacob Ritter, who was first cousin to David Ritter's father, Isaac. Thus Mrs. David Ritter was a niece of John Ritter, "the learned printer," who is fully mentioned above. Nine of Jacob Ritter's children lived to a ripe age: Francis, Israel, Amos, Jacob, Charles, Susan (m. David Ritter); Mary (m. Jacob Schmucker); Eliza (m. Benneville Klever); and Henriette (m. Jacob Phillips.)

Mr. and Mrs. David Ritter had seven children: Jacob R., now of Reading, is mentioned below; Annie R. married William Drumheller, and lives at No. 1509 Lehigh avenue, Philadelphia; Elizabeth R. married Amos Esterly, and is deceased; Isaac R., a cabinet-maker, is now living at No. 831 North Twentieth street, Philadelphia; Amelia R. married Philip East, now of No. 222 Monroe street, Brooklyn, N. Y.; Mary R. is the widow of Obediah Becker, and is living with her son-in-law, Howard Gregg, at No. 819 West Cambria street, Philadelphia; David R. enlisted for five years in the regular army in 1862, when sixteen years old, and was last heard from in 1865, from Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.

Mrs. Susan Ritter and one of her sisters, Jacob R. Ritter and one of his sisters, had coal black hair, which fact was accounted for by the tradition of their emigrant ancestor's marriage to an Indian woman, and Jacob R. Ritter was called an Indian during his childhood. However, five of his brothers and sisters, and his other Ritter uncles and aunts, had dark brown hair.

(VI) Jacob R. Ritter, one of the best-known cabinetmakers in Berks county, was born at 8 a. m., Jan. 25, 1835, on the Breneiser farm in Exeter township, son of David Ritter. His father dying when he was in his thirteenth year, he lived with his uncle, John Ritter, his father's brother, until he was sixteen and a half years old. One Sunday his uncle, Jacob Schmucker (husband of his mother's sister), came to visit them in Oley, and he suggested to John Ritter that the boy ought to learn a trade, as his father had been such an excellent mechanic. The time being agreed upon, Mr. Schmucker secured him a place and bound him out for four years to Fred Henninger, of Reading, a first-class cabinet-maker. Thus it was that he came to Reading when sixteen years old. The first year he received his board and $25, the second his board and $30, the third his board and $35, and the fourth his board and $40. Upon the close of his apprenticeship he worked as a journeyman six months, when he and Charles Henninger bought out Charles Hahn, engaging in business at No. 717 Penn street, in a two-story frame structure which had been built by Hahn and formerly rented to the Hantsches for their cigar manufacturing business. The Hantsch brothers bought a property on Penn street, between Sixth and Seventh, and then Mr. Ritter and Mr. Henninger rented from Hahn, who owned sixty feet in Penn street, above Seventh (the Hawley estate now owns No. 717 Penn street, 20x270). The latter's father, a chairmaker, made chairs there for many years, thirty or forty years, selling them on credit - for six months, nine months, twelve months, or eighteen months, as shown by his old books, which Mr. Ritter has seen. The time was always written in the book, because at that time it was the law in the State that anybody that did not pay his debts had to go to jail. When Charles Hahn's parents both died he owned considerable property. From 1856 to 1858 Mr. Ritter and Mr. Henninger continued in partnership in the furniture and undertaking business at No. 717, in 1858 dividing their interests, Mr. Ritter taking all the furniture business and Mr. Henninger all the undertaking. Then Mr. Ritter bought the property from Hahn, 20 feet (No. 717) fronting on Penn street, 270 feet deep to Court street, enlarged the building in the rear and built a brick shop fronting on Court street. In 1861 Mr. Ritter bought from Hahn 20 feet more, No. 719, and erected the present four-story building with two store rooms, renting one for a cigar store, and in the other continuing to carry on his cabinet business. The upper stories were occupied with his furniture. In 1865 he built a cabinet-maker's planing-mill on the 40 feet in Court street, spending $6,000 to put the machinery in. He ran it with thirty men, whose wages were from $1.75 to $3 a day, piece workers making from $2 to $4 a day. Ten of the men were first-class cabinet-makers. On Penn street Mr. Ritter had a furniture and carpet store, started in 1860, and when he built for J. L. Moyer the four-story house at No. 721 Penn street, he rented the upper floors for his furniture and carpet stock. In 1868 he tore down the frame building at No. 717 and erected a four-story brick building, there, and he then occupied all of No. 717 and the upper stories of Nos. 719-721. He also constructed two hydraulic elevators of his own invention and made other improvements to his property. In 1870 he sold to Regar & Becker, grocers, the property at No. 719 Penn, 20 feet by 150, back to the planing-mill, and later the property at No. 717 to Sohl, Seidel & Co., dealers in furniture. He himself left the furniture business in 1875, and for some time devoted his time to putting into large stores and hotels hydraulic elevators. He was also a builder of houses, built and owned half of the Farmers' Market-house, 40 feet front, and half of the Union House, 60 feet front, thus having a half interest in 100 feet on Penn street, between Eighth and Ninth streets.

About 1875 Mr. Ritter retired from the cabinet-making business, since then devoting himself to job work. At the time of the panic of 1873 in real estate and business, when so many banks broke, his investments amounted to $80,000 and he lost considerable.

Mr. Ritter has made his own casket, a remarkable piece of work. The material is Canada oak, and it is 6 feet, 6 inches long, 26 inches wide, and 13 inches deep. On the lid is a swinging mirror, enabling a person to see the remains without going near the casket. Mr. Ritter has a bronze medal awarded him at the United States Centennial Exposition in 1876, for a hydraulic hoisting apparatus which he had on exhibition.

Mr. Ritter is the vice-president of the Ritter Family Reunion, in which he is very much interested. He is the present owner of the powder-horn formerly belonging to Christian Ritter (mentioned above), and which is now inclosed in a box frame, and hung in the rooms of the Berks County Historical Society. This came into the possession of Christian Ritter in 1799, and he gave it to Milton S. Palm, who on June 9, 1906, presented it to Jacob R. Ritter. Mr. Ritter was a member of the committee on arrangements for the Ritter Family Reunion. He is an interested member of the Berks County Historical Society, which is located at No. 519 Court street, Reading. His memorandum books, which he has kept for many years, contain not only many interesting items concerning his own life, but also much of value and interest about other persons, with whom he has come in contact during his long and busy life. He has a yearly pass admitting him to the press-room or building of the Reading Eagle.

The historic Ritter burial-ground, near the Schwartzwald church, in Exeter, owes its present excellent condition principally to Mr. Ritter's efforts. Three years ago, at one of the Ritter reunions, at Allentown, Mr. Ritter made the claim that the first Ritters came to Berks county, and in the course of conversation about family matters and the pleasantries usually exchanged on such occasions, one man present bantered him about the condition of the old graveyard in Exeter, saying the Ritters ought to be ashamed to have such a burial-ground in Berks county. This aroused Mr. Ritter's interest to such an extent that he went there in the spring and had a photograph taken; it shows him standing between the gravestones of his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Ritter. He appointed George W. Billman treasurer, paid him $10, and then went around among his relatives with the photograph, soliciting subscriptions for the fixing up and future care of the old cemetery, where the pioneers of the Ritter family in Berks county are buried. Soon he had $70 promised, and before long the amount was raised to $192, subscribed by forty-two people, every dollar of which was paid to the treasurer. Samuel and Adam Kutz, who now own the estate on which the cemetery Is located, sent a check for $10, when the work was commenced on it. John Kutz, of Reading, is the manager of the estate. Mr. Ritter's aunt, Abigail Masser, in 1889 willed a fund of $50, to be invested at 5 per cent interest, for the purpose of caring for and keeping in repair the wall around this burial-ground, and through Mr. Ritter's efforts this was turned over to Mr. Billman.

The old graveyard belonged to Mr. Ritter's ancestors on both sides, and is located a half mile below the Schwartzwald church, being on the line of the Boyertown Traction Company, and two squares from Ritter's crossing, on that line and Ritter's Crossing road. It is located seventy-five feet back from the car line, and the road to the entrance through the farm is recorded with a deed made to three trustees --Daniel Ritter (son of Francis), Joseph Ritter (brother of David), and William Boyer (husband of David Ritter's sister) - or their successors forever (one dollar paid in hand) by Elizabeth, wife of Jacob Ritter (Mr. Ritter's maternal grandfather), and her sister, wife of Daniel Ritter (both born Snyders), and John Ritter (son of Isaac) and his wife. Mrs. Elizabeth Ritter was the promoter of the deed. When Isaac Ritter (Mr. Ritter's paternal grandfather) died in 1852, Daniel Ritter (eldest son of Francis Ritter) and Joseph Ritter were not satisfied. Therefore the deed was made as mentioned. It gave 20 perches or 74 by 74 feet, and the road through the farm for the cemetery. The place being nearly all occupied in 1852 they secured more ground, 50 by 50 feet in dimensions, which has been walled in. William Boyer has five children buried there; all have gravestones. When the Schwartzwald cemetery was started many who had been buried in the old part of the Ritter cemetery were transferred to it.

When assured of proper support Mr. Ritter had work on the cemetery commenced. He hired ten masons with help and raised the whole wall, walling it up new, put a cement coping on 20 by 4 inches in dimensions, and had three men at work for three days cleaning up, taking out roots and setting up the gravestones and markers. His brother Isaac made an iron gate weighing over three hundred pounds for his share, and it makes a very suitable ornament for the wall. In short, the place is now a source of pride to all the family. During the war of 1812-15 General Ross, the British general who was shot near Baltimore in 1814, was buried in this old burial-ground.

On Nov. 30, 1856, Mr. Jacob R. Ritter married Miss Sophia D. Ruth, daughter of John and Sarah (Dick) Ruth. She was born June 27, 1833, died Nov. 9, 1905, and is buried at Sinking Spring. Two children were born of this union: (1) Sarah Ellen, born Feb. 28, 1858, married Charles Nein, an engineer on the Lebanon Valley railroad since 1889, had a family of ten children, and died in 1903, Mr. Nein dying in 1893; (2) Susan E., born May 23, 1859, died when sixteen days old.

In politics Mr. Ritter is a Democrat, and he served in the common council in 1869-70-71 from the Eighth ward. Of late years he has voted independently, and cast his ballot in support of Theodore Roosevelt. He is a member of the First Reformed Church, and when the church was rebuilt in 1875 he subscribed $500 toward the building fund. For many years he was a member of the Odd Fellows and Masons.

At the time of the battle of Antietam Mr. Ritter was serving a ninety days' enlistment in the Pennsylvania militia, sworn in at Harrisburg. When Lee crossed the Potomac he was with his command two and a half miles above Hagerstown, Md. That night they lay behind a stone fence, the line extending back to Virginia.


RITTER, DANIEL S.

p. 763

Surnames: RITTER, SNYDER, SEIFERT, GLASE, WEISNER

Daniel S. Ritter, who for many years was engaged in various business enterprises in Reading, Pa., passed away at his home in that city, Feb. 7, 1897, after a long and eventful life. He was born in Exeter township, Berks county, in 1817, son of the late David S. Ritter, Sr.

David S Ritter, Sr., was born in Alsace township, Berks county, Feb. 9 1776, and died June 15, 1853, having spent his entire live in agricultural pursuits. He married Miss Susannah Snyder, born July 28, 1790, who died Sept. 3, 1875, and they became the parents of these children: Benjamin S., born in 1811, died in April, 1890; Esther, born April 13, 1814, died Dec. 9, 1898; and infant, born June 6, 1816, died June 21, 1816; Daniel S.; Reuben, born Dec. 25, 1819, died in 1826; Louisa, born Feb. 5, 1823, died Oct. 3, 1898; William, born Sept. 13, 1826, died Jan. 30, 1898; William, born Sept. 13, 1828, died May 12, 1862; and Frank, born Aug. 25, 1833, lived at Stonersville, Exeter township, Berks county, and died Feb. 16, 1907.

Daniel S. Ritter received his education in the public schools, and when still a young man came to Reading, where he worked at his trade of wheelwright for some time. He then purchased the coal, flour and feed business of his brother Ferdinand S., in 1860, continuing that business for one year at Eighth and Cherry streets. Mr. Ritter then located on the old homestead in Exeter township, but after six months returned to Reading, locating on Penn street, above Seventh, where he spent a period of fifteen years, during this time being employed at the Philadelphia and Reading shops in building freight and passenger cars. He was also employed on the North Eighth street steam forges then owned by Henry Seifert, being there a period of twenty years, and for a time worked at the Scott foundry as boss repairer. He engaged in the manufacture of brick for a few years. Mr. Ritters last employment was with the Philadelphia & Reading Company, and he resigned from their employ about six years before his death. In politics he was a lifelong Democrat, and in 1870-72 served his ward, the Ninth, as a member of the council. He was a member of St. Lukes Lutheran Church. Mr. Ritter was connected fraternally with Germania Lodge No. 105, I.O.O.F. In his death Reading lost one of its good business men and representative citizens. He was broad and liberal-minded in his views, and his kindly, genial manner won him many friends.

On Sept. 20, 1846, Mr. Ritter married Rebecca Glase, daughter of Peter and Mary (Weisner) Glase. She was born in Alsace township in 1835 and died Jan. 5, 1907. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Ritter were: Rose, born Jan. 3, 1850, died Jan. 22, 1855; Lucy A., born April 1, 1852, died June 20, 1853; James E., born July 12, 1859, died Nov. 11, 1861; Mary J., born Sept. 14, 1862, is the only survivor of the family; and George H., born Sept. 24, 1864, died April 13, 1872.


RITTER, GEORGE G.

p 1517

Surnames: RITTER, CHASE, AMMON, DAUTH, KEYSER, NEIN

George G. Ritter, a substantial business man of Reading, Pa., who is engaged in the manufacture of steel office furniture and also a director of the poor of Berks county, resides at No. 303 South Sixth street. Mr. Ritter was born in 1860, in Exeter township, Berks county, son of Israel S. and Amelia (Chase) Ritter.

Israel S. Ritter was a millwright by trade, and was a man of much mechanical ability, but the greater portion of his time was spent in conducting hotels in Reading, his last occupation being that of proprietor of the "Three Mile House, " after giving up which he retired and so lived until his death in 1892, at the age of seventy-two years. His wife died in 1902, when seventy-eight years of age, and she like her husband was a member of the Reformed Church. They were the parents of five children, three of whom are now living, namely: H. J., of Tippecanoe City, Ohio, a manufacturer and representative in the State Legislature; S. Alice, m. to E. S. Ammon; and George G. Mr. Ritter was Democrat in his political views.

George G. Ritter received his education in the schools of Reading, and learned the tinsmith's trade with George W. Dauth, after which he secured employment with the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, for whom he worked five years. He then opened a shop for himself which he operated successfully from 1883 to 1905, and in the latter years, in company with D. H. Keyser, he engaged in the manufacture of steel office furniture, a business which has grown to large proportions. The company has handled some large contracts in Reading and vicinity, and are now engaged in equipping the Boy's high school. Mr. Ritter has taken an active interest in political matters, and in 1905 was elected a member of the board of directors of the poor of Berks county, on the Democratic ticket, to serve a term of three years.

Mr. Ritter married Marian A. Nein, and to them have been born two children: George H. and Harry H. Mr. and Mrs. Ritter attend the Reformed Church.


RITTER, HENRY L.

p. 912

Surnames: RITTER, SAEGER, KECK, SCHNECK, FRANTZ, KLINE, KEMMERY, RHOADS, SHOENER, SHELL, MOYER, ZOLLER, GULDIN, HARTMAN, LANDIS, SCHALL, KNOUSE, RIEGNER, BUCHERT, HANKEY, DRUMHELLER, BATZ, BRICKER

Henry L. Ritter, a farmer in Colebrookdale township, near Boyertown, was born Nov. 4, 1854, on the farm where he now lives, and which he has owned since 1902. He is a son of Daniel Ritter and a grandson of John Ritter, being a descendant of a family which has been identified with this region for many years. Its history is complicated and difficult to trace, but the yearly reunions held of late have awakened interest and stimulated research to the extent that many hitherto little known facts have become matters of general knowledge and added materially to the store of information possessed by the Ritters concerning their origin. The family in America is now a large and prosperous one.

The name, which signified "knight," originated during the middle ages, when the Crusaders organized over central Europe to redeem the Holy Land, and a society having for its object the defense of the faith, the protection of the weak and the honor of womankind also came into existence in central Europe, known as the Ritterschaft, that is, Knighthood. It flourished for a few centuries, and many people of rank as well as of the middle and lower classes belonged to it, but in time the organization became corrupt and was disbanded. About this time surnames began to come into general use, and many if not all who belonged to this society assumed the surname of Ritter. Thus there were a large number of the name in central Europe, their principal stronghold being apparently in the Palatinate, as nearly all who emigrated to America came thence. Emigration began during the middle of the eighteenth century, and many of the name are recorded as having entered at the various ports, many sailing from Rotterdam. Among these entries we find the names of Martin and Casper Ritter, who are supposed to have been brothers, Casper Ritter arriving in 1750 in the ship "Friendship" and Martin Ritter in 1749 in the ship "Phoenix." Most of the Ritters sailed from Rotterdam.

According to tradition Casper and Martin Ritter first settled in Delaware, but the soil and climate did not suit them, so they moved to Pennsylvania. Casper Ritter proceeded to Easton, then the county seat of what is now Lehigh and Northampton counties, and was granted a patent for a tract of five hundred acres on Fels creek, a few miles west of the confluence with the Lehigh river. The present town of Laury's is situated where the Fels creek joins the Lehigh river, and the farms now owned by Reuben Saeger, Prof. David S. Keck and John and Jeremiah Schneck, with perhaps a few smaller tracts, were all part of the original Casper Ritter farm. The land was undoubtedly in the woods and had to be cleared, and the old log hut which was occupied by Casper Ritter and his family stood until a few years ago. Whether he brought his wife with him or married her in this country is not known. They had six children who reached maturity: Jacob, Mrs. Johannes Frantz, John, Heinrich, Mrs. Nicholas Saeger and Mrs. Heinrich Frantz. Casper Ritter and his wife were buried on their farm on a small elevation a short distance from their dwelling. Except some of the children of Mrs. Heinrich Frantz, who settled in Clinton county, their descendants settled in the same community, and of late they have held yearly reunions. Most of the Ritter families living in Lehigh and Northampton counties north of Allentown, and many living in Allentown, are the descendants of Casper Ritter, and they are a thrifty, honest class, noted for industry and longevity, and honorably engaged in various vocations and professions.

Martin Ritter, who came to this country in 1749, secured a patent for a tract of land in what is now Salisbury township, a few miles south of Allentown, and his descendants live principally in Allentown and south of that place, between Macungie and Freemansburg. He was the father of seven children: Martin, Henry, John, Daniel, Michael, Jacob and Gretchen (Mrs. Solomon Kline).

Francis Ritter, born in 1741, died in 1825, seems to have been the forerunner of the Ritter family in Berks county, and he was the son of Jonathan Ritter. His children were Daniel, John, Jacob and Samuel, of whom John was a prominent citizen of Berks county, owned and published the Reading Eagle for many years, served two terms as representative to Congress during Polk's administration, and refused the nomination for another term.

Originally the Ritters were located in Oley and Exeter townships, and the pioneers are buried in the cemetery near the Schwartzwald Church. According to tradition the first of the family here secured a large tract around which he could walk between sunrise and sunset. But later, when William Penn came into Pennsylvania, he claimed that the Indians had no right to sell land which the king of England had granted him, and thus the pioneer of the Ritter family lost his claim.

John Ritter, grandfather of Henry L. Ritter, was from the upper end of Colebrookdale township. He is buried at Boyertown. He was reared to farming, and lived for many years on the farm now owned by his granddaughter Aquilla Ritter, comprising over one hundred acres, in addition to which he owned the farm which is now the property of Henry L. Ritter. He was married three times. His first wife, Henry L. Ritter's grandmother, was Rosanna Kemmery, and one of his wives was a Rhoads. Among his children were: Daniel, father of Henry L. Ritter; George, who lived and died at Norristown, Pa.; Henry, who had a son Augustus; John, who was the father of Aquilla Ritter (she is blind); Lydia, wife of Thomas Shoener; Mrs. Shell; Mrs. Daniel Moyer; and Mrs. Zoller.

Daniel Ritter, son of John, was born in Colebrookdale township, in 1827, and died on Thanksgiving Day, 1901, at the age of eighty-four years; he is buried in Fairview cemetery, in Boyertown. He was a lifelong farmer and a prosperous man, for many years owning the farm which now belongs to his son Henry, and in 1856 he built the large brick house which stands on the place. It is surrounded by a large lawn, which is inclosed by an iron fence, the whole place having an air of neatness which is a credit to the owner. Mr. Ritter was a Lutheran in religion, belonging to St. John's Church, with which his children also became identified, and he was a Democrat in political opinion. For nine years he served as school director in Colebrookdale township.

Daniel Ritter was married twice. His first wife was Sarah Guldin, who bore him two children, Jeremiah, of Reading, and Mary Hartman, of Philadelphia. He married (second) Anna Mary Landis, daughter of Henry and Catherine (Schall) Landis, and to them were born children as follows: Catharine, who is the widow of Edwin Knouse; Daniel, who died young; Lydia, married to Aaron Moyer and living on a farm which adjoins the property of her brother Henry; Henry L.; Matilda, who married Wallace Riegner; John, who lives on a farm formerly owned by his father, in Montgomery county, directly across the Berks county line and adjoining the farm of his brother Henry; and Ellen, wife of Alexander Buchert and living at Worman, Berks county.

Henry L. Ritter was reared to farming and passed his early years on the place where he now makes his home. He attended the common schools at Englesville, and I. B. Hankey's Academy of Boyertown, and continued to work for his father until he reached the age of nearly twenty-five years. After his marriage he commenced farming on his own account on the homestead where he has since lived and which he has owned since 1902, and which has been the property of grandfather, father and son in turn. He is serving his fifth term as school director of Colebrookdale township, and is a Democrat in politics.

On Jan. 21, 1893, Mr. Ritter married Annie B. Drumheller, daughter of John and Maria (Batz) Drumheller, and granddaughter of William and Mary (Bricker) Drumheller; both her father and grandfather were residents of Earl township. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Ritter: Mamie D., Paul D. and Norman H. All this family are Lutheran members of St. John's Church at Boyertown.


RITTER, JEREMIAH G.

p. 1451

Surnames: RITTER, GULDIN, MEMMERER, MOYER, SELLER, SHANER, SCHELL, HARTMAN, LANDIS, WEISNER

Jeremiah G. Ritter (deceased), a former resident of Reading, Pa., was born in Colebrookdale township, Berks county, Sept. 21, 1840, son of Daniel K. and Sarah (Guldin) Ritter.

John Ritter, the grandfather of Jeremiah G., was a farmer of Berks county, owning land near Colebrookdale, and was a representative citizen of his day. In politics he was a Democrat; and in religious belief he and his wife were Lutherans. To John Ritter and wife whose maiden name was that of Memmerer, were born the following children: John, George, Henry, Daniel K., Mrs. Moyer, Mrs. Rebecca Seller, Mrs. Shaner and Mrs. Schell.

Daniel K. Ritter was born and educated in the vicinity of Boyertown, Pa., and his entire life was spent in agricultural pursuits. He was a good, practical farmer and highly esteemed citizen. He and his first wife, Sarah Guldin, had two children: Jeremiah G. and Mary, who married Jacob Hartman and lived in Philadelphia. By a second marriage to Mary Landis, Mr. Ritter had six children, namely: Henry, John, Catherine, Lydia, Matilda and Ella. In religious belief the family were Lutherans. Mr. Ritter was a Democrat.

Jeremiah G. Ritter received his education in the schools of Colebrookdale, and worked on his father's farm until the outbreak of the Civil war. In 1861 he enlisted in Co. C, 3rd Pa. Cav., and served three years, being honorably discharged at Philadelphia, Aug. 24, 1864. He was never sick; was never taken prisoner; was never wounded; and was ever a faithful and gallant soldier. About ten months of his service were spent in the ranks while the remainder of the time he was in the quartermaster's department. After his service to his country was completed, Mr. Ritter returned to his home, and for a year engaged in farming, but at the end of this time removed to Philadelphia, where for six years he was engaged in driving horse cars. The next eight years he was engaged as a repair man in the repair department of the same company, and he then went to Pottstown, Pa., to take care of his wife's uncle George's farm. Here he continued until 1886, when he was compelled to give up active work on account of rheumatism contracted during the war, and from that time he lived practically retired to the end of his life. After October, 1903, he resided at No. 1530 Perkiomen avenue, Reading, where he had many friends. In politics he was a Democrat, but took no part in public affairs. He was a member of the Lutheran Church.

In 1867 Mr. Ritter was united in marriage with Miss Weisner, daughter of Daniel Weisner, and to this union were born two children: Harry W. and Ada, who resides at home.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:56:54 EDT

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