Bio: Ritchie, Stephen
Contact: Stan

----Source: Sun, 11 Feb 2001, 1918 History of Clark Co., WI, by Franklyn, Curtiss-Wedge



Stephen Ritchie



STEPHEN RITCHIE, an early settler in Weston Township, Clark County, who is now deceased, but who, in his day, was a hard working and useful citizen, highly respected, was born in Scotland. He was 14 years old when he came to the United States, and was subsequently married in the State of New York, where he lived for a number of years, to Betsey Elliott, who had come to this country at the age of 12.


Some years later he and his wife, with four children: James, Betsey, Margaret and Matilda--migrated westward, coming to a halt in Jefferson County, Wis., driving into that county from Milwaukee. There Mr. Ritchie rented a piece of land near Lake Mills, which he farmed until 1868. He and his wife then decided upon another removal, and, loading their possessions into a wagon, drawn by a team of horses, they pursued a northwesterly direction until they arrived at Neillsville, Clark County. After looking over the prospect, Mr. Ritchie bought a tract of eighty acres of land in Section 29, Weston Township, making the purchase from the Fox River Land Company. At that early day there were few cultivated farms in the locality, the land being nearly all covered with timber. Mr. Ritchie's land partook of the general characteristics of the surrounding landscapes, which fact he ascertained after he had cut his way to it through the woods. Trees and brush there were in abundance, but little else save the thus encumbered ground-not a building of any kind. The prospect was one to appall anyone but a resolute pioneer, but Mr. Ritchie did not let it frighten him. He was there to work and he got busy at once, erecting two log buildings-a house and a barn. Then, using a drag, he got his first crops planted on a small clearing he had made for a beginning. To follow him through all the stages of his subsequent work would be to repeat a story often told; suffice it to say that in time by hard, persevering work, he succeeded in developing a good farm. Neillsville was his market, to and from which place he often walked through the woods, carrying farm produce and bringing back home supplies, as flour and groceries.


He took an active part in the early affairs of the township and also in later days, serving on the school board as treasurer. He also hauled with an ox team the first load of stone for the building, of the Presbyterian Church of Neillsville, of which he was a deacon. His life was prolonged to the advanced age of 82 years, his wife Drying at that of 78. They were worthy people who had well performed their part in life and won the respect of a large acquaintance in addition to the four children already mentioned, who accompanied them to Jefferson County, they were the parents of two others, William C. and Belle, who were born in that county.

1880 Federal Census--Weston, Clark, WI

Stephen Ritchie @68, b. Scotland, Farmer, Parents b. Scotland

Wife: Betsey @65, b. Scotland, Keeps House, Parents b. Scotland

Son: William @23, b. WI, At Home



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