Pictorial and Genealogical Record
of Greene County, Missouri

Together with Bibliographies of Prominent Men of Other Portions of the State, Both Living and Dead


DAVID M. RITTER. No matter how disagreeable the outlook in life, or how little encouragement is received, there are some who will succeed in whatever they undertake, while others, placed in the same position, will give up in despair. Among those who have won universal respect by push and energy, and who are classed among the first in whatever they undertake, is the above mentioned gentleman. Notwithstanding numerous reverses and discouragements, Mr. Ritter has ever come boldly to the front, and with the aggressive spirit and progressiveness of the native Indian, his birth occurring in St. Joseph County, of that State, February 8, 1842, on his father's farm. He comes of good old Pennsylvania Dutch stock, but his grandfather, Ritter, was a farmer of Wayne County, Ohio, of which section he was a pioneer. About 1830 he moved to St. Joseph County, Ind., and settled on a farm in Warren Township, within four miles of South Bend, where he passed the remainder of his days, dying at the age of eighty-eight years. He was a member of the Dunkard Church, and in that faith reared his nine children: Jacob, Michael, David, Martin, Samuel, John, Sarah, Susan and Benjamin. Jacob Ritter, the oldest son, was born in Wayne County, Ohio, and was reared among the pioneers of that locality. He followed in his father's footsteps and became a farmer, and in his labors to acquire a home for himself and family he was ably assisted by his worthy wife, Elizabeth (Miller) Ritter, by whom he became the father of _____ children: Lucinda, Barbara, Aaron, Amanda, Emeline, William, David, John, Franklin, Lorinda, Clarinda and Elizabeth, all of whom were born in St. Joseph County, Ind. Mr. Ritter settled in St. Joseph County, Ind., four and one-half miles northwest of South Bend, and there experienced many of the dangers and hardships which beset the pioneer. He became the owner of 240 acres of land, which is now valued at about $30,000. He is a Universalist in religious belief, is a Republican in politics, and was a strong Union man during the Civil War. He has since become a Democrat. Two of his sons were Union soldiers: William H. H., who was in the Twenty-first Indiana Volunteer Battery, with which he served three years and participated in many bloody engagements, and David M. The father is yet living at the advanced age of eighty-eight years, is much respected in the section in which he resides, and for many years was justice of the peace of his township. His sons are mostly prosperous farmers and are scattered throughout the great West as far as Oregon. David M. Ritter received his early education in the common schools near his rural home and afterward finished his education in Northern Indiana College at South Bend. August 15, 1862, at about the age of twenty, he enlisted in the Twenty-first Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Battery, at South Bend, for three years, and was mustered in on the following 9th of September. He went by way of Covington, Ky., to Nashville, Tenn., and while on his way to Murfreesboro, which place he reached on the 3rd of June, he took part in the action at Rome. On the 25tit of June he was in the engagement at Hoover's Gap and on the 25th of October was at Columbia, Tenn. He was in the engagement at Nashville, December 15, 1864, but his command afterward went back to Columbia, from which place he was ordered to Indianapolis, Ind., where he was honorably discharged June 25th, and mustered out June 26, 1865. He held the rank of corporal for eighteen months, and throughout his long service was a true and tried soldier, was never sick enough to be in the hospital and was never wounded although a participant in numerous engagements. In 1867 he engaged in sheep raising on Leeper Prairie, driving 1,000 head from Michigan, and afterward engaged in the cattle business, his partner being Hiram E. Herdman, one of the soldiers of his battery. May 30, 1871, Mr. Ritter married Josephine Martin, daughter of Joseph and Lenando (Beets) Martin, a Pennsylvania family of Irish descent. The father was born in "Penn's woodland" March 28, 1822, and during the Mexican War was a lieutenant in an Illinois regiment, and took part in the battle of Monterey and several other engagements. He was the father of eleven children: Elizabeth, Jane, Josephine, James, Lucinda, Jerome, Andrew, Kenneth, Joseph, Lee and Samuel. Mr. Martin first settled in Illinois, then went to Texas and resided on a ranch, and enlisted from that State as a soldier in the Confederate army. He was married twice, his second wife becoming the mother of all his children. He now has a fine farm of 200 acres adjoining that of Mr. Ritter. After his marriage Mr. Ritter located on a farm one-half mile north of where he now lives, his present farm consisting of 260 acres, on which fine improvements have been made. Mr. and Mrs. Ritter have three children: Howard J., Clara L. and Ethel E. Mr. Ritter is a Republican, and has always taken a deep interest in the cause of education, has been a school director in his district, and has purchased a house and lot on Campbell Street, Springfield, in which he lives while the public schools are in session, in order to give his children the best educational advantages. He is one of the most thorough and capable farmers of Grand Prairie, and has a magnificent apple orchard of 100 acres. He gives considerable attention to the raising of fine stock and has many fine animals on his place. He is in every respect one of the useful citizens of the country and is highly honored by all.

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