Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

AARON M. RITTER. Few men live to the advanced age of Aaron M. Ritter, a venerable citizen of Campbell township, who has passed his eightieth birthday, without having changed his life work several times, but it seems that he has been wise in sticking to agricultural pursuits. For it takes a farmer to succeed at farming, just as it takes a clerical man to make a success of office work, an engineer with a locomotive, an architect in architecture, or a musician in music. That man is indeed fortunate who, when young and starting out in life, chooses his work wisely, selects the thing for which nature has best adapted him and in which he can make the greatest success in his, immediate environment, for both innate ability and one's surroundings must be taken into consideration. No matter how strong a natural bent one might have for agricultural pursuits, he could not display that faculty to advantage on the banks of the Red Sea. Our subject has made a success, of his chosen life work because he was fitted for it and because he located in a country propitious for general farming. He has been a resident of Greene county forty-five years.

Mr. Ritter was born May 25, 1834, in St. Joseph county, Indiana, near the city of South Bend. He is a son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Miller) Ritter, and a grandson of John and Mary (Gauver) Ritter. John Ritter was born in Ohio, but his father was a native of Germany, from which country he came to the United States when young, in the old Colonial period, and he was living in Massachusetts at the time of the famous Boston "tea party," in which he participated. He lived to be eighty-seven years of age. John Ritter grew up in Ohio and married there, later establishing his home in Wayne county, subsequently removing to Portish Prairie, thence to Iowa, in which state he died. He was one of the pioneers in the last named state. He devoted his life to farming. His family consisted of ten children. Politically, he was a Whig, and religiously a Dunkard. His oldest son, Jacob Ritter, father of our subject, was probably born in Ohio. He went to Wayne county when a young man, being one of the first settlers in that part of the state of Indiana. He resided there about twenty years, or until his death. His wife, Elizabeth Miller, was a daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Hardman) Miller. Her father was a minister in the Dunkard church.

To Jacob Ritter and wife twelve children were born, seven of whom are still living. Aaron M., of this sketch, was the fourth child in order of birth. The father was a Whig in politics in his earlier life, but finally became a Democrat. He was a member of the Universalist church. He belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He devoted his active life to farming in St. Joseph county, Indiana, and for a number of years was justice of the peace there.

Aaron M. Ritter grew to manhood on his father's farm in Indiana, and there he worked when a boy. He received a district school education, also spent one term in Mercantile College, Cincinnati, Ohio. He has been married three times. First, in the spring of 1869, in Lawrence county, Missouri, he was united with Martha A. Johns, who died in early life. One child born to this union is also deceased. Our subject's second marriage. took place in 1872, to a Mrs. Isabelle Gray, nee Landreth, and to this union three children were born, all of whom are deceased, and the mother passed away in 1898. Mr. Ritter was subsequently married to Emma J. Perryman, a daughter of John J. and Cassey (Griffen) Perryman. This last union resulted in the birth of two sons, Miller and Howard Ritter.

Mr. Ritter came to Missouri in the sixties. He served a short time as a volunteer soldier in the West for the government in assisting to protect mining towns. In 1870 he located on a farm in Greene county, and has since resided here, engaged successfully in general farming and stock raising. He owns a productive and well improved farm of one hundred and seventy-six acres in Campbell township.

Politically, he is a Socialist, is well read and a man of progressive ideas. Fraternally, he is a Master Mason. He has been regarded as one of the leading citizens in his part of the county for nearly a half century.


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