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

DAVID MILLER RITTER. We are always glad to talk to the aged veterans of America's great Civil war, in which nearly five million men took part, but of this vast number only a comparatively few remain with us to tell the interesting story of the dreadful hardships they endured in their winter camps, in the hospitals, the harassing marches, in the battles and skirmishes, or in the prison hells. But their time is short now, so all persons should join in honoring them for sacrifices they made when they were young and full of the love of life, but which was offered free on the altar of their country. David Miller Ritter of Center township, Greene county, is one of this number. He has made his home in our midst nearly a half century during which he has progressed from a modest beginning as a farmer to one of the largest agriculturists in the township.

Mr. Ritter was born near South Bend, St. Joseph county, Indiana, February 10, 1842. He is a son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Miller) Ritter. The father was one of the pioneer settlers of that county, having moved there from Wayne county, Ohio. Our subject traces his ancestry back to the historical Boston "Tea Party," when Aaron Miller, his maternal great-grandfather, assisted in throwing the tea overboard. To Jacob Ritter and wife twelve children were born, seven of whom are living, namely: Aaron is a retired farmer of Greene county; William H. H. is a retired farmer of St. Joseph county, Indiana; Franklin is farming in the last named county; Emeline is the wife of I. N. Miller, a retired farmer of New Carlisle, Indiana; Clarinda B. is the widow of John T. Buchtel, of South Bend, Indiana; Lorinda is the wife of Quinn Bulla, a fruit grower of Pomona, California, and David, M. of this sketch.

Our subject was reared in his native county and received a good education in the common schools and the Northern Indiana College at South Bend. In 1862 he enlisted in the Twenty-first Indiana Battery of Light Artillery and served gallantly in the Union army until the close of the war, reaching the rank of corporal. After he was honorably discharged he returned to Indiana, and after a term in college came to Springfield, Missouri, in the spring of 1866, accompanied by H. E. Hardman, a former army comrade. They came overland, driving a herd of one thousand sheep. They were three months on the road. They first settled on Leeper Prairie, Greene county, buying forty acres there, selling out two years later and moving near Springfield on the Campbell farm, where they broke seventy acres of prairie for June Campbell, using ox teams for this purpose, having traded their sheep for cattle. They remained with Mr. Campbell three years, then our subject and Mr. Hardman dissolved partnership and Mr. Ritter and his brother Aaron formed a partnership and bought forty acres in the eastern part of Center township, adjoining our subject's present farm. Mr. Ritter of this sketch then homesteaded eighty acres adjoining on the south where he now resides, later purchasing one hundred and sixty acres from the Frisco railroad in Campbell township, but adjoining his home place, the property lying on the eastern boundary of Center and western boundary of Campbell township. Later he purchased forty acres more, making a total of three hundred acres, one hundred and twenty acres of which has been set to an apple orchard, which is one of the largest producers in this section of the Ozarks. His land is all well improved and he has an attractive home and numerous outbuildings. He has been successful as a stock raiser also, giving preference to horses and mules. He is regarded as being exceptionally well informed in general farming subjects as well as horticulture and stock raising.

Mr. Ritter was married on May 30, 1872, to Josephine Martin, a daughter of Joseph and Lucinda (Beets) Martin, who came from Anna, Union county, Illinois, to Greene county, Missouri, many years ago and here established their permanent home.

Three children have been born to our subject and wife, namely: Howard J., born on July 4, 1873, was educated in the Springfield high school and Drury College, married, in 1907, Ollie Piper, a daughter of Wesley Piper, of Ash Grove, Missouri; he is engaged in farming, his place lying beside that of his father, our subject; Clara L., born on January 31, 1876, was educated in the Springfield high school, married in September, 1895, Robert L. Toombs, a traveling salesman of Springfield, and they have two children, Robert, Jr., age eighteen; and Ethel May, age sixteen. Ethel E., our subject's youngest child, was born on April 21, 1878, was educated in the Springfield high school, married, in 1900, Alfred O. Smith, a traveling salesman of Springfield, and they have three children, Alfred Ritter, who is now thirteen years old; Richard Ritter, who is now ten years old; and Helen Josephine, who is eight years old.

Politically, Mr. Ritter is a Republican.


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