James I. Ritchey

The following is taken verbatim from Commemorative biographical record of the Fox River Valley counties of Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, and of many of the early settled families, J. H. Beers and Co., 1895, p. 833-834.

"JAMES I. RITCHEY, ex-superintendent public schools, Outagamie county, was born December 16, 1861, in East Troy, Walworth Co., Wis. His father, Patrick Ritchey, who was born August 5, 1827, in Belfast, Ireland, and was a farmer by occupation, in 1850 married Agnes (Irving) Morrison, a native of Scotland, and a daughter of Andrew Irving, a blacksmith.

Patrick Ritchey and his wife came to America in 1851, and settled in Walworth county. Wis. Patrick served in Company B, Forty-second Wis. V. I., during the Civil war. With the exception of a year passed in Illinois, the family have always resided in this State. Mrs. Ritchey had two children by her first marriage, and six by her second - live sons and one daughter, William Ritchey, the eldest son, died January 20, 1895. In 1869 they came to the town of Black Creek, Outagamie county, and here Patrick Ritchey died in 1874, his widow in 1885.

James I. Ritchey, the youngest in the family, was reared on a farm, attending school in winter until he was eighteen years old, when, desirous of acquiring a better education, he hired out as a farm hand at $16 per month in order to secure the necessary funds. In November, 1880, he attended the Appleton High School; by teaching next summer and working in harvest time he earned sufficient means to continue his studies, and thus he taught and studied until the spring of 1882, when he went to Billings, Mont., working on the Northern Pacific railroad; but, tiring of that locality, he and three companions went down the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers from Coulson (Billings), Mont., to Bismarck, N. D., a distance of nearly one hundred miles in a row-boat, hunting and fishing on the way. Mr. Ritchey then returned to Appleton. In 1885 he attended the business college at Oshkosh five months; in January, 1886, he entered the State Normal School at Oshkosh, and here finished his studies in March, 1891, teaching, more or less, in the meantime. During the following summer he was employed in selling school furniture, and in the fall was elected county superintendent of public schools by the Democratic party, of which he is a member; but, in the fall of 1894, he "went down in the political avalanche."

On June 8, 1892, Mr. Ritchey married Miss Mary Hoeffel, a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of Anthony Hoeffel, a German, who was an early settler in Wisconsin. Two children were born to this union, viz. : Joseph Victor, who died when four and one-half months old, and James Byron, born April 14, 1894, living, well and hearty. The life of our subject has been a most commendable one, and he well deserves the high esteem in which he is held."

The Ritcheys lived at 324 W. Prospect Ave. from 1896 to at least 1901.