Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Isaac Ritter; Died in Debt

Isaac Ritter
1823 – 5 Aug 1880 OH
Son of Johannes & Anna Mariah Ritter Jr.  
My 3x Great Grandfather

Isaac Ritter was the son of Johannes & Anna Mariah Ritter. He was the youngest of 13 children. His siblings were: John, David, Jacob, Elizabeth, Henry, Anna Maria, Theobald, Barbary, Frederick, Margaretha and Philip. His siblings were all born in PA. The family moved to OH and it is uncertain if Isaac was born in PA or OH.

Isaac married Isabell Fisher, daughter of John & Catherine Fisher. They were married 13 November 1848 in Plain Twp., Wayne, OH.[1] They lived in Wayne Co., OH where they had 12 children: Lovina, John William, Mary Catherine, Elidia Rebecca, Barbary Ann, Amos, Elizabeth, Eslie D., Anthony Casper, Matilda, Philip & an infant.

The 1860 census tells us Isaac was a carpenter.[2]

"At his new home along Rice Hill Road, Isaac was growing enough food with a garden and peach orchard to feed everyone.  His carpentry skills were useful around the Cedar Valley area and helped create some extra income for the family.  Isaac was also an accomplished woodworker and built, with his own hands, some of the furniture owned by his children."[3]

On 8 March 1870 their last child was born and died. Isabell also died. The older daughters, Elidia, 16 & Barbary Ann, 14, must have stepped in to care for the younger children. The 1870 census, taken in July, shows Isaac with no wife but eight children at home in Chester Twp.[4] Isaac did not remarry.

Isaac died in August 1880 from consumption.[5]  He had been treated by C. J. Warner, M. D. since December 1868. Dr. Warner had visited Isaac many times, giving him medicine and once dressing a wound. Isaac died in August that year. The record of his death says he died on 5 August though his tombstone says tombstone says he died two days later.

The papers for the estate of Isaac Ritter include a list of his heirs:
John Ritter, son of Congress;
Mary C. (Ritter) Miller daughter, and Henry Miller of Cedar Valley;
Elidia Rebecca (Ritter) Mark, daughter, and William Marks of Cedar Valley;
Barbary A. (Ritter) Messmore, daughter, and Allen Messmore;
Amos Ritter, son of Cedar Valley;
 Elizabeth A. (Ritter) Hawk, daughter, and William Hawk;
Esly Ritter, son, a Minor (Henry Miller, his guardian);
Anthony C. Ritter, son, a Minor (A. H. Christie, his guardian);
 Matilda Ritter, daughter, a Minor;
 and Phillip Ritter, son, a Minor, (F. P. Harman, his guardian).

He left no widow. These heirs petitioned the court to sell their father’s land to pay the “valid debts” of the estate. Those debts included $567.00 due to various people and $100.00 to cover the administration of his estate. The total value of the” personal estate and effects of the said decedent is but $497.00. Being insufficient to pay the debt and costs aforesaid.”[6]

Estate debts included money owed to daughter, Elidia Rebecca (Ritter) Mark [my great great grandmother]. Isaac had borrowed $6.50 from her on 4 March 1876. Rebecca was repaid this money plus $2.05 in interest. The estate also owed money to her husband, William Mark. He was owed $28.50 for a variety of services he performed for his father–in–law including: $12.50 for chopping wood, at the rate of one dollar a day; $5.25 for making 1,584 shingles, at the rate of 33 1/3 cents per hundred shingles; $2.62 for roofing for 1 ¾ days; $1.50 for making hay for one day; and $1.00 for peeling bark for one day. William and Rebecca also billed the estate for boarding Elisabeth Ritter and child for three weeks in March 1880, at the rate of $1.50 per week.[7]

Isaac is buried in Salem Cemetery, Madisonburg, Wayne, OH with his wife.[8]

[1] Record of Marriage for Isaac Ritter and Isabella Fisher, 16 November 1848, Volume 4B, Page 383, Wayne County Probate Court, Court House, 107 West Liberty Street, Wooster, Ohio.
[2] 1860  US Census, Wayne, Wayne Co., Ohio; Isaac Ritter family.
[3] Knox, Larry. The Ritter Family . Privately Printed, 1999.
[4] 1870 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Ohio; 1870; Volume 60 (1-124); Page 14, Line 9; Family History Center, Loudonville, NY Microfilm #552779; NOTES: Township of Chester, Taken 14 July 1870, Isaac Ritter & Family.
[5] Record of Death for Isaac Ritter, 5 August 1880, Volume 1, Page 118, Wayne County Probate Court, Court House, 107 West Liberty Street, Wooster, Ohio.
[6] Isaac Ritter, Estate Papers, Letters of Administration, Estate Inventory, 1880, Wayne County Probate Court, Court House, 107 West Liberty Street, Wooster, Ohio.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Genealogical Section of the Wayne County Historical Society. Wayne County, Ohio Burial Records. Ohio: Privately printed.


  1. What interesting details about the debts. Does anyone still have the furniture that Isaac made?

  2. He might have died with little left but his legacy is in his children.

  3. Probate cases are so helpful. Even if they had little money, they left a lot of paper!


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