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Biographical Sketch of John Rittenhouse (b. 1831)

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Biographical Sketch of John Rittenhouse (b. 1831)

Posted: 27 Feb 2004 7:41PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Rittenhouse Neigh Pierce Johnson
John Rittenhouse.—The gentleman whose sketch is herewith presented is a native of Shelby County, Ind., and the fourth son and fifth child of a family of fifteen children born to Aaron and Sarah (Neigh) Rittenhouse. He was born on the 9th day of January, 1831, and at the age of seven years accompanied his parents to Huntington County, Ind., where he has since resided. His youthful years were spent on his father’s farm, and amid the rugged scenes of pioneer life, he learned those lessons of industry by which his subsequent life has been characterized. His early educational advantages were somewhat limited, his schooling being confined to a three months’ term each year, attending only about half the time. He soon developed into a strong, robust young man, thoroughly familiar with the use of the ax and maul, and all other implements common in the newly settled localities forty and fifty years ago. On attaining his majority he began life for himself and for sometime thereafter worked at anything he could find to do, his compensation having frequently been but $13 per month. He was thus engaged until about 1855, at which time he invested his hard saved earnings in forty acres of land from which not a stick of timber had been cut or removed. After erecting thereon a comfortable, hewed log house, he began clearing and “slashing,” and by almost constant work night and day succeeded in a few years in developing a good farm. He subsequently exchanged this for an eighty acre tract, his present home, which when he obtained possession was in about the same condition as his first place, being just as nature made it. By persevering industry he cleared seventy-six acres, to which he has since added sixteen acres, making at this time a fine farm, the fruits of his unaided efforts. Mr. Rittenhouse and a brother in 1868, purchased a thresher which proved a ver unfortunate investment, as is shown by the fact that a few weeks after starting the same his sleeve was caught in the cylinder resulting in the mangling of his hand and forearm in such a horrible manner that amputation became necessary. After losing his arm he did not retire from active labor by any means, but has since accomplished with his remaining arm an immense amount of hard work, such as chopping, binding wheat, and in fact performing nearly all kinds of farm labor. Mr. Rittenhouse was married November 9, 1855, to Martha J. Johnson, daughter of Elias and Sarah (Pierce) Johnson, natives of Virginia and North Carolina, respectively. Mrs. Rittenhouse was born in Ohio, December 5, 1835, and is the fifth in a family of thirteen children. Mr. and Mrs. Rittenhouse have a family of four children, whose names and dates of birth are as follows, viz.: Amanda M., wife of P. Bell, born September 17, 1856; Joseph I., born March 24, 1859; Enos N., born April 6, 1863; and Willis L., born May 24, 1866. Mr. Rittenhouse and wife are active members of the Baptist Church.

History of Huntington County, Indiana. (Brant & Fuller: Chicago) 1887. Biographical Sketches of Rock Creek Township, pages 780 and 781.

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