Trumbold Families

Conrad Ritter


Conrad Ritter was born and died on Christmas Day.  He was born in 1823 in Wolfhagen, Kuhrhessen (Hesse Cassel), Germany to Michael and Barbara Elizabeth Schaefer Ritter.1  Michael Ritter's father was Reinhart Ritter.The History of Schuyler and Brown Counties says that he had 5 brothers and a sister (see his brother's, Henry D. Ritter's, biography).2   Mrs. Henry Wetzel, the sister, also lived in Mt. Sterling and her husband was a shoemaker.  Three of his brothers died at a young age in Germany.


Conrad married Martha Elizabeth Bender (daughter of George, born November 7, 1792 in Germany, and Katherine Elizabeth Weimann Bender born August 3, 1786 in Germany) on April 9, 1849, in Wolfhagen, Germany.1  Their first son, Carl (Charles) Henry was born on August 18, 1850, in Wolfhagen.  This young family came to the United States in 1852 and settled first in Washington Courthouse, Ohio. Two daughters were born there, Lucinda Christina on September 7, 1852, and Anna Elizabeth on July 10, 1854.   These two women eventually married two Trumbold/Trombold brothers and are the progenitors of the Trumbolds in America.


The Ritters moved to Mt. Sterling, Brown County, Illinois, in 1856 where Conrad practiced his trade as a shoemaker.  Seven more children were born to Conrad and Martha in Mt. Sterling: Wilford Scott (November 12, 1856), George Michael (October 9, 1858); Oscar Jacob (August 12, 1860); John Paul (August 11, 1863); Martha Anna (August 31, 1866); Elizabeth Lillian (June 5, 1868); and Bertha Amalie (May 2, 1870).  One of the sons, Wilford Scott Ritter, died in 1857 when he was eleven months old.


Sometime before 1880, the Ritters moved to a farm in Lee township.  The 1880 Illinois census for Lee Township, Brown County, page 23, taken on June 193 lists


Conrad Ritter, 56, farmer, born Hesse Cassel, both parents born in Hesse Cassel Germany

Martha, 55, wife, born Hesse Cassel, both parents born Hesse Cassel

Charles, 29, son, farmer, born Hesse Cassel

Anna, 25, dau, born Ohio

George, 21, son, born Ill.

Oscar, 19, son, born Ill.

John, 16, son, born Ill.

Martha, 13, dau, born Ill.

Lizzie, 12, dau, born Ill.

Bertha, 10, dau, born Ill.


            (Lucinda had married in 1873 and Wilford Scott had passed away in 1857.)


Martha Ritter died on October 18, 1884, at the age of 60.4  Conrad apparently went to Kansas for awhile and returned to Mt. Sterling around 1887.


Conrad Ritter, 65, married Louisa (Lou) McBride on May 17, 1888, in the bride's home in Mt. Sterling, Brown County.  He lists his occupation as harness dealer.  This is Louisa's third marriage and she is 52 years old.5 


There is a signed "ante-nuptial" agreement in the probate folder6 for Conrad stating that Louisa should have no more than an equal share with each of Conrad's children.


Conrad died on December 25, 1889.  Probate records also state that he owned approximately15 acres in Lee Township near Fargo (subject to a $450 mortgage), Lot W2 Block 74 in Brookville, Kansas, and the shop of C. Ritter and Son in Mt. Sterling.  The total estate was valued at $3203.95.  After bills were paid, each of the 9 children and Lou, his widow, received approximately $285.


Conrad and his first wife, Martha, are buried in the Mt. Sterling, Illinois, cemetery.

 There is another Conrad Ritter born in Germany who resided in Brown County at approximately the same time.  He died in 1896 in Lee Township.  His wife was Marie (Mary) and their children were Christina, Charles H., Henry, and Mary. 



OBITUARY - Conrad Ritter


"Death of Conrad Ritter.


The Democrat-Message last week made mention the serious illness of Conrad Ritter, saying that he was in a critical condition.  He steadily grew worse until, at about 7 o'clock p.m. on Christmas, death relieved him of his suffering.  His illness was caused by a huge carbuncle on the back of his neck, and which grew to such proportions as to cause death in a very short time, as he was confined to his bed only a few weeks.


Conrad Ritter was born in Wolfhagen, Hessen Cassell, Germany, just 66 years ago on the day of his death; was married to Martha Elizabeth Benden (sic, Bender) in Germany and with her and their first child, Charles Henry, came to America in the fall of 1852, settling at Washington [Courthouse], Fayette county, O., where he followed his trade, that of shoemaking, until the fall of 1856.  He then came to Brown county, Ill., and remained with his brother, H. D. Ritter of Elkhorn township, until the spring of 1857, when he moved to Mt. Sterling and followed his trade for a number of years.  He then moved on a farm in Lee township, where he resided until after his wife died - October 18, 1884 - and after spending some time in Kansas and elsewhere he again became a resident of this city, having been united in marriage to Mrs. Louisa McBride May 17, 1888.  Mr. Ritter was the third child of a family of six boys and one girl, all of whom except Mrs. Henry Wetzel of this city and Henry D. Ritter of Elkhorn are dead, three of the brothers dying in Germany while young.  He was the father of ten children, whose names are as follows  Charles H., Lucinda Christina, wife of August Trumbull (sic) of Pittsfield; Anna Elizabeth, wife of Charles Trumbull (sic) of this county; Wilford Scott, deceased; George Michael, Oscar Jacob, John Paul, Martha Ann, Elizabeth Lillian, Bertha Amelia.  Mr. Ritter united with the Presbyterian church while living in Ohio and has always led a consistent christian life.  By his death Mt. Sterling loses one of her best citizens; one who was respected and esteemed by all who knew him.


The funeral occurred from the Presbyterian church at 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon.  Rev. W. D. Smith preached the sermon and Hardin Lodge A. F. & A. M. performed their beautiful and impressive ceremony over the remains of an honored member.  May he rest in peace."1


OBITUARY - Mrs. Conrad Ritter 


"Mrs. Conrad Ritter died at the family residence four miles south of this city on Sabbath last.  Her remains were deposited in the Mt. Sterling cemetery, after services at the Presbyterian church, of which she was a member, by Rev. Mr. Moore.  Mrs. Ritter was a native of Germany, but had resided in this country for more than thirty years.  She was universally esteemed and her death will leave a vacuum time can never fill.  Besides her husband, she leaves nine children, four sons and five daughters.  Mrs. Ritter was the mother of our fellow townsman Charles H. Ritter."4


Note about Conrad's parents and grandparents.


We can document this branch of the family back another generation because of having the original marriage certificate of Conrad and Martha Ritter written in formal official old-style German and lovingly kept by members of the Ritter family.1  The German licenses gave much more detail than usually found in early US licenses/certificates.


We learn that Conrad, a master shoemaker, was born in Wolfhagen, the son of  Michael Ritter, deceased (or retired) civil servant (perhaps a town crier or clerk, for example) and Barbara Elizabeth Schaefer Ritter, both of Wolfhagen, Hesse Cassel.  Michael Ritter was born on April 23, 1795 and Barbara Elizabeth was born July 25, 1796.  Michael Ritter died in 1845 in Wolfhagen.  Reinhart Ritter was Michael Ritter's father.8


Martha is the daughter of George Bender and Katherine Elizabeth Weimann Bender, both of Wolfhagen.  George is also a deceased (retired) civil servant and was born November 7, 1792.  His wife, Katherine Elizabeth, was born on August 3, 1786.


Wolfhagen is now a suburb of Kassel, Germany, located just 15 miles west of what used to be the border of East Germany.


Source notes


1.  Marriage license, Conrad Ritter and Martha Elizabeth Bender, Wolfhagen, Kuhrhessen, Germany, April 9, 1849.

2.  Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, 1882, Reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, IL, Henry Daniel Ritter, page 287-288.

3.  1880 Federal census for Illinois (Brown County), taken June 19, 1880, page 23.

4.  Death notice, Mrs. Conrad Ritter, The Democrat-Message, Mt. Sterling, Illinois, October 25, 1884.

5.  Marriage license and certificate, Conrad Ritter and Mrs. Louisa McBride, Brown County, Illinois, May 18,1888, #1316, Marriage Register 1, page 109.

6.  Probate, Conrad Ritter, Brown County, Illinois, 1890 [West 1/2 of the N 1/2 of the N1/2 of Section 15 in Township 1 South, Range 4W [??] (subject to a $450 mortgage), Lot W2 Block 74 in Brookville, Kansas, and the shop of C. Ritter and Son in Mt. Sterling].

7.  Obituary, Death of Conrad Ritter, The Democrat-Message, Mt. Sterling, Illinois, December 1889.

8.  Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois (1892), page 250.

Conrad and Martha Ritter
Elizabeth, Bertha, Anna, and Martha Ritter
John Paul Ritter
Oscar Ritter
George Ritter