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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

Ancestor of Patty Gaddis

JACOB RITTER- Jacob Ritter, as secretary of the Working Saving and Homestead Association, has been an active factor in the substantial upbuilding and improvement of Springfield. Carrying on this enterprise along legitimate business lines, he has not only won success for himself but has also proven of much assistance to his fellow men, especially of that substantial valued class, who making the most of their opportunities, are working their way upward, displaying the possession of strong and admirable characteristics. Mr. Ritter is a native of Germany, his birth having occurred in the province of Baden, August 30, 1842. His parents were Coonrod and Katherine (Schantz) Ritter. The father was a linen weaver, and in 1852 came with his family to America, the last years of his life being spent in retirement from business. He died in the city of Springfield, but was buried in St. Louis, where his wife was also laid to rest. They were the parents of f our children: Henry, who died of cholera in 1853 at the age of fifteen years; Margaret Bach, who resides in St. Louis in her seventy-seventh year; George B., of Springfield; and Jacob, of this review.

Jacob Ritter was a lad of only ten years when the family crossed the Atlantic, the home being established in New Orleans. In 1857 they removed to St. Louis, Missouri, and he there remained until after the outbreak of the Civil war, when he joined Company A, of the Second Missouri Infantry under Captain Gratz and Colonel Colman. He was in the service for one year. His education had been partially acquired in New Orleans and partly in St. Louis, and in the latter city he attended business college, becoming well equipped for the financial transactions of a business career. He afterward learned the barber's trade with John McCreery, who was instrumental in inducing him to locate in Springfield, where he took up his abode in 1863. He followed his trade for thirty years, establishing himself in the St. Nicholas Hotel, where he successfully conducted a shop for three decades. He then became secretary of the Workingmen's Savings & Homestead Association in May 1874, and has since acted in that capacity. This company was chartered by special act in 1869, with a capital of six million dollars, and was reorganized in 1874, and the officers at this writing are: R. Hellweg, president; Albert Steiger, vice president; Jacob Ritter, secretary; and Alfred 0. Peterson, treasurer. The business is now very prosperous. In 1903 out of ten different loan associations the Workingmen's Saving Homestead Association received a little over one half of the subscribers for stock, and new ones are being added to the list every day. During the last three months of 1903 the company loaned about forty-three thousand dollars on new homes in this city. The office of the company is located at No. 319 South Fifth street. This is purely a city association and has been a most important element in the upbuilding and improvement of Springfield. In connection with the duties of the secretaryship, Mr. Ritter deals in real estate and is a fire insurance agent. He first became owner of property in Springfield about l864 or 1865, but later disposed of that and has since been the owner of three other pieces of city property.

At St. Louis, Missouri, in 1865, occurred the marriage of Mr. Ritter and Miss Mary Berger, a native of the province of Mecklenberg, Germany. By this union there are six children: Carrie, who is the widow of J. W. Dill and resides in Springfield; Louise, the wife of Fred G. Hoelzel, a popular citizen who was elected on the Democratic ticket as alderman from his ward and by whom she has three children, Carl, Oscar and Oliver; Kate, at home; George J., who assists his father in the office and who married Miss Mattie Stoutenborough, of Maroa, Illinois; Mrs. Marie Watkins, of Springfield, who has two children; and Ellen, who is acting clerk in her father's office.

Mr. Ritter gives his political allegiance to the Democracy, where national issues are involved, but at municipal election considers only the welfare of the city and the adaptability of the candidates for public office. He was elected assessor of Springfield in 1902 and served during 1903. And in that year all of the real estate was revalued so that the duties of the office were very difficult. In religious faith he is a Lutheran and was at one time deacon of his church, but is not now active in its work. For about thirty-five years he has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; for twenty-two years of the Ancient Order of United Workmen; and for twenty-two years of the Modern Woodmen of America; and he is widely recognized as one of the old and representative citizens of Springfield, having a wide acquaintance here. He is a popular and genial gentleman, held in high regard for his thorough reliability in business and for the industry which has enabled him to leave behind the humble finan cial surroundings of his youth and advance steadily to a position of prominence as a representative of the financial interests of Illinois' capital.

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