Robert S. Ritchie. As in the war the burden of arms falls largely upon the youth of the nation, so to an increasing degree in America the heaviest responsibilities of business have likewise fallen upon those who are young and vigorous, with enthusiasm undimmed and with energies undiminished. Among this class of young and aggressive business men of Champaign County mention should be made of Robert S. Ritchie, who for a number of years has been successfully identified with agricultural operations and with the grain business at Foosland in northwestern Champaign County. With the exception of his college career, practically all his life has been spent in Champaign County.
Mr. Ritchie was born in Champaign County, February 18, 1886, a son of William and Emeline (Ball) Ritchie. He was one of four children, one of whom is now deceased. John J. is a resident of Bloomington, Illinois; the next in age is Robert S.; and Corley S. is an agriculturist living at Foosland.
William Ritchie was born near Dumfriesshire, Scotland, in 1847, and grew to young manhood in his native country and was quite well educated. In 1869 he came with his parents to America and they all located in Champaign County. William Ritchie followed agricultural pursuits until 1899, when he moved into Foosland and entered general merchandising. In 1907 he retired with a financial competence. He and his brother Walter had acquired 400 acres of the rich soil of Champaign County, and that land is still owned by their descendants. William Ritchie was distinguished by his strong belief in and advocacy of the Prohibition cause. He was a member of the Knights of Pythias Lodge at Foosland and he and his wife were formerly Presbyterians, the faith in which they had been reared and to which the Ritchie family had been devoted for generations in Scotland. Finally, however, they united with the Methodist Protestant Church and aided in the erection of the church edifice in their home town. William Ritchie died in January, 1916, and his wife in February, 1908, and both are now at rest in Mount Hope Cemetery. Mrs. William Ritchie was born in Illinois in June, 1861. She was a loving and affectionate mother and a sincere Christian.
Robert S. Ritchie was educated in the schools of Foosland and took his higher education in Adrian College at Adrian, Michigan. As a boy he showed unusual talent in a musical direction, and that talent was trained along with a thorough literary course in Adrian. He did some successful orchestral work in Michigan for eighteen months, but gave up that as a career and returned home to assume the management of his father’s farm. Mr. Ritchie was engaged in farming from 1907 to 1912, and in the latter year entered the grain business with Noble Brothers. Later he went into the business for himself and has developed a large and extensive trade. He is a man of cordial and genial demeanor and his integrity and ability have won the complete confidence of his customers. Besides the grain business at Foosland Mr. Ritchie conducts a large grain and stock farm two miles from the village.
On December 24, 1910, he married Miss Lucile Boulware. They have a little son, Robert Merrill, who is now five years of age. Mrs. Ritchie was born in McLean County, Illinois, July 8, 1891, and was’ educated largely in the common schools at Foosland. She is an active member of the Methodist Protestant Church. Her parents were Walker and Alice (Merwin) Boulware. Her father was born in Kentucky and his lineage goes back to France. Mr. Boulware conducted a general store in Stanford and Bloomington, Illinois, and in 1898, removing to Foosland, took up the grain trade. He was a man of good education, having had the advantages of not only the common schools but the normal course in the State Normal at Normal, Illinois. Before entering business he had taught in McLean County. Both he and his wife were active members of the Christian Church. Mr. Boulware died in January, 1915, and Mrs. Boulware i& still living and makes her home with Mr. and Mrs. Ritchie at Foosland.
Mr. Ritchie has found his political choice with the Republican party. His first presidential vote was cast for William H. Taft. He served six years as township clerk of Brown Township and is now a director of the public schools of Foosland. His college fraternity at Adrian was the Alpha Tau Omega, and he belongs to Lodge No. 842 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Foosland. Besides passing all the chairs of the local lodge, he was a delegate to the grand lodge in 1914. He is affiliated with Camp No. 3807, Modern Woodmen of America, and has taken his first degrees in the Knights of Pythias.