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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
James McRitchie

JAMES McRITCHIE, [p.119] a leading man of Harwich, belongs to one of the old established families of the Dominion.  It was in 1832, before a railroad crossed this great country, and antedating the accession to the English throne of Her late Majesty, Queen Victoria, by five years, that his grandparents, Charles and Mary McRitchie, came with their children from the Scottish Highlands to Canada, and were among the early pioneers of the County of Leeds.  There they reared their numerous family and ended their days.  Their children were:  James, Charles, George, Alexander, Maria, Elizabeth, Eliza and Margaret, all deceased, all these sons dying in the County of Kent; Annie, who is the wife fo James Maitland, and still a resident of the County of Leeds; and William, who lives in Hanover, County of Huron.  Of this family, Alexander McRitchie, the father of James, became a well-known, substantial and much esteemed citizen.  He was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1819.  For some years he was engaged as section boss, at Thamesville, on the Grand Trunk railroad, but in 1859 he moved to Bothwell, where he bought a farm on which he lived until 1866.  Selling that property, he bought another, in Harwich township, and another on the lake, where his son Alexander lived until 1901.  At this home Alexander McRitchie died, in November, 1901.  He married Annie Bushel, who was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1824, and who still survives him, residing at Blenheim, County of Kent.  The nine children born to Alexander and Annie McRitchie were as follows:  James, born February 28th, 1854, in the County of Leeds, Ontaqrio, is mentioned below.  Alexander, born in 1856, at Thamesville, married Maude Bell, of Howard who died in 1895, leaving two children, Victor B. and Clair, the latter deceased; Alexander McRitchie was principal of the Caledonia high school, and occupied the same position for two years in Ridgetown.  Annie C., born in 1858, at Bothwell, married Dr. D.K. Stenton, of the County of Lambton, and they have two children, Edna G. and Bonnie A.   David H., born in 18660, at Bothwell, is now a merchant at Rodney; he married Pauline Leibner, of Morpeth, and they have children, Herbert, Carl and D. Douglas.   Dr. Thomas L., born in 1862, at Bothwell, now resides at McKayís Corners; he was educated at the Western University at Lonond, in medicine, and also took a classical course; he married Lena Montgomery of Chatham, and they have one daughter, Gladys.  Maria, born in 1864, at Bothwell, married William Steen, of Botany, Howard township, and they have two children, Elda and David K.   Agnes, born in 1866, in Harwich, married Isaac Montgomery, and they reside on Concession 8, in Dover township.  Josie, born in 1869, for six years one of County Kentís successful teachers, is now the wife of Albert Fletcher, of Blenheim.  Albert E., born in 1873, in Harwich, married Emma Spence, of Howard, and they reside on the old homestead; they have one daughter, Freda.

James McRitchie, the eldest of his fatherís family, grew to manhood on the home farm and received his education in the schools of Bothwell.  He became a practical farmer and managed his fatherís home farm for several years prior to his marriage, in addition cultivating a farm of his own, which he had purchased in 1879  The latter was known as the John Watson homestead.  This has continued to be his home, and here he has made many valuable improvements, in the way of erecting excellent buildings, fencing and draining, as well as the judicious planting of fruit and shade trees.  Mr. McRitchie has one of the most comfortable homes of Harwich township.

On January 18th, 1881, Mr. NcRitchie married Minnie L. Reeder, who was born in 1861, on the Ridge road, in Howard, a daughter of John Reeder, a most respected old settler who now resides at Florence, at the age of eighty-four years.  Children as follows have been born to this union:  born at the present home in 1882, who still lives there; James Lorne, born in 1884; Alfred E.; Florence Grace; M. Myrtle; David Stanley and John L. Lyle.

In religious belief the father of Mr.cRitchie was a Presbyterian, and his mother was a Methodist.  To the latter church he has attached himself, and for many years has been active in its work.  As class leader, stewart and assistant superintendent, he has been diligent and useful.  Politically, like his father, he has always been identified with the Conservative party, and is regarded as one of the wise men in its local councils.  Fratnernally he belongs to the order of Foresters, No. 927, of Morpeth.  Mr. McRitchie is justly esteemed in his locality as an honourable, upright, conscientious Christian gentleman, and one of the loyal and representative citizens.

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