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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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THOMAS H. RITTER has made a fine success of the butcher’s business, having one of the finest markets to be found in Bethlehem. He superintends the buying of his stock personally, selects only the finest to be had, and justly merits the fine trade he has acquired. A gentleman in the best sense of the word, he is active in local affairs, and numbers a host of warm friends.

The birth of Mr. Ritter occurred March 22, 1859, in Freemansburg. His great-grandfather Ritter, a native of Germany, was a farmer and an early settler in Rittersville. Grandfather Henry Ritter was born in that village, where he kept a hotel, and it was for him that the town was named. For some years he served as Postmaster of the place, and was a good business man. His wife, who died at the age of eighty-six years, was a devoted Lutheran, to which faith he also adhered.

Lewis Ritter, the father of Thomas H., was also born in Rittersville, and followed the occupation of blacksmithing. Locating at Freemansburg, he carried on a shop at that place until the Northampton Furnace was built, when he took charge of the blacksmith department. He was accidentally killed, being run over by a passenger engine in 1871, when in the prime of life, aged forty-six years. His wife, who in her girlhood was Mary Henn, was born in Lower Saucon, Northampton County, and was a daughter of George Henn, a farmer in that locality, and also a Mason. Mrs. Lewis Ritter is still living, making her home at Freemansburg. Four of her six children are living: George; Ellen, Mrs. Knipe; Thomas H. and Oscar — all in this city.

Mr. Ritter, the subject of this sketch, was reared in Freemansburg until his thirteenth year, receiving a common-school education. Then he went to Easton, where for nearly four years he was a clerk for Owen Reich, a grocer. Later coming to Bethlehem, he served an apprenticeship as a machinist under Henry Truwbower, of the Bethlehem Iron Company. Nine years of steady work with that concern followed, when, on account of overwork, and owing to the fact that he could no longer endure the gas, he was obliged to leave the business, and in the fall of 1884 started in his present occupation. In the spring of 1885 he located on East Goepp Street, where he bought and built up a place. Beginning on a small scale, with only one wagon for delivery, his trade gradually increased, and in a year’s time he was running two wagons. The third year his business was enlarged, and in 1888 he took in, as a partner, William Winsch, the firm being known as Ritter & Winsch until 1890, when Mr. Ritter purchased his partner’s interest, and has since continued alone. In addition to his regular line of trade, he has built up a slaughter-house refrigerator. The latter is 24x24 feet in dimensions, with a capacity of two hundred tons of ice, and the slaughter-house is 30x65 feet in dimensions. In connection with this are smoke houses, sheds, stables, etc. For general purposes steam-power is used with a four-horse engine and an eight horse-power boiler. The refrigerator is Brower’s patent, the best known for the business. In addition to his local trade he sends meats to Freemansburg and other near points.

On the 16th of March, 1879, Mr. Ritter married Miss Dora Keiper, daughter of Jacob Keiper, a brick-layer of this city. They are the parents of three children: Emily, Raymond and Robert. The family attend the Bethany Evangelical Church, of which Mr. Ritter is Trustee and Steward. A true-blue Republican, he is also a member of the Royal Arcanum. Actively interested in local affairs, he is connected with the Masonic Building and Loan Association, and supports all useful enterprises.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the book, Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company. 

View additional Northampton County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Northampton County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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