Editor's Note: The following story, which includes many south Lake County pioneer family names, could be of great interest to researchers of family histories. The author, Philip Ritter (email@example.com), a descendant of George Ritter, has compiled considerable information, but is always looking for more.
At the time of the 1850 census, there were 411 people in West Creek Township. In the years immediately following, much of the remaining unimproved land was settled and the population grew rapidly -- more than doubling by 1860.
Most of this growth came from new settlers. As with many migrations, families and neighbors tended to move together. There was a large group of settlers from New Hampshire, some of whom have been discussed in earlier articles (e.g. "the Abiel Gerrish Family" from the Jan. 27, 1982, 'Pioneer History.')
Another place that contributed significantly to the settlement of West Creek was Tuscarawas, Ohio. Specifically, 11 closely related families of Baughmans and Ritters arrived between 1850 and 1854. Included were 57 people who had been born in Ohio or Pennsylvania, plus at least 21 infants born to the original couples after they arrived. Within a few years, the young adults among the new arrivals began to marry members of other pioneer families, such as Wilkinson, Hayden, Hayhurst, Taylor, Livingston and Plummer. These 78 or so Ritters and Baughmans and their grandchildren must have contributed significantly to the population growth of West Creek Township during the 1850's.
The first documentation of the migration from Tuscarawas, Ohio, to West Creek occurred on Sept. 23, 1848, when Jacob Baughman, Sr., purchased land -- 240 acres in Section 32. Jacob and his family did not come to Lake County right away, however.
In the 1850 census they were in Porter County, sharing a household with their recently widowed son-in-law Daniel Fry and their grandson, Urias. Daniel Fry and Mary Baughman, daughter of Jacob Baughman and Sarah Ritter, had married in Tuscarawas, but Mary likely died in Indiana. Perhaps her parents came to live with the Frys in Porter County after her death or to help out during her illness.
The Baughmans moved to their land in West Creek in 1850 or 1851. Daniel Fry joined them, as did Jacob Baughman's son, John, who had married in Porter County. Jacob's oldest daughter, Barbara, who had married Edward Knisely in Ohio, remained in Ohio for a few years before joining her parents in West Creek.
Jacob Baughman was the son of Christian Baughman, and Sarah "Sally" Ritter Baughman was the oldest of six children of John Ritter. Both Christian Baughman and John Ritter were pioneer settlers in Tuscarawas County. It is likely that the Ritters and Baughmans had known each other in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, before moving to Ohio in the 1810's. Both families were of Germanic descent, popularly known as Pennsylvania Dutch.
John Knisely, founder of New Philadelphia, Ohio, had encouraged fellow Bedford County residents to come to Tuscarawas, Ohio, and the Baughmans were part of that migration. John Knisely was the grandfather of Edward Knisely, who moved to West Creek.
A John Ritter, Jr., listed in the 1800 Bedford County census, is probably the same John Ritter who later settled in Tuscarawas. Sarah Ritter married Christian Baughman's son, Jacob, in Tuscarawas in 1818, even though the two families lived distant from each other, further suggesting that the two families may have known each other previoiusly.
In Tuscarawas, Ohio, personal tax records show that when Sarah's brother, George Ritter, married in 1824, he came to live with or near the Baughmans in Goshen Township. A few years later, Sarah and George's father, John Ritter, died, and George returned to his father's farm in Sandy Township.
At that time, Jacob Baughman transferred the one-sixth share of his wife's father's land to George Ritter. George soon sold his one-third share (including his sister's) to the next younger brother, Abraham, and moved to Lawrence County in Tuscarawas, where he purchased 100 acres. George Ritter was then joined in Lawrence Township by his younger brothers, Jacob and John, Jr., and remained there for nearly two decades.
About the time that Jacob Baughman moved to West Creek, George Ritter sold his land in Ohio and purchased 320 acres (NW and NE quarters of Section 29) in West Creek, on Jan. 25, 1851. Thus George Ritter joined his brother-in-law, Jacob Baughman, perhaps a planned relocation together. The historical account of the settling of the area says that George Ritter came with his brother "Abram" in 1851. Other histories suggest that Abraham Ritter did not come until 1854, and that it could have been the youngest brother, Jacob Ritter, who came with him. Jacob Ritter must have come to Indiana between 1850 and 1853, judging from birthplaces of his children.
Abraham Ritter had moved from Tuscarawas to Ashland County, Ohio, by 1850, as had Jacob Baughman's youngest brother, Samuel. The two may then have made the move to West Creek together in 1854. The migration of Baughmans and Ritters to West Creek was one of a long history of joint moves by the two families.
George Ritter's daughter, Louisa, and her husband, Adam Mock, came with or soon joined her parents, as did Abraham's married daughter, Mary Jane, with her husband Harvey Toms.
The eleven families that came from Tuscarawas to West Creek are listed below, including spouses and children (with children born in West Creek listed in parentheses):
2.) Jacob's brother, Samuel BAUGHMAN (ca. 1808-after 1880), wife Rebecca WOODS, children, Phoebe, Wilson Shannon, Thomas, Oliver, Frances Marion.
3.) Jacob's son, John BAUGHMAN (1825-1903), wife Sarah GOODWIN, children, (Mary, Frank, and one other).
4.) Jacob's son-in-law, Daniel FRY (1823-1905), wife Mary BAUGHMAN (deceased before move), child Urias.
6.) Jacob's brother-in-law, Geroge RITTER (ca. 1803-1855), wife Catherine SHAFFER, children Henry, Abraham, Elijah, John, Mary, Martha, Delilah, Cynthia.
7.) Jacob's brother-in-law, Jacob RITTER (1820-1890), wife Sarah HAMMAN, children Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah, Catherine, Almira, Anna, (Cordelia, Erasmus, Eunice, Samuel Baughman, David Silas, Louisa, Hannah, Phoebe).
8.) Jacob's brother-in-law, Abraham RITTER (1806-1870), wife Ann "Nancy" FOSTER, children Sarah, Catherine, Elizabeth, George, Louisa.
9.) George Ritter's son-in-law, Adam MOCK (ca. 1825-1863), wife Louisa RITTER (1825-1910) -- no children.
10.) Abraham Ritter's son, John RITTER (1831-1910), wife Susan MILLER, children (Aaron, Samuel, Martha, John, Charles).
11.) Abraham Ritter's son-in-law, Harvey TOMS (1830-1892), wife Mary RITTER (1832-1861), no children.
Soon after settling in West Creek, the older children from these families began to marry. There were at least 10 marriages by children of the Baughman and Ritter families between 1852 and 1859, and many more in subsequent decades.
Marriages in the 1850's: Henry Ritter, son of George, to Sarah J. Wilkinson, July 25, 1852; John Ritter, son of George, to Sarah Jane Taylor, Nov. 4, 1852; Sarah Knisely, daughter of Barbara Baughman Knisely, to Jacob Hayden, Dec. 10, 1854; Catherine Baughman, daughter of Jacob, to Abiel Plummer, June 5, 1855; Daniel Fry, Jacob Baughman's widowed son-in-law, to Delia Rumsey, Aug. 16, 1856; Mary Ritter, daughter of Geroge, to William S. Ammerman, Dec. 31, 1856; Lucinda Knisely, daughter of Barbara Baughman Knisely, to Lewis Hayden, Oct. 15, 1857; Sarah Ann Ritter, daughter of Abraham, to Harmon Waldrum, Dec. 31, 1858; Phoebe Elizabeth Baughman, daughter of Samuel, to Thomas Johnson, Dec. 15, 1859; Elizabeth Ritter, daughter of Jacob, to Charles Hoevet, Dec. 26, 1859.
Not all of the Baughman and Ritter families were to remain in West Creek their entire lives. Next month we will discuss what happened to these families after the 1850's.
The above "Pioneer History" column, which was guest written by Philip Ritter, said that Jacob Baughman was born in 1798 and died in 1855. But in Rev. T.H. Ball's Encyclopedia of Genealogy and Biography of Lake County, Indiana, his death date is listed as 1853. When asked if he could verify the date one way or the other, this was Mr. Ritter's answer:
A later note from Mr. Ritter:
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