Thursday, September 5, 2013

WDYTYA--Tricia Yearwood; Springbank Cemetery--donated by the Ritschharts over 200 years ago.

WDYTYA--Tricia Yearwood

The next to last of this year's series of programs featured Country singing star, Tricia Yearwood, was shown this past Tuesday.  The show started in Nashville, then took her over to England to research the history of her 5th great grandfather, Samuel Winslett.  Samuel's mother died when he was about 8, then his father died when he was 14.  

He and his brother and a couple other friends apparently killed five bucks on the property of one of the landed gentry and carted them away.  Times were very tough for common people in those days and because crime was so rampant, very strict laws were enacted called the Black Act.  Samuel and his brother were actually sentenced to death by hanging for this relatively minor crime; but they gained a reprieve and were shipped to America, where they were to serve for 14 years as indentured servants.

Tricia then headed back to Atlanta to trace Samuel's experiences in America.  He apparently escaped from his servitude, because they found records of him as a landowner in Georgia in 1770, just four years after he was sent to America.  

He eventually married, had a family and bought more land where he lived, which turned out to be about 30 miles from Tricia's present home in Georgia.

I found a couple things about the show particularly interesting.  We have often heard of the English shipping convicts to Australia and New Zealand; but I didn't realize they were also shipped to America, apparently a result of the Transportation Act.  

At the end of the show Tricia made the comment about her 5th great grandfather, "I feel like I know him!"  Several of the celebrities throughout the series have made similar comments about their ancestors.  In my genealogy presentations I often make the comment that one of the reasons genealogy is so fun is "because you get to know relatives that you never had a chance to meet!"  It is nice to observe the celebrities in this series also experiencing that unique feature of genealogy.  

The last in this eight part series will air next Tuesday and features Jim Parsons, actor best know for his role in the TV series, Big Bang Theory
Photos from Springbank Cemetery

In 1999, when I retired from working for Lockheed Martin at their Corporate HQ in Maryland, my wife and I traced the migration path of my Ritchhart family line across country.  I had already visited their first two areas of residence, Reading, Pennsylvania and the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, as they were within a day's drive of where we lived.  Thus, our first stop was to be Chillicothe, Ohio where Christian Ritschhart, whose father came to Pennsylvania from Switzerland in 1750, and his family settled in 1796.  They had travel by water from the Shenandoah Valley.

I had checked the Chillicothe photo book and found several Ritchharts still living there in 1999, so I had written to one of them, Charles, and asked to meet with him while we were there.  Charles passed my letter to his son, Daniel, who turned out to be my 5th cousin--probably the most distant cousin I have met face to face.  Daniel was a nice young man in his 30s and was very helpful.  

In addition to setting up meetings with three of his uncles, he and his uncle, Wayne, took us to the local cemetery.  The visit was particularly of interest because the land for Springbank Cemetery had been donated by the Ritchhart family.  It was also near land that had originally been purchased by Christian Ritschhart when he came to the NW Territories--Ohio had not yet become a state.  I was most impressed because 100 acres of that land was still being farmed by three Ritchhart brothers in their 80s.  Thus, it had been in the family almost 200 years.  

Springbank Cemetery (from Find a Grave)

Springbank Cemetery (the day we visited)
The following photo of Christian's grave is misleading, as the Ritchharts we visited said a Ritchhart relative from Utah had the marker placed there; but it was not know for sure that was where Christian was actually buried.  Based on my research, I believe he was probably buried somewhere on his original property.  He has, however, been verified as a Revolutionary War Patriot by the DAR.

Christian Ritchhart
Revolutionary War Veteran
& Brother Henry

Hiram Ritchhart
Christian's Grandson

Penelope Ritchhart
Christian's Granddaughter, sister of Hiram

Jacob Ritschard
Christian's Son

Elizabeth Ritchhart
Sister of Penelope and Hiram

Ida Ritchhart
Great Great Granddaughter of Christian
What amazes me is that the Ritchharts have lived in Chillicothe for over 200 years, yet there are only eight of them listed in Find a Grave as having been buried in Ross County!  I only discovered this yesterday, so I haven't had time yet to investigate and find out if they just haven't been recorded, are in an adjacent county or what?  There should be hundreds of them, not just eight--strange!