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Henry Ritterling

This well known gentleman is one of the sturdy American citizens to whose intelligence sterling honesty and sturdy industry the great West is indebted for much of the prosperity which it today enjoys, He is a native of Hanover, Germany and dates is birth upon March 4, 1845. His parents also natives of Hanover were George and Mary (Blanck) Ritterling, the father for many years being a manufacturer of flour in the land of his nativity. Both parents passed their lives in Hanover and side by side they sleep the dreamless sleep of death in the same old cemetery in which rests all that is mortal of many generations of their ancestors. Until his fourteenth year Henry remained with his parents and attended the public schools. At that early age he was thrown upon his own resources and during the seven years following worked as a farm hand. On attaining his majority he joined the Hanoverian army and served as a soldier until the consolidation of the different German countries into the German empire when not caring to remain longer under the government thus established he left the Fatherland and came to the United States where for some time after his arrival he worked in grist-mill at Rochester, New York, and later was employed in a lamp factory in the same city until occurred his enlistment on September 12, 1870 when he joined Co. L, Fifth U. S. Cavalry. He was first ordered to Fort McPherson, Nebraska where the command remained one year, being then transferred to Camp Grant, Arizona at which place he was stationed until 1875 then going into camp Graham Mountains, where Mr. Ritterling passed one summer and the following winter was considerable active service fighting the Indians who had become very troublesome. The regiment was kept quite busy operating against the wily foe until the next spring when it was ordered to Fort Lyons, Colorado, remaining there until transferred to Fort Robinson in 1876. It was on the latter march that Mr. Ritterling passed through the part of Wyoming which he subsequently selected for his home. From Fort Robinson he accompanied his command to Fort McPherson and in 1877 was sent to Fort Washakie, Wyoming and thereafter marched to join the forces under General Sherman and Crook through the Big Horn Country, passing on the way over the country of Custer's disastrous fight on the Rosebud and also witnessing many other points of interest. After fighting the Indians to a finish and spending the winter of 1877-78 at Fort Russell, Mr. Ritterling’s regiment was sent against the savages in the northern part of Wyoming in the fall of 1878 returning to Fort Washakie where it remained until 1880. The next move was to Fort Robinson when the period of enlistment of Mr. Ritterling expired and he received his discharge at that place on September 12, 1880. Mr. Ritterling’s military experience in this country covered one of the most exciting periods in the history of the West and from the time of entering the army until honorably discharged he proved his loyalty and bravery by faithful conscientious and dangerous service. He was with his command in many thrilling and dangerous situations but never shirked a duty however onerous and was ready to march against the foe whenever it was necessary to do so. In his own country he also saw much active service and has in his possession the discharge, which speaks of faithful performance of duty and honorable conduct during his period of enlistment. On severing his connections with the army. Mr. Ritterling spent the following winter on a visit to the familiar scenes of his native land, but returned to the United States in 1881 and accepted a position as an ambulance driver with General Crook’s command at the military post of Owaho, Wyoming. In the fall of the above year he was employed by the government to drive a number of mules to Fort Collins, Colorado and after remaining at that place until the spring of 1882, he came to Laramie County, Wyoming, and purchased his present ranch located three miles west of Fort Laramie where he has since been engaged in Cattle raising. His ranch is situated on the Laramie River and among its improvements are a building and a corral which were erected about forty years ago when the place was station on the old California trail. Mr. Ritterling has made many additional improvements on his land and now owns 600 acres all lying on the Laramie River and especially well adapted for cattle raising. It is also a historic location and is far the best-known ranch in this part of the state. Mr. Ritterling is very widely and favorably known among the successful live stockmen of the county in which he lives. He was married in the summer of 1883 to Miss Margaret Hars, of Germany the ceremony being solemnized in the city of Cheyenne. After a short but happy wedded experience, Mrs. Ritterling was called to her reward, dying on July 9, of the year following her marriage. She possessed excellent traits of character and was a devoted member of the Lutheran church. Mr. Ritterling is also identified with that body of worshipers. In the 1880 census Henry Ritterling will be found at Fort Robinson, White River, And Soldier Creeks, Sioux, Nebraska.

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