COL. JOHN RITCHIE was born in Uniontown, Muskingum Co., Ohio, July 17, 1817. His parents removed to Westchester when he was a year and a half old, and he resided there and in Butler County until he was thirteen. He then lived in Columbus, Ind., and afterwards at Greensburg and Franklin until the fall of 1854, when he visited Leavenworth, Lawrence and Kansas City. March 12, 1855, he started again for Kansas, and April 3 arrived at Topeka, and located on Section 6, Town 12, Range 16, which is still his residence. He pre-empted a quarter section, and engaged in farming, and in building the Ritchie Block, where the first State Legislature met, the first brick block in the city. Mr. Ritchie was a member of the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, and of the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention. He was an active participant in the troubles of 1856, and was for a time a Free-state prisoner in Lecompton Prison. During the war he enlisted as a private in Company A, Fifth Kansas Cavalry (Lane's Guards) of which he was made Captain after its organization. He was commissioned by the General Government to raise an Indian regiment, and was Colonel of the regiment (Second Indian), and was breveted Brigadier-General two weeks before the close of the war. Mr. R. donated the land upon which Washburn College is located, to that institution, during his early residence in Topeka. He was identified with the Free-state cause from the first, and was a friend and ardent admirer of John Brown, assisting him to escape from an attacking party when he was leaving in Kansas after his last visit, and sharing his bed the last night he spent in the State. He was married in Franklin, Ind., January 16, 1838, to Mary J. Shelleday, who died October 18, 1880, leaving two children - Hale and John, Jr. Mr. R. was again married at Franklin, Ind., October 27, 1881, to Mrs. Hannah Beall, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr. R. is a member of the A. F. & A. M.

About  Historic Topeka Cemetery

Historic Topeka Cemetery is operated by its lot owners, each of whom is a member of the Topeka Cemetery Association. Day-to-day operations are overseen by the association’s nine member board of directors and conducted by the superintendent.

As you walk the grounds or visit the website, know that your loved ones rest with ours. As they have been since its founding in 1859, Historic Topeka Cemetery’s caretakers are committed to respectful maintenance and preserving memories for generations to come.

Thank you for your support and patronage of Historic Topeka Cemetery, the oldest chartered cemetery in Kansas.


Historic Topeka Cemetery

1601 SE 10th Avenue . Topeka, Kansas 66607

(785) 233-4132