One of the finest men, best men, and
outstanding citizens of Auburn in my boyhood days was Mr. Alex
C. Ritchey, a native of Allen County, Ky., and awfully proud
of his native county. He lived in Auburn but traveled in Texas
for a St., Louis Hat Company, and was tremendously successful.
He was one of the best mixers I have ever seen. Everyone who
knew him loved him and his trade thought there was no one like
His sideline and great joy was securing
positions for worthy young men and there was almost a steady
stream of Auburn boys, Logan County and Allen County boys who
went to St. Louis and upon the word of Mr. Ritchey were given
He and my father were very close personal
friends and I have often wondered why father did not ask him
to place me in St. Louis, but I went to Louisville instead.
Mr. Ritchey had a lovely and lovable wife and she carried on
and reared the children in their splendid home while he was on
the road. His home coming two of three times a year was an
event in the town as well as in his home. They had a large and
attractive home and a very large, shady yard. Every summer
they would have visitors who came to visit them. The ones I
recall mostly were girls and among those there are a few that
stand out in my memory. Delia Ritter and Pulliam girls, Annie
and Mary, were great favorites with us boys.
Mr. Ritchey had considerable farmland and I
remember very well working in the tobacco patch on his place.
Then, too, my brother George and I gathered blackberries and
Mrs. Ritchey and Mrs. Ritchey was our best customer. Mr. and
Mrs. Ritchey had five children who lived to be grown and three
or four who died in infancy. John was the only son who lived
to be grown and he is now (and has been for years) living in
St. Louis. He is in the insurance business. The four girls
were: May, who married Mr. Payne of St. Louis, who died a few
years ago and left her a widow with one child, a grown son;
then Blanche, who lived in Auburn, then in St. Louis and went
home to Heaven from St. Louis. She was very popular, but never
married. The youngest daughter Lena died before the family
moved to St. Louis years ago. No, Katie or Katherine was the
youngest and she is living in St. Louis with her sister, May
(Mrs. Payne). Catherine has never married. John has no
children. I was in St. Louis two years ago and saw John, May
and Catherine. It was a great joy to see them again.
The Ritchey home in Auburn was an ideal
place for parties and we had many there and in the summer with
Japanese lantern strung in the yard, the place looked like a
veritable fairyland. Then Mrs. Ritchey, John and the girls
were such gracious host and hostesses.
The three Burnett boys would be looked for
at the Ritchey home when they were missed at home, so they
tell me, and I confess it. I think we showed fine taste for
three attractive girls about our ages all in one home, was
most unusual. The entire family of children got their
education at the Auburn College and my father counted the Mr.
Ritchey as one of his very best patrons. Mr. Ritchey was one
of the most consecrated Christian men of Auburn and then of
the Third Baptist Church of St. Louis after the family moved
there. John is a deacon in that church now and the Richey's
stand high in that wonderful church. No finer family ever
lived in Auburn than the Ritchey family and that goes for
father, mother and all five children.