Mifflin County Biographies
"History of the Juniata Valley and Its People, Vol. II" 1913

John D. Ricketts


The Ricketts family, of Lewistown, came to Mifflin from Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, where Joseph, grandfather of James D. Ricketts, was an early settler. Joseph Ricketts, was born in Huntingdon county, August 13, 1802, died in 1877. He was a farmer of Hill Valley all his life, prosperous and respected. He was a Democrat in politics, and a member of the Episcopal church. He married Mary Bentz, born in Huntingdon county, November 27, 1812, of German descent, a member of the German Baptist church (Dunkard), died in 1894. Children: Ann, married W. D. Colabine, of Mill Creek, Pennsylvania; Martin, deceased; James D., (see below); William, deceased.

James D., son of David and Mary (Bentz) Ricketts, was born in Shirleysburg, Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, March 9, 1849. He attended the public school, and until he was fourteen years of age, worked on the farm. In his fourteenth year he began working with a section gang on the Pennsylvania railroad, and spent his subsequent life in the employ of that company. From track laborer he was advanced to fireman, and in September, 1873, was promoted to engineer, a position he still holds. For forty years he has run between Sunbury and Lewistown, twenty-five years of which time he has been in the passenger service. In December, 1872, he moved his residence to Lewistown, and in 1890 purchased his present residence at No. 213 West Market street. In politics Mr. Ricketts is a Democrat, and in religious faith a Presbyterian. In 1886 he became a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.

He married, September 17, 1878, Ella E. Postlethwaite, born in Newton Hamilton, Pennsylvania, June 28, 1852, daughter of Samuel D. and Eleanor (Van Dyke) Postlethwaite. Child: Alice, married P. S. Smith, and resides at Lewistown; four children: Eleanor, Dallas, Karl K. and Eugene.



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