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Ole A. Ritan (Reitan)
Aalen, Søndre Trondhjems amt, Norway

From History of the Scandinavians and Successful Scandinavians in the United States, comp. by O.N. Nelson, 1897. p. 459-460

Ritan, Ole A., merchant and manufacturer - Superior (Wis.) - born 16 Feb. 1849, in Aalen, Søndre Trondhjems amt, Norway.  His grandfather was a school teacher and a musician at Aalen and his father a prominent yeoman.  Both spelled their name Reitan.  Young Ritan received a common school education in Norway; worked in a copper mine and herded cattle.  In 1867 he emigrated to America, and settled in Allamakee county, Iowa; here he worked on farms in the summer, and in the Wisconsin pineries during the winter.  In 1873 he came to Baldwin, Wis., and the next year took up a homestead in Barron county, close to where Cumberland is now situated.  He lived on the farm for five years, and when the railroad was built through that part of the country in 1878, he started a store in Cumberland, which was the first general store in the village, Ritan being the oldest settler and one of the founders of the same.  He kept this store until 1895, besides being engaged extensively in the lumber business.  In 1888 he founded the grist mill which is run by the Cumberland Milling company, and has been president of the same ever since.  He also owns a large amount of pine lands in the state of Oregon.  His annual business amounted to over $100,000, which is among the largest done by any Scandinavian in the northern part of the state.  In 1895 he retired from the business, and founded the Island City Bank.  Ritan took active part in local affairs, having been a member of the village council and president of the same.  He has also been a member of the board of county supervisors for several years.  He is a firm supporter of the temperance cause and woman's rights, and settled in Superior in 1897.  In 1873 he was married to Carrie E. Stone, of his native place; they have one daughter and three sons.


12 May 2001 07:52 PM

Copyright © 2001 Linda K. Schwartz