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Several Hundred Years of Historical Information

THE HISTORY OF THE RITCHEY FAMILY goes back several hundred years to various settlements. Their are a number of different Ritchey family lines descending from both Ireland, England and Germany. Some lines are inter-related and others are not. My earliest directly verifiable Ritchey ancestor is Jacob Ritchey, whose son is Solomon Ritchey who married Maria Agatha Smith (daughter of Lorenzo Frederick Smith, the Hessian soldier).

THE DIEHL FAMILY entered my direct family line through Mariah Diehl. Maria married John Frederick Ritchey, son of Solomon Ritchey. Maria's father, Daniel Diehl is the son of Samuel Diehl and Margaretha Ritschy. Margaretha's father, Philip Ritschy was born in Germany and came to America in 1727 and eventually settled in Rockingham County, VA. Philip Ritschy, as discussed on the Research page, also had connections with Lorenzo Frederick Smith and may be connected with my direct line of descendants. The Ritchey name has been spelled in various manners through the years, Ritschy, Ritchie and Rutschly to name a few.

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The Ritchey family (sometimes spelled as Ritchie) in Brocks Gap area of Rockingham County, VA came from the German settlement area of Loudoun County and moved to a German-speaking area of Rockingham County (Brocks Gap). Fulks Run is the name of the Post Office and village where the Ritchie lived. When they first moved to Rockingham County, the geographical area was known as Brocks Gap; there wasn't a Post Office there until the 1870s.

The various Ritchie families lived on and near Dry River and Lambs Run. Jacob Ritchie settled near the other Ritchies in Brocks Gap. His name appears in the diaries of 2 itinerant ministers, Elder John Kline of the Tunker church (now Church of the Brethren), and Rev. Paul Hinkle, a Lutheran minister. Both these denominations were speaking German at the time. Jacob's children married into German families like Baker, Turner, Schmidt/Smith etc.

Some people have believed that Jacob was Scotch-Irish, but the Ritchie family associated with the German clans so much, even marrying into the German families that it is only possible that they must have been German. Jacob Ritchie doesn't have a tombstone in Fulks Run, but not many people of his generation had tombstones. Again, it is possible that Jacob moved to Blue Knob, but it was after 1849 when Elder John Kline visited him in Brocks Gap. Also, all of Jacob's children married Brocks Gap spouses, so even if Jacob did move to Pennsylvania, it was after his children were grown.

Rockingham County, VA is a "burned" county; that is, the court records have been burned, making research harder. According to Mrs. Lantz's book, Jacob Ritchie's father was Isaac Ritchie. Isaac must have left a will, but most of the wills were burned during the Civil War. She has a transcribed copy of a deed in her book, where Isaac Ritchie's executors Henry & Solomon sold some of Isaac's land. This is an older Solomon and was Jacob's brother, my Great-Great-Grandfather Solomon's uncle.


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Like the Ritchey family line, there are numerous Diehl families with various spellings throughout the years, such as Deal, Teal, Tiel, Teel, Teele and Thiel. Much has been published regarding the genealogy of the Diehl family through the years. As early as the first family reunion in 1890 in Blue Knob, PA when the first publication came into being, "An Account of the Family Reunion of the Descendants of Samuel Diehl of Friend's Cove, Bedford County", the documentation of the Diehl family began. Due to the forthought of our ancestors, we have a publication that has been verified and placed into our hands for continuation. This is the purpose of this site, is to continue that knowledge and to hand it down to our decendants as a gift of our heritage.

This gift continued as an update to the 1890 publication in 1915, "Diehl Families of America, History, Genealogy, Reminiscences", written by E. H. Diehl and then once again updated as the last printed and bound publication in 1975, commonly known as "The Big Red Book" but more formally titled, "Genealogy of the Descendants of Samuel Diehl and Margareth a Ritchey his wife". This was put together at the time by the Diehl Family Publishing Committee and authored by N. Paul Bernhardt.

What is known about the Diehl family history has been given to us, bound, printed and published. Samuel Diehl, the progenator of this Diehl line, born in Loudoun County, Virginia in 1740. His father, as indicated in Deed Records of 1762 was Joseph Teal who more then likely emigrated from Germany. Samuel purchased a homestead in Friends Cove, Bedford County, PA in 1784 or 1785 and raised his family there. It is not known for certain whether Samuel Diehl served in the Revolutionary War but the records during that time were very incomplete and many different spellings of the name existed.


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The research continues on both the Ritchey and Diehl family history. It is a never-ending commitment to continue this pursuit to preserve our Family Tree for Future Generations.

Of course, research would not be complete if I did not include all inter-related family lines, including those from my mother's side. For those related through the Stewart and Buchanans from Kentucky; they have been included as well as the Buchanan and Campbell families and their interesting ancestry as it relates to our Family History.

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