THE HISTORY OF THE RITCHEY FAMILY goes back several hundred years to various settlements. The Ritchey name has been spelled in various manners through the years, Ritschy, Ritchie, Richey and Rutschly to name a few. 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 (see controversy below) is Isaac Ritschy born about 1736 and his wife Anna Maria Catherina Berg who was from the region now known as Selters, near Koblenz, Germany. Isaac lived in Frederick County, Maryland, on a farm with a twenty-one year lease, which expired in 1784. He then moved his family across the Potomac River to Loudoun County, Virginia and settled on a farm in the vicinity of the German/Swiss settlement called Lovettsville, near the farm of his brother, Francis Richey. It was Isaac's son, Jacob Ritschy that moved further south to the Brocks Gap area of Rockingham County, Virginia. Jacob's wife was known as Polly Shoemocherin, given name was Maria Barbara Schumacher whose son is Solomon Ritchey that married Maria Agatha Smith (daughter of Lorenzo Frederick Smith, the Hessian soldier) and settled in the Blue Knob region of Pennsylvania (known as 'The Switz').
THE DIEHL FAMILY entered my direct family line through Mariah Diehl as well as Margaretha Ritschy. Mariah married John Frederick Ritchey, son of Solomon Ritchey. Mariah's father, Daniel Diehl is the son of Samuel Diehl and Margaretha Ritschy (sister of Isaac Ritschy). Margaretha's as well as Isaac's father is one of the controversies that have existed within the historical records for many years.
THE CONTROVERSY in some sources have listed Philip Ritschy (Rutschly), born in Germany and came to America in 1727 and eventually settled in Rockingham County, Virginia as the father of Isaac Ritschy, paternal lineage of the Ritchey family that settled in Virginia and eventually Pennsylvania. Most of the resources that list Philip Rutschly prior to 1980 as a direct ancestor may have originated from Vergie Ruth Carr Lantz's publication. New research may indicate that a Francis Richey is the direct paternal lineage of the Ritchey family of Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Francis Richey came to America in 1727 from Londonderry County, Ireland and settled with his family in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He disappeared from the records by 1760 when his family settled further south in Frederick County, Maryland. More on this controversy can be read here for you to decide whether its Philip Ritschy or Francis Richey as the paternal lineage to the Ritchey family.
The Ritchey family (sometimes spelled Ritchie, Ritschy, and Richey) in Brocks Gap area of Rockingham County, Virginia 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 Ritchies 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.
My Great-Great Grandfather, John Frederick Ritchey (1821-1904) married into the Diehl family, Mariah Diehl, and lived most of his life in Blue Knob, Pennsylvania. He moved with his parents when he was about 15 years old in about 1836 from Rockingham County, Virginia. His father, Solomon Ritchey (1785-1854) was born in Lovettsville, Virginia. At the time of Solomon's birth, his family had recently arrived from across the river in Frederick County, Maryland where they had lived since 1763. In about 1788, Solomon's parents moved to Brocks Gap, Virginia, when he was about 3 years old. They moved to a German-Swiss community in Rockingham County, Virginia, some 100 mile southwest of Loudoun County.
The various Ritchey families lived on and near Dry River and Lambs Run. Jacob Ritschy (1763-1850), Solomon's father, settled near the other Ritchey's 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 sources believed that Jacob was Scotch-Irish but he was born in Maryland, where the Ritschy family's base were living from 1762 until about 1784. Jacob relocated to Loudoun County, Virginia about the time of his marriage to Polly Schumacher. A few years after the birth of his son, Solomon, he moved his family to the Brocks Gap area in Fulks Run, Rockingham County, Virginia. The Ritchey family associated with the German clans so much, even marrying into the German families in the region. Jacob Ritschy doesn't have a tombstone in Fulks Run, but not many people of his generation had tombstones. Cemetery records show that he died in 1850 and is buried at the Ritchie Cemetery, located in Brocks Gap near Lambes Run.
Jacob Ritschy's father was Isaac Ritschy (1736-1824). Isacc Ritschy's family lived in Frederick County, Maryland, on a farm with a twenty-one year lease, which expired in 1784. He then moved his family across the Potomac to Loudoun County, Virginia and settled on a farm in the vicinity of the German/Swiss settlement of Lovettsville, near the farm of his brother, Francis Richey. He eventually moved further south in 1804 where his eldest son, Jacob had previously moved in 1788 and bought land on Dry River, Brocks Gap, Rockingham County, Virginia. He settled on his 250 acres at Maple Flat Swamp, Brocks Gap which was near his son, Jacob's property where he lived until his death in 1824. He is buried with his wife, Maria Catharina, in Ritchie Cemetery, located in Brocks Gap, Virginia near Lambes Run.
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, 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.
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.