Ristine - Benjamin T. - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Ristine - Benjamin T.

Source: Benjamin T. Ristine Montgomery County, Indiana H.W. Beckwith HIstory (Chicago: HH Hill, 1881) p 194
RISTINE, Benjamin T., among the oldest and most prominent citizens of Montgomery co. is the gentleman whose name appears at the head of this sketch. Benjamin T. Ristine is widely known, both at home and abroad; also in the law circles of Indiana. He was b. Jan 19, 1807 in the neighborhood of Madison, just across the river in Kentucky. His father, Henry Ristine, was a native of NY and his mother, Nancy GRAY Ristine was born in Va. They married in Kentucky, and moved to Jefferson Co, Indiana territory about 1808. Henry Ristine became a lt. in the ranging service during the war of 1812, and explored pretty well the Wabash Valley. In 1815 he began keeping tavern in Madison, which he continued till 1820, when he bought land adjoining the town and established a tannery which he conducted for two years. Having been well impressed with the rich soil of the Wabash when ranging here, he determined to make this his future home. Accordingly, in 1823, in the month of May, he reached Crawfordsville with his wife and six children. The city was then in the germ, enclosed by a thick and dense hull of green woods, and little did the Ristines dream of the future city with its numerous industries, its schools, and its churches. Here they built a "log hotel" on the ground just south of, and opposite to, the present Nutt Hotel. Here they kept tavern till 1829, when they bought land in the edge of Tippecanoe Co, and lived there till 1832, then returned to Crawfordsville and bought the frame and log tavern that stood on lot 111 e. of the courthouse. Several years afterward he sold, and bought a lot opposite the St. James Hotel, where he built a hotel which he kept till he retired from business. He died in 1856, at the age of 73 years. He had been a thorough and active whig. He was pres. of the board of trustees for some time and from 1828 to 1833 represented his County in the legislature. He was also prominent in the Baptist Church. His wife d. in 1861 at the age of 73. Benjamin T. Ristine passed his youthful days in hotel life. At the age of 22 he kept a subscription school and borrowing such books as he needed he studied law by himself in connection with teaching. Abandoning the law he engaged in the dry goods business for seven years, then resumed his legal studies, selling his store interest and buying a hundred dollars' worth of elementary law books for immediate study. He also had access to such law libraries as the place and times afforded. In May, 1840, Mr. R. was admitted to the bar, and settled for the practice of his profession in Crawfordsville, where he has ever since remained. He has never allowed himself to seek office. He was nominated by the whigs to represent the County in the convention called to revise the constitution, but although he received the full whig vote he was defeated. In 1845 he became assoc. with Alexander THOMSON in the legal profession, which firm, known as Thomson & Ristine continued for 33 years. Since the dissolution Mr. Ristine has taken his two sons, T.H. and O.H. Ristine into partnership with him. He was married in August 1837 to Miss Flora HUMPHREY, They have 7 children: Theodore H, Ozea H, attorneys; Warren H, doctor in Crawfordsville; Harley G, MD of Ft. Dodge, Iowa; Charles W, who manages the home farm; Albert (Deceased) and a daughter married to W FRAZER of Warsaw, Indiana. Mr. & Mrs. Ristine are members of the Presbyterian Church. He has been a stalwart republican since the birth of that party.
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