Randolph  County,  Indiana

Fred  Retter

            As one reviews the history of Randolph county and looks into the past to see what people were prominent in its early development, it will be found that for the past three-quarters of a century the Germans have been closely connected with the progress and general advancement of this section of the Hoosier state. Wild was the region into which they came. Its forests stood in their primeval strength, the swampy land was still undrained, and the Indians still roamed through the dense woods, seeking deer, bear and lesser game which were in abundance. The Retter family, while not so early as some, yet figured in the latter-day development of this section of the state, and Fred Retter, a farmer of Washington township, although born in the Fatherland, has spent his active life within our borders, ever manifesting the characteristic thrift of the emigrant from the great empire of northern Europe.
            Mr. Retter was born in Wittenburg, Germany, on December 9, 1846. He is a son of Fred and Eliza (Kasper) Retter. The father was born in the same city and country as our subject and there he grew to manhood, learned the shoemaker's trade, married and resided until 1852, when he brought his family across the Atlantic to the United States, our subject being then six years old. The family located near Eaton, Ohio, where the father worked at his trade a short time, then removed to Eldorado, that state, but remained there only a short while, when he moved to New Hope, Ohio, then to Jay county, Indiana, where he purchased ten acres of land, which he cleared and on which he built a house. In a short time he sold out, removed to Randolph county, and purchased one hundred and two acres near the village of Ridgeville, and there lived until his death.
            Fred Retter, of this sketch, assisted his father with the hard work of establishing a new home in a strange land, and he received a limited education at a subscription school, taught in a log school house near the home farm. He remained with his parents until he was seventeen years old, then began working on the Pennsylvania railroad, which was then being built in this locality. He then worked on a farm and with a threshing machine for six months then hired out by the month for seven years; then rented one hundred acres of land, which he eventually; purchased and which he now owns. He worked hard, managed well and saved his earnings, and added to his original purchase until he was the owner of valuable, productive and well cultivated land of ten hundred and fifty acres; he has deeded to his children all but five hundred and fifty-eight acres. It is well drained and otherwise well improved and he has a substantial dwelling and good outbuildings. He carries on general farming and stock raising on an extensive scale and is one of the best and foremost farmers in the county. He annually markets large numbers of livestock.
            Mr. Retter was married to Mary Smith, to which union two children were born, Laura, who is now the wife of Grant Wright, and James, who is farming in Washington township, this county. After the death of his first wife, Mr. Retter married Sarah Jane Stegall, and to this union six children have been born, namely: Otis and Otho, who are assisting in operating our subject's large farm Louisa married Alden Miller; William married Louisa Gessey; Roxanna is the wife of Guy Marker; Arnold married Edith Hinshaw.
Past and Present of Randolph County, Indiana, 1914.
Contributed by Gina Richardson

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