History of Wheeling City and Ohio County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens
Hon. Gibson Lamb Cranmer, 1902; pages 581-582.
Michael Ritz was a barber by trade, and followed that occupation in Wheeling all his life. He was a soldier in the Civil War, having enlisted in Company E, 1st Reg., Va. Vol. Inf., under Captain Weddel. He served in the army for four years. He married a daughter of David Winter. David Winter was a pioneer of Wheeling, and a hatter by trade. He was killed in 1846 at the old Point Mill, where he was working at the time. Michael Ritz died in 1872, aged fifty years. His wife died in 1896, aged sixty-three years. Three children blessed their union, namely: Mrs. William Atwell, Mrs. James N. Jones and John S., all of Wheeling.
John S. Ritz, the subject of this sketch, received but limited mental instruction, and at the age of ten years entered the rolling mill and nail factory. Later he entered the puddling mill of the Wheeling Steel & Iron Company, and followed this line of work until he was elected chief of the police, in 1901, to succeed William M. Clemans. This position he has filled most admirably, winning the confidence and respect of all those under him, as well as of those by whom he is employed. Mr. Ritz had at one time served on the police force for two years under Chief Robert McNichols.
Mr. Ritz married Margaret Gosney, who was born in Wheeling, a daughter of Hamilton Gosney, who was one of the oldest and best known rollers and mill men in this section of the country. Hamilton Gosney died in 1900, aged seventy-six years. He was a roller in a bar mill. Mr. Ritz and his wife have the following children, namely: Pearl; Sarah, who was drowned in the new reservoir at the age of five years; Amy; Annie; Josephine; John, Jr.; Hamilton; and Frank.
Politically, Mr. Ritz has always been a Democrat. He has always been an active worker in labor matters, and is a member of the John S. Ritz (Benwood) Lodge, No. 1, of the Amalgamated Association of Steel, Iron and Tin Workers, which lodge was name in his honor. He has served in office, and also as a delegate to conventions many times, and his election to the office of chief of police was due largely to the votes of the laboring people. There is not a man in Wheeling who is held in higher esteem by the laboring element than Mr. Ritz, who, by his deep interest in the toiler's lives and work, has endeared himself to all. Mr. Ritz is a member of Baltimore Lodge, No. 6, K. of P., and also of the Shield of Honor, Fort Henry Lodge, No. 2. He is a Presbyterian in religious belief.