He married Laura Ella Dutton on December 31, 1874 in Woodford County, Illinois. Laura was born on September 19,1855 and was the daughter of Norman Dutton and Nancy Smith. According to From the Early History of Washington, Illinois and Vicinity, Norman Dutton was a depot master and conductor on the under ground
George and Laura's children included:
George Arthur Ricketts (1877, married Nora Dunlap),
Jessie Margaret Ricketts DuPree (1879, married James Gurn DuPree), and
Effie Mae Ricketts Kern (1881, married Robert Kern).
Laura died on January 24, 1887.
His second wife was Fannie Heizer. She was born in 1864 in Des Moines, Iowa. Her parents were John Ware Heizer and Aseneth Delana Tilton.
In 1910 59 year old George was living in Fort Collins Ward 2, Larimer, Colorado with his wife Fannie who was born in 1862 in Illinois.
In 1919, when his brother, Garrett Ricketts, died he was living in Fort Collins Colorado.
George died on February 4, 1944 in Fort Collins, Colorado. Fannie died on November 5, 1950.
Illinois became a state in 1818. A large influx of American settlers came in the 1810s by the Ohio River.
Geo. Ricketts, Father of Mrs. R. Kern, Dies
Mrs. Robert Kern of Eureka received word Feb. 4 of the death of her father, George Ricketts, 92 years old at his home in Fort Collins, Colo. Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, with burial in his home town.
Mr. Ricketts was a resident of Eureka for many years leaving for the west 39 years ago. He was born on Feb. 22, 1851. He is survived by his wife and three children: Arthur Ricketts of Britt, Ia.; Mrs. Jesse DuPree of Salt Lake City, Utah and Mrs. Effie Kern of Eureka; also seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
While a resident of Eureka Mr. Ricketts was active in civic affairs and served several years as city marshal.
Woodford County, Illinois was formed in 1841 from parts of Tazewell and McLean Counties. Metamora (Hanover before 1845) was the county seat from 1843-1894.
from The History of Woodford County
The Underground Railroad
The Fugitive Slave law aroused great feeling among the opponents of slavery over the entire north. It was especially obnoxious to those who had belonged to the Abolitionists. So great was the opposition to its enforcement that concerted plans were made to evade it. These led to the formation of certain well defined routes that were taken by the slaves in their effort to reach Canada, where they would be free from pursuit. Since travel along these lines was done as secretly as possible, they came to be known as underground railroads.
Woodford county was no exception to the general rule, and there was bitter opposition to the enforcement of the fugitive slave law. This condition was not surprising, since the county had men, who were strong opponents of slavery and likewise men who would make any sacrifice to have the institution stamped out. Over this branch of the underground road many a run-away slave passed on his way to freedom. There was such a strong sentiment against the traffic that conductors and stations were found in sufficient number to carry on the work successfully.
Fugitives came into Woodford county from what was then called Deacon street, between Tremont and Morton. They passed around Washington, which was regarded as unfriendly toward plans for their escape, and came to the place of Deacon Dutton, half way between Metamora and Washington. Deacon Dutton himself was the principal conductor from that station, although George Kern also acted in that capacity. Patterson Scott was one of the conductors southeast of Washington. Mr. Dutton usually brought them to what was called Morsetown. This was a settlement of the Morse family and was south of Cazenovia, near the Morsetown cemetery. Captain Parker Morse and Joseph T. Morse were in hearty sympathy with all efforts made for the escape of the slave.
Slavery is an immoral system of forced labor where people are treated as property to be bought and sold. It was legal in the American Colonies and the United States until the Civil War.