An American Family History

Captain Edward Ricketts, Jr.


Ricketts is also spelled Rickeots, Rickeotts, Rickett, Rickets, Ricket, Rickel, Rickle, Rickels, and Rickles.


In the Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic of 1793, 5000 or more people died between August 1 and November 9.

During the American Revolution a Tory or Loyalist was used in for those who remained loyal to the British Crown.

Edward Ricketts was born in Maryland in 1736. His parents were Edward Ricketts and Mary A. Cheney.

His children may have included:
Nathan Ricketts (1759),
Thomas Ricketts (1762),
James Ricketts (1766, Sarah Prather and Jane McCalmont),
Nancy Ricketts Roller (1770, married Henry Roller),
Isaac Ricketts (1772, married Anna Law) and
Lydia Ricketts Prather (1778, married Henry Prather).

In 1755 he joined the army. He served 75 days under Captain Moses Chapline during the French and Indian War (1754-1763) in Maryland.

He moved to Barree Township, Bedford County that became Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania when he was a young man. He helped his father build a fort in Stone Valley.

Edward's grandson, Isaac Ricketts wrote

I heard my father state that about the close of the Revolutionary War two of his elder brothers, his uncle and his father, Capt. Edward Ricketts, (sometimes was called Capt. Ned) then living in the south-eastern part of this state, set out out to explore the Alleghenies, with a view to lay claim to land.

The Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Blair County, Pennsylvania says:

The most prominent friendly Indian that ever resided in the valley (Logan), however, was Captain Logan. This, of course, was not his proper name, but a title bestowed upon him by the settlers..

[He] took up his residence in the Juniata valley. One day, while hunting, he happened to pass the beautiful spring near the mouth of the Bald Eagle - now in the heart of Tyrone city. The favorable location for both hunting and fishing, as well as charming scenery, fascinated Logan; and he built himself a wigwam, immediately above the spring, to which he removed his family.

Here he lived during the revolutionary war, not altogether inactive, for his sympathies were on the side of liberty. During that time he formed a strong attachment to Captain Ricketts, of Warrior's Mark, and they became fast friends. It was to Ricketts that Captain Logan first disclosed the plot of the tories under John Weston; and Edward Bell gave it his firm conviction that Logan was among the Indians who shot down Weston and his men on their arrival at Kittanning.

Edward Ricketts owned land in Franklin Township on Warrior's Mark Run and Spruce Creek (Coleraine Forge) which had been improved in 1781.

Thomas and Robert were rangers on the frontier with the Bedford County Militia 1778-1783. In 1779, they were captains in the Battle of Frankstown.

In 1787, Edward was a freeholder in Tyrone Township.

In 1792, in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, Nathan Ricketts witnessed the sale of 400 acres on both sides of Clearfield Creek or a small branch called Beaver Dam Branch, from his father, Edward Ricketts, Sr., to Edward Ricketts, Jr.

In 1793, he received a warrant for 150 acres on south side of Stone Creek adjoining Henry Ferguson.

In 1797, Captain Edward Ricketts made a small clearing and built a cabin on the north side of Clearfield creek, above the Ox-bow, on Joseph Stewart's farm. The Ricketts family did not move to Clearfield Creek until 1801.

After his death, George Green's children, as heirs, executed a deed dated July 4, 1795 to Edward Ricketts for a tract of 400 acres on Warrior Ridge, Barree Township. It was surveyed for George Green on December 3, 1784.

Edward and his wife, both died in 1813 only 4 days apart.

Barree Township, Pennsylvania was formed in 1767 and was originally part of of Cumberland County, then it became part of Bedford County until 1787 when it became part of Huntingdon County.

The French and Indian War lasted from 1754 to 1763 and was the North American phase of the Seven Years' War.




from Raftsman's Journal, June 29 1859 "Clearfield County: or, Reminiscences of the Past"

Whilst the River settlement was increasing in numbers, similar causes induced the settlement of the country near the upper part of Clearfield creek. The first improvement made there, above the Forks was in the year 1797, when Capt Edward Ricketts made a small clearing and built a cabin on the north side of the creek, above the Ox-bow, on Joseph Stewart's farm. Circumstances, however prevented him removing his family there before 1801.

He was born near Annapolis, Maryland, in 1736; removed to Pennsylvania in his youth and in 1755, when but nineteen years of age entered the Army. The defeat of Braddock the previous year, and left the defense of the frontiers in a great measure to the settlers. Ricketts, being brave and courageous, possessed of a frame and constitution which marked him out for a soldier, embraced the first opportunity of volunteering in the war then waged against the Red Men. Apt--he was soon skilled in the mode of Indian warfare, and his skill and worth were soon rewarded by a captain's commission. during the long and bloody wars that followed, and until the close of the Revolutionary struggle, Ricketts was in the field, battling the savage foe, or their equally cruel allies.

When not on the war path, he engaged himself in making an improvement in some new spot, where he could enjoy the howl of the wolf, the shriek of the wild cat, the fierce scream of the panther, occasionally interspersed with the deadly war-whoop of the Indian. They were music to his ear, and thus, always in advance of civilization, he passed from place to place, until we find him in Warriors-mark Valley, Huntingdon county, then a wilderness;

afterwards in the wild and romantic Tuckahoe,

and at last when three-score years had stamped the mark of age upon his brow, following the Indian trail from Tuckahoe to the uninhabited region of Clearfield creek where he made his last home.

He disliked labor, was passionately fond of hunting, and as game grew scarce, from influx of population and other causes, he had always changed his abode. He left Tuckahoe valley on the 8th of October, 1801, accompanied by his family. Following the Indian trail, with his few effects borne upon pack horses, he reached the first day the head waters of Mushannon creek, and there encamped on one of the wildest spots of that wild region. The next day he reached his cabin, and found it occupied by the family of Joseph Leonard, who had been staying there since spring.

Leonard was of Irish descent, and had lived at Shaver's creek Huntindon county, previous to his removal here. Whilst occupying the Rickett's cabin, he had commenced an improvement below the Ox-bow, on the Thomas Lord property. he and his two sons are now numbered with the dead. He has three daughters living--the wives of Schooley Scott, Joseph Flegal and Isaac Southard. The wife of Mr. Scott was the first white child born in that part of the county. We know no incidents of Leonard's life, but interfere, from the manner in which his name has often been mentioned, that he was an unostentatious, independent and fearless man.

These two families were the only settlers in that section during the winter of 1801-2. Their means of subsistence were procured by rifle, or packed across the mountain on the Indian path, (traces of which are yet to be seen,) which left the Juniata river near Cold Spring, passed through the Three-Spring's gap, struck the extreme head waters of Muahannon creek, and after following it a few miles took nearly a direct line for the mouth of Muddy Run on Clearfield creek. It connected with the great trail leading to the Allegheny River.

Ricketts family at this time consisted of himself, wife, and an adopted daughter. He had three married sons, two of whom--James and Isaac-- lived on French creek, and Thomas who lived in Warrior-mark valley. Isaac and Thomas soon followed their father to this county. The former lived on the farm occupied by the late I. Warrick, and has now two sons and several daughters settled near the homestead. Thomas remained here but a few years, and then went to French creek.

Capt. Ricketts lost the farm on which he settled having been ejected by a Mr. Brown. He afterwards settled on the place now owned by Wm. W. Wright, where he died in 1813, in indigent circumstances. Though his services were long and meritorious, he neither asked for received a pension.


Frederick County, Maryland was created in 1748 from parts of Prince George's and Baltimore Counties. In 1776 it was divided into Washington, Montgomery and, Frederick Counties. In 1837 parts of Frederick and Baltimore Counties formed Carroll County.

The Amos Family by Maurine Collins Schmitz and Glendola Amos Peck, 1964

The Ricketts of Dearborn County, Indiana were born in Frederick County, Maryland in the 1760s, but were in Bedford County, Pennsylvania by the time of the Revolution. At that time Bedford County included what became Huntington County in 1787. It is in this area that the Ricketts lived during the Revolution.

The first tax list showing the name was in Cumberland County, Dublin township, where in 1769 Zachariah Ricketts had 100 acres called Little Hell. In 1771 Edward Ricketts had 300 acres, 1 acres cleared here. He lived at one time on Standing Stone Creek. Hezekiah Ricketts was one of the pioneers of Hill Valley, Shirley township.

Edward and Thomas Ricketts were Captains in 1779 in the fighting at Frankstown and the lead mines. Robert and Zachariah Ricketts were Cumberland County Rangers. Zachariah, a private with the Cumberland County Militia, made a tour of duty in Kishocoquillas Valley in 1782. Robert, who came to Indiana was living in that Valley in 1782, according to his pension record. Hezekiah, Nathan, Edward, Thomas and Robert Ricketts were rangers on the frontier with the Bedford County Militia 1778-1783.

Edward Ricketts owned a tract of land in Franklin township, at the conjunction of Warrior's Mark Run and Spruce Creek (Coleraine Forge) which had been improved in 1781. First tax was on 400 acres here for Edward and on 80 acres for Richard Ricketts. In the Barree and Miller township lists of 1788 are the names of Chainey, Edward, Jeremiah, John Reason, Also, in 1788, Nathan was taxed in Huntington County, Huntington Township, and Robert and Edward were taxed in Frankstownship, Edward being non-resident at that time. Edward Ricketts had 100 acres in West township in 1789.

In Jones' History of Juniata Valley is found

The first white settlers in Warrior's Mark were the Ricketts family. They were all wild, roving fellows, who loved the woods better than civilization; and their whole occupation over and above tilling a very small patch of land, appeared to be hunting for wild game.

When the Indian troubles commenced, the house of Ricketts was converted into a fortress and the men turned their attention to the protecting of the frontier. One of them--Capt. Elijah Ricketts---became quite an active and prominent man...

Capt. Logan, an Indian Chief (Mingo) lived here during the Revolution not altogether inactive, for his sympathies were on the side of liberty. He formed a strong attachment to Capt. Ricketts of Warrior's Mark and they became fast friends. It was to Ricketts that Capt. Logan disclosed the plot of the torries under John Weston."

On the Huntingdon County 1780 census are listed Nathan, Hezekiah, Reason, two Edwards, Chainey, and Richard. Robert had left by then to go to Kentucky.

Earliest Ricketts men found in Dearborn County, Indiana are Nathan, Robert, and William. There was another William early in Switzerland County. With each generation supplying more of each name it is difficult to identify each, but dates of birth in the 1820 and 1830 Indiana censuses and names given in the 1850 census along with birthplaces, help.

Indiana became a state in 1819. The north was settled by people from New England and New York, the center by people from the Mid-Atlantic states and Ohio, and the south by people from Southern states, particularly Kentucky and Tennessee.

A deponent (dept, dpnt) gives testimony under oat.

Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania was established on September 20, 1787 as a large region of Central Pennsylvania. It was previously part of Bedford County and the earlier Cumberland Region.

Edward Rickets applies for four hundred acres of land in Bedford County, inclg an imp, on both sides of Clearfield Creek on a small Branch of water on the North side of said Creek called the Beaver Dam Branch." "Bedford County ss.

Int. from March I, 1783 (Wrt Issud). Personally appeared before us two of the Justices assigned for Bedford County the above Edward Rickets and made oath according to law that he, this Deponent, to-gether with some of his sons, Did Improve upon said land between the Beginning & middle of Sept. in the year 1783, and has ever since maintained his Right and Claim to said land.
Sworn and certified by us the Subscribers this 15th day of November, 1784.
Robt. Smith
James Coyle.

Edward Rickets, Junior, applies for four hundred acres of land inclg Impt. on both sides of Clearfield Creek, adjoining on the lower sides of Cheney Rickets, Senior, application on said Creek in Bedford County.

Bedford County. Int. from 1st March,1783, Wt Issud.
Personally appeared before us Edward Rickets, Junior, and made oath according to law that he that Depponent Improved upon the above tract of Land in the month of Sept. in the year 1783.
Sworn & certified by us two of the justices for Bedford County this 15th day of November, 1784.
(Signed) Robt. Smith
(Signed) James Coyle

In the journal of James Harris, surveyor, under date of Oct. 28th, 1784, giving account of surveying then being done on Clearfield Creek says

Five men by the name of Rickets came to our camp, said they claimed by improvements a great deal of land up this creek, say they will not suffer it to be surveyed.

And under date of Oct. 3oth, 1784,

Mr. Canan performed one of the surveys on the West side of Clearfield Creek extending it as high up as Rickets' claim.

Seals were used to authenticate documents and men were expected to have a personal die. Records in deed books are copies and signatures are usually in the clerk’s handwriting. The clerk drew a circle around the word “seal” to indicate that the original document was sealed.


from History Clearfield County by Aldrich, 1887, pp. 51.

Having made the improvements referred to, and built a cabin, Captain Rickerts went for his wife and household goods, and returned with them in 1801. Upon his return he found the cabin occupied by Joseph Leonard and family. The two families lived there to-gether during the Winter following; but Rickerts, having no claim to the land except by improvement, was afterwards compelled to vacate and settle elsewhere. Captain Rickerts died in 1813.


from Notes and Queries by William Henry Egle

James Ricketts. . .is said to have been the first white man to establish a house in the valley of Oil Creek; was a native of New Jersey (sic), and later a resident of Huntingdon county, Pa. He was a hunter by avocation (see Hist. Venango Co., p. 644) and followed the chase in Kentucky and Ohio, acquiring a wide acquaintance with frontier life in all its phases. He located in the Oil Creek in 1795 on account of the abundance of game, and in 1810 purchased 300 acres of land from the Holland Land Company at the source of Cherry Run and built a mill on that stream, the first within the original limits of Allegheny township. He was born May 18. 1766; d. March 6, 1857. in his 91st year. He was twice married, first to Sarah Prather and after her death to Jane McCalmont, and was the father of twenty children.


Kentucky was originally a Virginia county and included the lands west of the Appalachians. In 1780, it was divided into Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties. Kentucky officially became a state on June 1, 1792.

"Reminiscences of Isaac Ricketts, Sr." [1772-1851] in Utahville, PA in 1895 from FamilySearch [son of Isaac Ricketts and Anna Law]

Through request of some of my friends, I give you a brief sketch of some of my ancestors, and frontier life in some of these parts, as was told to me by my father, and as I have reached my 81st milestone, I have witnessed many changes and developments. On more than one occasion,

I heard my father state that about the close of the Revolutionary War two of his elder brothers, his uncle and his father, Capt. Edward Ricketts, (sometimes was called Capt. Ned) then living in the south-eastern part of this state, set out out to explore the Alleghenies, with a view to lay claim to land.

After a long tramp they found themselves pretty well to the northern sides of the mountains, when they heard the constant firing of guns. They had some knowledge of an Indian camp on the west side of the mountains, so they came to the conclusion that they had located it. As fear of animals or Indians never entered the minds of the old pioneers, they made a straight drive for the camp with my father, Capt Ed, as their leader, who could speak the Indian language as readily as the English, and had been in many a conflict with the red skins during his life as a frontiersman up to the time when the Revolutionary War broke out, when he was promoted to Captain.

When they came near the camp which they found near what is now called the mouth of the Muddy Run, they met an Indian scouting around in the woods. After they passed him a few rods he let out one of the most fearful yells, that they thought, ever came from the lungs of a human being. It was a signal; for sure enough when they came to the camp every Indian old and young was on the lookout. When they entered the camp the Indians seemed to shy to one side. In a short time the chief came forward and showed sings of friendship. They all crowded around them and was much attracted by the silver settings on their guns. They were soon invited to shoot at a mark with them, and after several shots were fired, they continued their explorations up the creek (game being plenty they had no reason to go hungry) and after exploring several miles along the creek, being well pleased with the country, principally on account of the abundance of game and fish,

they came to the conclusion to lay their claims to land in that part. So with their hatchets (or hunters axes) they built a cabin and made some little improvement at a point on Clearfield Creek, called in later years, Keagy's Dead water, two miles below where Glen Hope is now. (At that time Bedford county took in all this part of the country, as Clearfield county was not organized until 1804.)

My father also told me after they made this improvement they cut and blazed out a path across the mountains which can partly be located to the this day, and was known by and called the Ricketts path across the Alleghenies. But for some reason they did not remove to their new homes as soon as they expected, and through the delay of a year or so, they lost part of their lands and this caused a partial separation of the old pioneers. One of them settled in the eastern part of the state, one in Ohio and my grandfather, my father, and my uncle James, settled on the creek, and in a few years after this, my uncle James removed to Venango county.

My brother, John was born Jan. 4,1804, and it is believed he was the first white child born in Clearfield county, and when I was a young man I heard people repeatedly say that my grandfather, Capt. Ed, made the first improvement and was the first [to] settle in Clearfield county, and I have never heard it disputed. He died in the year 1813, and in four days from his death my grandmother also died and they were buried near the bank of the creek at that place. It is useless to state here that he was an expert hunter, as the great part of his life was spent on the frontier. He was of English origin.

In the year 1814 my father concluded that high ground would make a more desirable home, and in that year he removed with his family to the highest ground in this part of the country, where Mr. Croyle now lives, and called it Mt. Pleasant. In those early days, they had t "pack" their grain across the Allegheny Mountains, to be ground, on horses, on which they strapped homemade saddles, which they called sugans; but about this time, 1814, there were some old time mills erected, which were much appreciated b the early settlers.

My father was a natural hunter, but in the greater part of his life at this sport, but in his time it paid to hunt. . .

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