Posted by: Beth | October 16, 2017

MRIN-19A Emeline Ball

Emeline “Emma” Ball was a twin to Caroline and born on June 16, 1861 near Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois. The girls were the first two of thirteen children born to Robert Gore Ball and Susan Jane Brock. The family lived in Randolph Township with Bloomington as the nearest post office in the 1860 census, this is most likely where the twins were born. In 1866, when Emma was around five years of age, the family moved to just outside of Foosland, Champaign County, Illinois where they built their family farm. About three years later she met a new member of the community, a young boy named William Ritchie. His family had just immigrated from Scotland. About ten years later, at age 19, she married William on *May 4, 1881 in Foosland. Emma and William were the parents of 4 children and sadly, had to endure the loss of one of those children in infancy. Emma was very involved in her church and community. Although usually not credited, she also was involved in the department store, Pollock, Ritchie & Co.,  in which her husband was a partner/owner/operator. Emma would travel to Chicago and buy goods to sell in the store and I’m sure that she had regular duties in and for the store as well as it was her family’s primary source of income. Her sister, Alice, is found covering the duties of one of the wives while she was away for three months, and later her brother Corley bought an interest in the store

*The state of Illinois has their marriage recorded as May 2nd, however obituaries of both Emma and William say May 4th. The state could have the date they obtained their marriage license as the recorded date. I have not seen the actual license to verify at this time.

Emma died at her home in Foosland on February 21, 1909 at the age of 47. Cause unknown as the state wasn’t required to keep vital records then and there was no mention of the cause in her obituary. Her youngest child was only 6 years old at the time of her death. She was buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery.

Her service to her church, her family and her community was marked with a sweetness and an unselfishness that endeared her to everyone. She leaves a place that will be very hard to fill. – excerpt from Emma’s obituary

William Ritchie was born on April 2, 1847 in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He was the fifth of nine children born to John Ritchie (1810-1881) and Mary Armstrong (1813-1895). The family immigrated to the United States in March 1869. They landed in Champaign and settled at once on the land two miles south of Foosland which became known as the Ritchie Homestead. William owned and operated a department store with his brother and others partners called Pollock, Ritchie & Co. William died age 68 on January 18, 1916 at his home in Foosland. He was buried next to Emma in the Mount Hope Cemetery

William and Emma had 4 children; John James Ritchie (1882-1951), *Walter Ritchie, Robert S. Ritchie (1886-1977), and Corley Seymour Ritchie (1893-1955).

*Walter Ritchie, William and Emma’s son, died in infancy, exact dates are unknown at this time, but he was named second in order of their children in obituaries for both William and Emma, putting his birth between 1883-1885. The 1900 census states that 3 out of 4 children born to Emma were living.

William’s brother, Walter Ritchie (1841-1927), lived with William his whole life. He was also a partner at Pollock, Ritchie & Co. In 1904, when his health was failing, he sold his interest in the company to Emma’s brother, Corley Ball.

Ad for Pollock, Ritchie & Co. A department store

A 1905 Ad for Pollock, Ritchie & Co.


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