Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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RITCHIE, Thomas, journalist, born in Essex county, Virginia, 5 November, 1778; died in Richmond, Virginia, 12 July, 1854. His father, a native of Scotland, died when the son was six years old. The latter received an academic education and studied medicine, but abandoned it to become a teacher in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he remained till he removed to Richmond in 1804. He became editor in that city of the " Examiner" the same year, whose name he changed to the "Enquirer," and he continued to edit and publish it for forty years, exercising an influence that was not surpassed by any other journal in the Union. At the request of President Polk he resigned the "Enquirer" to his two sons in 1845, and, removing to Washington, assumed the editorial control of the "Union," the organ of the administration, but retired in 1849. Mr. Ritchie was a Democrat of the extreme state-rights faction, and believed that nothing so became an editor as to be at war with all his rival contemporaries. He was a well-known figure in social and diplomatic circles, in which he was welcome for his simple and generous though irascible nature and his Virginian peculiarities of speech and dress.
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