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Ricker, Henry Francis Joseph
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Ricker, Henry Francis Joseph
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Among the many immigrants of German blood, who came to Quincy since the first settlement was established here, the life, career and success of Henry Francis Joseph RICKER certainly is one of the most remarkable, deserving special mention in the annals of history of the German element in this community. Born August 31, 1822, in Lotten, Hanover, he with his parents emigrated to America in 1839. His father, Joseph RICKER, was born 1790, in Lotten, Hanover, while his mother, Euphemia Adelheid, nee PETERS, was born 1795 in Bawinkel, Hanover. October 1, 1839, they started on their voyage in a sailing vessel across the Atlantic ocean, arriving in New Orleans December 10th of the same year. Coming up the Mississippi on board of a steamboat, they celebrated Christmas in Cairo. Then they continued their trip to St. Louis, where they remained for two months, when they went aboard of the steamboat Aerial, bound for Quincy, where they arrived on March 4, 1840, after a trip of three days.

When the RICKER family, arrived here there still was considerable timber in the town, trunks of trees were lying in many places, just as they had fallen, either felled by the woodman's axe, or during a destructive storm. At that time only one street, Hampshire, was open to the river, and the newcomers were compelled to walk in the middle of the street, when they came up from the river, there being no sidewalks. Joseph RICKER rented a room from John Bernard SCHWINDELER, Eleventh and Broadway, upstairs. During the first four years father and son worked for John WOOD the "Father of Quincy." Henry Francis Joseph RICKER, in relating the history of his life to the writer of this narrative, sixteen years ago, gave special prominence to those days, when he with his father, began life in this community with hard work. While working before the old Quincy House one day, where the father was sawing cordwood, and the son did the splitting and piling up, T. S. P. HUNT, proprietor of a grocery store, came out from the store and asked Mr. RICKER to allow the son to work in his store, he needing a young man who was not afraid of work. The father consented, and this was the beginning of the career of Henry Francis Joseph RICKER in the mercantile business. Then he became a clerk in Charles HOLMES' dry goods store, and went to St. Louis with HOLMES when the latter removed his business to that city. But in accordance with the wish of his parents, he soon returned to Quincy and entered the employ of Sylvester THAYER, dealer in dry goods, and in 1846 he accepted a position with Albert DANNECKE, proprietor of a general store, with whom he remained for three years. In 1849 Henry Francis Joseph RICKER and Leopold ARNTZEN formed a copartnership, opening a general store, which business they conducted until 1857, being very successful. In 1858 Mr. RICKER was elected as police magistrate, a position which he held for four years, being re-elected in 1860. In the latter year he began to sell passenger tickets for European steamer lines, and from this developed a banking and exchange, business. In 1864 he bought out the banking house of John WOOD & Company, on Fifth and Maine streets, and from 1865 to 1876 conducted a banking business at 508 Hampshire Street.

It here may not be amiss to refer to the crude manner in which the business was conducted in those days. There being no vault, no safe place to keep money in the building over night, the boys in the employ of Henry F. J. RICKER in the evening after banking hours would carry the money in baskets to the home of the proprietor, where he had a safe in which the funds were kept more secure. But this primitive manner of doing a banking business was soon changed, when a safety vault had been built in the bank. After ten years of a steady growing, successful business, Henry F. J. RICKER erected a modern bank building at 413 Hampshire Street, where he opened his private bank in October, 1876. Five years later, April 4, 1881, the business was converted into the RICKER National Bank, Mr. RICKER retaining the greatest portion of the stock. The bank was capitalized at $200,000, and the success was such, that in the course of time it became one of the greatest banking institutions of the West, its capital, surplus, and undivided profits being nearly $1,000,000. The bank building, some years ago, was enlarged to double its former size, occupying 413 and 415 Hampshire Street. A man of Henry F. J. RICKER's financial ability and reputation for carefulness in his business, was noticed and recognized far beyond the confines of Quincy, consequently in 1884 he was the unanimous choice of the democratic party for state treasurer, a compliment which came to him entirely unsolicited; the party being in the minority, he was not elected. Henry Francis Joseph RICKER was one of the organizers of the German Insurance and Savings Institution of Quincy, alternately filling the office of secretary, treasurer, and president of the company; he was one of the leading stockholders of the Quincy, Missouri & Pacific Railway, a director in the Quincy Gas and Electric Light Company, and treasurer of the Menke & Grimm Planing Mill Company. He also was a leader in public improvements, in the course of time becoming the most extensive owner of real estate in the city, and gaining the reputation of keeping his many houses always in a first class condition.

In 1852 Henry Francis Joseph RICKER married Maria Gertrude TENK, who was born December 3, 1833, in Suedlohn, Hanover, and came to Quincy with her parents in 1844. Mr. RICKER died March 4, 1904. Mrs. RICKER followed her husband in death July 12, 1907. Sons of Henry Francis Joseph and Maria Gertrude (TENK) RICKER, that live at present, are: H. Frank J. RICKER, born in Quincy January 29, 1856, grew up in this city and in the course of time, having received the proper education, became interested in the banking business with his father, occupying different positions until he became the cashier of the RICKER National Bank, a position which he holds at present. January, 1883, H. Frank J. RICKER married Miss Katie C. REDMOND, daughter of the old pioneer, Thomas REDMOND, who was mayor of Quincy for three terms during the early '60s. They have one daughter, the wife of George B. HELMLE, Springfield, Illinois, first lieutenant in the aviation corps of the United States Army. George E. RICKER, another son of Henry F. J. and Maria Gertrude (TENK) RICKER, was born in Quincy October 30, 1867. After completing his education, he in 1887 entered the RICKER National Bank in the bookkeeping department. After a number of years of service, finally as cashier, he resigned his position and now is in Kansas City, Missouri, member of the firm SMITH & RICKER, stock exchange business, also vice president of the Commonwealth National Bank. In 1892 he married Josephine WAHL, eldest daughter of Frederick WAHL, and they have two sons, George E., Jr., and Charles RICKER, both married; and one daughter, Helen, who is single. Daughters of Henry F. J. and Marie Gertrude (TENK) RICKER were: Euphemia Adelheid, the eldest daughter, became the wife of George FISCHER, for many years at the head of the {\b\caps FISCHER, Iron and Steel Company, until his death, February 26, 1916; the widow survives with two sons, George Joseph FISCHER, manager of the Modern Iron Works, and Joseph J. FISCHER, assistant cashier of the RICKER National Bank, and one daughter, Mrs. Joseph H. VANDENBOOM, Jr., her husband being a member of the MOLLER & VANDENBOOM Lumber Company. Another daughter of Henry F. J. and Maria Gertrude (TENK) RICKER, is Josephine DOERR, widow of Henry DOERR. And the youngest daughter, Frances, is the wife of Herman N. HEINTZ, they having two sons and two daughters, the husband being a member of the firm N. HEINTZ & Sons, dealers in shoes. Other children of Joseph and Euphemia Adelheid (PETERS) RICKER were:
Maria Anna, born 1825, who came to Quincy with her parents and later was married to Herman Henry SCHULTE; the latter was born 1815 in Oberbergen, Hanover, and located in Quincy in 1842, where he was an assistant of B. I. Chatten, the civil engineer, his death occurring in 1855. Their children were: Mrs. Euphemia DOERR, widow of Andrew DOERR, founder of Doerr's Department Store, and Mrs. Marie KIRCHER, wife of Charles A. KIRCHER. In 1857 the widow SCHULTE was married to John Albert ARNING, who was born in Prussia and came to Quincy in 1852, being a stonecutter by trade. He served in the One Hundred and Eighteenth Illinois Infantry during the Civil war and died the latter part of 1865 at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Their children were:
Mrs. Josephine DUKER in Quincy, and Mrs. Helena SHEA in Los Angeles, California. The widow Arning died in 1900. Herman Engelbiert RICKER, another son of Joseph and Euphemia Adelheid (PETERS) RICKER, born in 1827, came to Quincy with his parents, and later moved to Mount Vernon, Jefferson County, Illinois, where he followed agriculture for many years; a son, John Bernard RICKER, lives in Quincy where he for many years has been employed by his uncle to look after his many houses and to keep them in repair. John Bernard RICKER}, born 1838, was the youngest son of Joseph and Euphemia Adelheid (PETERS) RICKER, and at the outbreak of the Civil war enlisted in the three months' service. Then he re-enlisted for three years in the Thirty-first Illinois Infantry, and in the course of time became a sergeant in Company H of his regiment. During an engagement at Champion Hill he was killed, giving his life that his country might live.

QUINCY AND ADAMS COUNTY HISTORY AND REPRESENTATIVE MEN by David F. Wilcox. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1919. pp. 353-356.

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