Thomas Ritchie, Jr

Thomas Ritchie, Jr

Birth
Death 22 May 1854 (aged 35)
Tennessee, USA
Burial Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 29614098 · View Source
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The historian John Hope Franklin once observed that “no class of Southerner, perhaps, went to the field of honor more frequently than newspaper editors.”

Son of the founder of the Richmond Enquirer, and one of the editors after 1845. A quarrel with the Richmond Whig got so out of hand that Thomas Jr., fought a duel with, and killed, the rival editor, John Hampden Pleasants on Feb 25, 1846.

From the Brooklyn Eagle: Feb. 28, 1846,
"Bloody Recontre- a most savage and brutal personal contest took place, by appointment on Wednesday morning, in Richmond, Va. the parties were Thomas Ritichie, Jr. and John H. Pleasants both editors of rival newspapers in Richmond. The combatants were placed 100 yards apart, armed with pistols, swords and knives and advanced towards each other, firing their pistols until sufficiently near to use their blades, with which they hacked and mangled each other until they were separated. Ritchie escaped with a few slight wounds upon the face and breast; but Pleasants was horribly mutilated and received a terrible gash in the abdomen, which it is supposed will prove mortal. Ritchie fled to Washington the same day."

Unknown to Ritchie at the time, Pleasants had no intention of killing him and had unloaded his pistol before the encounter. Accounts state he had been wounded in the left side of the thorax, two balls in his left arm, another in the left hand, one in his privates and one shot near his gluteous maximus. None of the wounds in themselves were serious, but due to the number- there was little hope. Pleasants last words were- "What a damned immolation this is to be such slaves to public opinion."
Thomas Ritchie was taken to trial for murder but was acquitted without the jury leaving the box.

It is said that Richtie was "cursed by strong drink" and it was a habit with him long before the duel, and it was also said he forever after the duel carried "the mark of Cain" and was a "doomed man." He went to Tennessee to practice law and died in 1854. It was said he regretted "the longest day of my life," and began to drink more heavily.



Inscription

"A warmhearted, generous, gallant spirit,
Devoted friends mourn his untimely death"

T.R.Jr.


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  • Created by: SheWalksTheseHills
  • Added: 6 Sep 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 29614098
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Ritchie, Jr (2 Feb 1819–22 May 1854), Find A Grave Memorial no. 29614098, citing Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by SheWalksTheseHills (contributor 46847797) .