Thomas Ritchie

Thomas Ritchie

Death Oct 1874 (aged 63–64)
Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos Municipality, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Burial Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos Municipality, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Memorial ID 67479461 · View Source
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Captain Ritchie was a singular man and outside the common way of life. He had an adventurous spirit which distinguished the first pioneers of this coast, and owned a generous heart always ready to give of its abundance when needed. He had that peculiar faculty which sees justice from an abstract point of view, and was guided by the internal principles of his conscience rather than the dictates of convention or the urgency of the laws of society. When a boy of only seventeen years, he fled an English whaling ship and settled in Cabo San Lucas for more than 50 years. He had two Mexican spouses (though some say seven). He founded a great family and by the last years of his life was an absolute judge in the district whose word was considered law. The parties in his court were always satisfied with their verdict and never appealed to a superior authority as is often the case in outposts or unpolished communities.

Ritchie rarely left his house, with occasional trips to La Paz and Loreto, and on one occasion to San Francisco where the noise and bustle were too much for the old man who was happy to seek the seclusion of his Pacific home. Every sailor had an amiable word for Old Ritchie and he was spoken of with such respect it was a safe indication that the sterile point of Cabo San Lucas had a genteel heart and an active brain. His resting place is much beloved and calls forth many pleasing memories of an old friend who was widely respected, even idolized.

J. Ross Browne, a journalist and explorer, came to the Peninsula in the mid-1860's and published an article in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, October 1868 entitled Explorations in Lower California. He writes:

Captain Ritchie, an old Englishman, lives here. He is the only European in Cabo, and I mention him since he is one the institutions of the country. Forty years ago he was an assistant cabin boy of a ship that belonged to his uncle. He became fascinated by the enchantments of a dark-haired lady of San Jose, lowered one of the boats and hid in it until the ship had weighed anchor. Since then he has lived in Cabo or its neighborhood.

His history is one of marked adventure and is full of interest. Ritchie has been host of all the navigators who have visited the coast in the last forty years. Dealing in contraband, ranching, fishing, farming and import/export have been some of his occupations. He now has a large family of mixed race around him, none of which speaks English. He has made and lost a dozen fortunes mainly through selling and drinking whiskey. No man is better known on the coast of the Pacific than ¨Old Ritchie¨.

He has undergone many tribulations at the hands of the Mexicans. Without cause they have robbed him, have made him pay taxes, have taken him prisoner and have threatened to kill him. He is now considered an inevitable and unavoidable citizen of this country.

At one time, his property was confiscated and he was thrown into prison in Mazatlan. An English warship threatened to bomb the city if he was mistreated or abused anew. Because he survived the severe wounds inflicted upon him, which would have killed any other man on Earth, it was said it would be miracle if he were ever to die.

Marriage: To Ynes Villa 24 FEB 1851 San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico



  • Maintained by: Edith Ritcie
  • Originally Created by: KET
  • Added: 26 Mar 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 67479461
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Ritchie (1810–Oct 1874), Find a Grave Memorial no. 67479461, citing Panteón Municipal Cabo San Lucas, Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos Municipality, Baja California Sur, Mexico ; Maintained by Edith Ritcie (contributor 47618787) .