Ritchie Bakery

Barnes County’s first bakery was established in 1882 by Thomas N. Ritchie.  Born in Dundee, Scotland, his original ambition was to be a lawyer or barrister as they were called in Scotland.  He was apprenticed to a baker to give him a trade so that he might pay his way to become a lawyer.

His family moved to Canada when he was nineteen and in 1876 he was married, thus making it imperative that he work to support his family.  In 1882 the family migrated to Valley City and a bakery was established in the family home located just north of the present Library.  Here the bakery goods were baked in the basement and sold upstairs in the front of the building.

At the death of his wife, Thomas N. Ritchie raised the tree children, Mary, David and Loren.  His two sons honored his lifelong ambition of becoming a lawyer by becoming lawyers themselves, acquiring distinction in the profession.  Mary his daughter became a well known teacher.

Thomas N. Ritchie’s contribution to Barnes County did not rest solely upon his bakery, but on his influence upon the cultural and intellectual life of the county.  He was one of the first Library Board members; was a long time member of the school board; was instrumental in organizing the Eastern Star in Valley City and served as its first Grand Worthy Patron of North Dakota.  He died in 1907.

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