The John and Mary Ritchie house located at 1116 SE Madison St, Topeka, KS has been officially dedicated as an official site on the new Kansas trail linking historical places related to African-American history. The Kansas African American History Trail officially opened last year as a partnership of 18 historic sites across Kansas, including Topeka’s Brown v. Board of Education historic site. The Ritchies’ courage and bravery helping freedom seekers fleeing captivity from Missouri slavemasters is unmatched. Other sites along the trail include Nicodemus, a community in northern Kansas established by African Americans following the Civil War, and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.
John Ritchie was born July 17, 1817, in Uniontown, Ohio. He emigrated to Kansas in 1854 to buy cheap land settled near the Kansas River in the newly founded town of Topeka. In 1855, he bought 160 acres in what is now the southeast part of the city. the city would name this parcel “Ritchie’s Addition.” He built 2 story limestone house for his family and this became a well-known stop on the Underground Railroad. After the Civil war, John Ritchie sold lots to freedmen and many newly freed slaves settled in Ritchie’s addition which is a few blocks south of the capitol building.
I suggest a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon is finding sites along the Kansas African American History Trail.