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    Helen M Randall Ritner (Thomas)

    Birth: 10-2-1845

    Death: 10-6-1918

Biography

She was born near Cleveland, Ohio and she became an orphan at the age of two. She was taken in by family in New York, and was educated in Elmira, New York at a girl's preparatory school. On March 26, 1863 she married Alexander W. Randall, who was then First Assistant Postmaster General, former Wisconsin Governor, former Ambassador to the Vatican, and soon to be Postmaster General. Their marriage took place at the home of Hervey Luce in Southport, New York and was performed by Rev. Thomas K. Beecher, the uncle of Harriet Beecher Stowe. She resided with her husband in Washington, D.C. for six years after she became Mrs. Randall, there was active in social life of that city, and was well received. One author said of her, she "was universally admired for beauty, grace and intellectual gifts, while her gracious and winning manners were the true indication of a gentle and generous nature." After leaving Washington, the Randalls resided in Elmira, New York where Governor Randall practiced law until his death in 1872. Census records reflect that while in Elmira, the Randalls had a daughter, Julia Marie. Following Governor Randall's death, Helen Randall moved to Nebraska, where she became "Nebraska's first cattle queen," operating a dairy cattle ranch near North Platte. Mrs. Randall was, for a time, partners with Colonel Erastus D. Webster, former newspaper editor and private secretary to U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward. The two of them operated a dairy ranch and cheese factory northwest of North Platte. After the dissolution of the partnership, she took over complete management of the ranch, and made it rather successful. By 1879, the Adam County Press (Wisconsin) reported that she "has become rich, and that she has the reputation of being one of the sharpest business managers in Nebraska." In 1885 she married William C. Ritner, who at one time was a cowboy in her employ. After their marriage the two moved into North Platte, where they operated The Ritner Hotel, as well as a monument company. Her obituary indicates that she devoted much of her time to the welfare of others, particularly orphan girls who she would take into her own home until suitable homes could be found for them. After several months illness, she died at home in North Platte due to dropsical affection. 

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Biography and Citation Information:
Biography: 
She was born near Cleveland, Ohio and she became an orphan at the age of two. She was taken in by family in New York, and was educated in Elmira, New York at a girl's preparatory school. On March 26, 1863 she married Alexander W. Randall, who was then First Assistant Postmaster General, former Wisconsin Governor, former Ambassador to the Vatican, and soon to be Postmaster General. Their marriage took place at the home of Hervey Luce in Southport, New York and was performed by Rev. Thomas K. Beecher, the uncle of Harriet Beecher Stowe. She resided with her husband in Washington, D.C. for six years after she became Mrs. Randall, there was active in social life of that city, and was well received. One author said of her, she "was universally admired for beauty, grace and intellectual gifts, while her gracious and winning manners were the true indication of a gentle and generous nature." After leaving Washington, the Randalls resided in Elmira, New York where Governor Randall practiced law until his death in 1872. Census records reflect that while in Elmira, the Randalls had a daughter, Julia Marie. Following Governor Randall's death, Helen Randall moved to Nebraska, where she became "Nebraska's first cattle queen," operating a dairy cattle ranch near North Platte. Mrs. Randall was, for a time, partners with Colonel Erastus D. Webster, former newspaper editor and private secretary to U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward. The two of them operated a dairy ranch and cheese factory northwest of North Platte. After the dissolution of the partnership, she took over complete management of the ranch, and made it rather successful. By 1879, the Adam County Press (Wisconsin) reported that she "has become rich, and that she has the reputation of being one of the sharpest business managers in Nebraska." In 1885 she married William C. Ritner, who at one time was a cowboy in her employ. After their marriage the two moved into North Platte, where they operated The Ritner Hotel, as well as a monument company. Her obituary indicates that she devoted much of her time to the welfare of others, particularly orphan girls who she would take into her own home until suitable homes could be found for them. After several months illness, she died at home in North Platte due to dropsical affection.
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