The second entry in a series on West Fallowfield’s Joseph and Esther Philips Plantation. The first entry written by Rachel Aliya appeared Friday.
By Rachel Aliya Makansi
The Joseph and Esther Philips Plantation was bought from the Philips in 1908 by Roy A. Ritter. It then passed to Laurence Ritter, and finally Robert L. Ritter, who lived there from 1959-1971.
Robert and his wife Edith Ritter rented the land from Naamen King.
They doubled the farm work by adding potatoes onto the dairy farm. Edith Ritter remembers the work with a cheer to be through with it all, despite the success that the Ritters got from the farm. “I hated every minute of it!” Ritter exclaims.
Work on a dairy farm is hard enough, but add potatoes, and it makes Ritter cringe. “They didn’t have the tractor equipment that we have now, and the potatoes were picked by hand! Three generations of the Ritter’s had to bag them! They had to haul the milk themselves! All the way to Atglen!” Ritter says. The Ritter’s were lucky with the potatoes, however. They had trucks to take the potatoes.
Ritter explains the typical day on the farm. From the 5 A.M. Wakeup, to cleaning the barn, milking the cows, tending to the fields, and cleaning the barn and milking the cows again. Their work did not cease until 6 or 7 in the evening.
Ritter describes the process it took the bring the cows across Bailey’s Crossroads Road, then just a gravel pathway. “They had a dog that would round up the cows, the same as they’ll do with sheep.” Ritter says.
When Robert and Edith Ritter moved off Joseph and Esther Philips Plantation in 1971, Naamen King sold the land to Chester Marian.