Ritzville was platted in 1881 along with other towns on that section of the Northern Pacific Line. It was named in honor of Phillip Ritz, a successful farmer and businessman from Walla Walla, who had planted trees along the Northern Pacific Railroad in the area.
The first Volga Germans came to Adams County, Washington, from Nebraska in 1883 when a group of 17 families under the leadership of Johann Friedrich Rosenoff arrived. By the mid-1890s, continuing immigration led to the Volga Germans being the largest ethnic group in the Ritzville area.
VOLGA GERMAN CONGREGATIONS
- Zion German Congregational Church
- Immanuel German Congregational Church (NW of Ritzville)
VOLGA GERMAN FAMILIES
The following Volga German families are known to have settled in and around Ritzville:
Kenzel / Kinzel
Kramer from Warenburg
Meier / Meyer
Miller / Mueller
Adams County Washington Pioneer Edition (Ritzville: Ritzville Journal-Times, September 15, 1949), p. 5, 29.
An Illustrated History of the Big Bend Country Embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams, and Franklin Counties State of Washington (Spokane: Western Historical Publishers, 1904).
Becker, Paula, "Volga Germans led by Johann Frederich Rosenoff settle near Ritzville in 1883" (HistoryLink.org).
Egan, Timothy, The Worst Hard Time (New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 2006), p. 63.
The History of Adams County, Washington (Ritzville: Adams County Historical Society, 1986), p. 264.
Kirk, Ruth and Carmela Alexander, Exploring Washington's Past: A Road Guide to History (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1990), p. 96.
National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form (1979) - Zion German Congregational Church Online
Scheuerman, Richard D. & Clifford E. Trafzer. The Volga Germans: Pioneers of the Northwest (Moscow, ID: University of Idaho Press, 1985): 139.
Ritzville, Washington (Wikipedia)