Andy Thomas Ritchie,
Sr., was born
June 29, B77, at Ash Flat, Arkansas. He was the son of Jesse and Timy
(Walling) Ritchie. He attended school near Ash Flat, Arkansas, in Izard
County, and also attended Nashville Bible School in Nashville,
On October 22, 1906, he
married Fannie Mae Cobb. To this union were born Andy T. Ritchie, Jr.,
Jesse Fulton and Francis Sewell.
He began preaching in 1901 at Ash Flat, Arkansas. Only two or three
times did he work with a congregation on a full time basis as their
regular full time minister. Mostly, his work was evangelistic in nature
and his work took him to Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida,
Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
His pulpit work was largely by Sunday appointment and "protracted"
meetings. At Newark, Arkansas, he preached in many meetings. In one of
these, he baptized 50 people at one time. Another of his most frequent
and successful works was at Hillsboro (Leiper's Fork) in Williamson
County, Tennessee. He preached frequently over a long period at the
Chapel Avenue church in Nashville, Tennessee.
One time when he returned to
his native soil. he was met at the train at Hardy, Arkansas, by one of
his brothers. The brother informed him that a man who was drunk had
heard that he was coming in and wanted to see him. They decided to dodge
the man but were unsuccessful in the attempt. When they met the man, he
extended his hand and said, "Don't you remember me? I am one of your
converts." Ritchie replied, "You look like a piece of my work. If the
Lord had had anything to do with your conversion, you wouldn't be in
Many who heard him preach
will recall his praying. They will also remember that he extended the
invitation in these words: "While mercy lingers, truth instructs
and Jesus pleads. We sing for your encouragement and while we sing, we
wait to welcome you."
In 1906, having given up
some of his school work at the Nashville Bible School, he made an
unusual trip to the Holy Lands. This was one of the earliest such trips
made by members of the church. Within a short time, after his return,
his book, "Travels in Bible Lands," was published. He gave lectures on
his trip for the remainder of his life.
the Nashville Bible School days, Ritchie and R. B. Cawthon formed a
"David and Jonathan" friendship. They agreed that each would perform the
other's marriage ceremony and perform the funerals of each other's
children and whichever one survived would conduct the funeral service of
the other. Cawthon lived several years after the death of his close
friend, and he fulfilled his promise when Ritchie died in 1950.
Survivors included Mrs.
Ritchie (who died in 1956), and one son, Andy T. Richie, Jr. The funeral
service was conducted by R. B. Cawthon as he and Ritchie had agreed. The
funeral was held in Neely's Bend, Madison, Tennessee. The body was taken
to Nashville, Tennessee, and buried in the Springhill Cemetery where it
lies until the Lord Jesus returns to claim his own.
—In Memoriam, Gussie Lambert,