Thomas Ritchie born in Tappahannock, in the full throes of the Revolution. His Wikipedia entry:
Thomas Ritchie (November 5, 1778 – July 3, 1854) of Virginia was a leading American journalist. He read law and medicine, but set up a bookstore in Richmond, Virginia in 1803 instead of practicing either. He bought out the Republican newspaper the Richmond Enquirer in 1804, and made it a financial and political success, as editor and publisher for 41 years. The paper appeared three times a week and was a complete success. Thomas Jefferson said of the Enquirer, “I read but a single newspaper, Ritchie’s Enquirer, the best that is published or ever has been published in America.” Ritchie wrote the stirring partisan editorials, clipped the news from Washington and New York papers, and did most of the local reporting himself. For 25 years he was state printer, a method by which his political friends subsidized their most articulate voice.
Ritchie was a leader of the “Richmond Junto,” (with Spencer Roane and Dr. John Brockenbrough of the Virginia State Bank). He controlled the Republican state committee. Committed to democratic reform in representation of the western counties and full manhood suffrage (for whites), he promoted the 1829 Virginia state constitutional convention. A modernizer, he promoted public schools and extensive state internal improvements.
In national politics Ritchie’s influence rested first on an alliance with Martin Van Buren. They both promoted William H. Crawford‘s presidential candidacy, and next that of Andrew Jackson. He favored the “Old Republican” “principles of ’98, ’99” against what he considered the corrupting influence of Henry Clay and the divisive tactics of John C. Calhoun, whose nullification and Southern-party policies Ritchie detested. He denounced abolitionists but supported gradual emancipation.
In 1844 Ritchie supported James K. Polk because of Polk’s support for the annexation of Texas. Polk brought him to Washington to edit the national paper The Union (1845 to 1851). He supported the Compromise of 1850, but the new paper never was as influential as the Enquirer and meanwhile Ritchie had lost his Virginia base.
Ritchie was a cousin, boyhood friend, and paramount political ally to Spencer Roane all his life.