Thomas and James RITCHIE migrated from Scotland to Belfast, Ireland. These two brothers went to County Down, N. Ireland, through Killinchy and took up two farms at ‘Inch’ adjoining each other, on Maxwell's Finnebrogue Estate.
The first of the Ritchie’s born was John RITCHIE who later inherited ‘Ritchies Grove’. His brother,James RITCHIE, became a Land Steward at ‘Finnebrogue’ for John Waring Maxwell, Finnebrogue, Ritchie's landlord. James RITCHIE of Belfast m.2ndly a widow, Mrs Spratt of Stranrear, Wigtownshire, Scotland who owned a lot of property there.
John RITCHIE had sons, Thomas and Robert. Robert Hutton RITCHIEleft Ireland for Auckland, New Zealand and early 1863 the government granted him40 acres.
H. Gilchrist, had two shops in Downpatrick, but when his brother-in-law, John Gray, of Inch, died, he inherited his farm adjoining “Ritchie Grove” and came to live there, leaving his shops in town to Robert Martin ADAIR, as Manager over a big staff.Robert ADAIR decided to follow Robert Hutton RITCHIE to N.Z.
Robert ADAIR talked to HAY, Martin, Ferguson, (all in business in town) and they all made up their minds to go to NZ in the same ship, and Johnny Nelson also joined them. Robert Adair and Thomas Ritchie emigrated via London, England to N.Z. on the “Lancashire Witch”.
Robert Martin Adair’s father resided near Killough, with his brother Jim ADAIR, afterwards (Capt. Adair).T. HAY resided at Ballyclough.
Thomas Ritchie departed “Ritchie Grove” on Friday 26th of June, 1863,for Crossgar Station. The train took his brother James R. Ritchie to Belfast, where James was a student, at the Belfast College. On arriving at Belfast, they saw the family of Wylie, returning from Spain. At Ballychinch (Ballynahinch ?), Mr Wylie was the Bursar of the Belfast “Queens College” where James RITCHIE was a student. Mr Wylie had a son who went out to NZ on the “William Watson”.