JOHN F. RITTENHOUSE was born in Maryland around 1880. He owned and operated a store at 941 Point Street selling cigars, candy, ice cream and the like with his wife Madeline until his death in February of 1933. His wife carried the business forward through 1959, when his stepson, William "Woo-Woo" Rowan took over upon her retirement. The store, known in its later years in the neighborhood simply as "Woo-Woo's", remained open into he 1970s. This store, which sold groceries, candy, tobacco, and ice cream, was well known in the neighborhood for its ice cream sign, which featured an Eskimo.

Two of John F. Rittenhouse sons, John and Francis, worked at the nearby Mathis Shipyard. Stepson William Rowan also worked at Mathis, while stepson Robert Rowan worked in Camden's leather trade, most likely at the nearby John R. Evans & Co. leather factory. Francis Rittenhouse also was a mummer with the Fralinger String Band in Philadelphia.

John F. Rittenhouse
in his store

His Wife
Madeline "Nell" Rittenhouse
at far right

Camden Courier-Post - February 4, 1933


John F. Rittenhouse, 53, store proprietor, of 941 Point Street, who died Thursday, will be buried Monday. Burial will be at Arlington Cemetery, after services 10:30 AM at Scroeder Chapel, Broadway and Royden Street.

Mr. Rittenhouse was a member of Camden Lodge, No. 293, of Elks; Camden Lodge 111, Loyal Order of Moose, and Thomas Jefferson Council, No. 138, Junior Order United American Mechanics.

He is survived by his wife, Madeline H. Rittenhouse; a son, John; a daughter, Mrs. Ada Gruner, and three stepsons, William, Robert, and Francis Rowan.

NOTE: The Courier erred, as there were only TWO stepsons. Youngest son Francis Hull Rittenhouse was a Rittenhouse. William and Robert Rowan were stepsons, the children of Madeline from a previous marriage- PMC October 12, 1005

My grandmother and grandfather were the owners of the store at 941 Point Street. My father was his son... his name was Francis Hull Rittenhouse.  He worked at Mathis Shipyard and so did my uncle John Rittenhouse.  

My grandmother, after my grandfather died, needed to make money and was a bootlegger and she had an ice cream sign, an Eskimo ice cream sign. When the little red light was on, it meant she had liquor.

My grandmother was speaking to her delivery man on the phone, he was in a phone booth [on River Road] when Unruh went crazy and killed people in the store, he missed this man. 

Frances J. Rittenhouse
October 2005