Ernest Ritter was one of the founders of the town of Marked Tree and a man of rare vision and industry. Mr. Ritter was born in Iowa in 1887. Through the connection of an uncle who owned sawmills in Arkansas, he first came to Poinsett County in 1886. There, he managed a sawmill and also served as telegraph operator for the railroad for a short time. Mr. Ritter opened a small grocery store in Marked Tree and also dealt in timber and land. He was the pioneer in every step forward. He started the first light plant in Marked Tree; built an ice factory, cotton gin, grain elevator, canning plant and telephone system; dug the first deep well; and installed the first water-works system. He converted a cane thicket into what is now the town proper, and erected brick buildings which will stand as a monument to his business acumen. He was instrumental in establishing the Ozark Trail in 1919. He was also active in the building of the first concrete highway in Poinsett County. In 1921, Mr. Ritter was instrumental in getting beneficial changes made in the Board of Commissioners and on the plan of Drainage District No. 7. Among his other activities, Mr. Ritter was one of the organizers of the Bank of Marked Tree, and he also served several years as a member of the Farm Council. At his death on May 6, 1921, the community of Marked Tree mourned the passing of this pioneer.