Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rittersville, Pennsylvania

Rittersville
It is quite thrilling to think there is a town named after a branch of our family.  It was a village in Hanover Township.  About 1920 it became a section of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The Rittersville website tells us:
Historically, two things were needed to make a village:  a crossroads, and a tavern/inn. The crossroads provided the traffic, while the tavern and inn provided a meeting place for local residents and a place for travelers to stay overnight during the arduous journey from one place to another.  Most often, the name of the village was based upon the name of the proprietor of the tavern.  Rittersville was no exception.
Although he was not the first resident in the Rittersville area the village "founder" is considered to be Michael Ritter.  In 1808, Ritter and his family moved from Northampton county to Rittersville. 

In 1812 Michael Ritter led the building of a school. German was taught there. In 1825 Michael opened a store. In 1828 the post office opened and Michael Ritter was the first post master. Go to the website to learn more and see photos of our ancestors’ home town.
http://www.rville.net/Rittersville_welcome.htm
(Photo used with permission from Robert Reinhold)

Another source backs up this claim. 

Roberts, Charles, John Stoudt, Thomas Krick, and William Dietrich. History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. III. Allentown, Pennsylvania: Lehigh Valley Publishing Company, 1914.

This history volume chronicles many Ritters. They are descendants of one of the four original Ritter brothers who came to the United States from Germany: Heinrich Ritter, Paul Ritter, Martin Ritter & Casper Ritter. They sailed on the ship ‘Pennsylvania Merchant’ from Rotterdam, landing in Philadelphia on 11 September 1732. 
One of these is Michael Ritter b. 18 April 1782 & d. 17 March 1854 m. Margaret Arner. His exact connection to the original four brothers is unclear but he is the man who gave the name to Rittersville.
“He was the founder of Rittersville and built the first hotel there, in connection with which he kept a store, and farmed several hundred acres of land. He was a member of the Assembly and as justice of the peace of Hanover Township.”
Thomas Ritter, son of Michael Ritter
Another source talks about Michael Ritter.
Seventy Years History of Saint Peter's Lutheran and Reformed Congregations of Rittersville, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: 1912.

In January 1842 a group of people gathered at the home of Michael Ritter to discuss building a church. The land they eventually decided to build on was formerly the property of Michael, then owned by his son, Thomas.Michael was an Elder of the church. This volume of history includes a listing of tombstones in the church cemetery. Michael and other Ritters are listed.

Another source for Rittersville information:

Mathews, Alfred, and Austin N. Hungerford. History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Everts & Richards, 1884.Available at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, 432 W. Walnut St., Allentown, PA 18102. 

This volume of history tells us Rittersville included an old blacksmith shop, built about 1822. The cemetery was laid out and the church erected in 1842. In 1868 a race course was laid out.
The grounds were enlarged to sixteen acres, and fitted up at a cost of twelve thousand dollars. The grounds are open for trotting and pacing in May and August each year.
This history writes about Michael. He had four sons: Charles, Thomas, William and Franklin. Charles ran the hotel, was post master and died June 1883. Thomas and William lived and died in Rittersville. Franklin was a school teacher.


Ritter Tombstones in Rittersville Cemetery
It would be terrific to know the details of the connection between Michael and the four brothers. I'd like to hear from anyone who has more information on this.

Descendants of the original Ritter Brothers who came from Germany:
..... 1 Ritter
..... + Ritter
........... 2 Paul Ritter b: 1713 in Germany, d: 14 February 1799 in PA
........... + Maria Elizabeth Ritter b: 1710 in Germany, d: 23 July 1798 in PA
................. 3 Paul Ritter b: Abt. 1730 in Germany
................. 3 Anna Catherine Ritter b: 1738 in Milford, Bucks, PA
................. 3 Casper Ritter b: Abt. 1740 in Milford, Bucks, PA
................. 3 Mathias Ritter b: 1741 in Milford, Bucks, PA
................. 3 Johann Heinrich Ritter b: 1745 in Milford, Bucks, PA
................. 3 Anna Maria Ritter b: 1748 in Milford, Bucks, PA
Ritter Tombstones
................. 3 Maria Elizabeth Ritter b: 1750 in Milford, Bucks, PA
........... 2 Heinrich Ritter b: Abt. 1715 in Germany, d: Jan 1797 in PA
........... + Maria Elizabeth Tutt b: Abt. 1723, m: Abt. 1740, d: Abt. 1787 in PA
................. 3 Casper Ritter b: 1741 in Milford, Bucks, PA, d: 1822
................. + Hanna Ottilia Hertz m: 11 January 1774
................. 3 Johannes Ritter Sr. b: 17 February 1743 in PA, d: 18 April 1816 PA
................. + Maria E Keck b: 15 Apr 1747 PA, m: 29 Apr 1768, d: 2 June 1813  PA
................. 3 Philip Ritter b: Abt. 1745 in Milford, Bucks, PA
................. + Justina
................. 3 Martin Ritter b: 10 November 1749 in PA, d: 02 Nov 1827 PA
................. + Anna M Steininger b: 11 Jan 1752, m: 11 Jan 1774 PA d: 04 Aug 1838
................. 3 Heinrich Wilhelm Ritter b: 20 Feb 1751 in Salisbury Twp., Bucks, PA
................. 3 Johannes Theobald Ritter b: 11 June 1753 in PA
................. 3 Jacob Ritter b: Abt. 1755 in PA
................. + Elisabeth Klein
................. 3 Barbara Anna Ritter b: 1758 in Salisbury Twp., PA, d: Abt. 1785
................. + Hartman
................. 3 Anna Margaretha Ritter b: Jan 1761  PA
................. + Bernhard Klein
................. 3 Maria Magdelena Ritter b: 07 January 1767 in Salisbury Twp., PA
................. + Hartman
........... 2 Martin Ritter b: Abt. 1718 in Germany, d: 1789 in PA
........... + Anna Margaret Ritter m: Abt. 1746
................. 3 Caspar Ritter b: 20 June 1744 in PA
................. 3 Anna Barbara Ritter b: 10 November 1749 in PA
................. 3 John Henry Ritter b: 09 April 1751 in PA
................. 3 Valentine Ritter b: 1748 in PA
................. 3 George Adam Ritter b: 1756 in PA
................. 3 Johanne Martin Ritter b: 1760 in PA
................. 3 Maria Magaretha Ritter b: 1765 in PA
................. 3 Johannes Ritter b: 1767 in Pennsylvania
........... 2 Caspar Ritter b: Abt. 1720 in Germany, d: 04 Feb 1792 PA
........... + Anna Maria
................. 3 Casper Ritter b: 24 July 1747 in Hanover, PA, d: 02 May 1824 PA
................. + Anna M. Germanton b: 20 July 1746, d: 30 March 1791 in Lehigh, PA
................. 3 Michael Ritter d: Unknown
................. 3 Susanna Ritter d: Unknown
................. + Dietel
................. 3 Elizabeth Ritter b: 06 July 1753, d: Unknown
................. + Gilbert
................. 3 Anna Catherine Ritter b: 26 May 1757, d: Bef. 1792
................. + Kleckner
................. 3 Johann Daniel Ritter b: 4 Aug 1758  PA, d: 29 Aug 1836  PA
................. + Elisabeth Rohn b: 26 February 1763, d: 25 February 1841
................. 3 Barbara Ritter b: 04 May 1761 in Dryland, Pennsylvania
................. + Jacob Balliet m: 06 November 1781
................. 3 John Ritter b: 27 December 1764 in Northampton, PA, d: Unknown
........... 2 Barbara Ritter b: 26 April 1721 in Germany, d: 1809
........... + Hans Jacob Hertzel d: 1781
........... 2 Anna Ritter b: Abt. 1722 in Germany



4 comments:

  1. Colleen,
    I recently discovered your blog and am enjoying reading your posts! I am giving you the One Lovely Blog Award. You can get the details at my blog, A Sense of Family: http://asenseoffamily-sb.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Shelley, Thanks for stopping by! It is always great to get feedback! Colleen

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  3. That is awesome that there is a town named Rittersville in Pennsylvania! I am not connected to the Ritter family in Sandusky, but they were well known in the area, especially for cigar making! Your blog is great!

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  4. Dorene, I was quite excited to find a place named for my family. My next trip to Pennsylvania needs to include a stop there.

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