Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rittersville, Revisited

Thomas Ritter
On 20 March 2011 I wrote a blog about a village named after and founded by our Ritter ancestors: Rittersville, Pennsylvania. It is now a part of Allentown. There is a delightful Rittersville website by Robert Reinhold that you should visit for the history and photos from times past. I enjoy his site and the emails he has sent to me to help guide my research.
At the time I posted that blog I wanted to know how Michael Ritter, founder of Rittersville, was connected to the original Ritter immigrants from Germany and how he connected to me. With a big thanks to Karen Ritter Burlet I can now connect these lines! Karen saw my blog and contacted me. Now our emails are flying between us. We are 7th cousins, once removed and are enjoying exchanging information.

Casper Ritter (1720 – 1792) was one of the original brothers who came from Germany to Pennsylvania, arriving in Philadelphia on 11 September 1732. Casper Ritter lived in Lower Milford Twp. And then moved on to Bethlehem. One of his nine children was Johann Daniel Ritter (4 March 1758 – 29 August 1836).  Daniel married Elisabeth Rohn. One of their children was John Michael Ritter (18 April 1782 – 17 March 1854), founder of Rittersville. 

Karen’s sources for that connection include:
  • Portrait and Biographical Record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania. 1894,Chapman Pub. Co. edition, in English
  • Daniel Ritter’s Will:  Easton, PA Courthouse: Registrar of Wills, Northampton Co, PA, No. 4631, Daniel Ritter, Sr.(Township of Bethlehem) filed Dec. 12th, 1836.
I went ahead and found Michael Ritter in the 1850 US Census in Rittersville, Hanover Twp., Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. He was 66 and a Justice of the Peace. Son, Thomas Ritter, and his family were living with him. Son, Charles, and his family were living next door.The 1860 Census shows Charles stepped in after his father's death. He was running the store and hotel in Rittersville.

Michael Ritter, the founder of Rittersville was my 6th cousin, 2x removed. We have to look back to the German parents of the original Ritters in America to find a common ancestor. I am a descendant of Heinrich Ritter and Michael was a descendant of his brother, Heinrich Ritter.

A big THANKS goes out to Karen who has lent me a helping hand in finding my way way through a forest of family trees!


  1. I love the flurry of emails when you're on a roll!

  2. Yes. Just love the exchange of all the new information!

    1. Maybe someone here could assist me in a growing family mystery concerning my own Ritter ancestor! I have hit nothing but brick walls while researching Marie Louise Ritter (possibly Marie or Mary Ann Louise Raiter/Reyter/Ritter). She was born about 1749 supposedly in Germany. Some have her listed as being born in Alsace, France which was on the French-German border.

      She died November 11, 1809 in Opelousas, LA

      She was married three times:

      1) Jean Baptiste David III (about 1770 in Maryland) - had 1 son with him (Jean Baptiste Jr)
      2) Jacques Ignace DeRossier (prob in Opelousas) had one son, Francois DeROSSIER, born March 9, 1778 (Opel. Ch.) in Opelousas.
      3) Jacob Bihm sometime prior to 1787 in Opelousas and had more children with him

      Family settled in Bayou Mallet near Opelousas, Eunice, LA

      I have seen many references to a Mathias Ritter as her father who supposedly owned the Coles Creek Mill in Berk's County, Pennsylvania but I cannot find any concrete proof that this is true!

      However, I do know that she MUST be related to the Ritter family of the Colebrook Township because we have two other Ritters from that area who also settled in the Opelousas area - one around same time as Marie and another came later. My gut feeling is possibly they were a brother and cousin or hers or both cousins? I just cannot find out who her parents really were!

      Any suggestions as to where to go next is GREATLY appreciated!

      Christine Guidry Law


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