Philip Jacob Reiss was born June 29, 1730, probably in Germany. (1)
Married a woman named Anna Margaret. (2)
Probably Michael Reiss, born about 1781.
Henry Reiss, born Dec. 17, 1782.
Eva Elizabeth Reiss.
It’s possible that Philip immigrated to the colony of Pennsylvania in 1753. Three men with the surname Reiss – Philip, Jacob and Simon – arrived aboard the ship Windsor on Sept. 27, 1753. The ship’s captain was John Good and it had sailed from Rotterdam, a major emigration port in the Netherlands, and had made a stop of Cowes. (4) This looks like a promising entry because the timing is about right and Philip later named a son Simon, possibly after his companion.
The first indisputable reference to Philip appears in the tax records of Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County, Pa., in 1772. Philiph Rise appears on the list but was not taxed, usually an indication that someone was very poor. Also, while almost all other men’s names are followed by an occupation, there is no notation following Philip’s name. (5) Philip’s economic situation does not appear to have improved in the following years. In 1785 and 1786, Philip was taxed 3 pence for one head of cattle – he was not taxed for land, horses or sheep. In 1788, he was taxed 1 shilling and 1 pence for the cow. (6)
During the Revolutionary War, Philip Reiss took an oath of allegiance to the revolutionary government on May 25, 1778, in Northampton County. (7)
The state’s revolutionary government required all men within a certain age range to serve in the militia or pay a fine. Philip appears to have been affiliated with Northampton County’s 1st Battalion. Philip Riess put his “X” on a petition signed by members of the 1st Battalion. The petition complains of contradictory orders issued by civil authorities and asks that the state’s executive council adopt measures that will force “laws to run their proper Channel” and to reject petitions from “Disaffected men.” The petition is not dated. (8)
Philip does not appear to be listed in any of the other 1st Battalion records contained in “The Pennsylvania Archives” so it does not appear that his company was ever mustered for duty.
The Reiss family apparently worshipped in the Reformed Congregation at Christ Union Church in Lower Saucon Township. Henry was baptized there in 1782, several children were confirmed there in the 1790s, Henry was married there in 1804 and Philip was buried by the pastor there in 1804.
In the 1790 Census, Philip Rice is listed in Lower Saucon Township. His household contained one male 16 or older, two males under 16 and two females.
In the 1800 Census, Philip Reiss is listed in Lower Saucon Township and his household contained two males age 16-26, one male 45 or older, one female 16-26 and one female 45 or older.
Philip died in 1806. The burial of Philip Jacob Reiss was conducted by the Rev. John Hoffmeier on Feb. 2, 1806.
A few months after Philip’s death, his name appears in the estate records of two men from Lower Saucon Township. The estate of Jacob Kram apparently owned Philip some money. And Philip apparently owned money to Michael Heller Sr. because his name is listed under “lost debts.” (9)
(1) “Church Records of the Reformed Congregation of Christ Union Church, Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, 1756-1845,” translated by the Rev. William J. Hinke, page 70. The burial record seems to indicate that Philip was buried Feb. 2, 1806, at the age of 75 years, 7 months, 4 days. The transcript doesn’t indicate exactly when he died. If he died on Feb. 2, 1806, the record would indicate that he was born June 29, 1730. This is also transcribed in “Pennsylvania Grave Stones, Northampton County, for People Born Before 1800,” by John T. Humphrey, page 307. (2) Christ Union Church records, page 11. The transcript actually reads: Preiss (?). It also has a handwritten note saying “Probably Reiss.” Certain versions of the German Gothic script make the capital P look like “Pr.” In addition, Tim Rice reports on his WorldConnect.RootsWeb.com site that Philip had earlier married a woman named Anna Christena Klappfelder on July 3, 1759, according to the Tohickon Reformed Church Records. I have not yet had the opportunity to confirm this. (3) Henry’s birth is listed in Christ Church records on page 11. The confirmations of Simon and Eva Elizabeth, children of Philip, occurred in 1792 and are listed on page 71. The confirmation of Michael Reiss occurred on April 8, 1798, the same day as that of Henry. It seems pretty certain that Michael was another son of Philip. Tim Rice reports that Philip and his first wife, Anna Christena, had the following children: John, Maria Charlotte, born Dec. 29, 1761, in Springfield Township, Bucks County, Pa.; Maria Sara, born March 13, 1769, in Springfield; Philip, born July 12, 1771, in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County, Pa. He also reports that, in addition to the children mentioned above, Philip and Anna Margaretha had a son named Samuel, who was born Feb. 28, 1792, and may have had a son named Johannes, who was born Sept. 20, 1793. He lists the birth dates of the other children as: Simon, Nov. 15, 1777; Eva Elizabeth, born 1779; and Michael , born Aug. 12, 1780. As I mentioned above, I have not yet had the opportunity to confirm this information. (4) “The Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 2, vol. 17, page 405-406. A second list of the passengers, obviously written by someone who spoke English, spells the names of Jacob and Philip “Rice” and the name of Simon “Trice.” (5) “The Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 19, page 34. (6) “The Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 19, page 91 for 1785, page 196 for 1786, and page 299 for 1788. (7) “Oaths of Allegiance of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, 1777-1784,” edited by Henry F. Marx, page 30. (8) “The Pennsylvania Archives”, Series 5, vol. 8, page 93-95. (9) “Genealogical Abstracts of Orphans Court Records, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, Volumes 6-8, 1795-1815,” by Candace E. Anderson, pages 202-203.
HENRY and ELIZABETH REISS
Heinrich Reiss was born Dec. 17, 1782 in Northampton County, Pa., to Phillip and Anna Margaretha Reiss. (1)
Married Elizabeth Seip on Dec. 25, 1804, in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County, by the Rev. John Henry Hoffmeier. Elizabeth was born March 1, 1783. (2)
Johannes Rice, or John, born Dec. 16, 1806.
Julianna Rice, born Feb 4, 1808. Married Samuel Moyer.
Peter Rice, born Nov. 26, 1813.
Elisa Rice, born March 29, 1816. Married Henry Stauffer.
Susan Rice, born March 30, 1819. Married Joseph Lambert.
Magdalena Rice (also Polly and Mary), born April 1, 1821. Married Isaac Boyer. (4)
Rebecca Rice, born Feb. 16, 1823. Married Jacob Shaffer.
Samuel Rice, born about 1827.
Henry Rice, born Feb. 10, 1827.
Heinrich appears to have been unable to write, since his will was marked with an X. His first name usually appears as Henry, except in church records. His last name is usually spelled Reiss in German church records but appears as Rice and Rise, as well as Reiss, in civil records.
Henry grew up in Lower Saucon Township, where his family worshipped in the Reformed congregation of Christ Union Church. He was confirmed April 8, 1798, at age 15. (5)
Henry Reiss appears in the 1810 Census of Hannover, Northampton County. His household contained two males under age 10, a male 26-45, one female under 10 and one female 16-26. This does not agree with the approximate birth years of Henry’s children, as determined through reading the 1850 Census.
Henry served in the Pennsylvania militia during the War of 1812. Henry Rice is listed as a private in the rifle company commanded by Capt. Abraham Gangwere. At the beginning, the muster roll states the company was “attached to the First brigade, Second division, Pennsylvania militia, in the service of the United States, under the command of Brig. Gen. H. Spering, Maj. Gen. Shitz, commanding.” A certification statement at the end says that the company was “attached to One Hundred and Eighteenth regiment, First brigade, Seventh Division, Pennsylvania militia, in the service of the United States.” The statement also says the unit served from Sept. 23, to Oct. 31, 1814. At the bottom, the list is dated Marcus Hook Camp, Oct. 23, 1814. (6)
The unit was called to duty in the fall of 1814 to defend Philadelphia from British attack. It is listed in accounting documents as elements of the 2nd Brigade, 7th Division of the Pennsylvania Militia, which marched “from the county of Lehigh to Marcus Hook.” (7)
On the list of Capt. Gangwere’s company, Henry’s name appears next to that of Peter Seip. After the Reisses moved to western Pennsylvania, Henry and his wife – Elizabeth Seip – served as sponsors at the baptism of Peter Seip’s daughter, Sara, in 1822. It seems likely that further research will find that Peter and Elizabeth were siblings. (8)
Sometime after the war, the Reiss family moved to Butler County in Western Pennsylvania. The 1883 “History of Butler County, Pennsylvania,” indicates that the Rice family settled in what is now Lancaster Township about 1815. A brief profile states: “Henry Rice was born in Lehigh County, Penn. About the year 1815, he moved to Harmony, where he worked for Mr. [Abraham] Zielgler two years. He then bought the farm on which his son John now lives, and there resided until he died aged about seventy-five. His children were John, Julia (Moyer), Jesse and Henry, Lancaster Township; Eliza (Stauffer), deceased; Samuel, New Castle, and Rebecca (Shaffer), deceased. Jesse Rice settled on the farm he now occupies in 1835. Only about an acre had then been cleared; now, not only his farm, but the entire neighborhood is in a most prosperous and thriving condition. Time and labor work wonders.” (9)
In its profile on Lancaster Township, the 1927 “History of Butler County, Pennsylvania” simply states: “Prior to the thirties, the important families who became established here were those of Henry Rice and George Kneiss, of Harmony …” (10)
In 1820, Henry Reiss appears in Connoquenessing Township. His household contained three males under 10, one male 26-45, two females under 10, one famale 10-16 and one female 26-45. Presumably, two of the three boys “under 10” were actually the same boys listed as “under 10” in the previous census, probably Jesse and Johannes.
On Jan. 28, 1822, Henry Rice paid $600 to buy the northern half of a 200-acre property called “Black Walnut Grove” in Connoquenessing Township from Abraham and Elizabeth Ziegler. (11)
In Butler County, the family worshipped at St. Paul’s German Lutheran and Reformed Church, Zelienople.
Henry Rice appears in the 1840 Census in Connoquenessing Township. His household contained two males ages 10-14, one male 50-60, one female 15-19 and one female 50-60.
Henry Rice appears in the 1850 Census in West Connoquenessing Township. He is listed as a 69-year-old farmer who owned real estate valued at $2,600. His household also contained Elizabeth, age 67; Henry, a 23-year-old farmer; Magdalene, 22; and Henry Lambert, 11. Neither Henry, nor Elizabeth, could write. Magdalene appears to have been the younger Henry’s wife. (12)
Henry wrote his will Feb. 5, 1855, and noted he was “Sick and Weak in Body but of Sound and disposing mind & memory and understanding, Blessed by God for the Same.”
Henry died March 28, 1855, and Elizabeth died Aug. 8, 1872. Both are buried at the Mennonite and Grace Reformed cemetery in Jackson Township, northwest of Harmony. (13)
(1) Henry’s birth is recorded in “Church Records of the Reformed Congregation of Christ Union Church, Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, 1756-1845,” translated by the Rev. William J. Hinke, page 11. It’s also in “Pennsylvania Births, Northampton County, 1733-1800,” by John T. Humphrey, page 170. The second source relied on the first. The Christ Union Church transcript actually reads: Preiss (?). It also has a handwritten note saying “Probably Reiss.” Certain versions of the German Gothic script make the capital P look like “Pr.” (2) Records of the Reformed Congregation of Christ Union Church, page 66. Elizabeth’s birth date comes from “Butler County Cemetery Inventory, Vol. 4, page 6 of the Mennonite and Grace Reformed Cemetery in Jackson Township. (3) The children and the daughter’s spouses are listed in Henry’s will, which is recorded in Butler County Estate File R74. Jesse is listed as “Sesse Rise” in the will. Except for the younger Henry, the exact birth dates appear in “St. Paul’s German Lutheran and Reformed Church, Zelienople, Butler County, Pennsylvania,” transcribed by Gertrude M. Ziegler: Johannes on page 2; Juliana, 3; Peter and Elisa, 8; Susan, 9; and Magdalena and Rebecca, 20. The younger Henry’s birth date comes from his obituary in New Castle News, Nov. 30, 1915. The approximate birth year of Samuel comes from the 1850 Census of West Connoquenessing. The same census indicates that Jesse was 48, which would put Jesse’s birth before Henry’s marriage to Elizabeth. If this were correct, it might indicate that Henry was previously married. A census taker’s error seems much more likely and further research may indicate that he was born later. Jesse’s year of birth is recorded as 1811 in “The Ziegler Family and Related Families in Pennsylvania,” by Gertrude Mohlin Ziegler, page 1090. However, the 1810 Census indicates that Henry had two sons under 10, which would seem to indicate John and Jesse. (4) Some confusion surrounds the name Magdalena. St. Paul’s records state that Magdalena was born April 1, 1821, which seems to correspond nicely with the age of Mary Boyer, wife of Isaac Boyer, as listed in the 1850 Census of West Connoquenessing Township, Butler County, Pa. No Magdalene appears among Henry’s heirs in his will, but Polly, wife of Isaac Boyer, does. It seems that the Magdalena of the church records, the Mary of the 1850 Census and the Polly of the will are all the same person. However, the Ziegler history, on page 1090, states that Henry had a daughter named Magdalene who was born in 1826, married John Heberling and lived until 1910. It seems very possible that no such Magdalene existed. It seems unlikely that Henry would name two daughters Magdalena or that he would “miss” a daughter in his will. The 1850 Census of West Connoquessing indicates that Mary, wife of John Heberling, was 26 years old, which would indicate that she was born in 1824. The 1883 history of Butler County doesn’t mention a Magdalena Heberling – or to a Susan Lambert or Magdalena/Polly/Mary Boyer, for that matter. (5) Records of the Reformed Congregation of Christ Union Church, page 71. (6) “The Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 2, volume 12, pages 145-148. Elizabeth filed for a pension in Butler County based on service in the company of “Capt. Gangaware,” according to a copy of the pension application available on Ancestry.com. Her pension is noted on an index card at Ancestry.com, “War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815.” During this same period, another Henry Rice is listed as a private in the company commanded by Capt. George F. Coldovey “in the service of the United States 23 October 1814” at “Camp Marceishock” – Marcus Hook. He is listed in “The Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 6, vol. 8, pages 663-665. A reference to someone who might be a third Henry Rice appears in an 1812 muster list of “men, which have been drafted, mustered & organized at the differend regimaltol rendevous by Nicholas Sager late brigade inspector of the 1D. B. & 8 D, of P.M. [Pennsylvania militia] of the 3, 4 & 5 classes, under general orders of 1812.” It appears that this unit was raised in a different area from the other two because the names don’t match up with those in either of the other two lists. This list appears in “The Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 6, vol. 7, page 551-553. (7) “The Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 6, vol. 9, pages 766-768. (8) St. Paul’s records, page 20. (9) “History of Butler County, Pennsylvania,” by Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883, page 201. (10) “History of Butler County, Pennsylvania,” by C. Hale Sipe, page 533. (11) Butler County, Pa., Deed Book F, page 117. (12) Magdalena Bellas Rice, born 1827, was the wife of Henry S. Rice, according to a listing for Harmony Mennonite Cemetery at the Zelienople Historical Society. This agrees with the 1850 Census. It’s possible that the mention of a Magdalena in Henry’s household in the 1850 Census is responsible for the idea that Henry had a daughter with that name, even though the age doesn’t match. (13) “Butler County Cemetery Inventory, Vol. 4, page 6 of the Mennonite and Grace Reformed Cemetery in Jackson Township.