Conrad Ritter / Rutter:  Pennsylvania Pioneer

Children of Conrad Ritter / Rutter

 Joseph Ritter / Rutter

Birth Unknown, but probably circa 1700 – 1710 [1]
Death Will dated Feb. 7, 1775, and proved Aug. 11, 1775 (Leacock Twp.) [2]
Parents Father: Conrad Ritter / Rutter, Mother: name unknown
Siblings Andrew, Elizabeth, Peter, Conrad Jr.
Marriage Barbara (nee Bichler/Biegler/Buchlin, daughter of Jacob and Anna Maria Bichler)   Note: wife’s maiden name commonly reported to be Glenn, this in incorrect. See “Other Info” below.
Children (10)
      Johann Heinrich (Henry)
  Birth Born March 20 or 21, 1734 and baptized March 28, 1734 at Trinity Lutheran Church (New Holland, PA) [3]
  Death Died Nov 16, 1811, will dated Nov 9, 1811 and proved Dec 3, 1811 (Leacock twp.) [4]
  Marriage Elizabeth Shultz (Schultz) [5]
  Children Joseph (m. Margaret Besore), Isaac, George, Jacob (m. Hanna Traut, Daniel, Heinrich, Benjamin, John?, Anna Barbara (m. Benjamin Meiser), Elizabeth (m. Conrad Evits), Mary (m. David Traut), Hanna (m. Samuel Miller), Catherine (m. John Meiser)
     Johann Georg (George)
  Birth Birth: Born Jun 23, 1735, and baptized Jul 6, 1735 at Trinity Lutheran Church, New Holland, PA [6]
  Death
Will dated May 7, 1807, and proved Jun 15, 1807 (Salisbury Twp.) [7]
Died Jun 8, 1807, at age 73, buried in Trinity Lutheran Graveyard (New Holland) [8]
  Marriage  Anna Margaretha Lightner (daughter of Adam and Magdalena Maude Lightner) [9]
  Children Nathaniel (aka Ignatius, m. Ann Cowen), Adam and Joseph (twins; Adam m. Margaret Skiles), Rebecca, Margaret, Mary (m. William Cowen), Elizabeth
     Anna Maria
   Birth  Born Mar 21, 1737 and baptized Apr 7, 1738 at Trinity Lutheran Church (New Holland) [10]
  Death  Reportedly died young, before 1775 [11]
  Marriage  Unknown
  Children  Unknown
     Barbara
   Birth  Sep 19, 1740, baptized Sept ??, 1740 at Trinity Lutheran Church (New Holland, PA) [12]
  Death  Died 1824 [13]
  Marriage  Johann / John Lightner (b. 1732) [14]
  Children Adam (m. Elizabeth Stryker), Nathaniel (m. Elizabeth Wike or Wise), John (m. Rebecca Hopkins), Joel (m. Mary Lytle), Juliana (m. John Sharp), Ann (m. John Hinkle), Margaret (m. Christian Sharp), Barbara (m. James Magy)
     Andrew
  Birth  Born 1741 [15]
  Death
Will dated Feb 19, 1822 and proved Sept. 17, 1824, in York Co., PA [16]
Died Jun 8, 1824, at age 83, 2 months and 8 days [17]
  Marriage  1st: Jane Lightner; 2nd: Anna Marie Rudisell [18]
  Children 1st: Adam (m. Barbara King), Anna Elizabeth (m. Jacob Bushong), Sarah (m. Christian Harman), Leah (m. William Jones), Samuel, and Polly (unmarried at date of Andrew’s will)
     Joseph
   Birth Born Dec 23, 1743, baptized Jan 22, 1744 at Trinity Lutheran Church (New Holland, PA)[19]
   Death Died Mar 18, 1811, buried at Trinity Lutheran in New Holland [20]
   Marriage Mary Ritter (daughter of Peter and Elizabeth Ritter) [21]
   Children Heinrich
     Margaretha (Margaret)
  Birth Born Nov 5, 1745, baptized Dec 15, 1745 at Trinity Lutheran Church (New Holland, PA) [22]
  Death Unknown [23]
  Marriage Nathaniel (Ignatius) Lightner Jr. (son of Nathaniel Lightner Sr.) [24]
  Children Unknown
     Catharina (Catherine)
  Birth Born Mar 10, 1748, baptized Mar 14, 1748 at Trinity Lutheran Church (New Holland, PA)[25]
  Death Unknown
  Marriage Andrew Hershey [26]
  Children Unknown
     Elizabetha (Elizabeth)
  Birth Born Jan 27, 1750/51, baptized Mar 3, 1751 at Trinity Lutheran Church (New Holland, PA)[27]
  Death Unknown
  Marriage Unknown
  Children Unknown
     Rebecca
  Birth Born Dec 22, 1753, baptized Jan 14, 1753/54 at Trinity Lutheran Church (New Holland, PA)[28]
  Death Unknown
  Marriage Unknown
  Children Unknown


Other Information

Joseph Rider is mentioned in brother Andrew Rider’s deed of lease struck on June 7, 1722, in Bohemia Manor (Cecil County, MD). [29]  In the deed, the lease is stated to last for the natural lives of Andrew, Joseph and Peter Rider. Including two younger brothers or sons in a lease was a common practice to maximize the duration of the lease.

Conrad Ritter and his three sons, Conrad, Peter and Joseph, all of adult age, settled on their land in Leacock Township, Lancaster Co, PA, about the year 1728. By consent of the Commissioners of Property, they took up about 588 acres and procured a survey and division as follows: 208-1/4 acres to Conrad Rutter (the father), 191-3/4 acres to Peter Rutter, and 188 acres to Joseph. [Source: Joseph Ritter’s 1763 patent]

Joseph Ritter, together with Elizabeth and Magdalena Leitner, was admitted to Holy Communion for the first time at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Holland, PA, on Dec. 30, 1733. (Elizabeth and Magdalena Leitner were the daughters of Adam and Magdalena Leitner.) [30]

Joseph Ritter and wife served as sponsors at the birth of Joseph, son of Georg Michael Wolff, born June 21, 1734 and baptized July 7, 1734 at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Holland, PA. [31]

Note: The Rutters and Wolfs were related by marriage. Joseph Rutter married Barbara Bichler, the daughter of Jacob Bichler (aka Buchler / Biegler / Biegle). [32]  George Michael Wolf married her sister, Elizabeth Bichler. Jacob Bichler and George Michael Wolf both lived on a 137-acre tract of land bordering the northwest corner of the Rutter plantation in the early 1730’s.

Note: Read John Parmer's research report on Joseph's marriage to Barbara Bichler.  This is a PDF document that requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to open.

The Rutter’s, Wolfs, and Bichlers all belonged to the Trinity Lutheran Church in New Holland. George Michael Wolff and wife Elizabeth served as sponsors at the baptism of Joseph Ritter’s son, John Heinrich, in 1734. [33] And in 1738, Jacob Biegle and his wife Anna Maria were sponsors at the baptism of Anna Maria, Joseph’s daughter. [34]

Wolf later moved his family to a 300-acre tract on the Conestoga River in Earl Township. Jacob Bichler gave the farm in Leacock Township to grandson Henry Ritter [Joseph’s son] in his will dated 1757.[35] Henry patented the land in 1763. [36]

Joseph Rutter paid 5 pounds and 10 shillings to the Receiver General on June 16, 1741, as partial payment of the money owed for his 188-acre section of the Rutter plantation in Leacock. [37]

Joseph Ritter and wife sponsored the birth of Barbara Sitzler, daughter of Wilhelm Sitlzer, bap. Mar 18, 1745 at Trinity Lutheran Church (New Holland, PA). [38]

On Mar 2, 1756, the Orphan’s Court at Lancaster appointed Joseph Rutter and Wendle Zwetzer [Zwecker] guardians over Henry Wolf, Ann Wolf, Abraham Wolf and Susanna Wolf, orphans and minor children of George Michael Wolf, who had died on Feb. 6th of that year. [39]

On Jan. 6, 1761, Joseph Ritter and brothers Peter and Conrad Jr. effected a resurvey of their respective sections of the 588-acre Rutter plantation in Leacock. [40]

Joseph Ritter and wife Barbara served as sponsors at the baptism of Joseph Leitner, son of Johannes Leitner and wife Barbara, born Jun 23, 1761, and bap. Jul 19, 1761 at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Holland, PA. On same day, George and Margaret Ritter’s son Ignatius was baptized with sponsors Ignatius [Nathaniel] Leitner and wife Margaretha. [41]  George was Joseph and Barbara Ritter’s second son, who married Margaret Lightner, sister of Ignatius Lightner.

On March 19, 1762, Joseph Ritter paid the Receiver General 80 pounds, the remainder of the purchase price for his section of the plantation, plus interest and quitrent due from the date of the March 1, 1728. In return, the Land Office issued a warrant dated May 18, 1762, requiring the Surveyor General to accept and return the resurveys to the Secretaries Office.   Accordingly, the Land Office then issued a patent in 1763 to Joseph Ritter for his 188 acres of land. [42]

Joseph Rutter and his wife Barbara joined the other heirs of Conrad Rutter (Sr.), deceased, in a deed dated Apr 5, 1762, the purpose of which was to officially acknowledge that brother Conrad Jr. was the sole owner of the 208¼ acre section of the Rutter plantation where Conrad Jr. and his family resided. [43]

In a similar deed dated the same day, the heirs of Conrad Rutter (Sr.), deceased, also acknowledged that Joseph Ritter was the sole owner of the 188-acre section of the plantation that he and his family resided on. [44]

Joseph Ritter and wife Barbara were listed in communicant records for Trinity Lutheran Church in 1765, 1766, 1769 and 1771. Sometimes accompanied by children Heinrich, Elisabet, Margreta and George (with his wife Margreta). Also accompanied by sister Elizabeta Gibbin (wife of William Givens) in 1765 and 1771. [45]

Joseph Ritter and wife Barbara sponsored the birth of Joel Leitner, son of John Leitner and wife Barbara (their daughter), bap. Jul 14, 1771 at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Holland, PA. [46]

Abstract of Joseph Ritter’s will:

  • Will dated Feb 7, 1775 and proved April 11, 1775
  • Described as yeoman residing in Leacock Township (Lancaster Co., PA)
  • Distributions:
    • Wife Barbara: 200 pounds money, her riding mare, saddle and bridle, two cows, plus the best bed and furniture and all the household goods in dwelling house. Also bequeathed “negro wench Eve” and a free residence in his dwelling for the rest of her life.
    • Son Joseph: dwelling plantation and residue of personal estate
    • Son Henry: 100 pounds, to be equally divided by his children (unclear why money is directed to Henry’s children even though Henry is still alive.)
    • Daughters Barbara (wife of John Lightner), Margaret (wife of Nathaniel Lightner Jr.) and Catharine (wife of Andrew Hershey): 100 pounds each.
    • Son Andrew: bequeathed the money that was borrowed for Andrew’s own use
    • Son George: It is unclear what George received, but the will states that he was responsible for paying the 200 pounds due to his mother out of his share. George died in Salisbury Township; is it possible that his father Joseph paid for his land before his death? Further research is needed.
    • Executors.: Barbara Ritter (wife) and John Lightner (son-in-law, husband of daughter Barbara)
    • Witnesses: Stewart Herbert, David Glen, Margaret Evett [daughter of Conrad Rutter Jr.,wife of Joseph Evetts]

An inventory of Joseph Ritter’s estate was taken March 14, 1775, and submitted to the Register’s Office in Lancaster on April 11, 1775. The personal estate (omitting the value of any land or buildings) was valued at approximately 150 pounds. Livestock included a horse, a mare, 3 cows and a calf, 9 swine and 8 sheep. Farm produce included 98 bushels of wheat, 50 bushels of rye and 11 barrels of flour. Other major assets included a negro slave named Eve, a road wagon, and a wind mill.

Joseph Ritter was buried on his plantation. The small cemetery remains in existence to this day, and was restored in 1997 by John Parmer, a Rutter descendent and genealogist, with the help of some Amish friends from the surrounding community.

 Parmer Map_Joseph_Rutter_section_low_res

 Map reproduced with permission from John Parmer.


[1] The preamble to Joseph Rutter’s patent, granted in 1763, states that Conrad’s sons (Joseph, Peter and Conrad Jr.) were all of full age in 1728, when they settled on the 588-acre farm in Lancaster Co.

[2] Lancaster County Historical Society, Lancaster, PA, Lancaster County Will Book B, Vol. 1, pg. 735

[3] Robert L. Hess, F. Edward Wright, Lancaster County Pennsylvania Church Records of the 18th Century, Vol.6 (Lewes, DE: Colonial Roots, 2012), pg. 4

[4] Lancaster County Historical Society, Lancaster, PA, Lancaster County Will book K, Vol. 1, p.320

[5] The following quote was reportedly written in 1820 by Rev. Joseph Clarkson, minister of St. James Episcopal Church in Lancaster, at the baptism of three children of Joseph, son of Henry and Elizabeth Rutter: “The mother of Joseph (Elizabeth Shultz, Rutter) still alive and living with David Trout (her son in law). She is very old but a hearty old lady; must be 85 or 90. Her son Joseph is 63. The old man has been dead several years, say 15. His name is Henry.” Source: Lancaster County Historical Society, Historical Papers Vol. 5, pg 82

[6] Robert L. Hess, pg. 4

[7] Lancaster County Historical Society, Lancaster, PA, Lancaster County Will Book I, Vol. 1, pg. 405

[8] Source unknown

[9] Source unknown

[10] Robert L. Hess, pg. 4

[11] Source unknown

[12] Robert L. Hess, pg. 4

[13] Source unknown

[14] Source unknown

[15] Cited as Mar. 31, 1741, in many genealogy records, based on Christ Lutheran Church death record, but this appears to conflict with sister Barbara’s birth date.

[16] York County Register of Wills, York, PA, York County Will Book, pgs. 172-176,

[17] Reportedly taken from the records of Christ Lutheran Church in York, PA. However, note that the will was not probated until Sept. Probate was usually initiated within days or weeks after death, not months later. If Andrew’s death is assumed to have occurred in September, putting his birth in July, 1741, this also helps eliminate the apparent conflict with sister Barbara’s birth date in Sept, 1740.

[18] Andrew reportedly first married Jane Lightner on Oct 4, 1768. Jane Lightner was born circa 1747 to Nathaniel Lightner and Margaret Larue. Andrew reportedly next married Anna Marie Rudisell in 1777. Anna Maria Rudisell first married Phillip Adam Brenner. [Sources unknown]

[19] Robert L. Hess, pg. 4

[20] Source unknown

[21] Source unknown

[22] Robert L. Hess, pg. 4

[23] Some genealogy sites state that Margaret died in 1794 at Christ’s Episcopal Church (location unknown); others say Oct 8, 1823, at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Holland, PA. [Sources unknown]

[24] Source unknown

[25] Robert L. Hess, pg. 57

[26] Source unknown

[27] Robert L. Hess, pg. 21

[28] Robert L. Hess, pg. 25

[29] June D. Brown, Abstracts of Cecil County, Maryland, Land Records: 1673-1751 (Westminster, MD: Willow Bend Books, 1999), pg. 157

[30] Glen P. Schwalm, Fredrick S. Weiser, Records of Pastoral Acts at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (Brienigsville, PA: The Pennsylvania German Society, 1977), pg. 188

[31] Robert L. Hess, pg. 25

[32] See research report created by John Parmer documenting marriage between Joseph Ritter and Barbara Bichler

[33] Robert L. Hess, pg. 4

[34] Robert L. Hess, pg. 4

[35] Lancaster County Historical Society, Lancaster, PA, Lancaster County Will Book B, Vol. 1, pg 177

[36] Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Bureau of Archives and History, Pennsylvania State Archives, Records of the Land Office, Patent Index, A and AA Series, 1684-1781, Series AA, no. 5, pg. 521

[37] Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Bureau of Archives and History, Pennsylvania State Archives, Records of the Land Office, Lancaster County Patent Books, Series AA, Vol. 4: pgs. 369-372

[38] Robert L. Hess, pg. 16

[39] Lancaster County Orphans Court Docket March 2, 1756; and Lancaster County, PA, 1754-1759 Orphans Court Book, pg. 50-51

[40] Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, Bureau of Archives & History, PA State Archives, Records of the Land Office: Copied Surveys, 1681-1912, survey no.s A-56-90, C-169-246, and C-169-257; www.phmc.state.pa.us/

[41] Robert L. Hess, pg. 30

[42] Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Bureau of Archives and History, Pennsylvania State Archives, Records of the Land Office, Lancaster County Patent Books, Series AA, Vol. 4, pg.s 369-372

[43] Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA, Lancaster Co. Deed Book GG, pg. 43 (view online access at http://www.lancasterdeeds.com/onlineefilmreader/)

[44] Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA, Lancaster Co. Deed Book UU, pg. 779 43 (view online at http://www.lancasterdeeds.com/onlineefilmreader/)

[45] Glen P. Schwalm, pgs. 133, 136, 143, 188

[46] Robert L. Hess, pg. 41