Conrad Ritter / Rutter:  Pennsylvania Pioneer

Children of Conrad Ritter / Rutter

Peter Ritter / Rutter

Birth Unknown, but probably circa 1700 – 1710 [i]
Death Will dated Feb 4, 1769 and proved Jan 5, 1792 (Salisbury Twp., PA) [ii]
Parents Father: Conrad Rutter; Mother: name unknown
Siblings Andrew, Elizabeth, Joseph, Conrad Jr.
Wife Elizabeth (reportedly Skiles, daughter of Henry and Catherine Skiles, but see Other Info below]
Children (3)
     Rebecca Elizabeth
  Birth Before April, 1734 [iii]
  Death  Unknown
  Marriage  William Skiles (born Nov, 1730, at Trinity Lutheran in New Holland, PA) [iv]
  Birth Born circa 1738 [v]

Died: Oct 8, 1823, age 85 years, buried in Trinity Lutheran graveyard (New Holland, PA) [vi]

  Marriage Joseph Ritter Jr. (son of Joseph Ritter Sr.)[vii]
  Children Elizabeth [viii]
   Birth Born after 1734 [ix]
  Death Unknown
  Marriage  ?? Keenan [x]
  Children Rowan Keenan [xi]
   Birth Born 15 Mar, 1742 in Lancaster Co. [xii]
  Death April 18, 1816, Snider Co. PA [xiii]
  Marriage Martha Elizabeth Rutter (daughter of Conrad Rutter Jr.), m. June 13, 1764 [xiv]
  Children John, Elizabeth (m. George Michael Wolf), Mary, William, Henry, Charlotte, Jenny
     Thomas (mentioned in father Peter Ritter’s will dated 1765)
  Birth Unknown
  Death Unknown
  Marriage Unknown
  Children Unknown
     William?  (William Rutter witnessed Peter’s will in 1792, but is not mentioned in the bequests. This may be case of mistaken identity with William, son of Conrad Ritter Jr.)
  Birth Unkown
  Death Unknown
  Marriage Margarette[xv]
  Children Charlotte, Johannes [may be children of William Ritter, son of Conrad Jr.] [xvi]


Other Information

Peter Rider is mentioned in brother Andrew Rider’s deed of lease, which was signed on June 7, 1722, in Bohemia Manor (Cecil County, MD). [xvii]  In the deed, the lease is stated to last for the natural lives of Andrew, Peter, and Joseph 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, Joseph, Peter and Conrad Jr., 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]

Some online genealogy sites report that Peter Ritter married Elizabeth Skiles, daughter of Henry and Catherine Skiles. We do know for a fact that Elizabeth Skiles married a Rutter, since she is referred to as Elizabeth Rutter in father Henry Skile’s will, dated 1750. But the will does not identify the first name of the husband. If true, there would have been an age gap of over 15 years between them. We know that Peter Ritter came of age by 1728, thus must have been born prior to 1710. Most of Henry Skile’s children were born in the 1720’s or 30’s, and if the mother of Elizabeth was indeed Henry’s second wife, Catherine, then Elizabeth’s birth date would probably have been after 1725.

Peter Rutter and brother Conrad Jr. appeared on the subscription list for rebuilding St. John’s Episcopal Church in 1753. Each offered to contribute 2 pounds.[xviii]   St. John’s is located on the border of Salisbury and West Caln Townships, PA.

Peter Rutter and brother Conrad Jr. were listed as jointly holding a pew in the rebuilt St. John’s church, paying an annual pew-rent of 1 pound, 10 shillings in 1759. [xix]

On Jan 6, 1761, Peter Ritter and brothers Joseph and Conrad Jr. effected a resurvey of their respective sections of the 588-acre plantation. The survey for Peter Rutter’s 191-3/4 acre tract states: “Draught of a tract of land situate in Leacock Township, Lancaster County, belonging to Peter Rutter, being part of a tract of 588 acres and allowance which by warrant of the 3rd day of January, 1733, to his father Conrad Rutter. Surveyed the 6th day of the first month, 1761. P – Benj. Parvin.” The survey was returned May 19, 1763. [xx]

Peter Rutter and his wife Elizabeth 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. [xxi]

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

Note that the heirs of Conrad Rutter did not sign a deed in 1762 confirming Peter Rutter’s ownership of his 191-3/4 acre tract. However, he is noted as the neighbor to the south in the quit claim deed confirming 188 acres to brother Joseph, indicating that he still owned his section of the 588-acre farm at that time.

Peter Rutter’s tract was patented by Henry Skiles on May, 20, 1767.[xxiii]  The date of sale is not known, but may have been around 1762, thus explaining why the heirs of Conrad Rutter did not create a deed of confirmation for Peter, as they did for his brothers Joseph and Conrad Jr.

Some genealogy sources report that Peter sold his section to Isaac Eby, who then resold it to Henry Skiles, but the source of this information is unknown. If true, the said Isaac Eby may be the son of Peter Eby, grandson of Theodorus Eby. Isaac Eby was born 1727 and died 1767, the year that Henry Skiles patented the land. *Mennonite Family History, Jan, 1984, Conrad Rutter, 1683, Germantown Immigrant, by John Winters.

Biographical Annals of Lancaster County (Douglas sketch) notes that Peter moved to Salisbury Township, buying land near the Douglas’s. [xxiv] The location of this land is at present undetermined.

Peter Rutter was elected as a vestryman at St. John’s Episcopal Church in 1763, 1764 and 1765.[xxv]  This would seem to coincide with his move to Salisbury, which would have put him closer to the church, located just over the eastern border of Salisbury, in West Caln Township. He does not appear to have served as a church officer after 1765.

Peter Ritter’s will

  • Written on Feb. 4, 1769 and proved on Jan 5, 1792
  • Peter is described as a yeoman residing in Salisbury Township (Lancaster Co., PA)
  • Distributions:
    • Son John Ritter: working tools
    • Daughter Mary (wife of Joseph Ritter): bed
    • Grandson Rowan Keenan: 40 pounds, a mare, furniture, apparel and woolen cloth
    • Grandson Thomas Skiles: 40 pounds
    • Grandson John Ritter: 10 pounds
    • Granddaughter Elizabeth Ritter: 10 pounds
    • Residue of real and personal estate to be divided equally between children
  • Executors: William Hamilton of Salisbury Twp. and David Watson of Leacock Twp.
  • Witnesses: Stewart Herbert, William Skiles [son-in-law, husband of daughter Rebecca Elizabeth, William Rutter [possibly son, otherwise eldest son of brother Conrad Jr.]

Peter Ritter’s will was proved on Jan. 5, 1792, when William Rutter appeared before the Deputy Register for Lancaster County.

Peter’s will states that he was a yeoman, or landowner, but he did not bequeath any farm land, farm equipment or farm animals (besides his riding mare) to his heirs. He did bequeath his “working tools” to son John, which leads to the speculation that he was some sort of craftsman, such as a carpenter. Peter and brother Conrad Jr. were bequeathed their father’s cooper (barrel making) tools as part of his will dated 1734. Perhaps Peter was a cooper? Further research is required.

 [i] 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.

[ii] A photocopy of the will is in my possession, but the source is unknown. Peter Ritter’s will clearly states that it was proved on Jan. 5, 1792. The index to the Lancaster County will books show wills for two people named Peter Ritter; one probated in 1778 (Lancaster Co. Will Book J, Vol. 1, pg 217) and another probated in 1789 (LCWB Y, Vol. 2, pg. 532). Further research is necessary to see if either of these citations refer to the Peter Ritter in question.

[iii] Rebecca Elizabeth is mentioned in Conrad Rutter Sr.’s will dated April 19, 1734

[iv] Robert L. Hess, F. Edward Wright, Lancaster County Pennsylvania Church Records of the 18th Century, Vol.6 (Lewes, DE: Colonial Roots, 2012), pg. 2

[v] Based on information that Mary’s gravestone stated that she was 83 years old when she died in 1823. See endnote #6.

[vi] Various genealogical records indicate that this information was taken from a gravestone at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in New Holland, PA, but original source is unknown.

[vii] Joseph Ritter mentioned as husband of Mary in Peter Ritter’s will.

[viii] Elizabeth is mentioned as daughter of Mary in Peter Ritter’s will.

[ix] Martha not mentioned in grandfather Conrad Rutter’s will, dated April 19, 1734.

[x] See endnote #11

[xi] “Grandson Rowan Keenan” mentioned in Peter Ritter’s will. Since we know the married names of Peter's other two daughters, this must be the son of Martha.

[xii] Source unknown

[xiii] Source unknown

[xiv] “Son in Law John Rutter in Right of my daughter Martha” mentioned in Conrad Ritter Jr.’s will. Source of marriage date unknown.

[xv] Miscellaneous online genealogy sites, original source unknown

[xvi] Miscellaneous online genealogy sites, original source unknown

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

[xviii] R. Chester Ross, Two Hundred Years of Church History (The Intelligencer Printing Co., reprint 1989), pg. 22; and Martha Reamy, Early Church Records of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Vol. 3 (Lewes, DE: Colonial Roots, 2003), pg. 144

[xix] R. Chester Ross, pg. 23; and Martha Reamy, pg. 146

[xx] 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;

[xxi] Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA, Lancaster Co. Deed Book GG, pg. 43 (view online at

[xxii] Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA, Lancaster Co. Deed Book UU, pg. 779 43 (view online access at

[xxiii] 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, Patent AA, No. 8, pg. 295

[xxiv] “The Douglas Family,” Biographical Annals of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: John H. Beers & Co., 1903), Vol. 4, pg. 1507-1511

[xxv] Martha Reamy, Early Church Records of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Vol. 3 (Lewes, DE: Colonial Roots, 2003), pg. 147, 148, 149