Life in Lancaster Co., PA

Conrad Rutter and most of the other families from Bohemia Manor in Cecil Co., MD, settled in or near what is today called Leacock Township, which was established at the same time as Lancaster County in 1729.

Bohemia to_Lancaster_Settlers_Map

Farms of settlers who moved from Cecil County, MD, superimposed on a modern-day map of Leacock Twp., Lancaster Co., PA.  Waterways are depicted as they appeared in the 1730's.  Click on map for enlarged view.

Note: See a map showing the other original settlers of Leacock Township.  This is a PDF document and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to open.

Settlement Patterns of Lancaster County

Today, the farmlands of Lancaster County boast some of the most productive agricultural soil in the world. Prior to the formation of Lancaster County, this area was officially part of Chester County, but was commonly referred to as Conestoga (or Conestogoe). The richness of the land was recognized by the proprietor of Pennsylvania, William Penn, as early as 1683. But it wasn’t until 1710 that this part of the province began to be surveyed and settled. Around that time, speculators and settlers from the more established parts of Chester and Berks Counties to the east began taking up land in present-day East Earl and Salisbury townships. The earliest settlers were mostly English, but over time a growing number of Welsh, Scots and Irish also came into the territory.

Also around 1710, a group of Swiss Mennonites, escaping persecution in their homeland, made their way to Pennsylvania and acquired 10,000 acres of land near the present-day town of Willow Street. The original settlement was situated between the Conestoga River and Pequea Creek, about 10 miles inland from the Susquehanna River. As word of the prosperous settlement spread over the following years, they were joined by other Northern European immigrants, mostly Germans from the Palatinate region along the Rhine, but also some Dutch and French (Huguenots). All such Continentals came to be generically referred to as “Palatines” by the Colonial English, even though many were not actually from that region of Germany. (Later they were called “Pennsylvania Dutch” or just “Dutch,” a corruption of the German word “Deutsch,” meaning German.) For simplicity’s sake, hereafter we will refer to the German, Swiss, Dutch, French and other immigrants from continental Europe as Palatines. Likewise, in accordance with the nomenclature adopted by the Palatines, we will refer to all those from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland as simply “English.”

The Swiss settlement in Conestoga proved appealing to both newly arriving Palatines, as well as those who already lived in other parts of the American colonies. Certainly the rich soil was a key point of attraction, as was the fact that the Pennsylvania authorities showed an openness to sell land to non-English “aliens” and a greater tolerance of individual religious beliefs. The Germans, Dutch and Swiss also shared a continental cultural heritage that differed from the English. Thus living within the Palatine community was easier from a social and economic perspective. Being so distant from the provincial capital of Philadelphia, and even from the county capital of Chester, gave the Palatines a sense of independence from English legal and social structures.  As a result, from 1715 onward, Palatine immigration into Conestoga grew rapidly, and the Palatine settlement spread both westward toward the Susquehanna River and eastward along the Conestoga and Pequea waterways.

The eastward Palatine migration from the settlements near the Susquehanna River and the westward English migration from the established parts of Chester and Berks Counties finally met along the border between Leacock and Salisbury townships. It was near this intersection between the Palatine and English settlements that Conrad Rutter and family ended up settling.

Palatine vs_English_settlers_final

Map shows the Palatine (brown) and English (blue) settlers in Leacock Twp.,early 1730's.

Note: As shown on the left edge of the map, a small settlement composed of nonresident English landowners and a few English settlers, mostly Quakers, established themselves in the area near Bird-In-Hand, PA. For the most part, this English settlement was surrounded by Palatine farms.

Resettlement: Why Leacock Township?

By 1725, most of the land along the navigable rivers and creeks in central Conestoga had already been taken up. In Leacock Township, settlers or non-resident speculators had already claimed most of the tracts along Mill Creek to the north and Pequea Creek to the south, as well as along the smaller Muddy Run, which ran between them. For the most part, only forest land that did not border a significant creek or stream was left uninhabited.

At the same time, however, entirely new lands were being opened up to the north and south of the Conestoga heartland. In fact, the famous Tulpehocken settlement was just starting to take form in northwestern Berks County, founded by Conrad Weiser and other Palatines who emigrated from the Schoharie Valley in New York. So why did the Bohemia Manor emigrants end up putting down roots in Leacock, where the most choice “waterfront” tracts of land had already been claimed? There are a couple of interesting connections between the Bohemia Manor residents and the early settlers living along Mill Creek which might help to explain this decision.

First, there was the relationship between Conrad Beissel, the famous German Seventh Day Baptist leader who founded the Ephrata Cloister, and the Labadists in Maryland. Around 1721, Conrad Beissel settled in a cabin in Leacock to seek spiritual solitude. The cabin was located on Mill Creek in the northwest corner of the 300-acre tract owned by Elizabeth Wartnaby. Beissel was joined by three other would-be hermits: Jacob Stuntz, George Stieffel and Isaac Van Bebbern.   Coincidentally, Isaac Van Bebbern’s father, Isaac Jacob Van Bebber, and his uncle, Matthias Van Bebber, resided on the Labadie Tract in Bohemia Manor. In 1722, young Isaac decided to travel to Bohemia Manor to visit his relatives, and convinced Beissel to come with him. [ii]  Presumably Beissel’s objective in joining the expedition was to talk with Petrus Sluyter and perhaps read the Labadist religious manuscripts which Sluyter possessed.   Regardless, the visit undoubtedly provided an opportunity for Beissel and young Isaac Van Bebber to extol the virtues of the Mill Creek area in Leacock, which at that time was just commencing to be settled.

Second, the dispersion of a group of New York-based Palatines across the colonies provided another connection between Mill Creek in Lancaster and Bohemia Manor in Maryland. In 1709/10, about 2,800 Palatines were transported to New York in order to provide labor for a British-run enterprise that was to produce tar and pitch for use on naval ships. The initiative failed within a couple years, and some Palatine families began to drift to other colonies in search of a place to put down roots. As noted in the Life in Cecil section of this website, several of those New York Palatines - including the Lightners, Elrods, and possibly the Noeckers and Everts, found a home in Bohemia Manor. Other New York Palatines, including Anthony Prettor [aka Pretter] and Balthazar Wennerich [aka Venerick \ Windrich \ Wenrich], ended up settling in the Mill Creek area around 1720. It seems likely that these dispersed families stayed in touch, and that the Mill Creek inhabitants encouraged the Bohemia Manor residents to come to Leacock. In fact, the Lightners purchased the eastern half of Prettor’s 400-acre tract on Muddy Run, reinforcing the idea that some form of communication between the parties was maintained. [iii]  Even after the move, a close association was upheld between the Palatines from Bohemia Manor and their compatriots who preceded them to Mill Creek.

The Rutter Farm in Leacock

Conrad Rutter (referred to as "Conrade Ritter" in the document) received a warrant from the Pennsylvania Commissioners of Property for 500 acres on the south side of Mill Creek on January 3rd, 1733. [iv]  (Note that the warrant specified 500 acres, while the actual size of the tract turned out to be 588 acres after survey.) It appears likely, however, that the Rutters settled on the land prior to that date. The preamble to the 1763 patent for son Joseph’s 180-acre section of the farm states the following: [v]

It hath been represented and fully made to appear to us that in or about the year one thousand seven hundred and twenty eight Conrad Reiter [sic] came with his three sons, to wit Conrad, Peter and Joseph, all of full age, and agreed to take up and by the consent of our then Commissioners of Property, did settle upon a tract of land on or near Mill Creek then in the County of Chester but now of Leacock Township in the County of Lancaster, then computed to contain six hundred acres or thereabouts.

The above indicates that the Rutters arrived in Leacock around 1728, and that they settled on their land with the permission of the provincial authorities. For now, it seems reasonable to assume both statements are true. Still, the information in the patent was written some thirty years after the actual events. Thus some questions remain relating to the exact date of the Rutter’s arrival in Leacock, and what sort of permission they had to settle on the land before receiving a warrant in 1733. These issues are addressed in a separate section of the website.

Conrad Rutter’s name appears written in the margins of various surveys undertaken on behalf of his neighbors between the years 1733 and 1735. Despite the fact that Conrad received a warrant for survey in 1733, no records remain of a survey taken around that time. We know that a survey was made, however, because a resurvey of the entire farm, undertaken in 1760 at the request of Conrad’s heirs, states the following: “The above described tract of land … was surveyed by John Taylor for the use of Conrad Rutter. Resurveyed the 8th day of the 12th month, 1760.” John Taylor acted as a surveyor for Lancaster County only up until 1740, so we know the original survey was undertaken before then. It appears, however, that this survey was never returned. The only survey that remains in the record books is the resurvey done by Benjamin Parvin in 1760. [vi]

Note: The original survey apparently had not been returned as of April 19, 1734, the date that Conrad wrote his will. We know this because the following instructions were included in the document: “ I do give to my executor, Conrad Rutter [Jr.], two hundred acres which belongs to the old plantation wherein I lived; and if the return of the whole amounts to more than six hundred acres, I give it to him also…” This indicates that the survey had not yet been returned by the surveyor, thus Conrad still did not know the official amount of acreage enclosed within his tract.

Joseph Rutter’s 1763 patent indicates that the 588-acre farm was subdivided as part of the survey process. Conrad Sr. took 208 and one-quarter acres. Son Joseph was awarded 188 acres, and son Peter claimed 191 and three-quarter acres. Note that no land was allocated to youngest son, Conrad Jr., at the time of the survey. Clearly the plan was for Conrad Sr. to retain possession of his section (the “old plantation”) until his death, then transfer that land to Conrad Jr. Accordingly, Conrad Sr. devised his 208 and one-quarter acre section to Conrad Jr. in his will dated 1734.

Parmer map 588 acre farm lower res

Plot reproduced with permission from John Parmer.

In January, 1761, additional surveys of each subdivision were undertaken. [vii]  (See surveys for Joseph, Peter and Conrad Jr.)

Then in 1762, Conrad Rutter’s heirs gathered to validate each other’s claims to their respective sections. The parties involved were son Conrad Jr. and his wife Catharina, son Joseph and his wife Barbara, son Peter and his wife Elizabeth, plus daughter Elizabeth and her husband William Gibbons. (Note: Conrad’s daughter Elizabeth married Jeremiah Everts first, then married William Gibbons second after Jeremiah’s death around 1745-46.)

Conrad’s eldest son, Andrew, had already passed away sometime around 1749, thus Andrew’s interests were represented by his children: Peter Rider, Joseph Rider, Andrew Rider and Elizabeth (accompanied by her husband James Biles or Boyles). The men were all described as yeomen currently living in Cecil County, MD. (Note: Andrew also had a son named James who, for some reason, did not participate in the proceedings.)

Two “quit claim” deeds were struck as part of the family gathering in 1762. In one, the heirs validated Conrad Jr.’s claim to his 208-1/4 acre section, [viii] and in another the heirs validated Joseph’s claim to his 188-acre section. [ix]  No deed was signed validating Peter’s claim to his 191-3/4 acre section. It is known that Peter sold his portion of the land and moved to Salisbury township. Henry Skiles patented Peter’s section in 1767, and may have already been in the process of purchasing it from Peter prior to the signing of the 1762 deeds between the Rutter heirs.

The 1761 surveys of each subdivision were returned to the land office in 1763. In the end, however, it took another 65 years for the entire 588-acre tract to be fully patented. As noted above, Joseph received a patent for his land later in 1763 and Henry Skiles patented Peter’s portion in 1767.   In his will dated 1765 and probated in 1769, Conrad Jr. divided his section (still unpatented) into two parcels, bequeathing the northern part to his son Henry and the southern part to his son William.

Under the conditions of the will, Conrad Jr.’s son Henry was to pay each of his three younger siblings (Rebecca, Barbara and George) 40 pounds each. Apparently Henry failed to do this, and in 1789 the property was seized by the sheriff at the request of the siblings and sold at auction to Joseph Rutter Jr. (son of Joseph Sr. and cousin to Henry). Joseph Jr. then resold the tract to neighbor Nathaniel Ellmaker on June 16, 1790, and Ellmaker patented the land later the same year.

With the proceeds from the land sale, Joseph Jr. paid Margaret Rebecca and Barbara the 40 pounds due each of them from the will. Each of the sisters also received an additional 20 pounds, corresponding to the share due brother George, who had died before reaching maturity. In a deed poll dated June 15, 1790, Margaret Rebecca (identified as the wife of Joseph Evitts) and Barbara (spinster) alienated any rights or claims to the land purchased by Joseph Jr. and sold to Ellmaker. [x]  A second deed poll was signed the same day, in which the two other surviving children of Conrad Jr. - William Rutter and Martha Rutter (wife of John Rutter) - also alienated any claims they had to the land.

As noted above, in his will, Conrad Jr. bequeathed to his son William the remaining 63 acres and 100 perches on the south side of his section. William later sold the land to neighbor John Lightner. However, it remained unpatented until 1829, when John’s son Joel Lightner patented 45 acres and 43 perches, James Rogers patented 9 acres and 55 perches, and Nathaniel Rutter patented the remaining 9 acres and 105 perches. It is common knowledge that the Penn proprietors had a lot of difficulty getting the settlers in Lancaster to properly patent and pay for their land, but the delay until 1829, ninety six years after the land was originally warranted, and over a 100 years after it was reportedly first settled, must be some kind of record!

Trinity Lutheran Church Records

After coming to Lancaster most of the German immigrants from Bohemia Manor joined the newly founded Lutheran church, led by Reverend Johann Casper Stoever. (Although no longer on the original site, the church remains in existence today under the name of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in the town of New Holland.) Various Rutters, Lightners, Skiles, Noeckers and Elrods appear in the baptism, marriage and communion records for the Church. For example, on Dec. 6, 1730, Jeremiah Ebert [Everts], Conrad Ritter Jr., Adam Leitner [Lightner] and his wife Magdalena served as sponsors at the baptism of Heinrich Scheill’s [Skiles] son, Wilhelm.[xi] Similarly, on May 3, 1730, Dieterich Ellrodt and Regina Noecker [daughter of John Noecker] served as sponsors at a baptism for the Lespich family. [xii]

Many of the other German neighbors in the area also attended the Lutheran Church in New Holland. For example, the records show that the Ellmakers, Wolfs, Bichlers and Beshoars, all neighbors of Conrad Rutter, were also active members of the church. Rev. Stoever oversaw several congregations in the Lancaster area. In the records, the New Holland congregation was sometimes referred to as the Saue Schwamm (Hog Swamp) or Muddy Creek congregation. Both the swamp and the creek were located in the vicinity of New Holland.

There are no direct references to Conrad Sr. in the Trinity Lutheran church records, but his son Joseph appears to have been an active member. Joseph Ritter appears in a list of “confirmands and persons admitted to the Holy Communion for the first time” dated Dec 30, 1733. [xiii]  Also shown are the names of Elizabetha and Magdalena Leitnerin, daughters of Adam Lightner.

Note: It was common practice for Germans to add the suffix “-in” to the surnames of women, both married and unmarried.

Joseph’s wife, Barbara, also frequently appears in communion records and as a sponsor at church baptisms. Barbara was the daughter of Jacob Bichler (aka Biegler / Buchlin), who lived on a tract of land lying on the northwest corner of the Rutter plantation. [xiv] Furthermore, all ten of Joseph’s children were baptized by Rev. Stoever, and the dates are recorded either in the church register or the private records of the reverend. [xv]

Conrad’s daughter, Elizabeth, also appears to have attended Trinity Lutheran Church. Elizabeth’s first husband, Jeremiah Everts, died around 1747, and she remarried to a William Gibbons [aka Wilhelm Givens / Gibbin / Gibs] soon thereafter. On May 2, 1749, Eva Barbara, daughter of Wilhelm Gibs and wife Elizabeth (Roter) [sic] was baptized at the church. [xvi]

Elisabet Gibbin [sic] was included in a list of people who announced on Oct 12, 1765, that they would attend Holy Communion at Trinity Lutheran Church. [xvii]  The list also included her brother, Joseph Ritter, plus Joseph’s wife Barbara and his children Heinrich, Elizabet and Catharina. Another list of Holy Trinity communicants, dated May 18 and 19th, 1771, also mentions “Gibbin, Eliz., Ritt. Sister,” which clearly identifies Elizabeth Gibbin as Joseph Ritter’s sister. [xviii]

St. John’s Episcopal Church Records

Some genealogy sources report that Conrad Rutter Sr. was a founding member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in West Caln, situated near the eastern border of Salisbury township. The church was also referred to as the Pequea or Compass church, and was established in 1729 by English, Scottish, and Irish settlers living in Salisbury and West Caln townships.   Archibald, Andrew and James Douglas, as well as Archibald Little, all Scotch emigrants from Bohemia Manor, signed the original “Declaration of Purposes” for the church. [xix]

The traditional history suggests that Conrad Rutter married a member of the Douglas family, possibly Jane or Margaret Douglas, as his second wife. [Click here for more information.] If Conrad did indeed marry into the Douglas family, who were Episcopalians, it would make sense that he (or at least his wife) was a member of St. John’s. That said, there are no surviving records to suggest that he participated in the church. Most likely, the story of his being a founding member of St. John’s is another case of mistaken identity. His son, Conrad Jr., does appear on the subscription list of those who donated money to rebuild the church in 1753. [xx]  The name on the list is simply Conrad Rutter (not Conrad Rutter Jr.), but we know that Conrad Sr. died in 1738, so this has to refer to his son. Another of Conrad’s sons, Peter Rutter, also appears on the donor list. In addition, both Conrad Jr. and Peter are listed as joint pew holders in the newly rebuilt church.

What might have caused Conrad Jr. and Peter to adopt the English Episcopalian faith? First, we can be reasonably certain that the Rutters attended St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Maryland. As the youngest of Conrad’s sons, it would make sense that they would be the ones to most quickly and fully integrate into the prevailing English society and culture, especially if they were under the guidance of an English step-mother.

Second, it is said that Conrad Jr. himself married an English woman, Catherina Little, daughter of Archibald Little, one of the founding members of St. Johns. As women often tend to be more active in the church community than men, even if Conrad Jr. himself was not a convert to the Episcopalian faith, it may be that he acceded to his wife’s wishes to attend the church of her family.

Peter Rutter may have been in similar circumstances. Many genealogical sources credit him with marrying Elizabeth Skiles, daughter of Henry Skiles.   We know the Skiles, who had lived among the English in Virginia and Maryland for two generations, attended St. Stephen’s in Bohemia Manor and St. John’s in Lancaster. Thus, even though the Skiles were German, it may have been through the influence of his wife that Peter decided to join an Episcopalian congregation.

Unfortunately, church registers containing records of the births, marriages, communions and deaths at the St. John’s no longer exist for the 1700’s. All we have is the vestry minutes, which start in the early 1750's, of which the subscription and pew holder lists are a part. [xxi] Thus much information about the extent of the Rutters involvement in St. John’s church has been lost. This would explain why we have precise birth and baptism dates for Joseph’s children, retained in the detailed records of the Trinity Lutheran Church, but not similar information for Peter or Conrad Jr.’s offspring.

Probate Records

Conrad Rutter made his will on April 19, 1734. [xxii]  The will mentions his wife (though fails to note her name) and all five of his children.

Youngest son Conrad Jr. was designated as the executor of the estate. He also received his father’s entire dwelling plantation, including all the associated buildings, animals and other real estate, except those items which were specifically devised to others within the will. The will further stipulates that Conrad Jr. is to pay 10 pounds to his siblings, and to provide a good maintenance for Conrad Sr.’s wife, providing “anything that is reasonably in his power to help her with during her life.”

The “dwelling plantation” mentioned in the will refers to the 208 and one-quarter acre section of the plantation which Conrad Sr. had reserved for his own use. Sons Peter and Joseph had already been allocated their sections of the farm during the survey process, thus were not bequeathed any land in the will. Nor did Andrew, still living on his own farm in Bohemia Manor, MD, receive any land. This points to another difference between English and German inheritance customs. According to English custom, the father’s dwelling place was usually devised to his eldest son. But the German practice was different, with the father’s dwelling place typically going to the youngest. While we don’t know the exact birth dates of Conrad’s children, this helps to establish that Conrad Jr. was the youngest of the five siblings.

Over and above the 10 pounds to be paid by Conrad Jr., each of Conrad’s children also received one shilling directly from the estate. This is another common feature of wills at the time. Apparently the custom of including a bequest of one shilling was originally initiated in order to prevent people from contesting that they had accidentally been left out of the will. In this case, however, it appears to have been included more as a custom than as a snub.

Conrad Jr. and Peter were also bequeathed their father’s coopers tools. This reference probably serves as the source of the claim that Conrad Sr. was a cooper (barrel maker) earlier in his life. While it is not ironclad evidence of an earlier profession, it does represent an interesting possibility. As noted in the section on Life of Cecil County, such a skill certainly would have been useful on the tobacco plantations in Bohemia Manor, where wooden casks (called hog’s heads) were used to ship tobacco to England.

From his father’s personal estate, son Conrad Jr. received a couple of iron pots, a pewter dish and basin, as well as a table, a black walnut chest and a bed (with the accompanying “bed clothes” and a set of the “best sheets in the house”).   Joseph was bequeathed a chest of drawers. Eldest son Andrew and daughter Elizabeth each received a calf, a “milch” cow, and a “horse kind.” Note that the German spelling for milk is used. Similarly, “horse kind” could refer to a colt, as kind is the word for child in German.

Conrad’s daughter Elizabeth is referred to as Elizabeth Evers in the will. As noted elsewhere in the website, strong evidence exists that Elizabeth married Jeremiah Everts, one of the party of settlers from Bohemia Manor. (Read more about Elizabeth and Jeremiah Everts.)

Only five grandchildren are mentioned in the will, which means that Conrad’s other grandchildren were probably born after the date the will was written in 1734. Since the preamble to Joseph Rutter’s 1763 patent indicates that Peter, Joseph and Conrad Jr. were all of age in 1728, we can assume that they were just getting married and starting their families in this time period.

Two of the grandchildren named in the will belonged to daughter Elizabeth, and are referred to as William and Elizabeth Evers or Ever. The third grandchild identified in the will is Hennory [sic] Rutter, most likely the eldest son of Joseph.   The fourth grandchild named in the will, Petter [sic] Rutter, is typically thought to be the eldest son of Andrew, who was born in 1726. But this raises a question. We know that at least two of Andrew’s other children – Rebecca and Joseph - were born prior to 1734.[xxiii] However, they are not named at all in the will. This leads to the question of whether grandson Petter is actually an unidentified son of Joseph, Peter or Conrad Jr., who perhaps died before reaching maturity. Another possibility, albeit seemingly remote, is that Conrad did not maintain communication with his son Andrew after moving to Lancaster, and thus was not aware of the birth of Andrew’s other children. The identification of grandson Peter, and the reason why some of Andrew’s children were excluded from the will, remains a mystery at this time.

The last grandchild named in Conrad’s will was Elizabeth Rutter. All three of Conrad’s youngest sons (Joseph, Peter and Conrad Jr.) had daughters named Elizabeth. Joseph’s daughter Elizabeth, however, was not born until 1750.[xxiv] We don’t have a birth date for Conrad Jr.’s daughter, Martha Elizabeth, but know she got married prior to 1765.[xxv] Thus it would appear she was probably born after 1734. Finally, there is Peter’s daughter, Rebecca Elizabeth. We don’t have a birth date for her either, but we do know that she married William Skiles, who was born in 1730, so it is likely she was born around the same time. This makes her the most probable candidate for the granddaughter Elizabeth Rutter named in the will. Note that if the above analysis is correct, Conrad Jr. was the only one of the siblings in Lancaster who did not have a child as of the date of the will. This lends further support to the belief that he was the youngest of Conrad Sr.’s children.

Conrad’s will devised that granddaughter Elizabeth Evers was to receive a “milch” cow, a calf, a feather bed with accompanying bed clothes. The fact that Elizabeth Evers was the only grandchild to receive a bequest of animals leads to the belief that she was old enough to care for them, while the rest of the grandchildren were not.

Conrad’s will also stipulates that the “body clothes” of Conrad Sr.’s wife, after her decease, are to be given to granddaughters Elizabeth Evers and Elizabeth Rutter. The will left it up to the executor to distribute the rest of the movable goods in the house to the five grandchildren.

One of the most interesting aspects of the will is that it was witnessed by three members of the Douglas family: Andrew Douglas, James Douglas, and Jean Douglas. This would appear to be strong evidence that Conrad did marry a Douglas, as stipulated in the traditional history, since family relatives commonly served this purpose. Close neighbors and trusted friends also sometimes witnessed wills, but the fact that all three witnesses were Douglas’s makes it more likely, to my mind, that they were related by marriage and looking out for the interests of their kin.

Note: “Jean Douglas” is probably Andrew’s wife, Jane Douglas. Lord Archibald’s wife was also reported to have been named Jane. Regardless, the Jean / Jane Douglas noted in the will definitely does not refer to Conrad’s wife, who would have been referred to by her married name – Jane Rutter – in the document.

Conrad Rutter’s will was proved on Feb. 8, 1737/8, when Andrew and James Douglas appeared before the Deputy Registrar of Lancaster County and attested to the will’s validity. The records don’t note the actual day or time of death, but we can assume it was a few days to a few weeks prior to the date the will was proved.

Conrad Jr. was named administrator and was instructed to submit an inventory of the deceased personal estate by March 8th. [xxvi] Interestingly, the inventory is dated Feb. 7th, which would seem to indicate that it was prepared one day before the will was proved. Presumably, the family knew that an inventory would be required and prepared it in advance to speed the probate process along.

The estate was valued at 82 pounds, six shillings and six pence. The most valuable item on the inventory was “one improvement” valued at 50 pounds. Presumably, this represented Conrad’s dwelling house and farm. He also had 6 horses, 11 cows and 6 sheep, valued at 20 pounds and 2 shillings. In the document, the horses and cows were actually referred to “horse kind” and “cow kind.” I am unsure what this means, but “kind” in German means child, so perhaps it’s a mix of English and German meaning colts and calves?

He also had one old wagon and four new spare wheels, with an extra set of gears. Other farming implements included a plow, plus miscellaneous hoes, axes, pitch forks, scythes, knives and hooks. The inventory also notes “a few” cooper’s tools, which were bequeathed to Conrad Jr. and Peter in the will.

Household goods included two beds (with “bed cloathes”), a table and two chairs, as well as several pots, a kettle and frying pan. Other inventory items included one half barrel, 3 flour casks, four tubs (for washing, brining and butter churning), one basin, earthen pots and pans, pewter dishes and plates, several candlestick holders, one lantern and one flint wheel.

Conrad Rutter was reportedly buried in a family graveyard on his plantation near his house,[xxvii] which is generally believed to have been near where Muddy Run runs across his property. Looking at a modern map, the farm dwelling is believed to have been located near the bend in Colonial road. No traces of the house and gravesite remain, but the stone marker placed by the Conrad Rutter Family Reunion Association in 1930 identifies the location.

Go to next section:  The New History

 [i] Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, Bureau of Archives & History, PA State Archives, Records of the Land Office: Copied Surveys, 1681-1912;

[ii] Gordon E. Alderfer, The Ephrata Commune: An Early American Counterculture (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985), pg. 34

[iii] Paul Lightner Whitehouse, “Early Lightner Land in Leacock Township”, The Lightner Family,

[iv] Conrad ritter warrant

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

[vi] Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, Bureau of Archives & History, PA State Archives, Records of the Land Office: Copied Surveys, 1681-1912, survey no. A-56-93;

[vii] 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-169-247;

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

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

[x] County of Lancaster, Office of the Recorder of Deeds, Lancaster, PA, Lancaster County Deed Book MM, pg. 176 (view online at

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

[xii] Robert L. Hess, pg. 1

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

[xiv] See webpage on Joseph for more information on his wife, Barbara Bichler

[xv] Robert L. Hess, pgs. 4, 21, 25,

[xvi] Robert L. Hess, pg. 21

[xvii] Glenn P. Schwalm, pg. 133

[xviii] Glenn P. Schwalm, pg. 149

[xix] R. Chester Ross, Two Hundred Years of Church History (The Intelligencer Printing Co., reprint 1989), pgs.9-10

[xx] R. Chester Ross, pg 22

[xxi] Martha Reamy, Early Church Records of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Vol 3 (Lewes, DE: Colonial Roots, 1958)

[xxii] Lancaster County Historical Society, Lancaster, PA, Lancaster County Will Book A, Vol. 1, pg 29

[xxiii] Henry C. Peden, Jr., Early Anglican Church Records of Cecil County, Maryland (Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, 2007), pg. 39

[xxiv] Robert L. Hess, pg. 21

[xxv] Martha Elizabeth’s husband, John Rutter, is mentioned in her father’s will dated Mar. 2, 1765

[xxvi] Lancaster County Historical Society, Archives, Estate Inventory Inv. 1737/8, box 99, folder 2

[xxvii] The graveyard is indicated in a sketch of the 588-acre Rutter farm drawn by J. Watson Ellmaker for Amos Rutter, located in the Rutter folder at the Lancaster County Historical Society, Lancaster, PA.