The 1836 Reist House: 233 Becker Road. Leola, PA
Above: The 1836 Reist House on Google Maps Street View.
This imposing stone farmhouse was built in 1836 by Jacob Reist (1790-1872) and wife Anna (Shaffer) Reist (1793-1860). Jacob was a great-grandson of the immigrants Peter and Anaclore Reist. The Federal-style farmhouse features demilune windows in the gables.
Jacob and Anna were the parents of prominent farmers / businessmen Peter S. Reist and Levi S. Reist, who were active in the founding of the Lancaster County Agricultural Society. They were also the parents of Elizabeth and Catherine Reist, who are remembered for their exceptional needleworking skills (see images below). Jacob and Anna also were the grandparents of H. Reist Landis, a wealthy Lititz farmer and businessman.
Today the farm is owned by an Amish family named King. A windmill towers over the house as a low-tech testament to the powers of Amish alternative energy. A small solar power on the front-porch roof provides additional independence from the power grid.Satellite View on Google Maps (Blue Pin):
View this farm in a larger Google map.
Two Talented Seamstress Sisters: Elizabeth and Catherine Reist.
They created exceptional works of textile art here at the Reist House.
1843 Privy Bag made by 21-Year-Old Elizabeth Reist:
Privy bags are Lancaster County's most humble contribution to the genre of Pennsylvania German folk art. This textile form blossomed into a needlework art form among the county's young Mennonite women during the 1800s. Privy bags held paper scraps for use in the outhouse.
This exceptional textile was pieced and appliqued by Elizabeth S. Reist (1822-1905), prior to her marriage to Samuel Y. Royer (1819-1905). She was the daughter of Jacob and Anna Reist, who built this 1836 Reist House. (Privy bag: Private collection)
An 1836 Decorated Towel by Elizabeth Reist,
In Unusual Freeform Decoration:
Above: This remarkable towel is attributed by Clarke Hess to Elizabeth Reist, who also made the privy bag shown above. Elizabeth stitched a variety of motifs in wool flosses, including some motifs that appear on textiles made by Fianna L. Landis and Maria L. Landis, who were sisters of Elizabeth Reist's future brother-in-law Henry L. Landis.
These young women would have been well acquainted, because they attendend the same Mennonite church services together. Fianna, Maria, and Henry Landis were children of "Rich" Benjamin Landis and Anna (Long) Landis who lived at the Long-Landis Homestead.
Most Pennsylvania German needlework during this era was counted cros stitch using cotton and silk threads. But a few young women, like Catherine, created textiles that were decorated in freeform style using wool threads, which created a more naturalistic, colorful design. (Image: Pook and Pook Inc.)
Portrait: Catharine (Reist) Landis
She stitched the quilt and the sampler shown below.
(Her sister Elizabeth Reist stitched the items shown above.)
1846 Sampler made by 18-Year-Old Catharine S. Reist
While Living Here in the 1836 Reist House:
This colorful wool sampler, above, was stitched by Catharine S. Reist (1828-1902), three years after her sister Elizabeth made the privy bag shown previously on this page. This sampler was intended for display, and it still retains the original mahogany-veneer frame.
After completing her sampler, Catharine added a record of her 1847 marriage to Henry L. Landis. She probably intended to add the initials of her children at a later date as she placed her needle with additional black thread in the upper center region of this sampler. Perhaps she never had the time to add her childrens' initials, as she and her husband raised a family of 14 children.
Catharine and Henry lived at the Isaac Long Farm in Manheim Township, and attended Landis Valley Mennonite Meetinghouse. (Sampler: Clarke Hess Collection)
An Extraordinary Friendship Quilt, dated 1858-60,
Attribued to Catharine (Reist) Landis:
This sampler friendship quilt, above, is a lemon-yellow masterwork attributed to the Reist sister, Catharine Reist, who also stitched the sampler shown elsewhere on this page. This exceptional work of textile art features 36 sampler patches signed by Catharine's friends and relatives. Catharine was a young housewife when she made this quilt. Some of the patches include dates 1858 to 1860.
Although friendship quilts were quite popular among young Mennonite women in the mid 1800s, Catharine's quilt is exceptional in every way. Many of the quilt patches are highly imaginative, and the overall composition is extraordinary. The quality and consistency of the quilt's 36 patches suggest Catharine made these patches herself, although some may have been made by the women who signed them. A few patches memorialize deceased relatives.
Catharine's relatives whose names are on her Lemon-Yellow Quilt:
- Anna (Reist) Bear (1826-1905)
- Barbara (Reist) Grabill (born 1829)
- Levina (Reist) Overholtzer (1834-1904)
- Fannie Hess (1833-1898)
- Eliza Hess (1820-1908)
- Amelia L. Landis (1842-1897)
- Anna L. Landis (1838-1905)
- Fianna Garber (1818-1893)
- Susanna N. Landis (1833-1900)
- M. L. Getz (1828-1889)
- Mary Reist (born 1828)
Catharine's other relatives whose names appear on this quilt are: Catharine's grandmother: Ann (Stauffer) Reist (1769-1842), Catharine's grandmother-in-law: Anna (Long) Landis (1766-1845), Catharine's grandmother-in-law: Anna (Hershey) Long, and Catharine's mother-in-law Ann (Long) Landis (1800-1885). Plus there are a few additional names of friends and of a niece. (Quilt: Private collection)