The Reist Homestead: 50 Northview Drive. Lititz, PA:
It's the earliest Reist house in Pennsylvania.
Above: The Reist Homestead on Google Maps Street View.
View this property in a larger Google map.
This ca. 1753 Reist house is the earliest house associated with the Reist family in Pennsylvania. This homestead was settled by Peter Reist (ca. 1685-1743) and wife Anaclore Boyer Reist,
Peter Reist immigrated to Pennsylvania ca. 1726. He had been a citizen of Dürrenroth, Switzerland, in the canton of Bern.
Peter Reist received a warrant for this land in 1734, from the land office in Philadelphia, providing the right to survey the property. Four years later, in 1738, Peter received a patent from the Penn family (the first deed) for 540 acres here in Warwick Township, now Penn Township.
Peter was a farmer and blacksmith, and built a log house here on this site. The present-day stone farmhouse was built ca. 1753 by Peter and Anaclore's son, John Reist (1728-1812) and wife Elizabeth Longenecker (1732-1806).
In 1804 Christian Reist (1770-1855) was deeded the farm from his father John. Christian married Barbara Hershey. After Christian's death in 1855, Christian's son John and wife Maria (Brubacher) Reist moved here to the homestead from a farm in Mount Joy, the following year. John and Maria renovated the farmhouse.
In 1855 John and Elizabeth's grandson, John Reist (1805-1877), renovated the farmhouse extensively, raising the height of the second floor walls and reducing the pitch of the steep roof. The springhouse, surviving today, was built ca. 1787 as a home for John and Elizabeth in their retirement.
A ca. 1930 Photogravure of the Passport of Immigrant Peter Reist,
Issued in 1723 in Canton Bern, Switzerland:
Above: A Bernese bear looks up at Peter Reist's name here on this ca. 1930 photogravure print of Peter's passport. Peter emigrated to Philadelphia from Europe ca. 1726, with wife Anaclore (Anna Clara). When in Bern, he undoubtedly looked down into the Bernese Bear Pit (Bärengraben) to view the bears staring up at him like the bear on his passport. The original passport is in the collection of the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. (Photogravure: private collection)
A ca. 1742 Marburg Hymnbook,
Ownership attributed to Immigrant Anaclore (Anna Clara) Reist,
Wife of Peter Reist:
Above: This well-used hymnal apparently belonged to Anaclore Reist (Anna Clara), wife of Immigrant Peter Reist. Anaclore and Peter were the first European settlers here on the Reist tract. Anna Clara was a Lutheran before she married Peter, who was a Mennonite. The hymnbook is Neu- und Vollständig-Eingerichtetes Gesangbuch, printed in Marburg, Germany, by Johann Georg Ebersbach. The book descended through the family of Bishop Peter Reist Nissley. (Book: private collection)
Family record of Peter Reist and wife Anna Glor Beirey (Anaclore Boyer)
Mennonite Immigrants who settled the Reist Homestead:
Above: Peter and Anaclore Reist were the first Europeans to settle this Reist tract, as described previously on this webpage. This manuscript family record, written in German script, records their marriage in 1725, and the birth of their seven children: peder (Peter), hanes (John), bäb (Barbara), ana glor (Anna Clara), jacob (Jacob), ab ber ham (Abraham), and cristian (Christian).
The first line translates to, “I Peter Reist was born ...” The last line is penned in a different handwriting, and records the death of this Peter Reist on October 3, 1743.
This page was found inserted looseleaf into an 1814 Martyrs' Mirror. (Family Record: Collection of Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum)
Family record of John and Elizabeth (Longenecker) Reist.
John was a son of Immigrant Peter Reist, and Inherited this Homestead:
The family record, above, was penned in German script, probably by John Reist (1728-1812). The text records the birth of their eight children: lisa bäd (Elizabeth), Johanes (John), maria (Mary), Petter (Peter), Jacob (Jacob), abraham (Abraham), berbel (Barbara), and christian (Christian).
Some of the birth dates on this unique manuscript correct errors in previously-published Reist genealogies.
Maria Reist (1758-1831), who is listed on this family record, married John Bomberger (1750-1818). After their marriage they lived at the Bomberger Homestead on Memorial Road, Lititz . (Family Record: Collection of Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum)
1780 Fraktur Vorschrift (Handwriting Sample),
Made for Barbara Reischtin (Reist) who Lived Here at the Reist Homestead:
This simple writing sample, above, was penned by an unidentified scrivener, who was probably the schoolmaster of Barbara Reist (1768-1838). She was 12 years old when this fraktur was dated, in 1780. Barbara married Christian Hostetter (1762-1838). They lived in Warwick Township after their marriage. (Vorschrift: Collection of Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum)
A Remarkable Collection of Books, Documents, and other Items,
Relating to the early history of the Reist Homestead,
Collected over several decades by a Reist descendant:
Click Here to see these books and other Reist items.
Below: Eight books from this Reist collection.
An 1832 Land Draft of the Reist Homestead,
Showing the Location of the Houses, Barn, Garden, and Orchard:
Click Here for a larger image of land draft.
The Reist Homestead Garden: Trimmed Boxwood and Ancient Saffron:
Above: A stream flows from the basement of the spring house / Dawdy Haus in this 1832 land draft of the Reist Homestead. Christian and Barbara Reist were living in the 1753 farmhouse at this time. In 1932 Clara Reist, daughter of John B. and Fannie (Franck) Reist, wrote a detailed description of this farm's garden.
"The garden at the old homestead has been an attractive spot for many years. It lies east of the house, and as it is lower then the lawn, a stone wall is at the end of lawn, and garden is entered by steps."
"Through middle of garden there is another stone wall, and steps down to what is called the lower garden. Along this wall was a brook flowing, which was fed from the fish pond, and spring under small house. During heavy rains the brook oerflowed its banks, and flooded the garden, so it was made to flow outside of garden."
"In the upper garden are five beds edged with trimmed boxwood. The two on each side of main path were used for flowers, two for vegetables, and one filled with saffron bulbs which John B Reist says was already an old saffron bed when his parents moved there 75 years ago, and which in his opinion has been in saffron for nearly a century."
"The Baby Apple tree was in the orchard southwest of barn, was an old tree when John Reist moved there in 1856. Father thinks it was about the size of a crab apple, very crisp and a good flavor. Later there was a tree in the garden."
"Christian Reist [1770-1855] and his wife [Barbara] were interested in planting trees. She planted a number of trees. Among them was a shellbark tree which is still standing on the north side of garden, has many nuts again this year." (Land draft: private collection)
A Gaudy-Dutch Saucer owned by Maria (Brubaker) Reist
With her Towel initialed "M. B."
(She and husband John remodeled his Reist farmhouse in the 1850s.)
Above: Maria and John Reist married in 1828, and this Gaudy-Dutch saucer dates to the same decade. Maria had been living on the Brubaker Homestead where she was born and raised. John was born and raised here on the Reist Homestead. Maria initialed this pattern-woven towel prior to her marriage, when her surname initial was "B" for Brubaker. (Saucer and towel: private collection)
The Grandfather's House (Dawdy Haus) at the Reist Homestead,
A 1930 Photo and a 1997 Photo:
Above: John Reist (1728-1812) built this Dawdy Haus on the Reist Homestead around 1787. It was the retirement house for him and his wife Elizabeth (Longenecker) Reist (1732-1806). This little dwelling is a stone's throw from the main farmhouse, which John had built when he was a younger man. John built this retirement house over a large spring, to provide easy access to fresh water in the basement.
After John and Elizabeth took up residence in this spring house, they deeded the farm to their youngest son Christian, who lived in the main farmhouse with wife Barbara. These retirees created a legal document to specify their rights while living in this little house. These Reist grandparents apparently were well-fed and comfortable, according to that document. Each year their son Christian was to provide them a one hundred-pound hog (lard included), two barrels of cyder, two gallons of whiskey, and "one hen every two weeks fit for eating." Plus the grandparents were to receive as much fruit from the orchard as they wanted, the use of one third of the garden, and many other detailed provisions and conveniences.
This well-built Dawdy Haus provided a comfortable retirement to successive generations of Reist Homestead retirees. Today, modernized versions of Dawdy Houses continue their role as retirement cottages on many Lancaster County farms.
An 1806 Document Penned by Christian Reist,
Showing Purchases for his Father, John Reist, who had been Living in the Dawdy Haus / Grandfather's House:
After John and Elizabeth Reist deeded this Reist farm to their son Christian, they moved into the Dawdy Haus which was the spring house near the main farmhouse. Elizabeth passed away on the same day as her 74th birthday, January 7, 1806, while living here in this grandparents' house. So two weeks later, according to this four-page document, her newly-widowed husband John Reist moved back into the main farmhouse, to live with the family of his son Christian. The document lists items purchased for widower John Reist by his son Christian, including coffee, sugar, and wine. John remained a widower for six more years. (Document: private collection)
1904: The First Reunion of the Family of John Reist Sr. (1805-1877),
Held here at the Reist Homestead:
Above: The whole clan, posing in their Sunday best in front of the tobacco barn. Click Here for a larger image.
Below: The same clan, but this time just the ones born with the Reist name. Click Here for a larger image.
Below: The program for this 1904 Reist reunion:
English was the Reists' language of choice, here at their 1904 reunion. The program included hymns from the first English-language hymnbook of the Mennonites, titled Collection of Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. The hymnbook was first published at Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 1847 by Joseph Funk. By the time of the reunion, this popular book of hymns had been reprinted 15 more times, including editions by John Baer at Lancaster and by the Mennonite Publishing Company at Elkhart.
Undoubtedly all these Reists also knew how to speak Pennsylvania Dutch, but by this era they had become increasingly Anglicized in their tastes and their language.
At this reunion two Reist historians gave non-PowerPoint presentations about Reist family history. One of these amateur historians was Henry Garber Reist of Schenectady, N. Y., who later authored the 1933 Reist family genealogy. The other historian was Israel G. Erb of Lititz, who was a son-in-law of this John Reist Sr. (Photos and reunion papers: private collection)
Below: A newspaper clipping about this 1904 Reist reunion, in the Mount Joy Herald newspaper:
Click Here to see the full article, enlarged.
1939: Pennsylvania German Antiques Auctioned at the Reist Homestead,
Including a John Hoff Tallcase Clock and a Walnut Schrank:
Above: 1939 was a good year for buying antiques in Lancaster County. Collectors and dealers, at this Reist auction, could bid on a John Hoff tallcase clock, a walnut schrank, and "articles too numerous to mention." Clara was a daughter of John B. Reist, who died Feb. 24, 1939. Clara and her father were living in the Dawdy Haus when he died. The sale was for the estate of Clara's father. During this time, Clara's sister Annie and her husband, Amos B. Nissley, were living in the 1753 farmhouse and were running the farm.
The clock at this Reist auction apparently was the John Hoff tallcase clock which is listed in this clockmaker's book of clock sales. This important Lancaster clockmaker recorded the sale of a clock to Christian "Reish" with detailed description:
Christian Reish Aug. 29, 1809 To one eight day Clock and Case Complete Took it away this day Cost 27.0.0 pounds
payments April 12, 1809 7.10.0 cash
August 15, 1809 7.10.0 cash
May 8, 1810 12.0.0 cash
It would be difficult to identify this "Christian Reish" as Christian Reist of the Reist Homestead except his older brother John bought a clock several days later. John Hoff's ledger records the sale of the brother's clock as:
John Reish Sept. 4, 1809 To an eight day Clock 14 inch Dial with Moon Seconds from the Center Took the Clock same day gone to Niagara
Cost 18.0.0 pounds
[paid] By Cash in full same time
When John Reist bought his clock in 1809, he was living close to the Niagara River in Ontario. John's clock cost less than his brother Christian's clock, because John's clock did not have a wooden case, since it was being transported to Ontario. There were no clockmakers in the Ontario region, at this time, so John bought his clock movement here in Lancaster, and probably intended to have a case made for it in Canada.
Some of these auction items also appear in the 1855 estate inventory of this Christian Reist. That inventory lists, "1 Clock and Case $3.00, Clothes press [schrank] $1.50, Kitchen dresser and contents $7.50, 1 Botanical book $5.00, 1 Book of Martyrs $2.50, 1 Desk $12.50." This inventory's $5.00 botanical book was mentioned again in a 1940 newspaper article about the Reist reunion held that year at Landisville Campgrounds. The article states, "One of the items inspected with interest was a 1,200 page book brought by Henry G. Reist, printed in Germany in 1704 on the subject of herbs. It was printed in eight different languages and has been in the Reist family ever since it was printed."
Below: The ca. 1753 farmhouse at the Reist Homestead.
House photo (1997) courtesy of R. Martin Keen.