The 1774 Reist House: 360 Fruitville Pike, Manheim, PA 17545:
Above: The 1774 Reist House on Google Maps Street View.
Left pin: 1774 Reist House (Manheim address), Right Pin: Reist Homestead (Lititz address):
View this property in a larger Google map.
Abraham Reist (1737-1813) received the “upper tract” of the original Reist patent which had been issued to his father, the immigrant Peter Reist. (See the Reist Homestead page.) In 1774 Abraham and wife Elizabeth (Kauffman) Reist (b. 1739) built this 2-1/2 story, five-bay, Georgian farmhouse on this tract.
Abraham was a prosperous Mennonite farmer and distiller. He also owned land in the Mennonite settlement in Ontario, Canada.
Abraham and Elizabeth raised a family of six children in this house. Their second son Abraham (1770-1852) received this farm. He married Esther Cassel (1778-1838). Their manuscript family record is below.
A 1775 Kleiderschrank (Clothes Press) built for this 1774 Reist House,
Built for Abraham and Elizabeth Reist:
This walnut wardrobe (Schrank) is a magnificent example of Pennsylvania German cabinetmaking. It was built by an unknown cabinetmaker working in Lancaster County, and is decorated with fleur-de-lis carving and with sulphur inlay.
The Schrank is dated March 8, 1775, which is probably the same year this house was completed. The cupboard would have stood in either the stove room (Stube) or the parents' first-floor bed chamber (Kammer). It would have held clothing, bedding, and table linens.
Abraham and Elizabeth had their names prominently inlaid in the cupboard's top panels. The text reads, "ABRAHAM REIST / ELISABETH REISTIN / ANO 1775 / DEN 8 MERTZ." The cupboard survives as a beautiful walnut monument to the Reist family's success and prosperity. (Schrank and image: Heritage Center Museum Collection of LancasterHistory.org Acquired through the generosity of the James Hale Steinman Foundation)
An Important Mennonite Family Record,
Documenting the Birth of Elizabeth (Kauffman) Reist.
She and Her Husband Built this 1774 Reist House:
This document (above), penned in German script, records the names and birth dates of the children of John Kauffman and Anna (Bomberger) Kauffman. The children are: Anna, Johannes, Christian, Maria, Elisabeth, Susanna, and Michael.
This manuscript family record has only recently surfaced, and it corrects all dates previously published elsewhere for the John and Anna Kauffman family.
The list was likely copied ca. 1817 from an earlier record in a Kauffman family Bible. This document was found among the papers of Dr. John Kauffman (1764-1845). (Document: Clarke Hess Collection).
Abraham Reist's Recipe to Add Coloring to Whiskey:
Abraham Reist, who built this 1774 house, was a prosperous farmer and distiller. He penned this recipe, above, and gave it to his nephew Dr. John Kauffman (1764-1845). Abraham later requested that his son Abraham Jr. not continue in the whiskey distilling business, and Abraham Jr. honored that request. (Document: Clarke Hess Collection)
Abraham Reist (Jr.) (1770-1852) Finally gets a Birth Certificate in His Middle Age.
The Certificate is in its original frame, as it hung here in the 1774 Reist House:
Above: This certificate is a copperplate line engraving by Carl Friedrich Egelmann, printed ca. 1830. The text infill records Abraham's birth at 4:00 a.m. on November 8, 1770, in Hempfield Township, Lancaster County.
The text also states that Abraham's parents were Abraham Reist and Elisabeth Kaufman. This certificate's information about Elisabeth Kaufman corrects all the Reist genealogies which incorrectly state that Elizabeth's last name was Metz. (Certificate: Clarke Hess Collection)
Although Pennsylvania German birth cerificates were often made for children, Abraham received his as an adult. Prior to 1820 these documents were rarely framed and displayed. Abraham embraced the new trend of framing fraktur birth records for display, and placed this certificate in this walnut corner-block frame. (Certificate: Clarke Hess Collection)
Family Record of Abraham Reist (Jr.) (1770-1852) and Esther (Cassel) Reist (1778-1838)
Written on the Flyleaves of an 1814 Martrys' Mirror:
This German-script family record, above, documents the births and marriage of Abraham and Esther (Cassel) Reist, as well as the births and zodiac moon signs of their 12 children. As described above, Abraham and Esther lived here at the 1774 Reist House.
Abraham and Esther Reist were married on February 17, 1796. Their children were: Esther, Abraham, Elisabeth, Joseph, an un-named child born 1803, Barbara, Anna, Johannes, Veronica, Henrich, Christian, and a second Esther (the first Esther died).
Apparently this family document was not known by Henry G. Reist, who was the author of the definitive 1933 Peter Reist genealogy. These hand-written records add new information to the Reist family's history. The Martyrs' Mirror book has been highly valued by Mennonite families who frequently penned their family records on the blank pages. (Martyrs Mirror: Clarke Hess Collection)
Miniature Chest, ca. 1810, made for Abraham Reist (III) (1798-1844)
He was born and raised here at the 1774 Reist House.
The miniature chest, above, was crafted in an unidentified cabinet shop in the Manheim area, Lancaster County. The shop was probably the same shop that created a chest over drawers for Abraham's aunt Elizabeth Reist (1769-1847), and also created a chest over drawers for his uncle Christian Reist (1779-1852). Elizabeth's chest is pictured below.
This paint decoration was intended to simulate figured mahogany, and is typical of 19th-century chests made in the Manheim region.
This chest is photographed here on another chest, ca. 1790, from the same Manheim-area cabinet shop. The grain decoration on the larger chest was added ca. 1875. The front of this larger chest has faint shadows of its original paint design of two cartouche panels, slightly visible under the later graining. (Miniature chest and grained chest: Clarke Hess Collection)
1786 Chest Made for Elizabeth Reist,
She was the daughter of Abraham and Elizabeth Reist who built this 1774 house.
Elizabeth Reist, whose name is inscribed on the 1786 chest above, was the daughter of Abraham and Elizabeth Reist, who built this 1774 Reist House.
She received this chest when she was 17 years old, while she was living here in this Reist house. Elizabeth married John Swarr, a Mennonite farmer from Manheim Township, Lancaster County. After their marriage, the couple moved to the Swarr farm where they built a stone farmhouse in 1799. (See Elizabeth and John's monumental Schrank below.)
Elizabeth Reist's chest over drawers, seen above, exhibits design details typical of this unidentified cabinet shop in the Manheim area, Lancaster County. These details include painted panels in cartouche design, stipple decoration, linen-fold molded stiles between the drawers, and a diminuitive molded-bracket base.
The three chests on this Reist page all feature construction elements linking them to this cabinet shop. (Elizabeth Reist's chest: Current ownership unknown.)
1769 Schrank Owned by Elizabeth (Reist) Swarr and Husband John Swarr
(The Same Elizabeth Reist who owned the Chest, Shown Above)
This masterpiece Kleiderschrank (clothes press) was built for the in-laws of Elizabeth Reist (1769-1847), who was raised here in the 1774 Reist House.
Her in-laws were Mennonite farmers Peter and Adah (Long) Swarr, who owned a farm near today's Park City Shopping Center, Lancaster County. Elizabeth Reist married their son, John Swarr, and moved to the Swarr farm to live with her new husband. So this walnut Schrank, and Elizabeth chest's shown above, both would have been in Elizabeth and John's farmhouse, there on the Swarr Homestead.
The Schrank's sulphur-inlaid inscription includes the date 1769, and the initials of Elizabeth's inlaws, Peter and Adah Swarr. (Schrank: Clarke Hess Collection)
The 1799 Swarr Farmhouse:
Built by John and Elizabeth (Reist) Swarr.
(Elizabeth's 1786 chest and her 1769 Schrank, shown above, were both in this house).
The 1774 Reist House was the childhood home of Elizabeth (Reist) Swarr. After Elizabeth married John Swarr they decided to build a Georgian farmhouse (above) which closely resembled that 1774 house of her childhood. Both houses are constructed of limestone, with a five-bay Georgian design.
Elizabeth's well-constructed farmhouse stands today near Park City Shopping Center, Lancaster. Its long driveway is located on the Harrisburg Pike, opposite the entrance to Longs Park. (Swarr House images: Philip Swarr)