The Kreider Family
By REV. J. G. FRANCES. B.D.
When we investigate the history of our Kreider family, we enter deep into the heart of Lebanon county. They must have been a righteous people, the Kreiders, for the Lord has blessed them and multiplied them exceedingly. We know that they honor their fathers, keep green their memories; and their days have been long in the land which the Lord their God gave unto them. In large measure they today occupy the lands in our Valley on which their ancestors first settled. It is a pleasure to hearken to the Kreiders tell their family traditions.
But the Kreiders not only liked their ancestors, they liked each other. It seems they thought that nobody was quite so nice as a Kreider; so they married each other and married each other. Often you find a Kreider who married a Kreider. His wife died and he married her sister; or if she didn't have a sister to marry he married her cousin. Why, you can find Kreiders with a Kreider for a wife, with a Kreider for a mother, with a Kreider for a grandmother, and perhaps with a great-grandmother; and, of course, on the male side it was a Kreider back and back and back, till the first one got his name from making chalk marks on the Alpine rocks.
From this we do not wish you to infer that the Kreider's married closer kin than did other families. They did not. It was a common thing in days gone by. They read their Bibles for light on all subjects. They discussed the question: Who was Cain's wife? And they knew that Abraham, the father of the faithful, went it only half point better than Cain, for Abraham confessed of Sarah his wife: "And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife" (Gen.20:12). But the law of Moses came in and forbade very close marriages; and the Kreiders with the other Mennonites respected the law, but they did not add anything to it.
Again, the Mennonites remembered that Abraham sent his servant to get a wife for Isaac from among his own people. Isaac and Rebecca were midway between first and second cousins; (what were they?) and Jacob, the supplanter, who got the blessing, did he not marry his first cousins? And then the Mennonites did not want to marry the daughters of the Canaanites round about them. Of course not. A Mennonite should marry a Mennonite. By marrying in the family, they kept the religion pure, and also perhaps kept the money from being scattered. And money has its value. Sure! They did not seem to realize that the money some other maiden had might buy as many acres, and that the religion in some other homes might also have come from heaven. The scarcity of inhabitants in colonial days might have justified somewhat these closer marriages. They intensified, made exclusive, built up walls and shut out sympathy. Perhaps a peep over the garden wall would have been a good thing for a young Mennonite. But then the Mennonites were not the only people who married first cousins. Let's be fair.
But the frequent intermarriages among the Kreiders makes the writing of their history exceedingly difficult. Many who have tried to trace the history of the family have become involved in a maze from which they were unable to extricate themselves. We intend to go into the inmost depths of the labyrinth, but shall ever endeavor to keep hold of the thread. You will be somewhere. Follow us closely or you may miss yourself, which would be the great misfortune.
Now, before we take up the history of the Kreiders let us consider
In consulting the early records we find the name spelled in many ways. We find Crider, Cryder, Croyder, Creyter, Croyter, Cryter, Crytor, Kriter, Kryter, Kreiter, Kreider, Grider, Griter, Gryder, Gryter, perhaps even more forms might be found; but at least one of the two original settlers in the Lebanon Valley signed his name "Greider." There are some of the descendants who still write their name in this way.
There is no profound reason for these different ways of spelling proper names of Germans in colonial Pennsylvania. The English scribe simply wrote the name the way it sounded to him as pronounced by the Germans themselves. Many of these early Germans could not write their names, could not speak English, did not know the German alphabet, much less the English, and of course could not tell the Englishman how to spell the name. So the English scribe, no doubt very early, gave up all attempts to be exact. When the German did sign his name, he signed with German script, which was Greek to the Englishman. Often we find deeds with the names of Germans in the body of the deed spelled altogether differently from the way the German at the bottom signs in his own script. You see in those days they were not endorsing checks. I wonder if our absolute exactness even in modern business may not sometimes defeat justice rather than insure it. So you see in writing German names the English scribe had to do the best he could, and oftentimes he did not do very well.
The name Kreider is said to come from the German word Greit, meaning "chalk." So Greiter, Greider, is a chalker, one who marks with chalk, a writer.
The name is said to have had its origin in the days of the bow and arrow in Switzerland, when the hardy mountaineers met together to improve their marksmanship, that their arrows might have telling effect upon the invading foe. It takes us back to William Tell.
They kept tally. They strove to excel. A good shot was not permitted to go unnoticed. Its inspiration was handed abroad and was perpetuated. Each man wanted a record of his hits. The one to whom the task fell of keeping the score was the Greiter. It must have been on the side of Switzerland toward Germany, not toward France, for the word is German.
To keep score in those days must have required more than ordinary knowledge. The score keeper must have been a sort of umpire, a quick, sure eye, good judgment and fair, fearless decision. The ability to make a chalk line was an accomplishment. So the Greiders are said to have been a intelligent tribe, with high, broad foreheads and noble bearing; of commanding appearance, whose decision was not open to question.
They are said to have been tall; but many we meet today are short and of sturdy build. Why the change? Perhaps in the deep Alpine valleys they shot up high to get to the sunlight; but when they came to the broad Lebanon Valley, where they had plenty of elbow room, they took to spreading out.
For valuable hints concerning the Kreiders in Switzerland we are indebted to Mr. John Bomberger, a farmer a short distance north of the power house of the E. and L. trolley line. From Rev. Isaac Kreider, of Center County, through John Kreider, of South Ninth street, we are indebted for knowledge of
Rev. Isaac Kreider on a sheet which he has printed says: "Our ancestors lived along the river Rhine in Switzerland, where at the present time, the merchants are Greiders. They use a G in writing their name.
"France being protectorate to Switzerland attempted to make all unite with the Roman Catholic Church. (Be it here said in justice, 'not Roman Catholics only.') Our ancestors being Mennonites, refused, and therefore had to flee to Germany, their property being confiscated. Holding much in common with the Quakers. Penn invited them to come to his land in America."
At the head of his sheet Rev. Kreider gives the names of four Kreider: Martin, born in 1681; Joseph, born in 1712; John Jacob, born 1715, died 1779, "buried in cemetery on farm"; Frederick born 1719. "these four, father and 3 sons, came to Phila., Sept. 16 1736, *Note went to Conestoga, Lancaster, the home of Jacob, who came to America about 1712 and received from Wm. Penn 800 acres near Lancaster city. Michael who came over on Aug. 11, 1732, also lived there. The 3 sons and George received from Penn's sons 580 acres in Lebanon township (along Snitz Creek) *Note; 4 years later their father, being a blacksmith, joined them, receiving 180 acres of their land. Patent of orginal recorded in Phila."
Rev. Kreider continues at the bottom of his sheet: "The following came afterward, but where they settled, I cannot tell, perhaps in the west, along with those who went from (to) Huntingdon Co. Michael from Lancaster built a mill 2 miles west of Huntingdon in 1771.
"Wilhelm , b. 1723, came Sept. 20,1743; Bartholomew came Aug., 1751; John Martin came Sept. 17, 1751; Geo. Martin, b. 1728, came Sept., 1753. Same year came Stephen, b. 1728, and John Martin, b. 1730; and Jacob, b. 1732, and Casper. Philip Jacob came Sept. 14, 1754; Tobias came Oct. 26, 1768 (I think he lived near Petersburg, had 7 sons; Philip came Oct. 2, 1802; John Jacob came Oct.9, 180?; Adam came Aug. 27, 1804(?).
These comings over are no doubt from official records and consequently indisputable, but as soon as Mr. Kreider departs from these he undoubtedly falls into error. We are not concerned in following the Kreiders who went to different parts of the country and never came to Lebanon county but we are interested in knowing who are the ancestors of those who came to Lebanon county.
Rev. Kreider says that Martin Kreider with his sons, Joseph, John Jacob and Frederick came to Philadelphia Sept. 16, 1736, and went to Conestoga, Lancaster, the home of Jacob, who came to America about 1712. Martin and his three sons may have only came over on a visit and gone back to Europe again for aught the writer knows. We are pretty sure that none of them ever came to Lebanon county.
Smith, the Mennonite historian, says that Jacob Kreider came into the Conestoga settlement about 1715 or 1717. Certain it is that he was a taxable when Conestoga township was formed in 1718. It is not unlikely that Martin was a brother of Jacob.
The Pequea colony of Mennonites was the first colony of whites to settle in Lancaster county. On October 10, 1710, the men or some of the men received a warrant for 10,000 acres of land, north of Pequea Creek in what is now Lancaster county. The names of the warrantees are: John Rudolph Bundely, Martin Kendig, Jacob Muller, Hans Graff, Hans Herr, Christian Herr, Martin Oberholtz, and Weyndel Bowman. "Switzers lately arrived in the province." Martin Kendig the next year brought a goodly number of his Mennonite brethren. By 1715 the founders of many more of our Lebanon county families had arrived. During the next two years were added either from Europe or the Germantown settlement, Jacob Hostetter, Jacob Kreider, Hans Graff, Benedictus Venerich, Jacob Boehm, Hans Faber, Theodorus Eby, Heinrich Zimmerman and others.
In March, 1720, James Hamilton laid out the town of Lancaster as a county seat for the new county, formed only the year previous. The town was laid out two miles square; and the main streets were laid out north and south, and east and west. The survey had been made by John Jones Feb. 26, 1720. The land owners on the plot were the following: to the north John Funk ??? Michael Moyer, Roody Moyer and Henry Funk; to the east was Toris Eby, and to the south were Michael Bachman, ??? John Moyer, Reynold Young, Jacob Gritor (Kreider) and Jacob Hostetter.
We are told that the Brubakers, Swarr, Hershey, Tuber, Houser and Burkholder settled along Little Conestoga and some of their land ran to the town. Shank and Bare were in the southern part of the town. In the same year (1717) Hostetter and Greider took up several hundred acres adjoining Shank and Bare. See History of Lancaster County by Ellis and Evans, p.360.
It is said that many of these parties neglected to take out patents for their land, "a fact discovered by James Hamilton, who afterward took advantage of the circumstance to his profit." Whether Jacob Kreider lost his lands in this way in Lancaster city we know not, but we regard him as the Jacob Croyder who received a warrant June 3, 1741 for 250 acres of land in Lebanon township and who was father to four Kreider brothers who settled along the Snitz Creek. But more of this later. We must not get out of Lancaster county too quickly.
In Conestoga in 1724-1725 were Jacob Greider, doubtless the one already mentioned, John Greider and Michael Greider. These may all have been brothers. Tradition says there were four brothers. The other then likely was Martin, who Rev. Kreider says came in 1736. Rev. Kreider says Michael came Aug. 11, 1732, , but records indicate that he was here already in 1724. Perhaps he went home on a visit and persuaded Martin to come, returning in 1732. Henry Kreider, 913 Chestnut street, aged 80 years, says his father used to say there were six Kreiders that came over.
Michael Greider purchased 250 acres at the mouth of Conestoga Creek on the Manor side. One of his sons moved to Chickies Creek, at John Moore's mill. The descendants of Michael Greider are said to be numerous and to be scattered over Lancaster and adjoining counties. We have not as yet placed our hands on any in Lebanon county. Safe Harbor is built upon the Michael Greider tract, at the mouth of Conestoga Creek.
By 1751 we are told that every one of the early Swiss Mennonite settlers who came before 1720 had gone to his long home. Jacob Greider is mentioned among these.
Among males between 16 and 50 years in Lancaster coutny in 1776 were Jacob Greider, Martin Greider, Michael Greider, Henry Greider, Hans Greider and Jacob Greider. Lebanon township in 1776 was yet in Lancaster county and nearly all in the above may have belonged to our county. We had Kreiders by all of the names here.
Jacob Hostetter who came to Conestoga in 1717 with Jacob Greider had a daughter Margaret who married a Greider.
We have now said something, not very much about the Kreiders in Lancaster county. You will now permit us to pass over South Mountain and hunt up the lands on which the early Kreiders settled within our own present county of Lebanon.
We say township, for that was all there was of it in those days. There was no Lebanon county till 1813. Lebanon township covered a large part of the ground.
We find that the following Kreiders at an early day received from the Penns warrants for land in Lebanon township:
Jacob Croyder, 300 acres, June ?, 1741
Jacob Croyder, 250 acres, June ?, 1741
John Croyder, 200 acres, Aug. 26, 1742
John Croyder, 100 acres, June 12, 1751
Francis Kryter, 50 acres, April 4, 1750(?)
Mary Kryter, 200 acres, June 13, 1745
John Kreiter, 20 acres, Oct. 18, 1758
In Heidelberg township, Jacob Croyder, received a warrant for 100 acres, May 30, 1749.
First of all, perhaps, we had better identify these people. The tradition seems to be practically unanimous that two brothers came to our present Lebanon county. Who can doubt that the John and the Jacob above are the two brothers. They received their land warrants on the same day for land in the same township and for pretty nearly the same amounts.
The tradition is that when they came up over the South Mountain to their land that they brought an ax along, and cut off the "sprouts" as they came through the woods, making a sort of path, so they could find their way back and forth through the primeval forest. They came to the Snitz Creek and the lands they took up extended to George Steitz's out lots of Lebanon.
We have already stated that we believe that the Jacob who came to Lebanon township was the Jacob who bought land later forming a part of the southern end of the town of Lancaster. The Lancaster county historian states that all of the old pioneer settlers of the Pequea colony, and he names Jacob Kreider as one of them, had died by 1750. Perhaps the historian was saying more than he could prove. But this Jacob had died before 1750, and his widow, Mary Kreider, had remarried by 1751.
As to Rev. Isaac Kreider's claim that John Jacob Kreider, son of Martin, who arrived in 1732, was one who settled on Snitz Creek, we have to say: His John Jacob was born in 1715 and died in 1779. We know that the Jacob who settled on Snitz Creek died before 1751. So John Jacob could not have been the Jacob. Could he have been the John?
The John who came to Snitz Creek in 1741 took up 309 acres of land, rather a big slice for a young man of 26: yet it might have been. And the next year John took up 200 acres more. But John, who took up the land on Snitz Creek had a son Jacob, likely not his oldest son, who Jacob's great-grandson, John S. Kreider, of Snitz Creek, says he understands died aged 80 years. Jacob made his will in 1805. There is an old tombstone in the Laudermilch farm cemetery with "J. ---|--- K. May 31, 1729. 81 years." A man born in 1729 and dying aged 81 years, would have died in 1810; just about the time that Jacob did die. This is no doubt the grave of Jacob Kreider, the son of John the settler. Now Rev. Isaac's John Jacob, son of Martin, was born in 1715. Would you expect him to have a son born in 1729, and that one likely not the oldest of several children? John the settler on Snitz Creek was surely an older man than Rev. Isaac's John Jacob, which said John Jacob we say without hesitation never settled on the Snitz Creek. If the John who settled on Snitz Creek were Rev. Isaac's John Jacob, son of Martin, then the two who settled on Snitz Creek, Jacob and John, were not brothers, as the traditions say. We know it is a serious matter to contradict a descendent and an aged one and one so conscientious as a minister of the Gospel, which, however, is our calling also, but the facts we have in hand we believe justify us. But Rev. Isaac is against family tradition, and in error on other points as we shall show later.
Perhaps the best way to take hold of this subject is to quote some old legal papers:
"Whereas Jacob Cryter, late of the county of Lancaster, Yeoman, Dyed Intestate, possessed of a real and person Estate and left Isaac behind him Eight Sons, to wit, John, Christian, Francis, Martin, Tobias, George, Henry and Jacob Cryter, and one daughter, to wit, Ann-- which sd., Francis marryed Mary Tollinger and he is now dead and the sd. Mary, his wido is now marryed to George Moss (Meiss), --And also Mary his Widow, and Relic(?) And Whereas Letters of Administration of all and singular the Goods and Chattels, Rights, and Credits of the Intestate was Granted and the said Mary the Widow, who is now marryed to Henry Saunders, NOW KNOW all men by these presents that We, the said Henry Saunders and Mary his wife in Consideration of the Sum of Two Hundred and forty pounds and fifteen shillings to us paid (or cause to be paid) at or before the Execution hereof the Receipt and payment whereof we do hereby acknowledge. Have and each of us Hath Granted, Remised, released and confirmed, and by these presents Do and each of us Doth Grant, Remise, Release and Confirm unto the said John Cryter, Christian Cryter, Martin Cryter, Tobias Cryter, George Crytor, Henry Crytor, Jacob Crytor, George Moss and Mary his wife, and Ann Cryter, all our and each of our Estate, Right, Title, property, claim and Demand whatsoever of in and to all or any the Real and personal Estate whatsoever of the said Jacob Cryter, dec'd; and all our part and Share thereof and thereto TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the same unto the said John Crytor, Christian Crytor, Martin Crytor, Tobias Crytor, George Crytor, Henry Crytor, Jacob Crytor, George Moss and Mary his wife and Ann Crytor, their Heirs, Executors, Adms.and Assigns. To and for their only proper Use and Benefit forever. IN WITNESS whereof We have hereunto set our Hand and Seal the second Day of October one Thousand Seven Hundred and fifty-one.
The mark of
Sealed and Delivered
In the presence of us
Henry Saunders (he wrote his name Xander) received a warrant for 150 acres of land in Lebanon township March, 1743 or 44; and is also likely the Henry Sanders who received a warrant for 200 acres, Nov. 26, 1753, and for another 50 acres May 12, 1767. Bishop Cammerhoff in the winter of 1748 passed through Lebanon Valley on his way to the Indian settlement at Shamokin (Sunbury). On the night of January 8th he stopped with Michael Shaeffer in Tulpehocken. (See our account of the Shaeffer family). The bishop in his notes of January 9, says: "Dismounted at Peter Kucher's in Quittapahilla (Sweet Home, east of Lebanon), and after loading our horses with oats for their use at Shamokin, rode on five miles to Henry Zaunders, where we passed the night." Saunders lived near Sporting Hill, his property joining the Long property there, as we have seen. More of Saunder later.
The foregoing legal paper makes very clear who were the children of Jacob the original settler of Snitz Creek.
Jacob Kreider, the settler, likely died before May 14, 174?, without the land for which he had a warrant being surveyed to him, for to his widow was surveyed land on the foregoing date, and other land was surveyed to her, certainly contiguous land, on June 15, 1748, making in all 585 acres. She is designated "Mary Kreiterin alias Kreider." So she must have been married to Sounders after June 15, 1748.
Now we hope you will not be wearied by reading another legal paper.
"Know all men by these Presents that I, Mary Cryter of Lancaster County and Province of Pennsylvania for and in consideration of the Sum of Two hundred Forty Pounds Current Money of Sd. Province, to me in hand paid, the Receipt whereof I do acknowledge and my Self therewith fully satisfied have bargained Sold and Confirmed and do by these presents bargain, Sell and Confirm unto Christian Cryter, Martin Cryter, Tobias Cryter and George Cryter of Same County and province of Pennsylvania all that Tract or tracts, parcel or parcels of Land being and situate in Sd. County of Lancaster and Province of Pennsylvania, and Township of Lebanon and on which I fromerly lived granted unto me by the proprietary Warrant, and adjoining George Stits and John Cryter and Henerich Krain (Klein), etc. Containing in and about Six Hundred Acres together with all and singular the Houses, Edifices, Buildings, orchards, gardens, Pastures, Commons, Woods, woodland, water, water courses, mines, minerals, profits, Commodities, Herediments and Apurtenances whatsoever, to the Sd. plantation or tract of Land belongeth or in any wise appertaining or therewithal used, occupied or Reported taken and known as any part or parcel thereof to have and to hold forever, which Sd. plantation or
(to be continued next Monday)