Family Reunions: The Ritter Family

Source: Morton Montgomery, p. 319


Ritter. The Ritter family, which is numerous in Berks county and also in the adjoining county of Lehigh, where the town Rittersville perpetuates the name, dates back to the middle of the eighteenth century. This family has been holding annual reunions since 1898. The last was held in Dorney's Park, Allentown, in 1908. The meetings are well attended. A history of the family is expected in book form for distribution at the eleventh reunion, in 1909. The ancestry is traced to Casper, Martin and Philip Ritter, who were German Palatinates. Their descendants are numerous and scattered over eastern Pennsylvania.

Exeter township, in Berks county, was the home of the Ritters of this section. There, in 1754, lived George Ritter, and in 1759 Francis (also mentioned in documents as Ferdinand) Ritter was one of the largest taxpayers in the township. He owned much land below Jacksonwald, where the old Ritter graveyard is located along the Oley Valley trolley line.

Francis or Ferdinand Ritter, born in 1741, died in 1825. His children were Daniel, John, Jacob and Samuel. John was a representative in Congress from Berks county, refusing a third nomination to that office.

Tradition says the pioneer Ritter obtained his land originally from the Indians. Some of this tract is still is the family. The ancestor Ritter, the father of George and Ferdinand, tradition says was married to an Indian woman, who was buried on the farm owned by Daniel Ritter, later by Benjamin Ritter and now by Charles Breneiser, of Reading. The officers in 1908 of the Ritter Family were:

President, H. S. Ritter, Allentown, Pa.
Vice-President, J. R. Ritter, Reading, Pa.
Recording Secretary, I. J. Ritter, Allentown, Pa.
Secretary, M. T. Ritter, Northampton, Pa.
Treasurer, Mrs. Edw. Diefenderfer, Catasauqua, Pa.
Committees, Historical, Program, Ways and Means, Executive.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:58:17 EDT

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