Keim, Johannes

Keim, Johannes


Johannes Keim was the pioneer of the Huguenots to the Oley Valley.


Dated 29-Apr-1762, titled "Release John Kihm [Keim] to George Kihm [Keim]." It is a quit-claim deed for the 200-acre plantation in Oley Township, Berks Co., PA, formerly owned by Johannes KEIM. The opening clause of the deed follows:

"This indenture, made the 29th day of April, 1762, between John Kihm, Stephen Kihm, Nicholas Kihm, John Henry Schneider and Catherine his wife (late Catherine Kihm), Christian Hoffart and Elisabeth his wife (late Elisabeth Kihm), Jacob Kihm, Conrad Kihm, Jacob Yoder and Maria his wife (late Maria Kihm), Michael Witman and Barbara his wife (late Barbara Kihm) and Frederick Hung and Susannah his wife (late Susannah Kihm), hiers and representatives of John Kihm, late of Oley, in the County of Berks and Province of Penna., deceased of the one part and George Kihm, of Oley aforesaid Yeoman, of the other part."




The Keim family and how its members have contributed to the building of the city and county. By Rev. P.C. Croll D.D. of Womelsdorf, Pa.


We have already alluded to JOHN KEIM, his first wife and the Keim Homestead in Oley, in our chapter on "Early Settlements", the widespread character of this pioneer banyan tree, planted early in the rich soil of the Oley Valley, and the importance of this family in the history and upbuilding of the county and the city of Reading with an increasing ratio from generation to generation, calls for an entire chapter on this subject.

JOHANNES KEIM, the American ancestor, was a native of Speier, Germany, and was born about 1675. He was the son of Johann (John) Keim. The latter was a son of George Keim, a merchant of Speier, who was a son of Ludwig Hercourt Keim, of Rhine Valley, and an officer in the Thirty Years' War. Hercourt is doubtless the mother's maiden name and it looks as if he was related to Mrs. Isaac DeTurck and Mrs. Jean Bertolet, who were Hercourts. As he settled in Oley before either the DeTurcks or Bertolets, it is probable that his settlement here may have been the cause of the later coming these possible acquaintances and kin. Like so many other happy and well-to-do-residents of this Rhine section of Germany, the French invasion of the Palatinate (1688-1697), financially ruined Johannes Keim. So he visited the New World on a prospecting tour in 1698. Coming to this inviting section of Penn's yet almost impenetrable woods, he staked off a claim in the Oley Valley near the headwaters of the Manatawny Creek, then went back to the Fatherland, wooed, won and married his Katrina, returned with her to America and there among the first white settlers of all this region, in 1706., reared their first crude log cabin and planted this prosperous land outspreading Berks County banyan. The building was placed on the center of his large landed tract, in one of the richest black walnut groves or forests to be found anywhere, which was it's self a sure sign of richness of soil. This first Keim home was near Pikeville and later the tract northeast of Friedensberg was bought and settled on, either by the American progenitor or his son. The private graveyards are at the ancestral homestead.



A single bit of autobiography has come down to his descendants in the form of a faded, time-worn and broken two leafed document in the original Johannes Keims own German Scroll. It descended through the hands of his fourth child (third son) Nicholas Keim and through this line lodged in the family of Daniel May Keim, of Bristol, Pa. It reports the following family history:


I, John Keim was married in the year 1706, 14 days before St. Michael's Day.

Katharine was born on St. Michael's Day, 1708. (In another hand)

buried the 8th day of May 1793.

And in the year 1711, four weeks before Easter, my son John was born into the world.

Stephen, born March 28, 1717

John Nicholas, April 2, 1719

Elizabeth, February 1723

Jacob, October 1724

And in the year 1731, the first day of the year, 1731, I took my

second wife into wedlock.

And in the year 1732, the 27th of April, my son Henry was born

into this world.


Here the record ends. But not the births. By this second marriage

Nine more children were born to Johannes Keim-- a total of 16 branchlets taking root in the rich soil of Oley to perpetuate and spread this ancestral banyan. They were all born on this homestead of the Keims in the headwaters of the Manatawny, now Oley, Berks County, then Philadelphia County.

The last Will and Testament probated in Reading Jan 1, 1754, (Mr. Keim having died in 1753), the Christian name of the second wife is given as Maria Elizabeth.


Paraphrased from "Keim and Allied Families in America and Europe":


Oley, which was in Philadelphia County, now in Berks County, is/was located about one-half mile from the village of Pleasantville, approaching Lobachsville, then the frontier side of the Oley Hills and fifteen miles southeast of the present city of Reading, PA.