Royer Origins

Origins of the
Royer Family
of Providence Twp., Montgomery County, PA

Todd A. Farmerie

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Part 2: ROYER (Reyer/Rayer/Reiher/Roir/Reier/Rheier/Ryer)

Sebastian Royer of Ephrata, Lancaster Co., Pa. is often given as the father of Carl, founder of the Providence Twp., Montgomery County family. Following his death in 1774, his children sold his land. In the petition relating to the transaction, each child and their spouse are named: Emig Ryer and Catherine, his wife; George Ryer and Elizabeth; Samuel Ryer and Julian; Henry Ryer and Catherine; Philip Hautz and Margaret; Jacob Conrad and Maria Catarina; Stophle Ryer and Catherine. There is no Carl among them. I will not dwell on this, for the true line can be found elsewhere. (The origin of this legend is from a "possibly" that became a "probably" that became a definite statement in successive biographies of Judge Joseph Royer.)

Johann Michael Reyer (Reier,Rheier,Ryer,etc) was born ca.1689 at Rohrbach, Wurttemburg, son of Joh. Michael and Anna Catherina. He married 1709, Anna Maria, daughter of Dietrich and Amalia Seeland of Nuernberg. He arrived in Philidelphia on the Loyal Judith in 1732, with sons Joh. Carl and Joh. Martin. He was a warrentee for 180 Acres in Philadelphia County in 1734, and an additional 40 acres in 1737, which he purchased on behalf of the local congregation, for the construction of a church (a payment for which he made on 20 Feb. 1738/9). As Michael Ryer, he was naturalized at Philadelphia, Sep. 1740, but for religious reasons refused to swear an oath of loyalty. Anna Maria died about St. John's Day, 1742, and he married in 1743, Maria Catherine, daughter of Henrich Schneider. In 1744, he appears as elder and churchwarden of the Lutheran congregation of the Old Goshenhoppen church (Upper Salford Twp., now Montgomery Co.). She died in 1750, and he married third, in 1751, Maria Christina (Gerlach) Hoepler, at which time he remained an Elder of the Old Goshenhoppen congregation. His sister Anna Barbara, who had "plighted herself in 1712 to Joh. Geo. Gauckler, papist" was also a member of the congregation. In 1757, he was a member of a committee soliciting money to hire more guards against Indian attacks. He had an account in the ledgers of the Upper Salford store from 1766, which included the expenses of his burial. He died 3 Jan. 1772, when his obituary recorded an incredible accomplishment. (translated)

    "The 3rd of this month, Mr. Michael Reyer of Goschehoppen, in Philadelphia County, in his 86th year, died. He was thrice married, and with the first wife had 10, with the second 6, and with the last 8 children; in all 24 children."

His will, written 1 Nov. 1771, names only eight of these as surviving at that time. On 8 January, the administration of his estate was challenged by "John Reyer at the Request and on Behalf of his Father Charles Reyer who is the eldest Son of Michael Reyer late of Coshehoppen . . ." While the names Johannes and Carl are translated to John and Charles, our line is recognized here. The petition is signed "Johannes Reyer." The estate was valued above 790. Christina Reyher, Michael's widow, died 30 Nov. 1773.

Children of Joh. Michael Reyer

First wife: (note there are more than ten)

  1. Maria Elisabetha, bap. 4 Oct. 1709
  2. Anna Maria, died young
  3. Johann Carl, born 15 Dec. 1711, or later (see below)
  4. Anna Maria, b. 5 Dec. 1712, named in will.
  5. Christina, aged 14 in 1728
  6. Joh. Martin, b. 9 Jan 1716, named in will.
  7. Anna Sara, b. 29 Mar 1718 or 14 Jul. 1719
  8. Maria Rosina, b. 20 Aug. 1720
  9. Anna Catherina, b. 26 Nov. 1721, app. died young
  10. Anna Margaretha Brigitta, b. 6 Apr. 1723
  11. Maria Agnesa, b. 30 Jul. 1725 (twin)
  12. Anna Margaretha, b. 30 Jul. 1725 (twin)
  13. Maria Margareth, b. 13 Aug. 1726
  14. Anna Catherine, b. 6 Dec. 1729, named in will, d. 3 Nov 1793, Reading m.1 Valentine Keverper, m.2 Michael Blage
  15. Second wife:

  16. Anna Barbara, b. 1745, named in will, m.1 Christian Dotterer, m.2 Jost Freyer
  17. George Philip, b. 1750 or 8 Apr 1752, named in will, m.1 Christina Margaret Freyer, m.2 Margaret Major
  18. ? 4 others
  19. Third wife:

  20. Christina Elisabetha, b. 14 Jun. 1753.
  21. Susanna, b. 14 Mar 1756
  22. George Michael, b. 7 Aug. 1758, called lame in will, d. 10 Jul. 1777
  23. Maria Christina, b. 25 Jan 1761, named in will.
  24. 4 others?

Johann Carl Reyer (Royer) was born 15 Dec. 1711 (1751 church record, correct at least for the year), 4 Jan 1714 (tombstone), or 6 (or 12) Jan. 1713 (obituary), the later of which provides his birthplace (probably erroneously) as Heilbronn, Wurttemberg. He was the oldest son of Joh. Michael, and accompanied his father on the Loyal Judith in 1732, signing as Johann Carl Reÿer. In 1734, he married Maria Elisabetha, born 2 Jan 1712 at Grossgartach, in the parish of Heilbrönn, Germany, the daughter of Hans Michael (son of Georg) Kûgler (Gugler) and Anna Elisabetha (daughter of Reichard) Hoffmann. According to her obituary, she "came to this country as an adult with her parents," but her parents disappear from the Grossgartach records after 1716. She was sister of Georg Kugler, a member of the Old Goshenhoppen Church, who was born 1726, in Pa., son of Joh. Michael of "Gross Gaertig," and presumably of Joh. Michael Kugler of Providence Twp.

By 1744, he was in Providence Twp., as a member of the New Hanover Congregation, and later of the Augustus Congregation at Trappe. He bought land there (as Colder Royer) from James Steel. In 1751, two of his servants were "married with the consent of their master for necessity." He was naturalized as Carl Ryar of Providence Twp in 1754. In 1760, Carl Rayer gave 1 to support Rev. Muhlenburg of the Old Trappe (Augustus) church.(PRPP v.i, p 95) In 1764, he signed a petition protesting a change in the government. He also appears in the Upper Salford store ledger in 1768, as Hans Carla Royer, with later entries for his son John. He appears in the tax records of Providence, owning 150 acres in 1769., s3v14p71

He last appears as a baptismal sponsor in 1774, and his obituary, calling him "Joh Carl Rayer" states that "In recent years, however, he lost his understanding and became quite childish, until the very last days of his life, when he awakened as though from a deep sleep and a dream." He died 29 Oct. 1780, and his tombstone can still be seen at Trappe. His widow gave a silver dollar (worth 60 Continental dollars) to Rev. Henry Melcior Muhlenberg for performing the funeral service. He and his wife are said to have had four sons and two daughters, of whom two sons and a daughter survived him. His son George Adam was killed at age 14 "by falling under a loaded wagon on a trip to Philadelphia" in 1760.

In November 1781, "John Rayer . . . sent word (to Rev. Muhlenberg) that his mother, Widow Rayer, was on the point of death.," and in March 1782, she received through Rev. M. "the last box of pill[ae] cont[ra] obstr[uctionem] for poor Widow Rayer." She died 25 Mar 1785, when her obituary states that she was "an experienced midwife in the whole region round about," and that "most of the remaining years of her widowhood she suffered from asma siccum (dry asthma)." Her will names sons Michael and John and the children of her daughter Kepeler.

Children of Joh. Carl and Maria Elizabeth Royer:

  1. Michael, aged 14 in 1752 m 1766 Rosina, daughter of Balthasar Seibert. She was born 1746 in Germany, and died 11 Oct. 1812 at Pikeland Twp., Chester Co., having 9 sons and 3 daughters.
  2. dau, died 17 Jun. 1748, aged 7 yr, 9 mo.
  3. son, died young
  4. George Adam, b. 14/16 Apr 1745, d. 29 Jan 1760 in fall from wagon.
  5. Maria Elisabeth, aged 14 in 1761, married 1767 Benjamin Kepeler, having John, Elizabeth and Hannah.
  6. Johannes, b. 16/19 May 1751
  7. ? others

Johannes Royer (Rayer, Reier) was born 16/19 May 1751 at Trappe, and baptized there 16 July following. He was confirmed in June, 1767, aged 16. John Reier married at New Hanover 29 May 1770, Anna Catherina Appel, who was born 25 Jul. 1746. She was clearly sister of Elizabeth (Appel) Schupp, wife of Michael, and of Anna Clara, wife of Frederick Blass (of the three Blass children, the sponsors for two were Johannes & Catherine (Appel) Royer, and for the third, Michael & Elizabeth (Appel) Schapp). Johannes and Jacob Appele, adult step-sons of Jurg (George) Beck of New Hanover, joined the New Hanover church in 1743. Since Johannes Appele is probably the man who had a daughter Catherine born in 1751, and since Johannes and Catherine (Appel) Royer named a son Jacob, it was probably Jacob Appele who was father of the daughters in question. George Beck, the local confectioner, died in 1775, aged 80, surviving his wife Eva (who died in 1764), presumably mother of Johannes and Jacob.

In 1772, Johannes petitioned on behalf of his father, to delay the administration of his grandfather's estate, and had dealings through his father's account at the Upper Salford store. In the succeeding years, he was a constant supporter and friend of Rev. Muhlenberg, giving him buckwheat, lumber, etc. He was a private, 3rd class, in Jacob Peterman's Fourth Company, Sixth Battalion of the Philadelphia County Militia, appearing on two lists as John Royer and Jn'o Rayer. Thus Johannes Royer qualifies as a Revolutionary ancestor. He continued in Peterman's company, and appears on 1785 and 1786 militia lists for Providence Twp., where he spent his life. In the following years, he appears in the Providence tax records as a carpenter, with thirty acres of land, a horse and two cows. He died 17 Oct. 1788 and is buried at Trappe. He left a will naming his wife, son Joseph, and "my other children." His wife continues in the tax records, and appears in the 1790 census of Providence Twp. with her son and six daughters. She was still there in 1800 and 1810, at the later date living alone. She died 5 June 1828, and is buried at Trappe.

Children of Johannes and Anna Catherina Royer

  1. Elisabeth, b. 9 Jun. 1772
  2. Anna Maria, b. 22 Oct. 1773, d. 27 Dec. 1775
  3. Catherine, b. 13 Nov. 1774, who married ca.1791 Johannes Schupp
  4. Jacob, b. 19 Apr. 1776, d. of dysentery 5 Nov. 1777
  5. Maria, bap. 21 Sep. 1777
  6. Christina, b. 3 Jan. 1779, bap. 21 Feb. 1779, who married Michael Schupp 22 Mar. 1796
  7. Susanna, bap. 2 Sep. 1781
  8. Joseph, b. 6 Feb. 1784
  9. (Sarah, not found in primary records)
  10. (Barbara, not found in primary records)
  11. (two other daughters not found in primary records)