Posted By Norman Gasbarro on June 20, 2012
In the post yesterday, the origins of the Riegel family in Pennsylvania were noted, with the first settlers of this name in the Lykens Valley being Andreas Riegel (1750-1815) and his sons, who came to the valley from Berks County, Pennsylvania. Andreas and his wife Catherine [Hoffman] Riegle (1751-1819) are believed to be buried in the graveyard at the foot of Short Mountain in Lykens Township – which today is marked by a single stone monument to the pioneer settlers of the area [Note: The monument, erected by the Hoffman Association in 1924, replaced the original grave markers, which over time were lost].
One of the sons of Andreas Riegel and Catherine [Hoffman] Riegel who came with him to the Lykens Valley from Berks County was John Daniel Riegle (1771-1839), most often referred to as Daniel Riegle. Daniel was born on 21 September 1774 in Upper Tulpehocken Township, Berks County. Through his mother, he was a grandson of Johann Peter Hoffman.(1709-1797). Daniel was a farmer who lived in the area of Lykens Township near Short Mountain. In politics, he was an old-line Whig. He had several brothers and sisters, also living in the area, but for now, only the direct line of Daniel Riegle (1771-1839) will be followed to the Civil War generation. Daniel Riegle married Catherine Harmon (1780-1857) whose name is also found in the records as Hermann. Their children included Daniel Riegle (1804-1855), John Riegle (1806-1838) and Jacob Riegel (1808-1838). Daniel died 8 February 1839 and is buried in the St. Peter (Hoffman) Church Cemetery, which is located on the Crossroads in Lykens Township, at the site of the old Hoffman Church, very near where the Crossroads joins Route 25. His grave marker is pictured above.
Daniel Riegle (1804-1855) is the subject of this post. He was born on 1 June 1804 in Lykens Township, Dauphin County, on the farm of his parents. On 24 December 1826, he married Catharine Hoffman (1807-1864), his second cousin, and the great granddaughter of Johann Peter Hoffman (1709-1797). Four children were born of this marriage: Elizabeth Riegle (1827-1885); Josiah R. Riegle (1829-1886); Jonas P. Riegle (1835-1889); and Harrison Riegle (1840-1899). In 1839, Daniel’s father died leaving his mother as a widow.
In the early part of his life, Daniel was primarily a farmer, working a farm of about 50 acres in Lykens Township, but in 1850 he purchased an old mill property that had been part of the Hoover estate. He then sold the farm and moved to the mill property. In 1852, he began serving a three year term as a Dauphin County Commissioner, which concluded at the end of 1854. His venture into politics also included a term as a county director for the poor and an unsuccessful candidacy for sheriff of the county. For whatever reason, Daniel decided to move to Gratz Borough in 1855 and open a blacksmith shop, which he purchased and readied that same year. However, he died before the shop could open. His widow, Catharine, supposedly remained in Gratz for a short time and then moved back to Lykens Township (by 1860) with her 30-year old daughter, Elizabeth, who was unmarried, and her 20-year old son, Harrison, also unmarried. It is believed that the mill property, originally purchased by Daniel in 1850, was at first worked by the son, Josiah, who was listed in the 1850 census as a miller, but by 1860, Josiah had moved into Gratz Borough and was working as a laborer.
Daniel Riegle lived long enough to see only one of his children marry. Josiah R. Riegle, the oldest son, married Amanda Kissinger in 1853. At the time of Daniel’s death, only one child had been born to Josiah and Amanda, so Daniel only knew one grandchild.
Daniel Riegle died 2 June 1855 and is buried in Gratz Union Cemetery. Catharine [Hoffman] Riegle died 2 September 1864, during the Civil War, and is buried next to her husband in Gratz Union Cemetery. Their grave markers are pictured above.
At the time the Civil War began in 1861, Elizabeth Riegle had recently married Elias Etzweiler (1829-1909) of Jackson Township and Jefferson Township, Dauphin County. Elias was a laborer. No known children came of this marriage. Josiah R. Riegle was working as a laborer and living in Gratz with his wife Amanda and children Lewis Riegle (born about 1854), Mary Riegle (born about 1856), and Emma Riegle (born about 1858). Jonas P. Riegle, who had married Rebecca Holtzman, 28 December 1856, was also living in Gratz Borough, along with their two young children, Mary Riegle (born about 1857), and Sarah Riegle (born about 1859). Harrison Riegle was working as a laborer and living in the household of his widowed mother in Lykens Township.
In the concluding post tomorrow, the Civil War service of the sons of Daniel Riegle, as well as the one son-in-law he didn’t know [Elias Etzweiler], will be noted.