Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

The Riegel Family Origins

Posted By on June 19, 2012

The Riegel family in the Lykens Valley can be traced to Mattheis Riegell (born about 1615) of Bad Muenster, Palatinate, Germany, who married Maria Werner.  They had a son, Jost Riegell (1615-1687) who married Maria Honen (or Hoenen).  Their son, Cornelius Riegel (1674-175) was the immigrant who arrived in Philadelphia in 1733, with his wife Anna Gertrude Ehrmann, and their family.  Two of the sons of Cornelius and Anna Gertrude had preceded the family by arriving in Philadelphia in 1732.

From Philadelphia, the members of this family migrated first to Berks County and later westward, with many of the descendants ending up in the Lykens Valley while others went to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa.

The many variations of the spelling of the surname cause problems in tracing the branches.  The name is found as Riegel, Riegle, Reigel, Reigle, Riggle, Rigle, Rigel, Rigal, Regal, Riggels, as well as all the possible variations with a double “L.”  There doesn’t appear to be any consistency in the German records either – except for the “ie” configuration (which is correct in the German) as opposed to the “ei” configuration which in German would be pronounced as the English “long I.”  While it can’t be known for sure what the correct pronunciation of the name should be, it usually is pronounced today about the same as the English word, “regal.”

Johann Daniel Reigell (1713-1786), born in Germany, was one of the sons of Cornelius Riegel (1674-175) and Anna Gertrude Ehrmann (1680-1760) who came to Berks County, Pennsylvania.  Johann Daniel Reigell married Maria Dorothea Beitler (1716-1786).  Their son, Andreas Riegel (1750-1815), born in Berks County, was a pioneer settler of the Lykens Valley.


Lykens Valley Pioneer Monument

Andreas Riegel married Catherine Hoffman (1751-1819), a daughter of Johann Peter Hoffman (1709-1797).  Andreas served as a private in the Revolutionary War.  As a carpenter, he was one of the builders of the old Hoffman Church.  Both Andreas and Catherine are believed to be buried in the old Hoffman graveyard at the foot of Short Mountain (shown in the above picture) along with about 26 contemporaries including Johann Peter Hoffman.  The monument, erected by the Hoffman Association in 1924, replaced the original grave markers, which over time were lost.  It is located in a field on the Bush Farm along the Crossroads between Loyalton (on Route 209) and the Crossroads Auction (on Route 25).  A prior post described the monument.  This old graveyard should not be confused with the Hoffman Church Cemetery which is located on the Crossroads near the junction of Route 25.

Nearly all the Civil War soldiers with the Riegel name who are from the Lykens Valley are descendants of Andreas Riegel and Catherine [Hoffman] Riegel.

The post tomorrow will look at the children of Daniel Riegle (1804-1855), Dauphin County Commissioner, and their Civil War service.

Much credit must be given to Dr. Samuel A. Riegel who compiled the family genealogy.




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