EYSTER, George, of Adams Co PA and Dickinson Co KS

Anita L. Eyster worked from 1923 to 1943 compiling the records of the Eyster family. She published the results of her research in several documented articles and left considerable data which was later published by her son James A. Eyster. These studies have remained the standard for the Eyster family for more than fifty years and contain the accepted outline of the first three generations of the family. More work is needed, however, on later generations, especially the descendants of immigrant Jacob Eyster’s older son John George.[1]

Daniel Eyster3 (John Georg2, Jacob1) was born 18 July 1743, married ca 1770 to Elizabeth Reiff, and died 13 Sep 1798. He served in the Revolutionary War record as a lieutenant in the PA militia,[2] kept a Bible record of all of his children’s births, which was continued long after his death to include some of their marriages and deaths as late as 1854,[3] and died young leaving a will,[4] naming his children, as did his widow’s will.[5] They are buried in the St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church Cemetery, Hanover PA, and their gravestones give dates of birth and death as well as Elizabeth’s maiden name.

The youngest of Daniel and Elizabeth (Reiff) Eyster’s children was Jacob4. A translated extract of the family Bible in the NSDAR file reads, “My son Jacob was born Dec. 28, 1789, in Taurus.” His death was recorded, “Jacob Eyster died Oct. 15, 1839,” although his marriage was not. Jacob’s family may be reconstructed from his census records and his will. He married, ca 1814, Catherine —, who was born 9 Feb 1794 and died 4 Jan 1855.[6] The dates on Jacob’s gravestone are slightly different from those recorded in the family Bible: born 28 Nov 1789, died 22 Oct 1839.[7] The research on Jacob’s children who stayed in Pennsylvania was done by Donna Yake, a descendant of Samuel W Eyster.[8] It is possible Catherine was a daughter of John Frederick Wentz, Jr, and his wife, Anna Maria Margaretta.

The eldest of Jacob and Catherine (—) Eyster’s children was:

George5, born 18 Apr 1815, married Carlisle PA, 22 Nov 1855 Margaret Ramp, died 10 Apr 1893 in Abilene KS (obituaries, cemetery).

Why does it appear that George was slighted in his father’s will? His mother died in 1855 and he married the next year, at the age of 40.  Did he receive an inheritance prior to his father’s will?  If so, it is not mentioned in the will. And why then, in 1850, did Samuel, two years younger, have $1600 of real property and George have nothing? Was the oldest son expected to take responsibility for the small children in the family, delay starting his own family, and allow his mother to be the called the head of the household until her death?

James A Eyster omitted George Eyster as a son in Jacob’s family in The Eyster Genealogy. This may be because Anita L Eyster did not have him in her notes as a son of Jacob, possibly because George’s name did not occur as often or as prominently as his brother’s in their father’s will or because his birth was not registered, at least not at the same church as younger brother and sisters.

GEORGE5 EYSTER (Jacob4, Daniel3, John George2, Jacob1), b Adams Co PA, 18 Apr 1815; m Carlisle PA, 22 Nov 1855, MARGARET5 RAMP (Samuel4, Philip3, Jacob2, Andreas1); d Abilene, Dickinson Co KS, 10 Apr 1893. Margaret was the daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Worst) Ramp; b Cumberland Co PA, 24 Mar 1834; d Thomas, Custer Co OK, 26 May 1904; bur at the Abilene KS Cemetery.

George Eyster was the only child of Jacob and Catherine (—) Eyster whose children carried the Eyster surname beyond the next generation. George was also the only member of this family to leave PA and travel west. George and Margaret (Ramp) Eyster were married on Nov 22 1855 (American Volunteer, Carlisle PA, 29 Nov 1855). They were members of the Brethren in Christ Church; in 1872, a large contingent of this group left PA and traveled by train to Abilene KS. He was an elder in the Brethren in Christ Church, and several of his writings are extant: “Invitation of Christ,” The Evangelical Visitor, 1 Aug 1880; “Faith and Hope,” The Evangelical Visitor, 1 Sep 1890; “Heaven,” The Evangelical Visitor, 15 Sep 1890; “Heaven and Earth,” The Evangelical Visitor, 1 Dec 1890, as well “The Testimony of George Eyster,” Good Tidings, 17 Apr 1941.

George and Margaret (Ramp) Eyster had the following children:

1. Lavinia6 Eyster, born 16 Aug 1859, married 10 Nov 1881 David L Book, died 3 Mar 1925 in Waukena CA. Seven children, surnamed Book.

2. Anna Margaret Eyster, born 26 Oct 1860 in Chambersburg, Franklin Co PA, married 12 Oct 1882 Edward Amandus Alvis, died 10 Nov 1920 Geary OK, buried Thomas OK. Nine children, surnamed Alvis.

3. Elizabeth Eyster, born 8 Sep 1864, married Joseph Shirk, died 21 Jan 1945. One child, surnamed Wenger. One child, surnamed Shirk.

4. David Ramp Eyster, born 2 Sep 1866, married 28 Feb 1888, Agnes Landis, died 11 Jan 1955, buried Thomas OK. Ten children, surnamed Eyster. Twenty-six grandchildren, of whom 8 were surnamed Eyster.

5. Levi Eyster, born 2 Sep 1868, died 24 Oct 1868.

6. James Ramp Eyster, born 5 Apr 1870, married (1) Ida Willert, (2) Katie L Eyer, died 16 Oct 1949, buried Thomas OK. By his second wife, he had 11 children, surnamed Eyster. Thirty-one grandchildren, of whom 17 were named Eyster.

7. Silas Eyster (twin), born 5 Jan 1874, died 12 Aug 1874.

8. Jesse Ramp Eyster (twin), born 5 Jan 1874, married 12 Dec 1898 Mathilda Brubaker, died 16 Mar 1956 Upland CA. Three children, all daughters, surnamed Eyster.

9. Mary Eyster, born 22 Mar 1876, married Jacob Zook, died 1946 Tabor IA. Six children, surnamed Zook.

10. John Eyster, born 1878 in Kansas, married Hilma Larsen, died in ID. Four children, surnamed Eyster.

In addition to the 1820 and 1850 censuses noted below, George Eyster was in Menallen Township, Adams Co PA in 1860 as follows:

Dwelling #627, family # 649

George Eyster 45 m w day laborer PA $1000 $15

Margaret 26 f w PA

Lavinia 11/2 f w PA

In 1880 his family was in Dickinson Co KS:

page #12, enumeration district #60, dwelling #43

George Eyster w m 65 PA

Margaret w f 46 wife PA

Emma C w f 15 dt PA [Elizabeth]

David w m 13 son PA

James w m 10 son PA

Jesse w m 6 son PA

Mary w m 3 son PA

John w m 1 son PA

George’s widow Margaret is in the 1900 census of Dickinson Co KS, living alone. She became ill in 1904 while returning to KS by train from a trip to CA. The train stopped to let her off just outside of Thomas OK where several of her children lived, and she died there.

George’s and Margaret’s gravestones in the Abilene KS cemetery read:

George Eyster

April 18, 1815

April 10, 1893

Age 77 years  11 mos   22 days

Margaret Eyster

b. Mar 24, 1834

d. May 26, 1904

Age 70 years   2 mos   2 days

A mother’s feeling in the bosom glowed which heaved in kindness with each gentle breath. Her spirit smiled from that bright shore and softly whispers “Weep no more.”

© 2008, Kathy Alvis Patterson


[1] “The Eyster Family,” Historical Review of Berks County (PA), October 1935, pp. 22-25; “The Pioneer Ancestor of the Oyster-Eyster Family,” Historical Review of Berks County, April 1941, pp. 87-90; The Eyster Genealogy by Anita L. Eyster, edited and published by James A. Eyster, undated, but after 1984.

[2] Penn. Archives Sixth Series, Vol. 2, p. 601, History of York County, Penn., Vol. 1, NSDAR National Number 554801, Supplemental.

[3] Eyster file, NSDAR Library.

[4] York Co PA Will Book K, p. 310

[5] Adams Co PA Will Book D, p. 276.

[6] Hanover Spectator, 25 May 1855.

[7] Bender’s Cemetery, Menallen Township, Adams Co PA.

[8] Her address in 1984 was 50 Pfeiffer Lane, New Oxford PA 17350.

Published on September 29, 2008 at 2:41 am  Leave a Comment  

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