REIFF, Peter, of Montgomery Co PA

Peter Reiff was born about 1700 in Germany, the son of Hans George and Anna Maria (—?—) Reiff of a family from Wadenswil, Zurich, Switzerland.[1] He was married to Margaret Smith.[2] Peter Reiff died after 1780 and before 1789 in Rockland Twp, Berks Co PA.[3]

What this writer knows about Peter is based on her correspondence with Harry Reiff,[4] dated 24 Jul 1988, 6 Oct 1988, and 12 Jan 1989: “Peter’s children were numerous, but there is a tendency for some researchers to include a number of ‘orphan’ Reiffs from the mid-1700s to him, and so one must be careful. [Known children are Peter, b ca 1730, John George, b 1735,] Jacob,[5] Henry, Daniel, Christian, Elizabeth[6] and Mary. Suspected children are Juliana, Anna and Catherine.” Although Harry is careful to state that there is no firm proof of Elizabeth’s relationship to Peter, note that he lists her with the “proven,” rather than the “suspected.”

Children credited to Peter and Margaret by Harry E Reiff were:

1. Peter RIFFE. Born in say 1728 in Montgomery Co PA. Peter died in Wythe Co VA, ca 1799. About 1749, he married Anna Maria WERBLIN. He was known as Peter Riffe, Sr. after leaving Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Christ Evangelical Church in Bieber Creek. In 1771, he left Pennsylvania for Wythe County, Virginia. He went along a trail that approximates Route 11 and I-81. During the Revolution, he was a member of the Virginia militia from Montgomery County, Virginia under Captain Howe and Et. Mairs.  They had the following children:

                        i.            Conrad (1750-)

                        ii.            David J (ca1760-)

                        iii.            Christopher (ca1753-)

                        iv.            Peter (1762-)

                        v.            Gabriel (1763-)

                        vi.            Elizabeth (1767-)

                        vii.            Abraham (ca1768-)


2. Christian REIFF. Born in 1739 in Montgomery Co PA. Christian died in Gettysburg, Adams Co PA, in 1818. Christian married Anna Maria DOTTERER. Born on 24 Jan 1745 in PA. They had the following children:

                        i.            Philip (1768-)

                        ii.            Elizabeth (1767-)

                        iii.            Catherine (1773-)

                        iv.            Anna Maria (1775-)


3. George John REIFF. Born on 2 Jan 1735. He was listed as born 2 Jan 1735, baptized 8 Apr 1735 in Germantown PA; father listed was Peter Reiff.[7]


4. Elizabeth REIFF. Born on 22 Mar 1747 in PA. Elizabeth died in Hanover PA, on 21 Aug 1835. In 1770 when Elizabeth was 22, she married Daniel EYSTER, son of John George EYSTER. Born on 18 Aug 1743 in Berks Co PA. Daniel died in Hanover, York Co PA, on 14 Sep 1798. They had the following children:

                        i.            Hannah (1771-1852)

                        ii.            Samuel (1772-1795)

                        iii.            Catherine (1773-1795)

                        iv.            Elizabeth (Died as Infant) (1774-1774)

                        v.            Elizabeth (1775-1790)

                        vi.            Esther (1777-1845)

                        vii.            Daniel (1778-1840)

                        viii.            Williamina (Died as Infant) (1779-1780)

                        ix.            Anna Maria (1780-1845)

                        x.            William (1783-1854)

                        xi.            Magdalena (1785-)

                        xii.            Susanna (1787-1865)

                        xiii.            Jacob (1789-1839)


5. Jacob REIFF. A gedcom at gives these children, born to a wife Mary: Henry, Jacob, John, Daniel, Abraham, Elizabeth, Catherine, Daniel (again). This source also says he was born 2 Mar 1755, which is late for this couple.


6. Henry REIFF. Born in 1756. Henry died in Adams Co PA, on 4 May 1820; he was 64. Buried in Bendersville, Adams Co PA. Children:

                        i.            Jacob

                        ii.            Elizabeth (1780-)

                        iii.            Catherine (1783-)

                        iv.            Henry (1792-)

                        v.            Daniel (1795-)

                        vi.            Sarah

                        vii.            Barbara

                        viii.            Hannah


7. Daniel REIFF. Possible dates are 5 Dec 1759-6 Apr 1828. This man was buried in the same cemetery as likely brother Henry and nephew Jacob Eyster. None of the gedcoms with this identification list a wife or children for this Daniel.


8. Mary REIFF.


            Peter and Margaret possibly also had these children, claimed at by several researchers:

9. Conrad Reiff.  Born ca 1729.


10. Juliana Reiff. Born 4 Dec 1738 and died 6 Nov 1806 in Adams Co PA. She married Conrad Dotterer and had eight children.


10. Anna Reiff. Born 23 Feb 1740/41 or 1744/45 and died 30 Jan 1766 or 16 Nov 1820. She married Michael Dotterer.[8] They had a son Conrad, born 9 Apr 1769.


            A final note. The births for children attributed to Peter and Margaret are spread from 1728 to 1759. I will not rule out the possibility that Peter had two wives.

© 2009, Kathy Alvis Patterson


[1] Wikipedia gives the following identification: “Wädenswil is a municipality in the district of Horgen in the canton of Zürich in Switzerland.”

[2] Harry E Reiff always qualified her surname as a possibility. Quite a few researchers at give several of this couple’s children the middle name Smith, but I am not sure this assumption didn’t arise from a practice many people have of writing the mother’s maiden name in parentheses between the first and last names.

[3] Peter left few records. Peter and wife were sponsors at the baptisms of various children. He disappears from tax lists in 1781. Margaret was last seen as a sponsor in the 1770s.

[4] Harry E Reiff is the author of Reiff Families in America, 1988. His address twenty years ago was 1601 Clair Martin Place, Ambler PA 19002. “Clemens Kin Genealogy” at calls him the son of Harry and Ruth C (Hartsell) Reiff. Email address given at genforum is

[5] The relationship to this Jacob is unknown, but there is an interesting bit of Reiff history at The Jacob Reiff House is newer than the people being discussed here, and likely was built by a cousin, not a descendant of Peter Reiff.

[6] Her last name is carved on her tombstone at Hanover PA. Her father is not proven, but probable. Daniel Eyster and Peter Reiff lived in the same twp, Oley in Berks Co PA; no other Reiff lived near there. Peter’s widow Anna Mar(g)aretha Reiffen was the sponsor for one of the children of Daniel and Elizabeth.

[7] Rev. Stoever Records.

[8] She is called Ann Elizabeth or Anna Catherine or Catherine Elizabeth by various researchers. Note that Peter’s proven son Christian married a member of the Dotterer family.

Published on February 27, 2009 at 4:17 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. your info is off track I have the line back to Hans Ryeff 1528-1627 who married Anna Hite Zurich

    • Please send corrections either here or to Thanks you, Kathy

  2. Would like any updates if possible, please. Conrad Dotterer was my 5th great grandfather.

    • I have nothing new. Thanks

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