Reesor History

Christian Reesor, our first Reesor ancestor to be born in America, began his life in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on August 26, 1747. Christian Reesor's Swiss born parents, Peter Rieser (January, 1713 - February, 1804) and Elizabeth Hershey, were Mennonite Anabaptists. Driven from Switzerland to Rhenish Bavaria by religious persecution, Peter Rieser and his four brothers (Ulrich, Jacob, Johanns, and Philip) accepted sanctuary through the auspices of William Penn's American settlement programme. Peter, wife Elizabeth, their two children Esther and John, along with Elizabeth's parents - Christian and Esther Hershey, sailed from Rotterdam on the ship "Robert and Alice" and landed at Philadelphia on September 3, 1739.

Having arrived in America at 26 years of age, Peter Rieser received a grant of 271 acres of land for a homestead near Elizabethtown in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He built a mill on the site and soon became a prosperous farmer and miller. He donated land for the Risser Mennonite Meeting-House and adjoining cemetery, where he was buried in 1804 upon his death at the age of 91 years.

Peter Rieser & Elizabeth Hershey's second son Christian (born 1747) was our ancestor. He lived close to his family homestead in Lancaster County until 1786, when he moved westward to Franklin County with his wife Fanny Reiff (1751-October 10, 1818), and their growing family. However, Christian Reesor ultimately looked northward to Upper Canada for new opportunities and undoubtedly more land. In about 1796, family folklore says that his 21 year old son Peter made an exploratory trip to the settlement of York (now Toronto) in Upper Canada (now Ontario).

Reports from Christian's son Peter no doubt enthused Christian and his family about the prospects for life in Upper Canada. Yet, with his father Peter Rieser nearly 90 years old, Christian demurred. It wasn't until the summer after the death in 1804 of his father, Peter Rieser - the original ancestral emigrant to the New World - that Christian and his family made the move northward. They settled on land granted from the Crown at Lot 14, Concession 10, in Markham Township, York County, Upper Canada.

This loyal son could now pursue a new chapter in his life.

Copyright 1999 The Reesor Family in Canada Genealogical and Historical Society Incorporated
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