| JOSEPH REITER
ANN WHITE 5-20-1830
The origin of these families was somewhere in Pennsylvania
which was settled by the Dutch in or about 1683. At the time the story
of this branch of the Reiter family started, they had been citizens
so long that they did not know when their first ancestors had arrived
in this country. All the country was at this time in the process of
being settled, and the people were trying to get an educational system
of some sort started.
Joseph Reiter and Zillah Ann White
were married June 7th, 1851. For the following story, I am indebted
to Florence Rogers, who is a granddaughter of Joseph and Zillah
Ann Reiter, the latter of whom lived with the Rogers family when
Florence was a small girl. She loved to hear the stories her grandmother
could tell of those pioneer days. This is the story quoting directly
from Florence’s letter:
"When I was a small girl, I was always teasing Grandmother
to tell me one of three stories. One about her wedding, the one
about their house burning down or the one about the day Grandfather
went to try to enlist in the Union Army, and how happy she was but
didn’t dare tell him so, because he was rejected.
This is the story of her wedding: She was married on a Sunday
in June at a place called Dow’s Grove in Southeastern Illinois,
by a circuit rider preacher called Brother Washburn. Her dress was
white challis with pink rosebuds, and she had a hoop and four petticoats.
She also had a bonnet made of the same material and new shoes that
hurt. The wedding was one of several which took place that day on
account of there being a big camp meeting at Dow’s Grove. There
were also baptisms in the river, probably the Sangimun, that day
and the great crowd of people sang gospel hymns all thru the wedding
and baptismal ceremonies. After a big picnic supper they drove home
to a cabin on Grandfather’s brother James’ clearing. That winter
Grandmother taught school in this same cabin and in the spring had
her first son; and as far as I was concerned, at probably six or
seven years of age, the rest was just grown up talk, and I lost
interest. But I always came back for the wedding story."
There were ten children born to this family. One boy and two
girls dying in infancy, one son Riley Madison died at the age of
seventeen. William Henry lost his life in a sawmill accident at
the age of thirty-one. The Reiter family, like many others, began
traveling west again. After the death of the father (Joseph Reiter)
in 1880, the remaining members of the family moved to Nebraska.
During the years some of the family had moved about in the
state, and Francis R., the fourth son, who was a carpenter by trade,
arrived in that part of Illinois where the Hadlock
family lived and met and married Elizabeth
E. Hadlock, the youngest daughter of the Willard
Hadlock family. In their westward travels the two families (Reiter
and Hadlock) arrived about the same time in the vicinity of a small
town now known as Phillips,
Nebraska. At that time Aurora was the end of the line of the Burlington
I do not know when the first members of either family arrived
in Nebraska nor how they came to settle in the same community, but
they were all there when my parents arrived in January, 1884. I
do not believe the two families had known each other before their
arrival in Nebraska. I do know that my mother had never met any
of my father’s people before their marriage. At the time of Grandfather
Joseph Reiter’s death there were two daughters, Fanny Bell and Olive
E. and a son Charles D. still living with their mother. Charles
was then about thirteen years of age. I do not remember how or where
they lived, but I know that my Aunt Fanny Bell had married Granville
Gellers in 1884, and they had taken a homestead in Custer Co., Nebraska
were they lived until his death. They had one daughter Lulu May.
During the last year of his life my father (Francis R. Reiter)
often called to mind the way they lived in his childhood; how his
mother spun and wove the cloth from which their clothing was made;
how he and his brothers went hunting for squirrels and other game
in the woods that surrounded the clearing in which they lived. They
also gathered wild fruits in season, and after the first frosts,
when the nuts were falling, they gathered a big supply for winter.
Though they lived on the frontier, his was a happy childhood.
The years of Grandfather Joseph Reiter’s life covered the administrations
Quincey Adams thru that of Rutherford
Hayse. Two of the greatest events in our nations history, The
Discovery of gold in California (1849) and The Great Civil War (1860-65)
took place during this time.
Since Grandfather died before the family came to Nebraska,
he is buried somewhere in Illinois. Grandmother lies in the cemetery
at Phillips, Nebr., where Duke and Ollie Rogers and their infant
dauthter Lela are also buried.