Overview of Riedesel Emigrants to America

Following is a summary of the Riedesel emigrants to America. I have a variety of information on many of them, but will limit this document to their names and where they settled. The largest number came from the village of Wunderthausen, and I have organized them around their houses of origin. These traditional house names do not mean much to Americans today, but they are a useful way of organizing closely-related people.


From Haase house in Wunderthausen. A few others preceded them to America, but a large family group from this house was a kind of magnet for the scores of others from the village who settled in eastern Iowa and formed the largest cluster of Wunderthäuser anywhere. The group consisted of the elderly parents Ludwig and Florentine (born Althaus) Riedesel, their five adult children and a few others. They arrived in Crawford County, Ohio in 1844/1845 where both parents died. The rest all moved on to what became the community of Wheatland, Iowa. The adult children were known as L. Henry, J. Ludwig, George and John Riedesel, plus their sister Anna Elisabeth (married to Franz Homrighausen). J. Ludwig moved on to Carroll County, Iowa in his last years.

From Bergmanns/Gabels house in Wunderthausen. Six siblings came to America over a span of 20 years. Three made their home around Wheatland: Henry, Louis C. and Wilhelmine Riedesel (married to George Schneider, Jr.). Henry and Wilhelmine also wound up in Carroll County, Iowa. Three others lived in the Rochester, New York area: Anna, Elisabeth, and Daniel Riedesel.

From Schreiners/Großeludwigs house in Wunderthausen. The “head” of this family came to America years after some of his children from two wives (with the same given names!). He was known as Ludwig Riedesel though christened Georg Gabriel. Settling around Wheatland in the 1850s and 1860s were the sons known in America as John H., Henry D., Louis D. and George D. Riedesel (who later moved with his family to Oklahoma). Father Ludwig stayed around Kansas City with his youngest son, known as Phillip John Riedesel. Two daughters–Dina and Catherine Riedesel–are recorded as sailing with them, but I have no other trace of them.

From Weymers house in Wunderthausen. Three brothers from a family came to America at different times and settled in different places. Henry Riedesel lived various places but finally settled in Cathay, North Dakota. Frederick Riedesel and his large family called Worthington, Minnesota their new home. The last to emigrate was the oldest brother, George Riedesel. He, his wife, and their several adult children joined the Wheatland community in the early 1900s. The children were: Catherine, Emelia, Louisa, Anna Elisabeth, George, Ludwig Heinrich, Frederick, Emma, Gustav and Adolph. Most married Wunderthausen descendants around Wheatland.

From Försters hinter der Huthe house in Wunderthausen. Two Riedesel brothers and their sister from this house were among the later arrivals to America (1880s). George Louis Riedesel lived a while in Wheatland but settled in Denver, Iowa (the unwary often mistake this for Denver, Colorado).  Henry F. Riedesel farmed outside of Wheatland, though had no children. Sister Elisabeth Riedesel spent the obligatory time at Wheatland though eventually moved with her husband (Monroe Daniels) and children to Miami, Florida.

From Altehäusers/Hanjosts house in Wunderthausen. The widowed Henry Riedesel and his son, Christian Willi, came to America in 1893 and lived in Rochester, New York.

From Försters am Lotzenberg house in Wunderthausen. Johannes Riedesel was the only member of his immediate family that I know of who emigrated. He lived in the St. Louis area.

From Am Kloster/Kirchstumpfs in Wunderthausen. Siblings Henry Herman and Catherine Riedesel arrived separately and lived separate lives around Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. She married Edward Mitchell.

From Känels house in Wunderthausen. John Riedesel was the only emigrant I know of from this small house. He lived first in St. Louis but ultimately moved on to Milwaukee.

From Weisse house in Wunderthausen. Records indicate that a Ludwig Heinrich Riedesel born in 1839 came to America in 1857. That’s all I know.

The cluster in Warren County, New Jersey. Another important cluster for emigrants from Wunderthausen was the area around Oxford (Furnace). It was a more industrial area and more diverse. I group several Riedesels here because many were known in later generations as Riddle or Radle. Louis Riddle (Georg Ludwig Riedesel) was born in Wetzels house in 1817. His sister, Anna Catherine Riedesel, was born there in 1815. She married George Radle/Riddle (Johann Georg Riedesel), who was born in Seimes/Weißkopfs house in 1810.  Florentine Riedesel was George’s niece and married Heinrich Baumgartner in Oxford; her sister Anna Catherine married Karl Busch. A brother–Heinrich Friedrich Riedesel–lived around Oxford before heading for the Midwest.  John Radle (Johannes Riedesel) was born in 1810 in Weymers house. He lived in New Jersey long enough for his name to be altered, but later moved on to Iowa.

Then there was John Rittase (Johannes Riedesel) from Wetzels house. I don’t know that he ever lived at Oxford. He did live and flourish in Adams County Pennsylvania where he and his descendants took on yet another variation of the name.

From Erndtebrück. This was a larger village in Wittgenstein (and now a town). Two pairs of siblings emigrated to America. Brothers Ludwig and August Riedesel were among many from their village who settled in DeWitt County, Texas around 1850. Carl/Karl Riedesel survived Prussian military duty in the 1870s and came to Minnesota–eventually settling in the northern town of Crookston. His sister Luise Riedesel lived various places in America before settling with her second husband, Fred Pieper, in DeWitt County, Texas.

From Berleburg. What is now the town of Bad Berleburg was the seat of the ruling Counts of Sayn-Wittgenstein, the absolute rulers of our ancestors until 1) deposed by Napoleon and 2) replaced by the King of Prussia. Two brothers made their way to America in 1819. We know little about their lives in America but one line continued for a while in Philadelphia. The brothers were Johann Heinrich  and Johann Ludwig Riedesel.

By Way of Lothringen (Lorraine). Another group had a Riedesel ancestor who left Wittgenstein in the early 1700s. His descendants lived in villages near the cities of Marburg and Giessen. One relocated in the 1870s to what was then the German province of Lothringen. The children of his two marriages scattered with stops in Paris, among other places, but three ultimately came to the U.S. as did one of their cousins. John Henry Riedesel spent most of his life in America around Westfield, New York. Peter Riedesel’s travels ended in Washington state. Marie Riedesel (married a Roth and then a Zehner) lived various places though died in Kansas. Marie Luise Riedesel was a cousin who came to stay in 1922. She married Clifford Barr Sr., and lived in North Dakota.

From Pomerania. The records are scanty but we know of a few emigrants who were often known as Rietesel and who came from the northeastern German region of Pomerania around the city of Stralsund. They lived around Chicago. A Johannes Rietesel (b. 1849) landed in New York in 1881. Friedrich Rietesel came with his wife and one son in 1880; the latter was Charles Rietesel who spent most of his life in McHenry County.  Christian J. Rietesel was born in  Pomerania in 1856 and lived in Chicago.

Another Charles Riedesel/Rietesel was born in 1819 in Stralsund and showed up in Chicago by 1880. He had three German-born children then: John (b. 1848). Friederike (b. 1859) and Theodore (b. 1863).

Friedrich Riedesel shipped out t0 Quebec in 1863 but eventually settled in Kane County near Chicago. His children included Johanna (married Christian Puffpaff), Maria Caroline (married Franz Theodor Bochmann), Sophia (married Frederick Sturm), Karl Johann, and Mary (married Karl Quicker).