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April 17, 2009


The Royer Family
of Cherryville, Pennsylvania


            Mary Jane Royer (1859-1914), who married James Martin Buss (1857-1935) came from the Royer family of Cherryville, Pennsylvania.  This little town is located in Lehigh Township, Northampton County, about five miles north of the town of Northampton, about ten miles north of Allentown. The family is reported to have lived in the Cherryville area for more than 200 years.  This section includes:



Buss Family of Northampton County
Family of John Smith and Mary Ann Lee
Family of S. David Boyer
Boyer Family of Easton
Boyer Family of Orwigsburg
Waltman Family of Northampton County
Neil Boyer’s Family History Page


John Reiher (Reyer) (b. 1769)

            The immigrant ancestor was a John Reiher (Reyer), a Hessian soldier who is reported to have escaped from the German Army in the Revolutionary War and settled in the Cherryville area.  If the report about his having served in the Revolution is correct, he would have been very young at the time. Family histories say that John was born in Alsace-Lorraine in Germany on May 26, 1769, and baptized on June 4, 1769.  His sponsors were John Nicholas New, Jr. and Catherine Schaffer.  John Reyer married Elizabeth Esch.  He was a hotel man in the Cherryville area, and all his children were born in the hotel.  When his wife died, she was buried in that area, but the location of the grave unknown.  The children were given out to be reared, and John left the area.


George William Reyer (1806-1893)

            George William (known as "George William") Reyer was the youngest of John's children, and he is the only child of John and Elizabeth about whom information has surfaced.  William was reared by Samuel Kech, who was a farmer and wheelwright living in Pennsville, about two miles east of Cherryville.  William was born on May 29, 1806, and died on March 22, 1893, at the age of 86.

            George William Reyer married Maria (Mary) Steward.  She had been born July 6, 1804, and died February 17, 1869, at the age of 64.  They lived in Cherryville.  Family members recalled that they lived in the fourth house past the barber shop on the Cherryville road that did not go north toward Danielsville.   In the 1850 census for Lehigh Township, Northampton County, they were listed as:

William Royer, 44, wheelwright
Mary Royer, 44
Catherine Royer, 19
Thomas Royer, 17, wheelwright
Eliza Royer, 14

            Just after Mary Steward Royer died, the 1870 census showed William Reyer, 63, was a farmer with real property worth $10,300 and personal property worth $6,400, suggesting he was a prosperous man.  Living with him were Mary Royer, age 19, who was possibly his daughter (see below), and a boarder.  

            George William and Maria were buried in the Indianland Cemetery at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, about a mile west of Cherryville on Route 248.  In 1995, their graves were found marked by flat marble stones at the top of the hill far to the right side of the cemetery.

             Maria Steward was the daughter of Patrick Steward.  He changed the spelling of Steward to Stewart.  Patrick had come to America in 1738 from Scotland, with other families with the names of Horner, Clyde, McMillan, Wilson and Glendin.  They settled in the area of Bath, Pennsylvania, about four miles east of Cherryville.  Patrick was nicknamed "Patsy.”  In Bath, there is a monument in honor of the early settlers. Books containing data of the "Indian Walking Purchase" in 1755 include the name of the Stewarts, who gave their service helping to acquire land for the state.

            After Maria died, it is understood that George William married "Sally Zellner."  No details of their relationship have been discovered.  It is possible that Sally was the widow of John Zellner, who lived in Northampton County.  In the 1870 census, John, 66, and Sally Zellner, 58, were living near Hecktown.  In the 1880 census, Sarah Zellner, 72, a widow, was living with her daughter, Eliza Barrall (or Burrell) and family near Hecktown.  If this is the woman who married George William Reyer, it would have been between 1880 and his death in 1893.  She would have been at least 72 and he at least 74.   

            George William and Mary Reyer had three, and possibly four, children:

            1.  Catherine Reyer, born in 1831, married a man named Andreas.

            2.  Thomas Reyer, born in 1833, is the only one of the family about whom information has been located. He married Sarah Ann Kuntz.   He is the one who changed his family name to Royer, according to one family source, but another said it was Thomas’ father, William, who changed the spelling.  They 1850 census (above) for William said the family name was “Royer,” but the 1860 census for Thomas said the name was “Reyer.”  A birth certificate for a family member used the spelling "Reier."   Perhaps it was after 1880 that Thomas used the name “Royer.”  More information about Thomas is below.  He died on January 12, 1910, at the age of 76.

            3.  Elizabeth Reyer was born on April 23, 1836, in Cherryville, according to one family historian.  She married a man named Craig and died on October 15, 1933, in Philadelphia, at the age of 97.

            4.  Mary Reyer, born in 1851, is known only through the 1870 census, which said she was then 19.  The census did not give the relationship between William and Mary.  It is possible that she was a daughter, but William’s wife Mary would have been 47 at the time of her birth.  If this Mary was not a daughter of William and Mary, perhaps she was the child of some other Royer relative and was temporarily living with the 63-year-old William, whose wife had died the previous year.  There is a remote possibility that this Mary could be William’s granddaughter Mary Jane Royer, daughter of Thomas, who married James Buss, although Mary Jane was not born until 1859 and would have been only 11 in 1870, not 19.  (An even more remote possibility is that William got remarried, at age 63, to a girl who was 19.)  Neither William Royer’s family nor any relevant Mary Royer/Reyer could be located in the 1880 or later census reports.


Thomas Royer (1833-1910)

            Thomas Royer was born on September 10, 1833. Thomas married Sarah Ann Kuntz, who was born on October 23, 1837, and died on December 30, 1903.  Thomas and Sarah Ann apparently married quite young.  They were shown in the census taken August 13, 1860, as follows:

Thomas Reyer, 25, master wheelwright, owning real estate worth $3,000
and personal property of $5,590.
Sarah Ann Reyer, 23
Lewellyn Reyer, 2
Mary Reyer, 9 months (Mary Jane was later Mrs. James Buss)
Two helpers, aged 20 and 21, a wheelwright and an apprentice.

            Samuel Kech, 38, a farmer, lived in the adjoining property with his wife and five children.  He was possibly a son of the Samuel Kech who raised Thomas Royer’s father.

            Forty years later, the 1900 census showed this household:

Thomas Royer, 66, wheelwright
Sarah A. Royer, 62, wife
Emma C. Royer, 34, daughter
Mabel R. Royer, 16, daughter
Cora E. Eisenhower, 29, daughter
Another daughter, Mary Jane Royer, at the time of this census was married and living in Easton with James Buss.

            Thomas died on January 12, 1910, at the age of 76 and was buried on January 17, 1910 (due to a snow storm), in the Indianland Cemetery at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, about a mile west of Cherryville on Route 248.  The cemetery is on a steep hill on the south side of the street.  The graves of Thomas and Sarah can be found close to the street on the left side of the driveway.  In 2006, Mildred Boyer Harris had a picture of Thomas Royer.

            Thomas and Sarah Royer had ten children:

Lewellyn Erasmus Royer (1858-1862)
Mary Jane Royer Buss (1859-1914)
Rosa Ann Royer Hunt (1862-1941)
Emma Catherine Royer Rode (1866-1959)
George William Royer  (1868-1923)
Cora Elizabeth Royer Eisenhower (1871-1958)
Edward John Royer (1874-1946)
Thomas Steward Royer (1876-)
Ella May Royer Stetler (1878-1959)
Mabel Roberta Royer (1883-1969)

            Details on the children are as follows:

            1.  Lewellyn Erasmus Royer was born April 21, 1858.  (His first name is spelled as in  several census reports -- with three "Ls" and not four.)  He died of diphtheria on January 17, 1862 (one record said it was January 24, 1863).

            2.  Mary Jane Royer, who would marry James Martin Buss, was born on November 21, 1859, and died December 31, 1914, at the age of 55.  Mildred Harris also had a photograph of Mary Jane.  In the 1880 census, Mary Jane, 20, was shown living in a hotel on Northampton Street in Easton, and she was working as a domestic servant.  James Martin Buss was living in a boarding house nearby, and three years later they were married.  They had four children: Nina A. Buss, William Thomas Buss, Lillian Royer Buss, and Anna E. Buss.  See details in the section on James Buss.

            3.  Rosa Ann Royer was born on January 24, 1862 (a different record said it was January 24, 1863) and died on September 21, 1941.  The 1880 census showed that Rosa, 17, was living and working as a servant for the family of William Stem, a lumber dealer in “Stemton,” in nearby Allen Township.  She married Lewis Hunt.

            4.  Emma Catherine Royer was born on March 16, 1866, and died on November 9, 1959.  (The 1900 census said she was born in March 1865.)  She married Herman Rode (pronounced "Roady").  She lived in Northampton in 1946, and was buried in Allen Union Cemetery in North Catasauqua.

            5.  George William Royer was born on October 25, 1868, and died on March 1, 1923. He was a minister and married Laura Master.

            6.  Cora Elizabeth Royer was born on May 10, 1871, and died on February 18, 1958.  She married William John Eisenhower and was living in Philadelphia in 1946.  Cora was buried in Allen Union Cemetery.

            7.  Edward John Royer was born in Cherryville on May 25, 1874.  He died on June 29, 1946 (another record said he died on July 23, 1946).  His wife, Emma Alina Kresge Royer, had died three years earlier, in February 1943.  His obituary said that his father, Thomas Royer, had been a wheelwright and that the family had been identified in the locality for 200 years.  Edward was editor of the Cement News.  Five of Edward John Royer’s siblings were still living when he died: Cora, Mabel, Ella, Emma, and Thomas.  At his death, Edward was survived by a son, Edward Albert Royer, who lived in Paoli, and one daughter, Mabel Pauline (known as Pauline) Royer Lentz.  Pauline was married to Paul Lentz, who was the head of the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Airport Authority.  Pauline and Paul Lentz were buried in Indiantown Cemetery, near Cherryville. Pauline and Paul Lentz had a son, Paul (Pal) Lentz, and a son, Robert E. "Bobby" Lentz, who was branch manager of a bank in Northampton. He died on July 9, 1996.

            Edward Albert Royer married Madeleine Yost, and they had a daughter named Alice Royer, who married William Roy.  Alice and her husband did extensive research into the Royer family, visiting the Cherryville homestead and the Royer relatives, as well as cemeteries.  Alice was in contact with Mildred Boyer Harris on details of the family genealogy.  Alice Royer Roy lived in California.

            8.  Thomas Steward Royer was born on January 25, 1876, the eighth child of Thomas and Sarah Ann Royer.  More information on this family is below.  His middle name apparently comes from his grandmother.

            9.  Ella May Royer was born on May 17, 1878, and died on August 31, 1959.  She married George Solomon Stetler, and they lived in Northampton.  Much of this information on the Royer family came from the Stetler branch, which passed it to Mildred Buss Bauder.

          10.  Mabel Roberta Royer was born on August 15, 1883, and died on March 14, 1969, at the age of 85.  She never married.  She was living in Philadelphia with her sister Cora in 1946.  Both were seamstresses with a furrier.  Mabel was buried in Allen Union Cemetery.


Thomas Steward Royer (b. 1876)

            Thomas Steward Royer, born January 5, 1876, one of the ten children of Thomas and Sarah Royer, was given his grandmother's maiden name (Steward) as his middle name.  He married Mary A. Miller, born in 1877.  When they married, he was 26 and she was 25.  They had four sons and four daughters, who were cousins to William T. Buss, the son of Thomas’s sister Mary Jane Royer Buss.

            The 1910 census for Cherryville showed Thomas as a laborer, “working out.”  The household consisted of:

Thomas Royer, 34
Mary A. Royer, 33, wife
Anna E., 7, daughter
William S., 5, son
Stephen W., 4, son
Elsie R., 2, daughter
Thomas Jr., 8 months.
            In 1920, the census showed Thomas as a “farm laborer, working out,” and the household consisted of:

Thomas S. Royer, 43
Mary W. Royer, 42, wife
Anna E. Royer, 16, daughter
William S. Royer, 15, son (born June 22, 1904)
Stephen W. Royer, 14, son
Elsie R. Royer, 12, daughter
Thomas S. Royer, 10, son (born October 8, 1909)
Mary A. Royer, 8, daughter (later known as “M. Alice Royer”)
Isabel E. Royer, 6, daughter
Richard M. Royer, 5, son.
            In 1930, they were:
Thomas S. Royer, 54, a paper cutter at a cement mill
Mary A. Royer, 53, wife
Anna E. Royer, 27, an office stenographer
Walter S. Royer, 24, a printer at a cement mill
Elsie R. Royer, 22, a public school teacher
M. Alice Royer, 18
Isabelle E. Royer, 17
Richard M. Royer, 16

            Thomas Steward Royer, the father in this family, was living in Cherryville in 1946, when his brother Edward died.  The date of Thomas's death is not known.  Thomas and his wife Mary were buried in Kreidersville Cemetery, a few miles south of Cherryville.

            The Royer family homestead was visited in 1995 by Mildred Buss Bauder (who kept track of family genealogy), S. David Boyer, and Mildred Boyer Harris.  The Royer home, about 150 years old, was the second house from the traffic light in Cherryville, on the right side of the street going south.

            Isabel Royer, apparently never married, was living alone in the family home in Cherryville in 1995, when she was 89.  William lived in Northampton and was a machinist for Bethlehem Steel. He was born on June 22, 1904, and died in Allentown on January 29, 1997, at the age of 92.  Anna died about 1994.  Alice married a man named Anthony and was widowed in 1995, living in Walnutport.

            Their brother Thomas Steward Royer, Jr., had been born in Treichlers, about a mile south of Cherryville, on October 8, 1909.  He was the third Thomas Royer in succeeding generations.  He married Margaret Snyder, who was born on September 11, 1912. The 1930 census showed Thomas Jr., 20, Margaret 17, and Donald, 9 months, living in North Catasauqua.  Margaret died on February 14, 1937, at the age of 24.  She was buried in the Zion (Stone) Church cemetery in Kreidersville, and Thomas said that his parents also had been buried there and that he and his second wife would be buried there too.

            After Margaret died, Thomas Jr. married Pauline M. Mertz, and on May 10, 1996, they observed their 49th wedding anniversary.  Thomas was an electrician for Mack Truck in Allentown, retiring in 1972 after 44 years.  At the time of the 1995 visit to Cherryville, Thomas, at the age of 86, was driving a panel truck delivering corn, and he helped the visitors locate the graves of their ancestors.  Thomas Jr. died at the age of 86, on August 1, 1996, in Laury’s Station, just west of the Lehigh River about five miles from Cherryville. When Thomas Jr. died in 1996, he was survived by his siblings Isabel, Alice and William, as well as 25 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.



Buss Family of Northampton County
Family of John Smith and Mary Ann Lee
Family of S. David Boyer
Boyer Family of Easton
Boyer Family of Orwigsburg
Waltman Family of Northampton County
Neil Boyer’s Family History Page
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