A diligent research of the early New York records fails to discover the immigrant ancestor of the Ryel mentioned in this article. They were of Dutchess county in the revolutioanry war period and at least one of them was a participant in the struggle for national independence. Speaking of the Ryels and Ryals in general, it has been suggested that the original spelling of these surnames may have been Royal, and considering the fact that the orthography of so many of our family names has been changed through incorrect spelling it must be admitted that there is some credence to be place in that suggestion.
(I) Peter Ryel was born in Fishkill, Dutchess county, N.Y., July 25, 1759; settled in Hillsdale, Columbia county, prior to 1796; and died Dec. 29, 1843. He was undoubtedly the Peter Ryel or Ryal mentioned in the New York revolutionary war rolls as having served in Colonel Brinkerhoff's New York Regiment, Dutchess County Militia, during the years 1779-80. Information at hand states that he participated in the battle of Monmouth, and as that engagement took place June 18, 1778, it would appear that he was enrolled in the continental army previous to 1779. There is another record in the same rolls showing that one Peter Royal served as a private in Captain Abraham Ricker's Company, Second New York Regiment, commanded by Colonel Philip Cortlandt. He enlisted Aug. 5, 1778, to serve nine months, and was discharged Feb. 17, 1779.
Peter Ryel married Mehitable Washburn, born in Sing Sing, New York, Dec. 2, 1761; died Aug. 26, 1857; daughter of Isaac and Hannah (Lovejoy) Washburn. Isaac Washburn was a member of the Society of Friends. Hannah Lovejoy, his wife, was either born in England or of English parentage. The Washburns resided in Tarrytown and their house was among those visited by the continental soldiers in their search for Major Andre, the British spy.
There is, however, no evidence to show that the Long Island landowners, mentioned above, were related to the Duxbury settler. Possibly Isaac Washburn was a son of John of Jamaica, but there seems to be no record to prove it.
Children of Peter and Mehitable (Washburn) Ryel were:
Born in Fishkill:
Andrew, born August 11, 1782; died Nov. 14, 1867. Isaac, Nov. 22, 1874; died Nov. 24, 1858.
Hannah, April 22, 1787; died about 1871.
John B., May 8, 1790; died June 12, 1870.
Peter, May 3, 1792; died Feb. 12, 1877.
Born in Hillsdale:.
Margaret, Dec. 13, 1796; died June 22, 1857.
Mehitable, April 22, 1799; died July 17, 1876.
David D., Aug. 24, 1801; died March 20, 1849.
Charles W., Jan. 5, 1804, died July 30, 1877.
(II) Hiram C., youngest child of Peter and Mehitable (Washburn) Ryel, was born in Hillsdale, June 1, 1807; died in Copenhagen, N.Y., Feb. 18, 1887. He married Nancy Cook and resided in Copenhagen, N.Y. Nancy Cook was born at Palatine Bridge, N.Y., Jan. 23, 1810; died Jan. 10, 1856. Her father, Rudolph Cook, who was of Mohawk Dutch descent, moved from Palatine Bridge to Copenhagen about the year 1815. He married Catherine Mellin, whose father was an immigrant from Ireland.
Hiram C. and Nancy (Cook) Ryel had children:
Peter C., born Oct. 25, 1835.
Sally, June 28, 1837; married Allen Sheldon.
Edmond G., June 29, 1839.
Hiram Henry, see forward.
(III) Hiram Henry, youngest child of Hiram C. and Nancy (Cook) Ryel, was born in Copenhage, May 16, 1842; died July 1, 1906. He studied preliminarily in the public schools and was graduated from St. Lawrence University, Canton, N.Y., in 1864. In refrence to his record as a student Professor J. W. Clapp of the St. Lawrence University faculty, said: "Ryel was the best mathematician we ever had. He had a good record for scholarship and was the first student to be graduated from the College of Letters and Science."
After graduation he acted for a time as deputy clerk of Lewis county under R. L. Rogers; was subsequently employed to index the results of the county clerk's office; and the system inaugurated by him for this purpose is still retained. Having studied law in the office of Judge E. S. Merrell he was admitted to the bar in1874, and accepting the appointment of surrogate's clerk he served in that capacity with marked ability for twelve years. Upon relinquishing his clerkship he entered into partnership with his perceptor, Judge Merrell, of Lowville, under the firm name of Merell & Ryel, and by the subsequent admission of the senior partner's son, E. S. K. Merrell, the firm became known as Merrell, Ryel & Merrell. This law firm was one of the most prominent in the county and transacted a large general law business. He was widely and favorably known throughout the entire community as a lawyer of great ability and unimpeachable integrity, and his death was universally deplored.
Mr. Ryel was elected district attorney in 1887 and re-elected in 1891. In addition to his law practice he took considerable interest in outside affairs, especially in matters relative to finance, and was a stockholder in the First National Bank of Utica. He was a Master Mason, affiliating with Lowville Lodge, No. 134. He was a member of the Lewis County Bar Association, and at a special meeting of that body assembled for the purpose of paying tribute to his memory, Judge Merrell spoke as follows: "I had known him intimately since 1874 when he became a member of my family, and I recall vividly the assistance he has been to me. He was an honest man. I used to think that a little more aggression on his part would better him financially at least, but that wasn't his way. He seemed always to try to keep people out of law suits. He was a great help to my father in his office. It is a peculari circumstance that in all the time we have been associated we never had one word of difference. This was due to no virtue on my part, but to his forbearance. He is cut off at a time of life when he was financially fitted to enjoy it. You all respected his industry and his knowledge of law. He was more of a student than any man in the community. He will be missed by a great many. I cannot begin to express the respect I had for Mr. Ryel."
On Oct. 8, 1878, Mr. Ryel was united in marriage with Sarah Glenn, born March 1, 1855; died in Lowville, Oct. 16, 1907 (see forward).
1. Emma Nancy, born May 7, 1879; graduated from the Lowville Academy in 1898, and subsequently from its teacher's training class; taught school three years; graduated from the Oswego Business College in 1903; acted as her father's stenographer until his death and is now employed in the county clerk's office.
2. Sarah Catherine, born June 22, 1881; graduated from the Lowville Academy in 1899, and from the teacher's training class in 1900; is now  teaching in the public schools of Lowville.
3. Bertha Belle, born March 15, 1887; died Nov. 8 of that year.
4. Mabel Glenn, born Dec. 13, 1890; is now attending the Lowville Academy and will graduate with the class of 1910.
5. Gertrude Korleen, born June 11, 1895.
Sarah (Glenn) Ryel was a daughter of John and Sarah (Stewart) Glenn. John Glenn was born in Belfast, Ireland, May 12, 1820. Emigrating to America when a young man he was for a number of years associated with his brother William in the lumber business, and then engaged in farming in the town of Watson, New York. He died in Lowville, Aug. 29, 1900. Sarah (Stewart) Glenn, his wife, who was born in Belfast, Ireland, in Dec. 1819, came to America at the age of twenty, and for several years resided in Troy, N.Y. Her death occurred Nov. 24, 1904.
Their children are:
1. William, born Feb. 24, 1847; died Dec. 21, 1882.
2. Joseph, born July 25, 1848; died March 18, 1877.
3. Margaret, born May 25, 1851; died in infancy.
4. Jane, born Aug. 30, 1853; died Jan. 5, 1894.
5. Sarah, who became the wife of Hiram H. Ryel, as previously stated.
6 & 7. Thomas and Samuel, twins, born March 15, 1858, the first named of whom died March 26, 1900.
8. Margaret, born Nov. 10, 1861, now wife of Hnery Wetmore.
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