Excerpts about the Keister Family
Excerpt from Early Adventurers on the Western Waters-Kegley
Philip Keister (Kester) came to Tomís Creek about 1800 and purchased 65 acres from McCall and 111acres from Patton's executors.† He probably came from Rockingham County, Virginia, as so many of his neighbors did. The Kincers, Surfaces, Kipps and probably others were associated in Rockingham County before coming to Montgomery County.
Philip Keister left a will written Sept. 5, 1814 and recorded November 1814 (Montgomery County Will Book 2, p. 500).† His wife is not mentioned.† The children were Philip, Peter, John, Polly Baumgardner and Rebeckah Dederick.† He mentions that he lent Peter Dederick $100 in 1806.† Rebeckah received an additional $70 for boarding father Philip. The executors were Jacob Price and Henry D. Price. On March 14, 1822 John Keister of Albemarle County, Virginia assigned all his interest in his father's estate to his brother, Peter Keister, of Montgomery County (Montgomery County Deed Book 3, p. 415).
The estate of Philip Keister deceased was recorded in February 1815 (Montgomery County Will Book 2, p. 272).† The following are among the items listed: shoemaker's tools and box, sole leather, saddle and bags, beds, one with cord, one with curtains, and bed clothes, one silver watch, one Indian blanket, a pair fire tongs, one pair spectacles, shaving utensils, a powder horn, a "bole," combs and pipe, an ink stand, Bible, a geography, 8 German books, two towels, a tablecloth, a deer skin, chest, chamber pot, and one chair.
Philip Keister, apparently the son of Philip Sr., left his will recorded in Montgomery County. He wrote his will Feb. 15, 1834 and it was probated November 1835 (Will Book 5, p. 349). His personal property was to be sold three months after his death.† The money was to be divided among his children who were named as follows: Polly, "Betzey," John, George and Susanna. His sons, John and George, were to act as executors and were not to be allowed to buy the plantation. In the settlement of the estate John Slusher was allowed the sum of $7 for a coffin.
The estate of Philip Keister deceased was ordered to be appraised in November 1835, with the appraisal taking place on December 16 of the same year. The list was recorded in February 1836 and included the following items: a ten plate stove, barrel, salt tub, grinding stone and crank, a loom, quilling wheel, 2 shuttles, ax, churn, shovel and tongs, steelyards, waffle iron, coffee mill, a pot, 2 split bottom chairs, a woman's saddle, a man's saddle, snaffle bridle, crout cutter, a stone jar, one bed stead, bed cord and furniture, a shaving box and razor, 4 stirrups, 4 German books, salt box, buckets, wedges, anville and hammer, wheat and rye. The total appraised value was $265.38Ĺ† (Montgomery county Will Book 5, p. 369).
Peter Keister (Kester) came to Tomís Creek about the same time as Philip Keister did and may have been his son.† He bought 173 acres on Tom's Creek from Jacob and Mary Scilar (Siler, Sailer) in 1800 (Summers, Annals, p. 940).
When Peter Keister wrote his will in June 1839, he left the plantation on Tom's Creek where he resided to his sixth son Henry, after his wife, Elizabeth, died.† He also mentions his lands in Rockingham County, Virginia. He named the other children as follows: Elizabeth Price, Susannah Keister, Jacob Keister, "Sarahan" Barger, Mary Barger, Catherine Keister, Peter Keister, John P. Keister and Allan Keister. His son Peter, was to act as executor of the estate. The will was recorded Feb. 3, 1840 (Montgomery County Will Book 6, p. 191).
The estate of Peter Keister was appraised on March 13, 1840 by Henry Keister the executor, and included the following items: mares, colts, a wheat fan, cutting box, hay forks, 4 still tubs, cows, calves, clevises, coulters, shovel plow, harrow, barrels, hogs, pigs, gears, bridle, a little wheel, hackle, hammer, anvil, kettle, sheep, oven and baker, fire shovel and churn, 4 chairs, 1 cupboard and furniture, a lot of German books, bureau, 3 beds, cattle and chest (Montgomery County Will Book 6, p. 237).
Conflicting Accounts of Origins
From Keister Genealogy by John Taylor Keister
The earliest settlers of Keisters (Kusters) that we have any record of is that of Johannes and Paul Keister who settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania from 1683 to 1710 and the next imigrant was Conrad Keister who settled in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania in 1734.
Professor H. L. Price records in his "Family Lines" that the first Keisters settled in Lanacaster County, Pennsylvania as follows: First, Frederick Keister, Sr. came to America from Germany on the ship "Virginia-Grace" September 24, 1737; second, Peter Keister, Sr. came on the ship "Robert and Olive" September 11, 1738; third, George Keister came on the ship "Brigantine Mary" August 25, 1742; fourth, John Philip Keister came on the ship "Edenburg" September 16, 1751; fifth Ludwig and George Philip Keister came on the ship "Neptune" October 4, 1752.
The ship "Edenburg" that brought over John Philip Keister contained our ancestors.
One recorder has reported that the passengers on a ship named "Winter Galley" in 1738 which brought over three (Kusters) or Keisters by name (Peter, Robert, and Clare), were our ancestors but this seems to be in error as the following record will show:
As to the above Philip Keister we have the following given us by James W. Keister (our cousin) of Pulaski, Virginia:† I quote, "I have a record in German about the time he (Philip Keister) arrived in Montgomery County saying that he and his wife certified that the following were the names of their children and the dates of their births: 1. Marithana born November 8, 1778; 2. Elizabeth born October 21, 1786; 3. Johannes (John) born October 16, 1789; 4. George born January 27, 1794; 5. Susannah born August 4, 1799."† The above five names, according to Prof. H. L. Price's "Family Lines" are children of John Philip Keister who is the son of Frederick Keister, Sr.† He states that John Philip came to the New River Settlement in 1799 from Rockingham County, Virginia and located in lower Tom's Creek and all of the Keisters of this section are said to be his progenitors and his will is recorded in the Montgomery County records in 1817.
Among the records of other Keisters who settled in other parts of Virginia (other than the New River Settlement) may be mentioned the following:† The first family of Keisters that settled in Shenandoah County was that of Christopher Keister (three in family) in 1783.† The Keisters of Strasburg descended from this family of which E. E. Keister, the publisher, the late Rev. T. O. Keister and his son Judge Thurston Keister of Salem are members.† Frederick Keister III is referred to in both the Augusta county and Rockingham County Annals.† Some Keisters settled in Highland County, Virginia.† W. H. Keister of Harrisonburg is a descendent of this branch.† From the records we have the following descendents of Frederick Keister, Sr. who landed in America in 1737 and probably first settled in the Valley of Virginia and may have later migrated to Montgomery County at least some members of the family and is known as the Dyer settlement.† This last statement is only conjecture until the exact location of the settlement is established.†
...Now, the record of Philip Keister born June 7, 1753 (recorded by one as John Philip Keister) who first lived in Rockingham County is as follows:† He with his wife Maria Catherine left Rockingham County and came to Montgomery County in 1799.† They bought two tracts of land which were recorded May 10, 1800; one tract of 111 acres from the Patton estate on New River and one of 65 acres from John McCall on Toms Creek, a branch of New River.† A record is also given that when they came to Montgomery County they certified that their children were as follows:
††††††††††††††††††††††† Marathina born November 8, 1778
††††††††††††††††††††††† Elizabeth born October 21, 1786
††††††††††††††††††††††† Johanas born October 16, 1789 (our grandfather)
††††††††††††††††††††††† George born January 27, 1794
††††††††††††††††††††††† Susanna born August 4, 1799†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (End of Keister excerpt)
Extract from letter from J. P. Keister, Pulaski, VA†††††††† found in "Family Lines" by Prof. H. L. Price
†††† †††††† "You, I know, have been interested in the genealogy of our family-Kuster, Koster, Kister, Kester, Keister.† I will give you the result of my research.† First, in this country and my conclusion as to foreign.†††††† ††††††
The Philadelphia port from Amsterdam would give that on September 11, 1738, Peter Koster with Robert and Clare arrived.† It is tradition that he lived in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.† I would say at or near New Holland.† The ship that brought them over was the "Winter Galley."† Koster is the Holland spelling.† He was evidently young, probably 18 or 20 years old, and doubtless spent his life in Lancaster County.† He had at least three sons, from tradition and record: Phillip, our great-grandfather, Peter, and another, name not known.† The unknown one continued to live in Rockingham County, it is supposed.
†I have a record in German, saying that Phillip Kuster, the German spelling, was born June 7, 1753, and that his wife Marie Catherine, was in Rockingham County, Virginia.† He lived there until about November 1799.† He had bought and had recorded on May 10, 1800 two tracts of land; one for one hundred eleven acres from the Patton Estate, and one from John McCall for sixty-five acres, on a branch of Tom's Creek, a branch of the New River. ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††
I have another record written in German about the time he arrived in Montgomery County saying that he and his wife certified that the following were the names of their children and the dates of their births: 1. Marithana born November 8, 1778; 2. Elizabeth born October 21, 1786; 3. Johannes (John) born October 16, 1789; 4. George born January 27, 1794; 5. Susannah born August 4, 1799.†† In German, Kuster, the U with an umlaut--and Koster with the O, the name in Holland for the same.† Kuster and Koster stand for the same--sacristan, sexton or second.
Now back in the earliest days of Christianity with the beginning of the building of cathedrals, Kuster was the office next first to the priest.† He had charge of all movable things, as well as treasurer and member of the council.† In history, you will find in the Brittanica Encyclopedia, the Eleventh (I edition, Volume 15 and 16) that in 1339-1340 that Lauren Jansoon Koster had the best claim as the inventor or the movable type against Gutenberg.† He lived in Harlem Holland and died in a plague, but through his wife, Lucia, the pedigree was carried down to 1724.† Peter came to America in 1738.† I would say the earliest fixing of the name, as a surname of ancestral home, would be about Wurtemburg in the Palatina along down the Rhine, over to Holland and Harlem.
If you can get to a large library, can get the annals of Augusta or the annals written by Judge Lyman Chalkley, you should get details.† If you do, let me know."
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (End of Price excerpt)