Select Kaiser Miscellany
accounts over the years:
- Kaiser, Kiser,
Keyser, and Kayser in America
- Dirck Keyser, Early
Settler in Germantown,
- The Keysers in the
- Lucien Kaiser in
- Henry J. Kaiser’s
Kaiser, Kiser, Keyser, and Kayser in America
principal American spellings have been Kaiser, Kiser, Keyser,
and Kayser. The household numbers today
– 15,000, with a high concentration in Midwest states
such as Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
– 9,000, with the largest
numbers today in North Carolina.
– 4,000, with the largest numbers today
(these were among the
earliest arrivals, including some from Holland and England).
Kayser – around 2,000, the smallest
contingent with the highest numbers in Ohio and Iowa.
Dirck Keyser, Early Settler in Germantown, Pennsy;lvania
following words were attributed to Dirck Keyser, an
early settler in the Germantown community in Pennsylvania.
have lived a life of great change. Our Dutch family of
Keyser, descended from our Bavarian line, was first represented in
my grandfather, Gerrit Keyser. I was destined to lead our
the new country where I became the founder of the Keyser family in
grandfather on my mother’s side was a Mennonite minister. I
too am a
Menist or Mennonite.
I knew William Penn, founder of
Pennsylvania. Penn visited Germany and Holland to invite all
him in his new settlement in America and to enjoy free religious
My sons Dirck and Pieter Dirck and my daughter Johanna joined me and
Amsterdam Mennonites in our 1688 emigration to Germantown,
Holland I was a manufacturer and dealer in silks and had
enjoyed being a man of some prominence. Our strong work
contributed to making our new hometown become a prosperous center of
most unusual distinction for a rural town near Philadelphia.”
Dirck Keyser was born in Holland in 1635 and
died in Germantown in 1714. During his
time in Germantown he was said to have always worn a silk coat,
his neighbors initially found as too showy.
The Keysers in the Schoharie Valley
1750’s two German families – the Keysers and the Schaeffers – made a
settlement at Keyser Kill, now called Breakabeen, where the Breakabeen
fed into the Schoharie river. Barent
Keyser built a small grist mill there around 1765.
family being large,
he “worked out” by the month among the farmers of the valley. He thereby managed to put away a few dollars
month with which in time he was able to be the owner of the farm.
labor began on the farm, he said that the woods around him abounded
deer. During one winter, when the snow
was very deep, a neighbor killed over seventy deer with his ax. Bears were also numerous and plagued the
farmers by killing their hogs and sheep.
Lucien Kaiser in Northern Michigan
born in Switzerland in 1852, had come with his parents Frederick and
Kaiser when they had emigrated in America in 1869
They were among the first settlers of the
Elk Rapids township in Antrim county when it was still virgin country. Their first task was to build a log cabin and
clear the land, making some money from the sale of the timber. Lucien would frequently walk to Elk Rapids
for supplies which he would carry on his back, often bearing a load of
as 150 pounds.
Lucien later secured his own tract of land in Milton township
and began clearing the land. His first
major purchase was a yoke of oxen, for which he paid two hundred
dollars. His homestead comprised 192 acres. He grew crops and raised cattle there. He had married in 1873 and his son
continued to farm on the land after Lucien’s death.
Henry J. Kaiser’s
their marriage in
1872, Franz and Mary Kaiser settled in Sprout Brook, New York where Frank as he became opened a cobbler’s
workshop. After three daughters were
born, Mary gave birth to a son in 1882 who was given a Protestant
years later with the name of Heinrich Kaiser.
are no indications from any
element of Henry Kaiser’s subsequent career that his German origins
were at all
important to him. How early his family’s
assimilation was completed is underscored by the quick change of his
name, from Heinrich to Henry. Although
it can no longer be dated precisely, it must have occurred well before
1943 Kaiser’s oldest sister recalled that in her childhood she never
ate a meal without saying a prayer, and as the first-born she often had
the benediction. It was initially in
but soon in English. Though his father
was Catholic, Henry Kaiser was raised in his mother’s Protestant faith
attended services at the local Methodist church.
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