The name Rearick is of German origin, and has been spelled many different ways in historical records. In the early years of America’s history names were often spelled phonetically, creating many variations in the spelling, especially with non-English language names. The most common spellings were Rarick (earlier generations) and Rearick (later generations), but other spellings include Roerich, Rorig, Rarich, and Rohric (among others).
In spite of the variations in spelling, the Rearick line can be best described with one word: PIONEER. Four generations of the Rearick clan struck out on their own, building new lives in previously unsettled lands. From New Jersey, to New York, to Kansas, they made their way to the current “frontier” of their generation, and built a new life from scratch.
Hans Conrad (Conrad) Rarick
The patriarch of the family is Hans Conrad Rearick, also known as Conrad Rarick, Sr. (This monograph will use Hans Conrad to differentiate from his son, Conrad). He was born on 16 July 1723 in Erbach, Württemberg, Germany2 (about half way between modern day Munich and Stuttgart). He came to the Colonies in 1749 aboard the ship Albany (although some accounts say 1744 on the ship Aurora) with his two brothers6-8. During this period of time, many Germans fled to America, as the Protestant Reformation had made Europe a hostile environment for many of the wrong belief2.
Hans Conrad arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania4,18, where he met his future wife, Anna Marie Weber. They married in Philadelphia in 17531. They then relocated to the “rolling hills, serene fields, and winding roads”17 of German Valley (now called Long Valley) in Washington Township, Morris County, New Jersey2. There they farmed land, bred livestock and raised a family, buying 143 acres, Lot number 9 of the Boynton tract in German Valley on 28 May 1767.9 The homestead profited, and Hans Conrad purchased another 150 acres in Upper German Valley in 1773.9 Early life was not easy. Homes of that day were log houses, typically one story and less than 20 feet on a side. This allowed a fireplace to heat the entire enclosure16. But the early Germans of that era were known to be hard working and persistent, and the area prospered.
Hans Conrad was also very active in the Church, being one of the first elders of the German Reformed Church in Morris County in 176910. During these times, ministers traveled from church to church. This meant that for long periods a church would go without a minister. As a result, the Elders and Deacons commonly delivered the sermons on Sunday, as well as presiding over other church related activities. Starting in 1747 early members of the German Reformed church shared a log cabin with the Lutheran worshippers. This church consisted of a single room. In the center of the building was a fire pit, where charcoal was burned to keep the meeting house warm. With no chimney, smoke from the burning was a problem.
Over time, the population of Morris County grew, and in the early 1770’s the two congregations decided to build a new stone church. Hans Conrad continued as one of the elders of the Dutch Reformed congregation. He was one of several elders who signed the agreement to build and share Old Stone Church with Lutheran Congregations in 177412. Both congregations worked to build the church, sometimes holding contest to see who could build the most in a day. Since then, other buildings have replaced this church, but the walls of the “Stone Church” still stand today.
Over the years, Hans Conrad and Anna had nine children. Of them, the oldest, Henry Rarick, left the area and eventually made his way to New York2. Hans Conrad died on 16 April 1790 at the age of 66. Anna passed away in 1799 at the age of 73. They were buried in the German Valley Rural Cemetery, Valley, Morris, New Jersey, USA.2,13–14
In Hans Conrad’s will, he granted his son Henry 70 pounds to be paid out of his estate in “money or horned cattle” 19