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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Reichel, William Cornelius

by E. Thomas Sims, 1994

9 May 1824–25 Oct. 1876

An 1876 engraving of William Cornelius Reichel by H.B. Hull. Image from Cornelius Reichel, educator, historian, and Moravian clergyman, was born in Salem, the son of the Reverend Gotthold Benjamin and Henrietta Frederica Vierling Reichel. Reichel's ancestors were distinguished clergymen of the Lutheran church until his grandfather, the Reverend Charles Gotthold Reichel, joined the Moravians at Herrnhut, Saxony.

William Reichel received his early education at Nazareth Hall in Nazareth, Pa. He studied for the ministry in the Moravian College and Theological Seminary at Bethlehem, Pa., receiving his bachelor's degree in theology in 1844. After teaching drawing and Latin at Nazareth Hall from 1844 to 1852, he was transferred to the Boys' School at Bethlehem to perform the same duties. Four years later, in 1858, he became the professor of classical languages at the Moravian College. He served in this capacity until 1862, when he was appointed the principal of Linden Hall School for Girls at Lititz, Pa. In 1870 he retired to Bethlehem to engage in historical research. He was still able, however, to devote a few hours of each week to teaching drawing and watercolor painting in the Bethlehem Seminary for Young Ladies.

Reichel was a member of the Moravian Historical Society and of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Among his publications were A History of the Rise, Progress, and Present Condition of the Bethlehem Female Seminary (1858); A Memorial to the Dedication of Monuments . . . to Mark the Sites of Ancient Missionary Stations in New York and Connecticut (1860); Historical Sketch of Nazareth Hall, from 1755 to 1869 (1869); Memorials of the Moravian Church (1870); A Red Rose from the Olden Time (1872); The Crown Inn near Bethlehem (1872); The Old Sun Inn at Bethlehem (1873); and an edition (1876), for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, of J. G. E. Heckewelder's History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations.

Reichel was married twice: in 1852 to Mary Jane Gray of Camden Valley, N.Y., who died at Lititz in May 1863, leaving two daughters; and on 27 Oct. 1867, to Addie Harkins, who survived him. Reichel died in Bethlehem, Pa.


DAB, vol 15 (1928).

Nat. Cyc. Am. Biog., 5 (1894).

Who Was Who in America, 1607–1896 (1967).

Additional Resources:

Jordan, John W. "Memorial Notice of the Rev. William C. Reichel." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 1, no. 1 (1877). 104-107. (accessed June 11, 2013).

Vogt, Peter. "William Cornelius Reichel (1824-1876): Nineteenth Century American-Moravian Educator And Historian." Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society 30, (1998). 55-74. (accessed June 11, 2013).

William C. Reichel Papers. Special Collections, Lehigh Libraries, Lehigh University. (accessed June 11, 2013).

Image Credits:

Hull, H.B. "W.C. Reichel." 1876. Friedensthal and its stockaded mill. Nazareth, Pa., Printed for the Society. 1877. Frontispiece. (accessed June 11, 2013).

Origin - location: