Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Thompson-Riehl Lineage & Heritage

Erwin Thompson’s great grandfather Nicholas Riehl immigrated to the United States from the Alsace Lorrain region in early 1800. Nicholas was a Naturalist, specializing in ornithology and botany. He settled in Carondelette, Missouri where he started a floral and horticultural nursery.

Nicholas had five children, one of whom was a son, Emile (known most of his life only by his initials, E.A.)

Family legend has it that Mr. Riehl was working as a steamboat pilot when he discovered and fell in love with the bluffs along the Mississippi near Alton. He bought 140 acres of land a mile above Clifton Terrace and established the Riehl family homestead, Evergreen Heights.

E.A Riehl cleared the land and cultivated marketable crops to support his family. Mr. Riehl's avid interest in horticulture led to developing new enhanced varieties of fruits and vegetables.

He perfected a process of grafting nut trees that revolutionized the science of grafting. Mr. Riehl was recognized as one of eight most important horticulturalists in the country.His work is well-known at the Department of Agriculture in Washington and leading agricultural universities in America.

E.A. Riehl married Mathilde Roesch in 1866 and they had nine children: Frank, Edwin, Helen, Julia, Emma, Alice, Amelia (Mim), Anna, and Walter.

Anna married J. Arthur Thompson and they had five children, including a son Erwin Arthur Thompson.

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2 Responses »

  1. I found your website by accident when looking at some information about writing memoirs. I too am a Riehl.
    My father's family lived in the Buffalo, NY area. Unfortunately we don't have a lot of information about the Riehl family. My grandfather died when my father was quite young, and my grandmother was a poor source of information. My sister has begun doing some research about the family so hopefully we will know more in the near future.

    I'll enjoy looking at your website!

  2. I found your Web site after a close cousin from the Alton/Godfrey area told me that we are related, as distant cousins, probably third or fourth, or somewhere in between. My great-great-grandmother was Amalie Roesch Zobel, the sister of Mathilde Roesch Riehl. I’ve lived in the northeast for most of my life, but my mother lived for many years in the area and has passed along so many memories, that I think of myself as an honorary southern Illinoisan. I’ll enjoy following your Web site as I research my family more deeply and begin to write poems/prose sketches that call on ancestry as inspiration.

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