Conrad Doll1

M, #343, b. 6 March 1772, d. between 26 August 1819 and 28 August 1819
Last Edited: 1 May 2019


Father: Johannes Doll1 b. 25 Sep 1736, d. 16 Oct 1807
Mother: Elizabeth (?)1 b. 7 Jun 1742, d. 9 Feb 1810

Family 1:

Maria Trissler b. 1 Jan 1780, d. 3 Apr 1803


Elizabeth Doll20 b. c 3 Mar 1803, d. 16 Jul 1803

Family 2:

Mary Magdalena Graff b. 6 Aug 1776, d. c 27 Jun 1813


Catharine Elizabeth Doll+21 b. 2 Oct 1809, d. 8 Oct 1858
Mary Anne Doll 22 b. 2 Aug 1811, d. 8 Feb 1860


  • Note*: Conrad Doll was a talented man, tunebook writer, cabinet maker, organ maker, and later, schoolmaster. He resided in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the early 1800s. He experienced much personal loss, and his life ended in disgrace.
  • Note: Marriage announcement, from Lancaster newspaper "The Hive", in 1804:

    "On November 18 appears the notice that Mr. Conrad Doll had married Miss Molly Graff, daughter of Andrew Graff, Esq., who was then Associate lay judge of this county."

    Named in wills:

    Conrad Doll is named as the husband of Mary Magdalene Graff, deceased, in the 1813 will of her mother Catharine Graff and in the 1816 will of her father Andrew Graff.6,7,8
  • Note: Deed

    By indenture dated 3 April 1805 Joseph Lefever of township of Strasburg in county of Lancaster yeoman and Catharina his wife late Catharina Eckman, in consideration of £500 in species of gold and silver coin current in Pennsylvania to them paid by Conrad Doll, granted to Conrad Doll of the Borough of Lancaster, joiner and cabinet maker, a lot in Lancaster situate on the south side of King Street, about 32 feet fronting King Street by 245 feet. Recorded 29 March 1811, Lancaster Deed Bk 3, p. 363-7. Abstracted by Jeff Moore. Viewed on FHL # 21419.9
  • Note: Family Loss

    Conrad Doll lost his first wife, Maria Trissler, a year and a half after they married, and their daughter Elizabeth three months later. After a year and a few months he married again, to Maria Magdalena Graff. In the eight and a half years of their marriage, there are only two known children. Maria Magdalena died at age 37. The two daughters, Catharine Elizabeth and Mary Anne, were raised in the families of their aunts, their mother’s sisters Margaret Tressler, Catharine Stoy and Elizabeth Moore.

    The daughters may have moved to their aunts’ care within a year of their mother’s death in June 1813. Conrad began as schoolmaster for the church in Lancaster in June 1814, and there is no mention of children in the Consistory records. Furthermore Catharine Elizabeth’s grandson William Guilford, in his Graff genealogy, says that the daughters "became orphans at a very early age", upon the death of their mother.10
  • Note: "Aside from its rarity, this represents, insofar as an extensive search has revealed, the first German-American singing book printed before 1800 in which the music is presented in parts together with all the words for several stanzas. shows strong evidences of both the effect upon the transplanted German community of the musical work being produced in other sections of the new country and of the best hymnody of their religion in the continent from which they had come." (p. 230)

    "The Doll book...restricts itself exclusively to songs of a religious nature. The sources from which Conrad Doll drew the hymns for his Sammlung [include] Zollikofer, Bachofen, and Schmidlin...the most ingenious and inventive of these Swiss hymn writers." (p. 235, 236)"

    Brothers Conrad and Joseph Doll both published tunebooks. Joseph's book was sold by brothers Conrad and Jacob. Stapleton wrote:

    "..."Sammlung Geistliche Lieder nebst Melodien," printed and published by Conrad Doll, Lancaster, Pa., 1798, 112 p. "Der Leiche Unterricht von der Vocal music", by Joseph Doll, p. 108, Intro XII., printed by John Wyeth, Harrisburg, Pa, 1810. Do. second ed. 1814? Do. third ed., 1821.
    The above book was for sale by Wyeth the printer, Conrad Doll, of Lancaster, and Jacob Doll, of York, Pa. The Dolls were a musical family. Jacob Doll was chorister of Christ Church at York for many years."11,12,13
  • Note: Peace Church Organ

    Conrad Doll is best known for the organ which he built in 1807 for Peace Church, near Camp Hill, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Pictures of it can be seen by googling "Doll Organ at Peace Church".

    Noack wrote:

    "On July 6, 1807, "Conrad Doll of Lancaster, organ maker ... " and two Elders of the German Reformed and Lutheran Congregations signed an agreement regarding an organ "with six complete stops or sets of pipes." The price was $466.67 in federal money, plus shipping and travel expenses."

    "Doll's workmanship on the Peace Church organ shows him to be a very capable ca1binet maker as evidenced in the well-made, elegant case, competently made wind chest, wooden pipes, and other wooden parts. His metal pipes show considerably less competence"14,15
  • Note: Chamber Organ

    Raymond J. Brunner describes a second organ which came to light at a 1978 estate sale:

    "The organ is a two stop chamber organ in a small Hepplewhite style case. It was probably built between 1805 and 1810...The size of the organ and case style suggests that it was built for household use rather than as a church organ." (p. 16)

    "The chamber organ measures 4 feet wide by 2 feet deep and is 3 1/2 feet high. Its Hepplewhite case is African mahogany with inlay banding of curly maple and walnut. The top of the case is solid mahogany, while the curved doors and the sides are mahogany veneer over pine. The 54 note keyboard has ivory natural coverings with poplar sharps, stained black. At each end of the keyboard is an inlaid cheek block and beyond the cheek blocks are pierced wood grilles for sound emission." (p. 17)16
  • Note: Chronicles of the Reformed Church Lancaster:

    1801: "October 1801 Married on Tuesday evening last by the Rev. Mr. Beeker, Mr. Conrad Doll (of First Church) to Miss Mary Trissler, all of this borough." (p. 218)

    1803: "9 April 1803 Died in this borough on Saturday last in the 24th year of her age, Mrs. Mary Doll wife of Mr. Conrad Doll (First Church) of this borough. Her remains were interred in the German Reformed burial ground" (p. 219)

    Deacon: Conrad Doll was listed as a deacon 1803, 1804, 1805 & 1806?. (p. 896-7)

    1806: "January 4, It was resolved that: 'Mr. [John] Doll, because of his age and weak school, and because of the services of Herr Conrad Doll who plays the organ for the congregation shall have his salary raised to £18 15s. 0d. Beginning with the new Year.' The 'weak school' was not so much a fault of Mr. Doll's old age as of the trend of the times. There were a dozen and more English schools available in the town. No one, any longer, wished his children to be handicapped by speaking only German. Only the very pious or the extreme reactionaries insisted on keeping their children in the Church school. Mr. Doll's fee for each pupil was 10s. For 3 months. This was paid by the parents who could afford it and out of the Almosen for paupers." (p. 223)

    1807: "[John Doll schoolmaster died October 16.] Why it was that his son Conrad was not immediately appointed in his place is a problem. Perhaps he had some other profession, for, although it was not known what his exact age was, he was certainly past 40.

    At some time in the next few years, he moved to Lebanon, and may have kept a school there. At any rate in April, 1808 the Consistory were still looking for a schoolmaster and discussed the possibility of getting one Anthony Seiffert. This can hardly have been the 'Mr. Saeford' who served from 1779-89. He would have been as old as Mr. Doll himself. There is no evidence that he was engaged, for although someone kept the school, no name is mentioned until 1813." (p. 224)

    1814: "June 13, a letter of resignation was received from the schoolmaster Kraut, the second and last reference to him. A Mr. Welschans from York County was recommended, and invited for an interview. On the same day, however, that his letter accepting the invitation was received, came a letter from their old friend Conrad Doll, of Lebanon, applying for the position. (p. 227)

    The congregation were so delighted at the prospect of getting back this good old friend, now a widower in his forties, and a seasoned schoolmaster, as well as a competent organist, that they broke all negotiations with Mr. Welschans, and immediately elected Mr. Doll." (p. 227)

    1818 "Schoolmaster Conrad Doll, petitioned to be allowed to raise the price of schooling, as he can no longer live on what he gets. Resolved: to allow him to charge $2.00 for every child of a member of the congregation; and for outsiders 'so viel als er kriegen kann.' (Anything he can get)." (p. 229)17
  • Note: The circumstances of Conrad Doll's death were recorded in the Consistory Minutes of Lancaster First Reformed Church, which are quoted in full here:

    "On April 26, [1819], at 7 o’clock in the evening after proper invitation, the church board met at the home of the preacher.
    I. The reason for such a late meeting was announced and explained -- namely, that this afternoon a very unfortunate situation had arisen with our current schoolmaster. It was alleged that he had summoned a woman from the congregation, already advanced in years, to come to him, by all appearances to talk with him about her children whom she was sending to school; and that said schoolmaster had used the opportunity to try to rape her, but she had forcibly wrenched herself away.
    II. This unfortunate and troubling matter was taken in due consideration. The schoolmaster and the woman were summoned, and both appeared. After the woman had explained the circumstances and the scandalous behavior and the schoolmaster was given a chance to defend himself, he was in no way able to say anything in his defense.
    III. Both parties were allowed to leave.
    IV. After long and careful reflection and deliberation, it was unanimously resolved that the schoolmaster be dismissed from his post immediately and that he be notified by the trustees William Cooper and Georg Messerschmitt that his service was over and that he must move out of the house without delay.

    "On August 28 at 10 o’clock in the morning, after notice was given, the church board met at the home of the preacher.
    The preacher reported to the church board the sad and terrible end that Conrad Doll had come to, in that he had taken his own life with a rope, and that his relatives had requested that be buried in our churchyard. After long and careful consideration of all the circumstances, it was unanimously
    Resolved: that Conrad Doll, having committed suicide, not be granted burial in our churchyard. It was further
    Resolved: that on this occasion a clear rule be established: In the future, no one who takes his own life out of licentiousness, having led an evil and godless life, be he rich or poor, shall be granted or permitted burial in our churchyard."5
  • Note: Probate:

    Letters of administration were granted in 1820.

    The probate file contains the inventory, taken 30 June 1820, and exhibited 1 July 1820 by administratrix Catharine Stoy. The inventory lists a few household items, tools, and piano keys. Catharine Stoy was the sister of Conrad's deceased wife Maria Magdalena (Graff) Doll.18,19
  • Note: This Conrad Doll is not to be confused with:
    a) Conrad Doll of Paradise Twp. York Co. with will written 14 Aug 1815, proved 4 Mar 1816, naming executor son Conrad Doll.
    b) Conrad Doll named as child of John Doll with will written 27 Dec 1815, proved 13 Jan 1818.


  1. [S101] Register of First Reformed Church at York, Penn., and Trinity First Reformed Church. Transcribed by Henry James Young, 1935. FHL Microfilm 20494. typed manuscript., Item 5, Vol. I, Baptisms, Nbr. 258.
  2. [S31] Doll, Charles Edward III. '300 years of the Doll Family 1672-1972'. Chapter: 'Descendants of Baptista Dohld'. On-line manuscript: FHL catalog title: 'Doll genealogy : American revoluntionary [sic] war patriot Joseph Doll, father of Charlotte (Doll) Michael, Mrs. John Michael'. Publ. 1989. Viewed on BYU via FHL catalog., p. 'DOLL 5.'
  3. [S40] First Reformed Church, Lancaster Pa. (original records). Filmed at Franklin & Marshall College Library. In German; appear to be original records. FHL Microfilm #21452. [Some cited records translated by experienced FHC volunteer.], Item 2, marriages, p. 279.
  4. [S40] First Reformed Church, Lancaster Pa. (original records). Filmed at Franklin & Marshall College Library. In German; appear to be original records. FHL Microfilm #21452. [Some cited records translated by experienced FHC volunteer.], Item 2, Marriages, p. 286.
  5. [S68] Lancaster, Pennsylvania, First Reformed Church, Committees Consistory Minutes 1771-1847, p. 183 & 186, 26 & 28 Aug 1819, re Conrad Doll. Original German records. Photographed at Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society, Lancaster, Pa. Transcription and translation by Ann C. Sherwin of Raleigh N.C. 25 May 2011.
  6. [S71] Landis, Hon. Charles I. "An Old Newspaper, 'The Hive'", in Historical Papers and Addresses of the Lancaster County Historical Society, Volume 12 No. 2 Feb 1908 (reprinted from The New Era), p. 71., p. 80.
  7. [S62] Lancaster County, Pa. Register of Wills. Will of Andrew Graff Esquire, 1816. Will Book L, page 577. Viewed on FHL Microfilm 21359.
  8. [S63] Lancaster County, Pa. Register of Wills. Will of Catharine Graff, 1814. Will Book K, page 469. Viewed on FHL Microfilm 21358.
  9. [S60] Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania, Recorder of Deeds; Deeds, 1729-1867 ; Index, 1729-1894. FHL microfilm series. Viewed on, FHL microfilm # 21419, Bk 3, p. 363-7.
  10. [S46] Guilford, Billy. 'The Genealogy of the Graff Family'. A six page, legal size, typed manuscript, with a few penned corrections and additions, in family possession. Found with Rev. Robert Pilgram's 1921 letter. Possibly the manuscript was typed by Pilgram. Pilgram's letter quotes a portion of the manuscript. Pilgram says he has had the data for 15 years - so the data was created circa 1906.
  11. [S19] Brown, Robert Benaway and Frank X. Braun. "The Tunebook of Conrad Doll", published in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Vol. 42, 3rd Qtr., 1948, p. 229-238.
  12. [S45] Grimminger, Jay. Pennsylvania Dutch Tune and Chorale Books In The Early Republic: Music As A Medium Of Cultural Assimilation. PhD dissertation. 2009. University of Pittsburgh. Chapter 4.3 Doll’s Tune Book and Helmuth’s Chorale Book, p. 95. URL….
  13. [S107] Stapleton, Rev. A. Stapleton. "Researches in the First Century of German Printing in America - (1728-1830.)", published in 'The Pennsylvania-German', Vol. 5 (April 1904) No. 2, p. 81. p. 83. (viewed on Google books).
  14. [S87] Noack, Fritz. "The Doll Organ at Peace Church", published in The Tracker : Journal of the Organ Historical Society, Inc., Vol. 20, Nbr. 1, Fall 1975, p. 7. (viewed at URL…).
  15. [S28] David Tannenberg: Master Organ-Builder from Early Pennsylvania, Chapter 5: The Followers of Tannenberg, by Philip T. D. Cooper. URL & photos at
  16. [S20] Brunner, Raymond J., "A Conrad Doll Chamber Organ" published in "The Tracker : Jouranl of the Organ Historical Society, Inc.", Vol. 25, Nbr. 2, Winter 1981, p. 16. URL
  17. [S116] Williams, F. Colin. The Chronicles of a Reformed Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania : First Reformed Church, St. Paul's; St. John's; St. Andrew's; Church of the Apostles; Homestead Village. Lancaster, Pa., 2002. [Viewed 2011 at the Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society, Lancaster, Pa.]
  18. [S91] Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994. Images. FamilySearch. : 14 June 2016. County courthouses, Pennsylvania. URL:, Lancaster Co., "Letter of administration index 1730-1830", image 33.
  19. [S69] LancasterHistory - Lancaster County’s Historic Government Records. scanned documents., "Estate Inventories: INV 1820 F006", Conrad Doll.
  20. [S40] First Reformed Church, Lancaster Pa. (original records). Filmed at Franklin & Marshall College Library. In German; appear to be original records. FHL Microfilm #21452. [Some cited records translated by experienced FHC volunteer.], Item 2, deaths, p. 332.
  21. [S40] First Reformed Church, Lancaster Pa. (original records). Filmed at Franklin & Marshall College Library. In German; appear to be original records. FHL Microfilm #21452. [Some cited records translated by experienced FHC volunteer.], Item 4 Baptisms.
  22. [S32] Dr. William Moore's Family Bible. Book published 1837 by Thomas Manson & George Lane for Methodist Episcopal Church. Contains family vital records, starting with 1840 marriage of William Moore and Mary Anne Doll. Four-plus generations. In Moore family possession, 'bought at public sale of Dr. William Moore deceased by William G Moore Aug 17 1872.'