Lady Clothilde de Valois de Reni was born 1665 in France to Charles de Valois and Elizabeth Heartwell and died circa 1748 in Fort Zeller, Berks, Pennsylvania, United States of unspecified causes. She married Jaques "James" Von Zeller circa 1709 in France or England.

Clothilde de Valois de Reni, a young countess, fell in love with and married a scholar who resided across the French border in Zurich, Switzerland. He was Jacques de SELLAIRE - known as VON ZELLER of Castle Zellerstein, Zurich. Clothilde was in her teens when they married. They fled from France with their children after the revocation of the Edict or Nantes and went to Holland, where they apparently stayed for some time. They, shortly after their son's marriage in Holland, the ZELLERS went to England and "the Lady Clothilde" as she was recorded there, placed herself, he children and her husband under the protection of Queen Anne who later gave them protection when they chose to begin life anew in the new world. But by this time, Jacques had died, either in London or before their ship arrived at New York in June 1710.

These French immigrants, together with many of the Palatinate Germans found little welcome along the Hudson River. They continued further north to the Dutch-English province at Schoharie where they again found rejection. After an invitation from the governor of Pennsylvania, Lady Clothilde Zellers' eldest son, with an Indian guide, journeyed down the Susquehanna and to what is now the Lebanon Valley. Jean Henri Zeller returned to report to his mother and her party that this was the place for them. And after building rafts and obtaining provisions for the trip, the contingent set forth, arriving at the Mill Creek Region, not far from present Newmanstown and the larger settlement of Womelsdorf in 1723.

It was here the Zellers built a fort to protect themselves and their neighbors. They procured deeds for land from John, Thomas and Richard PENN. Later they helped start the first church in the area, rebuilt their log fort in 1745 with stone outside and plaster inside and carved over the door the emblem of their faith and also the family crest as knights of the Holy Roman Empire.

It was about this time that the name ZELLER was Germanized to Heinrich ZELLER from Jean Henri ZELLER, and although his father was from Switzerland, because this family lived with the Germans in a German settlement, they have become known as of German descent.


Offspring of Clothilde de Valois and Jaques "James" Von Zeller
Name Birth Death Joined with
Johanas H. Zeller
John G.A. Zeller
A.M. Zeller
Eva C. Zeller
Maria C. Zeller
Johann Rorich Zeller
Frederick Zeller


Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General
  • Taken from a chapter in the book entitled "NOTABLE WOMEN OF PENNSYLVANIA", edited by Gertrude Biddle and Sarah Lowrie (Phila, 1942) and is from a short biography of a French woman named Clothilde de Valois.
₪ Wedding
  • Husband died in 1710, sometime between them being in England and arriving in America. He was from Switzerland.