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Eichenberg and Eikenberry Ancestors in Germany and America

Eichenberg/Eichenburg Eikenberry/Eikenbary Albaugh/Albach Groff
Naas Landis/Landes Hunniman/Honeyman

Ancestors of George Monroe Eikenberry (son of Zachariah)

The ancestors of George Monroe Eikenberry are documented in A History and Genealogy of the Peter Eichenberg Family in the U.S.A. compiled by Charles S. Ikenberry and W. Lewis Eikenberry in 1956. The history begins with the first reference (then known) to an Eichenberg in America: the baptism of Peter Eichenberg into the Contestoga Church of the Brethren in Cocalico Township, Pennsylvania, in the year 1752. It was assumed in this history that Peter Eichenberg was the first immigrant to America of the Eichenberg family.

As documented in records at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Illinois, Peter’s father, Martinus Eichenberg, was the immigrant (Ref. Church of the Brethren memorandum written by Bob Bowman in March 1983). Martinus and his wife, Anna Maria Dornin Eichenberg, were part of a wave of German Palatine emigrants who came to New York between 1722 and 1728 at the invitation of the English Queen Anne. The earliest documented record of the family in America comes from the New York City Reformed Church membership rolls. According to this record, Martinus Eychenberg and his wife Anna Maria Doorn, “of Neuwied”, joined that church on November 3, 1726, with an affidavit or letter of membership. It was usual for Palatine immigrants to bring with them a letter of recommendation from their church in Germany. Peter was thus a native born American, born some five years after the family’s arrival in America.

In December 2010 we have heard from Eric Eikenbary that he found a passenger arrival record on that Martinus Eichenberg arrived in 1724 (a year after his marriage) and there was also an 18th century land record for Martinus Eichenberg in Delaware County, Pa (neither original document available there.)

German Origins

The origin of the Martinus Eychenberg family was at Neuwied on the Rhine River just north of Koblenz in the German Palatinate (Map). There is indication as will be discussed in the Landis history, that the Eychenbergs at Neuwied originally came from Switzerland and were displaced during the clearing of Mennonites from Switzerland in the mid to late 1600’s. Some credence can be given to this as Neuwied was known as a refuge of religious tolerance at that time (Ref: Durnbaugh, European Origins of the Brethren). This in no way contradicts the Peter Eichenberg History which gives Eichenberg origins as Thuringia in Germany. The History mentions that in later years the family scattered throughout neighboring parts of Germany, particularly in Sacony. There is no reason that one or more sons might not have scattered as far as Switzerland and founded an Eichenberg branch there. This type of movement by younger sons, looking for land and adventure, was common throughout the ages in Europe.

Ancestors of Martinus

The earliest Eychenberg record currently known at Neuwied is Martinus’s grandfather, Johannes . He has been identified in Lutheran Church records by researcher Hank Z. Jones. Martinus’s father, Andreas, was a teacher at Neuwied. He drowned in the Rhine River when Martinus was only four years old. It is a curious coincidence that George Monroe’s father drowned in Indiana when George Monroe was only four years old.

Immigration to the New World

There is a reference on "Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s" that Martinus Eichenberg arrived in 1724 in New York, New York. The source is Mrs. Arta F. Johnson, editor, "Immigrant Ancestors." There is another reference in New York Genealogical Records 1675-1920" that Martinus Eychenberg is on a Church members list in New York in 1726. (This paragraph added 12/16/2010).

Why did Martinus and family leave Germany? According to Walter Knittle in Early 18th Century Palatine Emigration, there were many causes for emigration. The most frequently mentioned was devastation by war. In the latter part of the 17th century the Palatinate was repeatedly the stamping ground of Louis XIV’s armies. Moreover, protracted disuptes among the neighboring princes gave rist to continuous warfare. Spain had also terrorized southwestern Germany, plundering and requisitioning freely in the Palatinate as well as other parts of the Empire. For the people living in the war sone, the invasions wiped out promising revivals and discouraged further struggle for better living conditions. Other problems of a chronic nature included taxation. The splendor of the French court had dazzled many petty German rulers who sought to emulate the gorgeous court life surrounding Louis XIV. The expenses of their lavish and arrogant living had to be met by heavy taxes on their subjects, often so exhausting as to leave the peasants themselves without bread. The need for money to carry on war also made the taxes mount higher day by day. However, to ingratiate themselves with benevolently inclined Britains, emigrants found it convenient to plead religious persecution. Little evidence supports these claims as many of the immigrants were members of the state supported churches in Germany.

Queen Anne of England was generous in helping Germans reach the colonies. Britain needed population in America to hold the land against the claims of France and Spain. In the time period that Martinus came, much of the emigration to America was documented when ships had to pass through clearance in England before proceeding to America. However Martinus’ name cannot be found on any ship list. Only the New York Reformed Church record of 1726 exists.

Life in Pennsylvania

Oral family history has Peter arriving in Pennsylvania about 1750, when he would have been 19 years old, ripe for new adventure. He and Martin Eichenberg (possibly father or brother of Peter) are first found on Lancaster County, Cocalico Township, tax rolls in 1763. In 1769 Martin is no longer there, but Peter is shown owning 100 acres of land, 6 head of cattle, 2 horses, and 5 sheep. Peter’s land is found on an old warrant map of Cocalico Township. We have transcribed the land record onto a 1982 Lancaster County Atlas page just off Highway 222 (Map). His land is just south of the Muddy Creek settlement where a branch of the Lutz family settled in 1756. It is another curiosity that 150 years later, in 1900, in Benton County, Missouri, Sophronia Lutes, descendant of a brother of these Lutzs, married Fred Welch Eikenberry, descendant of Peter Eichenburg.

The various tax rolls listing Peter are instructive, as much as for the various spellings of the name as for information about his life. (Tax List in Pa. In the 1770 tax roll, 60 acres of Peter’s 100 acres show as cleared. In 1779 the property is valued at $1800 for tax purposes. In the 1781 tax record we learn that it was "mitling (middling?) land", poor land 100 acres, hills and stones, 5 acres. In 1783 he is shown with 100 acres of deed land and 11 acres warrant land. The 22 acres of separate land may be a timber patch as settlers often had separate small acreages of timber that furnished fuel and lumber for their needs. These 11 acres may be in adjoining Ephrata Township as in 1780 he pays a tax in Cocalico and also in Ephrata Township. Peter disappears completely from the Pennsylvania tax rolls in 1791; in fact the 1791 entry has been crossed out. He is known to have purchased land in Franklin County, Virginia, in 1790. Some of the other tax records can be explained by his membership in the Church of the Brethren.

Church of the Brethren Membership

First a word about terminology: The Church of the Brethren over time has been referred to variously as German Baptist Brethren, Dunkards or Dunkers (referring to their requirements for immersion for baptism), Seventh Day Baptists (referring to their Saturday meetings) and Church of the Brethren. Gale Spitler Honeyman is a member of the Church of the Brethren and tells us the Dunkers or Dunkards was never an officially sanctioned name and that the formal name of the church was not changed to Church of the Brethren until 1908. Next year will be their 300th anniversary. We have noted much variation in the use of the name in books about the history of the Brethren so have not concerned ourselves with sorting out what the proper name was at the proper time in our narratives. Even a 250th Anniversary book refers throughout to them as Church of the Brethren. So when we use the term Church of the Brethren it encompasses all of the above variations of the name.

The Church of the Brethren was to play a large role in Peter’s life. His wife, Fronica Groff, was baptized in the Conestoga Church of the Brethren in 1750, so that is no doubt where Peter and Fronica met. The History of Peter Eichenberg implies that Peter was Bishop of the Conestoga Congregation for some period of time. This is also mentioned in the Brethren Encyclopedia, Vol 2, 1983. The Brethren article states that "church records show that he was … an elder in charge of the Congregation." The Church of the Brethren ministry had three levels because it was recognized that a man could grow and mature in his ministry. A minister in the first degree could only preach, and only when older ministers "gave him liberty" to do so. Ministers of the second degree could administer baptism, serve communion, perform marriages and all the other functions necessary to be a pastor to the congregation. Ministers of the first and second degree were at all times to defer to the wishes of the elder or elders. The eldership was the most highly regarded and powerful position in the church. The Elder was the respected patriarch and the chief administrator whose task it was to keep order and harmony. There were in some congregations two or even three elders, in which case the oldest was the elder in charge. Elders were sometimes called Bishops. We have searched records to the best of our ability and cannot find evidence that Peter was an Elder or Bishop in the Conestoga or any nearby congregation. There purports to be a letter in possession of the Virginia Ikenberrys referring to him heading the congregation, but that is likely the only evidence available, and it is not available to us.

A brief history of the Church of the Brethren (German Baptist, Dunker) and a summary of their beliefs is given on the attached page. From the very beginning of the Church in Germany, the Brethren believed strongly in pacifism which meant they could not participate in military service. The Brethren maintained this vigorous opposition to military service in America down to the twentieth century. The Annual Meeting minutes of the Revolutionary War years speak eloquently of opposition to military service. The minutes of 1778 deal entirely with the problem of taking an oath of allegiance to the new state governments and heartily forbids the practice. Even the hiring of men to serve instead of the pacifist Brethren was strongly forbidden as it would still be taking part in war.

The Brethren were not alone in holding to nonviolence. Brethren, Quakers, Mennonites, Moravians, and Schwenkfelders are all found in the records of the Revolution as conscientiously opposed to bearing arms. The Continental Congree and the Pennsylvania Assembly tried to handle the problem by mandating that those whose conscience would not allow them to participate in the Revolution should pay fines which gradually became heavier and heavier. In addition to monthly fines, they were subjected to heavier property taxes. If they refused to send a substitute into the War, one would be sent for them and the cost billed to them. Objectors were disarmed and when they would not pay the fines they were taken by force. In some cases their property was also requisitioned to serve as hospitals. In Peter’s 1781 tax record it is noted that he did not take the oath of allegiance (the Brethern foreswore the taking of oaths). It is quite likely that the high tax rates shown on Peter’s records beginning in 1779 and the multiple taxes shown in other years were fines imposed for refusing to serve in the War or to furnish a substitute. As an example of the tax increase, his taxes in 1771 expressed in 1991 dollars would be $20.22. In 1781 they would be $1222.20 expressed in 1991 dollars, and then that amount was paid twice. Also, by 1783, pacifists were accused of being dangerous and rebellious insurgents.

The Move to Virginia

Why did the Peter Eichenberg family move to Virginia? Peter owned only about 100 acres of land in Pennsylvania and the 1781 tax record describes it as "mitling land, poor land, moss and stones." By this time Pennsylvania was rather heavily populated and Peter’s three sons would have only a chance of sharing Peter’s "poor land" or taking up other poor land in Pennsylvania. The taxes were astronomically high. Also the Brethren suffered some persecution due to their refusal to participate in the Revolutionary War, and this may have contributed to Dunkers moving to Virginia. By 1790 Peter was purchasing land in Franklin County, Virginia, eventually owning about 1900 acres. Land records there are in the name of Icanberry and Ikenberry. The Virginia branch of the family generally kept the Ikenberry spelling.

The move to Virginia would have been down the Shenandoah Valley on the great Wagon Road (map attached). They no doubt moved in one of the huge Conestoga wagons, made in Lancaster County. The trip was approximately 400 miles. Peter and Fronica were accompanied by five of their six children: John, Peter, Jr., Henrich, Elizabeth, and Faronica. Their daughter Susannah had married Johannes Myers in Pennsylvania and remained behind. She was to write later "Would like to see you once more if possible but the way is long and hard."

Virginia had been settled in the tidewater area in the 17th century by Englishmen. They soon found tobacco to be a viable crop, but there was a shortage of labor and the introduction of slavery began. When the Germans, among them the Dunkers, entered Virginia, they came in contact for the first time with a virulent form of slavery. The political life of Virginia was dominated by the aristocratic planters and stood in great contract to the freedom and political equality which the Brethren had known in Pennsylvania. In Virginia, the planters were universally members of the Church of England and it was established as the state church. The German "dissenters" were tolerated only because they formed a buffer between the plantations and hostile Indians in the west.

Beginning in the 1750’s thre had been scattered settlements of Dunkers in the western part of Virginia. Jacob Miller settled along Blackwater Creek in Franklin County in 1765 and laid a strong foundation for the Dunker Church. Gradually settlers from Pennsylvania joined him. Families joining Miller included the Eichenbergs, Bowmans, Barnharts and Landises. Two Landis daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, married Eichenbergs: Peter, Jr., and Henrich, thus contributing to two of the three Eichenberg lines. We will be adding Landis history. The Eichenberg home in Virginia was still in the Ikenberry family in 1956.

Henrich and Mary Landis Eichenberg

There is no record of Henrich and Mary owning land in Virginia so they likely lived on Peter’s land. Six children were born to them in Virginia: Daniel (born 18 Jul 1795, died 1795), Elizabeth (born 6 Aug 1796), Samuel (born 29 Aug 1798 - George Monroe’s grandfather), Henry (born 6 Sep 1800), Peter, Jr. (born 2 May 1802) and Isaac (born 9 Nov 1804).

The Move to Ohio

In the summer of 1805 Henrich made a trip to Preble County, Ohio, where he entered two parcels of land totaling 480 acres in Section 29, T5E, R3N. His brother-in-law Henry Landis had taken up land in a neighboring section in 1804 and probably influenced the Eichenbergs to move to Ohio. On September 2, 1805, Peter, Sr., sold over 550 acres of his Virginia land preparatory to the move to Ohio. On October 6, 1806, Peter, Jr., sold all his land in Virginia comprising 631 acres. Preparations for an early start in 1807 were being made. An early start was necessary as Henrich’s wife Mary was pregnant with David. David was born 25 Jul 1807 in Preble County. Henrich and Mary's last child Benjamin was born 13 Aug 1811 in Preble County.

Why did the Eichenbergs leave Virginia? While the farm had seemed to prosper, one reference states that the red hills of Franklin County wore out quickly and could not be revived. The topsoil simply washed away and could not be recovered. Also, grandsons were coming along and they would need land. The Ohio valley was opening up and Ohio had entered into statehood in 1803. It seemed a promising new area. The move to Ohio would have been accomplished by following old Indian trails and boating down the Ohio River (map attached). A trail had to be carved from the Ohio River to Preble County. The group consisted of Peter, Henrich and family, and Peter, Jr. It is believed that Fronica died about 1805 in Virginia which probably also contributed to the urge to move.

According to the History of Preble County, the Eichenbergs were among the first settlers. They took up land (records there are as Aikenberg) and immediately helped establish a school and participated in the first Brethren congregation in that area. Peter was the first Dunker minister to settle in Preble County. In 1798 there were only about 5000 settlers in all of Ohio and they greatly feared hostile Indian tribes. Preble County had no Indians in it - it was neutral ground between tribes and was used for hunting and for traveling. The main tribe, the Miamis, last camped in Preble County in the winter of 1813/14 and got along well with the settlers. The settlers looked upon them as protection from other hostile tribes. Nevertheless all members of the family became sharpshooters as women and children were often left alone while the men hunted.

The settlers found land as fair and fertile as the heart could wish - vernal green forest, oaks and sugar maples, beeches, walnuts, chestnuts and sycamores. Corn was the surest crop but it was necessary to clear the land and dig a well if not near a spring. Usually a number of families worked together. Peter’s nearest "neighbors" were three miles awy. The cabin would have been simple with only blankets or skins over the windows and with an earthen or puncheon (crude plank) floor. Furniture would have been very rustic and homemade. There was venison, bear, squirrel and turkey in abundance, along with wild fruit and herbs for medicine. Larger wild beasts such as bear, cougar and wolves were a source of dread. Smaller beasts were a great annoyance.

There were strange forms of sickness in the new country with no medical assistance, but the Eichenbergs were a hardy lot. Elder Peter passed away in 1812 at the age of 85. He succumbed to an attack of pneumonia with but a few days’ illness. Up until then he was active and vigorous. Henrich wrote back to Virginia "I inform you that we are yet in rather good spirits and are well at this time…I sent you a letter last spring by Brother Toni but he was compelled to return by high water … father …finally became mortally ill and could not get around, was only eight days sick in bed … . You have probably heard much how dangerous it is on account of the Indians and their war on our borders … God … can protect his own in the greatest danger." Peter is buried in the Wheatville Cemetery on the family farm on Section 29 (Map attached) (Tombstone; Monument next to Tombstone; General view of Cemetery). The monument next to the tombstone is interesting as such a tree stump usually represented "a life cut short." Interesting statement for a man who died in his 80's.

Life in Ohio

Henrich (Henry) Eichenberg died in 1828 at the age of 57 in Preble County, Ohio. His will: "In the name of God Amen. I Henery Eikenbary State of Ohio Preble County being in a low state of halth but of sound mind and memory do make ordane and constitute this my last will and testament revoking all other wills and codicals by me made. I give and bequeath on to my dearly beloved widow Mary Eikenbary one bed and bedings one clock and case one corner cabord with all its contents one close press and its contents one stove my sorrel horse, one cow five sheep one table one copper kittle on ioron kittle and as much more of the kitchen furniture as she cares to take, I also giver her my plantation as long as she lives if she sees caus to keep it. If not she may passe it, sold at any time and my sone Isaac shall have the refushel of it at Five hundred dollars. And all other property not above mentioned to be appraised and if the heirs sees cau to take the property at is a praised value thy are further to do this. Is also my will and desire that each and every child shall have an Eaquell share namely that is to say my daughter Elizabett and my sons Samuell Henery Peter Isaac David and Benjamin. I autheris my sone Samuel to stand as gardeen for my sones Benjamin and David. Also my son Benjamin shall have one hundred dollars and a horse beast to be eaquell with the rest. It is also my will and desire that John Neff and Samuel Eikenbary to be my Executors. As witness my hand this second day of May 1828 henriech Eikenbary (Seal). Test Daniel Adney, Isaac Heckman(?)

Henry’s estate records provide an interesting picture of their life ( Estate List page 1 and Estate List page 2) as they had acquired a goodly number of possessions. The items however, are simple as necessitated by their pioneer life, rather far from "civilized" areas. The number of books and the bookcase is surprising as they must have carried them from Virginia. It is a pity that the titles are not enumerated. The hymn book must have been a precious possession as Denbigh’s Brethren in Colonial America mentions that few actually owned a hymn book and that lines of the hymns were sung one at a time by those who had a book and then repreated by those who did not. The sale of the testaments is not surprising as we know from the Peter Eichenberg History that Henry and Mary also owned a copy of a third edition (1776) of the Christopher Sauer Bible printed in Pennsylvania. It has been handed down and is still in the family of their direct descendants (likely Isaac’s descendants).

The large amount of weaving equipment included in the inventory indicates that someone in the family was a production weaver - there is more equipment than would just be used for the family’s needs. The spool wheel would be a quill wheel used to wind quills or bobbins of yarn for the shuttle. The reeds would be used for spacing threads and would be in various sizes for thick and thin yarns. The brushes are likely teasel brushes (made from teasel plant inserted in a frame) and were used to finish fabric and give a fuzzy surface. The loom rake was used to keep yarns untangled. Rathe is an old word for raddle which goes on the breat beam of a loom to keep threads apart. A raddle is essential for weaving many yards or using fine yarn. Some of the equipment was purchased by Peter Eichenberg, Jr. and some by Isaac so perhaps both were weavers. (Thanks cousin Jill, for the help with weaving terms!)

In addition to the items sold and the items given to Mary Landis Eikenberry for her support for a year, Henry left her bed and bedding, a clock and case, a corner cupboard and contents (likely dishes as none were sold other than very plain tin and earthen ware), a clothes press and its contents, stove, table, copper kettle, iron kettle, kitchen furniture that she would choose, his own sorrel horse, one cow, and five sheep. He also left his "plantation" to Mary with first right of purchase to Isaac for $500. The balance of the estate was shared equally by his children - daughter Elizabeth, sons Samuel, Henry, Peter, Isaac, david and Benjamin. In additon, he left $100 and a horse to his youngest son Benjamin. According to the probate Henry had $18 cash and owed an unspecified debt of $95.

Samuel and Mary Albaugh Eikenbary and the move to Indiana

Samuel Eikenbary, son of Henry and Mary, married Mary Albaugh 17 October 1819 in Preble County and sister Elizabeth married Mary’s brother, John Z. Albaugh, 12 November 1818. We will be adding an Albaugh page.

Samuel and Mary Albaugh Eikenbary had two daughters, Dinah (born 12 Aug 1820, married Henry Steel 12 Oct 1837 Union Co In) and Catherine (born 23 Dec 1822, married Thomas Jefferson Follis 12 Nov 1841, Union Co, In). Samuel and Mary had three sons: John A. (born 2 Jul 1825, married Anna Karn 1 Feb 1851, Preble Co, Oh), Zachariah (born 3 Dec 1827, m Sarah Jane Honeyman 4 mar 1849, Union Co, In), Reuben (born 8 Nov 1830, m. Sarah Gill 13 Oct 1853 In).

Zachariah was named for Mary’s father, Zachariah Albaugh. Zachariah Albaugh presented Samuel and Mary with 95 acres of land "for love and affection" shortly after the birth of Zachariah Eikenbary in 1827 (Ref. Preble Co, Ohio Courthouse Records at Eaton, Oh, Vol 8, page 326). In June 1833, Samuel and Mary purchased an adjoining 30 acres (part SW ¼ Sec 17 T5E R3N).

In February 1835, Samuel and Mary sold all the property and moved to Liberty Township, Union County, Indiana, just across the state line from Preble County. In the 1850 census of Union County, Samuel and Mary are shown living with their son Reuben on a farm valued at $5000. David Honeyman and family lived nearby (see Honeyman link at top of the page). Zachariah married David’s daughter, Sarah Jane, March 4, 1849, and they are shown in 1850 as living on Samuel and Mary’s farm. Samuel’s daughter Catharine and family lived nearby.

Samuel Eikenbary was a citizen of some standing in Union County. According to Union County Court records, he was executor for a number of estates, including that of his father-in-law, Zachariah Albaugh. Zachariah and his wife Catherine spent the last years of Zachariah’s life with Samuel and Mary in Union County.

Sometime in the early 1850’s, Samuel, Mary and son Reuben relocated to Wabash County, Indiana, probably along with Samuel’s brother Henry, since they bought adjoining properties. Samuel’s son John was a frontier Brethren preacher in Huntington County, Indiana, and Samuel’s daughter Dinah and family also lived there. Mary Albaugh Eikenbary’s brother John and cousin Daniel Albaugh lived nearby in Miami County. Samuel’s daughter Catherine and family relocated with Samuel and Mary but to nearby Miami County. By the 1860 census all of Samuel’s family except son Zachariah and his wife are shown located in this northern Indiana area (Map attached). Again the reason for the move is not known. It is possible that the area was more favorable for moving produce from the farm to market as they located near the wabash-Erie canal which was completed about 1850.

Another possibility is a switch from growing corn in Union County to growing wheat. Corn and wheat do not use the same nutrients, and when corn land is worn out, it will still grow a good crop of wheat. There had been a massive switch to the growing of wheat by the 1850’s. Perhaps Samuel wanted to farm corn and not wheat, or felt he did not have enough land in Union County to support a good wheat crop. Samuel was an astute farmer and businessman as shown by his estate.

Samuel purchased the Southeast Quarter of Section 22, Township 26N Range 6E. There is no public record of the land purchase so we cannot definitely establish the date of Samuel’s arrival. However, there is an indenture dated January 7, 1869, in which Samuel sold the land to his son Reuben for $5500. In the interim, several things had happened. Samuel’s brother Henry sold his adjoining land in 1859 and went back to Preble County. Samuel and Mary’s son, Zachariah, died in 1855. He drowned in the Wabash River according to family tradition. As can be seen on the map attached, Samuel, Mary and Reuben lived very near the Mississinewa River. The Wabash River was a few miles to the north and may not be correct. Zachariah’s death is discussed further on the Eikenbary page linked at the top of this page. He is buried in Union County. If he did die while visiting Samuel and Mary they might have returned his body to Union County, as the cemetery near them was a Dunker Cemetery and there is no evidence that Zachariah followed the Dunker religion after his marriage to Sarah Honeyman. We hired a researcher in Wabash County who carefully went over all the Wabash newspapers around 1855. She found no notice of Zachariah’s death although she did find that one of Reuben’s sons had drowned in a river in Kansas while going to school there and that his body was returned to wabash County. We do not know if the story of Reuben’s son got mixed up with Zachariah’s death or what the truth really is. Zachariah’s tombstone does give the 1855 date of his death but we will likely never know the real cause.

The History of Wabash County, 1884, lists Samuel as operating a distillery from 1861 to 1865. An investigation into the Dunker position on alcohol reveals that distillery operation was a common problem and, although members were constantly admonished not to do so, that Dunkers did continue to operate distilleries. The history also provided us with the birth and death dates of Samuel and Mary from their tombstones when they were buried in the Mt. Vernon Cemetery (see map where the cemetery adjoins Reuben’s land). Mary’s tombstone in the Mississinewa Cemetery indicates she died in 1873. According to the History the date on her original tombstone was March 25, 1874. Samuel and Mary were later removed, as were other family members, to the Mississinewa Memorial Cemetery, three miles south of Wabash City.

Samuel died April 22, 1871, in Wabash County. A number of interesting deductions about their life and their relationship to George Monroe Eikenberry can be made from Samuel’s probate. His list of possessions is shown on the attached page. The pair of fire tongs listed was also listed in the public sale of Mary’s brother David in January 1822. Samuel was the purchaser. Samuel also purchased a dictionary at that estate sale but it is not in his estate in 1871. The two world maps that he owned show Samuel’s broad range of interests. At the estate sale a U. S. map and County map are also shown. Note also that Samuel owned many woodworking tools. There is a good possibility that he made much of th furniture mentioned in the inventory. In Preble County court records in 1822, there is payment to S. Eikenberry at $4 each for coffins. Given Samuel’s interest in woodworking, this likely refers to him.

In addition to the many personal possessions that Samuel and Mary had accumulated, twenty-seven people owed money on notes due to Samuel. These included not only his children but other non-related persons, so Samuel had evidently had enough money to act as a banker for several people. An Indian name, Wa-co-co-na is included among them which is not too surprising as several Indian names are shown on the land map previous. Because of collecting the notes due, his estate was several years in probate, beginning in June 1871 and ending in May 1878. The total disbursement from the estate was $7679.99. Of this, Mary Eikenbary, widow, and the administrator of her estate, received $2025.46; Dinah Steele, daughter, received $887.59; Reuben Eikenbary, son, received $887.59; John A. Eikenbary, son, received $887.59; David Honeyman and Sarah Honeyman Eikenbary, guardians of the minor children of deceased son, Zachariah, received $887.59; children of Catherine Follis, deceased daughter, received $708.94. Samuel stated in his will that some time previously he had advanced Catherine $178.65 against her share of the estate, thus her share was less.

November 15, 1873, John Eikenbary made a report of disbursements, including disbursements to Mary Eikenbary and $800 to David Honeyman as guardian of George Monroe, Alfred Pierce and Frank Eikenbary. In the final settlement in May 1878 payment is made to the estate of Mary Eikenbary and Sarah Eikenbary as sole guardian of Zachariah’s children. David Honeyman died in 1874 as did Mary Eikenbary. Sarah Eikenbary received $45.99, Monroe and Pierce each received $13.86 and Sarah received $13.86, evidently for Frank.

Curiously, George Monroe is referred to as Thomas M. and as James M. in different places in the administrator’s report. One might gather that John Eikenbary was not in close touch with Sarah and the boys, or that George was known simply as Monroe.

There are numerous Eikenbarys in the Middle West who are descendants of Reuben and John A. Eikenbary, sons of Samuel and Mary. John A. Eikenbary is listed in the Dunker Encyclopedia as he was a frontier Dunker preacher in Juntington County, Indiana. John’s wife died in 1905 and her obituary in The Gospel Messenger, July 15, 1905, lists the number of their children: "Eikenberry, Sister Anna, wife of Bro. John Eikenberry, died at her home in the bounds of the Salimonie congregation, Huntington Co., Ind., June 29, 1905, aged 75 years, 5 months and 14 days. She was the daughter of David and Anna Karns and was born in Clermont County, Ohio. To them were born five sons and two daughters. Two sons and one daughter preceded her to the spirit world. She united with the German Baptist Brethren Church in August, 1854, and lived faithful. She leaves a husband, two brothers, three sons and one daughter. Funeral services were conducted by Elder Aaron Moss, assisted by Eld. H. B. Wike. By Mike Wike.. Note the obituary gives the name as Eikenberry but we know from John A.’s signature in administering Samuel’s estate that he also used "John A. Eikenbary." Many such discrepancies are noted with the various spellings of all the descendants names. There are a number of legal documents for Samuel Eikenbary in Indiana - the name is given variously as Eikenberry, Eikenbery, Eikenbury, Aichenbery, and Eikenbary. When time permits we may try to obtain some of the original documents to see how Samuel made his signature - but it would require several documents as people often spelled their name differently on different documents as there was little or no emphasis on spelling during most of the 19th century.

The history of son Zachariah Eikenbary and his family is continued under the Eikenberry/Eikenbary link at the top of the page.

RootsWeb's World Connect Project: Eikenbary

There is also an Eikenbary/Eikenberry, et al, genealogy book in the Union County, Indiana, library and online at It follows the family of Peter Eikenberry, Jr. who was brother of our ancestor Heinrich Eichenberg (married Mary Landis).

Updates and References:
12/2010 Added information furnished by Eric Eikenbary from on arrival date of Martinus Eichenberg and of land ownership in Delaware County, Pa.

This page was created June 2007. It was updated 9/2007 with an explanation of the use of the various names for the Brethren.

References: The Brethren Encyclopedia, 3 Vols, Philadelphia and Oak Brook, Illinois, 1983

The Brethren in Colonial America, edited by Donald F. Durngaugh, Elgin, Ill, The Brethren Press, 1967

A History and Genealogy of Peter Eichenberg Family in the U.S.A. compiled by Charles S. Ikenberry and W. Lewis Eikenberry, published by Charles S. and Margaret Ikenberry, Chuch Center Press, Myerstown, Pa, 1955

History of Preble County, Ohio, H. Z. Williams and Brothers, 1881

Early 18th Century Palatine Emigration, Walter Knittle, 1965

European Origins of the Brethren, compiled and translated by Donald F. Durnbaugh, The Brethren Press, Elgin, Illinois, Fourth Printing, 1986


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