Our German Ancestry
The name Eichenberg is very common in Europe. At the time the book was written, oral traditions
stated that Peter Eichenberg came from either the vicinity of Heidelberg, Saxony, or the Black Forest.
In 1872 Der Deutsche Herold published a series of articles titled "Records of the Family of Eichenberg".
They consisted of quotations from official archives. The records date from 1194 - 1776. The records begin with
a person named Albert.
Records of the Family of Eichenberg
Albert and his successors were lords of a feudal estate which may have covered several square
miles of land.
The estate appears to be named from its site, Oak Hill (Eichenberg) and was located near the
small town of Crossen.
The lords of Eichenberg were vassals of the counts of Orlamunde. The first name mentioned
in the records as lord of the estate is Albert von Eichenber.
Surnames were not yet used at this time, therefore, Eichenberg was a place name - Albert from
Oak Hill. It is not until 250 years late that it is unmistakably a personal name being shown as "von Eichenberg
The records show that in later years the family scattered throughout neighboring areas of Germany,
particularly in Saxon.
During the Napoleonic Wars a considerable number of family members were officers in the forces
of the Dukes of Saxony, and usually bore the title of Baron.
Page 9 from the book: "More recently, efforts have been made to make connections between the
Eichenbergs now living in Germany and Martiniss Eichenberg who was the progenitor of our family. In the town of Kassel,
where the headquarters of the relief program of the church of the Brethren is located, there has been found as many as 25
families of Eichenbergs. They report that their records were all destroyed in WWII."
Recently discovered information has been made by Hank Z. Jones while researching "The Palatinate
Families of New York." He has been able to positively identify the Eichenberg family in the Neuwied Lutheran Church
records in Germany.
Neuwied, incidentally, is along the Rhine River, just downstream of Koblenz and quite a long
way from Saxony, the Black Forest, or the vicinity of Heidelberg.
Martiniss is listed among the children of Andreas Eychenberg, son of Johannes Eychenberg, a teacher
in the district, and Anna Christina Stephan, daughter of Daniel Stephan, citizen of Neuwied, who were married September 20,
1693. The children of Andreas and Anna Christina Eychenberg are listed in the same Lutheran register as follows: Anna
Margretha born July 7, 1694 ~ Eva Catherina born October 30, 1695 ~ Hermann born April 26, 1697 ~ Johannes born September
27, 1698 ~ Martinnis born September 13, 1701 ~ Lotharius born August 10, 1703 ~ and Wilhelm Henrich born September 13,
Shortly before the birth of the last child, the father, Andreas Eychenberg, drowned in the Rhine
Coming to America
In the Eichenberg book it is assumed that Peter Eichenberg immigrated to America around 1750
with the first documented evidence of his residence in this country being his baptism into the Conestoga Church of the Brethren
in May of 1752
Peter Eichenberg was actually born here in America about five years after his parents arrived
from Germany. His parents Martiniss Eichenberg and Anna Maria Dornian Eichenberg were part of a wave of
German Palatine emigrants who came to New York between 1722 and 1728 at the invitation of Queen Anne of England.
The earliest documented record of this family in America comes from the membership rolls of the
Reformed Church of New York City. According to this record, Martiniss and Anna Maria "of Neuwied" joined the church
on November 3, 1726 with an affidavit or letter of membership.
Later, land records in Lancaster County of Pennsylvania show the purchase of land by Martiniss
Aikenberg, indicating that, along with many of the New York Palatines, Martiniss and his family soon found their way into
the Pennsylvania German settlements.
There Peter, son of Martiniss met and married Fronica (Veronica) Groff late in the 1750's.
Transformations of the name in America
There can be no doubt that the name brought to America by our ancestors was EICHENBERG.
There are two documents that have that signature and that same name appears nine times in a record of the family of Peter's
Peter's name appears in each of the five surviving early tax lists of Lancaster County in
Pennsylvania. No two have the same spelling, but all are recognizable as rather awkward attempts of the English officials
to record Eichenberg. Also, Peter appears in county records of 1776 as an executor of an estate with his name properly
entered by a local offical who was familiar with the German language. Since Lancaster County was primarily German speaking
people, it is to be presumed that the original form of the name was used exclusively.
In Virginia a different situation existed. The Germans were relatively new arrivals in
an English Colony. Official documents were prepared by the English. They could not read Peter's signature in German
script and therefore were obliged to try to represent the name as they heard it spoken, by using appropriate English letters.
Most descendants of Peter Jr and Henry have used the form of Eikenberry or Eikenbary,
and therefore it so appears uniformly in these two branches of the family.
Peter Sr.'s original purchase of land in Virginia in 1790 was deeded to Peter Icanberry.
In 1801 it appears as Icanbury and 1805 as Ikenberry. This last spelling is the
anglicized form that has come to be used exclusively in Virginia and also by other members of the Samuel Ikenberry family.
It was used also originally by most if not all of the family of Peter Jr and Henry in Ohio.
An interesting variation is in the fact that the original farms in Ohio were entered in the Land
Office at Cincinnati under the name of Henry Aikenberry and the land was later patented to him and Peter under the
In Ohio and later in Indiana, many variations in spelling appeared. Particularly there
was a reversion, whether conscious or not, to the earlier form beginning in Ei. Also there are variations
in the last syllable; it may have either a double or single r and vowel may a, e, or u.
Mrs Stella Eikenberry Risinger of Eaton, Ohio has reported finding in a cemetery, a single burial
plot with five graves, presumable all of one family. The Burial plot has five different spellings of the name.
Even though the name is spelled differently in the various sections of the country, we are all
of the same family and trace back to the same ancestor, Peter Eichenberg.
Short Biography of Peter Eichenberg
*Taken directly from "The History and Genealogy of Peter Eichenberg Family" *
Peter was the fourth child of Martiniss and Anna Maria. Tax records in Lancaster county
PA have five years preserved. Those years are 1771, 1772, 1773, 1779, and 1782. In each of those records he recorded
owning 100 acres of land and a few heads of livestock. It also appears that he was an executor of an estate in
1776. His residence was in Cocalico Township. Church records show him as a Bishop in charge of the Conestoga Congregation
from 1772 - 1795.
Peter and many other Brethren Families were seeking homes and decided to move away from Pennsylvania
due to the undesireable land. There were hostile Indians to the west, so they headed south on the Old Buffalo Trail
that lead them through the Shenandoah Valley. Many families stopped at the Shenandoah Valley but Peter and his family
went further south. Crossing from the Roanoke River Valley across the Blue Ridge Mountains, they found better land for
Deed records found at Rocky Mount Va show that Peter must have owned personally of jointly more
than 1900 acres of land lying on both sides of Little Creek. Peter's closest neighbors were the families of Jacob Miller
and Henry Landis and their children intermarried. The original Peter Ikenberry Sr. home has remained in the Ikenberry
family, being the home of his son, John, John's son, Samuel Sr., Samuel Jr., Samuel Jr's daughter, Lidia Fisher, and now Herman
Fisher, a great great great grandson.
German settlers were God-fearing and wherever they went they established church organizations.
Many of the early homes were built with huge living rooms suitable for worshipping purposes. Some of the fellow settlers
in Virginia were Jacob Miller, Henry Landis, William Smith, John Bowman, and Daniel Barnhart Sr. Peter, being
a Bishop, placed his membership in the Germantown Congregation, which is now the Brick Church Congregation.
Our religious heritage should be much appreciated. Peter joined the Brethren (Tunker) Church
while in Pennsylvania and his chrildren were all members of his church as are many of his descendants. Whatever denomination
his descendants belong to, they are generally known as loyal and devoted Christians.
After selling his estate in Virginia, Peter Sr. and his sons, Peter Jr. and Henry, moved to Ohio
leaving his son John and his daughters behind. There is no contemporary record of the year in which the Eichenberg's
left Virginia, but a History of Preble County published in 1881 relates that "Henry Eikenberry and his family, consisting
of his wife and five children, and his father, Peter Eikenberry, came out of Virginia in 1807. They settled where Isaac
Eikenberry now lives. They camped there for six weeks after their arrival, during which time they built a small log
house and moved into it. For a year after their settlement there were, it is said, no other settlers nearer than three
miles of them." While all the members of the migration who could have given firsthand evidence had passed away many
years ago, there is confirmatory evidence. M.W. Eikenberry remembers very distinctly that his father had heard his own
father, Peter's son, Isaac, say that he was two years old at the time of the migration. This would make the date 1807.
David, son of Henry, is reported to have been born in Ohio. Since David was born in July of 1807, the date of arrival
of the party would seem to have been in that month or earlier. While Peter bought and sold land in Ohio, there is no
record of him having a home there. He was only present in Ohio for five years before his pneumonia caused death
in 1812. Before his death, he was active being one of two minsters in the early work of the Brethren in Lanier
Township and only minister actually living in the township.
The burial place of Peter in Wheatville Cemetery was marked by a simple tombstone which
is preserved, but more recently there has been added a more impressive memorial which is unfortunately weathering so
badly that the inscription will soon become illegible.
There is no reference to the wife of Peter Sr. in the Ohio records. The last record of
her presence are in connection with a land tranfer in Virginia on September 2, 1805. It seems probably that she died
soon after this date.
Some of you might be interested in visiting the Peter Eichenberg tombstone and monument
(pgs. 12-14 and 421 in the Genealogy), especially if you are ever driving on I-70 in the western part of Ohio. The Eikenberry family cemetery (Wheatville Cemetery) is located in Preble County about 6 miles southeast
of Eaton, which you can find on any Ohio map. I went there last summer from my home in Columbus, an hour and a half
away. I will probably ask Shannon to put a link about it on the Ikenberry family
web site. Here are some instructions:
go south on Route 127, go through Eaton, and follow Route 122 southeast
out of town. The cemetery is not accessed from 122, but from Quaker Trace, if I remember correctly. The location is shown
on a map, which can be found here
. Preble County Land Maps under Preble
County Sources. Finally, click on
Township and the map with "Eikenberry
" on it
The cemetery is on the SW part of the map in the extreme NW corner of Section 29, which the family used to own, and
page 2 has some directions. You may want to contact me for more details since the cemetery is small and rather obscure. Maybe
we could go together, and/or you could stay overnight in my home. You are most welcome anytime.
??? Missing Links ???
Have anything you would like to add? Is there a mistake that you see? Feel free to
email me with the information. This site is an ongoing update of our family. Any information is greatly appreciated.
I can be contacted by email and you can find that information on the CONTACT US page.