I am still learning things about the earliest Eckers.  Hopefully we are not done yet.  I recently presented evidence suggesting why our Eckers of Unterreichenbach left Germany: hunger and flood.  We have a fair outline of what happened to them in Newark in the later years of the 19th century.  Moreover we know exactly when Abraham Wilhelm (William) Ecker arrived in the United States.  However, the usual searches of passenger lists to try to determine when William's siblings emigrated yielded no information at all.

Below I have assembled available dates and events that helps to at least bracket the arrivals of William's three brothers and his sister.  The evidence supports the hypothesis that all four siblings preceded William to the USA.  All but Christian had a marriage or a child in the US before William arrived.  Christian was younger than the two oldest boys so it is not surprising that he would not have been wed as early as his brothers.  (When he was wed in 1856, he was 22.)  Sister Regina Catharina married at the age of 18, the second earliest event of the group.

For all the dates below, the actual birth, death, and marriage records are available on this site.  For the two "first child" births for which only the year is given, it was calculated from a census report.

We do not yet know if the four older siblings came over together, although that is quite possible.  I recently took another look at the "Germans to America" reference series by Glazier and Filby in which I found the record of Abraham William's emigration.  Volume 1 begins with January 1850.  I could not find compatible entries for the older Ecker siblings between 1850 and Aug 1854.  Of course, they could have come over before 1850.  Passenger lists are not perfect either.

The dates above make apparent the young ages of his children when Jacob died at the age of 37. Those must have been tough times for his young widow and her family.  It seems likely that other members of the greater family played a role in their raising.  In 1854, William was accompanied by a 14 year old Margaret Eker, and 21 year old Elizabeth Bohnenberger. The Bonnenbergers were another large family in Unterreichenbach that had intermarried with the Eckers.  Recall that Frederick married Barbara Bohnenberger who also came from Würtenberg. For all we know Elizabeth and Barbara were sisters.  Perhaps this possibliity can be tested against the family registers that are still available to me. (Check back to see, or prod me to do it sooner if you have interest.)

Notice also that Frederick married Barbara the week after William arrived.  One might even imagine that he waited for his brother to be there!  William and Frederick were close.  They served in the Union Army together and were also prisoners of the Confederacy together after Frederick was wounded.  In my imagination, William stuck by his injured brother and allowed hiself to be captured.  Both were released at the same time.  I also speculate that William lived with his brother after he arrived.  After the Civil War, I think both moved north to the region of Albany, NY to work before returning to Newark.


Other Eckers to America

Examination of the church records of Unterreichenbach show that at least four Ecker cousins also emigrated to America in 1844 and 1856.  I do not know where they settled.  The German Emigration Index of Württemberg lists an additional two Eckers who came to America in 1858 and 1867.  I will present and discuss this evidence on another page.  This Index only begins in 1853 and would miss earlier Emigrants, including my Eckers.

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