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Orangeburg Rickenbackers - Ongoing Research

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The Immigrant - Heinrich Rickenbacher

The first Rickenbachers in Orangeburg were the immigrants Heinrich Rickenbacher, his wife Anna Burgi, and their son Heini. This immigrant family was the beginning of the present day Rickenbacker and Rickenbaker families in Orangeburg.

Heinrich and his family were citizens of Runenberg, Switzerland. While preparing to emigrate,they auctioned their belongings for 328 pounds 5 shillings and 4 pence (about $55,000 today) on 24 Mar 1735 in Runenberg. They started down the Rhine in mid April, 1735 in a party of 42 with the Gieglemanns (two families), the Salis, the Bitterlis, the Busers, and the Straumans). All took passage on the ship Samuel, leaving Rotterdam about 11 May 1735. After a stop in Cowes, they arrived in Charleston on 13 Jul 1735. Al;ong with 200 other "Switzers", they left Charleston on 24 Jul 1735 for the new settlement of Orangeburgh.

Heinrich platted a grant of 350 acres and town lot #167 on 16 Oct 1735. The present day Hillsboro Road runs approximately down the middle of the grant. The approximate present day bounds of the grant are the Edisto River to the SW, Rutledge Avenue to the SE, Wells Drive to the NE, and Mason Drive to the NW.

Known Male Descendants of Heinrich Rickenbacher

There is either proof or good evidence for the following descendants of Heinrich Rickenbacker.

1. Heinrich [Henry(1)] Rickenbacher 23 Feb 1690 - 1739

Heinrich and wife Anna Burgi had only a single child, born 8 years after their marriage. - notes

2. Heini [Henry(2)] Rickenbacher 22 Feb 1722 - 1780/81

Heini and wife Anna Till had five sons. - notes

3. Hans Heinrich [John(1)] Rickenbacker 7 Mar 1741 - 1810/20

Census records indicate that John(1) may have had three sons born between 1774 and 1790 but so far no other records of them can be found. - notes

3. Nicholas(1) Rickenbacker abt. 1747 - 7 Jul 1812

Census records indicate that Nicholas may have had as many as six sons born between 1774 and 1800. We have proof of Henry(3) and Nicholas(2) and circumstantial evidence that Jacob(2) was another. - notes

4. Henry(3) Rickenbacker abt. 1784 - 27 Jan 1816

The 1810 census shows Henry with two daughters.

4. Nicholas(2) Rickenbacker 13 Dec 1784 - 17 Dec 1851

Nicholas had four sons, all of whom had well documented families.

5. John(4) Rickenbacker 21 Feb 1808 - 30 Oct 1871

5. Josiah Rickenbacker 12 May 1812 - 29 Jul 1853

5. Samuel Elkin Rickenbacker 24 Jun 1814 - 20 Jul 1880

5. Emanuel Rickenbacker 21 Aug 1817 - 21 Jun 1899

4. Jacob(2) Rickenbacker 1784/90 - 13 Nov 1814

The 1810 census shows Jacob with a wife but no children.

3. Johannes [John(2)] Rickenbacker 19 Aug 1750 - 1810/20

Census records indicate that John(2) may have had one son born between 1790 and 1800 but so far no other record of him can be found. - notes

3. Samuel(1) Rickenbacker abt. 1760 - aft. 1820

Samuel is almost a complete unknown. He appears only in the muster rolls of the Orangeburg Militia and in the 1820 Census where he is a single white male with 29 slaves. Based on his militia service, he must have been born before 1765. A large number of slaves suddenly appear in Jacob's household in the 1830 census suggesting that Samuel had died and that Jacob had inherited his slaves. Jacob's son, Samuel(2), was probably named after Samuel(1). - notes

3. Jacob(1) Rickenbacker 10 Dec 1763 - 11 Feb 1841

Census records are consistent with Jacob having only two sons. Based on current knowledge it appears that the Rickenbacker name has died out in Jacob's line. - notes

4. John(3) Rickenbacker abt. 1786 - Feb 1870

John had one son.2

5. Patrick Henry Rickenbacker 1837 -

No male issue.2

4. Samuel(2) Rickenbacker 1793 - 14 Jul 1840

Samuel had two sons whose families are well documented.1

5. William W. Rickenbacker 1833 -

Only male issue died at age two.1

5. Mendicus Rickenbacker 1837 -

No male issue.1


Probable Male Descendants of Heinrich Rickenbacher

These family lines probably belong among the descendants of Heinrich Rickenbacher but just where they fit is unknown. I'm hopeful that this web page will promote discussion of how they fit in and perhaps elicit new information that will let us make the link.

The reasons why these family lines have become disconnected vary. The two Henrys probably lost their fathers (and maybe their mothers also) at an early age and were reared in other families. That plus the lack of early nineteenth century Orangeburgh records makes identification of their fathers speculative at best. The racial ambiguity in the Ruben line plus he lack of early nineteenth century Orangeburgh records makes even speculation on his father difficult.

PLEASE NOTE that comments following SPECULATION: tags are just that - SPECULATION!
Although these speculative comments are consistent with what we know, I have no proof of their validity.


The Ruben Rickenbacker Line

4. Ruben Rickenbacker 1796 - aft. 1860

From census records, Ruben had three sons.

5. Aquilla Vineyard Rickenbacker 1819 - aft. 1870

Vineyard has a well known line of descendants.

5. Artemus Rickenbacker 8 Nov 1824 - 5 May 1896

Artemus has a well known line of descendants.

5. Jacob Rickenbacker 1828 - aft. 1850

Jacob disappears from Ruben's family after the 1850 census. I do not know what happened to him.

COMMENTS:Ruben's family is a a bit of an enigma because of the racial ambiguity. Ruben first appeared in the 1820 and 1830 censuses where he and his family were identified as white. Beginning with the 1840 census and continuing through 1870, Ruben, Vineyard, Artemus and their children were identified as mulatto while their wives were identified as white. Since 1880, all members of this family line have been identified in census records as white.

Despite the mid-1800 census identifications, marriages and church memberships show that this family line has always belonged to the white community.

SPECULATION: 1) Ruben was probably the acknowledged son of a third generation Rickenbacker male and a mother of mixed ancestry. 2) This ancestry was likely well known in earlier times and considered of little importance except during the 40 or so years surrounding the Civil War.


The Henry Rickenbaker Line

5. Henry(4) Rickenbaker 3 Oct 1811 - 13 May 1896

6. Telefus E. Rickenbaker Oct 1831 - 26 Oct 1909

6. Jacob D. Rickenbaker Oct 1837 - 1909

6. Harmon Rickenbaker 1843 - 15 Oct 1862

6. Paul Rickenbaker 1846 - ?

6. Lawrence Wilborn Rickenbaker 13 Mar 1870 - 22 Mar 1941

6. Henry D. Rickenbaker 13 Mar 1872 - 25 Apr 1876

COMMENTS:I am guessing that it is just bad luck that this line has become disconnected. Born in 1811, Henry just missed the 1810 census. If his father died shortly after he was born, he would have been reared in another family and may not have known much at all about his father. Because the nearest group of Rickenbackers to Jericho Church (where Henry and many of his family are buried) is the Nicholas(1) group I lean toward assuming a connection to that branch.

SPECULATION: There are a number of possibilities for the father of Henry(4). He may have been a son of: 1) Jacob Rickenbacker who died in 1814, 2) Henry(3) Rickenbacker who died in 1816, or 3) an unnamed 4th generation Rickenbacker.


The Henry Lewis Rickenbacker Line

5. Henry Lewis Rickenbacker 10 Sep 1826 - 26 Feb 1897

6. Luther Samuel Rickenbacker 15 Jun 1851 - 16 Oct 1928

6. Govan Lewis Rickenbacker 8 Oct 1854 - 7 Nov 1858

6. John Henry Rickenbacker 8 Feb 1860 - 10 Jul 1881

6. Oscar Holland Rickenbaker 11 May 1876 - 9 Jun 1933

COMMENTS:Born in 1826, Henry Lewis is presumed to be the son of an unknown 4th generation Rickenbacker since all of the known third and fourth generation Rickenbackers were either dead or had well documented families by 1826. "Family tradition says he was the son of Henry L. Rickenbacker and Frances [unknown] and that he had two sisters named Frances and Catherine (Mary). His parents died when he was young and he was brought up by his Uncle George Baxter near Bowman. His sisters were brought up by their maternal grandmother and never married." 4

SPECULATION: Assuming that his father was also named Henry, Henry Lewis was possibly the grandson of Hans Heinrich (John(1)) who appears to have had three unnamed sons. It's also suggestive that Henry Lewis named one of his sons John Henry. (Most of the other unnamed 4th generation sons belonged to Nicholas(1) but his son named Henry(3) died in 1816.)


Lost Rickenbacker Wives

My research has identified these females that must be 3rd generation Rickenbacker wives. Whose wives they were is currently unknown.

3. _____ Rickenbacker

+Mrs. Rickenbacker (Abt. 1746 - 17 Apr 1807)

Buried as "Mrs. Rickenbacker" at St. Matthews Lutheran Church by Rev. Francklow on 17 Apr 1807, aged 61 years. - - notes

3. _____ Rickenbacker

+Salena Rickenbacker (Bet. 1750-1760 - Aft. 1830)

Salena is found only in the 1830 census listed as a 70-80 year old female in a single person household.

3. _____ Rickenbacker

+Elizabeth W. Rickenbacker (Abt. 1762/70 - 15 Jan 1852)

Elizabeth is buried in the "Old Pioneer Cemetery" in Orangeburg: "Sacred to the Memory / of /Mrs. Elizabeth W / Rickenbacker, / who departed this life / on the 15th Jany 1852 / aged about 90 Years / She was a native of Cork / Ireland; / arrived in America / in the year 1792 / and has resided 60 Years / in South Carolina". She also appears in the 1850 census listed as an 80 year old female in a single person household with 3 slaves.

I think this is probably the Elizabeth Barton who is listed in "The Rumph and Frederick Families" as marrying John Rickenbacker but have no proof.3 - notes



1. Harry E. Ulmer, "The Family of Samuel Rickenbaker", Orangeburgh German Swiss Newsletter, Vol. 7, No. 2, March 1998.

2. Harry E. Ulmer, "One John Rickenbaker", Unpublished Manuscript.

3. Louise Frederick Hayes, The Rumph and Frederick Families, Privately Published, 1942

4. Harry E. Ulmer, "Rickenbaker/Rickenbacker/Gates/Baxter", Orangeburgh German Swiss Newsletter, Vol. 7, No. 2, March 1998.

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