Memories of Ellers Past


A MEMORY OF ADVENTURE ON THE AMERICAN FRONTIER

Edith D. Lyle

I will tell you a bit about my Jacob Eller. From Bible records we know he was born 25 Dec. 1789 in North Carolina (now Sullivan Co., TN). He married on 29 Sept. 1810, probably in Buncombe Co., NC Susannah McCarty (McCarthy), daughter of a Revolutionary War soldier, James McCarty (McCarthy) and Elizabeth Pruitt who were living in Buncombe Co., NC according to 1800 and 1810 censuses. Sometime after 1810 census, James McCarty left Buncombe Co., NC and in 1812 a daughter, Sally, married Moses Langley in Christian Co., KY.

In August, 1819,, James McCarty with two sons and son-in-law, Jacob Eller, were voting in the first election in Cooper Co., Missouri (Territory until 1820). They had to have been a resident for one year in order to vote. They were not listed on 1817 tax list for Howard Co., MO, from which Cooper Co. was formed. The McCartys and Ellers settled about six miles south of Boonville, MO which is on the Missouri River.

Jacob died 16 Oct. 1847, leaving a will, and is buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery in Boonville, along with wife, Susanna, who died 28 Aug. 1865. The children of Jacob Eller and Susanna McCarty Eller were:

1.James Mc. Ellerb. 23 July 181 1, NC
2..Mary Ann Eller.b. 3 Dec. 1812, NC
3..Jacob Eller, Jr.*.b. 8 Dec. 1813
4..Martitia Rebecca Eller.b.23 Apr. 1817
5..Joseph Eller.b.13 Aug. 1819 - d. 13 Aug. 1821
6..David S. Eller**.b. 9 Oct. 1822, Cooper Co., MO
7..George N. Eller.b. 12 Apr. 1825, Cooper Co., MO
8..Robert Woodson Eller.b. 6 Apr. 1827, Cooper Co., MO
9..Harriett E. Eller.b. 18 Aug. 1829, Cooper Co., MO
10..Christopher Columbus Eller.b. 23 Feb. 1832, Cooper Co., MO d. 31/5/1851

*Jacob Eller, Jr. was not in father's will (1847). No further records have been found. Some years ago, an elderly relative in Cooper Co., told me there was a legend in the family that a son had left home and was never heard of again. If the tale is true, this Jacob would be the one as all others are accounted for.

**David S. Eller was my great-great grandfather. He m. 9 Dec. 1847, Cooper Co MO, Martha Jane Oglesby, b. KY, dau. of John B. Oglesby and Elizabeth (Thomas) who were m 1811, Albemarle Co., VA. (I have traced this family back to the Rev. Jacob Ware who was minister at St. Peter's, New Kent Co., VA in 1689).

DAVIS S. ELLER was murdered by bushwhackers on his plantation, 18 Sept. 1864, during the Civil War. The area where he lived was called "Little Dixie" due to the large number of southerners and slaveholders. Feelings ran high during the war, and a total of eight southern men were killed in the county in the month of August, 1864.

The family was having supper, when someone called that the horses were out in the roadway. David went out, and then shots rang out. The bushwhackers then rode whooping and cat-calling by the house, driving the horses ahead of them. The story goes that the kerchief covering the leader's face slipped down and he was recognized by the family.

That night the mother and oldest daughters slipped out to bury David; it was too dangerous for the men of the neighborhood to do so. They rolled his body in a quilt and put it on a sled with wooden runners, and an ox pulled it to the woods. There they buried him in a shallow grave. However, after the war, he was taken up, placed in a coffin, and buried properly in the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Boonville, MO, along with his mother and father. (Actually his mother died a year later, and it is thought they were buried at the same time.)

A short time later, the leader of the bushwhackers was found dead, floating in the Missouri River. Hiram Mark Kepner, a son of one of the neighbors of the Ellers and a family friend, was put under a Peace Bond. His father felt it was too dangerous for him to stay in the county, so in great secrecy, they placed Hiram in a coffin and shipped him by stage coach, with a brother accompanying him, to Westport, now a part of Kansas City, MO. There Hiram hoped to join the southern army of General Sterling Price. However, the Battle of Westport had been fought, and General Price was defeated and driven south into Arkansas. Consequently, Hiram, then age 26, joined the freighting firm of Majors, Waddell, and Reed, of Pony Express fame, and ultimately Hiram became a Wagon Master on the overland trails to California and Oregon.

I grew up on the tale of his days on the plains, and in my possession, I have letters written by him during those days speaking of Indian fights, etc. Thus, my interest in genealogy and family history began very early.

David Eller's third child was Elizabeth Susan Eller, b 15 Mar. 1853. She was only eleven years old when her father was killed. It was so traumatic for her she would never speak of it during all the years of her long life. She d 26 Mar. 1936 at Creighton, Cass Co., MO. She was my great-great grandmother and a very elegant southern lady. I was age 12 when she died, so I, too, remember her well. In particular, I was awed when she would take down her hair, worn in braids, to brush it out. It touched the floor.

Hiram Mark Kepner returned to visit Cooper Co., in 1878, passions of the war had died down somewhat, although his parents had moved to Henry Co., Mo. There he found the little girl of 1864 all grown up, and after a whirlwind courtship, he and Elizabeth Susan Eller were married Feb. 1878.

Hiram's days on the plains and in the mountains were over. They settled near his parents in Henry Co., MO, near the town of Urich. He built for his bride a two-story log home, warmer in winter, and cooler in summer. After his adventurous years, it was a haying accident that caused his death in 1909

.

Elizabeth Eller Kepner lived in the house for some years, then sold it to their only son, Jerome David Kepner, my mother's father. I was born in that house many years later. It still stands, now covered with clapboard and modernized, and an uncle, only 4 years older than me, lives in it.

The David Eller house also still stands in Cooper Co., MO. A large imposing place, with bullet holes in the columns left over from the Civil War. (A battle was fought around the house after David's death.) The slave quarters still existed when my grandfather visited as a small boy, but are now gone. The house no longer is owned by any family member, so I've seen it but never been inside. Someday, I'll get up my nerve and go knock at the door ... perhaps...


QUESTIONS, CHALLENGES, AND PARTIAL ANSWERS

J. Gerald Eller

How many Eller immigrants came to America before 1900? What were their names and from where in Europe did they come? How were they related to each other and to the Eller families of Europe, particularly those in Germany. Which Eller immigrants are represented today in the United States by descendants? Which living descendant knows the name of his/her immigrant Eller ancestor? .

Partial answers to these questions are found in published sources. Additional partial answers exist in the unpublished files of researchers of Eller family history and genealogy and in a variety of other records. To find complete answers and disseminate them among the Eller families of the United states poses a major challenge for the ELLER FAMILY ASSOCIATION.

For those who wonder about the merits of family research, the answer I like best comes from an ancient Chinese proverb: To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without roots.

In the spirit of this proverb and for those who have not had an opportunity to examine the published sources on Eller immigrants, a review has been compiled. The review also serves as a frame of reference for adding corrections, clarification, and additional information. Also, it serves as a tribute to that gallant group of immigrants who first brought to America the name of ELLER.The major sources of published records of Eller immigrants are found in Filby, Wm. P., ed., PASSENGER AND IMMIGRATION LISTS INDEX, with Mary K. Meyer, VOL. I (A-G), Gale Research Co., 1981, p. 540; and 1983 SUPPLEMENT TO VOL. I p. 230, and the 1982-85 CUMULATION, p 815.<,/p>

The following extractions are from Filby and sources cited by Filby. These are followed by extractions from other publications.


Name ELLER Date Port Ship Port Reference

Sam1663Virginia--------***
Enock1668Maryland--------***
Mary1724CarolinaAnnLondon2p5O
Johan George*25 Oct l740Phila. PASamuel & Eliz Rotterdam 12pl4l; 14pp381-82
Michael30 Sep l743Phila. PAPhoenixRotterdam4p245;12pl63;13p346
Christian09 Oct l743Phila.PARestauration Rotterdain4p28;12pl78 ;13p35
Henry25 Oct l746 Phila. PANeptuneRotterdam4p256;1lpl75;13p362
Jacob**1765Carolina ----3p7
Johan Georg 03 Nov 1772Phila. PAPollyRotteidarn4p460;12p357;13p690
Barbara1772Phila. PA
Johan Jacob1772Phila. PA--------4p5O2
Ludwig 09 Oct l775Phila. PAKing of Prus.Rotterdam4p5l8;12p4l8;13p762
Carl 09 Octl775Phila. PAKing of Prus.Rotterdam12p4l9;13p763
Martin20 Aug 1802Phila. PABelvedereRotterdam 4p584;13pll3
---?1802Phila. PAJacobRotterdam4p594;3pl22
Johannes1841NY--------
Nikolaus1841NY--------
Anna Maria1841NY--------
Peter1850NY--------
William1856Phila. PA --------17p34
Joh George1857America--------15pl45
Jacob F.1866Phila. PA--------17p 14
Joh 1866America--------15p 145
William 1868Phila. PA ----17p34
T. Jacob1880Phila. PA-------- 17p34
Carl1893MD--------

*.Listed in some references as Johannes and Jerg Eller.
**.Not an arrival record; 1765 is date of naturalization of Jacob Eller in Rowan County
***. 1982-85 Cumulation, Tower Press, Detroit, 1985.

Three immigrants with surname of ELLERS: John Ellers arrived Philadelphia, PA in 1773, (Ref:6p506;12p406); ,b>John Ellers arrived West New Jersey, 1773 (Ref:6p240); and Bernhardine Gert Ellers arrived in America, 1884, (Ref:l0pl40). (Note: Sumame ELLERS most probably a variant spelling of ELLER. Both spellings still persist in US and Germany.)

(Note: An erroneous tradition among some Eller families is that their ancestors were of Dutch origin. This arose in part, perhaps, because so many Eller immigrants embarked for America from the port of Rotterdam in Holland.)

ELLER IMMIGRANTS FROM SOURCES OTHER THAN FILBY

ELLER, SAMUEL: "One of fifteen transported by Jno Nasworthy, 1663." Ref:11p5l3. ELLER, ENOCK: "Book 12pl94, transported 1668." (Ref:pl48)

(Note: Samuel and Enock were probably among early Germans who made their way to England before coming to America. Both probably were indentured. Samuel Eller has the distinction of being the earliest Eller to reach America so far found in the published records.

ELLER, SUSAN L. "George Partsch, 1719-1765, born in Langendorf, Upper Selesia. In 1743, married Susan L. Eller at Hermberg, twenty-four couples being joined in wedlock on the same day. All of whom came to Bethlehem PA that year. In 1774 he and his wife were appointed to Gnaddenhutten on the Mahoney, PA where six days after their arrival the missionaries were massacred by hostile Indians. Partsch crawled through a window and his wife leaped down from the burning house and escaped with him. Both afterwards served in the 'Economy' or common household of the Bethlehem congregation, and in the mission at St. Thomas." (Ref:5p399)

ELLER, JACOB; "ST. PAUL'S LUTHERAN (RED HILL) KB, MONTGOMERY CO., PA: Jacob Eller, son of Casper Eller, born in the Palatinate, m 11 Dec. 1753 Maria Eva Goettge, daughter of Hannes Goettge, born in Zweybruchen." (Ref:1pl42)

ELLER, MELCHIOR: "Anno 1756 on April 17 the following young persons were confirmed by the Evangelical doctrine of the New Hanover Congregation (Montgomery Co., PA) and on the 18th of April were admitted to the Holy Communion." Among the communicants was "Eller, Melchior, the late Casper Eller's son, in his 20th yr." (Ref.5p 299)

(Note: The above records indicate that Jacob and Melchior Eller were brothers who apparently lived in Montgomery Co., PA (before moving to Rowan Co., NC). Family tradition that they lived in Lancaster Co., PA apparently is incorrect since no record there has been found. The father, Casper Eller, apparently died in the Palatinate between 1753 and 1756. AR efforts to locate this Casper Eller in Germany so far have been unsuccessful. These records also cast doubt on the tradition that the early Eller settlers in North Carolina came from near Dusseldorf. These two records also suggest that Jacob and Melchior were probably Lutherans.)

JAMES W. HOOK, an Eller descendant now deceased, published the first studies of Eller families in the US. While he concentrated principally on his own lineage leading back to George Michael Eller, he provided, information on the families of four Eller immigrants considered to be brothers of George Michael: Jacob, Christian, Henry, and Melchior. The first of his two books was published in 1925 (ref:8) and his last in 1957 (ref:9) The books, particularly the last, made valuable contributions to the genealogy and history of some Eller and allied families and remains today a useful reference. The last book needs to be reprinted, or better, updated with corrections and additions, all properly documented.

ELLER IMMIGRANTS FROM THE PUBLICATIONS OF JAMES W. HOOK

ELLER, GEORGE MICHAEL: "Michael Eller came on the ship Phoenix, from Rotterdam and took his oath 30 Sept. 1743. Later a Michael Eller on 12 April 1753 was granted 25 acres in Lancaster Co., Penna, and in the year 1759 a Michael Eller was on the tax list of Rowan Co., North Carolina. A George Eller, age 20, took the Oath of Allegiance on 7 October 1743. On 14 April 1773 George Michael Eller, who may have been the Michael or George Eller who took their oaths in 1743, bought land called Hammon's Strife in Frederick Co., Maryland (Deed Book S, pp96-98)." (Ref.9pl)

(Note: One may quibble with Hook for transcribing the name "Geo Eler" to "George Eller" when the record clearly shows that the immigrant, age 20, who took his oath on 7 Oct. 1743 was Geo Eler.)

ELLER, HENRY: "A Henry Eller came on the ship Neptune from Rotterdam and took his Oath of Allegiance 25 Oct. 1746. On 6 June 1767, a Henry Eller bought land called Hammon's Strife in Frederick Co., Md. Apparently he was a brother of George Michael Eller." (Ref.9pl)

ELLER, CHRISTIAN: "Christian Eller came on the ship 'Restauration' from Rotterdam and took his Oath of Allegiance 9 Oct. 1747. On 27 Jan. 1762 Christian Eller bought land on Crane Creek in Rowan Co., North Carolina. (Deed Book 5, pp 347/48, Rowan Co., NC.)" (Ref.9p2)

ELLER, JACOB: "Other Ellers in the early North Carolina record were Jacob Eller who bought land at the 'Atkin,- (Yadkin) or Pedee River or branches thereof in Rowan Co., NC, 31 Dec. 1761 (Deed Book 5, pp. 36-37, Rowan Co., NC) (Ref9p2)...

ELLER, MELCHIOR: and Melker Eller who bought land on Crane Creek in Rowan Co., NC on 10 April 1764 (Deed Book 5, p. 463, Rowan Co., NC)." (Ref9p2)

(Note: the above Jacob Eller's marriage record in 1753 in Montgomery Co., PA and the above Melchior Eller's confirmation record in Montgomery Co., PA were described earlier. The name "Melchior" in Rowan Co., NC records shows many variant spellings, often as "Melker".)

"Tradition which is well born out by county records, says that the early Eller family of North Carolina was founded by Jacob, Christian, and Melchior Eller, who left their homes near Dusseldorf, Germany, between 1745 and 1750 and emigrated to the state of Pennsylvania, where a brother, George, and other Eller kin had settled some years previously. Important records help to bear out this tradition." (Ref 8p103)

(Note: The above statement from the 1925 book was altered in the 1957 book to identify the Palatinate as the location of the immigrant Eller homes in Germany, however, Hook offered no documentation.)

"Tradition also states that Jacob, Christian, Melchior, George, and Henry were brothers; that the first three named, after living in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania for a number of years, joined the great migration that was pouring down the Shenandoah Valley into western North Carolina and settled in Rowan County on the grants of the Earl of Granville to Governor Dobbs, about 1754. The brothers, George and Henry, remained in Pennsylvania and raised families, some sons of which engaged in the struggle for independence and later settled in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina." (Ref.8pp103/04)

(Note: The tradition was strong in Rowan Co., NC that Jacob, Christian and Melchior were brothers. That they were also brothers to George Michael and Henry can be questioned in the absence of documentation. The identification of Casper Eller as the father of Jacob and Melchior in records cited earlier is the first documentation on this question that I have found. Some of the early Rowan Co., NC Eller families also fought in the war of independence.)

(Note: Additional published records, not cited above or examined by this writer, no doubt exist about Eller immigrants to America. This is particularly true for the extensive German genealogical literature and arrival records for ports other than Philadelphia in the 19th Century.

REFERENCES CITED

  1. Burgert, Annette K., EIGHTEENTH CENTURY IMMIGRANTS, VOL. II, WESTERN PALATINATE, The Pennsylvania German Society, Vol. XIX, Birdsboro, 1895, p. 142
  2. Coldham, Peter Wilson, ENGLISH CONVICTS IN COLONIAL AMERICA, Vol. II, London 1646-1775, Polyanthos, New Orleans, 1976, p. 50
  3. Eaker, Lorena Shell, THE GERMANS IN N.C.., The Palatine Immigrant, 6:1 (Summer, 1980), p. 7.
  4. Egle, William Henry, ed., NAMES OF FOREIGNERS WHO TOOK THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE PROVINCE AND STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA 1786-1775, WITH THE FOREIGN ARRIVALS, 1786-1808. Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Vol. 17, Harrisburg, PA; E. K. Myers, 1890. Reprint. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. Baltimore, 1967.
  5. GERMAN CHURCH RECORDS FROM PENNSYLVANIA GERMAN SOCIETY, PROCEEDINGS AND ADDRESSES, Vol. II, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. Baltimore, 1983.
  6. AN INDEX TO NAMES OF IMMIGRANTS, COMPILED FROM RECORDS OF 1663-1680. In the Hall of Records, Annapolis, Md., Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., Baltimore, 1974.
  7. ibid.
  8. Hook, James W., JAMES W. HOOK AND VIRGINIA ELLER, (New Haven, CN; Tuttle, Morehouse and Taylor, 1925.)
  9. ibid. GEORGE MICHAEL ELLER AND DESCENDANTS OF HIS IN AMERICA (New Haven, CN: for the Author, 1957.)
  10. Mueller, Frederick, WESTFAELISCHE AUSWANDERER im. 19. Jahrhundert Auswanderung aus dem Regierungsbezirk Muenster, Part 1.1803-1850. In Beitraege zur Westfaelischen Familienforschung, Vol. 22-24 (1964-1966).
  11. Nugent, Marion Nell, CALAVIERS AND PIONEERS OF VIRGINIA, Land Patents and Grants 1623-1663; Vol. I, Genealogical Publishing., Inc., BaltiMore, 1974.
  12. Rupp, Israel Daniel. A COLLECTION OF UPWARDS OF THIRTY THOUSAND NAMES OF GERMAN, SWISS, DUTCH, FRENCH AND OTHER IMMIGRANTS TO PENNSYLVANIA FROM 1727 to 1776. Leipzig: Degener and Co., 1931. Reprint. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1967.

  13. Strassburger, Ralph Beaver. PENNSYLVANIA GERMAN PIONEERS: A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1808, Ed. by Wm. John Hinke, Norristown (PA): Pennsylvania German Society, 1934, Vol. 1. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. Baltimore, 1965. (Lancour 144)
  14. ibid.
  15. Struck, Wolf-Heino. Die Auswanderung as dem Herzogum Nassau (1 806-1866) Ein Kapital der Modemen politischen und sozizlen Entwicklung. Wiesbaden, Germany: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1966.
  16. Tepper, Michael. EMMIGRANTS TO PENNSYLVANIA 1641-1819, Record of Servants and Apprentices Bound and Assigned before Hon. John Gibson, Mayor of Philadelphia, Dec. 5th, 1772.
  17. US WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION. Index to Record of Aliens Declarations of Intention and/or Oaths of Allegiance 1789-1880 in US Circuit Court, US District Court, Supreme Court of PA, Quarter Sessions Courts, Courts of Common Pleas. Philadelphia. Compiled by WPA Project No. 20837 (Harrisburg): Penn. Hist. Commission (1940?), Vol. 3, Letter E.
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