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William Eckert. While there is now the fourth generation in the house of Eckert in DeKalb County, William Eckert of Locust Dale Farm in Fairfield and a brother, Jacob H. Eckert, of Kendallville, belong to the second generation, being the only surviving children in the family of Sebastian Eckert, who located in Fairfield March 28, 1855, and since that time Locust Dale has been the family homestead.

The present owner of Locust Dale, William Eckert, was born there June 8, 1864, and his life has all been spent in one place, and his own children have had his childhood environment.

There is Scotch, Welsh and German blood in the family. However, his father, Sebastian Eckert, was one of six children brought by their mother, Mrs. (Pfeiffer) Eckert, from Germany. Their father, Peter Eckert, died of a fever in March, 1830, and in May of that year the mother and her children embarked for America. They were three months on the Atlantic, landing in August. She located in Franklin, Pennsylvania, and from there the family scattered, the mother finally going to St. Louis. Sebastian was her only son. The oldest daughter died in childhood. The other four sisters were Elizabeth, Margaret, Eve and Barbara. Sebastian, Margaret and Barbara all lived in DeKalb County. Elizabeth being the wife of John Sthair, a blacksmith, and Barbara the wife of Jerome Reynolds, a cabinet maker. Both these men once operated shops in Fairfield Center. All the family now lie buried in the Fairfield Cemetery.

December 14, 1848, Sebastian Eckert married Susan Cox, a daughter of Jacob and Jane (Denman) Cox of Wayne County, Ohio. She was one of nine children: Eli, Mary, Susan, Freeman, Andrew, Rebekah Jane, Alpheus, Samuel and Newton. Three of them, Susan, Eli and Andrew, were later citizens of DeKalb County, and they all lie buried at Fairfield. The children of Sebastian and Susan Eckert were Elizabeth, Jacob, Margaret, Amiel, Alice, Florence, William, Belle, Luther, Kate and Spencer, the only two living today being mentioned above. These children all had a common school education. The family were members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. All but the two surviving brothers died before marriage. There are today only five voters in the Eckert family in DeKalb and Noble counties, and this vote is cast solidly in the interests of the democratic party.

William Eckert and Miss Mary Sf. Ringer were married June 8, 1886, which was his twenty-second birthday and the eighteenth birthday of the bride. They were married at the home of her parents in Richland Township. She was a daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Wright) Ringer, whose family history in DeKalb County goes back to 1853, when they came from Stark County, Ohio. Jacob Ringer as an Ohio shoemaker had earned the money with which he bought his farm in Indiana. He was the only son of George and Alary (Herbster) Ringer. He had five sisters, the oldest dying before the birth of the others. The four to grow up were Mary, Susan, Leah and Margaret.

The six children born to William and Mary Eckert are: Blanche R., wife of C. W. Getts; Ethel, who died at the age of eleven days; Roswell, who married Irene Stomm and has a son, Donald Cecil; Imo, who was buried February 24, 1915, just one year from the date of her marriage with John Berkes; Granville J., who married Charlotte Bonbrake and has a son, William Louis, the first born in the fourth generation of the Eckert family in DeKalb County; and Martha Belle, the youngest daughter. The two grandchildren in the Eckert household are William Louis and Donald Cecil.

Roswell and Granville and their cousin, Russell Eckert of Garrett, were all young men under the draft. Granville was temporarily exempted because he was engaged in agriculture. Roswell had military training at Camp Taylor, Camp McClellan and Camp Grant. He was battery clerk and was advanced to the grade of corporal when the armistice changed the prospect of so many young American soldiers. Russell Eckert was at Fort Thomas. The Eckert children were all given the same educational advantages, and Granville and Martha have diplomas from the common schools.

Sebastian Eckert, founder of the family in Indiana, died at the family homestead September 6, 1890, while his wife lived on until March 19, 1919, and had survived to welcome the two grandchildren of the fourth generation.

The farm buildings at Locust Dale were built in the reconstruction period following the Civil war, when there was an abundance of native timber, and the farmstead today is one of the well kept places in Fairfield Township.

("History of Northeast Indiana: LaGrange, Steuben, Noble and DeKalb Counties," Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, 1920)

This website created October 17, 2011 by Sheryl McClure.
Indiana American History and Genealogy Project