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
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
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
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