52 Ancestors: #4 Reinhard Jacob HECKENDORN – They Say It’s Your Birthday

Today is NOT my birthday, but the optional theme for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks Challenge, is “closest to your birthday”. I share my birthday with Reinhard Jacob HECKENDORN, my 5th great-grandfather. Not the same year, mind you. We were born 300 years apart from each other.

A large part of the joy of looking into my family history has always been the detective work involved in the search for the facts involving each individual. It has always been important to me to see that each person was, indeed, an individual. Figuring out their own life story that happens in between the facts is a guessing game, at best. Being a big fan of history, I am forever being side-tracked by the history of the area and time period that my ancestors lived in. Realizing that not everyone cares to have a history lesson, you will find that I have embedded links to more information in my blog posts so that those who are so inclined can read more about certain subjects. That being said, I am always eternally grateful for those researchers who have come before me and have meticulously gathered the proof on my family lines. The incredible amount of dedication of their time, and money, and generosity of sharing those findings is invaluable to me. I, personally, would be nowhere near where I am now in my knowledge of the Hackathorn line without the efforts of Hollis A. Hackathorn, Jim Bollinger, Ann C. Sherwin, and Theodore A. Heckathorn. Before I start the story of Reinhard Jacob HECKENDORN, I would like to thank these people for their investigative work.

Alsace Area By Map data (c) OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA   via Wikimedia Commons
Alsace Area By Map data (c) OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons

Reinhard Jacob HECKENDORN was born 06 June 1715 in Memmelshoffen to Hans Martin HECKENDORN and Anna Maria (surname unknown).



Den 6t Juny 1715 wurde Hanß Martin Heckendorn

Bürger undt Einwohner zu Meimelshoffen undt

Anna Maria seiner ehelichen Haußfrau ein

iunges Söhnlein gebohren, welches den 9ten ej. zur

heiligen Tauff gebracht undt mit dem Nahmen

Reinhard Jacob genennet worden ist. Gevatter-

leuth waren der S.T. hiesger Saltzherr

Reinhard Jacob Krug von Nidda. it. Philipps

Sauerkopff Becker undt Wirth zum Schwanen

allhier. it. Anna Maria Abraham Jelitzers



A young son was born on the 6th of June 1715 to Hanss Martin Heckendorn, burgher and resident of Memmelshoffen, and Anna Maria, his wife, and was brought for holy baptism on the 9th of the same month and named Reinhard Jacob. Godparents were the local salt man salvo titulo* Reinhard Jacob Krug of Nidda; Philipps Sauerkopff, baker and proprietor of the inn Zum Schwan here; Anna Maria, … of Abraham Jelitzer… [bottom line worn away].

*Note: This Latin term, abbreviated S.T. in the source text, indicates that the man has a  more formal title not given here. ACS

“Original record transcribed and translated by Ann C. Sherwin: http://asherwin.com”.

Reinhard Jacob’s grandfather, Jacob HECKENDORN, had been born in Langenbruck, Switzerland in 1646 and had moved to the Bas-Rhin region, about 100 miles north, sometime before Hans Martin was born in Memmelshoffen in 1682. The Bas-Rhin region has had a volatile history with the borders changing many times throughout history. Today this area is part of France with many people who speak French with a German accent. It would be interesting to know the languages spoken in the Heckendorn household in 1750. It is probable that the main language was Germanic.

1749 Map of France By Claude Buffier (andrea marchisio) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
1749 Map of France By Claude Buffier (andrea marchisio) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Reinhard Jacob married Margaretha CULMANN of Retschweiler on 03 September 1737 and a son, Phillip, was born to them 03 March 1738 in Retschweiler. Margaretha died sometime around 1740 and Phillip did not accompany Reinhard to America, so we do not know his fate. The widowed Reinhard then married Anna Barbara JUNG, the daughter of Theobald JUNG and Mary Catherina on 18 April 1741.

While living in Retschweiler, Reinhard (known as Jacob) and Anna Barbara were raising three children – Maria Magdalena, born 26 November 1741; Johann Jacob, born 22 July 1744; and Maria Barbara, born 20 October 1746. In many documents, Jacob was simply listed as a burgher. Definitions of burgher point to one who is an inhabitant of a town, especially of the middle class. By the time his daughter, Maria Barbara, was born in October of 1746, Jacob is described as having the occupation of a sludge-box tender in the saltworks. By the summer of 1750, Jacob and family would be packing up and setting sail for America.

Clipper Ship c) Engelberger at the German language Wikipedia
Clipper Ship c) Engelberger at the German language Wikipedia

Jacob and Anna Barbara sailed out of Rotterdam on the ship Patience. This ship made annual runs to the port of Philadelphia from 1748 until 1753, with the exception of 1752. Descriptions of this particular ship show it to be a 200 ton, three-masted ship with eight guns and a crew of 16 men. The voyage in 1750 carried 124 men with total passengers of 266. Women and children were not listed by name on the ship’s log. After the ship arrived at Philadelphia, all males over the age of 16 were taken to City Hall to sign the Oath of Allegiance and were then led back to the ship. Those who already had their passage money, or were able to borrow it, were then allowed to leave the ship.

Oath of Allegiance
Oath of Allegiance

It is likely that Jacob had been in contact with other Swiss-German settlers in the Frederick County, Maryland area because this is where he settled and took up farming after arriving in America. Jacob and Anna Barbara added a son, George, to their family in 1751.

 Virginia and Maryland By Fry, Joshua, 1700 (ca.)-1754 -- Cartographer ;Jefferson, Peter, 1708-1757 -- Cartographer; Jefferys, Thomas, d. 1771 -- Engraver [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
1951 Virginia and Maryland By Fry, Joshua, 1700 (ca.)-1754 — Cartographer ;Jefferson, Peter, 1708-1757 — Cartographer; Jefferys, Thomas, d. 1771 — Engraver [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1757, during the French and Indian Wars, Jacob is found on the roster of Capt. Stephen RANSBERGER’s Company, Maryland Colonial Militia. Beyond these things, not much is known about the Jacob Heckendorn family. We have not found a record of when Reinhard Jacob, Anna Barbara, or the two daughters died or if those daughters married.

At some point the name morphed into HACKATHORN, at least for my line. I have seen many different versions of the surname spelling including, commonly, Heckathorn and have found some creative spelling on census records as in Hackalhorn. No wonder they’re so hard to find! It appears as if the name Heckendorn may have been derived from the tree we would know as the Hawthorn.

Snow Covered Hawthorn Tree Walter Baxter [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Snow Covered Hawthorn Tree Walter Baxter [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

At some time before the 1800 census, Jacob’s sons, Johann Jacob (known as Jacob Jr. now) and George, left Maryland bound for western Pennsylvania. We find George in Washington County, PA. and Jacob in Beaver County, PA. just about the time of The Whiskey Rebellion. But then, that is another story…



Lineage Notecard

Name: Reinhard Jacob Heckendorn

Parents: Hans Martin Heckendorn and Anna Maria

Spouse: Margaretha Culmann, Anna Barbara Jung


Relationship to Hollie: 5th great-grandfather

  1. Reinhard Jacob Heckendorn
  2. Johann Jacob Heckendorn
  3. Christian Hackathorn
  4. Jacob A. Hackathorn
  5. Thomas John Hackathorn
  6. Elsie Marcella Hackathorn
  7. Darlene Lois Moore
  8. Hollie Ann Schrader


Sherwin, Ann C. (1981). The Heckathorn Family. Decorah, Iowa: The Anundsen Publishing Company.

Hackathorn, Hollis A. (1996). Of Heckendorns and Heckathorns

Heckathorn, Theodore A. (1983). The Heckendorn- Heckathorn Family in America. Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press

Pennsylvania Archives › Series 2 › Volume XVII › Names of Foreigners who took the Oath of. Allegiance, 1727-1775 › Page 307

Paul A. Darrel. “Immigrant Ships.” The Palatine Immigrant Vol. VII No. 1









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