Monday, June 21, 2010

Eicher Name in America

The Eichers came to America from Eichstädt located in the Bavarian region of Southern Germany. Eich means oak in German. Where the oaks grow is often said about Eichstädt. The Eicher name is said to have started in Lucerne, Switzerland but because of persecution the Christians fled to Germany. So the question is: is Eichstädt named after the Eichers or are the Eichers named after Eichstädt? You can continue that line by asking: did the Eichers move to Eichstädt because of the oaks or did they plant oaks after moving there?

Eichstädt, now changed to Eichstätt, lies in the District of Eichstätt on the banks of the Altmühl River. The river winds around a tall knoll where the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, the sole Catholic University found in Germany. The city was chartered in 908 and controlled by a prince-bishop until 1802. In 1806, it became part of Bavaria celebrating its 1100th anniversary in 2008.

The following letter was written by Aunt Salome E. (Eicher) (Roth) Graber in June 1978.

     Eichstadt in Bavaria Southern Germany. Where the Oaks grow is what Dad always said. That’s where the Eichers came from. But the name Eicher started in Lucerne, Switzerland. That’s where they started with the persecution and the Christians fled to Germany.
     Grandpa’s father was Jacob Eicher. There is no question of their coming from Bavaria, Germany. Eichstadt was very important in the 1700’s as the Ducal Palace was there in 1756. A younger son ruled the house of Eichstadt as a prince. They started out for America, and of course a prince surely had lots of money. So he embarked on a ship for Philadelphia hoping to find the colony. He carried quite a bit of money as he had sold all his possessions in Eichstadt.
     He and his wife both died enroute and were buried at sea. Two small children, a boy and a girl were left destitute. The captain had robbed them so kind Quakers took charge of the children and gave them a good education.
     A descendant of the line was Peter Eicher. Peter Eicher Von Eichstadt of Bavaria, died March 8, 1819 at Greensburg, Pennsylvania. That’s the first record of Eichers in America. Grandpa was born August 5, 1873. He had 3 brothers, and 5 sisters. His oldest brother died in 1863. Ten years before grandpa Jacob J. Eicher was born. His parents were Jacob and Marie (Schwartz) Eicher, from Belfort, France. Jacob had 3 brothers and 2 sisters. They were all intermingled with Short, Schad and Wyse.
     Four great uncles went to Canada, then to Allen Co. Some went to Davis Co., Dakotas, Nebraska and Pennsylvania and Illinois.
     So the Eichers have relatives in almost every state. All of grandpa’s Jacob J. Eicher, brothers and sisters passed away. Most of his children are gone too. There are 5 left.
     Most of the left-over families are leaning away from the Eichers, which was a highly respected name still is in Europe and in some states the last generation. Indiana Allen County and Adams County have fallen from the respect of the Fore Fathers. Partly from lack of faith or the way of living. Remember I say some, not all. Many have very respectful families and life in.
    I must say I love my nephews and nieces. Would enjoy each one, and do think God blessed the ones living in His will. He has called them as servants of His.

The Eichers were among the first Amish families moving to Adams County, Indiana. In 1844, John and Barbara Eicher bought about 160 acres of land in Wabash Township, where history tells us other Amish families lived. The last names of some of the Amish at that time were: Coffman, Schrock, Miller, Liechty, Amstutz, Rich and doubtlessly others.

Since that time many Eichers have left the Amish faith while many others have maintained the same strict guidelines by which the Amish live. To give an idea of the number of Eichers in the United States; in the 1990 census the Eicher name was possessed by 0.002% of the population and was the 7215th most popular name. In the 2000 census the Eicher name moved up to 6434th most popular in the country out of approximately 6 million surnames.

The Eicher name has a varied but fascinating history.  I've always been proud of our family because they are people of faith, integrity and hard work.  We believe in family and in taking care of each other.  I hope this helps shed a little light on the Eicher name.


  1. I am a decendant of MArie Eicher who Married William Graham who settled in Wooster Ohio We still have a Graham Family reunion every year at the family farm. Would love to hear about your relationship tot he family!!

  2. Dietrich Jon Eicher My father Steven his father Louise has spoken of his father arriving by vessel in Louisville, Ky from Ohio.

  3. Perseus, my apologies for not responding. Deitrich/Perseus, we have an Eicher family reunion every year in Berne, IN. It is the descendants of Samuel and Emily Eicher (my grandparents), there is a FB page: Samuel E and Emily E Eicher Descendants. Also, check out a FB group called Amish & Beyond - many relatives are there.
    My great great grandparents were Jacob (born in Berne, In June 10, 1835) and Maria Eicher (born near Belford, France on June 27, 1838). Maria was the daughter of Johannes and Anna (Ramseier) Schwartz.

  4. Hello, My Maiden name is Eicher, and our family was in either Westmoreland or Fayette county in Pennsylvania since Abraham Eicher and his wife Betty Bollinger came over from Germany. He was supposedly born in 1730 and she in 1734. They had a son, Daniel, born in Eichstatt, Brandenburg, north of Berlin, and then the family ended up in Lancaster, PA. Does anyone know Abraham or Betty's birthplace? He is said to have been of German and French descent and his birthplace was near a disputed tract of land near a river???

    Thanks!! ~Jody K