Surname Saturday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers to focus on a particular name, its origin, its geographic location, and how it fits into one’s research.
The name Eppard can be traced to Medieval times in the name Agabert meaning “Brilliant Swordsman.” Dialectical alterations over time resulted in Egbert, Ebert, Ebbert, Eppart, Epart, Evert, Eppard. Shall I go on? In the early days of our country when few people could read or write and when spelling was not standardized anyway, public officials such as county clerks recorded names by phonetic spelling, or as the name sounded to them when a will or deed maker pronounced his name. The clerk might have heard “p” or “b” or “d” or “t.” As a consequence, one can often find two or more variations in spelling in the same document. By the late-1800s, the Eppards in Virginia had settled on this spelling.
The Eppards are a well-researched family. Conventional wisdom is that the Eppards of Virginia trace their roots to Wallersheim , a municipality in the Rhineland-Palatinate in Western Germany. Why they emigrated is anyone’s guess, but maybe it had to do with the political and religious unrest of the day coupled with William Penn’s invitation to help him found a state in America promising religious and civil liberties. Supposedly two brothers, Hans George and Hans Michael, emigrated to Philadelphia, moved on to Baltimore, and finally settled in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia before 1750.
Hans George Eppard and his son Windle arrived in Rockingham County, Virginia, about 1732. They obtained a land patent along Naked Creek around 1754. They farmed and they had a mine on Fox Mountain.
When Windle died, his sons George and Philip inherited the land. Philip sold his part to his brother George and to his father-in-law George Utz and then moved to Indiana. A number of Eppards followed suit settling Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio when lands were opened up to anyone willing to try their hand at homesteading and fighting Indians. But my particular line is through Windle’s son George, and his family stayed put along Naked Creek. That’s where my Eppards remained, at least to the middle of the twentieth century.
I have not spent much time on the Eppards. It has been fairly easy just to collect names and establish relationships by looking at census records. Sometime I would like to delve more deeply into my maternal grandmother’s mother’s family. Wills and land records are sure to provide a fuller picture of this line.
This is my Eppard line:
- Mary Eleanor Davis Slade (6 Jan 1929 Shenandoah, VA – 3 Oct 2005 Chesapeake, VA)
- Lucille Mary Rucker Davis (9 Oct 1904 Shenandoah, VA – 1 Nov 1990 Chesapeake, VA)
- Mary Susan Eppard Rucker (Oct 1875 Naked Creek, VA – 1958 Shenandoah, VA)
- George Harvey Eppard (Sep 1839 Naked Creek, VA – 13 Jan 1917 Shenandoah, VA)
- William Eppard (1803 – 24 Feb 1872 Shenandoah, VA)
- Johann George Eppard (23 Apr 1780 Naked Creek, VA – 1869 Naked Creek, VA)
- Windle Eppard (1735 Pennsylvania – 1810 Naked Creek, VA)
- Hans Johann George Ebert (1701 Germany – 1762 Rockingham Co, VA)