Sunday, October 12, 2014

52 Ancestors: #41 - Anthony Jacob HENCKEL / HINKLE

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge:  write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.

When my 4X great-grandparents Mary Elizabeth HINKLE and her husband Jacob Foland migrated from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to eastern Tennessee in the early to mid-1800s, they were imbued with the same spirit of optimism that drove generations before them to leave the old country and board ships sailing for a new life in the colonies across the Atlantic Ocean. 

Did Mary Elizabeth’s father George HINKLE tell her the story of his great-grandfather’s journey to America?  Did he inspire her to feel pride in her Hinkle roots?

The progenitor of the Hinkles and Henkels in America today is my 8X great-grandfather Anthony Jacob HENCKEL (1668-1728), son of Georg Henckel (1635-1678) and Anna Eulalia Dentzer (1640-1700).  He was born in Mehrenberg, Germany in 1668.  Anthony Jacob studied at University of Giessen, a Lutheran college and one of the oldest schools of higher education in Europe.  It was the same school where his father Georg had studied to become a schoolmaster. 

Anthony Jacob was ordained a Lutheran minister on February 28, 1692.  He served in various parishes around Heidelberg, Germany for twenty-five years.   So what made Henckel decide to accept William Penn’s invitation to help settle his new colony in America? 

One theory is that Reverend Henckel had found himself in some legal trouble that he was not likely to win.  A Catholic priest had requested permission for his congregation to share Henckel’s church, which he refused to do.  The priest broke into the church with an axe and the two fought.  Henckel complained to the patron of the church who did not give him much support. 

In a second case, Henckel complained that the patron of the church was using lands belonging to the church and keeping the tithes.  Not surprisingly the patron not only denied the charges but also slandered Henckel’s good character.  Who needs such grief?  

So at almost 50 years old, Anthony Jacob, his wife Maria Elizabeth and their 7 adult children arrived in Philadelphia in September 1717.  In fact, he and his son-in-law Valentine Geiger were leaders of a large group of Lutherans who arrived on three ships. 

The next year, Henckel purchased 250 acres in New Hanover and remained there the rest of his life.  He continued his calling as a minister throughout the area and even started several Lutheran churches.  In 1721 he founded St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Germantown which continues today.  

St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Germantown, Pennsylvania
St. Michael's Lutheran Church
Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Reverend Anthony Jacob Henckel died in August 1728 from injuries sustained in a fall from his horse.  He was returning to his home in New Hanover following a visit with an ill parishioner in Germantown.  Evidently he knew the end was near and so delivered his will orally before witnesses.  First, to his wife he left his estate, both real and personal, provided she did not marry again.  If she were to marry, she would retain her third according to law.  Second, he willed his 250-acre plantation in New Hanover to his two youngest sons who would take ownership upon the death or remarriage of their mother.  They were instructed to pay each of the other five children 100 pounds in Pennsylvania currency.  Finally, he gave an extra five shillings to his eldest son beyond the 100 pounds his brothers would pay him.

Tombstone of Anthony Jacob and Maria Elizabeth Henckel
Tombstone of Reverend Henckel and his wife
photo courtesy Dean Roth

Anthony Jacob Henckel and his wife Maria Elizabeth are buried in the St. Michael’s Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Anthony Jacob Henkel
Founder & First Pastor
St. Michael's Church
Born 1668   Died 1728

Maria Elizabeth Henkel
His wife
Born 1671   Died 1741

SOURCES:  The Henckel Genealogy, 1500-1960: Ancestry and Descendants of Reverend Anthony Jacob Henckel, 1668-1728, Pioneer Evangelical Lutheran Minister, Emigrant from the German Palatinate to America in 1717 [database on-line].  Provo, UT:  The Generations Network, Inc. 2005. Original data:  Junkin, William Sumner.  The Henckel Genealogy, 1500-1960: Ancestry and Descendants of Reverend Anthony Jacob Henckel, 1668-1728, Pioneer Evangelical Lutheran Minister, Emigrant from the German Palatinate to America in 1717. Spokane, WA: Henckel Family Association, 1964.

“Henckel-Elsworth Families.” My West Virginia Pioneer Families. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2014. <>.

“History: Generations of Henckels.”  The Henckel Family National Association. The Henckel Family National Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2014. <>.

“Our History.”  St. Michael’s Lutheran Church.  Web.  07 Oct. 2014.  <>.

Weis, Frederick Lewis. The Colonial Clergy of the Middle Colonies: New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, 1628-1776. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1978. Web. 7 Oct. 2014. <>.

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. I am always so amazed at the courage those people had to board a ship and head to a completely new country.

    What did he do with the 250 acres?

    1. Having walked all over the replicas of the ships at Jamestown, I too wonder "What were they thinking??" I guess they didn't know any better than to hop aboard a rickety wooden ship and live on beef jerky, cheese, and dried biscuit that might have been buggy.

      Anthony Jacob was a farmer in addition to traveling minister.

  2. I am impressed that you have ancestors from the beginnings of the U.S! I love reading your history!

    1. I am surprised too to learn how many of my ancestors were here BEFORE we were our own country.

  3. Wendy, it is interesting that Anthony's grown children all came with him and none decided to stay at home. My children don't often agree with each other! ha.

    1. Colleen, that's funny! But you've made a good point since his children were adults and could very well have elected to stay put. Maybe they just didn't want to miss each other.

  4. What a wonderful early American connection you have! Very neat!

    1. Thanks Sally. It is pretty cool to be related to someone who had such influence in his community.

  5. Hey, cousin. Did you see my post?
    Did Anthony marry a cousin? Just wondering because I have in my notes that his wife was also a Dentzer. Which child do you descend from?

    1. How cool is this! Thanks for finding me. Yes, Anthony's wife was his cousin. My line: Anthony & Maria Elizabeth --> Johann Gerhard Anthony & Anna Catherine UNKNOWN --> George & Barbara Rowland --> George & Susannah Goetzinger --> Mary Elizabeth & Jacob FOLAND --> Helena Foland & William Eppard --> George Harvey Eppard & Segourney Shiflett --> Mary Susan Eppard & Joseph Calhoun Rucker --> Lucille Rucker & Orvin Davis --> Mary Eleanor Davis & Fred Slade --> ME

      It's so good to meet a cousin this way. I've seen your name before. What is your line?

  6. Hello, Wendy! Antony Jacob & Maria Elizabeth are my 9xgreats thru son Johann Justus w/wife Maria Magdalena Eschmann. I'm currently cleaning up my db/tree.
    Enjoying checking out your blog. Barbara

  7. Hi Wendy, I am also a descendant of Anthony Jacob Henckle & Marie Dentzer. They are my 8th great grandparents, my line comes down through John Justus & Magdalena Eschmann, their son Abraham Hinkle & Mary Teter, next Micheal Hinkle & Sarah Judy, next Abel Hinkle & Phoebe Hedrick, then Elizabeth Hinkle married to James Thompson, their daughter Hannah Elizabeth (Hinkle)Thompson married to Elijah Nelson, their daughter & my grandmother Levada Nelson married to Milton M. Darnell. In 1760 John Justus took his family out of Germantown, PA and settled in Pendleton County, WVA, calling the area Germany Valley. When arriving in Pendleton County, they encountered hostile Indian's, so the family built a fort to stay safe. That fort was called Hinkle's Fort and was used during the Revolutionary War to supply horses to the soldiers, it was considered the most western fort at the time, Hinkle's Fort can be found on google. I love geneaology and enjoy learning all about my cousins wherever they live. BTW, I am not a grand daughter of the Meek family, but couldn't figure out how to change it.