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Caspar C. Henkel's family heritage: 1786-1849

White settlers, mostly Pennsylvanians and Marylanders of German and Scotch-Irish descent, first began occupying land in the Shenandoah valley in the early 18th century. Farmers were cultivating land to the north and east of present day New Market by the mid-1730s. New Market's establishment is credited to John Sevier, who bought the land from his father and conducted a trading post in 1765 at the intersection of two Indian crossroads. A racetrack built in the vicinity inspired the name of New Market, in emulation of New Market, England, a notable racing town. An act of the General Assembly of Virginia formalized the settlement's status as a town in 1796.

picture of Paul Henkel's graveAmong New Market's early residents was Reverend Paul Henkel (1754-1825). Though born in Rowan County, North Carolina, his family moved to present-day Pendleton County, West Virginia, in 1760 to escape Catawba Indian raids. Henkel married and relocated his family to New Market in 1790. He built the first Lutheran church in New Market in 1791 and was ordained a Lutheran minister in 1792. Except for the five years from 1800 to 1805, when he lived in Rowan County, Reverend Henkel called New Market home. Henkel himself was often absent, making extended missionary tours through Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.

Four of Paul Henkel's sons, Andrew, Charles, David, and Philip, followed his example. As Lutheran ministers they served congregations in Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Two sons remained in the Shenandoah Valley. Ambrose (1786-1870) apprenticed to a printer and in 1806 initiated a press in New Market. The first Lutheran printing shop in America, the Henkel Press produced a variety of texts, initially in German, supporting the Lutheran Church's development and practices in the United States, as well as a short-lived newspaper and some children's books. One of its most noteworthy achievements was an English translation of "The Book of Concord" in 1851.[Henkel press sign]

Around 1817, Ambrose sold the business to his brother, Solomon (1777-1847), who sustained the Press's activities in addition to his chosen profession as a physician. In 1800, Solomon married Rebecca Miller, daughter of Winchester physician Gottfried Miller. They had a large family. Three of their sons became physicians. They may have formed a practice together in New Market, which was reduced by Silon Amos Henkel's (1813-1844) early death. Solon Paul Charles Henkel (1818-1882) and Samuel Godfrey Henkel (1807-1863) remained in partnership. Another son, Solomon D. Henkel (1816-1872), operated a general store.

Naomi Henkel, one of Paul Henkel's daughters, married Heinrich Rubbert (also known as Henry Rupert). This took place probably around 1800, when the Reverend's family was living in Rowan County, N.C. By 1810 they had moved to Point Pleasant, Virginia (now in West Virginia), on the Ohio river, where Henry worked as a carpenter and joiner in building construction. They struggled to survive hard times in Point Pleasant for the next thirteen years. Henry was often without construction work and Naomi suffered chronic poor health, probably resulting from excessive pregnancies. They had six sons and four daughters. By 1823 Henry and Naomi joined two of their sons, Adam and Gideon, in New Market.

[portrait of Solomon Henkel]            portrait of Ambrose Henkel

One of Dr. Solomon Henkel's daughters and a niece of Naomi, Helena Henkel (1801-1823), married Naomi's son Gideon. Helena gave birth to Solomon P. Rupert in New Market in 1823.

New Market residents respected and admired Samuel G. Henkel's devotion to the medical profession, his generous support of the local Lutheran congregation, his management of the Henkel Press, and his earnest concern for the welfare of his family and friends. His father sent him to Philadelphia to gain his medical education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He began practicing with his father in New Market from the early 1830s continuing until some point in the 1840s, when his two younger brothers, Solon P. C. and Silon Amos, also became physicians.

[portrait of Samuel G. Henkel            portrait of Solon P. C. Henkel

Samuel learned the business of the Henkel Press under his father's tutelage and assumed sole control of it upon Dr. Solomon's death in 1847, corresponding with relatives and other contributors of translations and other Lutheran doctrinal texts. Rev. Socrates Henkel (1823-1901), Samuel's cousin who also lived in New Market, coordinated much of the Press's Lutheran activities. When the local Lutheran congregation split into two groups, Samuel donated land for the new Emmanuel Lutheran church in 1848.

Like his father and grandfather, Samuel Henkel produced a large family. In 1832 he married Susan Coiner (1810-1905), whose father, Caspar Coiner, was from Augusta County, Virginia. In 1849 the family consisted of Rebecca Margaret Henkel (1833-1912), Caspar Coiner Henkel (1835-1908), Julia Virginia Henkel (1838-1933), Ellen Helea Henkel (1840-1865), Susan Elizabeth Henkel (1842-1918), Abram Miller Henkel (1844-1904), Emma Minerva Henkel (1847-1883), and Mary Belsora Henkel (1848-1854). One son, Celsus Aurelius Henkel, had died in 1848 during his second year.

View links to genealogical charts for descendants of Paul Henkel, Michael Coiner, Joseph Slagle, and Gottfried Miller -

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