Historical and Biographical Sketch of the Ricker, Riker Family Origin
We are informed by writers on European genealogy, that the Rikers were
originally a German family, located at a very remote period in Lower Saxony,
where they enjoyed a state of allodial independence, at that day regarded
as constituting nobility. There they possessed the estate or manor of Rycken
from which they took their name, then written von Rycken, indicating its
territorial derivation. Subsequently the name suffered various changes,
being found written de Rycke, de Ryk, Riecke, and in America finally assuming
its present form.
Hans von Rycken, the lord of the above manor, and a valiant knight,
with his cousin, Melchior von Rycken, who lived in Holland, took part in
the first crusade to the Holy Land, in 1096, heading 800 crusaders in the
army of Walter the Penniless. Melchior lived to return, but Hans perished
in that ill-fated expedition. In time the descendants of Melchior von Rycken
extended themselves from Holland to the region of the Rhine and into Switzerland,
and from these originated a branch of the family which became distinguished
in the city of Spire. This branch of the family wrote its name Ricker,
by which, as well as by its escutcheon, it continued to be distinguished.
As regards the American portion of the Riker family, it is believed they
were descended from a branch of the family of considerable wealth and importance
at Amsterdam where they had occupied places of public trust for two centuries.
In this war, Captain Jacob Simonez de Rycke, a wealthy corn merchant of
the above city, distinguished himself by his military services. It has
been conjectured that he was the grandfather of Abraham de Rycke, the head
of the family in America.When New Netherland invited the virtuous and the
daring to seek a home in her wilds, several of the Rikers joined the adventures
coming hither. These were Abraham, Gysbert, Rynier and Hendrick Rycken,
the last of whom came out a few years after the others, and was the ancestor
of the Suydam family, his sons assuming that name.
Early American Settlers
Abraham Rycken or de Rycke, as his name is indiscriminately written in
our early records, was the progenitor of the present Riker families in
New York, New Jersey and other parts of the Union. He is presumed to have
emigrated in 1638 as he received in that year an allotment of land from
Gov. Kieft for which he afterwards took out a patent, Aug. 8, 1640. In
1642 Riker is found in New Amsterdam, where he continued to live many years
upon premises of his own, on the Heeren Gracht. He was probably engaged
in trade, for it appears that in 1656 he made a voyage to the Delaware
River for the express purpose of purchasing beaver skins, then a leading
article of traffic. In 1654 Riker obtained a grant of land at the Poor
Bowery, to which he subsequently removed, afterwards adding to his domain
the island known as Riker's Island. His children were: Ryck-Abramsen; Jacob
born in 1640; Hendrick born in 1646; Mary born in 1649; John born in 1651;
Aletta born in 1653; Abraham born in 1655 and Hendrick born in 1662.
Abraham Riker was the son of Abraham Riker and was born in 1655. On January
10, 1682 he married Grietie, daughter of Jan Gerrits Van Buytenhaysen.
His wife died on November 15, 1732. Their children were; Catharine; Margaret;
Mary; Abraham; John; Hendrick; Andrew and Jacob.
Abraham Riker was the son Abraham and Grietie Riker. He was born in 1691
and married Geesie, daughter of Johannes Van Alst and located upon that
part of his father's estate which included a third of the Tuder patent.
Mr. Riker took an active part in the erection of the first Dutch church
built at Newtown and was one of the trustees to whom the deed for the church
plot was executed. His wife died on October 20, 1758 and he in 1770. His
children were: Aletha who died in 1752; Johannes who died in 1744; Margaret
who married John Bragaw; Abraham; Peter; Grace; Andrew; Joris; Jacobus
Andrew Riker was the son of Abraham Riker and was born in 1730. He removed
to New York and wrought successfully at the anvil. On May 9, 1755 he married
Elizabeth, daughter of Peter G. Wyckoff of Flatlands who died in 1779.
Jacobus Riker was born the son of Abraham Riker in 1736. He remained on
the paternal farm at Newtown and on February 20, 1761 married Anna Catrina,
daughter of John Rapelji. Living in the practice of useful industry, he
enjoyed the respect and confidence of his fellow townsmen. His children
were: Maria born on March 29, 1762; Grace born on August 9, 1764: John-Rapelye
born on December 24, 1766, Abraham born on May 6, 1769 and Daniel born
on March 7, 1771.
Hendrick Riker was the son of Abraham Riker and was born in 1738. He married
on April 26, 1760, Jane, daughter of Daniel Rapelje. The same year of his
marriage he became a freeman of New York and for many years was a cabinet-maker
in Pearl Street. His wife died on July 13, 1803 and his children were:
Rensie born on October 23, 1762; Abraham born on December 27, 1764; Grace
born on March 13, 1769; Cornelius; Daniel born on July 17, 1771; Jane born
on April 3, 1774 and Peter born on February 8, 1777.
John Riker was the son of Abraham Riker. He married Gertie, daughter of
Teuris Wiltsee and after living some years at Newton, N.Y. removed in 1744
to Closter, N.Y. where he bought a farm. His children were: Abraham; John;
Gerardus; Deborah who married Daniel Martine; Margaret who married Cornelius
Blauvelt; Mary who married John Bell; Elizabeth who married Abraham Blauvelt
and Catharine who married John Lawrence.
Abraham Riker was the son of John Riker and was born on November 25, 1721.
In the War of Independence he was a warm friend of liberty and most of
his sons did service in the militia. By his wife, Elizabeth Concklin, he
had the following children: John; Sophia born on October 20, 1750; Elizabeth
born on November 9, 1751; Abraham born on May 22, 1753; Margaret born on
November 24, 1754; Matthias born on September 10, 1756; Gerardus born on
April 13, 1758; Maria born on January 29, 1760; James born on October 5,
1761; Henry born on July 25, 1764; Peter born on September 3, 1766; Samuel
born on May 19, 1768 and Tunis born on August 10, 1770 (boy, what a busy
set of parents!).
Hendrick Riker was the son of Abraham Riker and removed to New York where
he married on October 20, 1722, Elizabeth, daughter of John Peek. Their
children who attained adult years were: Abraham born in 1723 and died in
1742; John born in 1725; Henry born in 1740 and James born in 1742.
Andrew Riker was the son of Abraham Riker. He inherited the homestead at
the Bowery Bay and married on November 13, 1733, Jane, widow of Captain
Dennis Lawrence. Their children were as follows: Margaret who died on April
3, 1760; John; Abraham; Samuel and Ruth, who married Major Jonathan Lawrence.
Prominent American Descendants
Timothy Hunt Riker was the son of Noah Riker and was born in 1803 in Shepleigh,
Maine. He was a blacksmith and came from Otisfield to Craigies Mills in
the fall of 1830. He later moved to a new house and shop and in 1848 he
moved his family to Harrison. In that town he and his sons built up a large
business manufacturing various machines and their patents. He married Prusilla,
daughter of Nathan and Olive (Weymouth) Wiggin of Parsonsfield who died
in 1879. His children were as follows: Nathan born on April 1, 1828 and
married Louisa Sanford; Sherburne born on December 17, 1830 and married
Amelia Martin; Horatio born on January 10, 1832; Charles born on August
24, 1834 and married Zilpah Brickett; Olive Jane born on December 14, 1836
and married Hartley Lewis; Freeland born on July 19, 1839 and married Mary
Tourtelotte; Alvin born on August 13, 1841 and Mary Ellen born on December
Joseph Ricker was the son of Joshua Ricker and was born in Bath, Maine
on February 13, 1765. He married first on October 27, 1792, Polly, daughter
of Sylvanus Heath and also married a second time in 1821. His children
were as follows: Venus born on August 20, 1793; Abigail born on March 9,
1795; Eunice born on December 22, 1797; Azubah born on September 19, 1799;
Simon born on October 5, 1801; Amaziah born on July 14, 1803; Joseph born
on February 12, 1805; Benjamin born on November 15, 1806; Orson born on
November 18, 1807; Mary born on April 29, 1809; Andrew born in 1810; Betsey
born on June 8, 1812; Azubah born on December 22, 1814; Electra born on
December 19, 1921; Lorush born on July 2, 1823; Almira; Allen G. born in
1829; Chester born in 1830, and Edwin born in 1832.
Leander Byron Riker was born on April 5, 1836 in Long Island and was the
son of Henry and Deborah (Cromwell) Riker. His children were: Lola born
on January 25, 1860; Henry born on April 13, 1862; Jennie born on July
5, 1865; Eva born on July 5, 1867; Walter born on March 12, 1870; Alma
born on April 13, 1873; Florence born on December 16, 1875, and Ethel born
in 1878. Henry Ellsworth Riker was the son of Evaline Elizabeth Riker and
was born on April 13, 1862. He married on September 17, 1885, Delia A.
Kingsley. Walter Silas Riker was the son of Evaline Elizabeth Riker and
was born in Painesville, Ohio on March 12, 1870. On December 4, 1894 he
married Blanche Elizabeth Miller and by her had the following children:
Harland Alexander born on December 5, 1895 and Burton born on January 13,
Albert Burdsall Riker, clergyman, was born at New Albany, Ohio on October
19, 1852, the son of Rev. Samuel Clark and Amanda (Snider) Riker. He received
his A.B. degree from Wesleyan University in 1879 and his A.M. in 1884.
On August 18, 1881 he married Mary Edith Davis of Dublin, Ohio. Rev. Riker
was licensed to preach in 1872. Since 1908 he has been a pastor at Moundsville,
Franklin Wing Riker, singer, teacher, was born in Burlington, Vermont.
on March 12, 1876, the son of George Peters and Ella Jeanette (Wing) Riker.
He received his education at public schools. On February 22, 1908 he married
Henrietta A. Scheibe of New York. From 1897 to 1903 he was a tenor soloist
at the leading New York churches. Later he became supervisor of music at
the public schools in Burlington, Vermont. Mr. Riker is also the composer
of several songs, anthems and piano pieces.
Andrew Lawrence Riker, engineer, was born at New York City on October 22,
1868, the son of William J. and Charlotte L. Riker. He was a student at
Columbia University and married Edith Whiting of New York on April 9, 1890.
Mr. Riker began his career as an electrical and mechanical engineer. He
was president of Riker Electrical, Company; vice-president and designer
of Locomobile Company of America. Mr. Riker established the world's speed
record on Long Island for electric cars in 1899 which was held by him for
Marilla M. Ricker, lawyer, humanitarian, was born at New Durham, N. H.
on March 18, 1840 and was educated at Colby Academy. She taught school
for several years and spent two years abroad. On May 19, 1863 she married
John Ricker of Dover, N. H.. In 1890 Mrs. Ricker filed a petition which
opened the bar of New Hampshire to women. She is noted as a political writer
and especially for articles in defense of "free thought".
Thad Weed Riker, professor of modern European history, was born at Stamford,
Connecticut on November 2, 1880, the son of Thaddeus Weed and Louise Draper
(Nesbitt) Riker. He received his B.A. from Princeton in 1903 and his M.A.
degree in 1904. On June 2, 1923 he married Fannie Rhea Preston of Austin,
Texas. They had one son, Malcolm Preston. Mr. Riker was associate professor
from 1917 to 1923 and became professor in 1923.
Samuel Riker, Jr., lawyer, was born in Paris, France on May 17, 1868, the
son of John L. and Mary (Jackson) Riker. On November 18, 1896 he married
Frances Mortimer Townsend. They had the following children: Frances Townsend
born in 1897; Audrey Townsend born in 1899; Samuel, Jr. born in 1905 and
Lavina born in 1909. Mr. Riker has been actively engaged in his profession.
Dr. Regina Stockhausen Riker, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on
September 7, 1894. She received her A.B. degree from Smith in 1916 and
her A.M. form Mount Holyoke in 1918. In 1924 Dr. Riker became a research
assistant for the plant path.
Coat of Arms
According to Burke's General Armory the coat of arms belonging the Riker
family is as follows:
Ermine a chevron between three roses gules.
Explanation of the above coat:
ERMINE - A fur of heraldry has so long been associated with the robes and
crowns of royal and noble personages, that it is easy to understand why
it should be considered as a perfect emblem of dignity in any coat-of-arms.
CHEVRON - Signify protection and have often been granted in arms as
a reward to one who has achieved some notable enterprise. It is supposed
to represent the roof-tree of a house and has sometimes been given to those
who have built churches or fortresses, or who have accomplished some work
of faithful service. ROSE - Signifies and expresses "Beauty and Grace",
and is reckoned the first among the flowers.
GULES - or red, denotes military fortitude and magnanimity. It is also
the "Martyr's Color". The crest of the above coat is as follows: Demi-lion
rampant holding a battle axe ppr.
Wade's Symbolisms of Heraldry
American Men of Science
Who's Who in New York, 1924
Who's Who in America
Annals of Newton, N.Y. -- by Riker
Annals of Oxford, ME. -- by W. F. King
History of Newbury, VT. -- by Wells
Genealogical History of the Family of Lawrence Antisell