First Families of Orangeburgh District, South Carolina

Ruple (Roppell, Roppel)

1a. HANS JACOB ROPPEL was baptized 6 May 1736 in Frenkendorf, BL, Switzerland[1,2]. Hans Jacob was the oldest son of MICHEL ROPPEL and URSULA HORAND [1,2]. Hans Jacob married Margreth Tschudy, of Frenkendorf on 15 Mar 1762[1]. She was baptized 16 July 1741[1,2,3].

Jacob, along with his wife, Margreth, and their children, Hans Jacob Jr. and Margreth, declared Pennsylvania as his emigrant destination[3]. Jacob was manumitted June 10, 1767, after declaring property of 678 .19 lbs.[3].

Jacob is likely the immigrant who arrived in Philadelphia on the Ship Sally on 10 Nov 1767. The name Jacob Bobell[33] or Gobell[31] appears between the names of Johannes Tschudy and Marti Tschudi[31,33]. The original Pennsylvania immigrant list was written in old-German script[32]. The starting capitals in old-German script are notoriously difficult to decipher so this could very well be Jacob Roppel. Acording to Faust, Jacob Roppel, Johannes Tschudy (Jacob's brother-in-law), and Martin Tschudy were all 1767 emigrants from the Füllinsdorf/Frenkendorf area[3].

Children of Hans Jacob Roppel and Margreth Tschudy are:

a. MARGRETH ROPPEL was baptized 23 Jan 1763 in Frenkendorf, BL, Switzerland[1,2].

b. JACOB ROPPEL was born 23 Nov 1765 in Füllinsdorf and baptized 25 Nov 1765 in Frenkendorf, BL, Switzerland[1,2]. A note in the supplemental baptism record for Jacob says he died 15 Jun 1836 in Munchen[stein?]. The origin of this note is unknown[1].

1b. MARTIN ROPPEL was baptised 26 May 1737 in Frenkendorf, BL, Switzerland[1,2,3] and died abt. 1790 in Orangeburgh Township, South Carolina.. Martin was the second son of MICHEL ROPPEL and URSULA HORAND[1,2]. Martin married BARBARA SCHAUB on 10 Oct. 1763, in Frenkendorf, BL, Switzerland [1,2]. Barbara was baptized 7 May 1741 in Wittinsburg, BL, Switzerland[3].

The villages of Füllinsdorf and Frenkendorf are located about 10 km. southeast of Basel and about 3 km south of the Rhine River. The two villages are separated by the Ergolz River.

Following sale of his property on 19 Nov 1771 during a terrible famine[6], Martin submitted a petition to emigrate to the Swiss governing council at Basel on February 24, 1772[5]. Martin paid his manumission tax, and left Switzerland later in 1772 along with wife, Barbara, and children Johannes and Elsbeth[3,4].

Martin Roppel, his wife and children arrived in Charles Town, South Carolina, on Monday, Dec. 21, 1772 aboard the Sincere Friend along with numerous other French and Germanic passengers[7,8,9]. Martin petitioned for 250 acres of land on January 6, 1773. The petition of Martin and his fellow passengers stated that the passengers were "under the direction of" Lewis De St. Pierre[8,9].

St. Pierre's primary venture was grape growing in Granville county, South Carolina. There, French immigrants settled New Bordeaux which was located in Hillsborough Township in 1768 under Pierre's leadership[11]. The settlement was also known as Long Cane Creek along the Savannah River[10]. On Thursday, August 8, 1771, it was reported: "Yesterday, embarked and sailed for England, in order to go from thence to France, and procure Persons experienced in the Culture of Wine and Silk, Mesnil De St. Pierre, Esq."[12] Later, the Ship Carolina Packet brought "30,000 Plants of Vines producing the true Champagne and Burgundy Grapes, procured by the Assiduity of Mr. Mesnil de St. Pierre (for the French Settlement at Long-Canes called New Bourdeaux) who has received great Encouragement in London, to perfect his Scheme of making Wines in that Part of this Province, and obtained from the Society of Arts a Gold Medal."[13]

Martin supported the American cause by furnishing supplies to the Revolutionary army[20]. After a lengthy delay for the Revolutionary War, both Martin and his son, John, platted lands southeast of present-day Orangeburg, SC on the old Charleston Highway. On July 9, 1789, Martin Roupel had 238 acres of land surveyed and platted by David Squire on Middle Pen Creek, Orangeburgh District[14]. The land bordered lands of his son, John Roupel, and a Mr. Buzzard (probably Henry Buzzard[16]), a surname later connected to the Ruple family[14,15].

Children of Martin Roppel and Barbara Schäub are:

a. JOHANNES (John J.) ROPPEL was born 16 Jul,1764 in Füllinsdorf, baptized 22 Jul 1764 in Frenkendorf, BL, Switzerland[1,2,3] and died in 1846 in Orangeburgh District, SC[19]. He married Catherine E. Ayers (1768-1814)[19].

John Rouple had 150 a. of land platted on May 25, 1789. It was situated on the waters of the Edisto in Orangeburgh District. This land was surveyed and platted by James Dougherty. John's father, Martin, was listed as a neighbor[18].

The homestead property is thought to contain the unmarked cemetery and tombstone of the immigrant, Johannes Roppel, and perhaps his parents Martin and Barbara. The GPS coordinates of this unmarked grave site are: N 33° 25.324' W 080° 45.044'. A tall, polished granite monument to John J. Ruple indicates that John J. was born in Germany in 1761, died in 1846, that he came to this country as a boy, and fought in the Revolutionary War[19]. Although John did, in fact, fight for the American cause[21], he did not come from Germany. DNA testing in 2006 finally confirmed that the Ruple family of Orangeburg (as well as the Ruple family descended from Jacob Ruple of St. Matthews' parish, including the author, likely came from the town of Füllinsdorf, Switzerland. where "matching" DNA was found.[22]

Ruples Tavern is shown on the 1825 Atlas of Orangeburgh District, SC by Robert Mills[17]. This log structure was built by John J. Ruple around 1800 and also served as a Post Office. The Tavern is thought to have been located on the Old Ruple Homestead This homestead property is located on Hwy 178, 7.2 miles south of the intersection of SC Hwy 178 and SC Hwy 21 Bypass[19].

b. ELISABETH (Elsbeth) ROPPEL was born 9 Sep 1768 in Füllinsdorf and baptized 11 Sept. 1768 in Frenkendorf, BL, Switzerland[1, 2] and died in South Carolina.

c. JACOB RUPLE was likely the older of two male children of Martin Roppel. They were found living with Barbarah Roupel (Martin's wife) next door to John Roupel (Martin's oldest son) in 1790 [23]. Though Martin probably died just before this census, Barbarah had one male under age sixteen in the household and one over that age. Jacob is thought to be one of these children due to the German naming patterns, i.e., Jacob's first born son was later named Martin, just like his putative father, the immigrant Martin[21].

In adulthood, Jacob Ruple (author's ggg grandfather) lived about twelve miles from Martin's property near Four Hole Swamp[24]. He owned 747 acres in 1818.

A field trip in May of 2011, further pinpointed the location of Jacob's property near that of 1820 census neighbor Aaron Way. Way's cemetery was discovered on that trip along Weatherby Lane, at GPS Coordinates: 33deg, 26'56.58" N, 80 deg, 36'05.78" W. This cemetery lies south of Hwy 301, just west of Way Road, north of Woolbright road and east of Hwy 176 (Old State Road)[24][25][28][29][30].

Jacob's children were: (1) Martin, b. 31 Jan 1806; (2) Emanuel, b. 10 Sept 1807(author's gg grandfather); (3) William David (b. 26 June 1809), and (4) Clarasy, all born in Orangeburg District, South Carolina[24]. It is unknown whom Jacob married. Jacob was a veteran of the War of 1812 having been in both Juhan's and Youngblood's Militias[25,26]. He likely died in Lowndes County, Mississippi 1837-39, where he was last known to have lived with his son, Emanuel Ruple[27]. DNA links Jacob with the Orangeburg group of known descendants of John (Johannes) Ruple, the immigrant Martin Ruple's (Roppel's) oldest son[22].


Special thanks to the OGSGS for years of dedication to preserving our heritage so we will never forget. Special thanks go to Prof. Don Yoder for Swiss research suggestions in 1994 and 2007; Ruth & Beat Keller of Füllinsdorf (friends, hosts, photographers, translators, tour guides), BL, CH; Alfred Roppel, Zurich, CH; Roppel, Kurt und Margrit (-Althaus), Frenkendorf; Martin Roppel, BL, CH; Elfriede Eitel, a German native from Stuttgart, DL (assistance with reading/interpreting 18th c. Germanic script); Archivist in Basel, BS, CH; Mr. Beat Meyer, archivist, Staatsarchiv des Kantons Basel-Landschaft, Liestal, CH; Werner Hug, genealogist/researcher, Muttenz, BL, CH (survey of archival documents/Roppel family research); Herman Ruple Durr, SC; Lynn Teague, OGSGS, SC, USA; Harriet Imrey, Jim Rickenbacker, OGSGS Mailing List.


1. Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche Frenkendorf (BL), "Kirchenbuch, 1542-1842", FHL INTL Films #0128196, #0953124.

2. Reformed Church records for Füllinsdorf - see Frenkendorf - Staatsarchiv, Liestal, BL, CH; .

3. Faust, Albert Bernhardt. and G. Brumbaugh, 1968. Lists of Swiss Emigrants in the Eighteenth Century to the American Colonies. Vol. II. (Baltimore: Genealog- ical Publishing Co.) p. 168 (Jacob); p. 190 (Martin).

4. Gerichtsprotokolle, 1732-1890, Auswanderungsakten 1768-1818 FHL INTL Film 1196903 (misc. documents dealing with migration in and from the kanton of Basel-Stadt submitted to magistrate courting Basel, CH); Roppel, Martin, 1772.

5. Photocopy of petition dated Feb 24, 1772, on behalf of Martin Roppel, his wife and two children; Staatsarchiv, Basel, Switzerland.

6. Research conducted in Switzerland at Liestal archives by Swiss researcher Mr. Werner Hug of Muttenz, BL, CH for Jack Ruple, Sr.;

7. The South-Carolina Gazette, Thurs., Dec 24 1772 (listing ship arrivals in Charles Town on the Ship Sincere Friend, Robert King, Master) from Medera; in the same newspaper, the following appears on a subsequent page under the Title "Timothy's Marine List": "On Monday last Thomas Loughton -Smith, Esq; and Mrs. Smith returned, by Land from the northern Colonies. The Same Day [Dec 21, 1772] arrived Monsr de St. Pierre, from London, last from Madera, with upwards of 100 passengers, Vignerons, and others for the settlement of New Bourdeaux in this Province." (Author's Note: only one ship arrived from Madera that day -the Sincere Friend with Master Robert King) :

8. S.C. Council Journals, Jan 6, 1773, pp. 23-25 - petition for land under the Bounty Act of 1761.

9. A Compilation of the Original Protestant Immigrants to South Carolina, 1763- 1773 by Janie Revill, Columbia [S.C]: State Co., 1939. 163 pp. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, Md., p. 127.

10. SC Archives, Colonial Plats (Jean Louis DuMesnil De St. Pierre), Ser. S213184 Vol. 0014, Pg. 00379 Itm. 01; date 05/18/1768; 150 a.; Granville County; Savannah River, Hillsborough Township. Pierre brought another group of immigrants, perhaps his first, in 1768 when his ship was blown off course in route to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

11. St. Pierre's passengers' petition for land under Bounty Act of 1761; Council Journal, v. 34, pp. 101-103. Meeting of 9 March 1768; taken from

12. The South-Carolina Gazette, Thurs., Aug. 8, 1771.

13. The South-Carolina Gazette, Thurs., March 26, 1772.

14. SC Archives, Plats for State Land Grants (Martin Roupel), Ser. S213190 Vol. 0027, Pg. 00112 Itm. 01 .

15. South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. referencing David Ruple (thought to be John J. Ruple's son) and Henry Buzzard family; SCMAR,vol 28 Spring, 2000, pp. 62-68: Orangeburg District Ruple Papers, 1787-1853(selected) court records in Caroliniana Library.

16. SC Archives, Plats for State Land Grants (Henry Buzzard), Ser. S213190 Vol. 0027, Pg. 00361 Itm. 01; plat date 7/9/1791 for 202 acres on Middle Pen Branch of Four Hole Swamp, Orangeburgh District, surveyed by David Squier.; neighbors including Martin Roupel, William Murphy

17. Mills, Robert, Mills Atlas, Orangeburgh District, South Carolina, Surveyed by B. Busby, 1820, improved for Mill's Atlas, 1825.

18. SC Archives, Plats for State Land Grants (John Roupel), Ser. S213190 Vol. 0024, Pg. 00368, Itm. 02 .

19. Herman Ruple Durr; Blythewood, SC: photos; land plats of Ruple homestead; Durr written interrogatory interview answers to questions by Jack Ruple, Sr. concerning Ruple properties in Orangeburg Co, SC.Sept. 26, 2006; John J. Ruple's stone was placed on that property by his granddaughter, Angeline C. Ayers Wilson (b. 5 May 1851 - d. 8 Nov 1942); Angeline's mother, Elisabeth Ruple Ayers and father John M. Ayers also appears thereon. Angeline, in turn, was buried in Sunnyside Cemetery in Orangeburg. It is understandable that Angeline mistakenly assumed that because John spoke German, he must have come from Germany (not Switzerland.)

20. SC Archives, Accounts Audited for Claims Growing Out of the Revolution, File No. 6674, Ser. 5108092, Reel 0129, Frame 00260.

21. Petition for Rev.War Pension - John Ruple; petition 22 Oct 1834 (alleged he served at Wadbo lake for six weeks, drafted to serve in the militia under Col Jacob Ott, and Colonel & Major Sabb; General Marion was there also and in command of all the troops; also served in Capt. Ott's corps to suppress the Tories on occasion; letter 26 Dec. 1834 (rejected due to less than 6 months' service). However, court found he did serve as Revolutionary soldier..

22. (public website for Ruple/Roppel family DNA surname study established by author in 2006; first 12 markers were identical for Swiss, SC,AL and AR Ruple/Roppels tested).

23. First census of the United States, Orangeburgh District, north part, p. 98.

24. The Ruple Family in America and its Germanic Heritage, © 1988, Little Rock, Ark, Jack D. Ruple, Sr., pp. 169 (Dantzler Plat); 172-73; 175; 187. (Aaron Way was an 1820 census neighbor of Jacob Ruple; Way is shown on that Dantzler plat. A research field trip by Jack and Brooks Ruple in May of 2011 found the Aaron Way cemetery plot with the help of local resident L. Wayne Shuler.])

25. Orangeburg Documents, © 1987, Little Rock, Ark., Jack D. Ruple, Sr., pp. 19; 21-22. (Taken from original archival document, SC Dept Archives.)

26. Petition to the state General Assembly of South Carolina, dated 1820, seeking compensation for men who fought in the militia "during the late war [1812]" from Orangeburg. SC Dept of Archives and History, Columbia, SC. (cite unknown)

27. Mississippi 1830/1837(Part I 1837; Part 2, 1830,1837) ; Accelerated Indexing Systems International, Inc., Ronald Vern Jackson, et al, p. 49 (Jacob Ruple, Lowndes county, MS, 1837). Mississippi State and Territorial Census Collection, 1792-1866 (on-line database) Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc.2007; microfilm v 229. 3 rools, Heritage Quest. (original census image provided)

28. W.Z. Dantzler loose plats, Salley Archives, showing land of Aaron Way(1764), Mi [Michael] Vo[g]t(1769), and Jacob Wideman (1757) on Goodby's Hole on the east side of "State Road," also east of Four Hole Swamp, in Amelia township (Calhoun County) SC.(See also Ruple Family Book, supra, publ.1988, p. 169)

29. OGSGS, First Families of Orangeburg, Aaron Way ("two doors" from Jacob).

30. SCMAR, vol. I, No. 4, fall, 1973 - p. 314; St. Matthews 1818 Tax List; p. 214; Jacob Ruple, 749 acres.

31. Rupp, I. Daniel, A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., c. 1980, p. 382. (printed as Jacob Gobell)

32. Ralph B. Strassburger, LL. D. & William J. Hinke, Ph.D, D.D., Pennsylvania German Pioneers, Norristown, PA: Pennsylvania German Society, c. 1934, signature vol., p. 829 (Gerrnanic script).

33. Pennsylvania German Pioneers, 2d printing, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, c. 1966, v.1, p. 720 (printed as Jacob Bobell)

Other references to this surname are found in OSGSG Newsletters: Vol. 1, pp. 57, 75, 92; Vol. 2, pp. 60, 61, 74, 151; Vol. 3, pp. 9, 17, 18; Vol. 4, p. 3; Vol. 5, p. 39; Vol. 10, p. 4.

Information provided by Jack Ruple, May 12, 2007, updated June 19 2012.