First Families of Orangeburgh District, South Carolina

Sturkey, Sturkie (Sterchi)

1a. ULRICH STERCHI was baptized September 4, 1694 in Gsteig bei Interlaken, BE, Switzerland, the eldest child of KASPAR STERCHI (1659-1750) and MARGARITA ZURBUCHEN (1671-1738)[2], and probably died in Orangeburgh District, SC, date unknown. He married his first cousin, MARGARITA STERCHI, December 7, 1720 in Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland[2]. She was the daughter of CHRISTIAN STERCHI and ANNA FURER, and was born July 19, 1705 in Matten bei Interlaken, Bern, Switzerland[2], and probably died in Orangeburgh District, SC, date unknown.

Ulrich was for a number of years the Landsvenner (standard or banner bearer) in Interlaken[3]. Ulrich, his wife Margaret, their son Christian, and their godson Ulrich Sterchi [subsequently referred to in the Carolina records as "Ulrich Junior"] left Switzerland in the spring of 1752, sailing on Captain Mason's ship Neptune, arriving in Philadelphia from Rotterdam, October 4, 1752[4]. They continued on to Charleston in the fall of 1752 on Captain Russell's ship, according to Ulrich's January 1, 1753 petition for land and bounty[5].

Ulrich was granted 150 acres of land in Orangeburgh. No plat has been found for the property, but on December 2, 1753 Ulrich and Margaret sold their 150-acre grant to Brand Pendarvis for: "twenty five pounds current money of the province."[6] The land was described as a: "tract containing one hundred and fifty acres of land on the west side of Pon Pon River in the fork of Edisto butting and bounding north-eastward on Pon Pon River and on all other sides on vacant lands."[6]

No children were born to Ulrich and Margaret in Switzerland after 1735[1], and because of Margaret's age, we can be certain none were born to them after they arrived in Orangeburgh.

Children of Ulrich Sterchi and Margarita Sterchi:

a. MARGARITA STERCHI born 1722, Gsteig bei Interlaken, BE, Switzerland[2], died bef 1729.

b. CHRISTIAN STERCHI born 1725, Gsteig bei Interlaken, BE, Switzerland[2], died probably in Orangeburgh District, SC. He married AGNES RINGGENBERG in Gsteig bei Interlaken, BE, Switzerland December 3, 1745[2].

Christian and Agnes had a daughter, Margarita, baptized September 22, 1748[2]. Agnes and the little daughter did not come to Orangeburgh with Christian. On July 30, 1753, Agnes petitioned the authorities in Switzerland for a divorce , but we found no record of a divorce. Nothing further is known about Christian; no records have been found in Carolina pertaining to him.

c. ANNA STERCHI born 1727, Gsteig bei Interlaken, BE, Switzerland[2], died bef. 1733.

d. MARGARITA STERCHI born 1729, Gsteig bei Interlaken, BE, Switzerland[2], died bef. 1735.

e. ANNA STERCHI born 1733, Gsteig bei Interlaken, BE, Switzerland[2].

f. KASPAR STERCHI born 1734, Gsteig bei Interlaken, BE, Switzerland[2].

g. MARGARITA STERCHI born 1735, Gsteig bei Interlaken, BE, Switzerland[2].

1b. HEINRICH STERCHI was baptized in Gsteig bei Interlaken, Bern, Switzerland, February 5, 1702, the third and youngest child of KASPAR STERCHI and MARGARITA ZURBUCHEN[2]. He married (1)MARGARITA RITSCHARD June 7, 1725 at Gsteig, BE, Switzerland[2]; she died January 28, 1731[2]. Heinrich married (2)ANNA VON ALLMEN on March 14, 1732[2]. Anna died March 1742[2]. Heinrich married (3)ELIZABETH HIRNI on January 28, 1746 in Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland[2]. She was born December 1722 in Unterseen, BE, Switzerland, died January 16, 1757 in Orangeburgh District, SC and was buried on her husband's plantation the next day[7,8]

In the records of Interlaken, Heinrich was referred to as a Lieutenant, the monastery miller, and a judge at the free court[1].

Heinrich and (3)Elizabeth left Switzerland in the spring of 1750, sailing on Captain Mason's ship Phoenix, from Rotterdam, arriving in Philadelphia August 28, 1750. It is not known when they traveled from Philadelphia to Charleston; Heinrich's January 1, 1753 petition for 100 acres of land and bounty only states that he "arrived here in the Edinburgh Captain Russell from Philadelphia having imbarked on board of Captain Mason at Rotterdam with intent to come to this province."[5] He obviously waited for his older brother Ulrich to arrive as they filed their petitions on the same day, but it is not known if he waited in Philadelphia or in Charleston. It is also not known where in Orangeburgh Heinrich's land was located, as no plat or description has been found, but we know from Reverend Giessendanner's journal that Heinrich did have a plantation in Orangeburgh.

Children of Heinrich Sterchi and (1)Margarita Ritschard are:

HANS CASPAR born 1726, Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland[2], died Georgia, before July 1769. He married ANNA HOFSTETTER in 1751 in Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland[2] she died probably in Georgia, date unknown.

In the records of Interlaken, Hans Caspar Sterchi is referred to as a doctor, a lawyer, and a member of the land court[9]. There is no record of any children born to Hans Caspar and Anna in Switzerland up until they emigrated in the spring of 1755 to join his father who had emigrated in 1750[1]. They traveled with Ulrich Sterchi and his daughter Margreth, sailing from Germany to Charleston on the Charming Betsey, arriving in the fall of 1755[10]. Hans Caspar was granted 100 acres of land "situate between Broad and Saludy Rivers on a Branch of Said Broad River called Tyger Creek in Berkly County."[11]

By 1760 Hans Casper is in Georgia, when he is paid five pounds for the cure of a wounded Spaniard[21]. On November 30, 1760, Dr. John Caspar Sterkey and his wife were received to Full Communion at Midway Congregational Church, Midway, Georgia[30]. In 1762 he is in South Newport, St. Andrews Parish, Georgia, when he petitioned the Governor and Council on May 4, 1762 for one hundred acres of land at South Newport adjoining the two hundred and fifty acres he already had[22]. John Gaspar Stirkey also owned town lots No. 283 and 284 in Sunbury, Georgia[31]. Hans Casper Sterchi died before July of 1769, as we find an announcement in the Georgia Gazette July 12, 1769 that "Mrs. Starkey, widow of Dr. Casper Starkey, late of St. John's parish" married Robert Bolton of Savannah[23].

b. MICHAEL STERCHI born 1727, Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland[2].

c. HEINRICH STERCHI born 1729 Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland[2].

Child of Heinrich Sterchi and (2)Anna von Allmen is:

a. MARGARITA STERCHI born 1734, Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland[2].

Children of Heinrich Sterchi and (3)Elizabeth Hirni:

a. ANN STERCHI, born November 28, 1753, Orangeburgh District, SC[7,8], died December 16, 1753, buried on parents' plantation[7,8].

b. ULRICH STERCHI, born 1754, baptized December 17, 1754, Orangeburgh Church, Orangeburgh District, SC[7,8].

It is believed that this son Ulrich survived to adulthood)" [12] and was the father of three sons: Henry born 1778-1779, John born 1782, and Ulrich born between 177-1784. Ulrich received a grant of 692 acres of land on Long Branch in 1793 [13,14]. 350 acres of this grant was sold to Balthasar Staley Feb 13, 1796 [28]; John Sturkie acquired 260.5 acres of the grant prior to April 7, 1806, at which time he sold it to Christian Wolfe [29]. Ulrich's son Henry sold the remaining 80 acres of the grant to Mary House on June 2, 1809, stating the land was left to him "by will of Ulrich Sturkey."[26] This tells us 1754 Ulrich died prior to June 1809.

1c. ULRICH STERCHI was baptized in Gsteig bei Interlaken, Bern, Switzerland on August 28, 1704[2], the eldest of six children of HEINRICH STERCHI (1661-1722) and MARGARITA RITSCHARD (abt 1684-1721). Ulrich married ELIZABETH MICHEL before 1730; her date and place of birth are unknown, but she died and was buried in Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland January 22, 1743[2].

This Ulrich's father, HeinrichSterchi, was a brother to Kasper Sterchi, the father of Ulrich born 1694 and Heinrich born 1702[1], making him a first cousin of theirs. Ulrich was a judge at the free court in Interlaken[9.

Ulrich did not marry again after the death of Elizabeth[15] In the spring of 1755, he left Switzerland to come to Orangeburgh with his daughter Margreth, and with Hans Caspar Sterchi (son of Heinrich who had already come to Orangeburgh) and his wife Anna Hoffstetter[9]. Ulrich's son, Ulrich [a.k.a.Ulrich Jr.] born in 1733 was the godson of Ulrich Sterchi [a.k.a. Ulrich Senior] and had already come to Orangeburgh in 1752. This group sailed from Germany on the ship Charming Betsey arriving in Charleston, according to Ulrich's January 6, 1756 petition for land , in October of 1755[15]. Ulrich was granted 100 acres of land "in Orangeburgh Township on branch called Long Branch, . . . bounded on all sides by vacant land ."[16] There is no indication that this Ulrich married again after arriving in Orangeburgh and it is believed that he had no children other than the four born in Switzerland. Ulrich's 100-acre land grant property was subsequently owned by William Sterkie in 1787.

Children of Ulrich Sterchi and Elizabeth Michel are::

a. HEINRICH born 1730 in Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland[2]

b. ULRICH born 1733 in Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland[2] died in Orangeburgh District, SC, probably before 1809.

Ulrich Sterchi [a.k.a Ulrich Junior] left Switzerland for Orangeburgh in the spring of 1752 with his godparents, Ulrich and Margaret Sterchi, arriving in Philadelphia October 1752 , continuing on to Charleston in the fall of 1752. On January 20, 1753 Ulrich was granted 50 acres of land, which was described as "a tract of land on Cawcaw Swamp, in Orangeburgh Township . . . bounded on all sides on vacant land."[17] In October of 1760 he was granted an additional 50 acres of land described as "a tract of land in the upper part of Orangeburg Township on a swamp called Cawcaw Swamp . . . bounded on all sides by vacant land."[18] From Reverend Giessendanner's journals we know that Ulrich Junior married a Margaret, and there is circumstantial evidence that his wife was Margaret Koller, born November 14, 1739[12], the daughter of Benedict Koller and Magdalina Spring. Ulrich Junior and his wife Margaret are believed to have had five children, although a record can be found for only a daughter Anna who was baptized by Reverend Giessendanner September 12, 1759[7,8]. In addition, based on a family history paper for the Sturkey family, it is believed there were sons William, Benjamin and John, all of whom were probably born in the 1760s, and a daughter, Molly, born 1767, who married Joseph Funderburk[27].

c. MARGARETH born 1734, Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland[2], died probably in Orangeburgh District, SC, date unknown.

d. HANS born 1742 in Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland[2], died and buried February 3, 1743, Gsteig, Bern, Switzerland[2].


1. Research in Switzerland by Peter Wälti of Munsingen, Switzerland on behalf of Patricia C. Sturkey.

2. Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche Gsteig bei Interlaken (Bern), Kirchenbuch, 1593-1875.

3. Albert Bernhardt Faust, A.B., Ph.D., and Faust & Brumbaugh, Lists of Swiss Emigrants in the Eighteenth Century to the American Colonies, Vol. I & II.

4. Ralph Beaver Strassburger, edited by William John Hinke, Pennsylvania German Pioneers, a Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia From 1727 to 1808.

5. Brent Holcomb, Petitions for land from the South Carolina Council Journals, Volume III : 1752-1753, 1997, p. 164.

6. Charleston Deeds, Vol. PP, pages 25-30.

7. Joop Giesendanner, "The Book of Record, Orangeburgh, SC".

8. A. S. Salley, The History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina, 1898

9. State Archives, Bern, Switzerland..

10. Brent Holcomb, Petitions for land from the South Carolina Council Journals, Volume IV : 1754-1756, 1998, p. 242.

11. SC Archives, Colonial Plats (John Gasper Sterkee), 16 Jun 1758, Ser. S213184, Vol. 0006,Pg. 00394, Itm. 03.

12. Sturkey, Patricia, In Search of Benjamin Sturkey, pages 211-214.

13. State Grants, Vol 32, page 47

14.State Plats, Vol 33, page 317, frame 349.

15.Brent Holcomb, Petitions for land from the South Carolina Council Journals, Volume I : 17542-1756, 1998, p. 242.

16. Colonial Plats (Ulrick Sterkee), Ser: S213184, Vol: 0006, Pg: 00322, Im:- 02, 1758/03/18.

17. Colonial Grants (Ulrick Starche), Ser: S213016, Vol: 002F, Pg: 00158, Itm: 00, 1756/03/24.

18. Colonial Plats (Ulrick Starcher), Ser: S213184, Vol: 0007, Pg: 00227, Itm: 02, 1760/10/21.

19. Clark, Murtie June. Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War, 1981, p. 201.

20. Hicks, Theresa M., Saxe Gotha Neighbors.

21. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol XVTTT, Statutes Enacted by the Royal Legislature of Georgia from Its First Session in 1754 to 176S, page 407, April 24th 1760 (For Expenses of Government and Militia).

22. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia. Vol VIII. Journal of the Proceedings and Minutes of the Governor and Council, March 8, 1759, to December 31, 1762, Inclusive, page 676 (meeting of 4 May 1762). Grant for 250 acres signed, meetingofMay21, 1762, page 686.

23. [Georgia] Marriages and Deaths 1763-1820 -Warren, page 10.

24. State Plats,. Series S213190. Vol. 37. page 374, Item 2.

25. State Plats,. Series S213190. Vol. 37. page 355, Item 2.

26. Doc. Misc. No. 227 A-298, Salley Archives, Orangeburg. SC.

27. History of Sangamon County. Illinois, published 1881 in Chicago by Inter-State Publishing Company, page 878 (with additional information on their son David on page 874).

28. Doc. Misc. No. 488 A-298, Salley Archives, Orangeburg, SC.

29. Doc Misc. No. 495 A-298, Salley Archives, Orangeburg, SC

30. Records of the Midway Congregational Church, Volume 3. Midway Congregational Church Transactions, Marriages, Birth, Baptisms, etc. 1754-1830, page 16.

31. The Dead Towns of Georgia, Charles C. Jones, Chapter IV, Sunbury. (

Other references to this surname in OGSGS Newsletters: Vol 1 #15 p.69, Vol 2 #12 p. 158, Vol 4 #6 p. 49, Vol 5 #1 p. 2, #8 p 147, Vol 7 #2 p.28, Vol 10 #8 p. 132.

Information provided by Patricia C. Sturkey, Sep 2004, 11 Oct 2007 and April 2012.