I am working on a genealogy of the northern New Jersey Rikers , descendants of Ryck Hendrickszen and Judith Cornelis who came to New Netherland by 1653. They were from Arnhem, Gelderland, The Netherlands. While researching I came across at least two relationships between these early Rikers in Essex County and Sussex County, NJ.
Hendrick(Henry) A. Ryker, born 1731 in Essex County and Christiana Vincent lived in the western region of Essex County, probably south of the present Caldwell, NJ. They had nine children born between 1766 and 1784., but the record of their baptisms was probably lost with the records of the Fairfield Reformed Church. However, an early family historian, Walter B. Plume, recorded a number of Riker/Ryker/Rycke families and his papers were copied by the DAR in their typescript, known as vol. 22, at the New Jersey Historical Society in Newark. Plume shows the month and year of birth for each child, plus some marriages, so he may have had access to the baptism records at Fairfield before they were lost.
Walter Plume has Hendrick's youngest child Susana, born March 1784, married to Cornelius Riker. This Cornelius Riker lived in Sussex County and the marriage is on record as having taken place on 24 May 1801 at Newfoundland, NJ not far from the Sussex County line. This Cornelius Riker was born about 1780 and died between 1840 and 1850. He was the ancestor of many Sussex County Rikers. Thus these Rikers also have a line of descent through Hendrick, born 1731 in Essex County, the son of Abraham Rycke who married about 1716 on Staten Island to Anneke Olive. Abraham Rycke was a grandson of Ryck Hendrickszen and spent his early life on Staten Island before moving to Essex County in the 1720's. He had three brothers, Peter, Ryck and Johannes who also moved about the same time to Essex County.
To support this finding it should be noted that Susana Riker had a brother Matthew, born Nov 1782 and the family history says he spent his early years in Sussex County and he married Margaret Search, a Sussex County surname. Perhaps Matthew lived there because of the presents of his sister and brother-in-law. Matthew Riker returned to Essex County by the 1820's and lived at West Bloomfield, now Montclair, NJ.
Walter Plume did make some mistakes. For example, he has Henry, son of Hendrick A. Ryker, born March 1777, married to Margaret Sparge. This puzzled me for years because my great great grandfather, Henry H. Riker was born 1777 and married in 1800 at the Caldwell Presbyterian Church to Sarah Van Ness of Fairfield. This is proven by their headstones at the Fairfield church graveyard (Henry H. Riker died 1854)and by my great grandfather's family Bible. The answer to this puzzle is that the Henry, born 1804 in Sussex County, son of Cornelius Riker and Susana Riker, married Margaret Spargo and Plume confused the two Henrys. Plume has Matthew married to Mary Cearch, pretty close to Margaret Search.
It is theorized by a number of genealists, including myself, that the the early Sussex County Rikers are descendants of a Peter Ryker(Riker), born about 1738, who came to Sussex County shortly after 1755 with his parents and that they were Johannes P. Ryker and his second wife Elizabeth Hees. They were from Essex County and had several children baptized there including a daughter Elizabeth in 1748 at the Second River (Belleville, NJ) Reformed Church. There is no baptismal record for Peter but Johannes is sure to have named a male child Peter since his father was named
Peter. Johannes P. Ryker was born in 1701 on Staten Island, son of Peter Rycke, another of the brothers who came to Essex County in the 1720's, and his wife Marietje(Mary) Messecor. There is evidence in an early Sussex County deed that Peter Ryker had a neighbor, perhaps a relative, with the Messecor surname. Kin often settled in the same areas on the frontier. The last record of Johannes P. Ryker in Essex County was in 1755 when he was listed as a Freeholder of Essex County. Other evidence is that an Elizabeth Ryker died Intestate in Sussex County in 1769 and there is mention of a daughter, Elizabeth. Perhaps the Elizabeth who died was Elizabeth Hees Ryker.
There is evidence that shows that Peter (Ryker) Riker and his wife (unknown to me) had the following children.
1. Martha Riker, born about 1758. She married Joseph Headly and they moved to Licking County, OH. The names of their first child was Elizabeth and the second Peter.
2. Peter Riker, born about 1760 . I have no further information on his descendants.
3. Jacob Riker, born about 1763. Shown together with Jeremiah , his brother, in the 1793 militia census of Sussex County.
4. Jeremiah Riker, born about 1765. There is a Jeremiah Riker shown in the 1830 census for Hardystown, Sussex County, and one died Intestate in 1833. There is a younger Jeremiah in the 1850 census for Independence Twp., Warren County, born in 1824. His wife is Catherine (one source says Catherine Ingle and they were married 19 March 1846. That family later moved to Iowa after the Civil War. I would very much like to hear from any descendants of this Sussex County Jeremiah.
5. John(the Dutch name would be Johannes) Riker, born 1770. Shown in the 1850 census for Bryam Twp.,Sussex County, as head of house age 80. Listed in the census under him is Elizabeth Riker, born 1806 and John J. Riker, born 1807 as well as John J. Riker's children. The J or I are sometimes interchangeable since they are written in the same manner. This middle initial is probably a patronymic middle initial so common among descendants of New Netherland settlers during this time frame. John J. Riker is the ancestor of many Sussex County Rikers. His sons include Cornelius,Theodore, Whitfield, John R., Samuel and Joseph W. Riker.
6. Abraham Riker, born about 1777. He probably is the Abraham Riker who married 24 June 1804 in Jefferson Twp., Morris County to Mary Tharp. He settled on the Hopewell Tract near present Warren County. I have no information on his descendants. There is a David A. Riker, born about 1810 in the Sparta 1850 census, but I haven't been able to link him to a father. Also a David Riker, also born about 1810 who appears at Hackettstown, Warren County in the 1870 and 1880 census who I haven't connected . His first wife Anna died in 1881 and is buried at Hackettstown. He married second Sarah Loder.
7. Cornelius Riker, born about 1780. He married at Newfoundland, NJ on 24 May 1801 to Susana Riker, daughter of Hendrick A. Ryker and Christiana Vincent of Essex County. I place his sons as Peter,born 1803; Henry, born 1804 and Cornelius Jr.,born 1816. They all lived next to each other in the 1850 census for Sparta Twp. Cornelius Riker Sr. died between 1840 and 1850.
Jerome Riker, born 1808 who appears in the Frankford Twp., Sussex 1850 census with his wife Delia, is probably not a descendant of Peter(Ryker) Riker because the census taker clearly wrote that he was born in New Jersey, Essex County.
Among his sons were Allen, William B., Charles, Joseph, Theodore anfd John. The son William B. Riker , born about 1835, died 2 May 1914 and is buried at Branchville Cemetery. He had children Brice, William and Oello.
I would like to hear from any person interested in the Sussex County Riker family concerning comments, corrections, or new information. You may e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
David M. Riker