William Pickel (1776 – 1866) and his wife, Elizabeth Wilson Pickel (1782-1869) are the first known of my line.
“The correct spelling of his last name is not clear. On his tomb it is spelled Pickel; on a powder horn in the possession of the writer is carved “W. Pickle 1824.” The name is spelled both ways on several documents as well as Pikle and Pickell. The same variations are found in his sons’ names. Most of the descendants remaining in South Carolina spell the name Pickel or Pickell while those that came to Texas generally spell it Pickle, although this is not always true.
His parentage is unknown, but family traditions indicate two possible countries of origin. One states that there were three brothers that came to Colonial America from Ireland. One went south; this would be William’s father. The other two went north, possibly to Kentucky, Tennessee, or Illinois. Two of the brothers spelled the last name one way; the other brother, the other way. At first it seems unlikely that a family would come from Ireland and have a last name of either Pickle or Pickel. Upon further research, it was found that several families from the Palatine and surrounding areas went to Ireland and later they or their descendants came to America.
The other origin was outlined in a biography of one of his grandsons, William E. M. Pickle, which was published in History of Texas. Lone Star State – Centennial Texas( page 669, published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, in 1896.
William Pickle, the father of C. W. Pickle, was reared and passed his life there [Williamston, S. C.], being a slaveholder and a prominent farmer and dying in that state at the extreme old age of ninety-one years. His father had emigrated to this country from Holland and made settlement in South Carolina at a very early date.”
Again this points to the probability that they were of Palatine or similar origin in what is now southern Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Other family traditions indicate that William Pickle’s ancestors left Holland because of religious persecution and one went to Canada. Other traditions state that three brothers came to America; two stayed in South Carolina and one went to Tennessee.
His parents probably emigrated to America to one of three areas. Many landed at Philadelphia, later moving to western Pennsylvania, the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia, North Carolina and finally to South Carolina. ‘This was the path of many who settled the areas east of the Appalachian Mountains. Immigration to the eastern part of North Carolina around New Bern on the Neuse is another possibility. Many Swiss and German families first settled in that area. The third possibility is immigration directly to Charles Town, South Carolina or by way of Georgia and settlement in Orangeburg, Congaree, Wateree, and Newberry. All of this is speculation but based on the history of many similar families who settled in South Carolina. Family tradition according to Hampton Pickle, son of Albert W. Pickle, is that William Pickle’s dad was killed in the Revolutionary War and his mother died shortly afterwards. “Bill” was raised an orphan by relatives and friends.”
Source: Pickle, Jack R. History of the William Pickle Family. Victoria, Texas. Self-Published. 1990. pp. II-2, II-3