The Children of Abraham Stauffer - 1748-1823
Abraham Stauffer (1748-1823) and his wife Elizabeth Zug Stauffer (1759-1802) had
ten children. The only one who did not live to maturity was the twin Jacob who
died the day he was born--August 15, 1802; his mother Elizabeth died the
Six of the children went with Abraham when he emigrated to Canada in 1805, and
we have plentiful records of their lives and descendants. The other three stayed
in Pennsylvania, and we have little or no information on them.
Some records list these Stauffer children as being born in "Lititz,
Lancaster," Pennsylvania, and others say "Warwick, Lancaster."
Lititz is the town, and Warwick the township.
Looking at the next generation, we find Abraham's children produced 59
grandchildren that we know of, though close to a third of them were not born
until after he died. All but ten
were in Ontario. All
but one of his children named their first daughter Elizabeth, apparently in honor of
their mother. The one who didn't, Samuel, gave the name to his
second daughter. He gave the first one the name of his grandmother Susannah. So
Abraham had at least six granddaughters named Elizabeth!
Abraham lived almost twenty years after the move to Canada, and if it is true
that his first wife died in childbirth in 1802, then it is clear from
his will that he remarried to another Elizabeth. None of his
children died before he did. Esther was
the first to die, at 46, and Daniel the second at 50, while Samuel lived to 77
and Joseph to 78. Joseph, the youngest and the surviving twin, was last to die
and lived until 1880. We don't know when two of the three who stayed in Pennsylvania died, but if we can judge by the fact that they
are mentioned in their father's will, they did not die until after 1823.
See Early Stauffers for a description of sources
mentioned in the following.
(1781-?) and Susannah Long (?)
The oldest son of Abraham and Elizabeth
Stauffer did not make the move to Canada with the rest of the family, and we can find very little information on
him. A few sites on the Internet give information about a David Stauffer with correct
birth date and parents. Three give a name for his wife. None give information on children nor when or where he died.
However, David, along with his brother and sister who did not go to Canada, is
included in a list of Abraham's children in his 1823 will, so it seems there
must have been some communication over the years with those who
stayed in Pennsylvania.
Samuel Stauffer (1782-1859) and Esther Groh (1786-1862)
Blenheim Mennonite Cemetery, Washington, Ontario
Abraham and Elizabeth's second son was our ancestor. He was 23 and still
unmarried when they
moved to Canada. His wife, Esther, seems to be where
the chain of Esthers in our family originated. Their grandson Samuel named his
daughter Esther. She was my great-grandmother, and my mother and I were both
named after her. Two more generations have carried it on as a middle name.
Esther's family was another of those involved in the
migrations from Pennsylvania to Canada during the first decade of the 19th Century. Her father
Michael made the trip first. He liked what he found so well that he
bought six acres, cleared land for winter wheat, built a small cabin, and headed
back for his family. On the return trip, they got as far as crossing the Niagara River
when Michael became ill. One daughter stayed with him while the rest of the
family pressed on. By the time they arrived, word reached them that Michael had
died. That was in the fall of 1804. The Stauffers came a year later, and Samuel
and Esther were married on her 20th birthday, December 5, 1806.
Samuel and Esther had ten children in seventeen years. Five of them named a
daughter Esther. Four of them ended up in
Michigan, including their sixth child, our ancestor Abraham G.
Stauffer (in addition, #1-Isaac to Gaines, #2-Susannah Kinzie
to Kent County, and #9-Sallie Janzen to Caledonia). One son
died unmarried at 30. There is a mystery about David, #7. We are told he
was adopted by "old Henry Erb" and died at 14. Why on earth they
would have adopted out one of their children is a huge mystery. It couldn't have
been Esther's health because she gave birth three more times and lived to 76. Samuel lived
to 77. Believe it or not, just seven of their children produced 74
grandchildren! (But again, not all were born in their lifetimes.)
John Stauffer (1784-1850) and Elizabeth Hohn (1780-1851)
The third son, John, also did not go to Canada. On him there is more
information, especially if I interpret Richard Davis's numbering system
correctly. According to Davis, John lived in Londonderry, Lebanon Co., and in Derry, Dauphin
Co. Both counties are in Pennsylvania, but neither town is on my AAA
A few sites on the Internet give information about him with correct
birth date and parents. Some give a name for his wife and when or where he died, but no information on children. Davis, however, gives dates for his wife
and a list of ten children, all born in Londonderry across a span of
nineteen years and all growing to adulthood. John is listed in his father's 1823
will along with all Abraham's other children. He lived to be 66 and Elizabeth 71.
(1786-?) and Christian Bomberger (?)
The fourth child was Susannah. As the first girl, it is likely she was
initiated early into the skills and responsibilities of caring for a family. She
was 19 when the family uprooted to go to Canada. Either Susannah or her sister
Elizabeth stayed behind, and records disagree about which one it was. The Stauffer booklet and a copy of Abraham’s will
indicate Susannah as the one who went. Whichever one it was (we're going with Susannah because of Abraham's
will), we have surprisingly little information on her, including no wedding date
nor when she died. 1
She married a Christian Bomberger, and we have even less information on him.
The one thing we know for
sure is that they had no
children. That must have been a source of tremendous grief in that day and in
the midst of so prolific a family clan. However, given that Susannah was 16 and
the oldest sister when
her mother died leaving a newborn, it is tempting to wonder if she might not
have been heavily involved in raising her brother Joseph, the surviving twin.
(1788-1858) and Catherine Biehn (1785-1859)
Elizabeth Stauffer's fifth pregnancy produced twins on August 1, 1888. They gave
the babies their parents' names: Abraham and Elizabeth. At the time of the move
to Canada, they would have been 17. (See Elizabeth, following)
On November 5, 1809, Abraham married Catherine Biehn, whose family was one of
the first to make the move from Pennsylvania to Canada.
(The Stauffer book gives her name as Elizabeth.) Abraham lived to 70 and Catherine to
84. They had seven children, with one dying in infancy, their son Abraham at age
20, and their youngest, Catherine, at 34. Even through only five children, they
had 38 grandchildren.
Their son John and a group of farmers in the district formed a company and erected a cheddar cheese factory on a corner of
the farm in 1866. It was advertised in the Berliner Journal as the first cheese factory in Waterloo County. It was equipped to process the milk from 300
(Stauffer booklet). Their daughter Catherine married Joel Good, who lived until
1912 and was one of the patriarchs of the 1904 Stauffer reunion. But Catherine died after six children,
possibly in childbirth. Joel would marry again, giving Abraham and Catherine's
grandchildren a Scottish step-mother and nine more siblings!
Elizabeth Stauffer (1788-?) and
Elizabeth was Abraham's twin. As mentioned, there is confusion in the records about whether the daughter who stayed in Pennsylvania and married someone named Helmuth was Elizabeth or Susannah. The Stauffer booklet and a copy of Abraham’s will say it was Elizabeth. Whichever it was, she undoubtedly stayed because she was already married—and perhaps
pregnant. Indeed, one record gives her a marriage date in 1804, which would fit.
She is listed in her father's will, so it seems there must have been some kind
of communication between the family members over the years, and she must have
still been alive.
Esther Stauffer (1790-1836) and George Clemens (1777-1863)
Esther's story is told in another link on this
website. Some records say she was born in December and an equal number say September.
We can see on her headstone that it is December. Esther was married at barely 15,
and after giving birth to 18 children, she died at age 46.
Daniel StauffER (1796-1846) and Susannah Kinzey (1798-1881)
|Daniel Stauffer, who was 9 years old when the family migrated to
Canada. Kinsey Biehn Cemetery, Waterloo, Ontario
Esther was just past five when her younger brother Daniel was born in February
of 1796. Daniel was six and a half when his mother died and nine when they moved
to Canada. I wonder if he rode in the covered wagon or tried to walk with his
big brothers Abraham and Samuel during that five-week journey.
Maybe some of both.
Already in the new community in Canada was a little girl whose family had come
from another county in Pennsylvania three years earlier. It is tempting to
imagine childhood romance, but there isn't much point because Daniel and Susannah
did not marry until 1818 when she was 20 and he was 22. Daniel lived to 50, but Susannah
lived to be 83.
They had nine children in 22 years, with three calendar years between each one,
though one may have died in infancy. Their second child, Barbara, was one of the
oldest present at the 1904 Stauffer reunion, and she lived to 91. A boy named
Menno died at 16, and two daughters died in their 30s during child-bearing
years; Judith at 37 already had nine children. The other four lived to be 78
Abraham's will and the Stauffer booklet tell us that Daniel inherited his
father's land and in turn passed it to his youngest son, Noah. Noah was a
Mennonite minister, "one of the first ministers to preach fluently in the
English language," and the one who dreamed up and hosted the 1904 Stauffer
reunion on Abraham's original land.
Joseph Stauffer (1802-1880) and Rebecca Rosenberger (1801-1882)
|Erb Street Mennonite Cemetery. Notice the inscription at the bottom
of the headstone: Erected by the grandchildren in 1912.
|We believe Abraham is buried in this cemetery (Weber Mennonite)
south of Waterloo but were not able to find his grave. No stones as
early as 1823 were readable.
The youngest child in the family was the surviving twin, who of course never
knew his mother. His early care undoubtedly came from his teenage sisters. He
was just three when they made the long, hard trip to Canada. The Rosenbergers,
from Montgomery County, PA, were another one of the earliest families to go to
Canada, when Rebecca was scarcely more than an infant.
Compared to how much information we have on some of his siblings, we have surprisingly
little on Joseph, not even a wedding date. Davis gives nothing but date of birth
for either twin. Eby even confuses the twins. Our best information on
Joseph's family is from the Stauffer booklet and Eby. Joseph and Rebecca had only five
children. Only the youngest was a boy. We do know that his oldest child
(Elizabeth, of course!)
was born the year her grandfather Abraham died; she then died the same year her father died. His two
youngest made it into the 20th century. Joseph lived to 78 and died in 1880,
while Rebecca live two years longer and died at 81. Their son Levi
inherited their property.
Hot Cider Across the Centuries
wish that I could sit down with this Abraham Stauffer (I have two in my
ancestral line) and chat with him over a mug of hot cider. I would start by
asking him where he was born and who his paternal grandfather was—mysteries I
may or may not yet be able to solve. I would see if I could get him to talk about his
wife Elizabeth, the mother of his children. I might even wax bold and show him the
write-up I did about her and see how close I came with my information, two hundred
years after the facts. And I would certainly ask him about that tragic day in August
1802 when she gave birth to her second set of twins and then died along with one of them. I would ask him where he buried her because I would
very much like to find her grave.
I would like to hear Abraham tell me firsthand his reasons for taking such a big
step as uprooting and moving to Canada when he was
fifty-seven. Did his decision have anything to do with Elizabeth's
death? How hard was it to leave three of his children behind? Was the five-week
trip--traversing mountains, forests, rivers, and a swamp--a family adventure, a
rewarding challenge? My guess is that in those days and under those
circumstances, it was probably nothing more than an exceedingly difficult
experience. I would express my sympathy
for the fact that his brand new barn burned down in a forest fire only two
months after he bought his property in Canada.
Yes, Abraham could tell me many things I would love to know, but I could tell him
some things, too. So would someone please refill our cider mugs? I might start
by telling him that his namesake grandson, who was just nine when his Grandpa
Abraham died, would at age 40 decide to leave Canada and head back to the United
States, only this time westward to Michigan. I
would tell him that eight generations down the line, many of his descendants
still love his God and want to please Him. No, we don't have families of a dozen
children any more, but we do still give many of them Bible names. I would love
to tell him about his great-grandson Samuel dying in a cistern when he tried to
save the life of another. And I imagine he would enjoy hearing about the large Bible belonging to
that Samuel--the last in my line to die with the Stauffer name--and how it found its way
back into the family, to me, almost a century after he died.
Yes, I would love to visit with this ancestor who has become much more real to
me through recent research and writing. But that visit, and many others, will
have to wait until I am "gathered to my people" (Genesis 49:33).
~~Check out the other Stauffer links and the pedigree chart on our Stauffer index
page for more on people and events mentioned here.~~
1. A good reason for this
lack of information may simply be that she and her husband left no descendants to pass
information to Ezra Eby when he was researching the families at the end of the