Roots and Migrations

Most recent update – May 2014

What do we know about where our family’s ancestors came from, when they came to this country, and how and when they ended up in Michigan? (We know a great deal about some branches of the family before they came to the New World, but that is written up in other places.) How does the history of our family fit in with the history of the United States? What was happening in different branches of the family at certain points in time?


We can trace ancestors to a number of European countries:

England (Hawkins, Porter, Champlin, *Tiffany, *Compton, *Hutchinson)

Switzerland (Stauffer *Hefflefinger, *Zug, *Shupp)

Germany (Moneysmith,, *Diefenbach, Weiss/Wise)

Holland (*Post)

Ireland (Sullivan)

Scotland (Huntley)

*Married early into another family line.

For a long time we could only suspect that two major branches of the family, the Hawkinses and the Porters, came from England, but we didn’t have records to confirm it. Now in 2011 we have records for both these families going back to at least 1000 A.D.!  


17th Century

We can trace more than one of our family lines back to the days of the Puritans and the earliest settlements in New England, as well as to the first colony in Jamestown, Virginia.

  • In 1630, John and Roseanna Porter arrived with several of their fourteen children as part of a huge migration with the Massachusetts Bay Company. 
  • Ancestral mother Jane Curtis, who would marry John Huntley below, was born in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630.
  •  Edward and Anne Hutchinson with their large family arrived in New England in 1634.  

  •  The first Jeffrey Champlin moved to Roger Williams’ Rhode Island (1636 or after), where his descendants lived 
    for many generations.  

  • William Hawkins, our ancestor and nephew of the pirate Sir John Hawkins, came to Virginia in 1637.  

  • John Huntley came from Scotland to Boston in 1647.  

  • In 1651 John Clark Hawkins joined his father in Virginia.  

  • Squire Humphrey Tiffany arrived in Massachusetts in 1660.  

18th Century

  • Johann Conrad Diefenbach came to the New World with his wife and their first two children between 1705 and 1708.

  • In September 1727, the Zug family arrived from Switzerland.

  • The Stauffers arrived in the American colonies in the later 1730s when George Washington was a boy.

  • The Hefflefingers came over from Switzerland in 1740.

  • Between 1747 and 1753, Johann Adam Weiss with his wife and the first of seven children came from Hessen, Germany, and settled in central Maryland.

  • Christian Mahnenschmidt came from Germany between 1715 and 1720 and settled in PA.

  • In 1753 German John Heinrich Shupp arrived in Pennsylvania.

  • We know that Squibbs were being born in Pennsylvania as early as 1761.

  • We’re still searching for the link that brought the Comptons to the colonies (2011).

The REVOLUTIONARY WAR… (1775-1781) found…

  • Comptons > Orange County in the Hudson Valley of New York; one died in the war.

  • James Hawkins > just across the river in Dutchess County, New York 

  • Porters > western Connecticut; one fought in the war.

  • Henry Wells > born in central Pennsylvania seven weeks before the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

  • Stauffers, Hefflefingers, Zugs > just west of Philadelphia; as Mennonites, they did not fight in the war. 

  • Mahnenschmidts > in Berks Co., north of Philadelphia 

  • Champlins > still in Rhode Island 

  • Diefenbaches > east central Pennsylvania; one fought in the war.  

  • Asher Huntley > served with his father aboard the brigantine General Green, which was taken by the British on its first trip.


When I first wrote this, we knew of only two families who were in the colonies by the time of the Revolution (Comptons and Stauffers). Now we know of these and a few lesser lines.  



Meanwhile, Michigan had been a battle ground between European powers and a pawn in the conflicts of war. It was explored first by the French but later controlled by the British. Both groups built forts to defend the area, but neither made an effort to develop settlements. The British prized the territory for its valuable fur resources. In fact, Michigan was one of the “trophies” fought over in the French and Indian Wars in the mid-1700s. At the close of that war, the French lost the area to the British.  

At the end of the Revolution a quarter of a century later, the area—on paper at least—was part of the “Northwest Territory” that the British had to relinquish in the treaty settlement with the newly independent Americans.  


Leaving the Colonial Tidewater

With the opening of more western lands to settlement in the decades following the War, our predecessors joined the migrations away from the eastern seaboard and toward the frontier.

19th Century

  • Jeffrey and Ellis Champlin were both born in Rhode Island around the turn of the century, but very soon after, both their families moved to eastern New York.

  • Henry Wells’ wife-to-be, Elizabeth Knapp, was born in NW Connecticut in 1801.

  • Also at the turn of the century, the Huntleys moved from Connecticut to New York.

  • In 1805 the Stauffers moved from Pennsylvania to eastern Canada (Stauffer History).

  • Curtis Porter, who had been born in western Connecticut, was married at age 19 in Hamilton, New York, in 1811.

  • William Compton Jr. and family moved from Orange County NY west to the southwest Finger Lakes area by 1819.

  • In the early 1800s, the Hawkins family moved from eastern New York to Yates County on the northwest side of the Finger Lakes, just north of the Comptons.

  • While Henry Moneysmith (b. Mahnenschmidt)’s son William was born in Pennsylvania in 1824, William’s son Emery was born in Ohio in 1847.

  • In 1851, following a few years in Pennsylvania, the Wise family moved to Ohio.

  • The Sullivans didn’t come over (to Canada) until 1861.


Heading for Michigan

Though the British had in theory given the Michigan territories over to the Americans after the Revolution, they continued to ply the fur trade. Eventually, the Americans did gain practical control, and the area was opened up for settlement.  

The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, through central New York from Albany to Buffalo, contributed greatly to efforts to settle the areas beyond. We know that the Porters used the canal for their move to Michigan, and it is possible others in New York did also (Champlins? Hawkinses? Wells?). In 1837, Michigan became the 18th state.  

Meanwhile, the early 1800s had found the …

  • Porters in central New York 

  • Comptons in western New York 

  • Stauffers in Ontario 

  • Before 1800, our Diefenbachs had by marriage become Shupes. 

  • Henry Wells starting a family in eastern PA. 

  • Between 1826 and 1843, the Huntley family had ten children in four states, the last in Mich. 

  • James Hawkins died in Steuben County, NY, in 1839. 

  • Jeffrey Champlin’s daughter Delilah (who would marry a Porter) was born in Delaware County in eastern New York in 1839.

  • Harrison Hawkins, James’s great-grandson was born in Yates Co., New York, in the early 1840s.

Within a decade of each other in the middle of the century, several branches of the family began making their way to Michigan and other locations westward. 

  • Curtis Porter with his wife and 15-year-old son George set out from Hamilton NY in 1847 (following the footsteps of an older son) and ended in Grand Rapids.

  • David Hawkins, son of James and grandfather of Harrison, was in the Jackson area of Michigan for the 1850 census.

  • By 1852, our Squibbs were settled in Noble County in northeastern Indiana.

  • In 1854 the Wells family (Hannah Compton and husband Charles) with their four daughters moved from Painted Post NY to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

  • Also in 1854, Abraham G. Stauffer, grandson of the Abraham Stauffer who went to Canada, along with his wife Magdalena Shupe, left Ontario and moved to the Grand Rapids area. Several of his siblings did the same.

  • In the 1850 census, the Champlin family was listed in Delaware County NY, but in 1855 Delilah married George Porter in Michigan (Grand Rapids area).

  • Meanwhile, the Mahnenschmidts descendants, now with several different versions of the name, fanned out into various Ohio counties, the Moneysmiths finding their way to Van Wert County.

  • Between 1865 and 1866, the Sullivans moved from Canada to northern Indiana.  


By the time the Civil War began, all the major Michigan branches of the family were in place, all but one in or around Grand Rapids; the Hawkins were in Jackson County. The Moneysmiths were in western Ohio, Squibbs and Sullivans were in northern Indiana.  

The first marriage to begin uniting those branches took place eight years after their arrivals in Michigan when Samuel Stauffer married Roxy Wells in 1865.  

20th Century

In the early 20th Century, George Porter died the same year that Mont Hawkins had a life-changing experience that led him to spend the rest of his life as a minister of the Gospel.

In the first decade of the new century, Jacob and Minnie Moneysmith had four children (one died in infancy).

In the second decade, Mont Hawkins attended Bible school, took his first pastorate, and met his life partner in Fern Porter.

By the time of the Great Depression, the Sullivans were gone, as well as Minnie Moneysmith (the last Squibb), Esther Porter (the last Stauffer), and Florence Hawkins Waite (the last Huntley).

Finally, a third of the way into the 20th century, Virgil Moneysmith and Esther Hawkins tied all the branches together by marrying each other.  

Looking at it another way…