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Statler Family Historical Documents

THE STETTLER FAMILY
Journey from PA in 1804

Written by Gene Mozley
Compiled by Kirby Stetler

The earliest known ancestor in our Stettler family is George Stettler who first appears in the 1768 tax list for Tulpehocken Twp., Berks Co., Pa. as a Labourer. George was born 31 August 1739, birthplace unknown. He married Eva Catherine, probably in the early 1760s. She was born 16 February 1742, a daughter of Johannes Moyer (Mayer) of Tulpehocken Twp.

On 15 June 1772 George Stettler purchased a plantation called "Huberton", 160 acres 75 perches, in Bethel Twp., Berks Co., Pa., from Frederick Huber. The indenture covering this transaction was not recorded until 10 February 1798. (Berks Co., Pa. Deed Book 16, page 141)

George and Eva Catherine had five sons and three daughters, all probably born in Berks Co.:

     George, b ?, d c 1832, m Teany (Christine)
     Jacob, b ?, d 1849, m (1) Elizabeth (Strauss?), (2) Mary ?
     Henry, b 13 Mar. 1769, d 26 Jan. 1825, m Anna Margaret Gundrum
     Daniel, b 6 July 1773, d 15 May 1853, m Catherine Gehres
     J. William, b 31 Mar. 1777, d 11 Feb. 1836, m (1) Catharine ? (2) Anna Maria ?
     Eva Catherine, b 28 Sept.1778, d 3 Nov. 1862, m Abraham Pontius
     Elisabeth, b ?, d ?, m Jacob Shupert
     Chadrina, b ?, d ?, m John Barlet

During the Revolutionary War George was enrolled during the period 1781-82 as a Private in Capt. John Fulmer's 8th Company, 2nd Battalion, Berks Co. Militia, according to the evidence of the Fine Book of Berks Co., page 27.

George Stettler apparently lived on his farm in Bethel Twp., Berks Co. from 1772 until he and his family removed to Montgomery Co., Ohio in 1804.

In the year 1803, four men from Tulpehocken Twp., Berks Co. came to Ohio to see the country and, if they liked it, planned to buy some property and move their families onto it. They found some land they liked about 60 miles east of Cincinnati which was owned by a man in Virginia. They met with the owner's agent in Ohio and contracted to purchase 1,000 acres, then started for Virginia to close the deal with the owner. However, by the time they arrived at the man s residence, he had died. Disappointed and exhausted from the trip, they returned to their homes in Berks Co.

There they gave such glowing accounts of the State of Ohio that the "western ern fever" became an epidemic in the neighborhood. As a result, 24 families decided to sell out and move to Ohio the following spring. A few in the meantime had moved to Center Co, Pa, but arrangements to join the group were made with them by letter. It was agreed that all would start at such a time as to meet in Pittsburgh on or about the same day. In this group from Berks Co. were our George Stettler, his children and grandchildren. George was nearly 65 years of age at this time.

Quoting from the book "Twin Valley" by J. P. Hentz, published in 1883:

"They set out on their westward journey in the spring of 1804. Such a journey was at that time no small undertaking. It required many weeks for its accomplishment, and was attended by no small degree of danger and hardship. The goods, women, and children, had to be conveyed by wagon over rough mountain roads. The country through which the emigrants had to pass was yet but thinly settled: wild beasts, such as wolves, bears, and panthers, were still abounding in the forests; and Indians, more savage than savage brutes, were still lurking in forest and mountain fastness. At night they usually encamped by some stream, and whilst one party laid down to sleep, another kept watch around the encampment. Exposure and malaria often caused serious illness, and not unfrequently one fell a victim to disease and was buried by the wayside. Our friends, on their way through Pennsylvania, experienced many of these evils; they arrived, however, at the time agreed upon in Pittsburgh, without having met with any serious accident. Here they engaged river boats, on which they put their chattels and families, and then paddled down the Ohio River. Cincinnati was their destination by water. After a trip of about a week they landed at the latter place. This event occurred on the 20th day of June, 1804. From Cincinnati they went to New Reading, a hamlet not far distant, where they tarried a fortnight, considering what next to do or where next to direct their steps. A few of them found employment here and remained, but to the majority this did not seem as their Canaan.

They again took up their line of march, this time their course lay northward. They had heard of the Miami Valley, and desired to locate in it, but they had no definite objective point in view, trusting rather to fortune and the guiding hand of Providence. Some distance north of Cincinnati they entered this Valley, and were delighted with the country. It was so very different from the rugged mountain country which they had left in Pennsylvania. No mountains and rocks were to be seen here. The forests were much taller, the soil was more productive, and the surface much more level, than in the country from which they came, They passed over many an attractive spot where they might have located, but they moved on, doubtlessly prompted and guided by the invisible hand of Providence, until they reached the vicinity of the present site of Miamisburg. Here lived a wealthy farmer, whose name was Nutz, and who spoke German. They were glad to meet a gentleman who spoke their own tongue. With him they stopped to rest and refresh themselves, and after forming his acquaintance, and finding him a genial and kindhearted man, they concluded to encamp awhile on his farm. It was now midsummer, and the weather being warm and pleasant, they took up their abode in the woods, where they lived in wagons and temporary huts, for about two weeks."

A Mr. Philip Gunckel, being a man of superior intelligence and the only person among them who spoke the English language with any degree of fluency was for these reasons looked upon as the leader of the group. He searched the area looking for a proper location to build a mill, as he was by occupation a miller,"and at last found the object of which he was in search on Big Twin Creek, a branch of the Miami River. The precise point chosen by Mr. Gunckel was about six miles from the mouth of this stream, now within the corporate limits of Germantown. When he made known his decision to his companions, they all concluded to settle near around him. Upon this the encampment on the Nutz farm was at once broken up, the immigrants forded the Miami River, crossed over to the western bank, ascended the steep bluffs adjoining, and then traveled on in the direction of the Twin Creek. And here, by the side of this stream, they rested at the end of their long and wearisome journey. Here now was their future home."

Before winter set in they had secured land and erected some sort of dwellings. The first winter was a long and lonely one. They had harvested no crops the previous year, nor had they earned anything with which to procure the necessaries of life, having spent nearly the whole summer in their journey. Provisions, even it they had the means, would have been difficult to procure, As the settlers were but few, had just begun to clear away the forest, and did not raise more than their own wants required. Game was plenty, however. They did not starve during this winter, but they were obliged to live on small allowance.

Early the following spring they went to work to clear away the trees, turn up the soil and sow and plant. Their hardest work, such as clearing, log-rolling buildings' and harvesting, was mostly done by crowds, collected together for the Purpose from the entire settlement, They made, as they called it, a frolic of it; that is, they united ited into a sort of one-family arrangement, and did their work by succession, first on one place, then on a second and third, etc., until they had made the round, and had got through with all. They continued this habit of mutual assistance for many years and great harmony and good feeling prevailed among them.

Religiously, they were either Lutherans or Reformeds; and as in those days it used to be said, that all the difference between the denominations was, that in the Lord's Prayer, the one said, "Vater Unser," and the other, "Unser Vater."

The author goes on to extol the virtues of these Pennsylvania Germans who settled in the Twin Valley and states, "It is an honor to be descended of such a people, and to be united to such a kindred."

Histories of Montgomery Co, Ohio tell that George Stettler and his five sons, William, Henry, Daniel, George and Jacob came from Berks Co., Pa. in 1804 and that George entered Sections 15 and 16 of Miami Twp. (at that time part of German Twp.) The term "entered" means that he was the first individual to own and 1 live on it, having purchased it directly from the federal government on18 July 1804. Sec. 15 was a fractional section of about 382 acres; Sec. 16 contained about 663 acres; in total about 1045 acres. Sec. 15 is bordered on the east by the Great Miami River. George settled his children over this land.

Six deeds, all dated 11 December 1807, show that he "sold" tracts in Sections 15 and 16 to his children: 166 acres to Henry, 166 acres to Elisabeth (apparently still single at that time), 191 acres to Daniel, 166 acres to William, 191 acres to John Barlet (his daughter Chadrina's husband) and 165 acres to Abraham Pontius (his daughter Eva Catherine's husband). The selling price in each transaction was $10, which of course indicates that it was a gift of land. A few years later George sold two quarter sections in Sec. 5 in German Twp. to his sons George and Jacob for $100 each.

George Stettler's will was written in German and dated 13 Nov. 1814. It was filed for probate on I May 1815. He mentions his wife Eva Catharine and each of his children by name. He stipulates that each of the children is to have as his inheritance the land he is living on. With regard to his daughter Chadrina, however, he states that the land he had given John Barlet and his former wife Chadrina is all that Chadrina should receive as her inheritance.

Then he goes on to say that she is to get $150 which is for her or for her children but it is not to fall into John Barlet's hands. Within a few years of receiving his 191 acres, John Barlet had sold the land in two transactions.

One wonders how George may have felt toward another of his sons-in-law. In the book "Twin Valley" there is a short sketch about Abraham Pontius which reads: "This man is the last to be mentioned among the settlers of 1804. He located and lived in Miami Twp., and was not a very thrifty man. His name is here given mainly because he outlived all his associates. The least industrious, frugal, and useful--apparently-the one who could have been most easily spared-he long survived after all the rest were sleeping in their graves." Abraham Pontius and his wife Eva Catherine both died in 1862. He was 92, she 84. They are buried in the Stettler Church Cemetery. Curiously, nothing in our Stettler research seems to substantiate the description of Abraham Pontius quoted above. Could the author, Mr. J. P. Hentz, have confused the two sons-in-law?

As mentioned previously, there were two church congregations, the Lutherans and the Refomeds, commonly referred to as the Gebhardt Church and the Stettler Church, respectively. The land for the Reformed church was given by the Stettler family. An agreement dated 26 August 1808 and recorded in Montgomery Co. Deed Book B, page 411, reads: "Daniel Stetler, William Stetler, Henry Stetler, John-Barlet bound by written obligation to convey to George Stetler 6 acres of land in Sec. 16 and fractional Sec. 15 to be used for purposes of having thereon a church or meeting house erected to go by the name of and be called "George Stetler's Church" to be used by Presbyterian or Lutheran or congregation who have united." All four men signed their names; their wives signed by mark.

The congregation of the Stettler Church was actually founded in 1803, the first Lutheran Church in the State of Ohio, by the Rev. John Jacob LaRose, a Presbyterian minister. In 1976 the congregation merged with the St. John's Lutheran (Gebhart) congregation in Miamisburg.

Several members of the pioneer Stettler family are buried in the Stettler Church Cemetery. Some tombstone inscriptions are:

George V. Stettler,
born Aug. 31, 1739, died Apr. 23, 1815.
Eva Catharine,
wife of George V. Stettler,
born Feb. 16, 1742, died June 9, 1838.

(Note: These tombstone inscriptions are the only known record of the initial "V." in George's name. gm)

 

Henry Stettler,
died Jan. 26, 179
age 55 yrs 10 mo. 18 da.

(Note: Apparently there was difficulty in reading this tombstone when it was copied in 1971. Baptismal records of the Altalaha Evang. Lutheran Church, Rehersburg, Berks Co, Pa. show that Henrich, son of Georg Stettler, was born Mar. 13, 1769 and baptized on Easter Day. The administrator of Henry's estate was appointed 28 Feb. 1825. Henrys wife Margaret is buried in the old Willshire Cemetery, Van Wert Co, Ohio. She died in Oct. 1845, 65 yrs of age. gm)

 

J. William Stettler,
died Feb. 11, 1836,
aged 58 yrs 10 mo. 11 da.
Mary, wife of J. W. Stettler,
died May 18, 1859,
aged 82 yrs 8 mo. - da.

 

Daniel Stettler,
died May 15, 1858,
aged 78 yrs 10 mo. 15 ds.
Catherine, wife of Daniel Stettler,
died Nov. 27, 1863,
78 yrs 1 mo. 16 da.

 

Thomas Stettler,
died Sept. 4, 1881
-aged 78 yrs 3 mo. 11 ds.

 

Elizabeth,
died Aug. 9, 1877, aged 71 yrs.

 

Abraham Pontius,
died Dec. 16, 1862.
(Note: no age given.)
Eve Catharine, wife of Abraham Pontius,
died Nov. 3, 1862,
age 84 yrs I mo. 15 ds.

During the 1830s and 1840s a number of families migrated from Montgomery Co. onto new lands in Van Wert and Mercer Counties. Among these were Henry Stettler's sons Jacob, Daniel, George and John, and his daughter Elizabeth, married to John Bolenbaugh. Also making this move were J. William’s daughter Margaret, married to Jacob Tickle, and Pontius and Sharrits families. They settled close together along the St. Marys River in Willshire Township of Van Wert Co. and Black Creek Township of Mercer Co. Here they cleared their farms and raised large families.

Gene Mozley (Mrs. R. G.)
327 Bon Air Drive
Sidney, OH 45365

Sept. 1979


Sept. 1997 note from Kirby Stetler:

Thanks to Gene Mozley for sharing this story with us.

To put her last paragraph in a different kind of summary, here’s what George V. Stettler’s eight children did:

Jacob stayed in the Miamisburg and Germantown area, in Montgomery Co. Oh. His son Michael moved to Indiana and this is the Glaze and Kerns Connection. Gene Cassman in Layfayette Indiana is descended from here.

George Jr. stayed in Montgomery Co.

Henrich stayed in Montgomery Co but after his death in 1825 his wife Margaret and their sons Daniel, George, Jacob, and John S. as well as a daughter Elizabeth Betsy (m. John Bolenbaugh) moved into the Willshire Van Wert Co. area. If I have this straight, Dicky and Donald Stetler descend from Jacob’s son Willis, and The Frank Stetler family descend from Jacob’s son Thompson. The David, Orlando, and Emmanuel Odus Stetler clan descend from Daniel. Orlando’s brother Edmund had children Elmer and Fannie and they settled in Plymouth Indiana.

Daniel remained in Montgomery Co. Ohio.

Chadrina married Johannes Barlet and stayed in Montgomery Co. At least one of their sons went to Butler and Warren Counties, Ohio.

Eva Catherine Stettler married Abraham Pontius and remained in Montgomery Co. Their daughter Lydia married another George Stettler and moved to Willshire Twp. after 1833.

J. Wilhelm Stettler remained in Montgomery Co. but his daughter Ann married Jacob Shupert and took the Ohio River over to Indiana and moved up to Elkhart. This is Allen Schieber’s line. Another daughter married Jacob Tickle and moved up into Mercer and Van Wert Counties.

Elisabeth married Jacob Shubert and went to Elkhart County, Indiana. A Shuppert descendant lives there.


Note:  Anyone is welcome to use the above information, but please give credit where credit is due.  Also, additions or corrections are welcome.  Please e-mail me, Kirby Stetler.


1999 by David Statler of StatlerWeb
Last Updated: February 29, 2008