The Old Homestead

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God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

- Romans 5:8


    Abraham Stauffer was born in 1733, probably to Jacob and Barbara Stauffer of Berks County, Pa. (1)
    Married Elizabeth, who was born about 1741.  Her maiden name may have been Heistand. (2)
    Children: (3)
    Mary Stauffer.  Married Frederick Mosteller.
    John Stauffer, born March 26, 1767.
    Susanna Stauffer.
    Barbara Stauffer, born June 8, 1773.
    Jacob Stauffer, born May 6, 1775.
    Hester Stauffer.
    Sarah Stauffer.
    Abraham settled in Colebrookdate Township in Chester County, Pa.
    Unfortunately, it’s difficult to identify Abraham in tax and census records because two men named Abraham Stauffer lived in the same township, one usually identified as “junior” and the other as “senior.”  During this period, these terms were often used to differentiate people with the same name whether they were related or not.  It seems likely that our Abraham was the “Abraham Stauber, j’r, farmer” listed in the 1767 Pennsylvania proprietary tax list for Colebrookdale Township. Since he would have been only 26 years old at this time, it seems unlikely he would be the “senior.”  For the next three decades, two Abrahams are listed in the township records.  However, by 1790, it seems likely that the identity of the elder and younger changed.  In that year’s U.S. census, the household of Abrm Stauffer contained 1 male under age 16, 2 males 16 or older and 5 females.  There’s also a “junior” listed in Colebrookdale, but the ages of the residents of the elder Abraham’s household match the ages of our ancestor’s family. (4)
    In the 1800 Census, only one Abraham is listed in Colebrookdale.  His household contained 2 males 16-25, 1 male 45 or older, 2 females 10-15, 2 females 16-25 and 1 female 45 or older.
    In 1806, Abraham was 65 years old and decided to write a sort of living will.  In it, Abraham granted to his son Jacob his farm but also made arrangements for his own declining years.  After arranging for the payment of his just debts, he stipulated that his “Beloved wife Elizabeth” receive the interest from 1,000 pounds each year.  He then granted to his son Jacob his property and its buildings in return for 700 pounds.  In addition, Jacob was to “give out of the Produce of the Place yearly and Every year to me and my wife Elizabeth the following articles and Priveledges here Mentioned firstly the room where we now weave in and the room above that on the other story and also so much room in the Kitchen Seller & Springhouse as to accommodate our goods and for me and my wife Elizabeth and my Daughter Barbara to live in during our Natural Lifetime.”  Jacob was also “to give to me and my wife Elizabeth yearly and Every year as long as we Both Live together twenty Bushels of rye ten Bushels of wheat three hundred weight of good Pork and one hundred and fifty Weight of good Beef two Cows and one Horse to be Kept fed and Pastured … one third Part of the Garden with Dung Halled in it sufficient to minure it” as well as potatoes, apples, a half-barrel of cider, an a quarter of an acre to accommodate poultry.  Abraham mentions that these provisions would be cut roughly in half if he died before Elizabeth.
    The rest of the will follows a more traditional tack, bequeathing to his children various sums of money and possessions.
    However, the will also raises an issue that led to some discord in the family.
“I gave and Bequeath unto my two sons John and Jacob the Sum of three Hundred Pounds in good Money no before Mentioned to be Put out on Interest by them During My Daughter Susanah’s Natural life During which time my sons John and Jacob or their Heirs Executors or Administrator Shall Pay to my Daughter Susanah the annual Interest of Six Percent Every year so long as she keeps from her Husband wherewith she was Married against my will but if she should go to Live with him then and in Such case they shall not Pay her any time at all from that time forward and it is further my will that what I Have already advanced my Daughter Susanah Shall be in Lieu of her wages for the time She workt for me after She was of age the Interest here Mentioned to be given to my Daughter Susanah & what I have heretofore advanced her is to be in fully her Portion or Legace of my Estate Both of Real and Personal.”
    In the 1810 Census, Abraham and Elizabeth would appear in the household of their son Jacob. However, two Jacobs are listed in Colebrookdale and each household had a man and woman who were older than 45 so it’s uncertain which contained Abraham.
    Abraham died in December 1813.  On Jan. 14 1814, an inventory of his estate was taken.  Combined with the sums mentioned in his will, the inventory provides a glimpse of a well-to-do household for rural Pennsylvania. 
    (1) Abraham’s birth year some from his tombstone, available at “Burials at Boyertown Mennonite Cemetery, Boyertown,” at  I have not been able to confirm the names of Abraham’s parents through original documents.  The possible identification of Jacob and Barbara Stauffer as his parents comes from “A Genealogical Records of the Descendants of Henry Stauffer and other Stauffer Pioneers,” by the Rev. A.J. Fretz, published in 1899 in Harleysville, Pa., pages 197 and 242.  Although I am hesitant to use information that I have been unable to confirm, this source has proved to be reliable.  Almost all information that I’ve been able to check has been confirmed.  According to the Stauffer genealogy, Jacob was born in 1696 to Johannes Stauffer in Alzheim, Switzerland.  The Stauffers were Mennonites who immigrated to America to escape persecution when Jacob was 13 years old.  Jacob eventually settled in Berks County, Pa., were he lived until 1780, when he died at age 84.  (2) Elizabeth’s birth date comes from “Burials at Boyertown Mennonite Cemetery” and her possible maiden name from the Stauffer genealogy.  (3) Abraham’s will mentions John, Jacob, Mary, Barbara, Hester, Sarah and Susannah.  It was filed in January 1814 in Berks County and is available through “Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate” at  Birth dates for Barbara and Jacob are listed at “Burials at Boyertown Mennonite Cemetery.”  The date for John appears on his tombstone, available at “Vincent Mennonite Church Burying Ground Near Spring City, Chester County, Pa.,” by George F.P. Wanger, which is available at  According to the Stauffer genealogy: Mary married Frederick Mosteller; Susanna was born Jan. 23, 1769, and married Jacob Boyer; Hester, was known as Esther, was born April 15, 1778, and married Abraham Stauffer; and Sarah married John Schweinhart.  In addition, the Stauffer genealogy also lists Henry Stauffer, born about 1771.  (4) The 1767 records appear in Pennsylvania Archives, Series 3, Vol. 28, page 15.  Records for the 1780s are available at “Pennsylvania, Tax and Exoneration,” at

    John Stauffer was born March 26, 1767, to Abraham and Elizabeth (Heistand) Stauffer in southeastern Pennsylvania. (1)
    Married Deborah Bauer, probably around 1793.  She was born Dec. 28, 1771, to Samuel and Elizabeth (Ziegler) Bauer in southeastern Pennsylvania. (2)
Children: (3)
    Jacob B. Stauffer , born Sept. 17, 1794.
    Henry Stauffer, born Jan. 8, 1796.
    Elizabeth Stauffer, born 1798.  Married Jacob Davidheiser.
    Sarah Stauffer. Married John Longacre.
    Abraham Stauffer, born Feb. 16, 1801.
    Samuel B. Stauffer, born July 13, 1803.
    John B. Stauffer, born Oct. 14, 1810.
    Deborah Stauffer, born 1814.  Married Christian Halteman. (4)
    John grew up in Colebrookdale, Berks County, where his father was a farmer.  He probably was one of the two males over age 16 counted in his father’s household in the 1790 Census 
    At some point before 1798, John moved about 10 or 15 miles south to Vincent Township, Chester County, Pa.  In that year, he appears on the U.S. Direct Tax List for Vincent and Coventry townships.  His property contained one dwelling house and one “out house,’ valued at $250 dollars. (5)
    In the 1800 Census for Vincent Township, the household of John Stofer included 3 males under 10, 1 male 26-44, 1 female under 10 and 1 female 26-44.
    In 1810, the census for Vincent Township lists John Stopher’s household as containing 3 males under 10, 1 male 10-15, 1 male age 45 or older, 1 female under 10, 1 female 10-15 and 1 female 26-44.
    In 1820, John Stoufer is listed in Vincent Township with a household containing 1 male under 10, 1 males 16-18, 3 males 16-25, 1 male 45 or older, 1 female under 10 and 1 female 45 or older.  Two of the residents were engaged in agriculture and one was engaged in manufacture.
    In 1830, John Stoeffer’s household in Vincent Township contained 2 males 15-19, 1 male 20-29, 1 male 30-39, 1 male 60-69, 1 female 10-14, 1 female 20-29 and 1 female 50-59.
    In 1840, John Stauffer is listed in West Vincent Township with a household containing 1 male 70-79, 1 female 10-14 and 1 female 60-69.  Presumably, the Stauffers were retired because no occupation is listed for anyone in the household.
    The Stauffers were Mennonites, according to “A Genealogical Records of the Descendants of Henry Stauffer and other Stauffer Pioneers,” by the Rev. A.J. Fretz.  It seems likely they worshipped at the Vincent Mennonite Meetinghouse, where they are buried.
    John died Feb. 7, 1841.
    Deborah died May 19, 1863.
    (1) John’s parents are identified in the will of Abraham Stauffer, as cited in “Berks County Will Abstracts 1811-1815,” available at  John’s birth and death dates are in “Vincent Mennonite Church Burying Ground Near Spring City, Chester County, Pa.,” by George F.P. Wanger, which is available at  This source also states that John was the son of Abraham and Elizabeth.  It should be noted that the incorrect parents for John are listed in “Burials In Vincent Mennonite Cemetery; Spring City, Chester County,” by Abram C. Hunsicker, which is available on at “Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-1999.”  This source lists John as the son of Christian Stauffer, but this is incorrect.  The information seems to be added by the person who transcribed the tombstone because photos of the stone seem to show only John’s name, death date, age at death and a small worn inscription that might be a Bible verse.  (2) Deborah’s information also comes from “Burials In Vincent Mennonite Cemetery.”  The identification of her parents is correct. They are identified in Samuel’s will in Montgomery County Will Book 6, page 99, which is available through “Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records,” at  (3) The children’s names, birth dates and names of spouses are based on “A Genealogical Records of the Descendants of Henry Stauffer and other Stauffer Pioneers,” by the Rev. A.J. Fretz, published in 1899, page 245.  I believe this source is reliable because it was compiled by family members in 1899, during these lifetimes of these people’s children, when family sources and memories were plentiful.  Dates and names I have been able to check out have proved to be correct.  I hope to eventually confirm the names through John’s estate papers, which are said to name all of the children and their residences.  Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to obtain a copy of these papers.  The Chester County probate index available at lists administrative papers for John Stauffer (No. 10070 and Administrator Docket 4-390, dated Feb. 1841).  Unfortunately, the files that cover the year 1841 are not currently available on Ancestry.  (4) “Descendants of Henry Stauffer” says Deborah was born April 21 but “Burials in Vincent Mennonite Cemetery” says she was born on March 21.  (5) “Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798,” available at  (6) 

    Henry Stauffer was born about 1797 in Pennsylvania.  He appears to have been the son of John and Deborah  (Bauer) Stauffer.  Although I have been unable to find any primary sources confirming this, reliable secondary sources and a substantial number of DNA matches through support this identification. (1)
    Henry married a woman named Susannah Binder, who was born about 1796 in Pennsylvania. (2)
    Their children were: (3)
    Jacob Stauffer, born Sept. 30, 1821.
    Joseph Stauffer, born June 5, 1824.
    William Stauffer, born about 1826.
    Sarah Stauffer, born March 5, 1830.  Married Isaac Belles.
    Susannah Stauffer, born about 1832.
    Maria Stauffer, born about 1835.
    Deborah Stauffer, born Aug. 22, 1836.  Married Nathaniel Thompson.
    Henry Stauffer, born July 24, 1839.  Died Jan. 29, 1851.
    If it is accepted that Henry was the son of John Stauffer , he would have grown up in Chester County, Pa.  John and Deborah were Mennonites and lived in Vincent Township.
    Henry and Deborah appear to have started this family in East Pikeland Township, Chester County, which is listed as the place of Jacob’s birth in 1821. (4)  At some point before Deborah’s birth in 1836, the family moved to western Pennsylvania. (5)  While Henry and Susannah appear to have lived in Butler County for the next three decades.  Several of their daughters married and remained in Butler County, but the sons scattered, with Jacob returning to Chester County and Joseph and William moving to Winnebago, Wis.
    Henry appears in the 1840 Census in Muddycreek Township, Butler County, Pa.  His household contained 1 male under age 5, 1 male 10-14, 1 male 15-19, 1 40-49, 4 females under 5, 2 females 5-9, 1 female 10-14 and female 30-39.  In addition, there is a mark that may indicate 1 male 30-39, but it might just be a smudge.  If the latter mark indicates a man, he was likely a farmhand or, perhaps, one of Henry’s younger brothers.
    Henry was a farmer, according to the 1850 Census records from Franklin Township, Butler County, Pa. He owned real estate worth about $2,500.  His household included Susannah; Joseph, age 25; Wm., 24; Sarah, 20; Susannah, 18; Maria, age 15; Deborah, 13; and Henry, 10.
    In 1860, Henry Stauffer is listed as a farmer in Franklin Township, owning real estate valued at $3,000 and personal property valued at $1,000.  His household included Susan, age 64, and George Backman, a 19-year-old carpenter who was born in Germany.
    Susannah died Sept. 15, 1869 and is buried at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Franklin Township, Butler County. (6)
    It’s possible that Henry returned to eastern Pennsylvania after Susannah’s death.  Butler County cemetery inventories don’t list a grave for him.  A Stauffer family history indicates that he died Aug. 9, 1875.  In addition, a Bauer family genealogy indicates that he died on that date and was buried at Vincent Reformed Church in Chester County, Pa.

    (1) Henry’s approximate year of birth comes from the 1860 Census of Franklin Township, Butler County, Pa., which indicates that Henry was 63 years old.  There are very strong indications that Henry was the son of John Stauffer and Deborah Bauer, and that he was born Jan. 8, 1796, and died Aug. 9, 1875.  One researcher has said that John’s estate papers indicate he had a son named Henry who lived in Butler County.  Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to obtain a copy of these papers.  The Chester County probate index available at lists administrative papers for John Stauffer (No. 10070 and Administrator Docket 4-390, dated Feb. 1841).  Unfortunately, the files that cover the year 1841 are not currently available on Ancestry.  These papers could remove all doubt about Henry’s parentage.  It seems likely that these papers – and possibly family sources – were used to link Henry to John in earlier works.  An early secondary source that mentions the link between Henry and John is “A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Henry Stauffer,” by the Rev. A.J. Fritz.  This book was published 1899, only 23 years after Henry’s death and it obviously used sources with direct knowledge of the family members.  This book appears to very reliable – at least for Henry, his father and his grandfather’s generations – because primary sources have confirmed virtually everything except the name of Henry’s parents.  Another secondary source is a Bauer genealogy contained in Jacob Clymer’s  Justice of the Peace Dockets from Milford Square in Bucks County, Pa., which are available at “Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985,” at Once again, the information for the generation containing Henry and his siblings appears to be reliable when checked against primary sources.  Finally, it should be noted that a substantial number of DNA matches have turned up for multiple members of our family and Henry’s Stauffer, Bauer and Ziegler ancestors.  (2) Susannah’s approximate year and place of birth appear in the 1860 Census.  Her last name appears in the death certificate of her son Jacob, who died in 1806 in Chester County, according to “Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963,” available at  It also should be noted that her son Joseph’s death certificate, as listed in the database “Minnesota Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990,” at, indicates that her surname as “Painter.”  However, it is very possible that this is due to a transcription error in the database, a faulty memory of the person providing the information or even a German accent (many people of German descent in Butler County continued to speak their “mother tongue” until the advent of World War I).  (3) Most names and approximate ages are listed in the 1850 Census.  The birth dates for Jacob and Deborah are listed in his death record at “Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963,” at  Joseph’s birth date is listed in his death certificate, which is available at “Minnesota Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990,” at  Birth date for Sarah comes from “Butler County Cemetery Inventory Vol. 4,” page 11.  Link between Sarah Belles and Henry and Susannah Stauffer also cited in “The History of Butler County, Pa. Vol. 2,” page 1195.  Henry’s birth and death dates are from “Butler County Cemetery Inventory Vol. 2,” page 9.  (4) Jacob’s death certificate.  (5) Deborah’s death certificate indicates she was born in Franklin Township, Butler County. (6) “Butler County Cemetery Inventory Vol. 2,” page 8.