[Last updated: 16 December 2017]
Johan Friederich Stembel (Grandfather)
Frederick Stembel (Father)
Mary Margaret Stembel
MARY MARGARET STEMBEL Hoffman (1793? - after 1850)
Mary is a bit of a mystery. We have no record of her birth and no record of her death. We only know of her existence because she appears in her father's will listed as one of his offspring. I surmise she was born in the early 1790s, most likely 1793 because the 1850 census lists her age as 57. It is odd that we've found no church record of her birth because the records of both Middletown churches where Stembel families worshipped seem very complete for this period. Also, by this time, her parents, Frederick and Esther Stembel, were well established in Middletown. If, in fact, she was born in 1793, her mother would have been about 43 years old at her birth, more common back then than today.
Records show Mary married Jacob Hoffman on February 27, 1816. Jacob's father was well known in the community. Jacob was active as well. He was Treasurer of the Middletown Reformed Church from 1819-21 and 1824-25.(1) He was Middletown's postmaster in 1825, and was also reportedly Middletown's first Burgess after its incorporation as a town in 1834 (this has yet to be confirmed).
Dr. William McLean, an early Stembel family researcher, identified four children born to Mary and Jacob: two boys and two girls (Ann Elizabeth, Jacob, Mary Jane, and Henry). However, the 1830 federal census shows there were six children under the age of 16 living in their household (names of family members were not listed in censuses until 1850).
The Hoffmans lived in Middletown through the 1840 census, but sometime in the mid-1840s they moved west, to Indiana where good farmland was available relatively cheap. It's likely this move was made possible by the fact that in 1840 Mary's father died, and Mary inherited money from his estate. Her father had already advanced the Hoffmans over $5,800 to this point (something he had done for her siblings as well) however his estate was quite large and Mary's share might have been substantial. The Hoffmans probably received the money in 1841 or 1842, and it appears that they made the move to Indiana soon after that. The 1850 census found the Hoffman's living in Warren County, Indiana, near the town of Williamsport. Warren County is in the northern part of the state, flush with the Illinois border. The 1850 census also yielded the names of three more of their children, for a total of seven.
In the 1860 census Jacob was still living in Warren County, but Mary wasn't present. We don't know the date of Mary's death but it was sometime between the two censuses. In the 1870 census ten years later, Jacob was absent, though one of his adult sons was still living in Warren County. It appears Jacob died between 1860 and 1870 (he would have been 79 in 1870). It's frustrating that we have no record of either Mary or Jacob's deaths, not even a tombstone in a local cemetery.
Mary and Jacob Hoffman's children:
A. William Frederick (1818-1913). William was born February 13, 1818, and baptized in Middletown's Christ Reformed Church on April 10th of the same year. On May 9, 1840, he married Mary Catherine Uhler in Attica (Fountain County), Indiana. William was 22, Mary was 19.
What is interesting about their marriage is that they married in Indiana, not Maryland. Mary was born in Baltimore, Maryland. It seems more likely that they met in Maryland than in Indiana. One would think William would have preferred to marry in his home church with his family in attendance. Their marriage in Indiana also took place a few years before William's parents moved to Warren County (which was just across the river from Attica/Fountain County).
I assume William preceded his family to Indiana, and no doubt it was his positive assessment of the land and opportunities in the Warren County/Fountain County area convinced his parents to move there once they received the inheritance which helped finance their move.
Another interesting sidelight to William's pioneering move to Warren County is the fact that soon after his cousin, Theophilus, graduated from the Ohio Medical College (in Cincinnati) in 1837, he moved to Warren County where he practiced medicine for a few years. This was, no doubt, on William's assurance that there was a great need for physician's in the county. Theophilus eventually moved on to Benton County, the next county north of Warren County, where he married and raised a family. Theophilus' father, John, was Mary Hoffman's brother. John had moved his family, including Theophilus, to Ohio in 1831, but before that William and Theophilus probably played together in Maryland as children.
In the 1850 census, William and Mary had moved to Warren County, where his parents were now living. William was a merchant. They had one child, 6-year-old Elizabeth. William and Mary had nine children altogether. All were born in Warren County. In the 1860 census, William's occupation was farmer. He was living next to his father and a brother near the town of Attica. Ten years later, the 1870 census shows that William had moved to another township, and was now a purveyor of dry goods. His assets were real estate valued at $2,000 and a personal estate valued at $7,000. This wealth may be partly a result of an inheritance from his father's estate, given that his father died sometime before that census. However, it appears that William's business failed, for in the 1880 census William's occupation was listed as Gardener. If William's business failed between the 1870 and 1880 census, he was not alone. The entire country suffered through a devastating depression in the 1870s and many fortunes were lost, and many banks and businesses failed(2).
Sometime between 1880 and 1900 William moved his family to Douglas County, Nebraska. Mary died there in 1904. She was 82. William moved again, to Los Angeles, California, where the 1890 census recorded him living with his son, Frank, and his family. William died May 11, 1913. He was 95.
William and Mary Catherine Hoffman's children:
The 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire, so we don't know where he was living, or his occupation in 1890, but fortunately he married that year and his marriage license shows he had moved west, for the license was issued in Colorado (the town of Cortez, the county seat of Montezuma County). Arthur's bride was Martha Alice Caviness, age 33. She went by the name Alice. The marriage license listed Alice's residence as Mancos, Colorado, a settlement just east of the county seat. Arthur's residence was recorded as Maricopa County, Arizona Territory (Arizona didn't become a state until 1912). It appears that Arthur was living in Phoenix (the main city in Maricopa County) at the time he met and married Alice. He was 32.
Alice had an interesting background. The town where she was living, Mancos, was in Montezuma County, in the extreme southeast corner of Colorado. The county had just been created the year before they married, carved out of LaPlata County to the east. Mancos was just a small settlement, whose population in 1890 - at the time she married - was just 332.
Alice was born in remote San Saba County, Texas, in the middle of the state. In 1860, three years after her birth, the population of the entire county was just 913 (which included 98 slaves!). In 1868 the family moved to New Mexico, then a year later, to south-central Colorado, where they were living when the 1870 census was taken. Their home was in remote Huerfanos County. Alice was 12. They soon moved west to equally remote LaPlata County, along the Los Plata River, where they farmed and raised cattle and horses. Their ranch was on land recently opened to settlers when the Ute Indians living in southern Colorado were more or less forced to cede part of their reservation to the government(3). Alice told her granddaughter stories of how the Ute indians would try to steal the ranch's horses and cattle, and how the family dealt with it. No doubt the Utes resented losing their farmland and hunting grounds to the new intruders, and the ranchers resented the Utes tricks and sneaky thievery of their livelihood. In any case, this is where Alice and her family were living at the time of the 1880 census. Alice was 22 and single, living with her parents and four younger siblings. However, in October 1881, Alice married Henry Lee in nearby Parrott City (a large mining town at the time, but now a ghost town of overgrown ruins). We're not sure what happened to Henry, but Alice married again in September 1885, to George Wood. We don't know what happened to George, but in 1889 Alice married again, to William Madden. We don't know what happened to William, but in 1890, Alice married again, to Arthur. This marriage lasted.
At the time she married Arthur, Alice had two daughters by her previous marriages. Alice and her two daughters moved to Phoenix with Arthur. In 1896 they had a son, William James Hoffman. In 1899, Arthur moved his family to Humboldt, Arizona in Yavapai County, east of Prescott. Humboldt was a thriving mining town and in the 1910 census, Arthur's occupation was carpenter. Arthur died March 1917. He was buried in the old Humboldt cemetery. Alice remained in Humboldt where she died in March 1934 at the age of 77. She was buried next to Arthur in the Humboldt cemetery.
Sometime after the 1910 census, Edward moved the family west, to Los Angeles, where he was still working as a railroad postal clerk. His two daughters, now adults, had also moved with them and were still living with their parents on W. 61st Street. Beatrice, the oldest, was divorced and working as a private secretary. Louise, single, was working as a secretary. In 1930, Beatrice had moved away, but Louise was a stenographer, still single, and living with her parents at the same address. She went by the name "Druell." Edward was still working as a postal clerk at the age of 70.
Susan died in 1938. Edward remained in Los Angeles where he died in October 1947. Both are buried in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
B. Ann Elizabeth (1820- ?). Ann was born on June 17, 1820, in Middletown, Maryland, and baptized in Middletown's Christ Reformed Church.
At one time I believed that on September 7, 1842, Ann married Joel W. R. Marsh in Frederick County. [Unfortunately, this is incorrect. Evidently there were two Ann Elizabeth Hoffmans living in Middletown in the 1840s, both about the same age. The Ann Elizabeth Hoffman who married Joel Marsh was not Mary Stembel Hoffman's daughter. Thus, I've removed the narrative about their family from this website]. At this timem, I have not been able to determine what happened to Ann Elizabeth. She does not appear under her maiden name in the 1850 census, so she may have accompanied her family to Indiana, where she married and took on a new last name, or maybe she died there, and all records and cemetery markers have disappeared (records of her mother and father's deaths in Warren County have similarly disappeared).
C. George Franklin (1822- ?). George was born December 4. 1822, in Middletown, Maryland. He was baptized May 11, 1823 in Middletown's Christ Reformed Church. The only record I have of George as an adult is his appearance in the 1850 census, living near Rainsville (Warren County), Indiana. He is a single, 28-year-old merchant whose real estate was valued at $1,400. However, he was boarding with a family. Why? He's living in the same county as his father and a brother, William (who is living very near the family that George is boarding with!). I assume George accompanied his parents, Jacob and Mary, when they moved to Indiana, so if he is single, why isn't he living with his parents, or on his own land which, valued at $1,400, was substantial. Alas, this is the last record I have of George as of this writing.
D. Jacob Francis (1826-1860). Jacob was born on September 2, 1826, in Middletown, Maryland, and baptized two months later in the family's Christ Reformed Church. At the time of the 1850 census Jacob was living in Sacramento, California, where he was a single, 24-year-old clerk. Getting to California in the late 1840's was an arduous trip. However, soon after the census Jacob returned to his home in Indiana, another arduous trip. Soon after his return he married and had a daughter. So, by the time he was 28, Jacob had moved with his family from Maryland to Indiana, travelled to California, then returned, then met, courted, married, and had a child!
Jacob's wife, Susan Catherine Wines, was born November 1834, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. That's also where they were married. After the ceremony, they moved to Warren County where Jacob's family lived. They had a daughter in 1854. In June 1860, they had a second daughter. The census, taken a month later, shows that Jacob was employed as a clerk. He was 33. But then he died in late September of that year, leaving Susan with two daughters, one was 6, the other a newborn. Susan moved back to Fort Wayne to live with her mother. Susan died December 16, 1922. Both she and Jacob are buried in Fort Wayne's Lindenwood Cemetery.
Jacob and Susan Hoffman's children:
E. Mary Jane (1829- ?). Mary was born on August 7, 1829, in Middletown, Maryland. She was baptized in May 1830. In the mid-1840s her family moved to Warren County, Indiana, where she married Clarkson Bateman on April 1, 1851. However, six years later records show that Clarkson re-married in December 1857, in Fountain County, Indiana. We must assume that sometime between 1851 and 1857 they divorced, or Mary died. If they divorced, Mary might have remarried by the 1860 census, and thus had a new last name which would make it difficult to locate her in subsequent censuses. If she died she would also be missing in the census indexes, so it is no surprise that I have not been able to find Mary in the 1860 census index.
F. Henry Fenton (1833-1833). Henry was born May 10, 1833, and baptized in the Middletown Reformed Church on August 8, 1833, but he died soon after, on September 9, 1833. He is buried in the Middletown Reformed Church cemetery.
G. John (c1834- ?). John was born about 1834 in Maryland. Between 1840 and 1850 he accompanied his family to their new home near Williamsport, Warren County, Indiana, where he appeared in the 1850 census. About 1859 John married Hester Ann Sylvester, who was 19. Hester was born in Sandusky, Ohio. A year later they had a daughter, followed by two sons in the next two years. However, seven years later, in the 1870 census, John is absent, and Hester and their three children are living with an Eliza Fox, who was a year younger than Hester. I assume Eliza was Hester's sister who was either divorced or widowed (thus, the Fox last name). It appears John served in the Civil War, and it's possible he was killed during the war. Hester re-married in 1878, and died in 1913.
John and Hester Hoffman's children:
1. Maryland German Church Records, Vol. 2: Zion Lutheran Church, Middletown, Frederick County, 1781-1826. Translated by Rev. Frederick S. Weiser, Noodle-Doosey Press, Manchester, MD, 1987.
3. Like many treaties and land cessions between Native Americans and the U.S. government, the Native Americans in this case had little leverage in the negotiations and the government agents were less than upfront with the Indians as one historian put it. For more information, see https://coloradoencyclopedia.org/article/brunot-agreement. (visited 12/13/2017).
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Copyright. Oren Stembel, STEMBEL FAMILY HISTORY PROJECT (familyhistory.stembel.org).