[Last updated: 3 November 2017.]
Johan Friederich Stembel (Grandfather)
Frederick Stembel (Father)
Ann Catherine Stembel
ANN CATHERINE STEMBEL GROVE MICHAEL (1774 - 1858)
Ann Catherine was born April 12, 1774, in Middletown, Maryland, and baptized May 23. Her baptism was sponsored by Johannes [Adam] and [Ann] Catherine Eberle (Frederick's mother and stepfather). She was Frederick and Esther's first child.
We don't know much about Catherine's childhood or her education. I surmise she spent most of her childhood in town and probably had little, if any, formal education.
In 1797, at the age of 23, Catherine married Martin Groff (Grove). A year later their first child, Mary Magdalina, was born.
At this point Catherine's life becomes hazy. We know a second child, Elizabeth, was born in March of 1800, but when the 1800 census was taken five months later, Martin had died, for Catherine's name was recorded in the census as "Catherine Groff - widow"(1). I'm not sure if Martin died before Elizabeth was born or after. Since Catherine was listed separately in the census I assume she and Martin had their own home, separate from her parents, possibly provided by her father.
A year or so after Martin's death, on November 1, 1801, Elizabeth, died. She was not yet two-years old.
Losing her husband and a young child in such a short period of time must have been devastating. Catherine soon remarried however. On March 21, 1802, she married Christopher Michael III, a 26-year old farmer from the nearby village of Harmony, Maryland. We've been told that Catherine and Christopher bought or rented a farm near Harmony.
According to Dr. McLean's research (Dr. William McLean initiated research on the Stembel family in the 1950s), Catherine left her daughter from her first marriage, Mary, with her parents for them to raise. We have no idea why Catherine let Mary be raised by her parents. It may have been at her parent's request, or it may have been Catherine and Christopher's decision. Whatever the reason, the decision seems to have created some ill will in the family, for the estrangement between Catherine and Mary was still evident nearly 40 years later in 1738 when Frederick drew up his will. He specifically directed the executer of his estate (who happened to be Catherine's husband!) to withhold one-tenth of Catherine's share of his estate and give it directly to Mary. It's obvious Frederick was worried that Catherine or Christopher might deny Mary her rightful inheritance.
Catherine gave birth to 11 children, nine by Christopher. One died in infancy. Of the remaining 10 - nine girls and one boy - all lived to adulthood and married, and eight of the ten moved to Ohio between 1827 and 1853. They followed the pattern of Catherine's own siblings. Of her five adult siblings, four moved to Ohio or Indiana before 1843, led by her brother, Henry, who moved to Dayton in c.1823. Of course, Catherine herself moved to Ohio in 1853 as part of her son, Frederick's household (see below).
Christopher died March 8, 1846, at the age of 70. In his will he left Catherine $3,000, plus their furniture. He left his daughter Mary Ann Esther a special legacy of $300 "in consideration of her faithful services now rendering me." He also gave her the land that she was living on (Mary Ann was 30 years old and unmarried at the time of her father's death. Five months later she married - see below).
There was a special provision in Christopher's will for another daughter, Maria. While Christopher specified that all the money owed him by his other children was to be subtracted from their portion of his estate, the money owed by Maria and her husband Levi Parsons was to be considered a gift; it did not have to be repaid. Also, he indicated that $2,400 from his estate was to be put in trust, with the interest on that sum to be paid to Maria annually for the rest of her life. However, these were the only proceeds Maria was to receive from her father's estate. She was not included with the rest of her siblings in the division of her father's estate. Why?
Christopher's nine slaves were also mentioned in his will. Seven of the nine were children between the ages of 6 and 15. Christopher gave one to his son, John Frederick, two to daughter Susan, two to daughter Lucinda, and two to daughter Mary Ann Esther(2). However, he stipulated that each must be set free on their 28th birthday. The two remaining slaves were adults. He directed that his slave, Rachel Jones, and her two small children were to be set free at his death. His remaining slave, David, was too old to gain a livelihood, so he stipulated that those of his children who received slaves from his estate must contribute to his support for as long as he lived. Any who refused were to be taken to court.
Christopher further charged that all his lands in Maryland and Ohio were to be sold at public auction with the proceeds to be split equally among all his children (except Maria).
While we don't know how much each child inherited from Christopher's estate (given that it had to be split nine ways - Maria was excluded - the proceeds were probably significant. Genealogists often notice major life changes, such as a move, in the year or so after a large inheritance. That did not seem to be the case in Catherine's family, though two daughters, Sarah and Maria, separately moved shortly after receiving their inheritance.
After Christopher's death, his son, John Frederick, purchased his father's farm from the estate. Ann Catherine continued to live on the farm with John Frederick and his family.
Seven years later, John moved his family to a new home in Urbana, Ohio. Catherine, then 79, accompanied them. She lived with them for five more years until her death in 1858.
Here is a brief history of Ann Catherine's eleven children:
A. MARY MAGDELINA Grove Keller. Mary, or "Polly," as she was known, was born on September 5, 1798, probably near Middletown, Maryland. As mentioned above, her father died when she was very young, and after her mother remarried she was raised by her grandparents in Middletown. In 1822, she married William Keller of Hanover, Pennsylvania. In November 1827, they packed everything they owned into covered wagons and began a two month journey to Dayton, Ohio(3). They lived there for a year or so, and in April of 1829, moved to Urbana, Ohio.
Soon after moving to Urbana, William purchased a property and built a new house on Court Street for the family. They moved into their new home in December, 1830.(4)
William was a hatter by trade. He was also active in the community, serving as Justice of the Peace for twelve years and then Mayor for three years, in fact William was mayor at the time of his death - he had just been re-elected prior to his untimely death of a stroke on April 27, 1857.(5)
Mary and William had six known children(6), two boys and four girls. One son became a lawyer and later a Captain in the U.S. Army. The other son was a clergyman. All four daughters were teachers, one of which married a physician.
Mary continued to live in Urbana for 28 more years. She died in 1885 at the age of 86.
Mary and William's six children:
In 1893, Henry Pearce was stricken with paralysis which left him an invalid. Two years later, Belinda and Henry's son William - who loved horses and worked on a farm - died of typhoid at the age of 20. Their other son, Frank, attended the Tennessee Medical College in Knoxville, where he earned a degree in 1901.
Henry died the next year at the age of 69. Frank decided to remain in Tennessee to practice medicine in an area of west Tennessee that was in desperate need of physicians. In 1904, Frank married Lyde Sumners. A year later they had a little girl, Dorothy, but a year after her birth Frank became ill with typhoid fever. On September 27, 1906, Frank, like his brother William, succumbed to typhoid. His daughter Dorothy survived to adulthood, married, and had two girls of her own.
At the age of 66, Belinda was now a widow who had also lost both of her sons. She lived 13 more years. She died September 9, 1919. Belinda and Henry, and their sons William and Franklin, are buried in Urbana's Oak Dale Cemetery.
B. ELIZABETH Grove. Elizabeth was born March 1, 1800, probably near Middletown, Maryland. Her father died just months after her birth. She died November 1, 1801, just shy of two years old.
C. SARAH Michael Lowe. Sarah was born December 20, 1802, near Harmony, Maryland. She was baptized in Middletown's Christ Reformed Church on March 27, 1803. Her baptism was sponsored by her father's sister, Sarah Michael Stattlemeyer.
Sarah married Elias Lowe on April 8, 1821, in Middletown. Sarah was 18, Elias was 22. Eleven years later, in 1832, they moved to Ohio with Sarah's younger sister, Elizabeth, and her husband, Perry Darby, along with two of Sarah's younger sisters, Maria and Ann Catherine - both single.(7)
Sarah and Elias eventually settled in Vermillion Township, Erie County, Ohio.
In 1845(8), Sarah and Elias moved to a farm in La Porte County, Indiana,. It's likely that the money Sarah inherited from her father's estate helped fund this move. After farming for a few years (or in addition to it), Elias operated a hotel. In 1849 Elias laid out an addition to the nearby town of Byron (La Porte County), presumably on land he owned. The town of Byron no longer exists.
Sarah and Elias had six known children, all of whom lived to adulthood. All but one moved away as adults: three eventually settled in California, one moved to Oregon, and one moved to Nebraska. They may have had a seventh child who died in childhood.
Elias died in 1863. He was 64 years old. He is buried in the Rolling Prairie Cemetery in La Porte County.
Sometime between 1870 and 1873, Sarah moved to Yolo County, California, where her son John lived. She died there on October 19, 1877, at the age of 74. She is buried in Woodland Cemetery, in the town of Woodland, a few miles northeast of Sacramento.
Sarah and Elias Lowe's seven children (the author thanks cousins Juliane Montgomery Burbach and John Montgomery who contributed much of this information):
John and Helen had four children, John, William, Effie, and Walter. All four were born after their move to California.
Sometime before the 1870 census, they moved again, for that census shows them residing in Cottonwood Township, Yolo County(9). They appear to have been successful for John's real estate in 1870 was valued at $11,125 and his personal estate valued at $4,725.
Twelve years later, in 1882, they completed their fifth move, this one about 130 miles north to Happy Valley (near Redding) in Shasta County, California. It's reported that John purchased an olive grove and a vineyard.
John died there in 1887, at the age of 64. He is buried in Redding's Happy Valley Cemetery.
After John's death Helen moved to San Fernando, California, where she lived until her death in 1908.
Mahala and Levi had four children of their own, three girls and a boy: Mary Ann, Frank, Sarah, and Rachel. They lived on a farm in Kankakee Township, La Porte County. In 1869, Levi, Mahala, and two of their daughters traveled to California for a visit. We don't know if they were visiting relatives or looking to move to California, or for some other reason. Sadly, two months after arriving, Levi died. He was just 51, but had been in ill health for some time. Levi died in Vacaville, Solano County, California, and is buried in the Vacaville-Elmira Cemetery.
After Levi's death, Mahala and her daughters returned home to La Porte County where she spent the rest of her life. In 1883 she married Samuel Doolittle. They had no children. Mahala died of cancer in 1890 at the age of 63 and is buried in La Porte's Patton Cemetery.
On April 20, 1865, Elias enlisted in Indiana's 155th Infantry Regiment to fight in the Civil War. He was 31 years old. He enlisted as a Private. Four days later he was promoted to a 2nd Lieutenant - and three days after that, on April 27, Elias married 18-year-old Anna Benford in La Porte County. In August of that year Elias's enlistment was up and he returned home.
Elias and Anna had three known children, Inda, Lewis, and Mabel. In the 1870 census Elias' occupation was a day laborer. In the census ten years later, his occupation was lawyer! By then they were living in Michigan City, Indiana. Sometime after 1880 Elias and Anna moved their family to Nebraska, where Elias served as County Judge for over 10 years. Anna died in 1889 at the age of 42; Elias died June 15, 1896, at the age of 62(10). Both are buried in O'Neill (Holt County), Nebraska.(11)
I could not find William in the 1900 census, but in 1903 I found him residing in the Multnomah Old Soldiers Home (in or near Portland, Oregon). Their records describe him thus: 69 yrs old, 5'11", fair complexion, grey eyes, grey hair, reads and writes, Religion - Protestant, farmer, single, home in Portland. By 1910 he was living in Columbia County, Oregon, according to the census. Columbia County is just north of Portland. The census gave his age as 73, and his occupation as "fisherman-Columbia River." He owned the home where he resided. He lived alone. He died a year later and is buried in the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery, Portland, Oregon. William never married.
D. ELIZABETH Michael Darby. Elizabeth was born March 11, 1804, near Harmony, Maryland. When she was 18 she married Perry Darby in Middletown. About seven years later they moved to Huron County (now Erie County), Ohio, presumably with Elizabeth's sisters and the Lowe family (see Sarah Michael Lowe above). Elizabeth and Perry had eight known children, the first two of which were born in Maryland before the move. Their first child was born in 1824, and the last was born in 1846--a 22-year spread! All but one child, a son who died at the age of 12, survived to adulthood.
Elizabeth died in 1849 at the age of 45, just three years after her youngest child was born. Elizabeth is buried in Brownhelm Cemetery in Lorain County, Ohio. Perry remarried a year later. He had two more children, one of which died before the age of two. Perry died in 1873 and is also buried in Brownhelm Cemetery.
Elizabeth and Perry Darby's eight children:
In the 1860 census, William and Sarah were living together. They had moved just a few miles to Lorain County, Ohio. According to the census they had a three-year old boy, Marion Sayles. Sarah's 14-year-old sister, Ephagene, was also living with them, as well as a boarder, a 20-year old blacksmith.
Here's where it gets interesting. The 1870 census holds two surprises. One, William and Sarah were now living in the town of Antwerp, in Paulding County, Ohio - 120 miles east of their old home in Lorain County. The second surprise is that in the 1870 census the male child named Marion in 1860 is now recorded as a female named Mattie - who was born in England! Mattie's real name was probably Marian, for three years later a Marian J. Sayles married a Franklin Gordon in Paulding County. I assume Marian/Mattie was an English relative of William's, and not William and Sarah's child. I base this on the fact that it would be rare indeed for a farmer from Ohio to travel with his wife to Europe and stay long enough to have a child. Also, in the 1860 census, Marion (Marian) had the last name "Sayles" written on the form, which was not the norm. Usually the children's last name was left blank because it was assumed the child had the same last name as the head of the house. The third reason I believe Mattie was not William and Sarah's child was that they had been married for 15 years with no children up to that point.
As the reader can see, much of this story is based on flimsy assumptions. Trying to unravel William and Sarah's story using census and cemetery records had resulted in confusion. Fortunately, another family researcher came to the rescue. What follows is the information researcher Elvin Pippert sent me in 2004 (which, unfortunately, got lost in my records until a few years later):
"The reason your data does not make sense is that there were two marriages with children who were adopted by William Sayles after the parents died. To further confuse things the [first set] of parents that died were the parents of the wife of the second set of parents. Now that I have confused you, let me try to lay it out for you.
William & Sarah Elizabeth Darby Sayles adopted Marian Josephine Yelland when her parents died in about 1859. Thus, she shows up as William's daughter in the 1860 census. Marian Josephine (Yelland) Sayles married William Franklin Gordon in  in...Paulding Co., Ohio. William and Marian Gordon had a daughter, Sarah Elizabeth on 04 Sep 1874 in Paulding or Lorain Co., Ohio. Marian died on 28 Jun 1876 in Brownhelm Twp, Lorain Co., Ohio. When Marian died her daughter was adopted by William & Sarah Elizabeth Darby Sayles. That is why in the 1880 census she shows up as William's daughter. Since Sarah Elizabeth Sayles died on 06 May 1877 in Brownhelm Twp, Lorain Co., Ohio and William married Lovinia Elizabeth Gordon in Sep 1877 (Brownhelm Twp, Lorain Co.), Ohio the 1880 census would show him married to Lovinia with a daughter of Sarah Elizabeth. Sarah Elizabeth Gordon Sayles married John H. Keeler and one of their children was Ruth Alice Keeler. Ruth married Clarence Frederick Pippert..."
So here is the timeline for Sarah Darby and William Sayles as we now know it:
Sarah married William Sayles in 1842 and they had no children in the marriage. However, they adopted a young girl whose parents had died sometime before the 1860 census. She was Marian Yelland, and she was born in England. We're not sure if she was legally adopted, but she took the Sayles last name. When Marian was 16, she married a William Franklin Gordon (1873) and a year later (1874) they had a daughter, Sarah Elizabeth. But just two years later Marian died, and William and Sarah adopted Marian's daughter, who was known as Lizabeth. However, soon after they adopted Lizabeth, Sarah died, and William married 23-year-old Lovinia ("Vena") Gordon, possibly a relative of Marian's husband (I'm not sure what happened to William Gordon. Did he die also?). In 1878 William and Lovinia had a child, Willie, but he died just four months later. He was their only known child.
William Sayles died on March 10, 1887, just three days after Lovinia died. Lizabeth was 13 when they died. She eventually married and had children. She was in her mid-80s when she died in 1959.
So ends one of the stranger stories of our family. There is still much more we need to know about them.
It appears that William moved around a lot. I recently found a record of him living in Shasta County, California, in 1872, where he appeared in the voting records for that county. Eight years later I found a William Darby living in Mitchell County, Kansas, in the 1880 federal census. His age was given as 50, he was single, but he was born in Maryland as were both of his parents, so it is possible this is our William. Five years later in the same county, a W. E. Darby is recorded in the Kansas state census. He is married, but the census shows that he and his parents were born in Maryland. I'm reasonably certain this is our William Edmund Darby. This was the extent of my knowledge of William until a relative and fellow researcher, Pat Conwell, contacted me recently and told me a William Edmund Darby is buried in a cemetery in Fresno, California. Since this grave is next to graves of his brother, Lloyd, and his brother's wife, it seems almost certain that this is where William is buried. His tombstone says he died in 1899.
More recently we found that in about 1882, William married Mary Lucinda Page, 28, in Mitchell County, Kansas. This appears to prove our assumption that the William Darby & W. E. Darby recorded in the 1880 and 1885 censuses (single in the first, married in the second) is our William Darby. Mary was previously married and had a 5-year old daughter who was living with her grandparents. Mary died in 1891 at the age of 37, and is buried in Mitchell County. William then moved to California where he died in 1899 and is buried in Fresno as noted above.
Lloyd and Sarah had three known children together: Jay, Edna, and Edie. Family members believe the Darbys later moved to Fresno, California, where Lloyd died in 1898 and Sarah died in 1909. Both are buried in Fresno's Mountain View Cemetery.
Family members believe that at some point Ann and George moved to La Porte, Indiana, and then later to Colton, California. However, census records show they moved to Illinois before moving to California. Granted, the 1860 census does show Ann and George living in La Porte, Indiana, but they were staying with relatives on a visit. They still resided in Ohio. We know this because a year after the 1860 census they had a child who was born in Ohio. Two years later (January 1863) that same child died and was buried in Ohio. It is possible they were staying with relatives in La Porte while contemplating a move there, and even may have lived there briefly, but they returned to Ohio where they lived for a few more years before moving to Illinois and later, California.
Apparently, the move to Illinois was made soon after the death of their young son in early 1863, for Ann gave birth to a daughter later that year. They were recorded living in Jefferson County, Illinois, in both the 1870 and 1880 censuses. Sometime after 1880 they moved to California, for the 1900 census shows them living in Riverside County. By 1910 they had moved to the town of Colton, in San Bernardino County, California.
Of the nine children I have records of, two died young, and four I have not found in the censuses after 1880. Of the three remaining children, Georgia, born in 1865, married when she was 20, Moved to Nebraska, had two children, and eventually moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she died in 1936; Charles, born about 1867, married, had four children, and moved to Evansville, Indiana; David, born in 1875, married, moved to California, had one child, and moved to Oregon, and then to Yakima, Washington, where he was living in the 1940 census.
George died May 13, 1918. Ann died June 20, 1925. Both are buried in Colton, California.
E. MARIA Michael Parsons. Maria was born on January 25, 1806, near Harmony, Maryland. She moved to Ohio with her sisters Elizabeth and Sarah and their families around 1832. There, she married a widower, Levi Parsons, in 1838. This was Levi's second marriage. He had two children from his first marriage, a son 12 and a daughter who was 4.
Maria and Levi had two children. In the 1850 census, the Parsons were living in Erie County, Ohio, where Levi was a farmer. Their real estate was valued at $6,000. Sometime before 1860, they moved to Springfield, Ohio, where Levi ran a lumber yard.
Maria was treated differently from the rest of her siblings in her father's will. Unlike her siblings, the money her father had lent Maria and Levi did not have to be repaid to the estate, it was to be considered a gift. In addition, $2,400 from his estate was to be put in a trust fund, with the interest to be paid to Maria annually for the rest of her life. However, these were the only proceeds Maria received from her father's estate. She was not included with the rest of her siblings in the division of her father's estate. Why?
Levi died in 1867. Maria died in 1874. Both are buried in Springfield's Ferncliff Cemetery.
Maria and Levi Parson's two children:
F. REBECCA Michael Poffenberger. Rebecca was born on January 28, 1808, near Harmony, Maryland. On May 2, 1833, she married John Poffenberger in Middletown. Soon after their marriage, they moved to Urbana, Ohio. John was very involved in civic affairs, and was one of the founders of Urbana's Oak Dale Cemetery. Rebecca and John had seven children, three of whom died in childhood. I'm told Rebecca and John made numerous trips back to Maryland to visit their relatives.
John died in 1877 at the age of 67. Rebecca lived 15 more years. She was 84 years old at the time of her death. Both are buried at the Oak Dale Cemetery John helped found.
Rebecca was the great-grandmother of the original Stembel genealogist, Dr. William McLean. It goes without saying that this family has been well researched.
Rebecca and John Poffenberger's seven children:
John and Adaline had five more children. According to family members, John and Adaline moved to Illinois, and later, to Topeka, Kansas. This is where they were living at the time of the 1880 census. John's occupation was machinist. Adeline's two children were living with them as well as four of Adeline and John's children (one died earlier). Eventually they moved to Missouri where they were living at the time of the 1900 census. John was an engine machinist. John died October 1, 1910, in Springfield, Missouri. Adaline died 17 years later in California.
G. ANN CATHERINE Michael Hewett Schindler. Ann Catherine was born on May 21, 1809, near Harmony, Maryland. She was known as "Kittie" all her life. At the age of 23, and single, Kittie moved to Ohio with her sisters (see above). Five years later she married Col. Leeds Hewitt. Col. Hewitt was a widower with a son from his previous marriage. Kittie and Leeds had one child - a daughter, but just two months after her birth - and less than one year after their marriage - Leeds died, on August 26, 1838. Kittie and her infant daughter returned to her childhood home of Middletown, Maryland, and moved in with her grandfather, Frederick Stembel. Frederick's wife had died two years earlier. Soon after the 1840 census and the death of her grandfather, Kittie married David Schindler. David was a widower with three children. Ann and David had three more children.
David owned a farm near Middletown. According to the 1850 census, his farm consisted of 135 improved acres, and 60 unimproved acres. The farm was valued at $10,000. This was somewhat above average in both size and value for a farm in the Middletown area.
In 1856, Kittie was once again widowed. David was just 46 years old when he died. Kittie was left with four children, ages 17 (who soon married), 14, 8, and 6. She never remarried.
Kittie died in 1909, just two months shy of her 100th birthday. She was buried in the Middletown Reformed Church Cemetery.(14)
Ann Catherine Hewitt Schindler's four children (by two husbands):
Joel died in 1877. He and Melissa had no children. Two years later Melissa married Dr. John Getzendanner. John was a widower twice. He had two children by his first wife, and one by his second. He and Melissa had no children of their union.
Soon after they married, they moved to Abeline, Kansas, where John worked as a physician. At the time of the 1880 census, John's two daughters were living with them, as well as two of John's nephews and his aunt.
By 1890, John and Melissa had moved back to Middletown where John operated a drugstore. John tore down the old structures sitting on the lot at 10 East Main St. and built a large house. I'm told it is still standing.
Melissa died January 19, 1908. John died six years later. Melissa is buried in Middletown's Reformed Church Cemetery.
Ike was a confectioner. In 1869 he purchased a large house for $6,600 on Main Street (lot #5). The family lived upstairs, and the store was on the ground floor. It is said that Ike sold the first ice cream in Middletown.
Ike had a stable of horses in a barn behind their house. On January 11, 1898, the barn and stable burned to the ground in a spectacular fire. All the horses perished.
Ike died in 1914; Mary died ten years later, on August 4, 1924. Both died at their home on Main Street.
At the time of the 1880 census, Theodore and Maria were living in Toledo, Ohio, where Theodore was a railroad clerk. In the 1900 census they were still living in Toledo and Theodore had been promoted to railroad freight agent.
Sometime later, Maria and Theodore moved to Washington, D.C. Theodore's occupation in the 1910 census was "railroad traffic expert" working for the government. Theodore died in Washington in 1918. He is buried in the Middletown (Maryland) Reformed Church Cemetery. Maria died in Washington a year later.
H. JOHN FREDERICK Michael. John, who usually went by his middle name, Frederick, was born on May 30, 1811, near Harmony, Maryland. He married Mary Ann Hyatt on March 11, 1837. Frederick and Mary had eight children. All but one lived to adulthood.
When his father died in 1846, Frederick bought his 177-acre farm from the estate. He also inherited a slave from his father's estate, 17-year-old William Edward Jones. In the 1850 Census-Slave Schedule, two males, ages 21 and 61, are present in Frederick's household. We assume the 21-year-old is William Jones, and the 61-year-old is the older servant, David, mentioned in Frederick's father's will, who was too old to start life over as a free black man, and who was to be provided for by all three children who had inherited Christopher's slaves.
In the 1850 agricultural census, Frederick's farm is described thusly: the farm was valued at $7,650. consisting of 140 improved acres, and 37 unimproved. He had 8 horses, 4 milk cows, 8 cattle, and 15 pigs. Total value of the animals was $580. On the improved acres John grew wheat, rye, corn and oats.
In 1853, John evidently sold the farm and moved his family, including his mother, to Champaign County, Ohio. There he purchased a 360-acre farm, seven miles southeast of Urbana. In the 1870 federal census, the farm was valued at $21,800.
John Frederick died in 1879. Mary lived 13 more years. They are both buried in Urbana's Oak Dale Cemetery.
John and Mary Ann Michael's eight children:
William bought a farm adjacent to his father's. When his father died in 1879, William bought his farm from the estate.
Emily died in 1882, leaving children aged 6, 11, 12, 14, and 19 (their other two children died young). William never remarried. He died December 31, 1913. Both William and Emily are buried in Urbana's Oak Dale cemetery. Four of their five children who lived to adulthood remained in Champaign County all their lives. Only their oldest child, Effie Jane, moved away. She and her husband moved south, eventually settling in Chattanooga.
William and Emily's descendants are well researched by William's granddaughter and her husband, Emily and Lawrence Little (now deceased), of Urbana, and I benefitted greatly from their research.
In the 1880 census, Rebecca and her two daughters were living with her widowed mother in Urbana, Ohio.
Christopher's youngest daughter, Ella, married Johnny Siegle who was a professional baseball player who briefly played in the major leagues. He played 39 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1905 and 1906.
The 1880 census form had a box labeled, "Maimed, crippled, bedridden, or otherwise disabled." It was checked for John. This is the only record that shows that John might have a disability. Later in life he married, had children, and had an occupation in every census, including the 1920 census when he was 73. So, I'm not sure what to make of this. The box is rarely checked.
Sometime around 1893, John married Luella Rupert who was about 20 years younger than John. They had two children. In 1910, they attended the 59th wedding anniversary of John's cousin, Joseph and Mary Stembel. In the newspaper article reporting the event, John and Luella's residence was given as Magrew, Ohio (now called Westville). John died soon after the 1920 census. Luella died in 1946 at the age of 80.
I. SUSANNAH Michael Nikirk. Susannah was born on September 20, 1814, near Harmony, Maryland. At the age of 24, she married John Nikirk (sometimes spelled Nykirk or Neikirk) on March 19, 1839. John was 31. John's family, the Nieuwkerckes, originally came to America from Holland in the 1650s.
When Susannah's father died in 1846, he left her two young slaves. In the 1850 census Susan and John owned no slaves. Susan and John owned a farm outside Boonsboro, Maryland (I believe it was near the little town of Benevola). They had eight children, however three died during childhood (two died within 11 days of each other in 1857). The remaining five children grew to adulthood, married, and had children. Two of Susan's daughters, Anna and Maria, married brothers, Otho and Daniel Shifler.
Susannah died on May 16, 1868, at the age of 53. John died on the same day ten years later. Both are buried in the Boonsboro Cemetery.
Susannah and John Nikirk's eight children:
J. MARY ANN ESTHER Michael Brunner. Mary Ann was born on November 26, 1816, near Harmony, Maryland. Evidently, she remained single and lived at home to take care of her aging father, for in his will he left her a special legacy for her services rendered him. Five months after his death in 1846, she married Jonathan Brunner. Mary Ann was 29 and Jonathan was a 37-year-old widower who brought at least four children by his first wife to the marriage. According to the 1850 census, John (the name he went by) owned his own farm, plus one with his brother Joshua. John and Joshua also owned a mill together. John's farm was 200 acres and the one with his brother was 60 acres. It appears their principle crop was wheat, and they also owned 15 milk cows between them. The 1850 agriculture schedule has a full description of their farms and the industrial schedule describes their mill activities. John and Mary also owned two slaves, female mulattos ages 2 and 24. Their ages preclude the possibility that they were the two Mary inherited from her father.
Jonathan and Mary had three children together, a set of twins who both died soon after birth, and a daughter, Mary.
In the 1860 census, the Brunners were living in Frederick, Maryland. John was a miller; his real estate was valued at $15,000. Living with them were John's youngest son from his first marriage, John, age 14, and their daughter, Mary, age 10. Another 10-year-old girl was living with them, Louisa Jones, a free mulatto. Louisa may have been the 2-year old slave girl owned by the Brunners in the 1850 census (the Brunners didn't own any slaves in the 1860 census).
Sometime after 1860 Mary Ann and Jonathan moved to Tiffen, Ohio, however Jonathan died soon after, in 1867 and was buried in Springfield, Ohio. After his death, Mary moved in with her sister, Maria Parsons (see above) who was also recently widowed. When Maria died in 1874, Mary moved in with another sister, Lucinda (see below), who lived nearby in Bowlusville, Ohio. Mary died in 1897 and is buried in Springfield's Ferncliff Cemetery with her husband. I don't know what happened to their daughter, Mary.
K. LUCINDA Michael Bowlus. Lucinda was born on January 19, 1819, near Harmony, Maryland. In 1840 she married Samuel Bowlus. Samuel was the son of Judge George Bowlus who served in the Maryland Legislature. Samuel's mother died when he was eight. Lucinda's father died in 1846 and she inherited part of his large estate and two slaves.
According to the 1850 census, Samuel owned a 175-acre farm not far from Middletown, Maryland. His main crops were corn and wheat. He owned two slaves, a female, 15, and a male, 14. It's likely these were the two slaves Lucinda inherited from her father.
In 1853, Samuel and Lucinda moved to Clark County, Ohio, where Samuel bought a farm. The 1860 census shows their real estate was valued at over $20,000. Living with Lucinda's family is one of the slaves Lucinda inherited from her father, Sarah Jones, who was automatically set free when the family moved to Ohio.
Sometime after 1870, Samuel laid out the town of Bowlusville, Ohio, which was on the county line between Clark County and Champaign County. The town was on a main railroad line and thrived for some time, but is just a memory now.Samuel and Lucinda had 12 children, two of whom died in childhood. Samuel died in November of 1896 at the age of 77. Lucinda died two months later. She was also 77. Both are buried in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield, Ohio.
Lucinda and Samuel Bowlus's twelve children:
Emily died in 1904. John remarried in 1905 and they soon moved to California where he operated a grocery store. He died June 12, 1930.
1. According to Dr. McLean's research, Martin's death occurred between 1800 and 1807. However, I could find no Martin Groves living in Frederick County in the 1800 census, but there is an entry for "Catherine Groff - widow" in the same district Catherine's father and brother resided. This is almost certainly our Ann Catherine. The early censuses listed only the name of the head-of-household. The other occupants were reported by age groups and by gender. The other occupants of Catherine's household were: 2 males aged 16-26 (who?), 1 female aged 26-45 (who?), 1 female aged 16-26 (Catherine), 1 female aged 10-16 (who?), and 3 females aged 0-10 (Mary Magdeline, Elizabeth, and (who?). I have no idea who the others might be.
2. Why did Christopher bequeath his slaves only to his four youngest children? Because at the time he wrote his will his older children were all living in Ohio, a state that did not allow slavery.
3. Mary's obituary, "Death of Mrs. Keller," Urbana Citizen and Gazette, April 16, 1885. (One wonders why the family would begin a two-month journey in the winter. Weather in November and December is rarely mild, and in the mountains blizzards would always be a possibility).
5. William's obituary. "Death of William C. Keller," Ohio State Democrat, April 30, 1857.
6. According to Mary's obituary, she had a total of eight children. This may have been an error on the part of the newspaper, or two of their children may have died as infants.
7. The 1830 census seems to confirm that Maria and Ann Catherine accompanied Sarah and Elizabeth to Ohio. Two girls Maria and Ann Catherine's age are missing from Catherine and Christopher's household in the 1830 census. In addition to those mentioned, Elias Lowes' brother, Horatio, and his wife, Polly, also moved to Ohio as part of this group.
8. There is some question as to exactly when the Lowes moved to La Porte County, Indiana. Family lore says they moved in 1845, but it appears their youngest daughter, Sarah, was born in September 1845, in Erie County, Ohio (though the evidence isn't conclusive). Stranger still, Sarah and Elias's older daughter, Mahala, married Levi Ransom in La Porte County, Indiana in 1844.
Levi was born in Erie County, Ohio, near the Lowes. But around 1840, 22-year-old Levi Ransom married Miranda Root, and evidently the marriage took place in Indiana, for that's where Miranda was from. In 1842 they had a daughter who was born in Indiana, but soon after her birth Miranda died. A year later Levi married Mahala, in 1844, in La Porte County. If Mahala was in Ohio and Levi was in Indiana, how did they court? Is it possible that the Lowes moved to La Porte County earlier than 1845?
9. There is no Cottonwood Township in Yolo County anymore, but Google Maps shows a small settlement called Cottonwood a few miles southeast of the town of Esparto. I assume that used to be where Cottonwood Township once was.
10. An article in the Michigan City (IN) News newspaper dated 24 June 1896 explains: "Mr. Lowe was very sick in the early spring [of 1896] with double pneumonia, but it was thought he had almost entirely recovered from that, when he was taken again the 14th with heart trouble. He died on the morning of the 15th."
11. O'Neill is the county seat of the sparsely populated Holt County (population 13,672 in 1890), which is located approximately 150 miles northwest of Omaha.
12. Rebecca was John's first cousin (once removed). She was the granddaughter of John's mother's sister, Sarah Lowe.
13. This is based in her age and place of birth, the fact that the census shows both her mother and father were born in Maryland, the proximity of Washington County to Brown County, and the fact that when searching the 1880 census index, no other female Meads in the entire country fit these facts.
14. In The History of Frederick County, Maryland, by T.J.C. Williams with additional material by Folger McKinsey, there is a rare photograph of five generations of Ann Catherine's descendants (p. 1029). Ann Catherine (the daughter) with her daughter, Mary C. Toms, her Granddaughter, Annie M.E. Gaver, her Great-granddaughter, Carrie E. Dailey, and her Great-great-grandson Robert L. Dailey (born ca 1908)!
15. Rhoderick, George C., "The Early History of Middletown, Maryland." 1989. p. 304.
16. The pin was generously donated to me by a fellow researcher, Lori Powers of Owenton, Kentucky. She found it among her mother's things and rather than throw it out or sell it on eBay she Googled the name on the pin and found this website.
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