[Last updated: 15 February 2017]

Johan Friederich Stembel (Grandfather)

Frederick Stembel (Father)

Elizabeth Stembel


Elizabeth was born on March 2, 1782, in Middletown, Maryland. She was Frederick and Esther's sixth child. Little is known about her childhood. She grew up in town so she probably knew more about commerce and politics than girls raised on farms. Her father was very active in commerce and real estate speculation, and was becoming a prominent civic leader. She probably had friends her age she saw daily.

In 1805, at the age of 23, she married Jonathan W. M. Levy. Jonathan operated a tavern on Lot #9 in Middletown from 1810 until his death in 1815. During their ten years of marriage, the Levys had six children: five daughters and a son. Their sixth child was born just a few months after Jonathan's death.

Elizabeth was just 33 years old when her husband passed away. She was left with children aged 9, 8, 6, 4, 1 - and she was pregnant with another. Elizabeth's father acted as her guardian after her husband's death. No doubt he and Esther helped raise her children and keep food on the table.

Elizabeth never remarried. Jonathan did not leave a will so it took a long time for his estate to be settled. Ten years after his death, as part of the settlement process, Elizabeth testified before the court that she was "in bad health." Three years later she was described as being "in delicate health." This may explain why she never remarried.

Considering her poor health, I don't know how she supported herself and her children after Jonathan's death, unless her father supported them. When Frederick died, in his will he listed the outstanding loans (or advancements) he had made to his six living children. Elizabeth had borrowed only eleven hundred dollars, far less than her siblings. Despite her poor health, she lived to be 55. She died in October 1837, three years before her father.

At least five of the six Levy children reached adulthood and married.

Elizabeth and Jonathan's children:

    A. Mary Ann. Mary Ann was born January 19, 1806, in Middletown. On September 11, 1824, she married Jacob Thomas Creager Miller at the age of 18. I'm not sure how Jacob Miller made his living in the early years of their marriage. Evidently he was well educated and was a skilled writer, for on July 24, 1841, Jacob began publishing Middletown's first newspaper, a weekly called the Catoctin Enterprise(1). This venture was likely made possible by the money Mary Ann inherited from her grandfather in 1841.

    Mary Ann and Jacob had eleven children, as far as I can determine.(2). Many of their descendants still live in Frederick County.

    Jacob died April 22, 1870. Mary Ann died seven years later on May 8, 1877, at the home of her daughter, Sara Ann Baker, in Xenia, Ohio.

    Mary Ann and Jacob Miller's children:

      1. Rufus Theodore. Rufus was born June 19, 1825. His baptism seven months later was recorded in the Zion Lutheran Church records. He was present in the 1830 census, but he wasn't recorded in the 1840 census, and I have never found a record of him since. He most likely died as a child.

      2. Ann Rebecca. Ann was born in 1830, in Middletown. On October 23, 1851, she married Rezin (or Risin) Hezekiah Magruder. The year before they married, according to the 1850 census, Rezin was a saddler and was living in a Middletown hotel. Rezin and Ann had three known children, William, Rufus, and Edward.

      Sometime after their marriage, Rezin took over as proprietor of Middletown's Cross Hotel. We deduce this from an item in the November 5, 1858, Valley Register, a local newspaper: a Mr. S. D. Riddlemoser leased the Cross Hotel "from the present proprietor, R[ezin] H. Magruder, Esq., and will take possession on the Monday next."(3) Six weeks later, tragedy struck. On December 23, while hunting partridge presumably for Christmas dinner, Rezin accidently shot and killed his hunting companion, Henry Fraley (4).

      Soon after this tragedy, the Magruders moved to the nearby town of Frederick, the county seat, for that is where they were living at the time of the 1860 federal census. Besides Rezin and Ann, the census records the presence of two of their three children, William and Edward. The third, Rufus, was not present and doesn't appear in any subsequent censuses, so I assume he died sometime between his birth in 1855 and the 1860 census.

      In the 1860 census, Rezin's occupation was Saddler. Boarding with the Magruders were Charles and Mary Baton and their six children, for a total of 12 people living in the household. Charles and his two oldest sons were Laborers. Somewhat unusual for the time was the fact that the Batons were free African-Americans living in a slave state just before the Civil War. Race relations in Frederick County were good, the County was generally pro-Union, but free Blacks were still not considered equals in the general population.

      Ten years later, in the 1870 census, Rezin was not present. Ann Rebecca was living alone with her sons William and Edward. Marital status was not asked on the 1870 census so we don't know if Ann was a widow or not. Also living in her household was Ann's recently widowed mother, Mary Ann Miller, her youngest brother, Alburtis, and three borders, Alice, Charles, and Mary Hammer, aged 16, 10, and 7.

      In 1880, Ann was still living in Frederick. She was a widow according to the census. Living with Ann was her son William, age 27, a cigar maker. His marital status was listed as married but no wife was present. Also living with Ann was a young girl, Anna, age 6, and boy, Robert, age 4. They were listed as Ann's daughter and son, but they were almost certainly William's children. Also living in Ann's household in 1880 was her sister, Jennie (Virginia Ann Rebecca Jones), her husband and their five children (see below).

      I have no record of Annís death. She died sometime after the 1880 census.

      3. Francis. The only information I have about Francis comes from the 1850 federal census. At that time she was 17 years old, so she was born about 1833. She was not present in the 1860 census, probably having married in the interval.

      4. Mary Emily. Mary was born April 27, 1836, and died on April 10, 1839, days before her third birthday.

      5. Susan Ann Elizabeth. Susan was born April 10, 1838, probably in Middletown, and was baptised a year later. On July 14, 1853, Susan married John S. Quinn (or Quyun). She was 15, John was 20.(5). According to a family member, John operated the South Mountain House, an inn on the National Road west of Middletown (which is still operating as a restaurant as of this writing).

      We're not sure how many children John and Susan had. I've identified 14 children by this marriage, but in the 1900 census wives were asked how many children they had given birth to and how many were still living and Susan answered she had given birth to 9 children, 8 of whom were still alive. She should know, but we also know that people occassionally self-reported erroneous information to census takers who were usually local residents. Thus, we need to review the proof of parentage of some of the 14 children more closely.

      In the 1860 census, John and Susan were living with John's parents in Boonsboro, Maryland, about 10 miles west of Middletown. John didn't have an entry for occupation. Ten years later, the 1870 census shows Susan and John had moved to Middletown. They have seven children, ages 6 months to 13 years old. John's mother and father were also living with them. John occupation was Carter (someone who drives a two wheeled carriage). In the 1880 census they had moved a few miles east to Frederick, Maryland. They have nine children living with them, ages 1 through 21. John's occupation was "Huckster" (a common term at the time for salesman).

      In the 1900 census, they are still living in Frederick. John is a Tailor. They own their home free of a mortgage. Two single adult sons are living with them as well as a daughter, recently widowed, and her one-year-old son.

      A note to researchers: The Quinn's last name was often spelled Quyun and even Quynn in census documents. My best guess based on my research is that "Quyun" was the preferred spelling of many of the family members.

      John died September 25, 1905. Susan died November 22, 1907. I'm indebted to a descendant of Susan's, Ann Rothenhoefer Frey for her information about her family.

      6. Columbia V. Ann. Columbia was born May 5, 1840, in Frederick County, Maryland. She was the sixth child of Jacob and Mary Ann Miller. Two of her siblings died before her birth, leaving her with three older sisters. On October 20, 1859, she married Levi F. Miller. Columbia was 19, Levi was about ten years older. According to the 1860 census they set up household on a farm in the Woodsboro area of Frederick County. In 1870 they were still farming near Woodsboro. They owned a farm valued at $7,800. Ten years later they were still farming according to the census, but by the 1900 census they had moved to Philadelphia where Levi was working as a grain dealer. Ten years later the census found Columbia living in the same house in Philadelphia, but Levi was not present. Her marital status was "married" not "widowed." Four of her children, all adults, all single, are living with her. In the 1920 census, Columbia is still living in the same house, her marital status has changed to "widow," and three adult children are living with her, as well as a servant. She owns their home. She's 80 years old.

      Columbia and Levi had eight children. According to their son's application to join The Sons of American Revolution, Levi died in 1910 and Columbia died in 1921.

      7. Ann Eliza Jane. Ann was born May 13, 1842. She was only five years old when she died on March 26, 1848.

      8. Virginia Ann Rebecca. Virginia was born October 27, 1844 in Middletown. She was Jacob and Mary Ann Miller's eighth child. On November 2, 1862, she married William H. Jones. Virginia was 18, William was 23. They lived in Frederick most of their adult life (I don't know where they lived after 1900). William was a train engineer. Their first child, a daughter, was born in 1867, five years after their marriage. Their second child, a son, was born in 1870. According to the 1900 census, Virginia gave birth to eight children in all, three of which had died by 1900.

      In the 1900 census, Virginia and William are living in Frederick with two single, adult sons, ages 23 and 18, and a grandson, James Bargis, age 17. James is almost certainly the son of Virginia's oldest daughter, Emma, who would have been 16 when James was born in 1883. Emma is not living with them so we're not certain she is the mother.

      The 1900 census is the last census in which I have found Virginia and William. I have no record of when Virginia and William died.

      9. Sarah Ann Isabella. We don't have much solid information about Sarah. While a family member's records show Sarah's date of birth as September 18, 1846, the 1850 federal census gives her age as 2 years old, and in the 1860 census her age is 13. I suspect she was born closer to 1848. It's possible Sarah's parents had a daughter born on the 1846 date which they named Sarah, but she died just before another daughter was born in 1848, so they named their new daughter Sarah as a way to remember the daughter who died.

      Sarah grew up in Middletown, Maryland, the ninth child of Mary Ann and Jacob Miller. Sometime between 1860 and 1870 it appears she married Abraham Baker and moved to Xenia, Ohio. After the death of her father, Sarah's mother moved to Xenia and moved in with her, for a Middletown newspaper reported that Mary Ann died in Sarah's home in 1877(6). Sarah and Abraham were still living in Xenia at the time of the 1880 federal census. Abraham was a harness maker. Sarah may have gone by the name 'Sallie,' for that is the name recorded in both the 1870 and 1880 federal censuses. We know of at least three children born of this marriage but I have no record of Sarah or Abraham after the 1880 census (Sarah was 33, Abraham was 48).

      10. Charlotte Ann. My records show Charlotte was born January 13, 1850, but she is not present in the 1850 census which was taken just six months after her birth. However a Charlotte Miller, age 12, is listed in the 1850 census mortality schedule (everyone who died in the year preceding the census). I believe this is our Charlotte Miller, and her age given was an error on someone's part. A complete discussion of my findings can be found here.

      11. Alburtis A. Alburtis was born about 1851. At the time of the 1870 federal census, he was the only one of Jacob and Mary Ann's 11 children still living at home. He was a cigar maker. This is the last record I have of Alburtis.(7)

    B. Ann Rebecca. Ann Rebecca was born September 7, 1807, the second child of Elizabeth ad Jonathan Levy.(8) She married Lewis Hammond on February 21, 1824. Ann was 16 but we don't know how old Lewis was, or if this was his first marriage. They had two known children. The first, Elizabeth, was born in 1825, and the second, Sarah, was born in 1831.

    Lewis died sometime before 1840, because that's the year Ann bought Lot #7 in Middletown from her grandfather's estate (Frederick Stembel) for $2,305.(9) If Lewis had still been alive, the purchase would have been in his name, not Ann's. Ann sold this lot four years later.(10) In 1844, she married an Englishman named Thomas Davis. Thomas was a plasterer according to the 1850 census. Evidently Thomas died sometime before 1880, for at the time of the 1880 federal census, Ann was living with her daughter, Sarah, and her marital status was shown as widowed. Ann died in 1888, and was buried in Middletown's Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery.

    Rebecca and Lewis Hammond's children:

      1. Elizabeth Ann Catherine. Elizabeth was born November 11, 1825, probably in Middletown. Her date of birth was based on information gleaned from her tombstone. On May 18, 1848, she married George Ingram, a tailor. In the 1850 federal census, they were apparently living next door to Elizabeth's parents. They had a baby daughter, Ann R., who had been born the previous May. In the 1860 federal census, they were still living in Middletown. They have two more children: Sarah, age 9, and George, 9 months old. In the 1870 census a fifth child is present: Jacob, age 7.

      Elizabeth died March 4, 1879. She was 53. She was buried in Middletown's Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery. At the time of the 1880 federal census, George was still living in Middletown, with three of their children, Sarah, George, and Jacob.

      By the 1900 census, there were no Ingrams found in Middletown.

      2. Sarah Ann E.. Sarah was born in Middletown around 1831. She was about six years younger than her only sibling. Sometime after the 1860 census she married Jonas Young. They are no children living with them in the 1870 or 1880 censuses. They were still living in Middletown at the time of the 1880 census. That's the last record I have of them.

    C. Sarah Ann. Sarah was born around 1809, in Middletown. She was Elizabeth and Jonathan's third child (and third daughter). Family records show she married George Wright of Virginia, probably about 1831. They were both in their early 20s. Soon after they married they moved to Xenia, Ohio, where Sarah's Uncle Frederick (Stembel) had recently moved. By 1850, they had a farm in Bath Township, not far from Xenia. Their farm was valued at $6,100. There were eight children living with them. They had 11 children altogether. This is the last record I have of Sarah and George. Some of their children later moved to Iowa, Missouri, and California.

    D. Ann C. Born around 1811. Ann was discovered in court records that dealt with the distribution of her father's estate. The record listed all of Jonathan and Elizabeth's children living in 1825. She was not included in any other family records, though she does appear in the 1850 census. She is single, 38 years old, and living with her sister, Ann Elizabeth Levy Weaver. This is the last record we have of her.

    E. Perry Jonathan. Perry Jonathan was born November 7, 1813, in the family home on lot #10 in Middletown.(11) As a teenager, Perry clerked in a local store. In 1832, at the age of 19, Perry moved to Xenia, Ohio. He may have accompanied his sister , Sarah, and her husband who moved to Xenia at about this time. Ten years later (c. 1842), Perry returned to Maryland where he clerked in a store in Wolfsville, not far from Middletown. In 1843 he moved back to Middletown and married Elizabeth Swearingen, the 23 year-old daughter of Van Swearingen (the Swearingens were close friends of the Stembels). Perry was 30, Elizabeth was 23. They had two children.

    Soon after marrying Elizabeth, Perry and a partner opened a store which they called Culler and Levy. The store thrived until it was sacked by Confederate troops in 1862. Three years later, Perry opened another store in partnership with his brother-in-law, Van B. Swearingen. This store was located on lot #26 in Middletown. They operated this store until 1879 when they shut it down.(12)

    Elizabeth died December 23, 1890. Perry died September 15, 1897. At the time of his death, he owned the east half of lot #23, Frederick Stembel's old home on lot #7, and the old tannery property on W. Main Street (which his uncle, Frederick Stembel, Jr., once owned, I believe). According to the history of early Middletown, Perry's estate was described as "considerable" at his death.(13)

    Jonathan and Elizabeth's two children:

      1. Charles Van Swearingen. Charles was born January 7, 1844, in Middletown. On January 5, 1871, he married Mary Grace Strobel. Charles was an attorney, and in fact became the City Attorney for Frederick, Maryland. He later became a director of the First National Bank of that city. Charles and Mary Grace had seven children. All grew to adulthood and married. Many of Charles' descendants still live in Frederick County. His granddaughter, Mary Grace Helfenstein, sponsored the launching of the USS Stembel in 1943.(14)

      Charles died on December 8, 1895. Mary died November 22, 1899. Both are buried in Frederick's Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

      2. Margaret Antoinette. "Nettie," as she was known, was born March 1, 1847, in Middletown. We have no record that she ever married.(15) She lived with her parents all her life and after their deaths, continued to live in the family home until her own death in 1919.(16)

    F. Elizabeth Ann Christiana. According to the Zion Lutheran Church records, Elizabeth was born December 6, 1815, in Middletown. She was born about four months after her father's death. Her mother never remarried, so she never had a father. Her mother died when she was just 21.

    On November 3, 1834, she married John Weaver. She was 18, John was 26. John was a carpenter all his life. The Weavers had eight known children. John and Elizabeth purchased Middletown's Lot #10 from her grandfather's estate (Frederick Stembel) in 1840 for $510. The property had a log cabin on it where the Weavers presumably lived. Thirteen years later they sold the property to the Methodist Episcopal Church for $1,200.(17) They then moved the family to Xenia, Ohio, where Elizabeth's older sister was living.

    According to family records, Elizabeth died in 1875, however, a descendant claims she died in 1891.(18) A subsequent search of the Find-A-Grave website found Elizabeth and John's tombstones in Xenia's Woodland Cemetery. Elizabeth did die in 1891, John died 9 years before her, in 1882.

    Elizabeth and John's eight children:

      1. Ann Rebecca. Ann was born March 31, 1836. She did not appear in the 1850 census, so she may have died as a child.

      2.Perry Alexander. Perry was born February 16, 1838, in Middletown (though his obituary says he was born in Hagerstown, Maryland). In 1861 Perry joined the 12th Ohio Infantry (Company D), and later Company B of the 74th Ohio Infantry. He mustered out in 1865 as a First Lieutenant. In 1867 he moved to Springfield, Illinois, where he married Christina Hargraves. Christina was born in New York, her parents were from England. Perry was 28, Christina was 18.

      In the 1870 census, Perry's occupation was listed as painter. They had one child, Olivia, who was one year old. Ten years later they were still living in Springfield. They had two children, Maria (age 11) and Emma (age 8). Olivia would have been 11 so I assume Olivia and Maria are the same person. Research by other family members suggest Perry had a total of six children. In the 1900 census, Perry is absent and Christina's marital status is "Wd"- Widowed. Perry died on January 3, 1900. Christina died in 1913. Both are buried in Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery. According to their obituaries, they had just two children, though if this was Perry's second marriage, he may have had children of the first marriage.

      3. Mary A. Mary was present in the 1850 census; her age was given as 10, so she was born around 1840. In the 1870 census, she was 30, single, and living with her parents. She died in 1991.

      4. John C. John was born in 1842. By the 1880 census, John was 38, single, and living with his parents in Xenia, Ohio. He was a cooper. In 1900 he was still single, living with three single sisters in Xenia. He was a railroad carpenter. John died in 1937 according to his tombstone.

      5. Sarah C. Sarah was born in 1844, in Middletown. By the 1880 census she was 35, single, and living with her parents. She was a seamstress. In 1900 she was still single and living in Xenia with three single siblings. No occupation was listed. Sarah died in 1925.

      6. Alice. Alice was born in 1846. Like her siblings, she moved to Xenia in 1853 with her parents. She never married. By 1900 Alice was living with her three single siblings in Xenia. Alice died in 1928.

      7. Martha. Martha was known as Nettie. She was born in 1848. She moved to Xenia with her parents when she was about 5 years old. Like four of her siblings, she never married. In 1880 she was working as a seamstress. In the 1900 census Nettie was living with three other single siblimgs. No occupation was given. Nettie died in 1925 and is buried, like all of her siblings in Xenia's Woodland Cemetery.

      8. Frances. Frances went by the name Fannie all her life. She was born in 1851. She appears in the 1860 and 1870 census. In about 1878 she married Henry R. Shain. They had five children. Fannie died in 1932 and is buried in Xenia's Woodland Cemetery.


1. Rhoderick, Goerge C., "The Early History of Middletown, Maryland," p.13.

2. There is some question just how many children they had. I have three different sources that list their children and none agree. The only ones I'm sure of are the eight children (Ann Rebecca, Francis, Susan, Columbia, Virginia, Sarah, and Alburtis) that appear in the 1850 and 1860 censuses, and Rufus whose birth I found in church records.

3. Rhoderick, p. 275.

4. Middletown Valley Register, December 31, 1858.

5. I have not verified the date of their marriage. I'm suspicious because their first child was not born until 1860...and since Susan had 13 children in all, I find it highly unlikely that she would not bear any children for the first seven years of marriage. Also, 15 was unusually young for a girl to get married even in the mid-19th century. I suspect they were married in 1858 instead of 1853.


6. Valley Register, Middletown, Maryland. May 18, 1877, issue.

7. In the 1880 census, there is a 29 year old Albert Miller, cigar maker, living in Allegheny Co, PA. He was born in MD (but both his parents were born in Prussia!). Married with two children, aged 5 and 2. Everything fits Albertis except the birthplace of his parents.

8. Her date of birth was calculated from her age on her tombstone. It says Ann died on July 11, 1888, at the age of 80 yrs, 10 months, and 4 days.

9. Rhoderick, p. 84.

10. Ibid. p 85.

11. Ibid. p 254.

12. Ibid., p. 254.

13. Ibid., p. 368.

14. "Portland Sunday Telegram and Sunday Press Herald," Portland, Maine. May 9, 1943. Photograph and caption identifying Mary Grace Helfenstein as sponsor of the USS Stembel.

15. Strangely, the 1880 census gives her marital status as "married," and the 1900 census gives her marital status as "widowed." Yet in both censuses her last name was given as Levy, her maiden name. Was she married briefly?

16. "Only our oldest residents will recall the picture of 'Miss Nettie Levy,' as she sat in the little hallway of her home, evening after evening, with the front doors open wide and the huge key to her house suspended by a ribbon around her neck." Rhoderick, p. 255.

17. Ibid., p. 110.

18. Ibid., p. 139.

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