A. J. (Abraham James) Fretz.

A genealogical record of the descendants of Henry Stauffer and other Stauffer pioneers : together with historical and biographical sketches.... online

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Online LibraryA. J. (Abraham James) FretzA genealogical record of the descendants of Henry Stauffer and other Stauffer pioneers : together with historical and biographical sketches.... → online text (page 1 of 24)
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With an introduction by Albert Stover, of Kintnersville, Pa.

Press of




- vmine university


to the memory of


Pioneer, who emigrated from Rhenish, Germany, in the early
part of the eighteenth century and settled in Bedminster, Bucks
county, Pa., and especially to his son,


who seems to have been a citizen of unusual character and
intelligence in his day, inasmuch as he represented in part
Bucks county in the Legislature of Pennsylvania for seven
consecutive years, from 1793 to 1799, both inclusive during
the closing administration of George Washington, first Presi-
dent of the United States, and the beginning of the adminis-
tration of John Adams, and was one of the first directors of
the Bucks County Almshouse, and also served as Justice of the
Peace and conveyancer in his community, to whom these lines
are affectionately inscribed —

By his grandson and namesake,


of Point Pleasant, Pa.
December 25, 1895.

Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
Brigham Young University


We cheerfully assented to the wishes of a friend,
a descendant of the pioneer, Henry Stauffer, of Bed-
minster township, Bucks county, Pa., to compile a
genealogical history of the descendants of the family.
The object of the work being to preserve from oblivion
the more remote history of the pioneer and his im-
mediate descendants, and to place upon record the
names and biographies of his descendants from father
to son down to the present time and generation.

It is to be regretted that the records are not more
complete in some of the branches. Owing to a lack
of interest in the matter, some, for reasons best known
to themselves, failed to respond to inquiries for infor-
mation concerning their respective families, thereby
causing these defects. The effort has been in the
direction of making the work as full, correct and
reliable as possible. The work has been prepared at
a great sacrifice of time and labor. Had all promptly
responded to communications the work would have
been far easier and more complete. The writer is
aware that imperfections exist, but pleads in extenua-
tion of the fact that the difficulties were insurmountable.

The author acknowledges himself indebted to the
many friends for kind favors received during the
compilation of this work, and while we express our
sincere gratitude to all who in any way aided us, we
especially acknowledge our indebtedness to those who
have very materially aided us. They are as follows :


Ralph Stover, of Point Pleasant, Pa. , now deceased ;
Mrs. Mary C. Austin, of North Hancock, Me.; Henry
Stover, of Durham, Pa.; S. Horace Myers, of Pipers-
ville, Pa.; Albert Stover, of Kintnersville, Pa.; Dr.
E. A. Kratz, of Champaign, 111.; Evan Stover, of
Buckingham, Pa.; Mrs. Abraham Worman ; Josiah
N. Stover, of Kintnersville, Pa. ; Jordan F. Stover, of
Riegelsville, Pa., and others.

That the work may meet with general approval is
the earnest wish of the Author.

Milton, N. J., November 12, 1897.


Few are the mortals on this earth below,
Who never wished the deeds of their ancestors to know ;

And here's a family history backward traced
Until the mists of time all traces have effaced.

A history of the Stover family (name originally
written Stauffer but changed by Act of Legislature to
Stover) being desired by many of the descendants it
was decided to have one published, if possible, and as
personal recollections and records of the family were
fast passing away the longer the delay the more
difficult it would be to collect the necessary information
to write a complete history of the descendants of
nearly a century and a half. It was obvious that even
at this date it would take much time and labor, since
it would be necessary to interview and write letters to
descendants scattered over the greater part of North
America, search records, examine family Bibles, etc.

The question arose who would undertake the task.
It was decided that there was no person so well
qualified for the work as the Rev. A. J. Fretz, of
Milton, N. J., he having written histories of the
Fretz and Kratz families, the descendants of which
are interwoven by marriage with the Stovers, it was
evident that he must have learned much of the Stover
family. It was therefore decided to request him to
take the Stover history in hand, being satisfied


that if his services could be secured the work would
be well done. Fortunately he agreed to undertake it
and set about collecting the necessary information, a
task that would have appalled and disheartened any-
one not accustomed to work of this kind. By untiring
zeal and indefatigable labor the data has at last been
collected, and the history of a family that dates back
to the early settlement of this country is now com-

We find the descendants numerous and scattered
over a large section of the country. They are a thrifty
and upright Christian people, who helped from its
infancy to build up this great and glorious country.
They cleared away the forests and tilled the land, caus-
ing fields of golden grain to wave where giant forest
trees had reared their lofty heads. They built mills
and factories ; assisted in the building and maintaining
of churches and schools, knowing well that no
community could exist and be prosperous without the
blessings of the church and the learning of the schools.
They were among the foremost in projecting and
constructing public improvements, and as the family
grew more numerous they became engaged in nearly
every kind of business and profession. They have
filled State and National offices of responsibility with
credit and honor. Although they were a people of
peace, they were ever ready to obey their country's
call and defend it against its enemies. The stars and
stripes which float over their graves in the cemeteries
testify to their patriotism and bring to mind melan-
choly recollections of a time in our country's history
that can never be forgotten.

Well may the descendants be proud of their
ancestors ; although the record of their deeds have not
been graven upon granite shafts, the industries they


maintained and the nation they helped to build and
defend are far better evidences of what they did.
May the descendants emulate the example of their
worthy ancestors and ever be found on the side of
right and justice, and on the onward march of progress.

Albert Stover.
Kintnersville, Pa., June 18, 1896.


In the preparation of this work it will be observed that all
descendants are recorded in the regular order of birth, from
the oldest down to the youngest throughout the entire con-
nections, each generation being marked consecutively from
first to last. The Roman numerals placed before each name
are used to designate the generation to which they belong, as : —
I. Henry Stauffer (First Generation).
II. Ulrich Stover (Second Generation).

III. Mary Stover (Fretz) (Third Generation).

IV. Joseph S. Fretz (Fourth Generation).

Beginning with the first (I) ancestor, Henry Stauffer, all
his children are named in order of birth. Then follows the
oldest son, Ulrich Stover (II Generation), and his children (III
Generation) next. Mary being the oldest that had issue, is
followed down to the last of her descendants ; then the second
in order of birth of the III Generation, and so on until the end
of the entire branch of Ulrich Stover, of the II Generation, is
reached. Then the second son of Henry Stauffer, of the I Gen-
eration, viz, II Henry Stover, is cairied down in like manner to
the last of his descendants, and so on throughout the entire

Where marriages occur between members of the connec-
tion the husband carries the record. In all such cases a
numbered reference is placed after the name and marriage of
the wife, as for example (See Index of References No. i). In
the Index of References will be found No. i, Barbara Stover,
Page — . On the page given in the body of the book the
family record is given.

In the General Index will be found the names of all males
of 18 years and over, and the maiden names of all females of
1 8 years and over, also the pages on which their family record
is given in the body of the book.

To find family records see Index of Branches, where
names of all that had issue of the first, second and third
generations are given.

Abbreviations : — D signifies died or deceased ; b born ;
s single ; m married ; ch church ; Montg co Montgomery
county ; twp township ; Evan Ass'n Evangelical Association ;
Pres Presbyterian ; Luth Lutheran ; Menns Mennonites ;
Ger Bap German Baptist ; Ref Reformed ; Cong Congrega-
tionahst ; M E Methodist Episcopal.


According to tradition the Stauffers owe their
origin to a generation of knights called Stauffacher,
at Hohenstaufen.* It is presumed that all of the
Stauffer pioneers that emigrated to America at differ-
ent times have the same common origin, and are more
or less remotely connected, and in all probability the
pioneers of this work have also their origin in the
ancient House of Hohenstaufen in Suabia. A descrip-
tion of the House of Hohenstaufen is given in a
translation from the German history by Fred Raumer,
from which we glean the following :

" In the middle of the eleventh century Frederic
of Buren removed from the confined valley of Buren
to the plain of Hohenstaufen, built the castle and
founded the town of Hohenstaufen, and from him
descended the Hohenstaufen dynasty. The House of
Hohenstaufen exalted itself over all tribes and princi-
palities until after a period of splendor and glory it
was suddenly seized by a dreadful calamity and hurled
into the darkest night of oblivion, leaving hardly any
traces behind. At the time of the prosperity of the
House of Hohenstaufen their ancestry was traced back
to the ancient Emperor of France, as far back as the
reign of Charlemagne. A close inquiry, however,
throws some doubt on the legend.

" Frederic of Buren, founder of the House of
Hohenstaufen, was, however, beyond any doubt of
* D. K. Cassel's History of the Mennonites.


Franco- Alsatian ancestry. He was equalled by none
of the noblest dukes of Suabia, and was Emperor
Henry IV. 's, of Germany, most steadfast defender and
protector. He knew well under his peculiar circum-
stances the value of a friend like Frederic of Hohen-
staufen. Therefore in the year 1079 he called him
to Regensburg and said: 'Brave and vigilant man,
whom I always found the truest and bravest among
all, you are well aware how in the Roman Empire
crime and misdeed prevailed, how through the devil's
influence revolt and conspiracy are held sacred, while
God's command is despised and the laws of the land
tramped under foot. As you have battled in the past
against all these evil sods, and as a proof of how highly
I appreciate your former services, and how sincerely I
trust your future, I will give you my only daughter
Agnes to wife and the Duchy of Suabia as a dowry. '
Frederic died in 1 105 leaving two sons, Frederic and
Conrad, who their uncle, Henry V., adopted.

"After the death of Henry V., in 1125, the
Imperial Crown was contested between Frederic and
Eothaire, Duke of Saxony. Lothaire was elected by
fraud. He died in 1137, childless. Frederic having
died, the Crown was now again contested between
Conrad of Hohenstaufen, and Henry the Proud,
Duke of Saxony and heir to Lothaire. Conrad was
elected March 7, 1 137, and crowned March 15. He
was born at Ampulia in 1093. His mother was
Agnes, daughter of Henry IV. He married Ger-
trude, Duchess of Sulzbach, in Bavaria. His title
was disputed by Henry the Proud of Saxony. A
civil war ensued. Conrad gained a victory and the
war was ended. In 1 147 he conducted a large army
of Crusaders into Palestine. He besieged Damascus
but failed to take it, and returned in 1.149. He died


without issue in 1152, and was succeeded by his
nephew, Frederick I, surnained Barbarossa, son of
Frederic, Duke of Suabia and brother to Conrad III.
His mother was Judith, daughter of Henry the
Black. He was elected Emperor on the death of his
uncle, Conrad III, in March 1152. In 11 55 he
passed into Italy with an army and was crowned by
Pope Adrian IV at Rome. In 11 56 he was married
to Beatrice of Burgundy and reduced the King or Duke
of Poland to become his vassel. In 1158 he led a
large army into Italy and subjected the revolted city
of Milan, which was punished with rigor. Two rival
Popes, Victor IV and Alexander III, having been
elected in 1159, Frederic recognized the former and
was excommunicated by the latter. His reign was
disturbed by disputes with the Pope and wars with the
cities of Lombardy. His army was defeated by the
Lombards near Legnano in 1176. He then made
peace with Pope Alexander and a truce with his
other enemies in Italy. In 1 183 the celebrated Peace
of Constance was concluded between Frederic and the
Lombards. In 1 189 he joined the third crusade with
an army of 150,000 men, and after having marched
by land as far as Asia Minor defeated the Turks near
Iconium. He was drowned in the river Calycodmis in
1 1 90. He was ambitious but liberal, and was con-
sidered one of the greatest generals and statesmen of
his age. He was succeeded by his son, Henry VI.

" Henry VI was born in 1 165. He married Con-
stance, daughter of Roger, King of the two Sicillies,
in 1 1 85 , who inherited the Throne of her father. With
a view of subdividing that country he invaded it, but
being unsuccessful he was obliged to return to
Germany. With the ransom money which he received
from his prisoner, Richard Coeur de Lion, he fitted


out another expedition. After taking Naples and
bringing Sicily into subjection he caused himself to
be crowned at Palermo. His conduct towards the
Sicillians was marked with great cruelty and tyranny,
and his death, which took place in 1 197, was sup-
posed to have been caused by poison. He was suc-
ceeded bjr his brother Philip, Duke of Suabia, and
Otho IV, between whom the Crown was disputed.

" Philip, Duke of Suabia and the Emperor of
Germany, son of Frederic Barbarossa, was born in
1 1 70 or r 176. He married Irene of Constantinople.
He was elected Emperor in n 98, but his title was
disputed by Otho IV, which caused a civil war to
ensue. The Pope favored Otho and excommunicated
Philip, but was afterward reconciled to him. Philip
was assassinated in 1208 by Otto Wettlebach at the
wedding of his niece. After Philip's assassination his
wife Irene fled to Hohenstaufen and died shortly
afterward in childbirth. The child also died. The
two daughters of Philip were saved by the Bishop of

" Frederic II, son of Henry VI and Constance,
was born at Jesi in 1194. He had superior talents,
and was master of the Greek, Italian, French and
Arabic languages. He was married at Palermo in
1209 to Constance, young and childless widow of
Emrich, King of Hungary, daughter of Alfonso II,
and sister to Peter II, of Argon, Spain. He was
crowned Emperor of Germany July 25, 12 15, at Aix-la-
Chapelle, then only 21. After the defeat of his rival,
Otho, at Bovines, he was supported by the Ghibeline
Party in an attempt to unite Germany and Italy into
one empire. The project was resisted by the Pope
and the Guelphs in a long contest. In 1220 he
removed his court to Naples, which belonged to him


by inheritance, and in which he founded a university.
In accordance with a vow extorted from him in his
youth by the Pope he undertook a crusade against
the Infidels in 1227, but turned back before he
reached Palestine, for which he was excommunicated
by Gregory IX. He renewed the enterprise in 1228,
took Jerusalem and made peace with the Pope in 1230.
He suppressed a rebellion raised by his son Henry,
gained in 1237 a great victory over the Guelphs at
Corleoue, and waged war against Gregory IX. In
1245 Pope Innocent renewed the papal anathema and
absolved his subjects from their allegiance. In the
midst of these troubles Frederic died, in 1250. He
was succeeded by his sou, Conrad IV. Frederic was
eminent for courage and other royal qualities, and
was considered the greatest general and statesman of
his age.

"Conrad IV, son of Frederick II, Emperor of
Germany and King of Italy, was born at Ampulia in
1228. He was crowned King of the Romans in 1237.
At the death of his father, in 1250, he took the title of
Emperor, which was also claimed by William of Hol-
land. The latter was favored by the Guelphs and by
Pope Innocent IV, who excommunicated Conrad,
the chief of the Ghibelines. Conrad led an army
into Italy in 1251 and took Naples and other places.
He died in 1254, leaving one son, Conrad V.

"Conrad, son and heir of Conrad IV, was
born in the year 1252. The Kingdom of Italy
was usurped by his uncle Mamfred and was offered
by the Pope to Charles of Aryou, who defeated
Mamfred in 1265 and made himself master of Naples
and Sicily. Conrad attempted to enforce his rights,
gained several battles and was finally defeated at
Tegliacozzo in 1268, taken prisoner and beheaded in


cold blooded murder November 29, 1268, by order of
Charles of Aryon, at the age of 15.

"Thus ended the Hohenstaufen dynasty. The
male sex of the late Imperial house being annihilated,
all who claimed any prior family connection took
to flight — one portion going to Baden, another to
Bavaria, and a third to Switzerland, so that the
beautiful Hohenstaufen was entirely deserted by
the Hohenstaufen family and has never since been
reclaimed by them."

Having given a brief sketch of the Hohenstaufen
family to the end of the Imperial house of that name
in 1268, it will be seen that several hundred years
intervene between that period and the time of the
pioneers of this work. In that period are included
many generations of the family of which we have no
account, and are therefore unable to give a complete
line of descent. The missing links, and whether to
the part of the family that settled in Baden, Bavaria
or Switzerland, the pioneers of this work belong, we
will leave for some future historian of the family to


I. Henry Stauffer, pioneer, was born in Germany
and emigrated from Rheinish (Province of Alsace or
Manheim), Prussia, to America, arriving in Philadel-
phia September 9, 1749. He was married to Barbara
Hockman in 1749. She was born January 20, 1732 ;
died February 17, 1802. It is a tradition of the family
that Henry Stauffer and Barbara were married at
Alsace and immediately after the ceremony stepped on
board a ship for America. They settled for a time
at or near Skippack, in Montgomery county, Pa., and
later moved to Bedminster, Bucks county, and lived a
short distance above the present site of Bedminster-
ville, on the farm now owned and occupied by Joseph
Sine, and where they died.

It is said three brothers came to America, that
they were potters along the River Rhine and manu-
factured fine china and porcelain ware in Alsace,
France and Germany. In America they expected to
find a superior quality of clay and came here to
establish a china plant, but as the clay did not turn out
as was expected they turned their attention to milling
and farming. One of the brothers is said to have gone
South, but where the third brother went to is not
known. As has already been stated, Henry Stauffer
finally settled in Bedminster township, where he pur-
chased his land from William Allen, the deed bearing
date of June 12, 1762, for 213 acres and 91 perches,
for which Henry Stauffer paid the sum of ,£400,


8 shillings and 8 pence ' ' lawful money of Pennsylvania,
with a rent yearly forever of one pepper corn, if the
same shall be demanded." After the death of Henry
Stauffer the homestead in Bedminster came into the
possession of his son, Ulrich Stover, who was the
second owner. "The deed of Henry Stover, Jacob
Stover and Catharine his wife, and Ralph Stover
and Catharine his wife, all of Bedminster township,
county of Bucks, state of Pennsylvania, yoeman
of the one part, Ulrich Stover, sons of Henry Stover,
of the same township, county and state yoeman
of the other part, for 213 acres and 91 perches of land
in Bedminster township for 1150 pounds of lawful
money of Pennsylvania with a rent yearly forever of
one pepper corn if the same shall be demanded," is
dated April 28, 1786.

The third owner was Henry Stover, son of Ulrich,
but when he came into possession off and the amount
he paid for it we have not been informed. Some time
during either the lifetime of Ulrich or his son Henry
portions of the homestead were divided or sold off,
so that at the time the old homestead proper was sold
there were but 87 acres and 42 perches remaining,
which Henry Stover and his wife Barbara sold to
their son, Reuben Stover, in 1855, for $4799.44.
Reuben Stover was the fourth and last Stover owner of
the old homestead. In i860 Reuben Stover and wife
sold the homestead of 87 acres and 22 perches to the
present owner, Joseph Sine, for $5700. The house
and barn were built by Henry Stover — the barn
in 1808 and the house about the same time. The
additions to the house and barn were built by Joseph
Sine, the present owner.

The immediate neighbors of Henry Stauffer,
whose lands joined his plantation, were John Fretz,


Christian Stover, Jacob Overholt and Frederick Solli-
day. The old family Bible of Henry Stauffer is in the
possession of Aaron Stover, of Richland Centre, Pa.
It contains a record of his family and also of his son
Ulrich's family. It also contains some poetic de-
scriptions that probably were composed and written by
Ulrich Stover, as this and Ulrich Stover's family
records seem to be the same hand writing. It reads
as follows :

" Allein auf Gott setz dein vertraun,

Auf Menschen Heulf sollst du nicht bauen,
Gott ist allein der Glauben haellt

Sunst ist Kein Glaub mehr in der welt."

The name as written in the Bible is " Stauffer,"
but was changed to Stover by his son, Ralph Stover,
by an Act of the Legislature of Pennsylvania — presum-
ably about the time that he (Ralph) was a member of
that body. It is quite evident that Henry Stauffer
and wife were members of the Mennonite church at
Deep Run, where they are buried. Children : Ulrich,
Barbara, Henry, Jacob, Ralph.


II. Ulrich Stover, born on July 16, 1750 ; died
November 2, 18 n ; married Barbara Svvartz. He
was the second owner of the old homestead in Bed-
minster and may have lived there for some years after
marriage. He, however, purchased a farm and mill
property at the Tohickon, in Haycock township (date
of purchase not known), where his grandson, Jonas
Stover now lives. The house in which he lived was
torn down and rebuilt by Jonas Stover in 1878. The
farm house, owned at the present time by Reuben F
Stover, was built by Ulrich Stover for his son Joseph,
who died soon after it was built. Ulrich Stover was
by occupation a farmer and miller. He and wife
were members of the Mennonite church, and are
buried at Deep Run. Children : Elizabeth, Mary,
Henry, Abraham, Jacob, Andrew, Joseph.

Ulrich Stover made his will October 13, 181 r,
and reads as follows :

' ' I Ulrich Stover of the Township of Haycock in the
County of Bucks and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania miller
being in Body of sound and perfect mind and memory and
understanding blessed be Almighty God for the same do make
and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner fol-
lowing (that is to say) first I give and bequeath unto Barbara
my beloved wife my new house erected on the premises where
I now dwell for her to occupy during her natural life I also
give and bequeath unto her my said wife during her natural
life yearly and every year the sum of forty eight pounds in
money and from time to time to as much butter an Milch as

Online LibraryA. J. (Abraham James) FretzA genealogical record of the descendants of Henry Stauffer and other Stauffer pioneers : together with historical and biographical sketches.... → online text (page 1 of 24)