BSO – Down the Stufflebean Rabbit Hole

UPDATE: Thank you to Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings for deciphering a couple of my unknown words in the transcripts below. He left a comment, but my blog has been migrated to a new server and about ten comments made over 2 days last week have been lost in the migration.

There has been a bit of a lull lately in new discoveries appearing on the family tree, so I decided to take another look at some information I’ve had for years on Revolutionary War soldier and pensioner, John Stufflebean (aka Stoppelbein).

There are few written records left by the old soldier, not withstanding the fact that it was stated in his widow Elsee’s pension application that neither he nor his wife nor any of their children were able to even write their own names:

he says that the said John Stufflebean and his wife Elsee as also all their children were and are wholly illiterate and unable to write even their own names and no family record has ever been made or kept of the births marriages or deaths of any of the members . . .

My earliest Stoppelbein information (as that was how the name was originally spelled) came from Hank Z. Jones, FASG, the Palatine German researcher. John was born on 28 February 1756 in Kinderhook, New York, the son of Johannes Stoppelbein and Eva Dingman. In spite of the fact that, according to his pension file, John married and had several children before the Revolution began, to my knowledge, no one has ever discovered who he married, who those children were or what happened to his first family.

In John’s own words, he lived in New York, but 8-10 miles from the New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania border near the Neversink River, which straddles the state borders.

. . . . . . .that he was born on the east side of the Hudson River not far below Albany in the State of New York – – – -That in 177_ he was living on a small River or creek that empties into the Delaware River he thinks it was called the Navasene or Nevasing – he is no Scholar & cannot tell how it was spelt; he lived in the State of New York not more than 8 or 10 miles from the Delaware River – not far from the Pennsylvania line and also the Jersey line —

Ten mile radius around Port Jervis,
where the three state borders converge
Source: Google Maps

John apparently lived in Orange County, New York, most likely up around Cuddebackville on highway 209 or possibly towards Sparrow Bush. There aren’t many towns around there even today.

Delving into the New York morass of records is left for another post, but for now, suffice it to say that I haven’t found any trace of any Stufflebeans of any spelling variation in Orange County.

My rabbit hole actually ties into John’s brother, Michael, also born in Kinderhook on 30 October 1763. John’s Revolutionary War pension statement sounds like he never again returned to New York.

Someone, however, helped him at least keep in touch with Michael, as John stated that he went to Lawrence County, Illinois in 1823 to obtain an affidavit from his brother, attesting to John’s service in the war:

He has no documentary Evidence in his possession to prove his service & knows of no person whose testimony he can procure to Establish (?) except his Brother Michael Stufflebean, who if living resides somewhere in Illinois – In 1823 he went to Illinois & took his Brother’s affidavit with a view to make application for a pension but never made application or did any thing more in the business. . .

Personally came before us the undersigned two of the Justices of the peace in and for said county Michael Stufflebeam of the same county & after being duly sworn according to Law deposeth & saith That John Stufflebeam his Brother, was an enlisted soldier in the Revolutionary war under Captain Jacob Dewit of the American army & further the deponent saith not.

Mikl Stuffelbean
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 12th day of June AD 1823.
V.L. Bradley JPeace
State of Illinois

Yet, by the time John applied for his pension and he declared his brother “if living,” Michael had died. The pension file included a statement from the Lawrence County, Illinois clerk:

Lawrenceville m (?)  25 1832

Your Letter of Enquiry as to Michael Stuffelbeam was duly Recd. M. Stuffelbem left this County about three years sinice for the County of Vermillion. I was well acquainted with him while living in this nieghborhood. He Died about 18 months since as I have been informed by one of his sons.

Respectfully yours

Here is a bit of a quandary, but it seems to have a solution. Michael Stufflebeam appears in the 1800 census of Cayuga County, New York. I am reasonably sure it is him, as there is a John Stufflebeam, likely an adult son, living next door and two doors from him is Peter Dingman. Michael’s sister Geesje married Peter Dingman.

I can’t find him in 1790, nor can I find him in 1810, 1820 or 1830. There are no Stufflebeans of any spelling in Illinois in 1820 or 1830.

I believe that Michael Stufflebeam either headed north to Vermilion County, Illinois and ended up living in Warren County, Indiana or else he headed to Vermillion County, Indiana, but settled again in Warren County. That is because in 1830, there is an Abigail Stufflebeam living in Warren County, Indiana with a John Stufflebeam a couple of doors away.

In support of my theory is this entry on pages 694-695 in the Portrait and Biographical Album of Vermilion County, Illinois published in 1889 by Geoffrey Chapman Publishers:

Oliver P. Stufflebeam

Oliver was orphaned at a young age, but mentions his birth in Warren County, Indiana on 13 September 1837 and that he was the son of John Stufflebeam, born in 1795 in Schoharie County, New York. John Stufflebeam married twice, although his first wife isn’t named. His second wife was Harriet Ostrander, who he married in Indiana.

His paternal grandfather was Michael Stufflebeam, who he says moved west with son John. The entry adds that Michael Stufflebeam was an immigrant from Germany, born in 1740 and who settled in Schoharie County. (Schoharie County was formed from part of Albany County in 1795.) Michael, if the son of Johannes and Eva Stoppelbein, was born in 1763, not 1740, but the book might be wrong on that count. It says Michael’s wife died in Schoharie County. Boy, do I wish Oliver had mentioned her name because no marriage record has been found.

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the Warren County, Indiana records concerning the Stufflebeam family.





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