[Last updated: 18 October 2017]

Johan Friederich Stembel (Grandfather)

Frederick Stembel (Father)

Frederick Stembel, Jr.

FREDERICK STEMBEL, JR. (1779 - 1868)

According to Dr. McLean's research, Frederick was born July 17, 1779, one year before the Middletown Lutheran Church began keeping church records. We know nothing of Frederick's childhood, but his father was ambitious and very much involved in the affairs of Middletown.

On May 30, 1801, Frederick married Elizabeth Staley (Stahli). They were both 21. They lived in Middletown where he operated a tanning yard.(1) In 1805, Frederick and four others purchased land in Middletown for a school.(2) Frederick was listed as one of the trustees.

Frederick and Elizabeth had three children: two sons and a daughter. Sometime before 1830 Frederick moved the family to Xenia, Ohio, where they were enumerated in the decennial census. Besides Frederick, his wife and three children, there were two others enumerated with the household, a white female between the ages of 20 and 30, and a free black female, aged 0-9 years old.

The black child living in Frederick's household in 1830 was most likely a former slave girl named Hurby, born in 1823 to Jeremiah and Charity Siles. The Siles were two slaves owned by Frederick's father. We know of Hurby's birth because the Stembels had their slave children baptised in their local church soon after birth. The records of the Zion Lutheran Church, where Hurby was baptised in 1824, shows that Frederick (Jr.) was owner the child's mother thus Hurby would also be owned by Frederick(3). The young girl, who would have been 17, was not present in the Stembel household in 1840. Hurby may have taken a job as a domestic servant or possibly married. The Xenia area had a significant black population at the time.

It appears that a conflict arose between Frederick and his father, for when the elder Frederick wrote his will in 1838, Frederick, Jr. was conspicuously absent. Instead, the elder Frederick specified that his son's share of the estate was to be divided between his three children. One is left to speculate what might have caused Frederick to literally disinherit his son.

Evidently Frederick's penchant for public service was not diminished by the move to Ohio, for the Greene County Public Library's database of "Public Figures of the Past' shows that in 1838 Frederick was the road superintendent for District 19, in 1842 he was road superintendent for District 20, and in 1855 he is listed as "road supervisor." Then in 1856 and 1857 he was a council member(4) (at the age of 77). It is also noted in the History of Greene County, that Frederick was Xenia's City Marshal for 20 years!(5) These duties were in addition to the work he did on his farm.(6)

In 1835, just a few years after moving to Ohio, Frederick's wife, Elizabeth, died at the age of 54. In the 1840 federal census, there is no entry for Frederick, but there is an entry for his son, Jacob, in Xenia Township. The 1840 census only recorded the name of the head of households, but judging by the ages of the household's occupants it appears that Frederick was living in Jacob's household at this time.

Ten years later, the 1850 federal census listed the names of all family members instead of just the head of household. In this census we find that Jacob was listed as head of household and Frederick was living with him and his family. Both Frederick and Jacob had their occupations recorded as "Farmer." It is unusual that Frederick, as father, was not listed as head of household. Its possible Jacob bought the farm with the money he inherited from his Grandfather, money that would normally have gone to his father.

Jacob died not long after the 1850 census was taken. According to the 1860 census, Frederick continued to live on the farm, with his son's widow, Rachel, her two children, and Frederick's unmarried daughter, Ann Elizabeth.

Eight years after the 1860 census, Frederick died on May 23, 1868, at the age of 88. He had outlived his wife and all three of his children.

Frederick and Elizabeth are both buried in Xenia's Woodland Cemetery.

It should be noted that in the majority of cases where Frederick's family name is recorded, the name is spelled Stemble. It appears this is the way the family preferred to spell it.

Frederick and Elizabeth Stembel's three children:

A. Jacob. Jacob was born March 26, 1802, in Middletown. He moved to Xenia with his family sometime before 1830. In 1839 he married Rachel Eyler. At the time of the 1840 and the 1850 federal censuses, they were living on a farm outside Xenia. In the 1850 census, it shows they had two children, Staley and Elizabeth Ann.

Jacob died just a few months after the 1850 census was taken. He was just 48. He was buried in Xenia's Woodland Cemetery. In the 1860 census, Rachel and her two children were still living on their farm with her father-in-law, Frederick, and her sister-in-law, Ann Elizabeth. She was recorded as the head of household.

However, in 1868, soon after her father-in-law died, Rachel moved to Johnson County, Missouri. She was accompanied by her son Staley and his future wife, Libbie. The Johnson County land records show Rachel bought a 230-acre farm(7) near Fayettesville on August 17, just four days before Staley and Libbie were married. She paid $9,200 for the farm. This was probably from the proceeds of the sale of their Stembel farm in Ohio.

According to the land records, Rachel was forced to borrow money on a number of occasions over the years, using the land as collateral. In 1871 she borrowed $1,150 (at 10% interest) against 175 acres of her land. Evidently she paid it off, for in 1875 she again borrowed against that same parcel of land. She later borrowed $700 against another 80 acre parcel from her daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Peter Benham, who remained behind in Greene County, Ohio. Staley's name appears on the mortgage with Rachel's.

In 1880, Rachel, now 68 years old, again pledged her land, this time the whole farm, to borrow $1,200. Peter and Elizabeth, and Staley and Libby appear on the mortgage with Rachel. The loan was paid off in 1884.

Rachel died in 1886 of 'gastric fever.'(8) Evidently Staley sold the farm soon after her death as part of the settlement of Rachel's estate.

Jacob and Rachel's two children:

    1. Staley F. Staley was born on August 20, 1841. As a young man he fought for the Union in the Civil War.(9) After he returned from the war, he married Libbie Smith in 1868. No children were born to Staley and Libbie. As mentioned above, they moved to Missouri with his mother, Rachel, but sometime after her death they moved back to Xenia, where they were living at the time of the 1900 census.(10) Staley died November 30, 1916. He is buried in Xenia’s Woodland Cemetery. On his tombstone his last name is spelled Stemble. Libbie moved away from Xenia after Staley's death for she was enumerated in the 1920 census living as a border in Van Buren Township, Montgomery County, Ohio. She died sometime after the 1920 census (11) She is not buried with her husband in Woodland Cemetery.

    2. Elizabeth Ann. Elizabeth was born sometime around 1844. When she was six her father died. In 1864 she married Peter Benham. At the time of their marriage, Peter was in the Union Army, serving on General Jefferson C. Davis's staff. After the wedding, Peter returned to battle and was captured by the Confederates in February, 1865. He was released from prison a month later and returned home.(12)

    After the war Peter became a farmer. According to a biographical sketch in a history of Greene County,(13) they had six children, three of whom died in infancy.(14) They lived their entire lives in Xenia. In 1881 their farm was located 2 1/2 miles west of Xenia.(15) The 1910 census shows them living in town at 312 East 3rd Street. Peter was 70 and retired.

    Elizabeth died on April 26, 1916, she was about 72. Peter died in 1917 at the age of 77. Their three children who lived to adulthood were: Blanche (who married Charles Rogers), Harry, and George (who married Josephine Lambert).

B. Ann Elizabeth. Ann Elizabeth was born on April 12, 1807, in Middletown. She moved to Ohio with her family, never married, and died in 1863. The only other record I have of her is of a baptism she sponsored in the Middletown Reformed Church when she was 18 years old. She is buried in Xenia's Woodland Cemetery. On her tombstone her last name is spelled Stemble.

C. John. John was born on September 26, 1810, in Middletown. He moved to Ohio with his family. In 1840, he married Amanda Richards, daughter of William and Mary Richards.

In the 1840 census they are living in Xenia, and were enumerated next to "W. Richards," presumably Amanda's father.

Sometime before 1850 John joined the Army, for the 1850 census shows he was stationed on an Army post in Newport, Kentucky. Amanda is recorded in the same census living in Defiance, Ohio, about 90 miles north of Xenia, living with her parents. Her name is still Amanda Stembel. I don’t know if this split is significant or not. There are no Stembel children living with Amanda so it appears John and Amanda were childless.

In 1856, John died at the age of 45. He is buried in Xenia's Woodland Cemetery. A website listing the Army's Newport Barracks deaths for that period shows that John died of delirium tremens.(16)

There is no Amanda Stembel listed in the 1860 census index, nor is she living with her parents who were still living in Defiance. However, there is an Amanda Green who is the same age as Amanda Stembel, living in Defiance. She is married to Jacob Green (Greene). In the 1850 census Jacob Green was a young father with two young children. I assume his wife died and he married Amanda Stembel, for Amanda Green is the only Amanda in Defiance County that is even close to Amanda Stembel's age. Unfortunately in the next two censuses (1870 and 1880), Jacob Greene is married to yet another woman, so Amanda may have died between 1860 and 1870 (if she was in fact Amanda Stembel).


1. "J[ustices of the] P[eace] bind James Collins, orphan age 12 last 6 July, with consent of his mother, to Frederick Stemble, Junr., tanner, to age 21." 30 Nov. 1808. Frederick County [MD] Indentures, abstracted in "Western Maryland Genealogy," Vol 11 No 2. pg 78.

Also, "Michael Motter and Frederick Stembel, Middletown, to give current price for hides." Bartigis's Republican Gazette (Frederick-Town), December 15, 1810 (reprinted in "Western Maryland Newspaper Abstracts, Volume 3." p.109).

2. Rice, Millard Milburn, New Facts and Old Families. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1984. p. 145.

3. A few of the slave owners in the Middletown area had their slave children baptized. It was fortunate that the Stembels were one of them so that we have a record of their name, when they were born, and who their father and mother were, so that someday their descendants will have a record of their existence. The church records show slave baptisms separately. The owner of the baby's mother is recorded since slave babies became the property of the mother's owner.

4. http://www.greenelibrary.info/elected_officials.asp. I have no idea how thorough the library's database is or whether these positions were city, county or township positions. All of the information about Frederick in the database came from local newspapers of the time.

5. http://www.heritagepursuit.com/Greene/GreeneIndex.htm Biographical sketch of Peter Benham, the husband of Frederick's granddaughter.

6. 1850 decennial census. Frederick's occupation is given as Farmer.

7. The land consisted of 200.5 contiguous acres, most of it located in Section 15 of Township 47 (Hazel Hills), Range 26. In additional, there was an second parcel, consisting of 28 acres, that touched one corner of the main plot.

8. http://www.rootsweb.com/~mojohnso/vital/MODEATHS_Z.txt "Gastric fever" was a fever attended with prominent gastric symptoms; it was also a name applied to certain forms of typhoid fever.

9. F Co, 34th Ohio Infantry. From Civil War Service Records, www.Ancestry.com.

10. Though Staley and Libby had no children of their own, the 1880 census shows a 4 year old boy, J.O. Fleming, living with them. According to the census, J.O. was an orphan, born in Tennessee, as were his parents. I do not know whether Staley and Libby raised J.O. as a son or whether he was just staying there temporarily at the time of the census. Unfortunately the 1890 federal census was destroyed in a fire and by the time the 1900 census was taken, J.O. was an adult - he did not appear in Staley and Libby's household in that census.

11. Author Helen Hooven Santmeyer wrote a book about her childhood memories of Xenia, Ohio. Born in 1895, her book describes the Xenia Staley and Libby experienced after their return from Missouri. Though it was written in 1962, the book did not attract attention until 1984 when it became a best seller. It is titled, Ohio Town.

12. "History of Greene County (Ohio)" by R.S. Dill. Odell and Mayer, Dayton, 1881. p. 474.

13. ibid.

14. The 1910 census disputes this. The census asks the wife how many children they have borne and how many are still alive. Elizabeth answered seven and three.

15. R. S. Dill, "History of Greene County", p.474.

16. http://www.rootsweb.com/~kycampbe/newportbarracksdeaths.htm

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Copyright. Oren Stembel, STEMBEL FAMILY HISTORY PROJECT (familyhistory.stembel.org).