Jacob Frederick Stahl (1819 - 1874)

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Birthplace: Oestelsheim, Germany
Death: Died in Union twp., Marshall, Indiana
Managed by: Judith "Judi" Elaine (McKee) Burns
Last Updated:

About Jacob Frederick Stahl

RECORD:

1. Jacob peter Stahl, Historian, Stahl Famil History, The (Dayton, Ohio, August 10, 1924; publisher not stated), Pg. 21-39.

"Jacob Frederick and Christiana (Gehrng) Stahl

 "And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him"  Genesis 2:18"
Jacob Frederick Stahl our own honored and esteemed Father, was born in Oestelsheim, Germany, on February 7th, 1819. A D. As noted befored, his father's occupation was that of hotel-keeper. With four other sons it did not seem imperative that they all should remain around home for the mere sake of attending to the routine duties which the family occupation entailed. Hence, after his school years, which terminated with the fourteenth year, he , like others young men was allowed to go out into the "Fremde" to pursue an apprenticeship.
In this particular, therefore, out Father only fulfilled a common requirement of the male youth of the land. The young men themselves dignified this period of apprenticeship as " Die Wanderschaft" or "Die Wonder-reise".

By this engagement of a few years among strangers a young man not only learned a trade by which he might secure for himself and possible future dependentrs - family - a livelihood, but he would also see the world, and by compasrison, would learn the advantages or disadvantages of the various communities of the country. Altogether, it was educational in its character and would lend itself to the broadening of the mind and for an expansion of the visuion of life and the developement of his patriotism.

The trade our father  took up was that of locksmith. This time of apprenticeship at length come to close (it was usually of three years' duration) he began to establish himself in his own right in the business and the bethought himself of the next important step "in course of human  events" namely, the selcetion of a suitable wife and help meet, who should share with him alike his prospertities and adversities, his sorrows and his joys. 

Courtship and Marriage

The romance of this part of his life has never been fully made known to us and so we are not in a position to comment liberally upon it; but it is presumable that iit was all "true to form" and it written up would compare favorably with the experiences of later generations of men and women in the gam eof "seek and find" for the helpmeets of life. Suffice it to say, his effort was rewarded in the desciovery and marriage of Christiana Gehring, last and to us, loveliest daughter of John George and Anna Margeretha Gehring, of Gechingen, State of Wuertemberg, Germany, upon the shoice of whom we arise in sincere congratualations. for his wisdom rare, for we proudly own and call her mother.

Christiana Gehring, was born in Gechingen, Wuerttemburg, Germany, on June the 26th, 1821. Youngest of the family of five children, she was also, the last to leave the parental home and then only, after both her parents had passed into their eternal rest.

The marriage of our parents occurred in the Church at Gechinghen, on the 25th day of August, in the year of 1844, A.D. and was solemnized in the presence of many kindred and friends at the hands of the pastor, The Rev. Heinrich Kilnger.

Following their marriage there was no extended "honeymoon" trip, but an immediate settling down to house-keeping in the home of her birth, where the young couple lived until after the death of the parents. In that home four of their seven children were born - a place of sacred memory to the surviviors of that "firstlings" group. - More a-mon.

The unwritten chapter in their lives 
A note: - Credit belongs ot the older "firstlings" of the family flock, especially to sister Regina and in part to brother Frederick, both having been born under the old roof in Gechingen, for some years the shelter of our family and the home of the Gehrings for several generations preceding. As the historian is not accomplished in short-hand and not even an expert in long-hhand, he is only summarized the salient facts as narrated to him. 
"When our parents were married, mother, being the youngest in her family and the last one to marry, had a desire to remain with the grand-pparents while they should continue to live." This she considered to be her duty to them while in their declining  days and in the shadow of their departure
It was in the earlier years of their married life that father felt am impluse to seek work in some more suitable locality than Gechingen. In due time he had established himself fairly well in his business, had built himself a shop, employing extra help to take care of the business, earned a little money and made a living. But as that industry did not promise the rapid expansion for which he had hoped, with the financial increase  a grwoing family demanded, he proposed to mother that they dispose of their belongings and emigrate to America, then (then) land of promise for all who felt the increase of burden of taxation - due, possibly, to the disturbed political condition of Europe, known in history as the "War of 1848". 

Mother's simple answer was "Not so long as my parents are living." After their death, however, the original question of emigrating to America once more pressed for consideration and the desire to see the "New World", was stronger than before. As a friend of the family has put it "Like Abraham of Ur, not knowing whither he went, that God might show him a land where he should play the drama of life and rear his children for him."

It was certainly a bold adventure, when it is remembered that in that far country there was not a friend or an acquaintance to meet or to greet them on their arrival .

"so one day", continues our marrator, "they loaded their goods in the wagon, and on the 2nd day of June, 1852, together with their little family of four children, they left their dear home and loved ones and by the direction of a loving heavenly father, pursued their way toward trhe home of their dream beyond the great Alantic oceona.

They stopped over night with father's family, consisiting at that time of three brothers, and two sisters, Henry, John, Karl, Louisa, and Sarah. This was in Oestelsheim, three miles distant from Gechingen. This journey took them through France, passing the cities of Heidelberg, up the Rhine to Strassburg, across country to Paris and at length to Havre, the place of embarking. Here they trook a Sail boat and began to span the mighty ocean.

 The entire voyage was without storm or danger. On one occasion there was not sufficient breeze or wind to move the ship at all, and that was for one whole week. The entire time on the waters was fifty-two days, when at length the reached the harbor of New York, then Castle Garden. It would have been wondrous strange had not their hearts been lifted up in prayer of thanksgiving to God for His safe conduct to the shores of this strange land, the land of their future home.
Lands of the Farther West 

After a few days in this great city (but there seems to be an uncertainty as to travel) they came into the City of Newark, New Jersey, where they remained about three weeks. Father finding no work here they sped their way by train to that great city, Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. But what, after all, is there in a name if a man with a damily of six can find no work for its sustenance and the small revenue yet remaining him goes ebbing away untill the "bottom dallr" begins to cry out for protetion in his snug little nest. Hence, three weeks residence here is quite long enough and they turn their faces toward Ohio, Ohio the Beautiful - the new land of hope and promise for weary nearts and wanering feet.

In due time they arrive in the "Smokey City" of Pittsburg to Greenville, Pennsylvania, where it was pointed out worl could probably be found.
But here an incidnet occurred which must not be pased by unheeded. On the way to the railroad station, Father carried Charles in his arms as mother carried the Baby Sophia; Fred and Regina walked. A gust of wind blew off Charley's hat and it went gently floating down the river.

Another incident, never-to-be-forgotten was this: after Father had secured the tickets and had handed them to Mother in the train, Mother suggested that Father should go out and get some bread for the children. He went. But as he was returning he was just in time to see the train pull out and he was left behind. The only thing to do, was to await the next train, which was twenty-four hours later, and so rejoined the family at Greenville. Aptly, better late than never.

At Greenville he was a trifle more fortunate in finding work which enabled him to provide food for the way. In other words, "He earned a living as he wnet." While here incidentlly, Father found a farmer who had "bought as piece of land" somewhere in Sandusky County, Ohio, and in a covered wagon was about to "go and see it." This Gentleman was gracious enough to invite Father to go with him, taking the family alkong, of course. This was an opportunity to be seized upon with gratitude.

This coverd wagon thus became, at once, the Passenger Coach, the Baggae Car, the Pullman, Diner and all in one. Regina wants it know that a peculiar interst in this wagon attaches wespecially to her, in as much as it was she, that fell from this wagon and broke her arm - an extra worry and concern for Mother. "A mother is a mother still, the holiest thing alive." - Coleridge.

After arriving in Flat Rock, Senca County, Ohio, Father went to Fremont, Sandusky County, Ohio, not far distant from Flat Rock. Here he met certain German people who had originally come from his own native community in Germany. Their name was "Schwartz". Talk about congeniality and delight!. - - In the fall of that same momentous year , - 1852 - Father learned of a small tract of land, 40 acres, for sale eight miles northwest of Fremonet, and bought it. This lay in the immediate vicinity of Hessville.

On this farm was a litlle old log house. It was here, on February 22, 1854 that the stork left a bright-eyed little baby girl to which was given the name Louisa Chirstiana. As fine a little Buckeye she, as ever grew from Family Tree, and much of that beauty remains with her until this day

But clearing this farm was a "job". Evidently some clearing had been done; and after Father worked at dat labor away from home, of evenings, Mother and he burned many large heaps of logs that had been piled up in order to  make more land available for cultivation. The fields were planted and wheat was put out. ANd so it was, that when Father had bought fourteen bushels of seed-wheat, from that fine  looking field of wheat, - and it was, indeed, a promising field, - he received an even fourteen bushels of harvest as the reward for all his labors, the Boll Weevil had taken the rest. That  was exasperating in the extreme. There was only one  thing to do, since crops failed, and that was too keep on with his day labor until her had earned enough to pay for  his seed-wheat. Meanwhile, the family rations were reduced to plain corn-bread; and never having had to eat that sort of food, it was very unpalatable with other "eats" to match. 
But in spite of the harships, the little old but in which the family was living gree to small and a more suitable house was needed. This father built. It had all of two rooms below, with a sort of upstairs. Here the family lived for a year or two. It was in the year 1855, when the Graeber family came across the Atlantic, that hey came into this new ouse with their large family and occupied much of the space. Mrs. Graeber was own sister to our Mother. This occupancy was for only three months, however.
Three years of living here with all the discouragements accompanying, seemed quite long enough. Father's physical constitution had been undermined by ths time and further continuance with such strenuous living would have been suicidal; so it was determined to "cast the lot" of the family elsewhere. In due time plans were completed for the emigration; but wait a moment

An incident must be told as it adds spice trot he occasion. It is given as we heard Mother relate it. So absorbed with work and routine were they that on a certain bright day while she was busy with her houshold duties, sweeping, and getting ready for Sunday (as they all supposed), and Father working in the field, a neighbor drove by with his whole family dressed in their best clothes. Shortly afterward another neighbor with his family, likewise dressed, drove up. Father stopped to inquire what it all meant. The astonishement! When informed it was the Sabbath day and they were going to church. It was not long until Mother knew it, and you may imagine the "hustle", ceasinng from the routine, getting things adjusted and soon ready, sitting up and in their right mind, clothed agreeable tothe occasion.

The route from Ohio to Indiana, for the farm was now disposed of, included stoppages at the city of SOuth Bend, and Plymouth, now but a propserous little village; thence, south on the Michigan Road to a point directly east of the community of "Germany", thence west about six miles to the Graebers who had preceeded them, to the point of destinationnn. Who of either family could ever forget the day of their reunion as families, so far away from the home of their nativity.

This long, tedious joruney was begun in the aearly month of March, and in consequence was attended with snow and ice and slush, althoether too disagreeable for a family of children in a "covered wagon". The trip was without strinking incident, except that brother Fred and sister Regina, being the oldest children, had to walk much of the way. Not infrequently, also, did they have to ask for the little bread for the "babies" and occasionally for themselves. One other thing: The spirit of hospitality along the way was so poor that they had to ask at several places even to get privilege to camp for the night. They were often pointed to taverns miles distant ahead, 'though darkness had alreadt set in. This so aroused Father, that he resolved never, should he ever have a home of his own, to turn aside the stranger from his door, a reslove he maintained to his dying day, as family and friends will verify. This he did without charge until Mother insisted that strangers ought at least pay the price of one meal. To this insistence he yielded; and we have known her on occasion to charge the enormous sum of 25 cents - Charity overdone.

While living on the "Polly" place, a little son was born.. He did not live. His little body lies mouldering in the "Leiters Ford" burying ground, awaiting the day of resurrection. Tho' never having seen each other here, 'tis hoped we'll meet ach other there and make our first acquaintance in the realm of the blest.

The New Location The last adventure, home -

this incident, the family, after a residence of about three years here, removed tot he place long known as the Doctor Durr place, - Doctor Gustavus Adolphus Durr. This must have been about the year 1858, A.D.

This place was in a state of wilderness, not an acres of land being under cultivation. It was covered with a mass of underbrush. According to the orginial contract made between Doctor Durr and Father. Father was to have all that could be raised in the first five years as the recompense for clearing the tract which consisted of about forty acres. It was not considered that it would take fewer than tthe five years to accomplish the task. But father, using a large beam plougth, such as were not infrequently ised in clearing tracts of the character of this one, and by hitching as many as five or more yoke of oxen to this plough, succeeded in clearing the whole tract in about three years. This under the contract gave him the yield of the full forty acres for two full years and, of course, the lesser yeild of the three earlier years. Altoghether, it was a fair contract and a splendid investment of time and engery. Not only did it bring a more comfortable living to the family, but there was enough left over to becime afund which, due time made it possible for Father to purchase a tract of land in another locality which later was to become the family home. So well pleased was the good Doctor Durr with the thrift and the prosperity of his tenant, the he persuaded him to continue on farming the place for a sixth year which was advantageous to both tenenat and onwer.

The place which Father purchased was in Union Township, Marshall County, of  the State of Indiana, only a distance of about four miles from the Doctor Durr place in Fulton County. 
This  place became the final place of residence for the family. It consisted of eighty acres and was about equally divided between unculitivated land and land cultivatatable. This was the familyhome! Here we lived and wrought and it was on this final spot that father died. That little spot - no matter whose possession it may now be or becime in the future - will seem to most of us a dear and sacred place> Memories will ever arise and take us back to that old house as the preparatory place for the eventualities of life and as the arean upon which were fought out many of the hard problems that come to every youth who has a purpose and hopes for its accomplishment. God Blees that home. 
But harken further to the story that surrounds that building pof that home. The ouse was builded in the year 1863, A.D. It was in the month of October of that year that the family began to occupy it. Oh, what a change fromthe log house on the river bank to a frame house and all our own! No rent to pay. WHo wille ver be able to make a proper estimate of the hjoy that came into the life of Father and Mother and children who for full ten years had been like wanderers, without a spot they might call home!. 
But listen yet once again: To owna  tract of land, and even to build a house upon it, is not all that enters into the conception of the life of a home. So fas as the material side of this home was concerned there were further clearings to be nmade, but clearings in this instance could not be accomplished with big beam-ploughs, with evere so many yokes of oxen. It required the heaviy digging with the mattock. It took steady and persistent grubbling to open the fields that sghould now produce the crops that would feed the stocvk and the family and pay the taxes, and meet the payments on the ubpaid debt for the farm. Life was not all  sentiment. Life was real and life was earnest. Father and Mother and all the children, even the little ones, laid hands to the tasks and so made the burden lighter. It meant hard work and no one needed to fear he did not get his share of it. It meant work by night ofttimes as well as by day. We live in fancy over again those days of toil. 

Oh! had we but a kodak view of those leaping flames that ascended toward the starry sky from burning heaps of brush - heaps which the children gathered and Father kindled after the close of this weary day with other duties done! The scene would rival the beauty of the ascending rocket of a modern Fourth of July. Oh! had we but a record of those crackling sounds of the bruning crushes, they would compare will with the music of a modern Victrola seasoned with labor's sweet hope. Here was labor, here was life, and here was love which bound the family group into one, and all or the love of home.

But after all, what means such toil and care? 'Tweere illy spent if 'twere but for the material house that perishes. 'Twere folly and yet more, were there not other buildings builded even such as make the character structures that immortal are, and must eternal stand.

This earthly house was not to be our Father's house for long. From the year 1863, when the house was builded until 1874, when his earthly life was ended, was but a span. A zephyr's sigh and it was gone.


A Pleasing Memory, A Tribute Due

Father Stahl, as he was familiarly known, was in spirit and in truth a Christain. He had his faults and acknowledged them; others have theirs, may they confess as much. Despite those faults which his friends would not attempt to deny, his life radiated hat atmospehere which is always inspiring and uplifiting toothers.

In the home the family altar was never suffered to decay. From our earliest years we remember that Morning devotion which consisted in the reading of a protion of Scripture, the family siinging a stanza, a prayer by either Father or Mother, (occasionally alternated by a pryaer by another member of the household) and another stanza with which this service closed. On Staurday night, usually the semon for the day was read aloud by either Father or Mother and other matters were attended to, so as to lessen the amount of labor for the Sabbath morning. 
In matters Churchlyand we speak only as we were impressed by the momeory of his life - spiritual. His habit was much in meditation, escpecially uppon the Word of Scripture which as Prayer meeting leader he desired to use upon the following Sabbath when there was no pereaching service in the Church. His intersts, indeed were in the things that were promotive of the life of the Church and the Kingdom of God.
A lay preacher, for he conducted the Church prayer meeting for many years without interruption or interim. These meetings, shay we say, Apostle-like, were held "from house to house" among the families of the Church to which the family all belonged. At Several funerals which Father and Mother attended, the Pastor being absent, he was importuned by the friends to conduct the service which he did with acceptance and to the comfort of the bereaved.

Though our parents in their native country were reared in the Lutheran faith, when the family located in this locality, finding no Lutheran church they united with the Reformed Church, which in that earlier day was but a Mission point. More definitley said, this, was during the period of their life when the family lived on the Dr. Durr place in Fulton county. These services were usually held in what was commonly known as the "Kaley Schoolhouse", located only a few paces fromt her spot where, on August 14, 1921, we met in our first annual reunion,. To those services war your humble servant - the historian, on numerous occasions carried on the arms and shoulders of his parents. The distance was bout four miles. But love and the joy of worship were the motive; and where these are basic, "distance lends enchantment to the view". Others came to these services in similiar mood and fasion. Some came on foot, some on horse-back, some with ox-cart and others on their log wgons with seat-broards laid across the wagon-bed. None came in top-carriages or even rubber-tired buggies. Certainly none came in automotive machines to say nothing of the intrusive aeroplane, the undoubted vechile of the future.

Such was the atmosphere in which our forebeares moved - the men and the women, the fathers and the mothers, who we  delight to honor and to bless. And such a memory is handed down to this second and thrid and even fourth generation and the children who will follow after them. Asscoiated with our parents were the Romigs, the Wolframs, the Adlers, the Ditmyers, the Morlocks, and especially do we mention the "Uncle JOhn and ROsina Zechiel. Their tasks and sacrifices were equal and likewise their joy. 
The School House Church and the Churches 

Worship was conducted in the Community School House district Number eight, which the writer is pleased to disgnate as the Shcool House Church

This arrangement continued for a number of years and was opne to all denominations down to the year 1872. It was in that years that the ZIon's Reformed Church building was erected on its present site. It was in that same year that the Emmanuel Church, of the Evangelical Assocoiation, was erected about one and one-half miles to the East of this location. After this the use of the schoolhouse as a place of worship ceased. 

Thus, the old school house, with its crude and meager accommodations had served its sacred purpose and borne its fruit. May we say and say it reverntly, it was out of this Christain atmospere and from the families who composed this community, that as many as tiem ministers of the gospel have gone forth; also one home missionary and three foreign missionaries, as well as a fgroup of other young men and young women who have held high rank as teachers in our public schools and are leaders in public affairs and other professional and industral enterprises, of which any community may be justly proud.

It was in the erection of the Zion church, that Father Stahl manifiested his most earnest endeavor. Well does your writer remember the remark he  made - not once nor twice - "I want a chruch where my children can worship when I am gone. It does not matter much for us older ones, for we may not need a church for long; but let us have a place which will serve our children when we are gone." 
At length the church was builded asnd dedicated to the worship of God. But is was not to be his worshipping place for long. On a certain Wednesday, the 14th of January of the year 1874. while father was on a trip to the city of Plymouth, a cold and bitter day, he took severe cold. Thgis condition was stubborn and refused to become better though home care and treatment; on the contary it speedily develpoed into a case of Typhoid Pneumonia which baffled the skill of the family physician Doctor G. A. Durr, who at once  pronounced the case ver aggravating and in another day or wo, "hopeless of recovery".

The family and friends oo cam to inquire at his beside and were given scant hope of any physical improvement. His own comment between spells of pain, as it were, were to the effect that, our life is as uncertain as the life of a bird on the twig. His plans were now entirely of the future. The hymns of the church and various familiar passgages of the book, engaged his thoughts and none needed to doubt the sincerity of his faith and the hope of his expiring spirit. Friends who came were welcomed, all with a word of greeting and farewel.

'Twas sadly true - At length the sands of life for him had fully run. Thehands of time had marked the hour of setting sun. The measure of his days, howe're will be not hours nor moons. But deeds of love his hands have wrought, For church and home

On Saturday night January 24, 1874, as struck the hour of ten, the heavenly messenger knocked at the door of his heart. There was a sillent turning on its hinges, and presently, the silver cord was loosed and the golden bowl was broken, and his spiirit made its flight to dwell in the presnece of the infinite. His mortal clay alone remained for gentle hands to lay away into the bosom of mother earht

Friends who had come to render aid and to inquire into his comforts, wnet hence to sorrow. His lifeless form but reminded them, that "Man has no abiding city here." 

Sunday morning came with as bright a sunshine as ever gleamed uipon a bleak and wintry world. His human eyes were dull and his tongue was silent; but in yonder world so hope, agreeable to his faith declares, he looked upon the face of Jesus Christ, and his spirit joined in the hymn of praise which only the Redeemed of the Lord can sin.

So mote it be! 
The Reverened Peter J. Spangler, pastor of the Church at that time conducted the funeral services. This event occurred on Tuesday monrning the 28th day of January. The whole monring was dreary with rain. Nevertheless, friends came from the community and the surrounding towns and made a very large attendance. It so happened that a Mister Bowman, a former neighbor in Ohio, visiting at this time in the neighborhood was present, an incidnet at once a surprise and a delight to Mother and the family.

Brother Spangler, the pastor, was at his best in the deliverence of his message of comfort to the bereaved family and the firends assembled. His remarks were based upon those well chosen words from Revelations 14:13 "And their works do follow them".

Many reminiscent things might be said of Father Stahl; but the things in his life that counted for most were not isolated facts and words, but the life itself, with is silent influences which had become wrought into the lives of the people, aged and young, to whom his life had become a blessing and a benediciton. Many of the youn people familiarly and affectionately spole of him and to him as "Father Stahl." 
Thus concluded the earthly life of one whom his neighbors apprized for his sterling worth; one whom his children loved, honored and blessed, not with garlands of flowers, for that was not the custon of the times, but in emulating his virtues and lving his ideals over again in thier own lives, a blessed immortality. 

In unison thy sons and daughters sing - Farewell, thou child of the infinite. Farewell, thou servant of the most high God; Form all thy labors rest thee. Farewell, thou toiler in the cause of truth. Thy night of death, indeed, hjas come, And cast a paa o'er thee and thine And all thy host of friends - In Fellowship they'll miss thee. But angels o'er thy bed of turf shall vigil keep. And wake thee in the morning from thy peaceful sleep - The monring of eternal day."

2. Jacob peter Stahl, Historian, Stahl Famil History, The (Dayton, Ohio, August 10, 1924; publisher not stated), pg. 51.

"Children of Jacob Frederick and his wife Christina Stahl.

  • I Lewis Frederick born April 28, 1845 Gechingen, Germany;
  • II Regina Barbara born May 24, 1846 Gechingen, German;
  • III Charles Henry born July 1849 Gechingen, Germany;
  • IV SOphia Margeretha born March 4, 1852 Gechingen Germany;
  • V Louisa Christina born February 22, 1854 Sandusky county Ohio;
  • VI Infan t still born May 21 1857 Fulton county Indiana;
  • VII Jacob Peter born June 22, 1859 Fulton county, Indiana.

"And the spirity of God moved upon the face of the waters" Gen. 1:2

As God the spirit on the wasters moved, begetting life. So god ordained the human race should come by man and wife. 'Tis thus we meeet today, that we might duly recogniize. The part ye played, obedient to the will of paradise. In filial pride, the path ye trod in 'cordance with his plan, In brief review qwe take, beginning where your life began. Hence, unto this pursuit, O muse, inspire our pen with truth. That in their lives may stimulus be found, for rising youth. - Historian."

view all 11

Jacob Frederick Stahl's Timeline

1819
February 7, 1819
Oestelsheim, Germany
1849
July 5, 1849
Age 30
Gechingen, Germany
1854
February 22, 1854
Age 35
Sandusky, Ohio
1857
May 21, 1857
Age 38
Fulton, Indiaina
1874
January 23, 1874
Age 54
Union twp., Marshall, Indiana
January 28, 1874
Age 54
????
Gechingen, Wuertemberg Germany
????
????
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