Our Patriots    . . . biographical sketches

Jacob Stifler

  The Allemani were an ancient Germanic tribe that lived during the 4th Century A.D., primarily in the region of present-day Switzerland and southwestern Germany. A family descended from the Allemani near the present-day town of Tubingen, Germany; their name was ‘von Stöffler’. The von Stöfflers were barons under the Palatinate Duke of Tubingen. The family name apparently is derived from the Old German root for ‘towering craig’; the ancestral lands, complete with castle, were located in present-day Wurttemberg, a mountainous region.

  The von Stöffler family thrived from the 13th through the 16th Centuries. By the early 1700s, the family had lost its baronial status. When Jacob Stifler was born, about the year 1732, his family made a living as farmers.

  Although emigration records have not been found to provide the factual evidence of his journey, Jacob Stifler is believed to have emigrated from Germany about the year 1742. He is believed to have come to America with his older brother, Peter, and the two are believed to have initially taken up residence in New Jersey. Later they would both move westward into Pennsylvania, both finding their ways to Bedford County via Lancaster and York Counties.

  In 1762, while residing in Paradise Township, York County, Jacob Stifler married Anna Catarina Meyer. Born on 11 July 1740, Anna Catarina was a daughter of George Meyer and Eva Barbara Zerve. Between 1762 and 1782, Jacob and Anna Catarina gave birth to ten children.

  Jacob Stifler Sr., served as a private in 1778 in Captain Peter Zolinger’s Company, the 4th Company, 7th Battalion of the York County Militia. His name was also listed for the year 1780 on the roster of Captain William Heffner’s Company, the 3rd Company, raised in Paradise Township, York County, Pennsylvania.

  At the close of the American Revolutionary War, the Jacob Stifler family moved to Bedford County. Although not proven, family tradition states that Jacob built and operated a grist mill along the banks of the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River in the present-day Blair Township in Blair County, Pennsylvania. He purchased a tract of land at the foot of the Blue Knob Mountain in then-Frankstown Township, Bedford County. The Stifler farmstead was established near the farmsteads of Patriot, Jacob Schmitt Sr., and Heinrich Holtzel (a son of Patriot, Johann Tobias Holtzel). Perhaps because of their closeness, the Stiflers, Schmitts and Holtzels intermarried on a number of generations.

  Jacob Stifler Sr., died in November 1807. By that time, bis farm was located within the jurisdiction of Greenfield Township, Bedford County. Anna Catarina’s death date is not known for certain, but she is known to have been deceased prior to 1819.