I am a fifth generation descendant of the original Stuever who came into the country sometime after 1824. The following are notes received from Mayme Piper who was the oldest sibling of Joseph and Mina Renschen Stuever.
"Stuevers came from Hanover Germany. Brought family to America around 1830. Lived in Pennsylvania a short time and then came by boat landing on the east bank of the Mississippi River near St. Louis on the Illinois side.
He felled trees to make a trail settling 35 miles east of the Mississippi near the small town of Hanover. The name of this town was changed to Germantown during World War I. Their farm was a few miles west of Hanover and was mostly timber. He cut trees to build homes and barns and farmed the rich fertile soil.
During a brushfire, the father took his two sons Charles (or Karl) and Ben to get the horses and told the mother to bring the little girls to safety. The mother and daughters never reached the safety in the clearing and perished in the fire.
The distraught father took his two sons to the Catholic priest at St. Francis parish in Aviston Ill. and asked him to find homes for them. They were originally Lutherans but since there were no Lutheran churches in the area the two boys were raised in Catholic farm families in the Aviston Ill. area. The first name of the father is not known nor where he went after the fire. One story is that he became a mountain man and helped settle the west.
Charles (or Karl) 1824-1889 married Elizabeth "Liza" Meier 1836-1924 and settled on a farm two miles east and south of Aviston, Ill. (Carlyle County) and kept the farm in the family for 65 years. Their six children were:
Anna Stuever Rempe - one son Joe
Mary Stuever Niemeier - two sons and two daughters
Frank Stuever married Mary Rhodes (Frank was a deaf mute) - two sons
Joseph Stuever married Mina Renschen - five sons and five daughters
Charley Stuever married Mary Klocke - five sons; Married Anna Baalman - one son and two daughters
John Stuever married Emma Oliges - three sons and three daughters
Ben 1838-1890 married Elizabeth Kruep in Aviston Ill. and their children were:
Henry (Shoe store in Breese Ill.)
Charles (Concrete contractor in St. Louis)
Mathilda (Tille) Schoenfeld
John 1878-1974 moved to California and dropped U from last name."
This one page note was the starting point of my search for information on the Stuevers in America. You will see from reading my history on the original Stuevers, that some of these notes may not be accurate. The story of the wife perishing in the fire or when the two surviving boys were left at the parish in Aviston. I was also able to find the names of the original Stuevers from the death records of their sons and daughter. I think I also found the name of the girl who died in the prairie fire. The facts that I found are written in the next chapter on the original Stuevers.
Here is another family history that came from Mayme Piper in May of 1952.
"A widowed Mother, 2 sons (Karl and Ben) and daughter, name unknown came from Hanover Germany during 1840's. (guessing at possible time) or there abouts. Landed in Pennsylvania. From there came by boat and landed at St. Louis on the Illinois side.
A group of settlers set out together, felled trees to make a trail through the swamp country, settled 35 miles east of St. Louis in Clinton county in the diocese of Belleville."
I did not pursue this version of the history of the family, as I know that Ben was born in Illinois in 1838 and my great grandfather Karl was in the state by 1836. Therefore, she couldn't have been pregnant with Ben at the time she came into the country. From the two boys and girl's death records I know they had the same father.
Verification of the family history was started by me in 1989. In August of that year, my two brothers and I drove to Aviston and did some searching of our own by visiting the courthouse, the cemeteries, the churches and talking with people in the area. One of these individuals was my Dad's first cousin Fred Stuever in Breese, Ill. Another was Hilda Buergmann who was, at the time trying to get Germantown parish records in some kind of order. Both of them were most helpful.
In addition, I have written to and received information from the various parishes in the area but my history is by no means complete. A great deal of the early information comes from notes left to our family by Mayme Piper who was my Dad's first cousin. Additional information was given to me by my Aunt Gertrude and my second cousin Helen Hoddy.
I have written this giving each generation of Stuevers a chapter through my generation. It will be up to future generations to add their individual chapters. I hope that you find this history interesting and not too confusing. As of June 2010, I have over 1500 individuals entered into my family history.
Joseph Stuever -
Maria A. Kirckhuff - 1895 - Sept. 23, 1782
Charles (Karl) Joseph Stuever - Mar 19, 1824 - Nov 6, 1889
John Bernard (Ben) Stuever - Jul 4, 1838 - May 6, 1890
Anna Margaret Stuever - 1842 - Jan 29, 1879
Anna Maria Stuever - ? - Mar 2, 1847
According to Mayme Piper's notes, the family came to America around 1830, first settling in Pennsylvania before coming on into Illinois. From all my researching, I have not determined when they came into the country. I do know that it had to be between 1824 and 1836. Their oldest son Charles Joseph was born in Germany in 1824 so it had to be after that. From his death certificate of 1889, it states that he was a resident of the state for 53 years so he came into the state in 1836. My best guess would be 1833-1835. This is assuming the family spent some time in Pennsylvania. I did not find the family in the federal census of 1840. I did find three families of Stevens in that census, but the ages did not line up so I do not think these are the Stuever family.
The first big problem I ran into in searching the family tree was the many different ways our name was spelled. I have found the name spelled Stuever, Stuerver, Steuver, Stever, Stuver, Steiner, Stieve, Stuber, Stueber, Stiver, Stuewen and Stuwen. Even the parish records I received from Aviston only five were spelled correctly from the fifty that I received from them. The federal census records were equally as bad. I talking with people in this kind of work this is pretty much par for the course. Ages are also very unreliable. The old microfilm records are extremely hard to read because of the handwriting.
In all my searching for the family coming into the country, I did find a family coming on the ship Clementine in 1835 to the port of Baltimore, Maryland. This ship came from the port of Bremen in Germany where we think our ancestors would have embarked from. The last name of the family was Stuver but the first name was listed as Jobst H. He came with two women and three children. On another web site, I found the same family. He was shown married to a Maria Kirchhofs and they had four children. Except for this record, I've been able to find only the one son, my great grandfather, who came into the country with his mother and father.
Nowhere in Mayme Piper's notes does it give a first name of these original Stuevers except for the two sons, Charles and Ben. From the death certificates of both of these sons, I was able to get their parents names. They are Joseph Charles Stuever and Maria A. Kirckhuff. Some years later while researching another woman who died Jan 29, 1879, I found that she had the same parents. (Therefore, instead of the two sons, there was also a daughter, and very possibly the mother who survived the prairie fire.)
I have not been able to determine just what this original Stuever did for a living but will have to go with Mayme's note that he cut trees to build homes and barns and farmed the soil. The country around the area is very good farm ground as my brothers and I discovered in 1989 when we made our first trip there.
The next thing Mayme mentions is the prairie fire in which the mother and daughter or daughters perished. I know that there was a prairie fire from two different sources. The first source is from the Germantown centennial book.
"Carl Stuever, grandfather of Joseph Stuever of Aviston, put up a cabin on the prairie west of Germantown and moved there with his family. One day the prairie caught fire and a child of his was burned in the flight to a neighboring farm."
From this account, the first Stuever's name was Carl but I know his name was Joseph Charles from the death records of his children. The Joseph is probably Mayme's dad. It is possible the grandfather went by the nickname of Carl, as his middle name was Charles. It appears that Carl or Karl was used as a nickname for Charles. My great grandfather, Charles Joseph went by the nickname of Carl or Karl.
This information was sent to me by Hilda Bueggermann who was in the process of updating all the Germantown parish records at that time. Mrs. Bueggermann says the book was written by a Father Bartile in 1870 or 1880 when he was pastor at Germantown. My guess is the fire happened around 1843-1847. I am sure the prairie fire in the centennial book is the same as the one in the family history.
This same information was in a copy of an early German publication called "Amerika". Neither mentions anything about the mother dying in the fire. This I found very strange since it was common for children to die young back in those days. Why would they make up such a story about the mother dying in the prairie fire along with the child if she did not? Maybe she lost her mind because of the fire or maybe she became an invalid. I do not think she perished in the fire. The first reason was that it was not mentioned in the two published accounts of the fire. My second reason is that I think I found her in the federal censuses of 1850, 1860 and 1870.
In the census of 1850, I found a family with the correct individuals, the ages where off some but the last name was Kever. This was after the fire so there would have been only the mother and the children. I looked at the original document and the K could be a St. Family notes say that the father took the two surviving boys to the Catholic priest at St. Francis in Aviston and asked him to find homes for them. The parish in Aviston was not established until 1864 so I know that this part of the family history cannot be correct. The youngest son would have been 40 years old in 1864. At that time the Stuevers were Lutheran and since there were no Lutheran churches around Germantown, perhaps he did try and find a home for them among the Catholics. I believe that he left the family, maybe to find a better home for them and never made it back. It is entirely possible that he deserted the family. This we may never know. This may or may not be our Stuever family in the 1850 census.
In the 1860 census there is a 53-year-old Anne living with Charles Joseph's family. By this time he had married. Also listed on the form are his wife and children. I found her in the 1870 census. On it, she is listed as a 66-year-old Mary living with the family. Both of these are the correct age to be the woman killed in the prairie fire and both were born in Germany. Her real name was Maria A so maybe she went by the name of Mary and Anne. I think these are the same person. I think she is the mother of our great-grandfather, who survived the prairie fire that killed her daughter.
In the 1880 census there is no mention of this woman living with the Charles Joseph Stuever family. This would mean that she died or moved. In the Aviston parish records I found that a M. E. Stuever had died on 9-23-1872. She was 67 years old and born in 1805. This makes her the correct age for the original Stuever. Her father's name was H. Joseph Kirchlof, so her maiden name was Kirchlof. This is very close to the maiden name, Kirckhuff, which I have for the original Stuever. If this were the original Stuever then she would have been nineteen year old when my great grandfather, Charles Joseph, was born. I was not able to check the death record on her at the courthouse, as they did not start keeping those records until 1875. This was three years after she died so I had to rely on the parish records. For the above reasons, I believe the mother survived the prairie fire and lived with her son until she died in 1872.
What happened to the father, the original Stuever? At this point only God really knows as I have found nothing in the records for him. In July of 2010 I did find on another family tree were he died at Aviston in 1872 but I have not been able to confirm this. The Jobst H. Stuver who came into the country on the ship Clementine in 1835 eventually went back to Germany. He is buried in Germany. This may or may not be the Stuever family. I would have discounted this individual as being a Stuever except for the fact that he was married to a Maria Kirchhofs and they had four children. At this point, I'm am really puzzled about this being the original Stuevers mainly because I don't know what happened to the other three children when they came over to this country. Maybe they died in infancy. Family records and censuses mention only the mother, father and son coming from Germany. If this Jobst H. is the original Stuever, he returned to Germany and left the family in Clinton County, Illinois.
I found some more information on some more Stuevers in July of 2010. Germantown just recently had their old cemetery records posted on the web. These would have been burials from 1835 to 1852. In those records, I believe I found the little girls who died in the prairie fire. She is listed as Anna Maria Stuwen and her parents were Joseph Stuewen and A. Maria Kirchhof. She was buried on March 2, 1847. Just a week before on Feb 19, 1847 a Joseph Stuver was buried. He is listed as a widower and it did not give a birth date. I do not believe this to be the original Stuever. From another family tree site, I did find the name of the original Joseph Charles Stuever whose father's name was also Joseph. I have not been able to check this. Perhaps when the family first came over and stopped in Pennsylvania, they brought a family member, father, with them to Illinois. From the Internet, I did find many Stuver and Stuber families living in Pennsylvania in the early 1700's.
The Catholic faith did not come into the Stuever family until my great grandfather married. This would have been some time in the mid 1850. These individuals would have been Lutheran and since this was the only cemetery around, maybe it is not so unusual that they would have been buried there.
In Nov of 2000 when I was checking some other information with the parish in Aviston, I inquired into a family by the name of Blaze. I wanted to see if they had a funeral record for her. I wanted to see who her parents might be. This is how I found the name of the little girl who survived the prairie fire. My Dad's first cousin, Ed Stuever who was a son of Frank and Mary Stuever, was familiar with the Blaze name when he was living with our great grandmother on the farm in the 1920's. They would have been his dad's first cousins.
This summarizes all the information I have on these original Stuevers. New things are popping up every day and with the Internet, it is worldwide. It is now July 22, 2010 and it was just last week that I finally found the name of the little girl who died in the prairie fire and the information about the Joseph Stuver buried in the old Germantown cemetery.
I do have some information on the two sons and daughter of the original Stuever. In the following histories, I pretty much stayed on our branch of the family tree, the son Charles Joseph. I did met one of John Bernard's descendants in 1985 when she came to Andale to attend a wedding of her friend's son from St. Louis. She would be my third cousin and we keep in contact. Of the girl, Anna Margaret Stuever Blaze, I have just the immediate family.
The following is a listing of the children of Joseph Charles Stuever and Maria A. Kirckhuff:
Charles Joseph Stuever - Mar 10, 1824 - Nov. 6, 1889
Married (date unknown)
Elizabeth Meier (Meyer) - Dec 6, 1836 - Aug 21, 1924
Mary Stuever - Mar 18, 1856 - Jul 22, 1939
Anna Stuever - Jan 21, 1857 - Jun 25, 1880
John Conrad Stuever - Jun 3, 1860 - Apr 30, 1862
Henry Gerhard Stuever - Apr 14, 1862 - Oct 11, 1867
Maria Elizabeth Stuever - Dec 9, 1864 - Dec 27, 1864
Theodore A. Stuever - Feb 23, 1866- Feb 24, 1866
Frank Conrad Stuever - Aug 18, 1867 - May 18, 1940
Joseph Francis Stuever - Feb 28, 1870- Mar 7, 1940
Charles Anthony Stuever - Aug 31, 1872 - Mar 25, 1951
John Welhelm Stuever - Jun 21, 1875 - Nov 30, 1947
Wiulhelmina Anna Stuever - Jun 7, 1879 - Sep 30, 1883
Mariam Elizabeth Stuever - Jan 7, 1882 - Jan 14, 1882
John Bernard (Ben) Stuever - Jul 4, 1838 - May 6, 1890
Married - Jan 21, 1862
Catherine Elizabeth Kruep - Apr 1, 1844 - Jul 20, 1896
Bernard H. Stuever - Nov 10, 1862 - Apr 17, 1945
Anna Mariam Stuever - 1865 - Feb 13, 1870
Katie Stuever - Mar 23, 1867 -
Anna Maria Elizabeth Stuever - Nov 5, 1869 - Mar 5, 1940
Henry Stuever - Jan 23, 1872 - Aug 26, 1927
Charles Joseph Stuever - Apr 13, 1874 - Feb 19, 1957
Matilda Stuever - Aug 27, 1877 - Sep 7, 1925
John (Jack) Stuever 1878 - 1974
Anna Margaret Stuever - 1842 - Jan 29, 1879
Married - Nov 23, 1863
Francis Blaze (Blase) listed both ways in parish records 1835 - Jan 3, 1880
Maria Blaze - Aug 22, 1864 - Aug 22, 1864
Maria Elizabeth Blaze - Apr 20, 1866 -
Anna Elizabeth Blaze - Apr 28, 1868
Catherine Elizabeth Blaze - Jun 11, 1870 -
Carl Joseph Blaze - Nov 26, 1873 -
Francis Henry Blaze - Oct 22, 1876 -
Joanes Henric Blaze - Jan 24, 1879 - Jan 25, 1879
The mother died four days later from complications in childbirth.
Submitted by: Max A. Stuever
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