Among the honored and wealthy pioneers of Union township, Elkhart County, Indiana is Christian Stahly, who resides one half mile north of Nappanee. His many years of hard labor have been rewarded with abundant means and he is now in the enjoyment of a comfortable income.
He was one of the four bothers and one sister, all of whom were born in Germany, sons of Henry and Barbara (Sumner) Stahly, the former of whom was also born in Germany in 1750, or about that time. He was a farmer by occupation and followed this calling up to the day of his death, which occurred in his native land in 1825. He was a man of means, a member of the Amish Church, and a man of strict integrity of character. He was married twice, his first wife bearing one child, Magdeline. The mother of the subject of this sketch was born in Wiseburg, Germany, in 1770, and dies in Indiana at the home of her son, having, after the death of the husband and father, cared for her five children and one stepchild. She left Kaiserslautern, Germany for this country in the month of August, 1835, landed at New York City, but removed soon after to Stark County, Ohio, where they remained during the winter, then took up their residence in Wayne County, of the same state. All of the members of this family: John, Catherine, Henry, and Jacob, were weavers and worked at this trade in Ohio; Christian was a farmer. John, the eldest son, came from Germany, about 1830, which was about five years before the rest of the family turned their footsteps thither.
The subject of this sketch was born in July, 1820, in Germany and in 1835 moved with his mother, three brothers, and one sister to America. On February 3, 1842, he was married to Fanny Hansuer in Wayne County, Ohio, and the same year moved to Elkhart County, Indiana. He entered eighty acres of land for himself, and a like amount for his brother Jacob, in Elkhart County, all of which was located on Section 31, and here he set energetically to work to improve his land and lay by means for a rainy day.
His wife was a daughter of Pete and Mariah (Keck) Hansuar, native Germans who came to this country in an early day (1817) and were among the pioneers of Wayne County, Ohio. There the father was called from life in 1857, but the mother paid the last debt of nature at the home of this sketch in Elkhart County, Indiana, in 1866, having become the mother of ten children, nine of whom are living: Moses, Peter, Jacob, Martin, Christian, Matty, Mary, Fany, and Anna.
Mrs. Stahly, was born in Ohio, August 27, 1822, and she and her husband, Christian Stahly, who is one of the oldest pioneers of his section are residing on the farm of 187 acres on which they first settles and which is one of the oldest farms in the township. Their children are as follows: Peter, born October 30, 1842; Barbara, born February 22, 1844; Jacob, born July 3,1845; and died June 3, 1867; John, born September 23, 1846; Anna M., born December 7, 1847, and died November 7, 1855; Moses born July 27, 1849; Magdeline, born November 10, 1851; Solomon, born July 17, 1853; Catherine, born November 16, 1854, and died April 20,1861; Levi, born February 3, 1856, and died April 20, 1861; and Samuel, born February 29, 1858.
When Mr. Stahly settled in this county it was a wilderness, and in a few years all the members of this family had arrived in Elkhart County, Indiana, where, like the thrifty Germans that they were, they set about securing means with which to keep the wolf from the door, and eventually became well-to-do citizens.
On his land, Christian Stahly built him a little log cabin, but while this was in progress of erection, had to live his wagon for a period of about three weeks. He came by ox team to this county and although the journey was slow and tedious and their future uncertain, they were hopeful for the future, for they were in the enjoyment of good health and possessed unbounded energy attributed which go far toward accomplishing a desired object.
During their first winter's residence some progress was made in clearing the land immediately about their cabin home, and the family was supplied with meat by Mr. Stahly's trusty rifle. During his early struggles with adversity's he worked out by the day for some time, and although this was a slow way of accumulating means, it was much better than remaining idle. In time his efforts were prospered. As a farmer he has been decidedly successful and is in every respect a self-made man, for he began with little means and is now in good circumstances.
He became the owner of a large amount of real estate, the most of which he has given to his children, reserving for himself only a sufficient amount to keep him in comfort the remainder of his days. Politically he supports the Republican Party and to every enterprise tending to benefit the section in which he resides he gives substantial aid. His son, Peter, married Elizabeth Smoker and is living near the farm near Stutgart, Ark. He has the following children: Barbara, Manasses, Jessie, Adam, and Fanny living, and Mattie and Chauncey deceased. Barbara was married to Daniel Metzler and has the following children: John, Jonas, Lizzie, Mary, David, Jessie, Fannie, Daniel, who died, and Anna. Daniel Metzler died in 1878. Barbara then married Johnas Stineman in 1885. Jacob Stahly died at the age of 21; John was married to Elizabeth John, is residing in La Grange County, Indiana, and is the father of nine children: Daniel, Samuel, Christian, John, Mary, Fannie, Elizabeth, Levi, and Catherine. Moses, the next child of Mr. Stahly, is living in Reno County Kan., is married to Mary Abraham, Bessie and Ezra. Magdeline married Yostel Yoder, lives in Kosciusko County on a farm and has eight children: Israel, Fannie, Christian, Levi, Elizabeth, Moses Rudolph, Mahala, living and Jonas and an infant deceased. Solomon married Minny Ward and has on child, Fern.
Henry the brother of Christian Stahly, came to this county in 1846, and settled on the land which Nappanee now stands, like his brother he was a substantial citizen and the name of Stahly will long be honored throughout Elkhart County. Peter H. Stahly is a prominent farmer living about one mile north of Nappanee, in Locke Township, Elkhart County, Indiana and is a son of one of the very old pioneers, Henry Stahly, who is still living on the old homestead just north of Nappanee.
Henry Stahly was born in Germany in 1809, and is the brother of Christian Stahly, a sketch of whom appears in this volume. He came to this county in early life, and after residing for some time in Ohio, became a resident of Elkhart County, Indiana in 1846. He was married in Germany to Magdaline (Ehresman) Johnson, a widow with one child, John, and with them came he came to this country, and settles first in Stark County, Ohio, afterward in Wayne County, and finally in Elkhart County, Indiana.
His first tract of land comprised of 80 acres north of Nappanee, but afterward became the owner of the land on which Nappanee now stands, and tilled that soil successfully for many years. He and his wife (who died in 1879) were the members of the Amish Mennonite Church, and in that faith reared their children, whose names are here given: Barbara, who married John Ringenburg, and is now deceased; Mary, who is now widow of T.J. Yoder, and is a resident of Indiana; Christian H., who is living east of Nappanee; Magdaline, who is now widow Andrew Bailey, is deceased; Henry H. lives east of Nappanee; Simon, who is also living north of Nappanee, and Daniel, who still makes his home with his father. Mr. And Mrs. Stahly also reared her son by her son by her first marriage, John Johnson.
Peter H. Stahly, the sixth child of Henry Stahly, was born November 24, 1847, in Elkhart County, and was reared on the farm on which the town of Nappanee now stands. He obtained his education in the district schools near his home, during the winter months, and like all farmers' boys assisted on the farm during the summer, after he had attained an age where his services should be valuable. At the age of 21 he started to do for himself, and for 3 years worked in the sawmill belonging to John King, and in 1873 began tilling the soil on rented land on Elkhart Prairie.
In 1875 he bought the farm where he now lives, and the following year took up his residence thereon, and this land he has tilled with success ever since. His farm consists of 120 acres, and most of it has been cleared through his own efforts. He has commodious and handsome residence, a good barn for his grain and stock, good granaries and out buildings of all descriptions. He does a general line of farming, and is quite extensively engaged in raising horses and cattle, which he has found to be a profitable source of revenue.
Like his father before him he is a member of the Amish Mennonite Church, and is also interested in church and school matters, as well as all other enterprises of an elevating and worthy nature. He is considered by all to be one of the most public-spirited of men, and is regarded as one of the first citizens of his section. He supports the principles of the Republican Party, but has not been an aspirant for public preferment. He was first married in 1872, to Catherine Yoder, who was born in Wayne County, Ohio, 1846, a daughter of Joseph Yoder and his wife Mariah (Farnwald) Yoder. She was reared in Ohio, and was one of a family of 10 children: Emanuel, born September 11, 1834; Joseph , born January 26, 1840; Henry, born September 15, 1844; Solomon, born December 11, 1851, died young; Joseph died in Tennessee during the war; Anna, born May 27, 1836; Barbara, born December 10, 1837; Mirah, born August 28, 1842; Catherine, born August 29, 1846; Fannie, born February 5, 1849, and Susan, born July 24, 1854. Mrs. Stahly was called from life June 16, 1877, having become the mother of 2 children: Frank, who was born august 18, 1873, and assists his father on the farm, and Ida, born February 15, 1875.
The mother of these children was a member a member of the Amish Mennonite Church most of her life, was an earnest Christian, a kind and careful mother a devoted wife and a faithful friend. In 1878, Mr. Stahly married Fannie, the sister of the first wife; her birth occurred in Wayne County, Ohio, February 5, 1849. Joseph and Mariah Yoder were from Pennsylvania, but of German descent, and after leaving their native state, they first settled in Ohio, and were married in Wayne County, where the father was called from life in 1886, and where his widow is still residing. Mr. Stahly's present wife is also a member of the church, and in that faith they will endeavor to rear their children.
Mr. Stahly at the present time has one of the finest farms in the county, if not in Northern Indiana, a result of earnest toil, persistent effort and sound judgment. Joseph Yoder and Mariah Farmwald were married in Ohio, November 5, 1833, the latter being a daughter of John and Anna (Wagler) Farmwald, both of whom were born in Germany, were married in the old country, and in 1818 came to America and became residents of Wayne County, moved to Iowa, when it was a new country, and there they spent the remainder of their days.