Rev. Abraham Stauffer headstone

Rev. Abraham Stauffer headstone

Rev. Abraham Stauffer was born in Lancaster County, Pa in 1752, the son of Christian Stauffer, a native of Switzerland, who arrived in Philadelphia aboard the Muscliffe Galley in 1744. After his father's death in 1759, his mother remarried Martin Nissley of Mt. Joy Township, Lancaster Co., PA.

In 1772 Abraham married his step sister Anna, the daughter of Martin Nissley. They had nine children: Barbara, married Henry Smith; Christian, married Agnes Overholt; Martin, married Elizabeth Overholt; Abraham, married Elizabeth Meyers; John, married Catherine Loucks; Maria, married Abraham Overholt; Fannie, married John Tinstman; Anna, married John Sherrick; and Elizabeth, married Christian Overholt.

Abraham was ordained a minister in the Mennonite Church in Lancaster County. Thus he had the distinction of becoming the first Mennonite minister to cross the Alleghenies when in 1790 he settled on a 278-acre tract which encompasses what is now Everson. Later he purchased an additional 300 acres which encompassed all of what is now Kingview near Scottdale.

He was a farmer by occupation, but also built and operated a saw mill on his property. Before his death in 1826 he became a bishop, overseeing both the Pennsville and Stonerville (now Alverton) Mennonite congregations. He and Anna are buried in the Alte Menist Cemetery near Pennsville. Their original headstones were destroyed by vandals around 1970, but the Mennonite Church has since replaced them with a granite marker.

As Edward Yoder writes in The Mennonites of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania:

"The family and descendants of Abraham Stauffer were destined to play a leading and influential part both in the history of the Mennonite congregation of this place and in the industrial and cultural life of the community in general. He had nine children who grew to maturity and married. Unlike as was the case with many other of the pioneer Mennonite families, nearly all the Stauffer children remained in the locality where their father had settled, where they became prominent in business and community affairs. Many later descendants of this pioneer Mennonite preacher have been leaders in church, business, and industrial circles in this and surrounding communities."

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