What's New

Photo of the Month

Minerd.com Blog


National Reunion


Cousin Voices

Honor Roll

In Lasting Memory

In the News

Our Mission and Values

Annual Review

Favorite Links

Contact Us


John Adam Sturtz Jr.


John Adam Sturtz Jr. was born on June 12, 1817 in Somerset County, PA, the son of John "Adam" and Maria "Catherine" (Gaumer) Sturtz Sr.

On June 1, 1838, at the age of 20, John Adam married Susanna Troutman (1820-1870), daughter of Jacob and Rebecca (Boyer) Troutman. The ceremony took place in Somerset County by the hand of justice of the peace Jacob Martz. John Adam's parents were witnesses as was Solomon Leidig. The groom's brother Solomon Sturtz was in Ohio at the time and did not attend. 

John Adam was a farmer, carpenter and flour miller for nearly 20 years in Southampton Township, Somerset County before becoming pioneer settlers of Iowa.

Their nine children were Solomon Sturtz, Michael Sturtz, Rebecca Ann Earnest, Sarah Catherine Hart, Adam Sturtz, Mary Ellen Pauley Cuffel, Jacob Sturtz, Charles W. Sturtz and Franklin M. "Frank" Sturtz. Susanna was assisted during several of these births by a relative, Louise Troutman. John Adam kept a family Bible in which he noted the birthdates of his children. 

In 1850, United States Census records show the family living on a farm in Southampton Township, with John's aged parents residing under their roof. 

Later, in about 1857, when John Adam was age 40, he and Susanna as well as John Adam's brother Solomon -- who had been in Ohio -- migrated to Butler County, Iowa. Susanna's sister Louise Troutman remained behind. They traveled with two good teams of horses and wagons. He later said: "I moved from Penn. by team and had nothing but what we needed on the road."

In Iowa, John Adam bought a 160-acre tract, with an accompanying mortgage of $200. Paying $350, they built an ordinary frame house, with John Adam doing most of the work himself. Their farm shared a corner with Solomon's farm, and their houses were about a half mile apart. For his initial purchase, John Adam paid $6.50 per acre. He called it "wild land" before cultivation. Circa 1863, 80 of the acres were cultivated and 80 were "unbroke and unfenced."

Tragically, their two eldest sons joined the Union Army during the Civil War, and both contracted deadly illnesses which claimed their lives.


Surgeon's sketch of John Adam's distorted spine and
National Archives.

In 1863, they purchased a farm of 160 acres, which they kept for five years until 1868. They owned 10 acres of timber property. They had perhaps four horses, cattle and some hogs. Family friend J.V. Boggs occasionally helped with threshing, and nephew Benjamin Sturtz once called it "good land." But in about 1860, John Adam began to suffer from dyspepsia (indigestion), rheumatism and eventually from curvature of the spine. He also spent a lot of money on liquor and frequently chewed tobacco. As such, he physically was unable to work his land, nor to rent it to others, and depended largely on income generated by his sons. With wheat prices depressed, his fortunes sunk rapidly.

Family friend E. Leydig wrote the following observation: 

Michael Sturtz was his father's main stay upon the farm, that after said Michael had enlisted his father was unable to take care of the farm work as he should have done, especially through sickness, which prevented him a good share of the time from doing any manual laborer, and also being unable to pay for hired help, having also a family of small children to support, all these causes combined forced him a few years after the mortgage his farm, which he eventually lost.


To make ends meet after their sons' deaths, John Adam borrowed $400 from Jonathan Butler during the years 1863-1865; owed James Hazlett $325 for groceries, dry goods and provisions; and took out a $400 mortgage from a Mr. Wilder. All of the daughters were expected to work in the fields. In 1865, he and his son in law John Earnest bought a threshing machine. On the day that they made the purchase, John Adam was drinking, and Earnest took the bottle away, saying "That must stop." John Adam actively worked in the threshing business, but the venture apparently did not produce the desired financial results. By 1868, John Adam had taken on even more land, with his holdings now expanded to 320 acres, on which he owed $1,000. The drinking apparently did not end, and sometimes it was to excess.


Susan never recovered from the deaths of her sons, and she and her husband "both broke down under the loss." Mice got into the box where they had stored their sons' letters and chewed them to pieces. She passed away in Coldwater Township, Butler County on Aug. 22, 1870. Local men Henry Ilgenfritz and William Morrison built her coffin. Jacob Sturtz is known to have attended her funeral. The medical bills over the four or five months of her illness mounted.

Burdened under such heavy debt, he hired expensive laborers to assist with the farm in his sons' absence, but in about 1871 "eventually lost everything he had," said his brother Solomon Sturtz, "said loss being the direct consequence of said Michael Sturtz leaving the father and the homestead where his labor was so much needed...." He sold the land for $2,800, and moved away to Missouri. After staying there for five years, he returned to Greene, Butler County.

In 1878, John Adam filed a claim for a military pension, citing the hardship resulting from the multiple deaths of his sons. [Father App. #236.278 - Cert #288.086 (for Solomon) and App. #236.278 (for Michael)] The request was denied, When John Adam turned age 65, in 1882, a group of 29 citizens of Butler County signed a petition supporting his claim for a pension, saying he was "in destitute circumstances."

In May 1880, the 63-year-old John Adam was examined by a military surgeon in connection with the sons' pension. Dr. J.M. Ball observed that the patient had "general curvature of spine -- General debility, emaciation and great retraction of all the the tissues in the region of stomach.... Is the strongest marked case of the kind I have ever seen -- and is malignant and of corse incurable. Is a stranger to me but has the appearance of an honest unsophisticated old gentleman. For manual labor he is worthless. His disability is total."

John Adam married again, to the aunt of J.H. Pauley. Her precise identity is not known. He resided in the 1880s in Rockford, Floyd County, IA and by 1890 was in Cedar Rapids, making his home at 264 Seventh Avenue. In 1889, he filed a legal claim against the Bureau of Pensions in Washington, DC to force their hand. Again the application was rejected. John Adam's attorney appealed the ruling, calling it an "outrage." In the end, he was awarded $12 per month in pension payments.

His final fate is not yet known, but he died between April 4 and Aug. 18, 1897. 

He is named in a short reference in the 1912 book by John W. Jordan and James Hadden, entitled Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Vol. III.


Vicksburg National Cemetery
Courtesy Jeffry Burden

~ Son Solomon Sturtz ~

Son Solomon Sturtz (1838-1864) was born on Oct. 7, 1838 in Southampton Township. His presumed aunt Louise Troutman assisted as a midwife in the birth.

He grew up on his parents' farm in Southampton Township. Later, he relocated with his parents and siblings to Coldwater Township, Butler County, IA.

He never married.

When the Civil War broke out, Solomon and his brothers enlisted in the Union Army at Clarksville, IA on Aug. 20, 1862. They assigned to the 32nd Iowa Infantry. Solomon sent home a portion of his pay to help support his parents. In March and April of 1863, he and his brother Michael were detached from the regiment so they could help the 1st Missouri Artillery.

However, after returning to the regiment, he contracted chronic diarrhea in about May 1864. He was treated at Vicksburg, MS. Solomon was mentioned in a letter written from Vicksburg on June 4, 1864 from Jacob Leydig (also of the 32nd Iowa) to his cousin William Martin Lydig (of the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry, future husband of Winifred Agnes Shirer): "You was aquiring about our regment if you know us eny or not. I guies there was only thre that you knowed but one of them is dead. That Michael Sturtz & Solomon is sick in the hospittle at Vicksburg. Adam Sturtz he got wounded at the Battle of Pleasent Hill. The prour felloe in with hospitstal. He is [illegible] able to tell you wether he is at Memphis or at Vicksburg or down at New Orleans. Thoes are the only the boys you knows in our regiment." Elsa Bernice Haupt has provided a copy of this letter and transcript to the Somerset (PA) Historical Center with a copy also held in the Minerd.com Archives.

Unable to rally, he succumbed on June 6, 1864. His death is listed in the 1883 book History of Butler and Bremer Counties, Iowa (Springfield, IL: Union Publishing Company).

Solomon's remains were placed into rest in the Vicksburg National Cemetery. [Find-a-Grave]


~ Son Michael Sturtz ~


Little Rock National Cemetery
Courtesy DaveCHCIO

Son Michael Sturtz (1841-1863) was born on Sept. 27, 1841 in Somerset County. As with his older brother, his presumed aunt Louise Troutman assisted in the birth.

He did not marry.

Michael was considered stout and healthy and worked every day. At times he also assisted neighbors with farm work, including John M. Hart.

When the Civil War broke out, Michael and his brothers Adam and Solomon joined the Union Army at Camp Franklin, Dubuque, IA and were assigned to the 32nd Iowa Infantry, Company G. He immediately received one month's pay and a $25 bounty and sent home $30 or $35 in care of his friend William A. Keister.

In March and April of 1863, he and his brother Solomon were detached from the regiment so they could help the 1st Missouri Artillery. In June 1863, while at Cape Girardeau, MO, he had friend Keister carry home another $85 for benefit of the family.

On Oct. 16, 1863, having taken ill with remittent lung fever, Michael left the regiment and was sent to the Army general hospital at Little Rock, AR.

Michael was mentioned in a letter written from Vicksburg on June 4, 1864 from Jacob Leydig (also of the 32nd Iowa) to his cousin William Martin Lydig (of the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry, future husband of Winifred Agnes Shirer): "You was aquiring about our regment if you know us eny or not. I guies there was only thre that you knowed but one of them is dead. That Michael Sturtz & Solomon is sick in the hospittle at Vicksburg. Adam Sturtz he got wounded at the Battle of Pleasent Hill. The prour felloe in with hospitstal. He is [illegible] able to tell you wether he is at Memphis or at Vicksburg or down at New Orleans. Thoes are the only the boys you knows in our regiment." Elsa Bernice Haupt has provided a copy of this letter and transcript to the Somerset (PA) Historical Center with a copy also held in the Minerd.com Archives.

In Little Rock, he died on Nov. 3, 1863, at the age of 21. His friend Keister saw the body a few moments after death occurred.

His remains were placed into eternal repose in Little Rock National Cemetery, in Section 2, Grave 1204. Initial his name was spelled "Michl Sturtz" but in 1942 the stone was replaced with his correct name. [Find-a-Grave]

The book History of Butler and Bremer Counties, Iowa, states that "Of these [enlistments], Adam Solomon and Michael Sturtz, F.M. and Elias G. Miller, and William T. Hall never returned, finding graves in southern soil." (Springfield, IL: Union Publishing Company).


~ Daughter Rebecca (Sturtz) Earnest ~

Daughter Rebecca Sturtz (1844-1928) was born on Feb. 15, 1844 in Southampton Township, Somerset County. When she was age 13, she and her parents and siblings moved to Iowa, settling on a farm in Greene, Butler County.

In 1864, she married a neighbor, John Earnest (1843-1910?), or "Earnist," who had grown up about two miles from her house. They were farmers.

In 1865, John and his father in law bought a threshing machine. On the day that they made the purchase, the father in law was drinking, and John took the bottle away, saying "That must stop." They actively worked together in the threshing business, but the venture apparently did not produce the desired financial results. The Earnests continued to make their residence in Greene, Butler County, IA, as shown by the 1880 federal census.

Their four known children were Susan C. Earnest, Elizabeth Earnest, Samuel F. Earnest and John Henry Earnest, with three others dying young.


Main Street in Greene, Iowa, early 1900s


In 1880, Rebecca's 16-year-old brother Frank Sturtz lived under their roof and worked as a hired hand.

Sadly, John died in about 1910. Rebecca survived as a widow for another 18 years.

Rebecca survived him by 18 years. At the age of 87, on Christmas morning 1928, Rebecca passed away at home. An obituary in the Greene Recorder erroneously gave her father's name as "Sollie" (Solomon) and stated that her place of birth was "Johnston, Pa." probably a reference to the largest city near her birthplace, Johnstown, Cambria County, PA. Following funeral services held in the local Presbyterian Church, officiated by Rev. William J. Grossheim, interment was in Rose Hill Cemetery. A week later, on Jan. 2, 1929, "Aunt Jane" of the family published a clarification and eulogy in the Recorder:

She was a daughter of John and Susan Sturtz. She came here in the fifties with her parents. She bravely done her part: was obedient to her parents and faithful to her task, and in the war of the rebellion, when all the young and able bodied men were taken from their homes to wipe out that awful stain between the North and the south and left the old men and little boys to carry on the farm work, she was one of us girls that banded together to bind the wheat and oats and do the farm work, and keep the home fires burning until the boys came home.

Now she has folded her tired hands,

And closed her eyes in sleep,

And crossed the silent river,

Never more to weep.

She bravely bore her burdens,

And labored night and day,

To keep a home for her loved ones,

but now she has gone away.

But God in His infinite mercy,

Who doeth all things well,

Has called her from this world of care,

It is well, it is well.

Now farewell mother, sister and friend,

Silently take your rest.

'Till in heaven you awaken,

Among the pure and blessed.

Daughter Susan Catherine Earnest (1865-1903) was born on Nov. 25, 1865. She was joined in wedlock with William Morey (1863-1929). They were the parents of Earl Ellsworth Morey.

  • Grandson Earl Ellsworth Morey (1890-1946)

Daughter Elizabeth Earnest (1869-1946) was born in 1869. On Feb. 19, 1888, she was united in holy matrimony with John Skillen Sr. (March 9, 1860-1931), son of Gawn M. and Mary Jane (Livingston) Skillen of Genesee County, NY. As a boy of eight, John had migrated with his parents from New York to Independence (MO?) and stayed there for three years before moving again to Greene. Their seven children were John H. Skillen Jr., James G. Skillen, Cora B. Skillen, Ruth M. Skillen, Maggie M. Skillen, Martin R. Skillen and Ralph E. Skillen. John Sr. died on Feb. 16, 1931 at the age of 70. Rev. G.A. Hess of Charles City led the funeral services held at the Christian Church, followed by burial in Rose Hill Cemetery. An obituary was printed in the Greene Recorder. Elizabeth survived her spouse by 15 years. She joined him in death in 1946.

  • Grandson Ralph Skillen served in World War I and married Lillian Smith on July 5, 1924. They were the parents of Kathleen Skillen, Joan Skillen, Audrey Skillen, Harriet Skillen, Sandra Kay Skillen and Paulette Rae Skillen. The Skillens moved to Minneapolis in August 1941 and returned to Greene in 1945.

Son Samuel Franklin Earnest (1872-1934) was born on May 2, 1872 in Greene, Butler County. He married Ida Kennedy ( ? - ? ). One son was born to this union, Gerald Earnest. They resided in Rudd, IA in 1928, where he earned a living as a day laborer. In 1934, he was a mail delivery messenger. Suffering from acute heart failure, Samuel passed into eternity in Charles City, Floyd County, IA on Oct. 2, 1934. Interment was in Rudd Evergreen Cemetery.

Son John Henry Earnest (1877-1937) was born on Dec. 29, 1877. He never married and lived at home with his widowed mother for many years. In the 1930s, he was employed at the Fred Gable farm near Charles City, IA and dwelled on the premesis. He passed away on Oct. 3, 1937 at the age of 59. Funeral services were held in a local funeral home followed by burial in Rose Hill Cemetery, officiated by Rev. F.A. Munneke. An obituary in the Greene Recorder noted that "Death was due to pleurisy which developed into pneumonia. He was ill only four days having taken ill the Tuesday preceding his death. He is survived by an only sister, Mrs. John Skillen, sr., of Greene, an uncle, Frank Sturtz, also a host of other relatives and friends."


Bird's-eye view of Greene, Iowa


~ Daughter Sarah Catherine (Sturtz) Hart ~

Daughter Sarah Catherine Sturtz (1846-1912) was born on Nov. 16 or 26, 1846 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA.

When she was age 11, in 1857, she and her parents and siblings moved to Iowa, settling on a farm in Greene, Butler County. She is believed to have been a charter member of the First Presbyterian Church of Greene in 1863.

Sarah Catherine was united in the bonds of marriage on Aug. 26, 1866 with Francis Marion "Frank" Hart (Oct. 28, 1845-1905), the son of John M. and Adeline (Riley) Hart and a native of New Castle, Henry County, IN. Rev. R. Merrill performed the ceremony, held at Butler Center, IA. Among the witnesses were Sarah Catherine's cousin Kate and her husband Jacob Moss, he having served with Frank in the same Civil War regiment.

The couple produced two known daughters -- Agnes May Holden and Alice Arrena Coon Gress.

Frank stood 5 feet, 7½ inches tall and weighed 170 lbs., with blue eyes and a fair complexion. During the war, he enrolled in the Union Army on June 11, 1862,, for a term of three years. He was placed within the 21st Iowa Infantry, Company A. Among the regiment's engagements with the enemy were at Hartsville, MO, Pear Ridge, Port Gibson, Jackson, MS, Black River Bridge and the siege of Vicksburg. "We was all so at Galveston Texas," he wrote. "Then back to New Orleans and was in the engagements of Spanish fort and Fort Blakly and was at the Surender of Mobeal. During all this time I had not reported sick but twist, but while in camp at Spring hill, Ala., I was taken sick with lung feaver."

After the war ended, he remained with the army for several more months. While aboard a steamer on May 26, 1865, bound from Mobile, AL to Shreveport, LA, he and his regiment were assigned to a space on the boiler deck. The "heat with out and feaver within" caused him to contract lung fever and begin to suffer with asthma-type breathing problems. One of his fellow soldiers remarked that he was "in a mutch brokendown condition." His health improved enough to be honorably discharged at Shreveport on June 10, 1865.


Civil War installation in Mobile, AL


After his arrival back home, for four or five months, Frank was so disabled that he could not exert himself without fatigue. The Harts did their best for about a decade as farmers. Then in about 1876, they moved to Clarksville, Butler County, IA, where he spent 13 months composing type for the Butler County Recorder newspaper. Then on Aug. 25, (?) they moved 18 miles west to the town of Greene, where he earned a living as a day laborer. The town lot they owned measured 66 feet in width by 124 feet in length, and the house itself had four rooms.


Frank's letter to the U.S.
Pension Commissioner
National Archives

As he aged, Frank complained of disease of his respiratory organs, catarrh of the head, cirrhosis of the liver and Brights (kidney) disease. In 1886, he was awarded a military pension for his Civil War service. [Invalid App. #583.976 - Cert. #625.320] He received monthly checks for the rest of his life. Circa 1902, according to a report in the Greene Recorder, each month's check was in the amount of $10.

The Harts entertained a visit in June 1903 from Jacob and Kate Moss. At the time, the Mosses were living in Fairview, Washington State.

Frank was deeply interested in the welfare of local veterans of the Civil War and their widows who later in life were in financial straits. Circa 1903, he served on the Soldiers' Relief Commission and is known to have attended meetings in Shell Rock, IA. In September 1904, he was re-appointed as a soldiers relief commissioner for a term of three years. Reported the Greene Recorder, "Each commissione has personal supervision of his district and their method of affording relief is to order a specified amount paid each claimant in his district monthly. The amount is fixed according to the needs of the claimant. To provide a fund for this purpose the commission makes a levy each year."

Toward the end of his life, Frank suffered from a softening of his brain tissues, known medically as "encephalomalacia." At the age of 59, while in Sandford, Vigo County, IN, Frank succumbed to the Angel of Death on Aug. 18, 1905. His remains are at rest in Lynwood Cemetery in Clarksville. Many old friends from Greene went to the funeral service, including Andrew Hart and John Hesalroad and their wives.

Sarah Catherine outlived her spouse by seven years. She began receiving her husband's monthly pension checks. [Widow App. #834.786 - Cert. #600.585]

In October 1912, she is known to have traveled to visit her grandson Ralph Coon Jr., who was working in in Stetson, ID. Then in December, she went to Clinton, MT to see her daughter Alice Coon. While in Clinton, she was stricken with what she thought was appendicitis but in fact was colon cancer. She underwent surgery in St. Patrick's Hospital in Missoula. The news was reported in the Recorder gossip columns

Just a few days later, her heart enlarge, she passed away in the hospital at the age of 66 on Dec. 13, 1912. Her remains were shipped back to Iowa for burial in Lynwood Cemetery in Clarksville. [Find-a-Grave]

Daughter Agnes "May" Hart (1868-1903) was born on Leap Day 1868 in Coldwater Township, Butler County. In nuptials held in Palo, IA on Nov. 5, 1886, the 18-year-old May married W.H. Holden ( ? - ? ), also spelled "Hoard." They were the parents of Gertie Holden. The Greene Recorder once said that May was "a chrsitian like woman and was well-respected by all who knew her." Grief cascaded over the family when May became seriously ill and suffered through the summer and fall of 1903. She died an untimely death at the age of 35 on Oct. 19, 1903. According to an obituary in the Recorder, her last words were "It's only a step from earth the heaven." Her remains were lowered into repose in Lynwood Cemetery in Clarksville. Rev. Stice preached the funeral sermon, and her pallbearers -- of her choosing -- included Lena Wamsley, Ida Loomis, Mabel Grant, Mamie McGraw, Harry Mott and S. Green. W.H. survived his wife, and in early December 1904 re-opened his billiard and pool rooms in Greene for the winter season.

  • Granddaughter Gertie Holden (1885-1888)


Alice's 1913 letter to the
Pension Commissioner
National Archives.

Daughter Alice Irena Hart (1871-1930) was born on April 15, 1871. Her first husband was Deforest "Ralph" Coon Sr. (July 20, 1863-1912), son of Delos R. and Sarah Ann (Witter) Coon. They bore a son, Ralph Coon Jr. Alice was employed by the Northern Pacific Railroad Company for decades as a telegraph operator, and Ralph as a brakeman and conductor with the Chicago, Milwaukee and Puget Sound Railroad. They established a home in Grand Forks, SD and Larimore, ND in the early 1900s. Her visits to her parents back home were printed in the gossip columns of the Greene Recorder. By 1909, they spent their winters in La Janta, CO. Circa 1912, they dwelled in Clinton, MT. Tragedy befell the family when Ralph was mortally injured in a railroad accident on Nov. 9, 1912, about 65 miles from their home. The Missoula (MT) Missoulian reported that the incident "occurred at Deer Lodge on Saturday, where he fell from the top of a caboose into a creek, resulting in internal injuries which caused his death later at the hospital there." The news was telegraphed to Mrs. F. Matott in Greene. Reported the Recorder, "He left home at 4 p.m. was injured at 8 p.m. and died at 2 o'clock the following morning." In reporting further on the tragedy, the Missoulian said:

Clinton, Nov. 13. -- This village suffered a decided loss by the accident which killed its most friendly and jovial citizen.... [He] had juste ended a run and taken his train into Deer Lodge, when he fell from the top of the caboose. The caboose was standing on a bridge, so that his fall was a distance of about 40 feet into the river below. It was not thought at first that Mr. Coon was seriously injured, as he was able to walk to the hospital with a little assistance, complaining only of being cold, owing to the fall in the river. At midnight a hemorrhage developed, and he died at 2 a.m. Saturday.

His remains were transported to Wisconsin for interment in Greenwood Cemetery near his family home in Auburndale, Wood County, accompanied by wife and son as well as Conductor Lewis as a representative of Ralph's union, the Order of Railway Conductors. [Find-a-Grave] Alice lived as a widow for a number of years and took care of her feeble, infirm mother for a time. Later, she wedded William C. Gress ( ? - ? ). William earned a living over the years as a railroad conductor. In 1920, they resided in Frenchtown, Mineral County, MT, and in 1930 in Alberton, Mineral County. Alice passed away in Alberton at the age of 59 on Nov. 27, 1930. Her remains were brought back to Iowa for burial in Lynwood Cemetery in Clarksville, and an obituary was printed in the Recorder and also the Missoulian.

  • Grandson Ralph Coon Jr. ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). In July 1912, he became employed as a third trick [shift] operator and began his new assignment in Stetson, ID. Circa 1913, he was in Bearmouth, MT and was working for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway. He was transferred to Ravenna, MT in May 1913 and then in November 1914 became an operator on a work train near Superior. He enjoyed taking vacation trips to Seattle in the early 1910s. His home in 1930 was in Alberton, Mineral County, MT.


~ Son Adam "Ad" Sturtz ~

Son Adam "Ad" Sturtz (1849-1929) was born on Sept. 26, (or Oct. 8) 1849 in Southampton Township, Somerset County. He is not to be confused with a first cousin of the same name (1849-1864), the son of Solomon and Elizabeth Sturtz, who gave his life during the Civil War.

On Christmas Eve 1868, in a ceremony in Coldwater Township, our Adam married 16-year-old Martha Jane Rife (1852-1918), daughter of Sarah (Lyons) Rife and a native of Henry County, IN who had migrated to Iowa as a teenager in 1864. The couple remained together for 50 years.

In 1880, census records show they had no children but dwelled in Greene, Butler County, IA. In 1882, when Adam was age 33, his father said that he "was always sickly and is yet." Yet Adam lived into his 82nd year. Circa 1909, Martha Jane's aged mother, considered "one of the early settlers of Butler county," died in their home, as noted by the Greene Recorder.

Adam was community minded and, with help from George Gerhard, helped clear away debris from the Greene city park in April 1917. Commenting on the work, the Recorder said that their "persistant efforts" had "been the means by which the city park is being nicely cleaned up. The gravel has been removed and it is now infine shape for grass seed. The tulip bed in the center will soon be a spot of beauty." Then in October 1918, the Recorder noted that he was "looking after the janitor work at both banks in Greene and the way he is cleaning windows and brushing around shows he is going to have things look tidy. As each bank has a president and full set of officers, Ad is not likely to want to change jobs the first week at any rate, but will be content with second or third trick."

Adam and Martha celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1918.

Sadly, Martha endured two strokes in 1918 and then a final illness set in which sealed her doom. She died on Nov. 16, 1918. An obituary in the Recorder said that she was survived by Adam and by her brother Jack J. Rife of Canada and that her niece Mrs. Tent Shafer of Waterloo, IA, was with her at the end.

Adam survived her by 11 years. He suffered two black eyes in April 1922, when while walking on a Greene sidewalk was knocked over by two boys running, and while brought home, was unconscious for about a half hour. He was admitted to the Butler County Home where he died on June 24, 1929, at the age of 79. Rev. J.E. Small officiated at the funeral held at the Brethren Church. They rest for eternity in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Greene.


~ Daughter Mary "Ellen" (Sturtz) Pauley Cuffel ~

Daughter Mary "Ellen" Sturtz (1853- ? ) was born on March 7, 1853 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA. When she was four years old, she migrated with her family to Iowa, settling on a farm in Greene, Butler County.

At the age of 17, unmarried, she dwelled at home with her parents.

Mary Ellen was twice married. On July 17, 1871, when she was age 18, she wedded her first spouse, Nathan Rainer Pauley (1843-1934). He had been born in Cass County, IN.

They made a home in Greene, Butler County and became the parents of Lily "Mae" Hoard Myrick, John Franklin Pauley, Leta Maud Crase, Elizabeth Alpharetta "Lizzie" Worley, Ida Bell Hamlyn, Drota McGowen Holmes and William Nathan Pauley.

Federal census records for 1880 show the family in Greene, with Nathan working as a laborer. At some point after 1890, the couple divorced.

Mary Ellen was joined in holy wedlock with her second husband, widower Fred Cuffel (Aug. 1867- ? ). The bride was about 14 years older than the groom.

Fred previously was married in 1892, to Pennsylvania native Emma Myers (1864-1916), and they had resided in both Carroll County, IL and Floyd County, IA. He thus brought these known children to the second marriage -- Adah Cuffel, Amanda Pearl Murphy, Joseph Emmery "Joe" Cuffel, Emmert Cuffel, Howard H. Cuffel, Homer J. Cuffel and Raymond P. Cuffel.

Fred was a concrete mason over the decades, specializing in cement work.

Their home in 1930 was in Coldwater, Butler County, as shown by the federal census. That year, Mary Ellen's widowed brother Frank lived in the household.

Former husband Nathan Pauley died in Clarksville, Butler County in 1934. Interment was in Lynwood Cemetery.


Clarksville, Iowa greetings


Daughter Lily Mae Pauley (1873-1944) was born on June 5, 1873 in Clarksville near Greene, Butler County. Her first marriage was to Frank Hoard ( ? - ? ), on Sept. 1, 1890, with the nuptials held at Charles City. They were the parents of Myrtle Markle and Charles Hoard. Grief blanketed the family when Frank was carried away by death in Sept. 1919. After two years of grieving, on May 6, 1921, she married Charles Myrick ( ? - ? ). The Myricks dwelled in Clarksville. Sadly, at the age of 70, Lily Mae passed away on April 25, 1944, while in the home of her daughter. Funeral services were held at the local Church of Christ, officiated by Rev. Bernard Olson, with interment in Lynwood Cemetery. An obituary was printed in the Greene Recorder.

  • Granddaughter Myrtle Hoard ( ? - ? ) married (?) Markle and lived in Clarksville.
  • Grandson Charles Hoard ( ? -1941) died in Feb. 1941.

Son John Franklin "Frank" Pauley (1876-1913) was born in 1876 in or near Greene, Butler County.

Daughter Leta Maud Pauley (1878-1934) was born in 1878 in or near Greene, Butler County. She wedded S. (?) Crase.

Daughter Elizabeth Alpharetta "Lizzie" Pauley (1879-1945) was born in 1879 in or near Greene, Butler County. She was united in wedlock with (?) Worley. They dwelled in 1941-1944 in Sulphur, OK.

Daughter Ida Bell Pauley (1886-1975) was born in Nov. 1886. She was joined in matrimony with (?) Hamlyn. Circa 1944, she resided in Waterloo, IA.

Daughter Drota Pauley (1890- ? ) was born in May 1890. She appears to have been twice married. Her first husband was J.C. McGowen ( ? - ? ). The couple produced three sons -- Earl McGowen, Lyle McGowen and Wayne McGowen. The marriage ended by the mid-1930s. She then wedded Moore Holmes ( ? - ? ) and, in 1944, lived in Waterloo, IA.

Son William Nathan Pauley (1895-1925) was born in 1895.

Stepdaughter Ada Cuffel (1893- ? ) was born in about 1893 in Illinois. She dwelled in Hampton, IA in 1967.

Stepdaughter Amanda Pearl Cuffel (1899- ? ) was born in Nov. 1899 in Wysox, Carroll County, IL.

Stepson Joseph "Joe" Cuffel (1900- ? ) was born in May 1900 in Illinois. Joe wedded Maude Martens ( ? - ? ). They bore these known children -- Robert Frederick Cuffel, Joan Cuffel and Beverly Kay Cuffel. Joe is believed to have been principal of the Sanborn High School circa 1927-1928. He was in Cherokee, IA in 1957. By 1967, he had relocated to Tulsa, OK.

Stepson Emmert Cuffel (1902- ? ) was born in about 1902 in Illinois. He established a residence in Washington, IA and was there in 1967.

Stepson Howard Henry Cuffel (1906-1967) was born in about 1906 in Iowa. Howard was married and had a family of five children. They made a home in Conrad, IA. He was ill for the final months of his life and died at the age of 54 in March 1967. Funeral services were held at the First Baptist Church of Eldora, and the Greene Recorder printing an obituary.

Stepson Homer J. Cuffel (1908- ? ) was born in about 1908 in Iowa. He migrated to Minnesota and put down roots in Rochester, MN.

Stepson Raymond P. Cuffel (1911- ? ) was born in about 1911 in Iowa. He relocated to Texas, living there in 1967.


~ Son Jacob Sturtz ~

Son Jacob Sturtz (1855- ? ) was born on Feb. 1, 1855 in Southampton Township. He was age two when the family migrated to Iowa. 


~ Son Charles W. Sturtz ~

Son Charles W. Sturtz (1858- ? ) was born on Jan. 30, 1858, the first of the family to be born in Coldwater, Butler County, IA. As an adult, in 1928, he resided in Illinois.


~ Son Franklin F.M. "Frank" Sturtz ~

Son Franklin F.M. "Frank" Sturtz (1862-1939) was born in April 1861 or on March 17, 1862 in Coldwater, Butler County, IA. Age eight when his mother died, he was taken into the home of his married elder sister Rebecca Earnest.

Little is known of his life.

He resided in Greene, Butler County in 1928 when named in the obituary of his sister Rebecca Earnest.

For years, he suffered from heart disease. He died on Nov. 7, 1939, and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Greene.


~ More ~

We are grateful for records provided by Gilbert R. Gaumer of Glendale, MO (compiled 1973-1980), Paul K. Gaumer and Mary L. Shirer in the preparation of this biography.

The Gaumer and Hoyman clans are profiled in the 486-page book Some Notes, Quotes, and Quips of the Hoyman Clan and Related Lines, authored by David LeRoy Baldwin and published by Gateway Press in 1993.


Copyright 2000, 2011, 2015-2018 Mark A. Miner

Content for this biography has been provided courtesy the late Gilbert R. Gaumer, Barbara (Moss) Wardsworth, Keith Sturts and Elsa Bernice Haupt.