The Reverent James Stillinger by Kenneth Stillinger
In regards to Rev. James Stillinger and the Stillinger History I have made a little headway on the research.
Last night I finally got through reading the records and letters I had received regarding Father James Stillingers life, and find some interesting information.
James was apprenticed to Robert "Goodloe" Harper from 1816 until he went into the Seminary. Goodloe had released him from the last 6 months of his apprentice. Goodloe Harper was the proprietor of the Gettysburg Sentinel (Centinel) newspaper. James lived in Gettysburg from 1816 on. He said there were only 3 catholics living in Gettysburg during that time.
In an 1846 letter written by James -
James was trying to sell some " interest tables" - over 800 of them, and was asking $300.00. James said that in 1837 when he left Baltimore he left the "interest tables" with his sister, now dead, "Mrs. Jenkins". (no first name mentioned - and dead by 1846). He told the person he was writing to that the "tables" could now be obtained from his niece Louisa Jenkins, and that payment was to be given to his brother Michael Stillinger in Baltimore.
So - this establishes that James had a brother Michael, which we had known about, but also had a sister who had married a Jenkins.
In an 1829 letter by James he makes reference that he had neglected to write to his "Uncle" to inform him of his upcoming ordination. So here he has an "uncle" - don't know if this meant paternal or maternal.
Other letters state he was 11 months old when the family moved to Pennsylvania, and from age three he was raised by his grandparents. He had relatives in Gettysburg and Chambersburg, none of whom were Catholic but good prospects for conversion. James mentions in letters that he attended from 1816 - 1820 churches in Conewago, Taneytown and Emmitsburg all about the same distance to travel.
In April of 1870, a Father Bradley had visited Stillinger in Blairsville, and found a Sarah Brownson was with him, and she was writing a History of Father Gallitzen of Loretto. Father Stillinger was helping her with that history as well as writing his own auto-biography. This Sarah Brownson had intended to also write a History of Catholics in Western Pennsylvania and was apparently researching Father Stillingers information.
I did some research on this Sarah Brownson, and have found she did write a history on Gallitzen. Also found that her father Orestus Brownson was a prolific writer of Catholic History and had published many books. She must have been following in her fathers footsteps. Sarah Brownson married in 1875 and died in 1876, not too long after Rev. Stillinger who had died in 1873, so she must not have finished her book on Catholics in Western Pennsylvania. Further search indicates an Archives in Deleware, New York has the historical papers of the Brownson families. I have written to this Society to see if in fact any of Sarah Brownsons research papers do exist there - no answer as yet.
Other information of Rev. James mentions he was 11 months old when went to Pennsylvania and was 3 years old when he went to live with grandparents in Chambersburg. He said his grandfather was 'Michael Stillinger who died in 1812 and his mother was of French extract and a daughter of Michael Labeau. What happened in about 1804, if one or both of his parents died, or why he went to his grandparents is still unknown.
A Jacob Stillinger and Christina Labough were married in 1797 at First Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore - so probably were his parents. There was a Michael Lebo on 1800 census in Baltimore.
I find in Caldwells History of Indiana County, PA - Michael E. Brown, son of john W. Brown was married to an Isadore Jelly, a niece of Rev. James A. Stillinger.
A check of 1880 census has a Michael E. Brown and wife Isadore both age 28 living in Blairsville, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Also living with them is a Julia Virginia Jelly, a sister in law.
A check of 1870 census, Blairsville, has a Mary Jelly age 51 with a daughter Isadore age 18. Also listed are Fernando Jelly, 15 and William Jelly age 12.
I also have an unknown William Stillinger from Pennsylvania in my files. This Wm. Stillinger was born 1830 -1832 in Pennsylvania and was in the Civil War, mustered in Cambria, Pennsylvania. He was later found in Wayne / Stark County Ohio with wife Margaret Peggy Brown who was born in Pennsylvania. He died about 1898 per Civil War Widows Pension. The wife Margaret Brown is on 1900 and 1910 census. I don't know how he fits in as yet, but is in the area, and married a Brown??
So what has been learned from all this - James had sisters - "Mrs. jenkins", and a Mary Jelly ( Yealy ).
James had an uncle, per the 1829 letter. Per other Catholic histories - Barbara Stillinger 1783-1856, is sister of James Stillinger. This Barbara Married Henry gross, and their son Harmon gross was taught by his Uncle James Stillinger in Gettysburg.
It is believed that Jacob Stillinger was married more than once. and James had 1/2 brothers and sisters. If daughter Barbara was born 1783, that is before Jacob Stillinger married Christina Labeau in 1797.
It is also possible that James mother had died about 1804, causing the boys James and Michael to go live with the grandparents and then Jacob remarried ( this is of course speculation).
1810 Census of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, has Michael with two young males, that fit ages of Michael born in 1799 and James born in 1801.
A check of Jenkins surname shows many of them in Baltimore and Gettysburg. A check of Jelly surname shows many of them in Cambria, Westmoreland, Adams and Indiana Counties in Pennsylvania.
One thing that is cast in stone - the Stillingers had almost all daughters and very few sons, about 5 to 1. This is true from 1600's clear through to 2004. in Germany or here in US. The name dies out in most lines due to so few males.
Documented through land, probate, church records, and letters -
James Stillinger's Grt-GF - Casper Stillinger, b. Cologne Prussia, est about 1700, in Philadelphia before 1733, bought lots in York 1750. died York about 1774/75. Casper was a stone mason - built stone house on lot 295 in York, and stone house and lot sold to Catholic church in York 1775. Casper's stone house was used as the Catholic church until 1810, when a new church was built. Casper had sons Richard, Michael, and daughter Barbara who married Joseph Wirt (Wert). It is believed Casper had other daughters.
James Stillinger's GF - Michael Stillinger - married in York, wife Maria, Unknown. Son Jacob Stillinger born in York. The other children of Michael the GF are unknown. A few other Stillinger in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. may be his children. Michael moved to Chambersburg in 1780's.
James Stillinger's Father - Jacob Stillinger - no dates as yet - estimated born about 1755. Jacob was in the Chambersburg tax lists 1786- 1800. He purchased lots in Chambersburg 1787 and 1792.
Known children -
James b. 1801 baltimore
Michael b. 1799 Baltimore
Barbara - b. 1783 md. henry Gross
sister ?? Mrs. jenkins
sister ?? Mary Jelly
Other unknown children??
There was a Joseph Stillinger, son of Richard and grandson of Casper, who also lived in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, in Chambersburg, then later in St. Thomas. This Joseph had sons and daughters, but little else is known of his descendants.