MJH, Buffalo County NEGenWeb Project © 2000

by Russell Junior Stierlen
May 2001
Excerpts From: Laura Stierlen Taylor
First Edited: Sue T Wilson
Second Edited: Russell Junior Stierlen

My immigrant Great-Great Grandfather's name was Christoph Gottfried Stierlen. He was born 18 May 1825 in a small Village called Unterturkheim just outside the walled city of Cannstadt, Wurttemburg, Germany. All of this now is part of Stuttgart, Germany.

Christoph was the product of his father's second marriage and there were seven children born to Christoph Friederich Stierlen and Maria Margaretha Warth, his mother. Christoph's family owned a butchershop, a saloon, and an inn. The name of the inn was "THE EAGLE INN" and his father was a "Master Butcher." He taught young Chris to make wonderful sausages, headcheese, and hams. Plus all the other skills associated with the trade, and in time Chris became a "Master Butcher" also.

Young Chris was restless, however and eager to have his own shop. There was a severe depression in Germany for a number of years and unemployment was rampant. And the opportunities for young Chris to fulfill his dreams of own a shop of his own were non-existent. Chris heard rumors going around, about the people leaving Germany and going to America. He heard there were great opportunities and an estate could be built if one was willing to work hard. Great-great Grandfather came to America in 1850, he was now 25 years old. After staying two years, he wished to tell his family to also immigrate, so he returned to Germany.

After trying to no avail to persuade them to come to America, his father said he was to old, now 62 years old and still had a large family at home to provide for decided against it. The next year Chris again boarded an immigrate boat headed for America. On this trip he met and became friends with a young German lady, Agnes Margaretha Bader from Dettingen, Dona, Wurttemburg, Germany, only a few miles from "THE EAGLE INN". She was of the same age as he and she had left a brother and three sisters in Germany. They were both members of the German Lutheran Church and seemed to have a lot of interest in common. And as soon as they arrived in New York City they were married in August 14th 1853.

They lived in several different addresses on "THE BOWERY", which at that time included the greater part of lower Manhatten. Most of the people were German immigrants like themselves. Chris Stierlen kept a saloon and butcher shop much like his father had in Unterturkhiem, Germany. The next year they had their first born, a daughter, they named Sophia. Then a son named Albert, born March 11 1856, but died a year later August 14th 1857.

A second son, Adolph, was born 30th October 1858 and died August 7th 1859. He was less then one year old. A second daughter was born February 29th, 1860 and died eleven days later on the 11 March 1860. And on May 27th 1861, Sophia their first-born died, she was seven years old. This left the Christoph Stierlen's with no children left alive. This was all that Agnes Margaretha Stierlen could take.....Why? Why was this happening to them? It must be because of the awful conditions of the slum apartments where they lived. And the rats...there were hundreds of rats...there was a little poem that my Grandfather used to say that he learned as a young boy:

About a month later a daughter was born on June 22,1861 and they named her Sophia Christina Stierlen. In spite of the rumors of a growing conflict in the country over the slavery issue and stories of the country splitting into a civil war, after all that had happened to the Stierlen's there was a growing resolve in Agnes Margaretha Stierlen's heart. She was determined to do whatever was necessary to find a better place to live where they might see their little ones grow to maturity.

Great-Great Grandfather then purchased a stable on the newer west side of town and they moved to a better place and things did get better and improved! Two years later my Great Grandfather was born on September 15th 1863, his name being JACOB ANDREW STIERLEN.

Then Great-Great Grandfather was called to serve in the Union Army. Leaving his wife and two babies in New York City, he went to join the Eastern Division, Company "A" 7th Infantry of the New York Regiment of Volunteers. He was 36 years old and in good health. His cousin Christian also joined up but in July he was mustered out with a medical discharge.

Christoph, was stationed near Fort Monroe, Virginia, near Newport News, Virginia. On March 8th 1862 Chris was wounded by a shot from the "IRON CLAD" CSS VIRGINIA, formerly known as the USS Merrimack. This was the day before the "Battle of the IRONCLADS" March 9th 1862. Chris received a piece of shrapnel in his foot, and after several operations he lost most of his leg to gangrene, off 10" about the knee. He was sent to the hospital at Fort Monroe and was discharged in July 1862. Chris returned to New York City and attended his business in a wheel chair. He received a pension from the Union Army for his services in the Civil War.

Chris moved his family in 1876 to Burlington, Iowa and lived there for 9 Years. Chris and August and Jacob ran a butcher shop.

Then he wished his children to have some homesteaded land and in 1885 moved the family to Kearney, Nebraska in Buffalo County and homesteaded land. My Grandfather was born 18th September 1889, son of Jacob Andrew Stierlen and Julia Zwiener. They named him Albert George Stierlen. Great-Grandma Julia Stierlen passed on and Great Grandfather remarried. Grandfather and his new mother didn't get along and at an early age Albert George Stierlen left home and went to Minnesota. He settled in southern part near Elysian, Minnesota. Later his youngest brother August (Gus) Stierlen came to Elysian and started to farm. Albert rented farms throughout the area, but never had enough money to purchase land. Albert George Stierlen met a lady from the Elysian area whom also was from Nebraska, Hebron in fact, and married Florence Vannetta Sershan on the 27th September 1911, in Kearney, Nebraska. They had two Sons, Alloyes Joseph Stierlen born in 1912, and Russell Albert Stierlen, born October 6th 1916.

Russell Albert Stierlen is my father and I am the first born in the family. Russell Albert had three sons--Russell Junior Stierlen born March 4th 1938, and Dennis Lee Stierlen born May 27th 1942. A son named Gary Dean Stierlen, born 13th January 1945, died two days later, on 15th January 1945.

The Stierlen's are alive and well and wish all who reads this a prosperous life! Buffalo County NEGenWeb Project