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Joseph and Catherine Zimmerman Stambaugh

JosephStambaugh Catharine Stambaugh

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Joseph Stambaugh's Baptismal Certificate

Translated from German - Del & Grace Starns have original Baptismal Certificate


To these two, husband John Stambaugh and his wife, Catherine, whose maiden name was Heilman, while they were living in Paradise Township, York County in the State of Pennsylvania in North America, was born a son on the 12th day of March in the year of our Lord 1823. (It was this son) whom the Minister Albert baptized and gave the name of Joseph. Sponsors were Michael Stambaugh and his wife Anna Marie.


Fear God and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13


I have been baptized. Even if I die soon, what does the cool grave hurt me? For I know my Fatherland and Inheritance which God in Heaven has given me and after my death He has ready for my heavenly joy and Sunday clothes. (white robe)


I think often of you death
Often of eternity
And I pray, O Jesus, make me ready and prepared.


I have been baptized. I am bound (united) through my baptism with my God. So I always speak with joyful tongue (be it) in Cross, in Affliction, Fear, and Need that I have been baptized. This makes me joyful. The joy remains eternally. Amen

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Their Marriage

Transcribed from a copy at the Berrien County Court House.

State of Michigan
County of Berrien

I, Michael Hand a Justice of the Peace of the said county do hereby certify that on the 14th day of April A.D. 1850 at the house of Jeremiah Painter in Oronoko Township in said county, I joined together lawfully in marriage Joseph Stambaugh of Oronoko Township aforesaid 27 years and Catherine Zemmerman of the same place aged 17 years, in presence of Andrew J. Painter and Jeremiah Painter both of the township and county aforesaid.

Michael Hand JP

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The Stambaugh's Migration to Nebraska

This was found in the Stanley Family papers; no author was given. Some of the facts, such as the location and date of their marriage, vary from other documented sources.

Joseph Stambaugh and Catherine Zimmerman were married in Mar. 1849 in the Lutheran church of their native town of Williamsburg Pa. They at once went to their little farm at Bering Mich. Here Mr. Stambaugh engaged in farming and at odd times worked in the wagon factory. They built a lovely home amid lovely surroundings and had plenty of everything, and here too, three children were born. Now in the town, townfolks were talking about the great rich plains of the Nebraska Territory that was now open for settlement. It stirred the adventurous spirit of Joseph Stambaugh, and at once he began looking for a buyer for his Mich. farm. Twas done, and at once they equipped the wagon for the long trek to the golden west where a man could have all the land he wanted for very little money. A plow and garden tools were fastened on the outside of the wagon and bags of seed swung from the bows inside. The two stout oxen were hitched to the wagon and they started. The mother supressed her regrets for the home she was leaving, and with faith believing planned another home in the west. The journey was long and tedious. They made many stops and Mr. Stambaugh, being a carpenter, done many a paying jobs, which added much to the comfort of the family for days ahead. Traveling was new and exciting so long as civilization marked the trail; but when the towns and farms became further apart and the days grew shorter, the novelty of a home in the west began to loose its fancy. There were roads in Ill. and Ind. that made travelling smooth, but Iowa's hills and roadless soft clay was exasperating, even to the oxen who demanded hours of rest in lush green pasture. Then they were ready to go again. At such intervals Mr. Stambaugh would take his shotgun and hunt wild game. The family would enjoy an outdoor cooked meal - wild game and wild fruit was plentiful. They crossed the rivers on ferry boats and forded the shallow streams. The last river to be crossed on a ferry boat was the Mo. river just east of Nebr. City. When they stepped off of the boat and rested a little while on Nebr. soil Mother Stambaugh indulged in a flood of homesick tears and one backward look towards the east that she'd never know again. Then gathering the three children to her she helped them into the wagon and they were off on the last stretch of their long journey. Fourteen miles a day was the greatest distance travelled if the weather was fair. Nebr. City was 12 years old now and could boast a courthouse, a school, a church and a hotel, numerous cabins and shacks were scattered far out over the hills. The family could have located here, but no, the surroundings didn't meet up with the dreams of this pioneer. Two - three days more the oxen plodded, succesions of hills, upland and lowland. Then down in gullies and muddy creek bottoms to come again a way that was level as a floor. Once in a while they would camp at night beside a spring-fed stream edged with willows and cottonwood, elder and ash. A few miles further west they forded Salt Creek and drove a short distance to stop for the night and for good, on what is now Silver Street in Ashland and Julius Olsens property. The grass was tall and green and Mr. Stambaugh took his scythe the next day and cut enough for two stacks of cured hay. This was the 4th day of Oct. 1856. With a sense of pride for something acheived and faith in himself he said, "this is the land of my dreams; acres and acres of fertile farm land and almost for the taking. This shall be our home." He at once set about preparing a shelter for the family; soon other pioneer settlers came and were heartily welcomed. There was security and help in numbers. The Pawnee Indians were numerous but didn't molest the white settlers anymore than to frighten the women folks, and steal anything they could carry off. The baby of this family was a boy with shiny red curls, so unusual was this child that the Indians tried to trade for him. They came back day after day bringing beads and skins of animals they had skinned to tempt Mother Stambaugh into a trade. This put fear in the hearts of the family and they were ever on the watch for these designing neighbors. Mr. Stambaugh took advantage of every offer that the government made the new settlers of Nebr. territory and at last owned many acres. Nebr. became a state in 1867 - Omaha was a land center with a population of 100. The new comers went to Omaha to "prove up" on their land rights. Logs were cut for their building down along the Platte River, walnut and red cedar. Stone was hauled from the hills over by Salt Creek for fireplaces and outdoor ovens and foundations for cellars. The settlers eagerly helped in all civic affairs for the building of a town, for schools and churches and R. R. facilities. Ashland is the answer to these wishes and work and effort. Granchildren and Great Grandchildren now enjoy what these persevering pioneers done in their new found state.

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From "Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska", Saunders County

PART 1: First Settlers and Early History

About the middle of August, 1856, Mr. Joseph Stambaugh, in company with Mrs. Stambaugh and their three little children, with all their earthly possessions in a farm wagon drawn by a single pair of horses, set out to find a home in the great Northwest; but, after journeying about one hundred miles into Iowa, and meeting some friends, they were persuaded to turn their steps to Nebraska. In eighteen days they reached the Missouri, crossing at Plattsmouth. A few miles away from the river, and all traces of the settlers had disappeared, only a broad expanse of rolling, billowy prairie as far as the eye could reach. They continued up the trail, reaching Saline Ford on the evening of September 6. The next morning they crossed the ford and camped in the deserted building erected by the speculators. They remained but one month, and Mr. Stambaugh explored the country, and selected a favorable spot to locate, and started for Plattsmouth October 8.

In March, 1857, Mr. Warbritton, in company with Joseph Stambaugh and his hired man, Mr. John Aughe, left Plattsmouth and came to the ford. Mr. Warbritton took up a claim on Section 34, Town 13, Range 9; Mr. Stambaugh on Section 35. Mr. Aughe made a similar claim upon Section 35. During this time, Messrs. Warbritton and Aughe broke the first ground in Saunders County, with which to build them a sod house. They also aided Mr. Stambaugh to build a like home. These pioneer dwellings were all located upon Section 35. The dimensions of Messrs. Warbritton and Aughe's were 10x12 feet; that of Mr. Stambaugh's seventeen feet square.

PART 6: Ashland: Biographical Sketches

JOSEPH STAMBAUGH, farmer and stock raiser, Section 35, Clear Creek Precinct, P. O. Ashland, was born in York County, Pa., March 12, 1823. Is a son of John and Catherine Stambaugh, who were old settlers of Pennsylvania. His mother died in 1858, at an advanced age, and his father died at the age of eighty-seven years. In the year 1842, he left his dear old home, at the age of nineteen years, and came to Ohio, where he started to work at the carpenter trade, in Darke, until the fall of 1845, then went to Michigan, Berrien County, where he continued his carpenter work, and also the wagon making business, which he followed until the fall of 1855, then moved to Fulton County, Ill., where he remained until August, 1856, then moved with his family to Nebraska, and landed at Salt Creek Ford, September 6, 1856, which is now a part of Saunders County, where he lived but one month, and then moved his family back to Cedar Island, and staid all winter, and returned in the spring of 1857, in April, and made some improvement on the claim he had made in the fall of 1856, then returned for his family the first of May, and has made his home there since. He made the first claim in Saunders County. Was married April 14, 1850, in Berrien County, Mich., to Miss Catherine Zemmerman, who was born in Schuylkill County, Pa., September 30, 1832. They have ten children living, viz.: Deliah A., Mary J., George W., John A., Ella R., Emma L., Lorenzo G., Melissa Josephine, Rosa M. and Randolph H.

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Stambaugh Home in Ashland

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Rose Stambaugh with Friends & Family

(left to right) Lorenzo Stambaugh, Louis Baldwin, Josephine Hooker, Amy Baldwin Dean, Rose Stambaugh, Joe Stambaugh, Katie Plank, Olive Bradly Blodget, Ed Blodget

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Obituaries and Related News Clippings

Reprinted from Ashland Gazette: December 29, 1893

Joseph Stambaugh, the pioneer settler of Ashland, and Saunders county is lying very seriously ill, and we regret to learn that his life is given up by the attending physicians.

Later - Mr. Stambaugh died last night at 5:30 o'clock. Arrangements for the funeral have not been completed as we go to press.


Reprinted from Ashland Gazette: January 5, 1894


On Sabbath last, at the First Baptist church, occurred the funeral of Joseph Stambaugh, notice of whose death was received just as we went to press last week.

The day was warm and pleasant, and the church was crowded to its utmost capacity. Every one far and near knew Joseph Stambaugh. He was the first person to make his home in Saunders county, his residence here dating from Sept. 6, 1856, and his neighbors and friends who had admired his fortitude and unassuming character, and who had noticed his patient industry through all these years came to pay the last tribute of respect to his remains.

Most befitting to the occasion, Father Hackney conducted the funeral services. For many years these two pioneers have been warm friends, and with much feeling and tenderness the venerable preacher spoke of the relationship they had sustained to each other.

Mr. Stambaugh was born in York county, Pa., March 12, 1823. His death occurred, as announced last week, at his home near Ashland, Dec. 28, 1893, at the age of 70 years, 9 months and 17 days.

Mr. Stambaugh was married to Catherine Zimmerman, April 14, 1850, and death terminated their journey together after a period of a little over forty-three years and six months. Ten children were born to them, nine of whom with the mother still survive. All but one of the nine surviving children were present at the funeral.

There was a beautiful collection of floral offerings. A long procession formed and marched to the cemetery, consigning the remains of an honored and respected citizen to its resting place in mother earth. The funeral was one of the largest ever held in Ashland.


Reprinted from Ashland Gazette: January 5, 1894

Editor's Column

In 1856, when Joseph Stambaugh crossed the Platte river to make his home in what is now Saunders county, Nebraska was on the extreme frontier, wrapped in swaddling clothes of her territorial existence. It was considered as a part of an immense tract of desert waste, and was thought of about as we think now of the wilds of Alaska. What a wonderful change he lived to witness. He lived to be surrounded by prosperous and happy homes. The county in which he was the first white settler grew to a population of nearly 25,000. Nebraska became a great commonwealth of over a million people. Land that had been purchased of France at two cents per acre became beautiful farms, possessing greater value than the finest lands of New York or New England at the time he came. All this has been accomplished within the life time of one generation. The annals of human progress no where afford a more conspicuous example of prosperity based on the resources of agriculture. Let us all be proud that we live in Nebraska.

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Reprinted from Ashland Gazette: March 14, 1912


First White Woman in County Laid to Rest Sunday Afternoon

Mrs. Joseph Stambaugh, whose maiden name was Catherine Zimmerman was born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, Sept. 30, 1832; died in Ashland, Neb., March 7, 1912 at the age of 79 years 5 months 7 days. Her girlhood was passed at her birthplace. In 1849 she was married to Joseph Stambaugh. They made their first home at Bering, Mich., where their three oldest children were born. Not being satisfied here and moved with an ambition to own a home in the west, they emigrated to Nebraska in the fall of '56. Mr. Stambaugh, leaving his family at the little village of Oreapolis, came alone to Saunders county and was the first man to stake out his claim and make preparations for his home in this county. He cut hay where the main street of Ashland stands. He then returned to his family at Oreapolis, where they stayed through the winter of '56. With the first hint of spring they moved to their own home, which has been "the old home" ever since. In a short time following, other settlers came and no one save those pioneers know what courage it took to face the hardships of an unsettled country. And surely can it be said of Mrs. Stambaugh she was brave, indeed, to stand alone by her family of little children whenever it was necessary for her husband to go to Nebraska City or Plattsmouth for supplies, not knowing if she would ever again see him alive, for the Pawnee Indians were numerous and often a drunken band of them would frighten the settlers with their threatening war whoop, -- and only a woman of courage could ever have been equal to such emergencies.

At first they started for California in a prairie schooner but when they reached Salt Creek decided to remain here. Mr. Stambaugh staking out a claim on the northeast quarter of Section 35, township 13, range 9 east, and put up here two stacks of hay, where the residences of Julius Olesen and Edward Swanson now stand, on Silver street. Mr. Stambaugh also staked out a claim in the northeast quarter of section 1, township 12, where a part of Ashland also stands, and the next spring did the first plowing in this county. In coming here the next spring, Mr. Stambaugh and John Aughe walked up from Oreapolis on the ice in the Platte river, Mr. Aughe being the second white man to take a claim here. Reuben Warbritton and family came here about the same time.

Mr. and Mrs. Stambaugh did much for Ashland in its infancy, advocating any movement that seemed advantageous to the town. The Public School grounds and the B & M railroad yards are among their liberal donations. They contributed largely for the building of the First Baptist church, of which both were members. Mrs. Stambaugh early in life became a firm believer in the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ and clung to that faith to the last. Since the dissolution of the First Baptist church she has attended the Methodist church whenever it was convenient for her to do so.

To Mr. and Mrs. Stambaugh ten children were born, six daughters and four sons, all of whom are living except George, who perished at Amherst, Colorado, during the blizzard of 1888. There are also 37 grandchildren living. The father died Dec. 29, 1893.

The acute illness which lasted ten days and resulted in the death of Mrs. Stambaugh was caused by neuralgia and la grippe, the action of the heart becoming weaker as the end approached. Was done for her that could be done to relieve her suffering, but the end came Thursday morning at 7 o'clock. Her son Randolph never left her bedside during the entire time that she suffered, and he no doubt will feel his mother's absence most keenly, having lived alone with her for the past 19 years.

Mrs. Stambaugh was generous and sympathetic to everyone, and will be missed by all her friends.

The funeral services were held at 2 o'clock Sunday afternoon, March 10th, at the Methodist Episcopal church, the pastor, the Rev. W. P. Slocum assisting C. W. McConnell of Lincoln in the funeral services, this being her wish.

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In the name of God, amen, I Catherine Stambaugh of the City of Ashland in the County of Saunders and State of Nebraska, considering the uncertainty of this mortal life, and being of sound mind and memory, blessed be God for the same, do make and publish this my last will and testament, in manner and form following, that is to say:

First: I direct that my funeral charges, the expense of administering my estate, and all my debts be paid out of my personal property.

Second, I give and bequeath to my son Randolph H. Stambaugh The house and lots where I now live viz: Lots 11 and 12 in Block 27 in Stambaughs 2nd. addition to Ashland Nebraska and Three lots across the creek viz: Lots 7 - 8 and 9 in Block 16 in Stambaugh's addition to Ashland Nebraska, and to him I bequeath all the money I have left after all debts including my funeral expenses are paid.

Third, I give and bequeath to my Grand-daughter Laurel Lauree Nelson formerly Stambaugh, the sum of One dollar in cash.

Fourth, I give and bequeath to all of my children share and share alike the residue of my estate and their names are as follows: John A. Stambaugh, Deliah A. Hooker, Mary J. Doom, Ella R. Weldon, Emma L. Foster, Lorenzo G. Stambaugh, Mellissa J. Waybright, Rose M. Stanley and Randolph H. Stambaugh.

I appoint Charles W. Fuller, Jr, executor of this my last will and testament.

In witness whereof, I have hereto subscribed my name this 11th. day of November A. D. 1905.

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Ashland Cemetery, Saunders County, Nebraska

Joseph and Catherine Stambaugh are buried in Ashland Cemetery. Their tombstone is a pillar with Joseph on one side, Catherine on the opposite side. Several children and grandchildren are buried in the same plot.

Joseph Stambaugh Tombstone Catherine Zimmerman Stambaugh Tombstone

Joseph Stambaugh
Dec 28, 1893
70 ys 9 mo

First Settler in Ashland
Saunders Co Neb

Wife of
Joseph Stambaugh

Sep 30 1832
Mar 7 1912

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