Thursday, August 21, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #33 - John Stiver

This is my thirty-third  posting for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge

This week, I am writing about John Stiver (Johann Niclaus Stober) my fourth great grandfather.

John's last name at birth was Stöber or as it is also spelled Stoeber but at some point, after his arrival in Canada, the name was changed and the name became Stiver. From church records mentioned in The Stiver Family in Canada, 1794-1994, the year of Johan Niclaus Stöber's birth is given as 1743. There is no tombstone marking his place of burial at Bethesda Lutheran Cemetery in Markham.

In the transcription of the St. Philip's/Bethesda Lutheran register of burials, his name is given as John Nicol Stover. It states that he was in his 87th year and he is buried in the graveyard at the church on the 6th concession. The date of the burial was 21 August 1831.

According to a document, written by his son, John Stiver, his parents were natives of the Duchy of Hanover.

John Nicholas Stiver and his family came to the United States in 1792, with a group of German families to settle the Genessee Valley, New York through the arrangements made by Johann Albricht Ulrich Moll (Berczy). Who was Berczy? Johann Albrecht Ulrich Moll, alias William Berczy or William Moll Berczy, was born in Wallerstein, Ries, Bavaria, Germany in 1744Berczy was a man of many talents. An artist by trade, Berczy, while in London in 1791, heard that a group led by Sir William Pulteney had purchased land in the Genesee area of New York. Settlers were wanted. Berczy must have seen that an opportunity existed and he put together a group of German people. How he put together this group we do not know. Contracts were signed that establish the terms of settlement. Three vessels, the Catharina and the Heinrich and Georg and a decoy ship left Altona, Germany in May and June of 1792 for Philadelphia with Berczy, his wife and family and some 220 settlers. Thirteen weeks were spent at sea. Supplies ran low.

Short Stay in the United States
From a diary written by John Sommerfeldt, and documents from the Genesee area and writings of Berczy some details can be pieced together of their experiences while in the United States. From Philadelphia, the settlers made their way to the Genesee lands where they hoped to get their own property. While there, they were put to work opening the first inland north-south road between Williamsport and Painted Post .

However, the arrangement was not satisfactory to Berczy and his settlers. At one point, they rebelled and rioted. Amongst the list of those who came before the Court of General Sessions of the Peace at Canandaigua on November 6, 1793 was Johan Neilas Staver. [Most likely this was Johann Niclaus Stöber]

Move to Ontario, Canada
Berczy made a deal with Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe for land so the families followed him to Upper Canada in 1794. Because the land in Markham Township was not yet surveyed, some time was spent in York (Toronto). The men helped clear Yonge Street northward as part payment for the land.
By November of 1794, the people were on their land living in make shift homes. The land needed to be cleared. The first few years were very harsh. Some families left. Our Stöber / Stiver ancestors remained and there are still descendants living in the area. 

In the Berczy census of 1798 for Markham Township, John Nicholas is listed as being over 50. The 200 acre parcel that Berczy allotted to Johan Niclaus Stöber was at Lot 19, Concession 2, although it is shown as concession 1 lot 19 in the 1798 Berczy census. This is located south of Major Mackenzie Drive, between Bayview Avenue and Leslie Street, near the town of Richmond Hill. He received the patent for this land in 1808 but he immediately sold it to Henry C. Philips. They moved from Markham Township for a while and resided in Niagara until the War of 1812 broke out. There is also a lease of land at lot 20 concession 6 dated 5 January 1804.

A Story of the Markham Berczy Settlers : 210 year in Markham 1794-2004 : a Story of Bravery and Perseverance. Markham, ON : Markham Berczy Settlers Association, 2004.  This was an update of the 1994 publication. 

Berczy Settlers Gazette. Markham, ON : Markham Berczy Settlers Association various issues
Information from the Markham Berczy Settler Association publications has been used with permission.

© 2014 Janet Iles Print