(If your ancestor lived in this township, it might be helpful to search in Ohio.)


History of De Kalb County, Indiana. Inter-State Publishing Company, Chicago, 1885. Pages 779-782.



  On the east line of the county, midway north and south, lies Stafford, one of the three small townships in the county. It is bounded on the north by Troy Township, on the east by the State of Ohio, on the south by Newville Township, and on the west by Wilmington. The northern end is crossed by a railroad used by both the Michigan Southern and the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad companies. The St. Joseph River crosses the southeast corner, and Big Run has its course west to east across the north end. On the river and creek the lands are quite fertile; between the two they are variable in quality, but none too poor for wheat when properly cultivated. The surface is generally level, with bluffs in the south on the river. The township is six miles long, north and south, and nearly two and a half wide east and west; thus containing twelve whole and six fractional sections.

The earliest settler of this township was James Lytle, who located during the summer 1836, and after a short stay left the county. The next and permanent settlers were John and Hazard Webster, Rufus Coats and John Rose, and their families, in all a colony of twenty-six persons. They emigrated from Trumbull County, Ohio, and arrived at their destination in this township on Oct. 4, 1836. John Webster bought some hundreds of acres of very rich land on the river near the Ohio State line and settled on the same. He was a somewhat eccentric man, an ardent devotee of wealth, careless on religious subjects, and yet a good citizen and neighbor. He was very useful in supplying the early settlers with corn, potatoes, etc. at very reasonable rates for the times, and some years later, by erecting a good saw and gristmill on his premises. He and all his sons, three in number, have been in the spirit land fir thirty years or more. His brother, Hazard Webster, was also an early settler, respected by those who knew him. He died in California a generation ago.

Other early settlers were: Jacob Gunsenhouser, John Rose, Rufus Coats, James W. Rose, James E. Rose and Daniel Coats. The first habitation was built by Lytle, and the next four were raised about the same time by the families above named. During the year following Edward Scoville and Ariel Walled (f or years an Associate Judge for this county) came in. During the years 1838 and 1839 many families moved in, entered land and engaged heartily in the work of developing the country. Prominent ones were: Christian Wanemaker, Henry Fusselman (a Justice and County Commissioner) and Thomas Strote. John Barber made his home in the northern part of the township, and C. R. Wanemaker (since County Commissioner), and Stephen W. Hackley, were other early settlers in the same locality.

Though there was hard labor and few comforts save as they were won by industry, yet these settlers were not unmindful of the claims of religion and of education. Early preachers there were, men unschooled, and appearing in their shirt sleeves, who were full of zeal and awakened religious fervor in many a cabin home. Lewis Hicklen was a Methodist Protestant Minster, and preached in the settlers’ cabins. Then there were Byron Miner and Henry Kumler; the latter since known as Bishop Kumler; Jonathan Thomas, of the United Brethren church and Elder Josiah Cooper, a Methodist Episcopal. The first school patronized by the people of Stafford was taught by Miss Emily Handy. The building occupied for the purpose was a cabin not in use, and owned by Walter Slaughter. It stood near Coats’ Corners. The first school-house, erected as such, stood near the residence of Mrs. Joplin, in the Wanemaker settlement, and has known many occupants, teachers and pupils, now engaged in other duties. The youth of the early days have grown to manhood; and, in vivid contrast with the husbandry of the present memory recalls.


Submitted by: Eliza Funk <ebethgen@yahoo.com>