The first of my ancestors that I am certain of (if we can ever be certain of anything) was George Cunfer. He was a farmer and was married to Elizabeth Barbara Shellhammer. For many years I did not know her maiden name. But she was the daughter of Philip Jacob Shellhammer. When I was first shown their tombstones, I was told she was an Indian. I have not been able to prove this, but I have my own theory and reasons for believing Elizabeth Donat was not her mother. But I only have reasons and theories no proof.
George & Elizabeth are both buried in St. Johns cemetery in the Mahoning Valley. The tombstones are very obliterated and are in German. They must have been among the earliest buried there, but unfortunately all of St. Johns records are not available. There is a record though that Rev. Bartholomew buried Elizabeth Confer Sept. 17, 1868, aged 77 tears, 2 mos. & 21 das. When I first saw the stones back in the 1960s they were very hard to decipher. I tried rubbings and it looked like Georges dates were born February 10, 1789 and died in 1852. It looks like Elizabeth was born June 26, 1791 and died Sept. 17, 1868. I have not been able to find a burial record for George.
The first records I find for them are in Heidelberg Church where two of their children are baptized. These are probably their first two children because it looks like Elizabeth was 19 when the first child was born and George 21. So they were probably married in 1809 at 18 & 20.
A note on the Brandstatters: They were also
sponsors for Lidia Schneider in 1813, child of Jacob & Margaretha. Daniel &
Christina Brandstatter had a child Johannes (Aug. 6, 1804) & a dau. Maria (Sept. 27,
1808) Sp. were Nicholas & Eliza. Sneider. In 1816 Dan. & Christina sold 3 acres in
Heidelberg to Abe German. There were also a Dan. & Solomon Brandstatter on the tax
list of 1812. The progenitor of the family was Jacob. This is one of the families that
moved out of the Lehigh Valley area.
George & Elizabeth then appear to have moved to Ben Salem (or maybe they just changed churches) and were among the first settlers in the area. The name Confer appears as early as 1794. There is a gap, rather large for that day, between Daniel born in 1811 and Elias born in 1816. Elizabeth had children regularly. If anyone was born in that 4 year time period, we have no record. There could have been miscarriages or deaths. Elizabeth would have been in her early 20s in those years, so should have been relatively healthy. My ancestor, Jacob, is not on the Ben Salem list, but he would have fit in right between Gideon & Elizabeth.
A note on the Freyman family which seems to have intermarried with the Cunfers in several generations. Johann & Magdalena Freyman were the parents of Jonathan & Mary Ann Freyman. Philip Gombert (Stephen Cunfers sponsor & guardian) and his wife Salome Hoffman, were parents of John Gombert whose wife was another Mary Ann Freyman.
Some information on Polly. She married William Schneck (he was born June 20, 1815) on August 11, 1837 at 18. She died June 16, 1845 of child bed fever at 26 yrs., 1 mo., 3 das. Said to have 1 son and 3 daughters. I have no record of the birth of a son, but I have these three daughters:
Note: During this time period, Jordan Lutheran Church records a Henry & Eliza. Kumpfer as parents of Catharina b. Aug. 20, 1817 (sp. Peter & Mag. Guth), and Peter b. April 27, 1825.
Note: Lydia Cunfer married David Lentz (son of Jacob & Eliza. Rehrig Lentz) on Feb. 15, 1852, by Rev. Bauer. David was born Feb. 10, 1827 and died Jan. 2, 1867. He is buried in Dinkeys cemetery.
Known children are:
There was a Lydia Cunfer 21 and a Susan Horn aged 21 living in the home of Michael Garber 40 farmer and his wife Mary 38. Their children were: Nathan 11 and harriet 3. 1850 census - Mauch Chunk Twp..
Note: I found one place where Jesse is listed as the son of the godparents for Anna Cunfer (who later became his wife), Frantz & Anna Elizabeth Hunsicker Krum. Jesse Krums name was Edward. He died about 1889. There are two small stones in St. Johns Mahoning marked sons of Jesse Krum. At his death, George (not his father-in-law) Cunfer bought his land. Perhaps that was his nephew. He left these children:
Jesse Krum was the administrator of his father-in-laws estate. The inventory was filed October 21, 1852 and the order of sale Jan. 5, 1853. George Cunfer died intestate about 1852. In the Deed Book, vol. 5, page 535 in Carbon County Court House, his release was signed by the following heirs and the 150 perches of land sold to Daniel, his oldest surviving child, a miner.
The other heirs were:
Elias, Johan George and Elizabeth are not mentioned, so must have died as young children.
One thing about the sponsors for George & Elizabeth Barbaras children there are no Shellhammers or Confers as sponsors. On Georges side, this could be because he had mainly sisters and we dont know their married names. Perhaps his mother was dead or remarried or moved away. On Elizabeths side, we do find mention of 2 of her brothers and on sister in the records of Ben Salem:
Dan. Shellhammer & Christina Johannes Abe. Shellhammer &
Nov. 23, 1818 Susanna Ebner
Dan. Shellhammer & Christina Daniel Jonas Wehr
Sept. 19, 1820 Salome Schellhammer
Curious that while these 3 seem connected, none of them are listed as sponsors for Elizabeths children.
George Confer in the Census records:
1810 Heidelberg Twp., Lehigh County
1820 East Penn, Carbon County
1830 East Penn Twp. Northampton County
1840 East Penn Twp. Northampton County
1850 Mahoning Twp., Carbon County, Oct. 17, 1850
George died about 2 years later in 1852.
(This information was submitted by Patricia Shirock)
This page was last updated on September 27, 2005