The daring escape of a teenaged Rebel soldier with York County ties
The Stouffer name (in various spellings) is well established and well known within York County, Pennsylvania, particularly with the Stauffer cookie and cracker company, as well as a popular local grocery store. The rosters of Civil War soldiers by that name from Pennsylvania is long and varied, with Stouffers, Stoufers, and Stauffers abounding in various regiments, including York County’s very own 87th Pennsylvania.
That regiment was the subject of an excellent book penned by Dennis Brandt, who will join Jim McClure, Terry Latschar, and me in presenting a special FREE symposium on the Civil War in York County at York College this Thursday from 6:30 until 9:00 PM as part of the annual Patriot Days celebration. (The symposium will be held in DeMeester Hall, which is the auditorium inside the MAC building, or Wolf Hall. It is on the left as you enter from Country Club Road. There is a parking lot right next to the building.)
Albert D. Stouffer was born in Carlisle into a farming family originally from York County. His parents eventually moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where his father died and his mother remarried. According to enlistment records, Stouffer was 5′ 9″ tall, blue-eyed, light haired and dark complected.
He was seventeen years old when he was pressed into the Confederate military service at the start of the war in April 1861. Stouffer soon made his escape, swam the Potomac River, and was wounded by the Rebels as he fled. He made it back to his native Keystone State, found work as a laborer in York, and celebrated his 18th birthday north of the Mason-Dixon Line. In late September of that same year, he joined the Union Army as a private in Company E of the 87th Pennsylvania. He served throughout the war in the 87th, mustering out with his regiment on June 29, 1865.
He was one of the very few men in York County to be able to claim that he served in both the Confederate Army and the Union Army during the Civil War!
Text taken from Portrait and Biographical Record of Buchanan and Clinton Counties, Missouri by Chapman Brothers, p. 173.
JOSEPH W. STOUFFER is a member of the firm of Stouffer & \Vyatt, wholesale dealers in grain, feed, hay, etc. They also do a general commission business in their fine store at Nos. 706 and 708 Messanie street. Our subject is also interested in the drug business of Webb & Company, at the corner of Tenth and Pacific streets. He is prominent in local politics, and in the spring of 1892 was nominated and elected city councilman from the Seventh Ward of St. Joseph, on the Republican ticket. His majority of two hundred and forty-eight votes bespeaks the personal worth and popularity of the man, as the Seventh Ward invariably goes Democratic.
The birth of Mr. Stouffer occurred in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, February 27, 1855. His paternal grandfather was a farmer in Pennsylvania. Our subject’s father, whose Christian name was Abram, was born in York County, Pa. In his native state he was married, and after farming for some years went to Carlisle, where he started out in the foundry business. His health failing, he removed to the South and engaged in farming and milling in the Shenandoah Valley, where he died at the beginning of the war. He was a life-long member of the Lutheran church. Our subject’s mother, a native of Carlisle, was, before her marriage, Julia Dinkle. She married in Virginia a Mr. Conrad Conrad, whose death occurred only a short time afterward. She then moved to Pennsylvania and there became the wife of her first husband’s brother. After she had lost her third husband she removed to Adams County, where she died.
Of her five sons and one daughter who are living, the subject of this sketch is next to the youngest. One brother, A. D., was seventeen years old when he was pressed into the rebel service. He made his escape, swam the Potomac, and was wounded by the enemy, but managed to join the Union Army, serving until the close of the war in the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment. He is now a resident of St Joseph and is employed in the terminal shops. The other brothers, C. O., C. A. and S. L., also live in this city. Their only sister, Addie, is the wife of Edward LeHew, of Adams County, Pa.
In the spring of 1865, as the mother had lost everything she possessed during the war, our subject was obliged to start from home to make his own livelihood. He worked for farmers during the summer, attending school in the winters until 1876. In Harrisburg he learned the carpenter’s trade. The year of the Centennial Mr. Stouffer determined to seek his fortune in the West, and going to Abilene, Kaus., bought a farm of 160 acres of unimproved school laud, for which he paid $8 per acre. He entered into partnership with Andrew Raffensburger and engaged in breaking prairie. They made quite a financial success of this business, running some ten plows aud having one hundred head of cattle. In 1878 he disposed of his property aud came to St. Joseph. For the following five years he was foreman of bridge carpentry on the Kansas City Road, after which be turned his attention for a year to the ice business of J. O. Stephens & Company.
In 1884 Mr. Stouffer engaged in general merchandising on the site of his present store and continued at that business successfully until 1892, wheu he sold his stock and rebuilt the store which he rents. In 1891 he purchased an interest in the drug business now run by Webb & Company, and in January, 1893, embarked in the wholesale grain, feed and commission business, to which he gives his principal attention. The present firm succeeded that of Brady & Wyatt.
The first marriage of Mr. Stouffer occurred in Purkville, Mo., in 1882, when Miss Mattie Summers, a native of that place, became his wife. She was called from this life in Minneapolis, leaving two children, Ethel G. and Clyde S. The lady who so graciously presided over the pleasant home of our subject, at No. 2018 South Tenth street, was, prior to 1892, Miss Mary C. LeRew. She was born in Adams County, Pa., and was married in Plattsburg, Mo. As formerly stated, Mr. Stouffer is an active Republican and has served on a number of leading committees. He is a charter member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, belonging to St. .Joseph Lodge, No. 432, and is also a member of the Woodmen of the World.