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Research by their great granddaughter-in-law, Leona Stillwell
I started researching this story with only the name of one of their sons, George Washington Stillwell, who was the grandfather of my husband, Norman Stillwell. Lois Armantrout, our next door neighbor is shirt-tail relation to Norman but we weren't sure exactly how. I asked her and she suggested I write to a distant cousin of hers, Rhoda Geeting, who lived in Grover Hill, Ohio. Rhoda not only answered a lot of questions about the family but also sent me some prints of pictures of John and Sarah Stillwell. To make it easier to understand and follow I'm going to refer to John Albert and Sarah Ann as just John and Sarah.
After Rhoda's death in 1968 her niece, Helen Rager, was able to get me some more information and a few more pictures. I am very grateful to these two ladies for their very valuable help. In my search for information, I asked about the descendents of all of the children of John and Sarah and couldn't believe my good luck when Lewis Stillwell came to my door one day. He said he had given the old family Bible to one of his nephews. I asked if he thought I might be able to get a photo copy of the family records from the nephew. I was absolutely amazed a couple of weeks later to get a package in the mail that contained the Bible itself. William Stillwell, of Chicago, who owns the Bible, is a great-grandson of John and Sarah. Lewis Stillwell who came to visit us is a grandson. I'm not sure whether I'd have faith enough to trust the Bible to some distant cousin that I didn't even know or not. But they did and it was really appreciated. I had it copied and returned as soon as possible.
The old family Bible was a small one about five by seven inches but it certainly contained a wealth of information. There were some old records that you could see had been erased and other things written over the top. Some of the top writing was written over the top in 1851. It would seem as if the Bible had been someone else's family Bible and whoever was doing the writing wanted to start over with their own writings. Some of the writing was so faint that I had to use a magnifying glass to see and other parts were so faint I never did figure out what it said. The following was written on one sheet. The blank spots were too faint to be sure but I think it must be part of a memory book saying. It has been kind of a puzzle to do.

"Remember me who wrote this _______ You see thru __________ who ________ remember when. In dust remember me. O yes you must a ______ _____."
John Albert Stillwell and Sarah Crum
In my writings of the family I am going to use the spelling of "Stillwell" rather than to try to use the spelling of both Stillwell and "Stilwell." In the writings of the old Bible both spellings were used to name the same person. So it's just a matter of which one happened to have been used on a persons legal papers. As far as I can figure out neither one is more correct than the other.
Of course, I have never seen John and Sarah Stillwell but from the pictures, he seems to have been a rather slim person, good looking with piercing dark eyes and an intense look. She was slim with sharp looking eyes. When Norman's sister Irene saw the pictures she exclaimed "So that's where the hairlip came from!" Irene had one son and one grandson that had a split lip when they were born. I have looked at the picture with a magnifying glass and can't really make up my mind if it is a hair lip or a slight flaw in the picture.
For the rest of the story I'm going to go by the dates with a few comments and questions as we go along. This has got to be one of the most intriguing stories I have come across while working on the family history. There have been some questions that have been answered and others that will never be any more than a tantalizing glimpse into the past.
1 March 1849:

John, age 18, and Sarah, age 16, were married in Bethel township, Clark County, Ohio. The marriage is recorded there with the following notation: "With his fathers and her mothers written concent." It was recorded 2 March 1869 - twenty years and one day later. As of now, I can find no record of Sarah's mother and stepfather, Elizabeth and John Nodle ever having lived in Clark County Ohio. But what was a young girl of sixteen doing there long enough to have met John and to have married him? Was the mother there to give her written concent or did she mail it to her daughter?

15 August 1850:

The Federal Census of Bethel township, Clark County, gives John A. Stillwell, age 21, born in Ohio, as head of household. His wife, Sarah, age 18, born Penn, and a son George, age five months, born in Ohio. It also give a Rebecca O. Nodle, age 8, born in Ohio, living with them. Rebecca was a half sister to Sarah and evidently was visiting with them when the Census was taken.
Bible entry:

19 March 1852 - 1854 Amanda Elizabeth born and died
12 April 1854 - 1855 William Ross born and died
21 December 1857 John Albert Stillwell Jr. born
4 September 1859 Charles Henry Stillwell was born
1860 Census schedule Bethel township Clark County Ohio:

John Stillwell Age 31 born Ohio
Sarah age 28 born Penn
George age 10 born Ohio
Charles age 3 born Ohio
They evidently stayed in Bethel township for the years between 1850 - 1860. But there is something wrong here. I feel that probably John and Sarah were gone and someone else gave the information because while George's age and name is right, it was John Albert Jr. who was three years old and Charles was about a year old. (The 1870 Census had it right)
Bible entry:

31 May 1862 Emma Medora Stillwell born Ohio
16 December 1865 Stephen Adrian Stillwell was born Ohio
County Clerk entry:

2 March 1869 John and Sarah had their marriage recorded 20 years and one day after they were married. This is one of the things that is a puzzle. Why did they wait 20 years and one day to record it? Why did they feel the need to have it recorded at this particular time? What happened to make them have it recorded after seven children and Sarah four months pregnent with her eighth child?

Bible entry:

26 August 1869  Mary Alice Stillwell was born in Ohio

Federal Census:

20 June 1870: This Census shows the family all together and the right ages living in the 5th ward of Springfield, Ohio (in Clark County). It gives John's occupation as "Jour Cooper", which means Journeyman Barrel Maker.

Rhoda Geething with whom I exchanged family information wrote and told me about the family story as she had heard it. It seems that Sarah took the two girls when Mary Alice was about a year old and went to northern Ohio where her mother and stepfather lived to live with them. She left the four boys with their father in Clark County Ohio.
Four or five years later the boys walked to northern Ohio to see their mother and found she had married again and had a baby girl about a year old. Rhoda didn't know anymore about the story than I have written. Rhoda felt that from the impression of the way the family talked or rather didn't talk that no one seemed to have been in contact with John after the four boys left him and went to Van Wert to be with their mother. I spent a lot of time trying to locate a death certificate in that time period for John. Because for her to marry again (and she did, because I have a marriage certificate for her and her second husband, Joe Swick) she must have known that she was free to marry again, it just never dawned on me to check for a divorce for them. Divorce in those days was almost unheard of and unthinkable. Nevertheless...
22 November 1872: John Stillwell was granted a divorce from Sarah on the grounds of 'Extreme Cruelty'. More questions!!! Was this really true...was she really cruel to him? Or was it a case of using any grounds for getting a divorce? Did he give her one because she wanted it? What really happened? I'm sure we will never know the answers but it really is interesting to speculate on what might have happened.
The story Rhoda Geething told me fits all the facts I have been able to find. According to her story and the facts, here is the sequence of the rest of the story:
Fall of 1870: Sarah takes the two girls, Emmaline Medora and Mary Alice, and goes north when Mary Alice was about a year old.

22 November 1872: John and Sarah's divorce became final.

5 March 1873: Sarah married Joseph Swick, her second husband.

19 December 1873: Ella Irene Swick was born to Sarah and Joe Swick

2 April 1874: John Stillwell married Eliza Bellinger of Clark County Ohio.

1874-1875: The four boys walked to northern Ohio to be with their mother. George, the oldest, was about 24. John Albert Jr. was about 17. Charles Henry was about 15 and Stephen Adrian was about 10.
Again it's speculation, but why did the boys leave at this particular time? George was at least three years over the legal age of 21 and could have left anytime within the past three years. Why was he allowed to take his three underage brothers with him and why did he take them with him? Did John, the father, kick them out when he married again? Or did they leave because he remarried? Did she have a family and the kids couldn't get along? Or was it something all together different that caused the boys to go north to their mother?
All of the children (except possibly Stephen who it is felt never married) married spouses from Grover Hill, Ohio and vicinity. The boys were in their late twenties or early thirties when they married. The marriage dates have been given to me by other people and may be off by a year or two but not by very much.
1878: George (age about 28) married Mary Alma Konn of Grover Hill area.

1881: Emmaline Medora (about 19) married Henry Clear of Grover Hill area.

1888: Charles (age about 29) married Bertha Tompkins of the Grover Hill area.

1889: John Albert Jr. (age about 32) married Maggie Garrison of the Grover Hill area.

1890: Mary Alice (age about 21) married Hiram Ayries (?) of the Grover Hill area.

1890: Charles moved his family to Norfolk, Virginia and returned to the Grover Hill area about 1910. (20 years later)

1890: George moved his family to Mackinaw City, Michigan where he lived the rest of his life.

1912: This seems to be the last record of Stephen Adrian that I can locate. He lived in Kokomo, Indiana at that time.
This time period includes the Civil War time but as of now I haven't been able to place John in either side of the Civil War records. (Neither have I been able to locate him or any record of him and his second wife and family, if he had one)
Sarah must have been a widow of Joseph Swick by 1880 because that's when she married John Brooks (June 13, 1880). She lived with him near Grover Hill Ohio until her death on 2nd March 1893. According to the death certificate she died of 'Lomer' of the stomach. Cancer?
She is buried in Middle Creek Cemetery of Grover Hill, Ohio. There is a tombstone but either the date is wrong by a year or two or her death certificate is wrong. I have used the dates from her certificate.
In an exhange of letters with Gaylord Stillwell of Toledo, before his death he wrote that he had heard his grandfather Stillwell was "An Indian Scout with the Ohio Army". Gaylord was the youngest son of John Albert Stillwell Jr. However, I rather doubt that there were Indian Scouts in Ohio in the 1850's when our John was of an age to do this. I'm more inclined to believe that out John's father, whose name I don't have yet, was the one who might have been the Indian Scout. There is an entry in the old Bible that says "John Stillwell was born in Yokersburg, Virginia -- 70 or -- 71. Since the date was almost impossible to read and make out I'm not sure just what it was. But, to the best of my ability to make it out that's what it said. According to the Census our John was born in 1828 in Ohio so he can not be the one mentioned in the Bible that was born in Yokersburg, Virginia. There is no record of any town in Virginia by the name of Yokersburg so I can only assume that it was a little four corners kind of place that was not a real town. Because of the date in the Bible of 70-71 I think the John mentioned in the Bible has to be either a father or grandfather of our John. If it was the father then the father would have been 58 years old when our John was born. If it was the grandfather then both the father and son would have to be in their twenties when our John was born. Either one of these people (the father and grandfather) were in the right time period to have been the Indian Scout. However, as I have no proof either way it is pure speculation. I feel this could be one of the reasons why the family left Virginia and came to Ohio.
I have been told by several people that the family stories claim General 'Vinegar' Joe Stillwell is a part of this branch of the family. If he is, it would have to be back before 1830 that his and our ancestors are connected. Someday I hope to be able to prove that it is true. But I haven't gotten back that far yet.
I am still searching and working on this line of the family to try to find out the names of our John's parents and where they came from and to find out what ever happened to our John and where he went after 1874. There is no death certificate for him in Clark County Ohio. The records are some place it's just that I haven't been abvle to locate them yet. If and when I do find them I will write a supplement to this little story.

Leona Stillwell
12125 Paradise Lake Rd.
Levering, Mich. 49755

I had speculated that because of the name of John in the Bible that possibly either his father or grandfather was named John. However, that was not the case. Possible that John was a cousin or Uncle.
Our John Albert Stillwell was in the Civil War. Pvt, Co F 153 reg 7 National Guard Inf. Enlisted May 2, 1864 for 100 days. John was age 35, born Clark County, Ohio, eyes gray, hair brown, 5 ft. 9 in. high, sandy complexion. He had pneumonia in the army and received a pension of $6.00 per month. (six dollars)

Note: Leona Stillwell sent copies of her outstanding research to a number of people. On the cover page, just below the title, she writes: "This is dedicated to five distant cousins without whose help, understanding, and letters it would not have been possible." She then lists the five names:

Lois Armantrout
Rhoda Geeting
Helen Rager
Ruth Stucky
Lewis Stillwell