The Stiltner Family Genealogy

Early Stiltner Families in Virginia and West Virginia

An excerpt from "The Cascade Mountain Clan" by Woodrow R. Clevinger, 1971 -

The families in America bearing the surname Stiltner are the descendents of the German immigrant to Virginia, Frederick Charles (Stegler) Stiltner (ca 1750 - 1844). The name Stiltner is not common in America today. It is possible that all families carrying this name today in Virginia, WEst Virginia, Washington, and Oregon have descended fro one ancestor who had a large family in southwestern old Virginia from 1795 to 1830.

Frederick Charles Stiltner's history is legendary among present-day Stiltner men living in Virginia, West Virginia and southwestern Washington. The late Burton G. Stiltner of Kelso, Washington visited his Virginia relatives in the 1950's and recorded in his Journal of the Clevengers and Stiltners some genealogical data on his earliest ancestor in America.

It is said from the memoirs of the Stiltner old timers living in Buchanan County, Virginia that Frederick Charles Stiltner was born in Germany about 1750. He was the son of Christopher Columbus Stegler and he was named after Frederick the Great, the king of Prussia at this period in the history of Germany. It is possible that he was one of the many young Germans emigrating to the American Colonies at this time to escape the severe military conscription and wars that Frederick the Great was administering. He came to the port of Norfolk, Virginia just at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War in 1775.

Frederick Charles Stegler, so goes the legend, became involved in or accused of misappropriating funds and supplies of the Virginia Militia. The legend states that he had gold coins that were to be paid to the troops. The story continues that he became a refugee and to save his life, he took refuge in the wilderness frontier of the Blue Ridge and Cumberland Mountains. At this critical time, about 1785, he decided to change his name to Stiltner. This, then if the legend is true, is the beginning of the family name of Stiltner in the mountains of old Tazewell County, Virginia. The lack of written and official records in the Blue Ridge Mountains before 1800 makes it difficult to authenticate names, births, marriages and wills, or to find anything that would refute the legend of Frederick Charles (Stegler) Stiltner.

Starting anew with freedom on the frontier if old Tazewell County, Virginia (western part became Buchanan County in 1865) Frederick Charles Stiltner married Sarah Deil (Deel) about 1790.

From the Journal of Burton G. Stiltner collected from interviews and Old Regular Baptist Church records in Buchanan County, the following and somewhat incomplete vital data are given on this large family from which nearly all Stiltners in America have descended.

Frederick Charles Stiltner died September 22, 1844 in Buchanan County, Virginia at an age of over 90 years, and his wife Sarah Deil died in 1862. To this union born in Tazewell or Buchanan County in the vicinity of Grundy, Virginia were the following -

These families were to become separated after 1880 as their children and grandchildren moved northward to West Virginia and westward to Washington and Oregon.


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