The Stutler mystery

We are pretty sure that our ancestor was John Stutler Jr, probably born in Virginia before 1765, possibly in 1757. But what do we know about John's father? A few possible candidates have been suggested, and several of the various accounts below may actually be describing the same man. While they differ in many details, they all state that his name was John. Most of them say he came from Germany.

John Adam Stutler from Germany

Several sources1 give the account of Johann Adam Stadtler son of Jacob Von Stadtler of Germany . This Johann Adam Stadtler entered the Port of Philadelphia, Sept 5, 1730 on the ship "Alexander and Anne." He changed his name to John Adam Stutler and settled on the South branch of the Potomac River in Virginia. His wife was Mary Newberger (or Newbedger) also from Germany (apparently they married in America).

According to these sources John and Mary had several daughters whose names are unknown, and three sons, John, Josiah and William.

These accounts are apparently based on Stutler - Hughes - Jackson; Pioneer Families of West Virginia by Glady (Stutler) Hoffman in 1968, whose work was based mainly on the research in the 1920s and 30s of her brother Boyd Stutler. Glady stated that she tried to separate "beliefs" from known facts, was careful to write that Johan Adam Stadtler "is believed to be the Immigrant Ancestor and founder of the family in America".

For years, many of us assumed this man was our ancestor. However, recent research4 has uncovered documentation that a Johan Adam Stadler did indeed arrive in Pennsylvania on the Alexander and Anne in 1730 but that his wife was Susanna Catherina (Emmert) Stadler. His father was Wolfgang Albrecht Stadler of Germany. Johan and Susanna had three children in Germany, and two more were born in Pennsylvania. He did not change his name, but his grandchildren went by the name Statler. Their only male child was Johann Peter Stadler who was born on May 9, 1736 in Pennsylvania. The list of Johann Peter Stadler's descendants does not include our ancestor John Stutler or John Stutler's children.

Recent DNA test results from descendants of Johan Adam and Susanna Catherina Stadler who came over on the Alexander and Anne-- the Stadler/Statlers -- are very different from that of our family, the Stutlers (see below).

John Adam "Jacob" Stutler from Germany

Another source 3 mentions a John Adam "Jacob" Stutler Sr. (or Staedler) who came to Philadelphia from Germany -- through Scotland -- on the Good Ship Lydia on December 9, 1749. This web site says he married Mary (or Mae) Newberg (or Newberger or Neburgh) in Philadephia around 1750. This web site even gives the location of his burial spot.

It states that the parents of this John Adam "Jacob" Stutler were Jacob Von Staedler (or Staatitler or Stadler) who was born around 1690 in Germany, and Nancy Sites.

This source also says that John Adam "Jacob" Stutler and his wife Mary had four to seven daughters whose names are unknown, and three sons, Josiah, William and John.

However, another researcher has informed me of the existence of a Jacob Statler/Stotler and his wife Nancy Sites who were born around 1750 and who therefore could not be the father of this John Adam "Jacob" Stutler who came to America in 1749 on the Good Ship Lydia. This Jacob and Nancy have been identified as ancestors of a different family line that currently goes by the name Statler or Stotler.

This man is listed on the passenger list of the Good Ship Lydia simply as Jacob Stadler.

Recent DNA test results from the descendants of Jacob and Nancy Statler/Stotler are very different from that of our family, the Stutlers (see below).

John Stutler the German or Swiss passenger on the Phoenix

There is also a John Stutler who was listed among the passengers of the ship Phoenix which came to America at Philadelphia on November 22, 1752 from Rotterdam, and carried German and Swiss passengers.

John Adam Stutler the Englishman from Germany

At least two web sites2 mention a family Bible which states that John Adam Stutler and his wife Mae Neburgh came to America in 1730 from Germany, but he was the son of William Stutler of England, whose family can be traced back to the 1500's in Halstead, Essex, England. This John Adam Stutler did not change his name when he entered America.

Naturally, if someone could produce this family Bible, it would be helpful.

John Stutler the German in the British Army

One web site3 mentions a family tradition that John Stutler originally came from Germany but migrated to Scotland, where he entered the King's Service but did not return to England when his term expired.

Another Stutler has told me recently that when she was growing up, she did indeed hear that the first Stutler in America was a Hessian mercenary who was paid to fight for England.

The Glady Stutler Hoffman manuscript written in 1968 also mentioned the tradition that "John Stutler was a British soldier, originally from Germany, sent with a regiment about 1750, to help quell the Indian uprisings and to protect the colonists of Southern Pennsylvania." Glady added that she found no proof for this story.

John Stutler from Germany

One of John's great grandsons (a grandson of Elias Stutler) did pass on information stating that John was from Germany -- and that John's father's name was also John, and died in Germany. This man was able to name all of Elias' children's and wives' names. This valuable bit information was posted on a Stutler family research web site by this man's grand-daughter, and seems to be a perfectly reliable source of information concerning both the name and country of origin of John's father. This one gets my vote.

The murderer who returned to Germany!

Another Stutler has mentioned to me a story passed down in her family about a Stutler who came to America from Germany, but fled a murder charge back to Germany. This might well account for the lack of information on our immigrant ancestor since it is not the type of story that folks would be likely to pass on to future generations!

Lots of John Stutlers!

There are records of many European immigrants -- or their sons or grandsons -- with the name John Stutler or something very similar. And the name John is not exactly unique. A lot of European immigrants at the time could not write. It was up to local officials to come up with an English spelling for these names. (When I first arrived in Japan, I was also arbitrarily assigned a Japanese version of my name by a Japanese immigraion official, and now my family in Japan goes by it, and will for generations to come).

Judging from the above accounts it would appear that there were indeed several John Stutlers coming to America at different times and on different ships from Germany and England, and one of these was apparently married was married to Susanna Catherina Emmert while another was married to Mary (or Mae) Newberger (or Newbedger or Neburgh). They might have lived in the same general area at basically the same time. This could account for some of the confusion.

The DNA evidence

We now have the results of Y chromosome DNA tests from samples given by myself -- being a Stutler male descended from John Stutler through his son Elias -- plus another Stutler male who is descended from John Stutler through his son John.These two sets of Y chromosome DNA match perfectly in all 25 markers and indicate there has been no variation for at least 250 years.

However, the markers are quite different from the DNA of descendants of either Johan Adam Stadtler or Jacob Statler/Stotler mentioned above.

Instead, our DNA matches fairly closely with descendants of the Stettler families coming out of Switzerland. This does not rule out Germany since the two countries share a border and many Swiss families moved to Germany before going on to America. In light of all the claims that John Stutler came from Germany, this seems very likely.

1 The Johann Adam Stadtler and Mary Newberger (Newbedger) internet sources:

2 The family Bible with John Stutler internet sources:
3 The John Adam "Jacob" Stutler (or Staedler) Sr. internet source:
4 The Johan Adam Stadler and Susanna Catherina Emmert internet sources: