23. Huffstetlers

The Huffstetler branch was grafted into the Heafner limb of our family tree when Amanda Huffstetler married Moses Heafner. Amanda was born 19 October 1865 in Lincoln County, the fifth child, to parents Ephraim Michael Huffstetler and Louisa BAKER. The 1860 census shows the family living in the “Old Furnace” community of Gaston County; and the 1870 census shows them living in Cleveland County in the “Buffalo Mill” community where Ephraim was listed as driving a (mule) team at the local paper mill. Not only was Amanda born between these two censuses, but it was also during this time that her father Ephraim left the family to fight in the Civil War.

Ephraim enlisted in Company B, 28th NC Regiment of the Confederate Army on 6 August 1861 in Gaston County. The Civil War was a deadly affair with approximately 750,000 soldiers dying during the war years of 1861-1865. While the South lost less men in battle, they lost substantially more men to disease than their Northern counterparts. The reason I wanted to point this out was because Ephriam actually became an exception. While studying the war records of Ephriam’s service, I noticed that, not only had Ephraim enlisted fairly early in the War, he was listed as present at the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House almost four years later in 1865. It was not unheard of, but the odds of serving those four years, and returning home unscathed, was very low. I wanted to find out how and why he might have been so lucky. I found a clue in one of his early service reports: it simply stated “assigned to headquarters”. Now let me state a couple of facts about the War; the Confederacy never awarded medals of any kind for valor, and an assignment to headquarters was not common, but was considered an honor. It is most probably the case that Ephraim was awarded his assignment due to having distinguishing himself in battle. It is likely he began his assignment as a guard, as well as, being responsible for the moving and pitching the tents and other equipment for the officers of the headquarters staff. Ephraim must have continued to distinguish himself at headquarters since his last service records show that his job was as “aide to the General”. While not “politically correct” today; it is clear that Ephraim was proud of his service in the Civil War. Ephraim’s life between his war years and his death appear to be somewhat complicated. The last child that Ephraim had with his wife Louisa was Mary, who was born about 1875. The family was listed in the 1880 census as living in Cherryville, Gaston County, NC with Ephraim and wife Louisa along with seven of their nine children. The 1900 census shows Ephraim Michael Huffstetler in Cherokee County, SC with wife Rebecca (Rebecca Sue Gordon) along with six children, all listed with the Huffstetler surname, born after 1879. The census indicates that Ephraim and Rebecca had been married for 12 years (1888), but I have no record of the marriage. There are other records that show that Rebecca’s children born before 1889 used her Gordon surname; it is unclear who actually fathered them. Louisa didn’t die until 1915, and she is buried in the Laboratory Methodist Church cemetery as Louisa Huffstetler; near her daughter and our great-grandmother, Amanda. Ephraim Michael died in a well collapse accident in 1906 in Gaffney, SC when he was about 70 years old (see the newspaper article). He was buried in the Providence Baptist Church cemetery there in Gaffney, with a new headstone highlighting his Civil War service added in 1934.

Ephraim Michael Huffstetler holds another unique role in my personal heritage; it is through him and his wife Louisa Baker that my wife, Ellen, and I are actually 3rd cousins. She is, of course, also 3rd cousins with my sisters, as well as, our double-first cousins. This is how this came about: Ellen’s father is Edsel Withers, son of Katie Huffstetler, who was a daughter to John Wesley Huffstetler, who was a son of Ephriam and Louisa. Just to review how I get there: my father is Carl H. McGinnis, son of Effie Heafner, who was a daughter to Amanda Huffstetler, who was a daughter of Ephraim and Louisa; our shared 2x-great-grandparents.

Ephraim Michael Huffstetler was born 11 April 1836 in Lincoln County to John Huffstetler (Jr.) and Jane MAUNEY (b. 15 May 1814, d. 4 Dec. 1891). Ephraim was the second of thirteen children identified as being born to John and Jane. I haven’t found significant information on John, Jr. other than important dates; he was born 23 Mar. 1809, died 26 May 1891, and his marriage to Jane took place on 1 Oct. 1833. Since I don’t have a lot to add about John, Jr; I would like to give some insight into Jane’s heritage, her (and through her, our own) deep roots in old Tryon County, and some historical importance of those ancestors. Jane was born to George Mauney (b. abt. 1775, d. 23 Jan. 1841) and Jane KUYKENDALL (b. abt. 1775, d. 22 Mar. 1856), the marriage for the two took place on 19 Jan. 1797. There were several Kuykendall families who migrated into the old Tryon County area, so there is no doubt that this Jane Kuydendall is a descendant of one of those pioneers; some researchers have assigned her as a daughter to pioneer Peter Kuydendall and his wife Mary Hampton. Jane Mauney’s grandfather was Christian Mauney (b. 13 Jan. 1741 (in Alsace, France), d. 15 Jan. 1815 (Lincoln Co., NC) who was married to Catherine “Caty” SUMMEY (b. abt. 1745, d. aft. 1818); she was a descendant of the pioneer Peter Summey and his wife Margaret MERTZ. Before we jump back to Christian Mauney, I have to present a little history lesson for context. You may be familiar with the slogan on the North Carolina license plates which states, “First in Freedom”; referencing the Mecklenburg Resolves, an early declaration of independence adopted by patriots in Mecklenburg County, NC on 31 May 1775. Soon after, another group of patriots just across the Catawba River, adopted their own Tryon County Resolves on 14 August 1775, both documents predating the official Declaration of Independence of 1776. Each of the “Resolves” stated their grievances with the British Crown and the signer’s desire to seek independence from British rule. A building on the property of our ancestor Christian Mauney was used as the original Tryon County Courthouse, and it was there that Christian hosted the “Tryon County Committee of Safety” which ultimately drafted and signed the “Resolves”. The Christian Mauney property and the courthouse site is located in the Bessemer City township in NC where a granite slab with bronze plates, bearing the names of Christian Mauney and the signers of the “Resolves”, has been erected by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. While Christian himself did not sign the “Resolves”, his two brothers, Jacob and Valentine did, and all three are listed with the DAR as patriarchs and patriots of the Revolution. The three Mauney brothers, along with their father, Jacob, Sr., are considered the Mauney pioneers to old Tryon County.

Back to the Huffstetlers; John Huffstetler (Jr.) was born to John Huffstetler (b. abt. 1779, d. 2 Nov. 1829) and wife, Elizabeth BROWN (b. unknown, d. 2 Jun. 1825); her parents are also unidentified. John, Sr. and Elizabeth were married on 4 Feb. 1802, and beyond these dates, I don’t have significant information for this family.

John Huffstetler is listed as the ninth of ten children born to Michael Huffstetler (b. Aug. 1737, d. 22 Jan. 1813) and Elizabeth (unknown surname) (b. 1 Aug. 1740, d. 6 May 1823, married abt. 1760). Michael was listed as having been born in Pennsylvania, but it appears he may have actually been born on the ship “Harle” before it arrived in Philadelphia from Germany. His parents, Jacob Huffstetler and Maria Eva TROUTMAN, remained in Pennsylvania, but in 1754, when Michael was about eighteen years old, he traveled to North Carolina, thereby becoming our Huffstetler pioneer to old Tryon County.

On 19 April 1763 a NC Crown Patent (land deed) was issued to Michael Huffstetler for 300 acres of land on both sides of the northern branch of Long Creek; this was near current Bessemer City and the lands of Christian Mauney. While Michael was not a signer of the “Tryon County Resolves”, he has been assigned a RWP patriot ancestor number (#117136) by the DAR; he is listed as Michael Hofsteater. His list of service activities include receiving pay for “conveying deserters”; apparently capturing and returning them to the ranks. Michael takes his place as another Revolutionary War Patriot (RWP) in our family ancestry.