Christopher and Frances (Winans) Statler

The biographical sketch on this page was taken from page 620 of W. H. Beers & Co.'s History of Miami County, published in 1880. Like many such sketches, it provides at least as much information about the parents of its subject as it does about the subject himself. Frances (Winans) Statler was a younger sister of my g-g-g-grandfather, Stephen Winans. She and Stephen were among the nine children of Samuel and Hannah (Woodruff) Winans. The sketch is also especially valuable for its description of the "early days" of Miami county, Ohio. I've taken the liberty of breaking it into paragraphs and adding some punctuation here and there for legibility.

D.C.Statler,1 farmer and stone merchant; P. O. Piqua; is the son of Christopher2 and Frances Statler, and grandson of Christopher Statler,3 who was one of the early pioneers of Miami Co., settling here in about 1801, and died in 1824.

Christopher, the father, was born in Pennsylvania probably about 1787, and emigrated with his father to Ohio when he was quite young. The grandfather was a native of Switzerland. The father, Christopher, was united in marriage with Frances Winans, May 27, 1810. She was born in 1791; they had thirteen children, of whom four are now living.

In this early day there were but few settlers scattered here and there through the county. Piqua at that time was all in the "bush," there being then only two houses in the town with shingle roofs; one, a store kept by Armstrong Brandon, the other a tavern kept by a man by the name of Ewing. The Indians were very numerous at that time, but were generally friendly, still they gave the people much anxiety, and caused them to keep heavy locks and bolts upon their doors. During the war of 1812, some of the Indians joined with the British, and committed several murders.

A man by the name of Dilbone and his wife were killed by them, living about four miles east of Statler's farm; and another man by the name of Gerard, about four miles south. Mother Statler remembers distinctly all these events. They endured all the hardships and deprivations of such pioneer life. There were then no churches, but occasionally the Methodist circuit preachers would come around and hold services in some of the settlers' houses. They carded and spun their own wool, made their own clothes, etc.; were happy and contented, much more so than those of the present day, surrounded with all the comforts and even luxuries that heart need desire. Thus, as time and improvements advance, the ways and modes of living, and desires of the people are constantly changing. What is now so fine and superb to us, may 100 years hence be far excelled by the people of future age.

Mother Statler joined the Methodist Episcopal Chuich in New Jersey, in I808,4 having been a faithful and firm adherent to the faith for seventy-two years, thus showing a duration of active Christian life almost or quite unprecedented in the annals of the church. Most certainly in the last great day, she will have a crown of rejoicing. D. C. Statler, the subject of our sketch, was united in marriage with Jerusha Smith in 1849; daughter of Oliver and Ruth Smith, of Dayton, Ohio; they had seven children, of whom five are now living.

Mr. Statler resides on the old home farm, with whom his aged mother, now 89 years old, lives. They have all the comforts and conveniencies of life, on the same place where the mother endured so many hardships in early life, but now she can pass the remainder of her days in quiet, peace and happiness, in the care of her loved and devoted children.

Fannie Statler died 11 Dec 1886,5 at 95 years of age. I've been in touch with two of her descendants, Mary Jane (Statler) Thiede and Susan "Buckeye" Cruse, who each provided a great deal of information on Fannie and Christopher's family.

1 David Clark Statler (1824-1913).
2The marriage of Christopher Statler (1785-1840) and Frances Ellen Winans (1791-1886) was recorded in Miami county marriage records as occurring on 31 May 1810. The 27 May date given in the sketch could have been the date on which the couple obtained their license. Mary Jane confirms the 31 May date and says that Christopher was also known as Christley and is so listed on the license.
3Mary Jane informs us that the grandfather, Christopher Statler, was also known as Christian, and that his surname was originally spelled Stetler and Stettler, but was changed to its current spelling when the family came to Ohio. D. C. Statler's grandmother's name was Christena. I've heard from a descendant of George Statler (Christopher and Christena's youngest child), Susie (Statler) Shoemaker, that the original Statler farm, near Piqua, is still in her family, while Christopher junior and Fannie's adjacent property has been sold several times.
4This information, if correct, would narrow Fanny's move from NJ to OH down to the 1808-1810 period. Other biographies suggest that the Winans family made the move between 1807 and 1809. Fanny was apparently one of a number of Winans family members who were Methodists. One of the first Methodist churches in Miami county - Raper chapel - was built on her brother Stephen's property.
5Mrs. Egy's book gives a death date of 14 Dec 1885.
This page was last updated 16 Jul 2007.