Stöber / Stiver Family

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The Stöber / Stiver family who came to Markham Township, York County, Ontario in 1794 can not be studied without learning the story of the Berczy Settlers. From the time the decision was made to join William Berczy's group to go to the United States, the lives of these settlers were intertwined on a day to day basis. We do not know if any of the group had been neighbours and friends in what would become Germany. There was inter-marriage within the group. Even today, descendants of these early settlers are working together to learn their common history.

Who was Berczy? Johann Albrecht Ulrich Moll, alias William Berczy or William Moll Berczy, was born in Wallerstein, Ries, Bavaria, Germany in 1744. Berczy was a man of many talents. An artist by trade, Berczy, while in London in 1791, heard that a group led by Sir William Pulteney had purchased land in the Genesee area of New York. Settlers were wanted. Berczy must have seen that an opportunity existed and he put together a group of German people. How he put together this group we do not know. Contracts were signed that establish the terms of settlement. Three vessels, the Catharina and the Heinrich and Georg and a decoy ship left Altona, Germany in May and June of 1792 for Philadelphia with Berczy, his wife and family and some 220 settlers. Thirteen weeks were spent at sea. Supplies ran low.

Short Stay in the United States
From a diary written by John Sommerfeldt, and documents from the Genesee area and writings of Berczy some details can be pieced together of their experiences while in the United States. From Philadelphia, the settlers made their way to the Genesee lands where they hoped to get their own property. While there, they were put to work opening the first inland north-south road between Williamsport and Painted Post .

However, the arrangement was not satisfactory to Berczy and his settlers. At one point, they rebelled and rioted. Amongst the list of those who came before the Court of General Sessions of the Peace at Canandaigua on November 6, 1793 was Johan Neilas Staver. [Most likely this was Johann Niclaus Stöber]

Move to Ontario, Canada
Berczy made a deal with Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe for land so the families followed him to Upper Canada in 1794. Because the land in Markham Township was not yet surveyed, some time was spent in York (Toronto). The men helped clear Yonge Street northward as part payment for the land.

By November of 1794, the people were on their land living in make shift homes. The land needed to be cleared. The first few years were very harsh. Some families left. Our Stöber / Stiver ancestors remained and there are still descendants living in the area. There is some indication that some of the family may have returned to the Niagara Region for a short time.

 Markham Berczy Settlers Association Logo

The Association
 For more information about William Berczy, the Berczy Settlers and the Markham Berczy Settlers Association visit the Association's web site at Markham Berczy Settlers Association.

In 1992, the Markham Berczy Settlers Association was formed. Descendants and others interested in the founding of Markham Ontario are welcome to join. On-going research and sharing of information amongst members has been instrumental in helping me gain an understanding and the knowledge of my ancestors. The group usually meets once a year. The newsletter is informative. The group has both a Facebook page and group

Berczy Settlers Family Research Days - July 5 to July 11, 2004
2004 marked the 210th anniversary of the arrival of the group in Canada. To mark this event, a week of activities and research was held in Markham, Ontario. It was an exciting time as we discovered together more about our ancestry.

A Story of the Markham Berczy Settlers : 210 year in Markham 1794-2004 : a Story of Bravery and Perseverance. Markham, ON : Markham Berczy Settlers Association, 2004
Berczy Settlers Gazette. Markham, ON : Markham Berczy Settlers Association various issues
The Markham Berczy Settlers Association Logo and information from the Markham Berczy Settler Association publications have been used with permission.

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For further information contact Stöber / Stiver Family

Copyright Janet Iles 2014 This page was updated July 5, 2014