John & Sarah Sitler's Story

John Sitler was born in New Waterford, Columbiana County, Ohio, on Nov. 2, 1811 to Martin Sitler & Elizabeth Yarian.  One year later and one state away, Sarah Clemmer was born in Franconia Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 12. 1812.  Her parents were Henry M. Clemmer & Sarah H. Bergey.

Before he was born, John's family had moved to Ohio from Pennsylvania where there was more farmland available.  However, when John grew up, it appears he set out for some adventure and came to Canada as a young bachelor.  His younger brother Jacob also came to Canada, and they may have traveled together.  Their father Martin Sitler died in 1830, so the brothers may have left home after receiving their inheritance.  John & Jacob's mother and other siblings all remained in Ohio.

Henry Clemmer brought his family from Pennsylvania to Waterloo County in May, 1822.  Two of the Clemmer daughters married the two Sitler brothers from Ohio:  Sarah married John in 1834, and Rachel married Jacob in 1837.

Married Life, Widowhood, and Married Life Again

Sarah Clemmer was first married to Jacob S. Ziegler, probably early in 1829.  Jacob's parents were  Dilman Ziegler & Catherine Schwartz.  Sarah would've been about 16 years old at the time of her marriage.  They had a son Aaron Ziegler, born Dec. 16, 1829.  Jacob then died on Jan. 10, 1832 at about age 22, cause of death currently unknown.  Sarah found herself as a widowed mother at the young age of 19.

Two years later, Sarah married John Sitler and they would have another 12 children together.  John homesteaded in the northern edge of Waterloo Township, west of Martin's Meeting House and next to his father-in-law's farm.  In fact, Henry Clemmer may have sold John a piece of his own property.  It would have been slightly south and east of where the Waterloo stockyards are today.  

John & Sarah's first child was Jonathan, born June 8, 1835.  The others followed in fairly rapid succession:  Sarah (b. 1837), Leah (b. 1839), Nancy (b. 1840), Henry (b. 1842), Elizabeth (b. 1843), Samuel (b. 1845), and John (b. 1847).  A few weeks after John Jr. was born, Samuel died before reaching age 2, cause currently unknown.  All of his siblings however lived to adulthood.

Isaac arrived in 1850, Jacob in 1852, Susannah in 1854, and Moses was the youngest, arriving in 1860.  

In between the births of Susannah and Moses, John Sr. lost his mother, Elizabeth Yarian Sitler, on Jan. 21, 1858 in Ohio.

The Kids Grown Up

Sarah's first son, Aaron C. Ziegler married Anna Rudy on Apr. 11, 1854.  She died Feb. 20, 1862 after bearing 3 children.  Aaron then married Esther Lichty and had another 9 children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood.  Aaron was one of the executors of John Sitler's estate.  It's not clear if Aaron was raised by John & Sarah, or if he was adopted by another family before Sarah remarried.  Aaron died Jan. 13, 1885 in Elmira of a lung inflammation.

Jonathan C. Sitler married Mary Kinzie, daughter of Joseph Kinzie & Barbara Devitt, on Nov. 15, 1859.  They lived in Waterloo County and had 11 children, the oldest and youngest dying in infancy.  Jonathan was the other executor for his father's estate, but died before the estate was closed.  Jonathan died June 29, 1880 of heart problems, six days after his infant son Enoch died.  The obituaries of father and son were published together in the Herald of Truth in the August 1880 edition.  Of Jonathan & Mary's 9 children that lived to adulthood, 5 of them died before age 30.

Sarah Sitler married Joseph Burkhardt on Apr. 8, 1856.  He was a son of Joseph Burkhardt & Elizabeth Gingrich.  Sarah & Joseph had 11 children.  Sarah died in Floradale on Mar. 27, 1913 at age 76 from complications of a stroke.  Her daughter Susannah predeceased her by exactly one week.  Sarah's obituary is online at Mennobits.

Leah Sitler married Abraham Brubacher on Mar. 3, 1857.  They had 12 children, one dying in infancy.  Abraham was ordained a minister in the Mennonite church in Elgin County in the early 1870s, and then went to minister in Mahoning Co., Ohio in the early 1880s.  After living there for 25 years, they returned to Waterloo County late in their lives and remained there until their deaths.  Abraham died Jan. 4, 1912 and his obituary is online.  Leah died later that year on Nov. 26, 1912.

Nancy Sitler married Isaac B. Snider on Mar. 17, 1861.  Click here for their story.

Henry C. Sitler married Susannah Good, daughter of Joseph Good & Anna Whitmore, on Mar. 26, 1867.  They moved to Mosa Twp., Middlesex Co. at some point and raised 8 children.  Henry's date of death is not known, but Susannah died July 27, 1910 and they are both buried in Mosa Twp.

Anna Elizabeth Sitler married Simon Martin, son of Joseph Martin & Susannah Wenger, on May 13, 1864 in Conestogo.  They emigrated to Kent County, Michigan sometime after their marriage and farmed there for the duration of their lives.  She was known there as Eliza A. (Sidler) Martin.  They had 9 children.  Simon died in 1907 and Eliza in 1918.

John C. Sitler married Mary Spaetzel on Christmas day, 1868.  Her parents were Wilhelm Spaetzel & Elizabeth Wismer.  The 1871 spring census lists Mary as having died within the preceding 12 months at age 19.  She had borne one daughter, Mary Ann.  After her death, John married Lydia Gingerich, daughter of David Gingerich & Lydia Weber.  They had 6 more children.  One of John's grandsons was Henry Sittler, founding manager of Home Hardware.  John C. Sitler died on Oct. 7, 1904.

The wife of Isaac C. Sitler was Hannah Groh, daughter of Christian Groh & Susannah Miller.  After their marriage in Hespeler in 1870, they raised 9 children.  Isaac died on June 22, 1902 in Heidelberg.

Jacob C. Sitler farmed on his father's homestead until it was sold after his father's death.  His wife was Susannah Bechtel, daughter of Joseph Bechtel & Sarah Miller.  They lived in Waterloo County until the early 1890s when they moved west to homestead in Cottonwood, SK., just west of Regina.  It was there that their 11th and 12th children were born.  Susannah died Aug. 27, 1916 and Jacob in 1939.  Both are buried in the Cottonwood cemetery.

Susannah Sitler married David M. Brubacher, son of John Brubacher and Magdalena Musselman, on Oct. 10, 1871.  Susannah & David had 12 children.  She died in Waterloo on Boxing Day, Dec. 26, 1906.  David died Sept. 12, 1917.  Susannah's and David's obituaries are online at Mennobits.

Moses C. Sitler married Rachel Shoemaker, daughter of John F. Shoemaker & Ann Sherington, on Christmas Day 1884 in Berlin.  By 1895 they were living in Lantonia, Ohio where he was a carpenter.  The 1900 census shows them having one 11-year-old son named John.  Rachel died Jan. 28, 1909 and Moses died Feb. 6, 1924 in Ohio.

Later in Life

John & Sarah shared their farm and house with son Jacob and his wife in their later years.  Jacob seems to have taken over the duties of running of the farm.

In 1876, John became sick with consumption (usually caused by tuberculosis) and gradually became weaker.  Knowing his time was soon at an end, he finalized his will on Oct. 12, 1876.  He died two months later on Dec. 15.  [His obituary says the 13th, but his death registration and tombstone say the 15th.]  

John had made thorough arrangements to ensure his wife would have enough money for many years after his death, but it would turn out to be an unnecessary preparation.  Sarah died 3 weeks after John and their obituaries were published together.  (Obituaries from Mennobits, Feb. 1877 edition.)

Dec. 13th, in Twp. Waterloo, Ont., of consumption, Bro. John Sittler, aged 65 years, 9 months and 11 days.

Jan. 4th 1877, of apoplexy or a misstep, she fell down the stairway, and died in a few hours, [illegible] Sittler, wife of the above, aged 64 years, and 23 days.

Dr. Bingham of Waterloo recorded Sarah's cause of death as "compression of the brain", which probably resulted from hitting her head during her fall down the stairs.  She died 4 hours after her accident.

John & Sarah are buried in the Martin Mennonite Cemetery in Waterloo.

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Last updated July 08, 2005