Stauffer Family

About the Stauffer Family

John Stauffer Sr., of Swiss heritage, was born in Pennsylvania in 1810.  He married a Maria Stauffer, no relation.  John was known as an excellent herdsman and hunter.  For this reason, he was selected, along with Maria’s brother Hans Stauffer, as one of ten scouts who crossed the Oregon Trail and selected Willapa Bay in Washington Territory as the site for Keil’s new western colony.  John and his family continued to live at Willapa until 1866 when, in response to Keil’s call for his daughters to work in the new hotel he moved the family to near Aurora.

A Log House

The Stauffer Family log house was constructed about 1867, and it is still located three miles south of Aurora and just north of Hubbard.  It is one of three surviving log structures from the Aurora Colony, and it is currently the site of a very active farm program conducted by the historical society for schoolchildren.  The colony mill could not supply lumber fast enough to meet the demand for building material.  But John Stauffer had his own answer.  The district was rich in medium growth timber, so why not build a log house?  Oddly, a new home built by the Stauffer family in 1883 has not survived while the log house has. 

A Double Wedding

On September 3, 1876 Christina Stauffer married William Wolfer and her sister Hannah Stauffer married Jacob Steinbach in front of the fire place at the Stauffer log cabin.
One observer remembered that “it was a festive occasion and a bright sunny morning—-music from a pick-up orchestra waxed clear and beautiful, and a table ran the full length of the dining hall loaded with food.”

How the Colony Worked

John Stauffer Sr. exchanged apples, onion sets, dried apples, eggs, butter, lard, bacon and plums as well as occasional animal skins converting them into cash value at the colony store.  Dried apples made up the bulk of his goods.  In 1874, he brought 333 pounds to the store.

After the colony disbanded, He returned to Willapa where, in 1886, he was killed by a falling tree. 
In 1920, the Stauffer family claim on the farmstead passed into the Will family ownership as a result of the marriage of August Will and Matilda Stauffer.


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