Stauffer, John Gehman (1837-1911)
John Gehman Stauffer, Mennonite (General Conference Church) publisher of Quakertown, Pennsylvania, was born near Spinnerstown, Milford Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on 18 September 1837, a direct descendant of the immigrant Hans Stauffer (arrived 1710 at Valley Forge), and the son of Jacob O. and Elizabeth (Hiestand) Stauffer. In November 1856 he entered the employ of the Mennonitischer Druckverein in Milford Square, soon becoming manager of the small business, as well as compositor, printer, and assistant editor. The chief business of the shop was the publication of Das Christliche Volks-Blatt (first issue June 30, 1856). Stauffer continued as an employee in the shop until in 1867 when he apparently bought the shop and continued to print the publications of the Druckverein and its successors on a job basis. In 1881 he moved his shop and family to Quakertown, calling the shop the Quakertown Printing and Publishing House. He printed most of the books, pamphlets, etc., for John Oberholtzer.
After he bought the print shop in 1867 Stauffer started publishing a German weekly local newspaper, Independent Reformer, later changed to Der Reformer, then to Patriot and Reformer, for a time also apparently as Der Bucks County Patriot und Reformer und Agriculturist (see Reformer und Agriculturist); it is very difficult at this date to secure a clear idea of these various publications and their relation to each other. In August 1881 he started an English weekly, the Quakertown Free Press, which he sold in July 1882.
Stauffer's strong religious interest was expressed in his publication of the German and English monthly Sunday-school papers, Himmelsmanna (1876-1906) and Manna (1879-1908), and the monthly Die Kirche (soon changed to Gemeinde unterm Kreuz (1885-91). He published the last paper as a staunch Mennonite journal, with a circulation of about 2,000, until about 1889, when he seemingly lost interest in the Mennonite Church. Die Gemeinde unterm Kreuz was of course in direct competition with the General Conference Mennonite Church organ, Christlicher Bundesbote, and it may be that he found it impossible to secure the necessary Mennonite support to keep it going. An evaluation of Stauffer's work is given in the article Kirche unterm Kreuz. Daniel G. Stauffer was a brother. The Uriah S. Stauffer (b. 1859) who took charge of J. G. Stauffer's shop in 1880 and soon bought out the Quakertown Free Press and the Patriot and Reformer was a son of Enos Stauffer, a relative of J. G. Stauffer. J. G. Stauffer married Sarah Geissinger on 11 June 1870. They had two children, Berend G. and Anna. He died in 1911 at the home of his daughter in California.
Battle, J. History of Bucks County. Philadelphia, 1887: 1067 f., contains a biographical sketch of J. G. Stauffer.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 620-621. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Bender, Harold S. "Stauffer, John Gehman (1837-1911)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/stauffer_john_gehman_1837_1911.
APA style: Bender, Harold S. (1959). Stauffer, John Gehman (1837-1911). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/stauffer_john_gehman_1837_1911.