Confer Biography
George Cunfer

Mike Gifford

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The first of my ancestors that I am certain of (if we can ever be certain of anything) was George Cunfer. He was a farmer and was married to Elizabeth Barbara Shellhammer. For many years I did not know her maiden name. But she was the daughter of Philip Jacob Shellhammer. When I was first shown their tombstones, I was told she was an Indian. I have not been able to prove this, but I have my own theory and reasons for believing Elizabeth Donat was not her mother. But I only have reasons and theories – no proof.

George & Elizabeth are both buried in St. John’s cemetery in the Mahoning Valley. The tombstones are very obliterated and are in German. They must have been among the earliest buried there, but unfortunately all of St. John’s records are not available. There is a record though that Rev. Bartholomew buried Elizabeth Confer Sept. 17, 1868, aged 77 tears, 2 mos. & 21 das. When I first saw the stones back in the 1960’s they were very hard to decipher. I tried rubbings and it looked like George’s dates were born February 10, 1789 and died in 1852. It looks like Elizabeth was born June 26, 1791 and died Sept. 17, 1868. I have not been able to find a burial record for George.

The first records I find for them are in Heidelberg Church where two of their children are baptized. These are probably their first two children because it looks like Elizabeth was 19 when the first child was born and George 21. So they were probably married in 1809 at 18 & 20.

Parents Child Sponsors
George Kunfert & wf. Eliza. Barb. JOHANN GEORGE
b. June 17, 1810
bapt. July 22, 1810
This child may have died, as I find no other record.
Conrad & Susanna Wehr nee (Ebert)
George & Eliza. Barbara DANIEL
b. Dec. 9, 1811
bapt. Feb. 2, 1812
I do find later records for Daniel.
Daniel Brandstatter & wf.

A note on the Brandstatters: They were also sponsors for Lidia Schneider in 1813, child of Jacob & Margaretha. Daniel & Christina Brandstatter had a child Johannes (Aug. 6, 1804) & a dau. Maria (Sept. 27, 1808) Sp. were Nicholas & Eliza. Sneider. In 1816 Dan. & Christina sold 3 acres in Heidelberg to Abe German. There were also a Dan. & Solomon Brandstatter on the tax list of 1812. The progenitor of the family was Jacob. This is one of the families that moved out of the Lehigh Valley area.

George & Elizabeth then appear to have moved to Ben Salem (or maybe they just changed churches) and were among the first settlers in the area. The name Confer appears as early as 1794. There is a gap, rather large for that day, between Daniel born in 1811 and Elias born in 1816. Elizabeth had children regularly. If anyone was born in that 4 year time period, we have no record. There could have been miscarriages or deaths. Elizabeth would have been in her early 20s in those years, so should have been relatively healthy. My ancestor, Jacob, is not on the Ben Salem list, but he would have fit in right between Gideon & Elizabeth.

George Kunfert & wf. Eliza. Barb. ELIAS
b. Jan. 19, 1816
bapt. March 31, 1816
I have no further record of Elias.
George Beck & wf. Barbara
George Cunfert & Eliza. Barbara JOHANNES
b. Jan. 1818
bapt. April 30, 1818
I believe this is the John who appears on census records.
Johan Freyman & wf. Magdalena

A note on the Freyman family which seems to have intermarried with the Cunfers in several generations. Johann & Magdalena Freyman were the parents of Jonathan & Mary Ann Freyman. Philip Gombert (Stephen Cunfer’s sponsor & guardian) and his wife Salome Hoffman, were parents of John Gombert whose wife was another Mary Ann Freyman.

George Kunfert & wf. Eliza. Barb. MARIA (Polly)
b. March 17, 1819
bapt. May 20, 1819
Daniel Reinsmith & wf. Barbara

Some information on Polly. She married William Schneck (he was born June 20, 1815) on August 11, 1837 at 18. She died June 16, 1845 of child bed fever at 26 yrs., 1 mo., 3 das. Said to have 1 son and 3 daughters. I have no record of the birth of a son, but I have these three daughters:

  • Angelina b. March 15, 1839 Reformed Unionville
  • Elvina b. Aug. 20, 1843 Lutheran Unionville
  • Julia Amanda b. Jan. 8, 1845; died July 7, 1845. Buried by Dubs (also called Jane) Another record gives her birth as June 8, 1845 which I would concur with as Polly died that month. Angelina and Elvina survived their mother.


George Konfer & wf. Eliza. Barb. NENNE (ANNA)
b. March 17, 1822
bapt. May 22, 1822
She married Jesse Krum
Frantz Krum & wf. Anna Elizabeth nee Hunsicker - She may have been the granddaughter of an Arner & he was the son of Johannes Krum, Sr. who was the son of Anthony Krum & Gertrude Krum.

Note: During this time period, Jordan Lutheran Church records a Henry & Eliza. Kumpfer as parents of Catharina b. Aug. 20, 1817 (sp. Peter & Mag. Guth), and Peter b. April 27, 1825.

George Kuhnfer & wf. Eliza. GEDION
b. Jan. 31, 1825
bapt. April 17, 1825
Jonas Hanz & wf. Sarah
b. Jan. 4, 1827
There is no record for Jacob, but this is where he would fit.
George Cunfer & wf. Elizabeth ELIZABETH
b. May 5, 1829
bapt. June 14, 1829
She appears to have died young. No further record.
Joni Freiman & wf. Salome
George Cunfer & wf. Eliza.
Eliza. would have been 41 when she had this child.
b. Oct. 2, 1831
Bapt. Oct. 30, 1831
Henrich Arner & 1st wife Catherine Daubenspeck
(Henry was son of Wm., grdson of Felix. His mother was Magdalena Krum)

Note: Lydia Cunfer married David Lentz (son of Jacob & Eliza. Rehrig Lentz) on Feb. 15, 1852, by Rev. Bauer. David was born Feb. 10, 1827 and died Jan. 2, 1867. He is buried in Dinkey’s cemetery.

Known children are:

  • Anna Maria b. 1855; d. 1858
  • Rosina b. 1861; d. 1867
  • Anna Rebecca, b. 1862
  • Ellementa, b. 1866

There was a Lydia Cunfer 21 and a Susan Horn aged 21 living in the home of Michael Garber 40 farmer and his wife Mary 38. Their children were: Nathan 11 and harriet 3. 1850 census - Mauch Chunk Twp..

Georg Confer & wf.
Eliza. would have been 47 when this child was born!! 28 yrs. of childbearing!!
b. Oct. 1, 1838
bapt. Jan. 20, 1839
Philip Gumber (Gombert) & wf. Salome
Jesse Krum and Anna Cunfer Levinia (named after Jesse’s sister?)
b. Nov. 4, 1845
bapt. Jan. 2, 1846
George & Eliza. Kunfer (grandparents)

Note: I found one place where Jesse is listed as the son of the godparents for Anna Cunfer (who later became his wife), Frantz & Anna Elizabeth Hunsicker Krum. Jesse Krum’s name was Edward. He died about 1889. There are two small stones in St. John’s Mahoning marked sons of Jesse Krum. At his death, George (not his father-in-law) Cunfer bought his land. Perhaps that was his nephew. He left these children:

  • Edward m. Elizabeth Krum
  • Jefferson m. Ellen Krum
  • Levinia m. John Hess
  • Medina m. Nathan Gombert

Jesse Krum was the administrator of his father-in-law’s estate. The inventory was filed October 21, 1852 and the order of sale Jan. 5, 1853. George Cunfer died intestate about 1852. In the Deed Book, vol. 5, page 535 in Carbon County Court House, his release was signed by the following heirs and the 150 perches of land sold to Daniel, his oldest surviving child, a miner.

The other heirs were:

  1. John & Eliza. Cunfer (miner) Mauch Chunk Twp. The 1900 census of Mahoning Twp.has John (84) and Eliza. (82) Cunfer having been married 61 years: 5 children, 3 living. John’s birth is given as Aug. 1815-16; Eliza. as Jan. 1818. This may be the reverse though, as John was Jan. 1818 and census records are notorious for incorrect dates.
  2. David Peter of Washington Twp., guardian for Angelina and Elvina Schneck, children of the deceased Polly Cunfer.
  3. Gideon & Elizabeth (farmer) Mahoning Twp.
  4. Jacob & Caroline (carpenter) Mahoning Twp.
  5. Jesse Krum & Anna (blacksmith) Mahoning Twp.
  6. Philip Gombert, guardian for Stephan Cunfer
  7. David Lentz and wife Lydia Cunfer

Elias, Johan George and Elizabeth are not mentioned, so must have died as young children.

One thing about the sponsors for George & Elizabeth Barbara’s children – there are no Shellhammers or Confers as sponsors. On George’s side, this could be because he had mainly sisters and we don’t know their married names. Perhaps his mother was dead or remarried or moved away. On Elizabeth’s side, we do find mention of 2 of her brothers and on sister in the records of Ben Salem:

Dan. Shellhammer & Christina Johannes Abe. Shellhammer &

Nov. 23, 1818 Susanna Ebner

Dan. Shellhammer & Christina Daniel Jonas Wehr

Sept. 19, 1820 Salome Schellhammer

Curious that while these 3 seem connected, none of them are listed as sponsors for Elizabeth’s children.


George Confer in the Census records:

1810 Heidelberg Twp., Lehigh County
George Kumfer - first year a child is recorded to him in Heidelberg. He would have been about 21.

1820 East Penn, Carbon County
Kunfer, George Farmer engaged in manufacturing - manufacturing what? Was he also a carpenter?
3 males under 10 (could be Daniel, Elias & Johannes)
1 male under 16 (could be Johann George?)
1 male over 26 & under 45 (George, himself)
1 female under 10 (Maria)
1 female between 26 & 45 (Elizabeth)
All listed as free white

1830 East Penn Twp. Northampton County
Counfer, George
2 males under 5 (probably Gideon & Jacob)
0 males between 5 & 10
1 male between 10 & 15 (Was this Johannes?)
2 males between 15 & 20 (Could be Elias & Daniel)
1 male between 40 & 50 (George)
0 females under 5 (Elizabeth would have been 1. Since she is not listed here and there seems to be no further record, she probably died.)
2 females between 5 & 10 (Anna and Maria)
0 females between 10 & 15
0 females between 15 & 20
1 female between 40 & 50 (Elizabeth)
Note: Lydia & Stephan were not born yet. Johann George may have died or moved away. Seems to be no further record, so he may have died young. In place of Johann George & Elias, there may even have been 1 or 2 more who died young, whose names we do not have. Remember the gap of four years between 1812 - 1816 when we have no records.

1840 East Penn Twp. Northampton County
Kunfer, George
0 males under 5 (Stephan should have been here as he was around 1 or 2)
2 males under 10 (could they have put Jacob & Stephen here?)
1 male under 15 (Jacob was 13, but maybe they put Gideon here who was about 15)
1 male under 60 (George)
0 females under 5
1 female under 10 (Lydia)
0 females under 15 (Anna & Maria were probably out of the house)
1 female under 60 (Elizabeth)

1850 Mahoning Twp., Carbon County, Oct. 17, 1850
Kunfer, George 65 farmer born in PA
Elizabeth 63 born in PA
Kate Nyer Kunfer 20 Gideon’s wife, Elizabeth, who he married in June 1850.
Stephan 12
Gideon 25 laborer

George died about 2 years later in 1852.


(This information was submitted by Patricia Shirock)



This page was last updated on September 27, 2005