The second Swiss-German family in Wood County and the initial first generation Swiss-German family to settle in Wood
County and remain here was that of Stephen Affolter. Fifty-two years old, five feet four inches tall with black hair,
an oval face and brown eyes, he was a laborer in Seuzingen, Switzerland, when he was issued a passport in Berne, Switzerland,
on February 26, 1866, for the purpose of leaving for America. He was also married and the father of four boys and a
girl. The purpose given for his emigration from Switzerland was to join relatives already in the United States.
One son, Frederic, had preceded him to the United States in 1862; he eventually married Mary Meider, who was a member
of the Red Hill Evangelical United Brethern Church and a resident of the Loomis Ridge area of Wood County. Frederick
had been born in the Canton of Berne in 1839.
The daughter, Elizabeth, who accompanied her mother and father as well as another brother to the United States, had been
born in the same canton. Specifically, she was born in Lautizkan. Three years after her arrival in America she
was married in Pittsburgh to a Civil War veteran of the Union army. As the Battle of Chancellorsville, the same one
which took the life of the famous Confederate general with Wood County roots ("Stonewall" Jackson), he was shot through the
nose, and the round was lodged in the roof of his mouth. His name was George Beorn.
The couple came to Wood County and began to farm along Gillespie Run between two important 19th century Wood County roads
-- the Parkersburg-St. Marys Turnpikes and the Old Northwestern Turnpike. Their post office address was Boreman, West
At this location, they raised five sons and four daughters while Mr. Beorn became involved in county politics as a Republican,
served as County Road Surveyor between 1876 and 1878, and deeded an acre of land at Red Hill to a group interested in constructing
a Lutheran Church. When completed in 1887, it was the first Lutheran church in Wood County. It's founding, dedication,
and growth will be the subject of a future segment of this series sponsored by the West Virginia Honey Festival with the assistance
of Artsbridge and the Parkersburg News in preparation for the French-German Fest to be held between six and eight on
Saturday, September 24, 1988, at the City Park.
When Beorn and his wife died the Beorn homestead was conveyed to their daughter and son-in-law, Sophia and Elmer Boone.
Near it, across Gillespie Run, was the picturesque Affolter homestead. A photograph of it accompanies this article.
The photograph and most of the material for the accompanying narrative was provided by the present Affolter occupying it,
Mrs. Annabelle Affolter Edwards. Her great-grandfather, Stephen Affolter, died on February 6, 1894, and is buried in
the cemetery which had been opened alongside the aforementioned Red Hill Luthern Church. Today it is neatly kept and
can be found a short distance south along Dutch Ridge Road off U.S. 50 East.
A short distance away to the north in the Red Hill United Methodist Church cemetery, equally neat, can be found the gravesites
of his son and daughter-in-law, Frederic and mary Meider Affolter. At the time that they were interred in the early
1920s, the cemetery was known as the Red Hill Evangelical United Brethern Church Cemetery. To reach it, turn left instead
of right at the U.S. 50 Dutch Road intersection.