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Sophia Pfeiffer

Submitted by James M. Richmond

Sophia Pfeiffer, who was born in Venango Township of Crawford Co., PA, about 1825.  She was the daughter of  Johannes Pfeiffer (b. 16 May 1789 in Mahonoy Township, Northumberland Co., PA; d. 6 July 1864 in Venango Township, Crawford Co., PA) and Susannah Hetrick (b. 5 May 1788 in Northumberland Co., PA; d. 27 July 1838 in Venango Township, Crawford Co., PA). 

This image was passed down through five generations via Sophia's sister, Mary Magdalene Pfeiffer (b. 30 May 1812 in Venango Township, Crawford Co., PA; d. 12 Oct 1857 in Riley, McHenry Co., IL.)  Mary Magdalene Pfeiffer married Alfred Fitz Randolph (b. 21 Sept 1808 in Meadville, Crawford Co., PA; d. 1 Nov 1878, Bedford, Taylor Co., Iowa), son of Taylor Fitz Randolph and Sarah Baum. Alfred and Mary, in 1844, moved to Wisconsin where they lived for a short time, then settled in McHenry County, IL, where on 4 Apr 1859 he purchased some land for $500 from John and Margaret A. Kleckner, previously of Cambridge Township, Crawford Co., PA.  The sale was recorded by Justice of the Peace,  Isaac Peiffer, on the 10th day of April 1859.  This farm is located in northwestern McHenry Co., about two miles west of the city of Harvard.  It is located about 1/2 mile west of the intersection of Norma Lane and Oak Grove Road.  Alfred and Mary had one son, Dr. Walter Fitz Randolph (b. 9 Dec 1833 in Muddy Creek, Woodcock Township, Crawford Co., PA; d. 4 Jan 1903, Chicago, Cook Co., IL), who received his medical degree from Rush Medical College of Chicago, in 1869.  Walter married Rachel Goodsil, daughter of  Curtis Goodsil and Eunice Smith, on 2 Feb 1864 in Riley, McHenry Co., IL. Walter and Rachel settled in July of 1870 in Bedford, Taylor Co., Iowa, where he served as mayor, County Coroner, and County Surveyor. This image of Sophia Pfeiffer was passed down to a daughter of Walter and Rachel's, Elizabeth Fitz Randolph (b. 4 May 1869 in Marengo, McHenry Co., IL; d. 12 July 1941, Bedford, Iowa.)  Elizabeth Fitz Randolph married Sanford Pell Hall Gorin McCorkle (b. 16 July 1869; d. 26 Apr 1921 at Hopkins, MO) on 16 Aug 1906 in Denver, Colorado.   Elizabeth Fitz Randolph passed the image to her youngest daughter, Mary Louise McCorkle (b. 5 Oct 1912 in Bedford, Iowa; d. 10 Oct 1999 in Hopkins, MO).  Mary McCorkle gave the image to her niece, Jeannette McCorkle Richmond, who is also the great, great, grand niece of Sophia Pfeiffer.   Sophia Pfeiffer married, on 1 Jan 1845, Isaac Peiffer (b. 23 Feb 1818 in Woodcock Township, Crawford Co., PA), son of Michael Peiffer and Rebecca Berlin. They had Serapta Peiffer who married John W. Floyd, and Rebecca Peiffer.   Isaac Peiffer was the first Burgess of the borough of Venango, which was incorporated in 1852.  The articles below give more detail: "He served one term as Justice of the Peace of Venango Township, Crawford County, PA, two terms as Burgess of the Venango Borough, and was School Director of the borough and township for thirty two years.  In politics he was a Republican."  From the History of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, page 1121. "The borough of Venango was incorporated in 1852, when Isaac Peiffer was elected the first Burgess.  The first settlement in this locality was made by Philp Straw, who established himself on the site of the village in 1797.  In 1817 Solomon Walters ad John Lasher purchased the land, and as there was at that time probability of a turnpike passing through it, they laid out a village plot.  The road went another way, and the land, after changing hands several times, was purchased in 1832 by John Kleckner, together with a mill which had been built there.  He repaired the sawmill and built a grist mill, operating them together many years.  In 1838 he had the village plot surveyed and named it Klecknerville, which was fortunately changed to Venango when incorporated.  John Lasher, a farmer, John Bender, a blacksmith, and George Thomas, a shoemaker, were early residents of the village.  The first store was kept by Reynolds & May, of Erie, while the first tavern was opened by Philip Kleckner in 1840. "...The Zion Evangelical Church was organized at Venango borough in 1816 by Rev. Colson, with fourteen original members.  A log church was commenced the same year, but was not completed, the services in the winter being held in the schoolhouse and in the summer in the unfinished log church.  In 1839 a large frame structure was erected, and in this regular services were held for the next forty years.  In 1879 a frame church was erected on the same lot, on the eastern side of Church Street, at a cost of $2,500.  This is the oldest religious society in Venango borough.  "The First Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized in 1875, by sixty-two former members of the Zion Church, who left it to form a new society.  Rev. I.J. Delo became its first pastor. M.L. Faulkner and John Muckenhoupt were the first elders, and David Good and H.J. Brookhouser the first deacons.  In 1877 a handsome edifice was erected by this society on the eastern side of Meadville Street, at a cost of $3,500.  From A Historical and Memorial Record of Crawford County, PA, page 643.   

View photo of her brother, William Bird Peiffer



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