5th Missouri Volunteer Regiment
Christopher Adam Stifel comes from a large family of German immigrants. His father, William Frederick Stifel, was the proprietor of a small brewery in Neuffen, Germany. After the death of his wife in 1844 he joined his children in Wheeling, West Virginia. His son John Luis, the second child, brought his father to this country. William Stifel, age 72, was living with his son, J. Louis, at the time of the 1850 census of Wheeling.
Christopher was born on 15 November 1826 in Neuffen, Wurttenberg, Germany, the last of the nine children of Wilhelm (William) Friedrich and Anna Katharina Ren Stifel. Christopher (Christoph) died on 19 October 1904 in St. Louis County, Missouri. He is buried in the Valhalla Crematorium, St. Louis County, Missouri. He was 77 years old.
Eight of William's nine children immigrated to the United States between 1833 and 1841. The settled in Wheeling, West Virginia, Burlington, Iowa and St. Louis, Missouri. Christopher immigrated to the United States in 1841 at the age of 15, first settling in Wheeling, West Virginia, where he lived for seven years before returning to Germany for his health. In July 1849 he returned to the United States and settled in St. Louis with his brothers Charles and Jacob. The three brothers conducted the City Brewery located at Collins and Biddle Streets. In the 1850 census, all three brothers were living in the same household in St. Louis. The head of the household was Charles who was listed as a brewer and boarding house owner with $3000 worth of real estate. Jacob was also a brewer, and Christopher is listed as a barkeeper. In the 1859 St. Louis City Director Christopher A. Stifel is listed as: Occupation: saloon, 40 Cherry. At the time of the 1860 census, Christopher "Stieffel" age 33 was a saloon Keeper with $2000 worth of real estate and $700 worth of personal property. Another brother, William Frederick had immigrated to the U. S. in 1839 and settled in St. Louis by 1843, when he started a small brewery with Julius Winkelmeyer. William died of cholera on June 28, 1850
On 21 November 1857, Christopher married Amelia Henrietta Hammerstein in St. Louis. Amelia was born on 22 February 1839 in Hochhausen, Prussia, Germany. She died on 18 December 1891 in St. Louis, and is buried in Valhalla Crematorium in St. Louis. Christopher and Amelia had seven children: Bertha, Herman, Otilia, Emilie, Laura, Hugo, and Oscar.
In 1853 Christopher founded the St. Louis Gymnastic Society. It was also known as the St. Louis Turnverein Society, aka The Turners. Early in 1861, in anticipation of an outbreak in Missouri, the brothers purchased about fifty muskets, and got together a company of one hundred men, to whom they began giving military instructions in the malt house connected with their brewery.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Christopher and his brother Charles organized from among the Turners of St. Louis a splendid cavalry company. This was the Fifth Missouri Volunteer Regiment. Christopher personally drilled the cavalry company to a high degree of perfection. While at Camp Lewis a chief part of the militia organizations were made up of Germans, and there were so many of them in the first organizations, which attempted to drill at Camp Lewis, that the commanding officers, most of whom were Americans or Irishmen, found it impossible to make the military commands intelligible to their German militiamen. Captain Christopher Stifel proposed that a synopsis of the commands should be printed in German for the benefit of the soldiers, and that Franz Sigel, then a schoolteacher in the city, should be employed to coach the German soldiers to an understanding of the different words of command. It was under these particular conditions that Mr. Sigel became interested in military affairs and commenced that career which resulted in his becoming General Sigel of the United States Army.
When prompt action became necessary they organized a regiment within forty-eight hours, and on May 12th, the day after the capture of Camp Jackson, marched it to the arsenal, where it was regularly, mustered into the United States service for three months by General Lyon. Of this regiment, which became known as the Fifth Regiment of the United States Reserve Corps, Charles became colonel and Christopher became a captain. After receiving arms and other equipment at the arsenal, this regiment proceeded to a rendezvous in the north end of the city, and while passing up Walnut Street was attacked by a mob of secession sympathizers. Two of the soldiers were killed, and seven wounded, the attack of the rioters was repelled with a loss of thirty-eight killed and wounded. A week later they were ordered to report to duty at Boonville with three hundred men, and when General Lyon left that place for the South, a few days afterward, Charles was placed in command of Western Missouri and Kansas. He had two steamboats at his disposition, and artillery equipment that consisted of two twelve-pound cannons and one sixty-eight pound howitzer, and with the forces under his command he determined to inaugurate active military operations. Confederate Colonel Joe Shelby was in camp fifteen miles below Lexington, Missouri, adding daily to the strength of his forces by enlistments. Colonel Stifel resolved to take Shelby by surprise, and planned an attack, which should be made at daybreak simultaneously by two detachments of his troops, one of which was dispatched by boat to the scene of the action, and the other by land. The movement was entirely successful, and being under the impression that he was attacked by forces superior too his own, Shelby was completely routed.
Later Colonel Stifel and the Fifth Regiment moved to the western part of the State, and fought a spirited engagement at Blue Mills, near Independence, routing the enemy and capturing that place. The Fifth Regiment continued in active service, having numerous skirmishes with the enemy for almost a month after the period for which the troops had enlisted. Being then relieved from duty, at Jefferson City, they returned to St. Louis with the command, and were mustered out of service. Afterward Charles reorganized the regiment and, entering the three years' service, was in command of it for six months. Meantime his business affairs had been badly managed in St. Louis, and feeling it imperative that he should give them some attention, he tendered his resignation. General
Pope under whom he was serving at the time, at first refused to accept it, telling him that he could not be spared from the service. Subsequently, however, when informed by Colonel Stifel that he was being financially ruined by the reckless conduct of his business in his absence from home, General Pope accepted his resignation and he returned to St. Louis.
In 1863, Christopher gave up his interest in the City Brewery to go into the wholesale leaf tobacco business. By 1864, Christopher had formed a partnership with Leonard Emil Plochman. The St. Louis Directory of that year lists Stifel & Plochman (Christopher A. Stifel & Emil Plochman) tobacco and cigar manufacturers, 13 Pine. Christopher's residence was given as Rosatti B. Sidney and Linch. Plochman died on June 27, 1867, ending the partnership.
By 1869 Christopher had formed a new partnership with Edward W. Benson. Their company is listed in the St. Louis Directory of that year as Stifel and Benson (Christopher A. Stifel and Edward W. Benson) wholesale tobacco dealers, 119 Pine. In 1869 Christopher and family resided at 1713 Market, where they appear to have lived until the 1870's. In the 1870 census, Christopher "Stefel" is listed, age 42, occupation Tobacco Merchant.
Christopher appears to have become quite prosperous by the time of the 1870 St. Louis Directory when he was listed as a proprietor of Julius Winkelmeyer & Co., Stifel & Benson, Vice President of the German Fire Insurance Company, Vice President of the German Bank of St. Louis and a Director of German Mutual Life Insurance Company. By 1870, Christopher's brother-in-law Julius Hammerstein had become a partner in Stifel & Benson listed as "tobacco dealers" at 119 Pine. Julius Hammerstein is not listed as a partner in Stifel & Benson in the 1871 and 1879 St. Louis Directories, but is listed as a partner in 1880, along with Frederick Recklein.
By 1870, Christopher and family had moved to 966 Chouteau Avenue, where he lived for the rest of his life. Frederick Recklein died February 9, 1882, and the partnership continued as Stifel & Benson, proprietors Christopher A. Stifel, Edward W. Benson and Julius Hammerstein, and was still doing business at 119 Pine at the time of the 1890 City Directory. Edward Benson died October 24, 1895. His will names "my friend Christoph A. Stifel" as executor and guardian of his two minor children.
Christopher was President of the Missouri Crematory Association at the time of his wife's death in 1891. He retired from active business at that time, but later became President of the German Life Insurance Company, holding that office at the time of his death and at the time of his death his estate was valued at over $92000, not including four parcels of real estate.
Christopher A. Stifel was well known in St. Louis before, during and after the Civil War. He was a "founder" of the St. Louis Ethical Society. He was a member of the first City Council under the New Scheme and Charter. He was elected to the St. Louis House of Delegates from the Third Ward in 1874. He operated the Stifel Brewery one of the many breweries in St. Louis. He conducted the City Brewery at Collins and Biddle Streets. He organized the wholesale leaf tobacco firm of Stifel & Plochman to be known later as Stifel and Benson. He was both Vice president of the German Bank of St. Louis and of the German Fire Insurance Company. Later he became President of the German Life Insurance Company and the Jefferson Mutual Life Insurance Company. He belonged to the group who introduced and promoted the first crematory project in the city, and from the beginning he was the President of the St. Louis Crematory and the Missouri Crematory Association. He was also the founder of the St. Louis Gymnastic Society established in 1853 also known as the St. Louis Turnverein Society.
In 1877 Christopher induced the members of the St. Louis Turnverein Society to advance money for the perfection of the St. Louis Pompiers, which has since become a distinct feature of the St. Louis Fire Department. He persuaded the municipal officers to make it a part of the department with a demonstration. It gave such an effective demonstration in fire fighting that the city bought the equipment and established the brigade as a feature of the fire department, the first city in America to do so.
He persuaded the municipal officers to make it a part of the department with a demonstration. It gave such an effective demonstration in fire fighting that the city bought the equipment and established the brigade as a feature of the fire department, the first city in America to do so.