Württemberg adjoins Bavaria.Württemberg is on the west edge of Bavaria and on the east edge of southern France.Württemberg & Bavaria are the southern states of Germany. The home of most of the early SCHÖNER immigrants, Ehrstædt, was in Baden-Württemberg, east of Heidelberg.The Mathias SHANER that served in the Revolution & lived in Beaver Co., PA, was from Strasbourg. I think his branch of the family may have gone down the river from Ehrstædt because the SCHÖNER name disappeared from Ehrstædt.Strasbourg is just across the border between Württemberg and France, in Alsace-Lorraine.You may be right that shifting borders caused the differing information that members of your family were from France, Württemberg, & Bavaria.All three could be true at different times.Your family was in the same vicinity as the other SCHÖNER families.
The Erie Canal was built around 1820 [approximately 1817 - 1824].George would not have been born until about 1839 and would only have been about twelve in 1851, if his age in 1880 was right.He could have come to work on the canal, but most of the immigrants who came to work on the canal came to build it.
Perhaps if you post the 1860 census information exactly as given and also post the biography, somebody might find a clue.