Recollections of a Lifetime
The book "Recollections of a Lifetime" by Col. D.S. Dewees was published in 1904, from Eden, Calhoun County West Virginia.
by Col. D.S. Dewees
Col. D.S. DeWees (1821-1905) was a resident of Calhoun County West Virginia in the 1800's, a Confederate Veteran of the Civil war, and is known for his book which has been noted as an invaluable source of historical information regarding Calhoun County families in the 19th century.
Serious genealogical researchers own a copy of this book. This writer does not. However, excerpts from the book were published in the Calhoun Chronicle in the late 1960s. Several of these newspaper clippings were found in the personal effects of Viola Starcher Cogar, and are reproduced here.
Regarding Col. DeWees, this note appeared in the Calhoun Chronicle 4/3/1969 (reproduced from the HurHerald)
W. Murray Smith of Clay who is interested in the reprint of the Dewees Recollections running in the Chronicle has sent along a copy of a letter from Boyd Stutler of Charleston, with a bit of information about the Colonel.
As noted, this book was apparantly dictated by Col. Dewees, and transcribed by one Aristotle Smith. An excellent article regarding Aristotle Smith can be found at the HurHerald AT THIS LINK.
Mr. Stutler said, "I knew Col Daniel Dewees as a youngster would know an old man. I was working on The Calhoun Chronicle when the old gent brought his manuscript in to get it printed. The price was too high and he went to Parkersburg. The writing was done by Aristotle Smith, king of West Fork eloquence." Mr. Stutler also said that Col. Dewees got too close to an old muzzle loader cannon during the Civil War and his face was badly marked with powder burns.
The manuscript is dated 1904. Much of the material concerns happenings of 50 years and more before that, when Calhoun county was first settled. On the copy of the manuscript which is being used by The Chronicle the name is spelled "Dewees" and that is therefore the way it is used although most members of this family have since added a final "e" to the name.
The Recollections are printed as is, except for some paragraphing to make it more readable. A good many of the sentences are overlong and rambling, but to make many corrections might change the meaning so they are left as they were.
The Jacob Shock Family
I will now give my recollection of Jacob Shock, wha married Mary, a daughter of Benjamin Green, who lived about the mouth of Laurel creek on Elk river above Sutton.
Jacob Shock came to Steer Creek and settled at the mouth of what is known as Shock's Mill run, where Rosedale now is, about the year of 1825, whose children were Robert, who married Margaret Stump, a daughter of Michael Stump, jr.; Elizabeth, Sarah, who married Archie Boggs, a son of James Boggs of Elk river, a son of the old original Charley Boggs, referred to in the onset of this narration; Alexander,
whose wife was Eliza Stump, a daughter of Absolom Stump, sr.; Mary, married Miller Jack Stump, a son of Absalom Stump, sr.; Rachael, who was Melville Stump's second wife, he being a son of Jacob Stump, sr.; Eli, whose wife was
Suzannah, Jacob Stump sr.'s second daughter; Mariah married Alexander Meadows; Jacob, who married Jemima Boggs, a sister to my first wife; Talitah, who married Warren, Bourn; and Perry, who married Druzilla Stout, a daughter cf Samuel Stout of Harrison county.
There were five of the first Starchers that I first knew, about the first of my recollection who came into this county from Harrison county. Jacob Starcher settled on Mill Creek, where Ripley now is in Jackson county, the county then being in Mason county, and was the father of four sons that I knew: William, Jacob. John and Manuel.
The other four old Starchers settled lived and died on the West Fork and adjacent territory. Philip Starcher, whose wife was Mary Bush, a sister to Joseph Parsons' wife, lived principally all his life on what is known as the old George Lynch place where Altizer post office now is. He was the father of Adam Starcher, who married Phoeba Cogar, the youngest daughter of Peter Cogar sr.
Adam Starcher lived and died on a very fine farm which he by the dint and energy of his own labors carved out of the wilderness on the West Fork near the mouth of Sinking Springs. He was the father of Thomas, Peter. Henry, Jacob and John and perhaps others.
Old Philip Starcher was married a second time, marrying Rebecca Mace, a daughter of old Isaac Mace. before spoken of, by this union there was Henry, who married Elizabeth Wayne, a daughter of Tunis Wayne, sr.; next Jacob, whose wife was Nancy Nutter, only daughter of William Nutter before mentioned, the husband of the widow Mary Nutter
before mentioned, who married John Steel and he died then she married Thomas Marks before mentioned.
Philip Starcher's third son by his second marriage, Abraham, married a Drinnin lady; next William, commonly known as Billy Head, whose first wife was Nancy Wayne, a daughter of Tunis Wayne, sr.; Isaac, whose wife was a Tanner lady a daughter of Jessie Tanner; and Arnold, whose wife was a Blosser lady. Philip Starcher's daughters were Mary, commonly called Polly, married John Blosser, and Sarah, married Solomon Greathouse.
The next of the old Starchers was Daniel, whose wife was Nancy Brannon, a daughter of Wighter of William Brannan, sr., and Mary.
Daniel Starcher first settled in the upper end of the long bottom, just above Millstone, known as the Jerry field, above Arnoldsburg, and was
the father of Billy, whose first wife was Nancy Tanner, a daughter of Jessie Tanner, and his second wife was Rosanna Barnhouse; next Josiah P., who married Nancy Nichcls, Soloman Nicholas' daughter as before stated.
Daniel Starcher, sr.'s daughters were: Hannah, who married Daniel Coger, a son of Peter Coger, sr., Elizabeth, who married Reece Ross, sr.; Barbara, who married Henderson Cobb.
Next of the old original Starchers was Abraham, sr., whose wife was Elizabeth Nutter, a daughter of John Nutter before spoken of. They were the parents of Mary, Sarah, Daniel and Andrew, all that I ever knew and but very little of them, the last of the five old Starchers that I knew was Jessie, who so far as I knew never had any family.
Now I will give a reminiscence of William Brannan sr., whose wife was Mary Paine. He was a tailor by trade and lived at Georgetown on the Potomac river near Alexandria in the District of Columbia, and emigrated to the then far West in about 1804, came to where Arnoldsburg now is, stopped with Peter McCune, sr. He being a tailor by trade and an inexperienced woodsman, consequently could not wield an ax with any degree of certainty. Peter McCune, sr., not withstanding a raw Irishman not long from the emerald island, and had participated as a patriarch in behalf of the Americans in the Revolutionary war, thoroughly imbued with freedom's cause and having been in the wilderness long enough to have learned to wield an ax and knowing the bounties of the then verdent forests and crystal waters of the West Fork affording an abundance of the necessaries of life, Samaritan like, he gave up his cabin home and little improvements to William Brannan, sr., and in the long bottom just above the mouth of Rush Run across the creek from and below Henry Bennngton's there reared a cabin home, the first human habitation ever erected within the present confines of Washington district, Calhoun county.
William Brannan, sr., was father of Squire William jr., married Catharine King, Tommy, whose wife was Lydia Wilson, a daughter of the widow Wilson before referred to. Jacob married Nancy Moore, Lourenza D., who married Kisziah Barnhouse before named. John married a daughter of Abraham Helmack, before named. Mary married John Truman; Elizabeth married Leonard King; Catharine married John Wilson, before named. Dianna married Alva Laughlin, and Susanna first married Jacob Helmack, a son of Abraham Helmack and her second husband was a Miller; and Nancy, who married Daniel Starcher, sr., as before narrated.
The foregoing constitute principally all of the oldest settlers that I knew anything of my coming in contact with them by association and acquaintance and hearing those with whom I was most intimate, take of them.
Killing Bear and other Game
As far back as 1828 I can distinctly remember seeing game such as black bears, a few wolves also a very few panthers, deer, wild turkey and smaller game in abundance.
Some time in the fall of 1828, James Nutter, who lived on the opposite side of the creek, just below where Richardsonville now is came to my fathers, who lived on what is known as the Jacob Starcher farm which is about two miles up the West Fork from the mouth of Henry's Fork, on his way up the run coming into the West Fork that James Duskey now lives on at Richardsonville, he killed a bear and came carrying it on to my fathers, swung on him pouch fashion. He continued hunting several days and in the time killed an old she bear and two yearling cubs, by cuttng a tree that they were in, and also several deer during the time.
Adam Starcher, when a young man yet living with his father, Philip Starcher, at their old homestead now known as the George Lynch farm, came down the creek to my fathers on a hunting tour during the winter of about 1830, and on his way down he killed a mammoth big black bear and five deer, and in a few days following this Daniel McCune came to my fathers carring a yearling bear hoppised on his back. Having killed it, he skinned the legs out to the knees and haunches after taking the entrals out, he tied the legs together and slung his bear ship on himself, shot puch fashion.
I will now give my recollections of the early settlers that I knew on the West Fork and Beech and Henry's Fork waters.
Zephniah Nicholas came to the West Fork from Elk river and was the father of Zephniah, Jonathan, Robert and Andrew, and Miles that left the country when a young man Zephniah, jr., married Nancy Marks. Johathan married Sarah Nutter and was murdered as I have before stated in this narrative on the 8th night of April about 1842, by the Hellfired Band. Robert married Eakey Schoolcraft, and Andrew married Elizabeth, commonly called Betsy Roy.
Zepaniah, sr., had a brother, Leven Nicholas, who came to the West Fork sometime about the year of 1820, and lived when I first knew him on the west side of the West Fork below Mushroom. His wife was a daughter of old Isaac Mace, a (sister of Henry Mace, her name being Margaret, nicknamed Peggy, whose children were Rebecca, who married first Daniel McCune, one of the Heilfired Band, and was sent to the Richmond penitentiary for the murder of his wife's cousin Jonathan Nicholas; her second hushand was Jacob Wayne. Next Salo mon married Dolly Wayne, a sister of Jacob Wayne, and had children that I knew: Tunis, Ruben and Nancy that married Si Stancher who lived at the junction of Beech Fork with Henry's Fork. There were Leven's other children, Jerry and Elizabeth, that went away west somewhere when young people. Also there was Anna, who married James W. Arnold, a son of James Arnold, a noted surveyor who, with his corps of surveyors away back in an early day, while surveying the Swan lands before mentioned in this narrative, while watching a lick on the farm now known as the Chany Bell place, near the mouth of a fork known as Lick Fork, about two miles up Steer Run, James Arnold, from his blind, fired as he supposed on a buffalo and upon examinaton found that he had killed a steer with its ears marked, supposed by the old settlers to have strayed away from its owner from the South branch of the Potomac river, and the whole Steer Creek waters derived their name from the killing of this steer.
Another daughter of Lever Nicholas, his youngest child, Lucretia, married Charles Arnold, a brother of James W. Arnold, a pioneer school teacher of the West Fork. Danel McCune just referred to, whose wife Rebecca, the oldest child of Lever Nicholas, were the parents of Mary, who married Samuel Schoolcraft; Peter that married Patty Parsons, a daughter of Joseph Parsons, sr., who lived at the forks of the West Fork; Margaret, who married Morris Short, who together with two brothers, John and Hiram, came to this country from Indiana about the year of 1831; Barnibus, James commonly called long Jim Solomen, and William.
John Nutter, whose wife was Mary Mounts, together with his brother, William Nutter's widow and her family came from Hughes river in Ritchie county and settled on the South side of the West Fork, just below Richardsonville, Calhoun county. John Nutter came about 1818 and was the father of Sarah, Jonathan Nicholas's wife before referred to, Elizabeth, who married Abraham Starcher; James Nutter, who married Nelly Deweese, Basiba, who married Jerry Hickman, and Humphrey Nutter. The widow of John Nutter's brother, William, was Molly or Mary Star before she was married, came about the same time John Nutter came and lived where Richardsonville now is. Her children were David Nutter, Isaac Nutter. whose wife was Anna Holbert. Nancy who married Jacob Starcher, sr., a son of Philip Starcher, Thomas Nutter, Levi Nutter and William Nutter.
Next I will relate what I remember of
Thomas Marks, who first came into the Cedar Creek country, settling at the mouth of Long Lick run about 1828, on a farm naw owned by Sam Whiting. His wife died in the year of 1839. Thomas Marks was the father of a large family, his oldest son, John, whose mother was a woman by the name of Queen, next Hiram, Iva, Morgan, Jonas, Calvin and Perry; girls, Nancy, wife of Zephnia Nicholas, jr., Catherine, whose first husband was Philip D. Cox, and second
husband Rev. John Greenleaves, Debora, whose first husband was Wm. Jarvis, sr., and second husband Wess Brooks, and Sarah, who married Jessie Runner.
I will now give my recollection of the pioneer settlers as I knew them, and heard them spoken of. Michael Stump's father, whose name was also Michael, moved to Steer Creek on the 6th day of May, 1804, the country being very sparcely settled, in fact, Clarksburg, Harrison County, being the county seat for all the territory then drained by the Steer Creek waters. Michael Stump, sr., was a brother of Major George Stump, who served in General George Washington's army during the Revolutionary war. Michael Stump, sr., was the father of Michael, Jacob, Absolom, John, George and Jessie, and daughters, Sarah, married the Wm. Boggs who bought and settled on the 500 acres of land bought out of the Swan Survey before mention, Mary Magdoline married Henry Bell, who lived near Pine Creek on the Little Kanawha river, Elizabeth married Samuel Stout and lived in the Stout settlement on`the Little Kanawha river, Temperence married John W. Stout, whose home was just above the Squire Jacob Boggs farm on the Lefthand fork of Steer Creek, above Normantown, and Jemima married Seamore Norman, for whom Normantown is named, living there, he owning all the lands upon which the village stands and surrounding it.
Michael Stump, jr. (IV) married Elizabeth Bush who was a sister to Jacob and Henry Bush of Leading Creek, Gilmer county, and were the parents of a large family as was all of Michael Stump, sr.'s family. The posterity of which are scattered all over Central West Virginia, and many have gone to other states and climes and founded homes, the Stumps being an energetic thorough going people.
I wish to speak here regarding an incident as relating to Michael Stump sr.'s family, his fourth son, John and his father not gettling along agreeably. John some time from 1820 to 1830, suddeny disappeared, and owing to the fact that his father's mind became partially deranged and he dying from the effects of the same, some years afterward he was suspicioned by many people of having killed his son, John. Years after his disappearance, the brothers of John were in the woods hunting and coming on to a ridge up under some large rocks on a stony point at the upper end of what is now known as the Sida Stump farm, just below
Fare Balls' farm, it being the old original homestead where the Stump family settled May 6, 1804, the boys before referred to, who were hunting for game found a skull which augmented suspicion that the old man had dealt foully with his son, but years afterwards John Stump wrote to
his sister, Sarah, the wife of Wm. Boggs, he then being in Missouri, and stated that he was the only prodigal in his father's family, this being about the year of 1841.
While I was at Fort Delaware, a prisoner of war during the Rebellion in 1864, I met and became acquainted with a fellow prisoner by the name of Commodore Thaxton, whose mother was a Stump, a lady from Nashville, Tenn. He described John Stump to me, whom he said was a wholesale merchant, having a white speck in his right eye caused by his pricking his eye with an awl while mending his moccasin when a boy. On my return home from prison, after the war, I informed Michael Stump, jr., of what I had heard and learned regarding his long gone brother John, and he informed me afterwards that he wrote to him and received an answer.
The Boggs Family
In 1847 when I was 26 years old I was married by the ministerial officiary of Rev. John Stump, a son of Michael Stump, jr., to Elizabeth Boggs, a daughter of Wm. Boggs before mentioned in this narrative who bought land out of the Swan Survey, just above Normanitown. I will now give a sketch of my recollection of the Boggs family as I knew them, and of them hearing the old people in my young days speak of them.
The oldest Boggs that I heard spoken of was Charles Boggs, who
lived in Nicholas county, and was the father of James, John, Charles, jr., and William Boggs, my father-in-law. James was the father of Alexander, William, Anderson, Benjamin, Silas and Frank. John Boggs' sons were Lamasters, Norman, and also father of Jacob Stump, sr., and Nathan Mollohan's wives. This John Boggs lived on Duck Creek in Braxton county, and owned the farm known as the Duck Creek farm, where Servia post office now is.
Charles Boggs, jr., lived in Reedy in Roane county, and was the father of John Boggs, and Elizabeth, his daughter, who married William, or more commonly known as Bill Mollohan, a brother of Nathan Mollohan, whose father was old George Mollohan, who settled on Elk river river in Braxton county, just below Frametown in an early day.
Elizabeth's husband, Bill Mollohen, died in 1852 and she married Charley Frame. Charley Boggs, sr., has a brother, John Boggs, who lived or settled in an early day on Spring Creek in Roane county, and was the father of Jim Boggs, who lived near Linden in Roane county, and Tom Boggs, who lived on Spring Creek, below Spencer, in Roane county, also a William Boggs, who married Mariah Maze, a sister of Big Jim Maze and Joe Maze, who came from Bath county, Virginia, and were among the pioneer settlers on the Little Kanawha river about Leading Creek.
While we think of it here, we will relate an incident in which William Boggs and his wife. Mariah, just mentioned, figured. Mariah being of a domineering turn of mind, believing and acting on the principle that the earth and universe were made wholely and solely for her pleasure and amusement, ruled with an iron hand and moved things by storm. On the occasion of the stars falling or constaIlation of the elements in about 1833, on which occasion the Boggs household being awakened and beholding the condition of disturbed heavenly bodies, Mariah forthwith fell on her knees and fervently and eloquently importuned her God to deal as gently with her as possible, fully believeing that the end of time was near at hand.
Noticing her husband moving cautiously from the window to the door watching the descending stars, he being of a quiet turn of mind, his erratic wife Mariah, knowing no superior but her God and only under extenuating circumstances acknowleding his superiority, lost all patience with her husband's apparently indifference and so carelessly neglecting to make the most of what little time that appeared to remain for Mariah to meet her God in peace, railed out at William and wanted to know "why in the h--l he wasn't praying."
In response to this series of articles, this letter to the editor is noted and reproduced:
Dear Editor Barrows:
Bless you! I was spared countless hours of search when you published "The Starchers," by Col. Dewees, in your June 19 issue. It is confirmation of my supposition that Adam Starcher married Phebe Cogar. I did not find their marriage listed in Harrison county marriage records. A number of their children were born in Kanawha county, according to a census record, and Phebe Starcher stated that she was born in Franklin county, Virginia. You can see that a search of marriage records in several counties would be required to ascertain the maiden name of Phebe Starcher if it were not for the information furnished by Col. Dewees.
I am certain now that Peter Cogar was my husband's great-great-grandfather. He is listed in the 1840 Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary and Military Services, age 85, residing with Adam Starcher in Lewis county, Virginia. To the best of his recollection, Peter Cogar was born In 1753 somewhere in Pennsylvania, and was taken to Virginia as an infant; or he may have been born in Shenandoah county, Virginia.
He volunteered for military service on July 1, 1777. from Rockingham county Virginia. He was in the fort at Point Pleasant when Indian hostages, Cornstalk, Red Hawk and Elenipsico (sic), were murdered by the angry soldiers. His final discharge from the Army took place late in 1781, and he married Mary Mackelvain in 1781 in Rockingham county.
He removed to Franklin county, Virginia, shortly after the war. In 1824 he was living in Randolph county. He also resided in Kanawha county. In 1836, according to Sims Index of Land Grants, Peter Cogar obtained 30 acres on the Left Fork of the West Fork in Kanawha county, Va.
Another daughter of Peter Cogar may have been the second wife of Henry Mace. but I wonder if a living soul can supply so much as her Christian name. Bishop's History of Roane county, states that Henry Mace was a settler on West Fork near Arnoldsburg, about 1825. "With him a wife, who was a Miss Cogar before her marriage." The children of Henry Mace and wife (Cogar) were Jacob, Peter, Archibold, Henry Harrison, Nancy and Margaret (also known as Polly) Cottrell. Bishop refer to the mother as _____ (Cogar) Mace." Henry Harrison Mace married Salina Starcher, a daughter of William "Blue Head" Starcher, according to Bishop; they settled in Roane county.
Col. Dewees did not give the names of all of Adam Starcher's children. In the 1850 census, they were Sally, Thomas, Jacob, William, Henry, Peter, John (or Jehu), Polly (or Mary), and Elizabeth.
At the time of the 1850 census, Philip Starcher had married his second wife, Rebecca Mace. The record says that he was 71, and she was 61. There is a Harrison county
marriage record. dated Dec. 5, 1801, for Philip Statur (sic) and Mary Bush. He gave his father's name as Jacob; she gave her father's name as Adam. A census record states that Philip was born about 1780 in Hampshire county.
Until disproved, I shall assume that the father of Philip Starcher was Jacob Starcher who owned land in Mason county (now Jackson) where Ripley is situated. Mason was created in 1804 from Kanawha, and Ripley was established about 1832 an land owned by Jacob and Ann (Staats) Starcher.
There is a Harrison county marriage record, dated Nov. 28. 1795, for Jacob Statzer (sic) and Ann Staats, whose father was Abraham Staats. I wonder if Ann Staats could have been the second wife of Jacob Starcher. Jacob Starcher had a son, John, according to Col. Dewees. There is a Harrison county marriage record, dated Aug. 25, 1800 (a little more than a year before Philip Starcher and Mary Bush were married) for John Starcher and Jenny Radcliff. If he were Jacob's son, he would have been born some time before Jacob and Ann (Staats) Starcher were married. Conceivably, Philip Starcher could have been a son of Jacob Starcher and a former wife. I may be wrong about this, of course.
All the historical articles in your
newspaper are interesting and informative. Please keep them coming.
GRACE G (Mrs. Otto) GIBSON,
Work in progress
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