Submitted by J. J. Harris from articles published in Barbour County Newspapers - Stalnaker, Sturm, Digman, Coontz, Booth, Holsberry

Among those who pushed their way across the Alleghaney mountains in 1772 to the district of West Augusta was Jacob Stalnaker. These settlers located in the beautiful, rich, level Tygarts Valley, comprising 25 or 30 miles along that river.

A part of this history has been taken from the "Border Warfare," and it might not be a miss to state this was written where the late Joseph J. Lang lived, and died March 2d, last.

The building that Alexander S. Withers lived in when he wrote this splendid history of the first settlers of this State, was burned several years since, and Mr. Lang built upon the same foundation, two miles southeast of Bridgeport, W. Va. It is said that Edwin S. Duncan (afterward a judge of that county), collected much of the data for that work, and it was published at Clarksburg in 1831 by Joseph Isreal. (Among the) sons of Mr. Stalnaker was William, who, it is supposed, was the elder, and must have been married at the time that his brother Adam was killed by the Indians, as his wife often related to her grandchildren that she had swam the Tygarts Valley river, with her two children on a horse, and escaped from the Indians to one of the forts. The Indians saw her mount the horse and made for the river, and called to her in a friendly way to wait and they would accompany her to the fort. She heeded not their call, but went with all haste to the fort. The other son's name was probably Samuel.

Samuel Stalnaker was married to Susannah Batchin by J. W. Loofborouyh in 1788. All of the Stalnakers of that county were lineal descendants of Samuel Stalnaker. Squire Garrison J. Stalnaker, of Belington, who is deputy sheriff oŁ this county, is a descendant of this family. Hon. Randolph Stalnaker is another of the same family Mr. Maxwell acknowledges material assistance by him, as well as many others, in furnishing data for the Randolph county history.

The early settlers after Stalnaker had been killed kept a sharp lookout that they might not be surprised and harassed by the marauding bands of Indians that passed through the territory. They frequently sent out scouting parties to locate them. Mr. William Stalnaker, who married Margaret McHenry, in company with a Mr. Bell, in making one of these trips, passed through the territory comprising Glade and Cove districts of this county. They found on the waters of Glady Creek very little timber, with here and there clumps of alders, and the bottoms were covered with little ponds of water and the outlet of the ponds were made by the beavers and otters as they traveled among them; hence the crookedness and meandering of that stream. After passing through the coves in Cove district they camped some where on Sandy Creek. They had treed a bear, and Mr. Bell wanted to shoot it, but Mr. Stalnaker at first dissented for fear the Indians might be in hearing and attack them; but finally he agreed, and they killed the bear, and hauled it into a dense laurel thicket, where Mr. Bell skinned it and prepared some of its flesh for their supper by a fire, while Mr. Stalnaker went to the top of the hill near by to listen for the approach of Indians but hearing none he returned to Mr. Bell about 10 o'clock, and partook of the delicious repast prepared by him in his absence.

This scouting trip may have! terminated his settlement in this district, but it is not known at what time. In writing the articles we find it quite difficult to obtain data. There was some doubt as to the location where Mr. Stalnaker had settled. Some persons said that he had settled where Mr. Samuel Talbott, his great-grandson now lives. We called Mr. William Henry Stalnaker, another great-grandson of his, and at first he was of that opinion, but after reflecting, he recalled an incident, related by his father, that made it clear to his mind that he had settled near his home, on the farm where he lives, on the banks of Teter's creek, about one mile form the little village of Nestorville. A stone pile marks the place where the house stood, and is the remains of some of the chimneys. The incident was this: Mr. Stalnaker while living there had the contract of carrying the U. S. mail from Beverly to Morgantown. The pike connecting these two points passed through his farm. To perform this work he had traded for a little bay mare, that was so diminutive in size that he called her "pony." She was very thin in flesh when he got her, but soon by his good care improved and was a fine traveler. While making one of his trips, he was overtaken by a gentleman some miles this side of Morgantown, who was riding a very fine black horse, and engaged in a pleasant conversation, asked his mission, when he told him he was taking the mail to Morgantown, he looked down at the man and remarked, he was somewhat in a hurry, and would ride on, giving his fine horse a cut with his whip to urge him on. Mr. Stalnaker, gave a familiar "cluck" to "pony" and she cantered off, keeping side by side with the large horse, and when they reached Morgantown the horse was lathered with sweat, and she had perspired very little.

Mr. Stalnaker was said to be a very fleet man on foot. At one time a deer was being chased by hounds near his home, and he pursued it and caught it as it leaped over a stream of water, and held it until he call his wife to bring a butcher knife, with which he cut its throat.

On another occasion he caught a fox that was chased by hounds. He was said to be naturally a very intelligent man, yet he believed in witchcraft, as well as some of his children. This incident is related: He was sitting on his porch one Sunday morning reading his Bible, when a neighbor was passing, he walked out with his Bible in his hand to talk with him, and laid the book upon something and forgot where he had placed it. It rained that night and ruined his Bible. He had a sick calf at that time, and some one narrated the story that he believed the calf to be bewitched, and hunting for a verse in the Bible to cure the calf, and not finding it, he had said he would tie the Bible to the calf's neck, that "if a little would do good, more would do better." This tale was told because he believed in witchcraft.

His children were Elizabeth, who married Col. Henry Sturm, in 1815; Samuel, who married Isabell Ryan; Mahala, who married Squire William Marteney; Andrew V., married Rachel Holsberry; James, who married Elizabeth Heptune; Willis, who married Nancy, daughter of Charles Digman, who was drowned on the waters of Hunters Fork, when his mill was carried away in a flood in 1859; Isabel, who married Alexander Shaw; John, who married Margaret Black, and Dorcas, who married Daniel Martney, brother of William.

In this article we will give the information we have been able to obtain in chronological order and importance of the descendants above named.

The children of Henry Sturm by his marriage to Elizabeth Stalnaker were the late Sam'l Sturm, who resided three miles southeast of Philippi; a daughter, Sarah, who married Samuel Digman, and lived and died on Laurel creek, in Cove district. The children of Samuel were Henry, who married Hannah, daughter of Jesse Vannoy, and their children were Jesse, (deceased). Franklin is living in Philippi district. One daughter married Geo. Miller; the other Geo. Haller (and both deceased). Samuel lives at his father's homestead, near Nestorville. William Willis was born in 1827, and married April, 1852, to Elizabeth, daughter of John and Sarah (Haymond) Lewellen, of Taylor county, who died some years since. Their children were Adolphus Waitman, who moved to Texas several years ago, married there and is a prosperous farmer living near Amarilla, that State. Olive married Mr. Andrew Cold, a successful farmer, of Pleasant district. William Henry married Alice, his first wife, a daughter of the late Truman T. Elliott. His last wife was a daughter of Archibald Phillips, and lives at the old homestead. On his farm, known as the Ryan farm, there remains in the bed of Teter's creek a chestnut log, which was the bottom log of an old mill dam, which has been there possibly more than a century, and is in a fair state of preservation, as the water is continually running over it. His father, who died June 12, 1913, in his 87th year, could not remember of any history of its existence, yet it had been there and used by the earlier settlers.

Sallie, the oldest daughter, married Adam, son of Jackson Coontz, Sr., and lived on "Uncle Adam's Hill," in Barker district, and have both passed away. Mr. Coontz was a decendant [sic] of Philip Coontz, a German who was born in New York in 1762. He lived awhile in Pennsylvania, but subsequently settled near where Jackson Coontz, Jr., now lives, in Barker district. The name was formerly spelled, "Kunce." The children of Adam were: Samuel M. D., who married in Taylor county, in 1871, Isabel F., daughter of Wm. B. and Mary (Davis) Poe; Isaac J. (deceased), married in 1878 Mary E., daughter of Capt. Michael T. and Sarah (Nestor) Haller; Williamson (deceased), who married a daughter of John Finley; Camden (deceased), who married a daughter of the late Isaac Price, who lost both of his arms in the Federal service; and Jackson, who married "Sissy," a daughter of Henry C. Harris; Abigail, who married Martin, a son of John Holsberry, (the first settler of that name in this vicinity.) Their children were Henry, who married Virginia, the youngest sister of Capt. A. C. Bowman; Margaret, who married Mella Stalnaker; Priscilla, who married Ira Harris, and lives at the homestead of her father at Kalamazoo; Julia married John Stalnaker, and we believe moved to Calhoun county, W. Va. One of the daughters married Isaac Phillips, of Tucker county; another married Emery Talbott, father of William, who lives at Belington, and Samuel, who lives at the homestead of his grandfather, Samuel Stalnaker; Louisa, the only one of the family living, married Joseph Yeager. An only child, Clearence, lives at Elkins, W. Va. After the death of Mr. Yeager, she married Archibald Ferguison and is now living near Kerns, W. Va. Andrew V. (the second son) married Rachel, daughter of John and Margaret (Poling) Holsberry; Emily, eldest daughter, married Frederick Booth, who is still living in his home in Barker district, over 90 years old. Their children were: Stephen (deceased); John, who married Mary, daughter of Henry Coontz; Andrew (deceased); William, who married a daughter of Jesse Coontz; Burnett, who married "Major" Johnson, son of Enos B., and lives in Denton, Texas; Jeremiah, who married Ellen, a daughter of Isreal Poling. Their youngest daughter married Arthur Bennett, sheriff of this county; Catharine, married Frederick, son of Wm. Hill; Amanda married Frederick, son of Jesse Coontz; Lee Ida married first Granville Sincel; after his death she married Samuel Moran, and cared for her mother in her declining years until her death, and is now caring for her father at the old homestead, near Lambert Chapel. "Peggy" married Nestor Harden, and lived in Cove district, near Danville, and was a very industrious and intelligent woman. Her sons - George and Andrew - own several hundred acres of the finest land in the county, and their success in financial affairs is said to be largely due to the intelligence of their mother; Rachel married George, son of the late Henry Dealh, and after the close of the Civil War moved to Texas, where they accumulated considerable land property. She returned to this County on a visit a few years since, where she died. Her brother George accompanied her remains back to her home in Texas; Catharine married September 23d, 1869, the late Thomas Byrne Mason, who was born in Maryland. He settled on Sandy creek; was a member of the county court of this county. Children: William Nestor, Margaret Jane, and Estella Blanch. The widow lives on their home farm. Holsberry, who, was named in honor of is mother's family, married Caroline Parsons, of Tucker county, and lived and died near Meadowville. Built the first brick house in Glade district. He and his wife were faithful members of the M. E. Church, South, and were greatly missed by the members of their church at their death. Children: Ward P., who married February 19th, 1880, Cora M., daughter of the late Wm. J. and Lydia Bartlett, of Philippi district, and lives on the pike leading from Philippi to Belington; Solomon went to Texas, where he died several years since; Eliza married Jacob Baughman, and their home is in Parsons, Tucker county; Nora married Emery C. Moore, and is deceased; Andrew V. married Angina, daughter of Peter Poling; Elizabeth and Hess (both deceased).

William S. married Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob and Lettie (Hewett) Smith, and settled on the waters of Glady creek, adjoining lands of his brother, Holsberry. He and his wife were faithful members of the Missionary Baptist Church for many years before their death. Their children were: Mella, who married as stated above, Margaret Holsberry; Ashford, who married Mattie B., daughter of Solomon T. and Elizabeth (Ware) Wilson; Cora married David Ruckman, of Harrison county, but now lives near Kalamazoo, in this county; Hartsel went to Texas several years since, and we believe is still living there. (For data of Marshal and Minerva, see sketch of the Poling family.) Litha married Criss Shanabarger, whose son William was elected and served one term as assessor of the eastern district of this county. After the death of her first husband, she married John T. Alexander, of Cove district, where she still lives; Lucinda married Allen Moats, of Cove district, but subsequently moved to Taylor county on a part of the farm owned by the Hon. Reuben Davisson, near Webster; Lee married Rebecca, daughter of Thomas Tompson, and lived at the homestead of the latter, four miles north of Philippi, until his death; Woods married Mary, a daughter of Andrew Miller, of Cove District, and she resides at the old homestead owned and established by Andrew V. Stalnaker, near Tacy, W. Va.; James, the third son, married Elizabeth Neptune, and settled on one of the spurs of Laurel Hill, near the banks of Teter's creek. Their children were: Mary, who married George W. Howdershelt in 1845. (The ceremony was performed by Jacob Keller.) To this union two children were born, and after the death of their mother lived with their Grandfather Stalnaker; Elizabeth C. married James K. Holsberry in 1868. They have been living in Plant City, Florida, on account of Mr. Holsberry's health, who is afflicted with asthma. Daniel James married Jane, daughter of the Rev. Elias Auvil. After the death he married Mrs. Vernie Taylor, of the vicinity of Terra Alta, Preston county, W. Va. After the death of her first husband, Mrs. Howdershelt married Henry Auvil, of Cove district, and moved to the mouth of Seneca, Pendleton county, W. Va. Two daughters were born to this union. She died many years ago at that place.

Catherine, the second daughter of James, married Jacob Hudkins, and settled where the Rev. Thos. Wilson now lives. Their children were: Loretta, who married the Rev. Cyrus Poling, a minister of the M. E. Church; Adolphus, who married Virginia, daughter of A. T. and Catherine (Smith) Crim; Arthur J. married Caroline, daughter of John G. and Catherine (Parsons) Johnson. Two children blessed this union. His second wife was Etta, daughter of Isaac and Jane (Elliott) Poling. By this marriage three children were born; Abstorpheas, who taught school a term or two in this district, and went to Portland, Oregon, where he died in the mountains of that State, and several days were required in carrying his body to the settlement; Alice (deceased) married Eli Nestor; May married Jno. VanMeter, of Oregon, and lives there.

Forty-seven years ago Mrs. Hudkins died, and left a babe nine days old. The child was named Henry D., and Mrs. Mary Ann Moore, wife of Eli Moore, and mother of Rev. A. B. Moore, took the child and reared it. He is as much beloved by his foster brothers and sisters as any of the family. Mr. Hudkins was elected sheriff of Barbour county. After serving his term he moved to Oregon, and became blind, and died a few years after.

Elliott married Susan, daughter of "Uncle Daunt" Poling, and lived on a part of his farm. He was a lieutenant in Capt. Hill's company - 62d Va. Reg., C. S. A. After the close of the war he returned home, but in a few years went to Oregon, where he took up land, and then returned for his family. He had planned to attend the Reunion at Richmond, Va., last June, but death called him to the Great Reunion beyond the "rolling river" before that took place. The children were: Elizabeth (deceased), who married Charles David Poling, living at Tacy, W. Va.; Lafayette, Alba, and Ollie, all living in Oregon.

Wilson K., The youngest son of Jane by her first marriage, married Martha, daughter of Samuel and Magdalena (Digman) Holsberry. They first settled on the waters of Teter's creek, where Emmett Holyfield now lives, but subsequently moved to Oregon, where they both died. They had three sons and one daughter.

James Stalnaker married for his second wife Catherine, a daughter of David Rosenberger, who was born in Jefferson county, Va. (now W. Va.), and moved on the Tygarts Valley river, near Belington, where he owned a water mill. To this union was born one son - David- who married Laura Goff, and now live at the old homestead.

Willis, as stated, married Nancy, daughter of Charles Digman, and settled where D. Poling now lives. Two of his sons - Nelson and Genus went to Nebraska, and took up homesteads adjoining each other.

The story is told that a severe snow storm struck the vicinity, and one of the brothers, who had come out of his "dug out" in the morning, and went to that of his brother with his shovel to remove the snow from the outside of the entrance, and finding it covered, as he expected, commenced to remove it. After working for some time he opened the door and found his brother playing his violin to pass away the time.

Another brother (Van Buren) married a daughter of David Poling, and moved to Tucker county. Sallie married Anthony Poling, by whom two daughters were born - the wives of William and Samuel Talbott. She is now the wife of Jacob McLean, and lives in Belington.

We are inclined to believe that Mr. Maxwell is correct in his statement, after consulting all of the records he was given of this large family. However, it is certain that William Stalnaker, a son of Jacob, was the first settler of that name in the territory comprising Barbour county, and if it was possible for him to return to this "mundane sphere," it would cause his bosom to swell with pride and satisfaction to behold the many beautiful farms and homes owned by his descendants - the Hardens, Stalnakers, Talbotts, Coontzes, and others, in Cove, Glade, and Barker districts, along the old Beverly and Morgantown turnpike, on which he and little pony carried the U. S. mail more than a century ago.

Allegheny Regional Family History Society
Post Office Box 1804
Elkins, West Virginia 26241

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