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by William Turner
Washington, D.C.

My first contact and acquaintance with the Stover and Williams families began in November 1857. I was a lad then, of 17 summers. Just landed--a fresh native from East "Ole" Virginia; myself raw, illiterate and wild. Little to begin with, lots to learn, and many long, narrow, upgraded roads and blind paths to travel to get anywhere.

My first introduction to my new environs was the head of Paint Creek. The spot is now called Sweeneysburg. The first Stover I came in contact with was Jesse, a son of Jacob, and son-in-law of Richard Maynor. The first Williams I encountered in all my friendships was John, Sr., the father-in-law of Wilson Sweeney, Joseph Canday Smith, et al. The next Williams I met was Mattison , the miller, who lived just below the mouth of Sand Lick Branch, and the father-in-law of Crock Kidd, Charlie Painter, et al.

Early in December 1857, Jessie Stover and I took a trip down Paint Creek to Samuel L. Davis', near the mouth of Willis Branch, and shook hands and made an acquaintance with great, aged "Lonesome" David Williams. His massive frame indicated that he had been a physical giant in his day. He seemed, nevertheless, to have been whole souled and kind hearted. The same day I met Allen and Wilson Williams. After this I saw much of Wilson, as violinist in chief, at our numerous "hoedowns" (country dances). Raleigh County never produced a better fiddler than "Uncle Wils" Williams.

Late in December 1857, my father and family moved from Paint Creek and settled on Sand Lick. After 1867 the site was known as Matsville, which remained my residence until November 1902 (45 years).

My information was that the Stover family originally were natives from Franklin County, Virginia. They came West, probably ca 1815. The originals were large, strong, portly men. Seven brothers, their names were, according to the information I have, Obadiah, Jacob, John, Abraham, Sampson, Lewis, and Jubil.

Obadiah. He married Massie Stanley. Their sons were Lewis, Moses, George, et al.

Jacob. His children were Jessie and Mary.

John married Nancy Harper. She was one of Mother Eve's choice daughters. Their children were Erwin, John, Burwell, Silas, Lewis, Stephen and Daniel. Their sons-in-law were Booker Bailey and Henry Williams.

Abraham. His sons were William, Hiram and Linus. His son-in-law was Clark Stover, a son of Irvin, of Sand Branch.

Lewis. He married a Moles. Their sons were "Gulf" Lewis, Tolerson, Francis, Jasper and Anthony. Their sons-in-law were Levi Bailey and Green Bailey.

Sampson. His wife was a Miss Bailey. Their family consisted of two sons, Charley and Clarkson. For real native ability, Sampson Stover was one of the Alexander Hamilton and Daniel Webster class. Great engines of power are passive unless force is brought into use.

Jubal, the youngest. He married Mary "Polly" Rutroff, a noble woman of heroic mould. Their children were Sarah, Susan, and Amos of Sand Lick.

The original Williams family, as I have learned them, were five brothers, namely, John, Thomas, Padd, Lewis and Henry.

John married a Stover. Their sons were Daniel, Ely, Lewis, Jack, Birl, and Andrew. Their sons-in-law were the two Smiths and Sweeneys, aforementioned, William Phipps and William Davis.

Lewis lived down on Toney's Fork and married Susan Scarbrough. Their sons were Linus and Jack. Their sons-in-law were Burwell Stover, Thomas Maynor, Robert P. Toney, and Dup L. Maynor.

Thomas lived on lower White Oak. He married a Massey. If I mistake not, their sons were Leander, Alfred, John Henry and one--I disremember his name. Doubtless, there were daughters and sons-in-law--I cannot say.

Padd, like Lewis married a Scarbrough. Their sons were Roberson, Henderson and Daniel. Their sons-in-law were "Gulf" Lewis Stover, George Smith, et al.

Henry married Jane Stover. She was a soul of patience and trust. Their sons, in rotation, were Ballard, Stephen, Amos and Sanford. Their sons-in-law were Skelton Short, William F. Workman and Austin Wriston.

Anderson Williams, a brother of Matterson, aforementioned, married Judith Hodge and lived on Sand Lick, a neighbor of my own. Their sons, in rotation, were Andrew J., William R., Daniel, John A., and George. Their sons-in-law were Stephen Williams and Francis M. Stover.

The foregoing are my present recollections of the elder members of the Stover and Williams families living or having lived in Raleigh County, West and North of Beckley.

It is not meant or proper that I should undertake to personate the descendants or offsprings of those named; seeing that the majority now acting, have come upon the stage since I bid the county adieu in 1902. Never a day passes that I fail to call to memory dear, departed friends and loved ones, whose mortality slumbers in the soil of Raleigh County.

God bless the Stover and Williams generations, and all others as well. Let us all stand for lofty ideals.


  • 1 Some correspondence of William Turner about local families have survived. On 13 September 1955, correspondence relating to the Williams and Stover families was printed in an article by Eugene L. Scott, entitled "Some Facts About Two Old Families," published in the Beckley Post Herald, Beckley, Raleigh County, West Virginia. (Note: This article is copied from a typed copy. I do not have a copy of the original article. njd)

  • 2 William Turner (born 17 Jan 1841, died 15 Jan 1926) was my great-great uncle, being the brother of my maternal great-grandmother (Mary Jane (Turner) Dickens). William Turner was a licensed Methodist Episcopal minister, elected as the Raleigh County Surveyor of Lands, postmaster, school commissioner, and a U.S. Internal Revenue Assessor and Distillery Surveyor. He was a Union soldier and captain of the Turner Home Guards, which consisted of men from Raleigh, Wyoming, and McDowell counties. He left the Raleigh County area in 1902.

  • 3 Mattison (Madison) was a nephew of David "Lonesome Dave" Williams, being a son of Andrew and Nancy Williams.
  • 4 Matsville (Mattsville) was named for William Turner's wife whose maiden name was Martha "Mattie" Hinchman.
  • 5 Moses Stover (age 30) and Jane Petry (age 16), born Mercer County, were married 8 Apr 1858.
  • 6 George Stover (age 22) married Elizabeth Williams, a daughter of Patrick, on 1 Jul 1854.
  • 7 Burwell Stover and Leanza Williams were married 27 Feb 1851.
  • 8 Silas Stover married Ruth Davis, a daughter of John and Mary, on 6 Jan 1853. Silas Stover (age 26) and Mary Jane Workman (age 21), widow, were married on 20 Jan 1859.
  • 9 Lewis Stover, Jr., (age 20), born Gallia, Ohio, married Catherine Love (age 21), a daughter of John and Cynthia, on 6 Oct 1854.
  • 10 Stephen Stover (age 21), born Fayette County, and Virginia Totten (14), born Tazewell County, were married 22 Oct 1857.
  • 11 Jubal Stover married Mary Rutroff, a daughter Henry and Elizabeth, on 23 Feb 1853. Mary, born 31 Oct 1821, died 6 Jun 1902 at Matville from blood poison. She was age 80 years, 7 months, and 5 days at the time of her death.
  • 12 Sarah Elizabeth Stover (21) was married on 18 Nov 1875 to George Washington Turner, born Patrick County, Virginia. George Turner was a brother of William Turner, both being sons of John Burnett and Naomi(Via)Turner.
  • 13 Amos Stover, born in Feb 1864 in Kanawha County, West Virginia, married Margaret Elizabeth Atha on 25 Feb 1892. Margaret was a sister to my great-grandmother Nancy Virginia (Atha)Williams.
  • 14 Lewis Williams married Katherine Scarbrough, not Susan Scarbrough.
  • 15 Austin Wriston should be Andrew Wriston.
  • 16 Anderson Williams was a nephew of David "Lonesome Dave" Williams, being a son of Andrew and Nancy Williams.
  • 17 This should be Mattison (Madison) Williams.

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