Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Mary J. Stover 1854-1913 My Great Grandaunt on My Father's Side

Mary J. Stover ca. 1890
Mary Stover was my great grandmother’s sister. She was born on April 5, 1854 - the fourth child born to David Lincoln Stover and Joanna Gaines. She had two older sisters, including Sarah E. Stover and my great grandmother Carrie Brooks Stover (see my blog posts dated Nov. 25, 2017 and July 19, 2021). Mary also had an older brother Win, a younger brother David Gaines Stover and a younger sister Elizabeth W. Stover.

When Mary was one year old her family was living on the Blue Spring Branch in District 9 of Elizabethton in Carter County, Tennessee. Mary’s father died when she was only four years old, but in his will, David made several references to the care of his children. He specified “It is my will and desire that my wife should remain on my lands and raise and educate my children from off the proceeds of same. In the management of the farm and in the education of my children I desire my wife to consult and be guided by advice of my brothers S.M. and D. Stover. I do not specify any particular mode but would prefer private teaching.”

Even though David died three years before the Civil War began, he must have had a premonition of what was to come because his will stipulated that, “In case my brothers, S.M. and D. Stover or either of them sells and relocates to another place or state and my wife desires to go and take my family with them, I give her and my executors full power to sell all my lands without any reservation and all other property that will not be of use. I will and desire that the moneys arising from the sale of my lands in this event shall be invested in Negroes and the lands, or lands alone, and I will that my children shall all share equally in the same at the death of their mother or at her marriage.” Given that David and Joanna had four daughters and three sons, it seems somewhat remarkable that he wanted his daughters to share equally in his estate.[1] 

Downtown Elizabethton early 1900s

Sadly, Mary’s brother Win died when Mary was six years old. He would have been ten or eleven.

When the 1860 census was taken the family was living in Elizabethton. Mary’s mother Joanna was 35, her sister Sarah was 11, Carrie 7, Mary 6, David 4 and Elizabeth was 2. They were living next door to Mary’s aunt and uncle Samuel and Caroline Stover and their four children. Ten years later Mary’s family was still living in Elizabethton but her aunt, uncle and cousins had moved to Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Ten years later on July 13, 1870 when the census taker stopped at the house Joanna’s age was recorded as 43 not 45, Sarah was 21, Carrie 17, Mary 15 and David was 14. The youngest, Elizabeth did not appear so must have died sometime before 1870.

Mary’s older sister Sarah was married in November of 1870, and on February 22, 1876 Mary married William McFarland Cameron – also a native of Elizabethton. He was born on March 1, 1856, the son of Dr. James McLin Cameron (1833-1906) and Mary Elizabeth Adeline Neilson Tipton (1834-1907). 

William Cameron from Dawn
Cameron collection

When the census was taken in 1880 the Cameron family was living in house number 25 in Elizabethton. William was 24, Mary 26 and their daughter Bessie was nine months. William was listed as a dry goods merchant.

Mary and William had eight children[2]. The names of the known children were Bessie, born August 22, 1879, Clarence born in 1881, James Macklin born June 9, 1883, Claude born in 1885, Frances G. born in 1889 and Joanna born February 5, 1892.

Shortly after Joanna was born, the family moved to Los Angeles, California which is where they were when the 1900 census was taken. They were living at 440 Vernon Avenue in central Los Angeles. The 1900 census is difficult to read but it appears that William was employed as a farmhand. Mary and William’s son Claude died in 1902 as did Mary’s mother Joanna. Sadly, the following year William died on July 26, 1903 at the age of forty-seven leaving Mary to raise two teenage daughters on her own. 

On September 24, 1903 the Los Angeles Evening Post ran a small notice that Mrs. Mary J. Cameron had applied for a building permit to have a frame cottage built at 1794 E. Vernon Avenue. Four days later there was a similar notice in the Los Angeles Daily Times that said “Mrs. Mary J. Cameron is having built for her own home a cottage at No. 1794 East Vernon Avenue.” Then on March 5, 1911 the Los Angeles Times ran this ad under Building Permits, “Dwellings five rooms each, 1784-88 East Vernon Avenue: Mary J. Cameron. 

Mary's son James M. Cameron

On the 1910 census Mary’s address was listed as 1786 Vernon Avenue which may mean that she  moved, or more likely the street was renumbered. Mary was identified as the head of the household and widowed at the age of 56. She was living with her son James aged 26 who was working as a teamster for the electric railroad. Twelve-year-old Grace Owens from Nebraska was also living with them and was identified as a “companion”.

Mary died from bronchial pneumonia on March 2, 1913 and is buried with her husband in Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles. 

Marriage record for Mary and William 1876

Another marriage record for Mary and William

Death record for William M. Cameron

Mary and William's daughter Frances Gena Cameron Swallow

[1] Though neither of David’s brothers chose to leave Tennessee, his wife Joanna and her children did leave the state a few years after the Civil War. They relocated to Tarrant County, Texas. David’s son David and his eldest daughter Sarah remained in Texas but Mary and her sister Carrie both moved to California.

 [2] The total number of children and those still living was recorded on the 1910 census.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Rodger McGowan My 2nd Great Grandfather on my Mother's Side

Aghanlish former National School built in 1885
very close to the farm where Rodger lived

I know very little about my second great grandfather Rodger McGowan. A baptism record for his daughter Mary Anne McGowan, my great grandmother, provides his name and that of his wife Catheline Garry. Based on Mary’s birth I estimate that Rodger was born about 1820 but I have not found any records to substantiate this date.

I know that Rodger was Irish – most likely born and died in Ireland. Irish records are hard to come by and the name McGowan is a very common name in Rossinver Parish where he lived. In fact, it is by far the most common surname of the top ten surnames in that parish. Fortunately, there are very few Rodgers, and the only other Roger spelled his name without the “d”.

The land that Rodger farmed is lot 22 in
the middle of this plot map

Rodger and Catheline likely married around 1845 because they had a son John McGowan[1] that was born about 1846. My great grandmother Mary Anne was born February 6, 1851. You can read more about her from my blog poste dated August 9, 2015. Mary had a younger sister Catherine “Kate” McGowan[2] born in June of 1853, and my second cousin Sue Tucker shows two additional girls born in 1852 and 1854.

Catheline Garry was the daughter of John Garry and his wife Catheline. Daughter Catheline was baptized on December 4, 1829 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Dublin, Ireland.[3]

So, I know that my ancestor was living in Aghanlish townland in 1856 when the Griffiths valuation was recorded[4]. At that time, the family was living on Lot 22 and Rodger was identified as the farmer. He held the lease in common with Owen McGuire who was a cottager. Rodger’s portion of the land contained his house, plus one or more outbuildings for his animals, pasture and some land for crops that he grew. Owen’s portion had his house and a vegetable garden.

This Google screen shot shows the west half of Rodger's 
farm where the house was

Rodger and Owen leased their land from a landlord named Loftus A. Tottenbam. Records show that the taxable annual valuation of the land was ten shillings and the buildings had the same value. The total valuation of taxable property was one pound – which seems remarkably little.

Aghanlish townland was in the Rossinver civil parish and the church parish of Kinlough. Kinlough is part of Leitrim County which is in the barony of Rosclogher and the poor union of Ballyshannon. All of this is similar to our neighborhood, city, county, state and country designations except Ireland is much smaller than the United States. According to Google Ireland is six times smaller than the State of California – so the divisions are quite small. The townland of Aghanlish is 982 acres.

Aghanlish landscape found on Google

Other McGowans living in Aghanlish when Griffith’s valuation was done include Daniel McGowan, Thomas McGowan, a Mary McGowan (not my grandmother), Bartholomew McGowan and Francis McGowan. Some or all may or may not be related to our Rodger McGowan.

I have not found a death record, nor any other information about Rodger. Maybe publishing this blog post will spark some other researcher to find more about this ancestor.

The page of the Griffiths Valuation that lists Rodger
He is the 19th entry

The small square below 23A was Rodger's house
on Lot 22. This map shows the National school.

The red outline shows the location of Aghanlish and its proximity
to Lough Melvin

Historic map of Kinlough showing the location of the Catholic Church

Map of Ireland showing the location of Kinlough - the small area in red

[1] Source is the Ancestry tree of Sue Tucker.

[2] Source is the 1900 census.

[3] Irish Catholic Parish Registers 1655-1915, Register of children baptized at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary’s Parish, Dublin.

[4] Valuation of Tenements, Parish of Rossinver, Townland of Aghanlish. Rodger is the 19th person listed on Lot 22.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Samuel Murray Stover 1824-1897 My 2nd Great Granduncle on My Father's Side - Part 1

Dr. Samuel M. Stover
Samuel Murray Stover was the second son of William Ward Stover and Sarah Murray Drake. He was born on May 10, 1824 in Elizabethton, Carter County, Tennessee. His older brother David Lincoln Stover was my second great grandfather. Samuel also had a younger brother Col. Daniel Stover. There were no other children in this family that I know of.

Samuel was born when his father was 29 and actively involved in civic affairs. The Stover family was comparatively well off in that William owned land and several slaves. Though I have not found any records for Samuel dated prior to 1849, I think it is reasonable to assume that he and his brothers received some education and that as young men they worked on the family farm.

Cross County Travels to California During the Gold Rush

The first record I have for Samuel is a copy of the diary he kept from May to September of 1849 as he traveled cross country to California during the Gold Rush. The diary was published by his grandson H.M. Folsom in 1939 and was reprinted in three issues of the WAGS Bulletin in 2012 in volume 39-40. The original is held by Milligan University in Elizabethton.[1]

The Miners Pioneer Ten Commandments of 1849
Scenes When Crossing the Plains in 1849
Lithograph by Kurz & Allison, 1887

Samuel traveled as part of a group called the Tennessee Company. The other members of the group included William Carter Taylor, John E. Brown, Charles Mason and John Edwin T. Harris. They began their journey from Independence Missouri and Samuel’s first dairy entry was logged on May 1, 1849. He wrote, “We have agreed to each furnish an equal share of the outfit, to mine together and to and make an equal division of the proceeds of our labor, at the end of twelve months after our arrival at the diggings in California.”[2] He made journal entries every day commenting on the weather, the people they encountered, the landscapes they were traveling through and the health problems of fellow travelers. On May 6th he noted that three or four immigrants had died of cholera. On May 26th a member of their party, H.A. Wood died from cholera. As he continues, he made several notes about graves they passed.

On May 10th he wrote, “Today I am 25 years of age. How fast the years glide by. Youth and old age, what a short span between them! Went to Wilson’s camp, not yet ready to start. I killed a prairie hen eighty yards offhand. Returned to camp, all well.” On May 13th he had dinner with his aunt Deborah Stover whom he hadn’t seen for twenty years.[3]

Lithograph by Kurz & Allison

On May 19th he wrote about an encounter with one of the local Indians, “… a fine looking Indian came and inquired if I was a doctor. He wanted me to go and see his father. …I took some medicines …. and came to the cabin of the sick Indian. He was an old man and was evidently in the last stages of cholera. His squaw was a fine looking woman of about 35 years of age. They had two very handsome little Indian children. I gave him some medicines and directed the young Indian on how to give them.” This event took place while they were traveling through Kansas. He made several notes about encounters with the Pottawattomie Indians that he noted were very friendly and warned them that the Pawnee would steal from them. On June 8th they encountered a large group of Sioux Indians that he described as “fine looking men”.

By June 1st they had travelled two hundred miles. Several in their party were sick and unable to continue so the group decided to rest for a day. Some in their group decided to return to their homes in Kentucky. 

Route map that Samuel's party took from the Watauga Bulletin, Vol. 39

Samuel’s June 9th commentary made me laugh. He wrote, “A very pretty young lady at Fort Kearney (in Nebraska) sold us some milk. Smiled very gratefully and looked as though she thought she was an object of admiration. I thought her quite handsome, but it may be that not having seen a young lady for a month might have added to her charms.”

Most of Samuel’s entries are matter of fact but on some days, he was more poetic – June 13th he offered, “These hills are very beautiful and picturesque at a distance, resemble the waves of the ocean, looks like they had been thrown up by the ebb and flow of the waters. Some of them raise almost perpendicular and fall as suddenly.”

From June 16th to July 14th, he traveled along the Platte River through Kansas and into Colorado. Several of his journal entries talked about herds of buffalo that they saw and hunted. He continued to mention encounters with the native Americans and on June 20th he described a serious gunshot wound to one of his fellow travelers that he helped to treat. Ultimately the party took the injured man to Ft. Laramie. Most days he noted how many miles they traveled which typically ranged from 12 to 25 miles each day.

Gold Miners of El Dorado County from the Library of Congress collection
In July he encountered two immigrants that were from Tennessee – a Mrs. Vestil “treated me to a fine supper of buffalo meat, biscuits and coffee.” The following day they met Mr. Bridleman from Sullivan, Tennessee and eight Virginians. Occasionally, Samuel commented on the number of travelers for example on July 11th he noted that they’d seen “some two or three hundred wagons.” On the 15th he again mentioned “Several hundred wagons passed during the day and the creek again is white with wagons and tents and the bottom is alive with stock.”

July 17th brought reports of Indians killing whites in Oregon and reassurance that gold was abundant in California. On July 24th he reported that their mules had stampeded. This reminded me of the Western movies we used to watch on television in the late 1950s and 60s. It’s odd to realize my second granduncle actually experienced these things in person.

News clip that mentions our supposed
connection to Sir Francis Drake

Finding water and grazing for themselves and their animals was a constant need. For most of the route they found abundance but on August 22nd he wrote, “No grass except here and there a bunch. Not enough for an animal to live upon….. found the stream was so small and so much stock around it that we could not get a drop for our animals…..Had great trouble at night on account of the dead and tired oxen that had fallen in the road ….. we slept until morning when we were aroused by the gnawing of our horses which had become so famished that they had begun to eat up our wagon, to gnaw off their blankets and bridle rein.”

Friday, August 31st, “Today we crossed the Sierra Nevadas. … when we came to the top a beautiful forest of tall and stately pines that burst upon our vision … nothing could be more welcome than the shores of the Pacific.”

The last published entry was dated September 12th. Regrettably, I’ve not found anything about whether the Tennessee Company found success in the gold fields nor any report about the return trip to Eastern Tennessee.

I am not certain but strongly suspect that another accounting of Samuel may be in the History of Sonoma County by J.P. Munro-Fraser published in 1880. The book includes a chapter about Nicholas Carriger who moved to Sonoma County, California from Elizabethton, Tennessee. The Stover and Carriger families were associated in Tennessee. In this book the author mentioned that a Dr. Storer was included in a party of men who took “a drove of cattle to Trinity County … the party being composed of Mr. Carriger, his two brothers, Solomon and Caleb, and Dr. Storer, with eleven Indians …. and remained there until June in 1850.[4]” I believe this mention of a “Dr. Storer” is actually about Dr. Samuel M. Stover.

Samuel's signature from the will of his grandfather
Abraham Drake

[1] Another copy of the diary is held by the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley campus.

[2] WAGS Bulletin Vol. 39 (2) 2010 p. 146.

[3] Robert Nave and Margaret Hougland researched the names of the people that Samuel mentioned in the journal and added footnotes to explain who each was.

[4] History of Sonoma County p.675.

Samuel Murray Stover 1824 -1891 My 2nd Great Granduncle on My Father's Side - Part 2

1850 and Marriage to Caroline Brooks

Caroline Calhoun Brooks

When the census was taken in Elizabethton in August of 1850 Samuel was living with his parents and maternal grandmother Eliza Murray Drake. He was twenty-nine years old and his profession was shown as a physician. The value of the real estate he owned was $1000.

Samuel married Caroline “Carrie” Calhoun Brooks in Abbeville, South Carolina ca. 1851[1]. Carrie was the daughter of William Butler Brooks (1806-1868) and Almena McGehee (1810-1877). She was born on September 3, 1833 in Abbeville. Abbeville is 150 miles south of Elizabethton – as the crow flies – a considerable distance in 1860 and two states away. I’d love to know how these two families got connected. Samuel’s brother David also married a woman from Abbeville.

On April 14, 1852 Samuel and both of his brothers inherited land from their father. This was land that William Stover had received in the will of Mary Lincoln Stover. Samuel was twenty-seven at the time. At the same time William sold several slaves to Samuel for $5700. Their names were Betsy aged 27, Landon 19, Lucas 16, Mason 15, Mariah 12, June 10, Elen 9, and Alexander 8 months. Samuel subsequently sold Lucas to his brother David for $500.[2]

Almena McGehee "Minnie" Stover

In January of 1853 Samuel purchased three tracts of land from David Nave. All were located on the north side of the Watauga River – they totaled 225 acres. His brother David L. Stover was a witness to this deed along with Godfrey Nave.[3]

Samuel and Carrie’s first child, a daughter named Almena McGehee Stover was born on August 1, 1854. Belvadora “Bell” Stover was born a little more than a year later on October 1, 1855, and Amelia Lincoln Stover arrived on August 19, 1857.

On September 27, 1854 the Loudon Free Press in Tennessee published a letter submitted by Samuel M. Stover that recorded his observations about the state of the local crops and prices of hogs, cattle, horses and mules.

Article Samuel wrote about
crops and livestock

Samuel bought another tract of land for the woods and mineral rights from Benjamin C. Foster for $300 in December of 1854.[4] The following year he acquired a tract on the south side of Holston Mountain from William B. Carter and James P.T. Carter who were the executors of the estate of A.M. Carter. This parcel was also purchased for the woods and mineral rights at a cost of $17.76, and the following year William B. Carter sold Samuel another tract for $27. David L. Stover witnessed this deed as well.[5]

In 1857 Christian Carriger sold two tracts on the south side of the Watauga River,  near the foot of Lynn Mountain, that was adjacent to the land owned by David L. Stover. This was a 170-acre parcel. The other parcel was 55 acres that had been owned by John Carriger. Isaac Nave and Jacob Cameron were the witnesses. Then in 1858, Silas Ritchie sold Samuel an 88-acre tract on the south side of Stony Creek for $5. In May of 1858 Christian Carriger sold Samuel another parcel on Stony Point on Lynn Mountain. This was a 13 ½ acre parcel that Samuel paid $10 for.

The following year Samuel’s older brother David Lincoln Stover died at the age of 53. Samuel’s first son, William Butler Stover was born on February 26, 1859, and a second son Samuel “Sammie” was born April 1, 1860.

Sammie Stover 1860-1867

In September of 1859 Samuel formed a partnership with A.J. Tipton and James A. Burrows. He invested $300 of capitol into Tipton& Burrows, a retail business that in Elizabethton “to buy and sell all sorts of goods and merchandise.” Tipton and Burrows would operate the store and draw a salary while all three would share equally in the profits.[6]

Following his father’s example, Samuel helped to raise funds to build a parsonage for the First Presbyterian Church in town. It was to be built on land owned by Jack Smit. Samuel and other men of the community raised $274.15, as recorded on April 28, 1860.

When the 1860 census was taken Samuel and Carrie were living in Elizabethton in house number 228, next door to his brother David’s widow and children. Samuel was 36, Carrie, listed as Caroline was 26, and their four children ranged in age from 1 to 5. Rather than being listed as a physician Samuel was identified as a farmer owning $12,500 worth of real estate and a personal estate valued at $15,000.

First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton

The year after the 1860 census a daughter named Sarah Drake “Sallie” Stover was born and was named after her grandmother Sarah Murry Drake Stover. Sallie was the sixth child born to Samuel and Carrie.

In August of 1860 Samuel sold a one ninth interest he owned in a slave named Jo to Samuel W. Williams for $125.[7] Two months later he purchased another parcel from William C. Carter on the south side of Holston Mountain that was adjacent to land owned by H.C. Nave, Benjamin C. Foster, William Duncan and John Nave.[8]

On December 5, 1861 he sold a 93-acre tract on the Doe River to Samuel B. O’Brien who was from Knox County, Tennessee, and he received a payment of $1100. This parcel adjoined land owned by Abraham Tipton and Thomas Johnson.[9]

M.J. Morton sold Samuel two tracts in April of 1862. These were lots No. 1 and 2 and were 13 ¾ and 13 2/3-acre parcels. Samuel paid $450 for both. Previously they had been owned by William Hardin and Henry Hardin.[10]

Amelia Lincoln Stover

Belvadore "Belle" Stover

An ad from the day Samuel was
mentioned in the Brownlow's Press

[1] South Carolina, US compiled Marriage Index found on Ancestry. I have one source that says they were married in June of 1851 and another showing 1854. Their first child was born in August of 1854 so either could be correct.

[2] P. 147 Deed Book L or M, 15 April 1852.

[3] 16 Aug 1853, DB M pg. 401-02

[4] Deed registered 29 March 1855, DB N, p. 98.

[5] 8 March 1856

[6] 9 Sept 1859, registered on the 10th in DB O p. 3. James L. Bradley, Clerk, John W. Cameron, Deputy Clerk.

[7] 6 Aug 1860, DB O, p. 198

[8] Registered 13 July 1861 DB O, p. 331.

[9] Registered 5 Dec. 1981, DB O, p. 367.

[10] Registered 11 April 1862 DB O, p. 402 

Samuel Murray Stover 1824-1897 My 2nd Great Granduncle on My Father's Side - Part 3

This is one of several documents found on Fold3
about Samuel's contributions during the Civil War
Role During the Civil War

Between 1861 and 1864 Samuel supported the confederate army during the Civil War. On September 2,1861 he was paid $947 for six mules, two horses and a wagon. Between 1862 and 1864 he received an additional $1165 for 334 pounds of beef, 150 pounds of pork, an unspecified amount of bacon, 210 bushels of corn, 5000 pounds of hay, and 300 pounds of iron. The iron likely came from the Speedwell Bloomary Forge on Stoney Creek that was owned by his father William Stover.

Samuel served as a physician under Robert E. Lee in Clarkson’s Battalion with the Independent Rangers. Pvt. Co. C. He was also a Commissary Officer and worked with quartermasters of Vaughn’s Brigade, 8th Virginia Cavalry and Morgan’s Men. One of the slaves he owned, Robert Stover accompanied Samuel when he went to Virginia. Robert served as a cavalry teamster. Apparently, Robert was the only known black soldier to serve the Confederacy from Carter County. Robert was awarded a pension from the State for his service.[1]

During the war the Stover family suffered the deaths of the family patriarch, William Stover and Samuel’s younger brother Daniel who was serving with the Union Army as a colonel with the 4th Regiment of Volunteers.

H.L. Stover May 1868

Shortly after the Civil War ended Charles Daniel Stover was born on October 25, 1865. Next was H.L. Stover, a son born in May of 1868. 

Charles Daniel Stover

More Land Transactions

Jacob Taylor and Pleasant Willams sold Samuel a 7-acre parcel on the south side of Stony Creek for $2000 in 1863. This parcel had been owned by Samuel’s father in 1857 when the meets and bounds were recorded in deed book N on page 483.

In 1865 Samuel sold 170 acres on the Watauga River to Charles P. Toncray of Carter County for $7500. This was the parcel he had purchased that was adjacent to his brother’s land. He also sold the parcel on Stony Point on Lynn Mountain as part of this transaction.[2] The following month Samuel sold an additional tract to David J Nave for $800.[3] These two sales were likely driven by the need to cover heavy taxation that was imposed after the Civil War.

In September of 1865 Samuel purchased another quarter interest in the 5000-acre parcel of land that had previously been owned by his father, from Pleasant Williams.[4]

The final land transaction I have found for Samuel occurred in May of 1866 when he sold a 50-acre parcel on the Watauga River for $1500 to William A.J. Pearce and John T. Pearce.[5] In total Samuel purchased twelve tracts of land during his lifetime (that I found records for) totally more than 1785 acres. All were located in Carter County – most in district 9 and a couple in district 10.

Late 1860s and the 1870s

Two news articles from 1867 demonstrate that Samuel continued to be actively engaged in civic affairs of the times. On May 17th the East Tennessee Union Flag ran a story headlined “Convention of the Radical Unionists of Carter County”. In this column Samuel Stover was listed as a delegate from the 9th District and as such attended a convention held at the Court House in Elizabethton to help nominate a representative for the county, and a candidate for senator in the first District of the State.

In July of the same year the Brownlow’s Knoxville Whig reported that Samuel Stover again represented the 9th District from Carter to nominate a floater to represent Johnson and Carter counties in the representative branch of the next legislature.

A ninth child and last son, Henry Tucker Stover was born in November 1869 when the family was living in Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Headstone for Henry Tucker Stover
On the 1870 census Samuel was listed as S. Murray Stover which is unusual  in most records he is listed as Samuel M. Stover. He and Caroline were living in house number 105 along with their 6 children including Minnie 15, Belle 14, Amelia L. 12, William B. 11, Sallie D. 9 and Charles D. 4. Samuel’s mother Sarah M. Stover, 76 was living with them as was Charlotte Stewart 21 who was employed as a housekeeper. I cannot figure out why their youngest child Henry T. Stover was not listed on this census. On this census Samuel was identified as a physician but his assets had declined substantially – likely due to the Civil War. Their real estate value was shown as $2800 and personal estate as only $956 – a combined loss of $23,744 since the 1860 census. Also interesting to note is that all of the real estate was listed under Caroline’s name. 
Another Civil War record
In May of 1873, the Bristol news ran an interesting article as follows: “A Curiosity - Dr. S.M. Stover has laid upon our table, a very rare curiosity, being a couple of iron ore specimens, which would ordinarily be pronounced petrifactions. In reality, they are beautifully exact imitations of oak roots, showing the bark, with every wrinkle and prominence. Evidently the wooden particles have been replaced by this pure article of brown hematite ore. They are one and a half inches in diameter, and show the peculiar internal structure of the wood in the most minute manner. They were obtained from the center of a solid rock which had been rent asunder. They were taken from Stover's Ore Bank on Stony Creek, Carter Co. Tenn., eleven miles from Elizabethton.”

On July 27, 1873 Samuel and Caroline had their last child – a daughter named Emma Brooks Stover. According to the Social Security Death Index, this child lived to the age of 93 and died in Knoxville in 1967.

Samuel’s beloved mother Sarah died while living with Samuel and Caroline on May 21, 1874. She is buried in the Drakes Cliff Cemetery in Elizabethton beside her husband.

Caroline’s Death and Marriage to Amanda Hopkins

In January of 1875 Samuel’s wife Caroline died at the age of 41 leaving him with three young children. He did not remarry until October 29, 1878 at which time he married Amada Hopkins, also a native of Tennessee. Amanda was the daughter of James F. Hopkins and Sarah J.E. Hopkins.[6]  Claude J. Stover was born March 24, 1880 when Samuel was 55.

Carrie Stover's marker
The 1880 Carter County census was taken in June. Samuel age 56 and Amanda age 20 were living at Stoney Creek with their son Claude age 1. Samuel was again listed as a physician. Later that year on June 12th the Bristol News reported that the Samuel Stover family had returned to Sullivan County, Tennessee, “having bought the 1900-acre Palmer sawmill tract from Mr. M.L. Blackly, and the adjoining Hoffman-Blevins tract of 750 acres. He now has the finest forests of white pine and other timber in the county.” The reporter added, “I am glad he comes back to the neighborhood of Bristol. Our people always liked him and I am no exception to that rule. He is within eight miles of us.”[7]

Samuel lived to see at least five of his children be married. Almena in 1871, Belvadora in 1873, Amelia and William in 1884, and Charles in 1890. His son John Murray Stover was born February 6, 1889, and another son William Hopkins Stover was born November 6, 1895. 

Samuel's original headstone.

Samuel died on March 20, 1897 at the age of 72. He is buried in the Drakes Cliff Cemetery in Elizabethton along with several of his children, his parents, one brother and Robert Stover, the former slave who accompanied Samuel during the Civil War.

William Stover death certificate showing
Samuel and Amada as parents

Samuel and Amanda marriage

John Murray Stover and William Hopkins
Stover, sons of Samuel and Amanda

Claude J. Stover 1880-1939, Samuel 
and Amanda's son

Robert Stover, the African American who
accompanied Samuel during the Civil 


[1] Information provided by W.C. Hicks, a Carter County history and Civil War buff.

[2] Registered in DB O, P. 570, 17 Aug. 1865

[3] Registered in DB O, p. 581

[4] 21 September 1865, registered in DB N, p. 485.

[5] Registered 7 May 1866, DB O, p. 647.

[6] 1880 Census Sullivan, TN. US marriage records for Tennessee 1780-2002, p. 225 found on Ancestry. Tennessee compiled marriages 1851-1900.

[7] On The Sidewalk, society news column Bristol News, 12 June 1880.