HISTORIC STUMP FAMILY WAS 'FRUITFUL' - Family Brought Life To Region, Recalling The Michael Stumps

By Bob Weaver 2012

The Stump family, historical settlers in Gilmer-Calhoun counties followed the directive in Genesis 9:1: "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth."

The journey of the four Michael Stumps is well documented from Germany to this region of Gilmer-Calhoun County, the descendants settling up and down the Steer Creek valley and along the Little Kanawha River.

They dug their roots deep and wide, becoming farmers, merchants, and politicians.

Stumptown was named for Michael Stump III.

The last of the notable Michael Stumps, Michael IV (1787-1883) is buried in a hillside cemetery (Michael Stump Cemetery) above US 33-119 at Stumptown. He lived to be 95.

Calhoun historian Norma Knotts Shaffer, a Stump descendant, visited the cemetery recently to discover that his monument has collapsed.

Michael IV's monument for he and his wife has unfortunately
fallen to the ground, according to Norma Knotts Shaffer, who
recently visited the cemetery (Photos By Norma Knotts Shaffer)

"During the last century, there would be few families in northern Calhoun not connected to the Stumps," Shaffer said.

Michael Stump IV, who married Elizabeth Bush, had 14 children, including 11 sons - George, Jacob, Absalom, Henry, Eli, John, Simon Peter, Archibald, Martin, Alfred and Elliott, and three daughters, Margaret who married Robert Shock, Scinthy who married John Bennett, and Matilda who married James Frank Barr.

Michael IV was a surveyor and sheriff of Lewis County VA for six years. He was elected Gilmer County surveyor in 1845, and was one of the first justices of the Gilmer County Court, serving for over 40 years.

One Hundred years ago, there was a dedication of a monument for his father, Michael Stump III (1766-1837), in a cemetery near their old home, an eminence overlooking the Steer Creek Valley near Stumptown.

Seventy five years had rolled by in 1912 and the name of the old gentleman had almost been forgotten without a proper marker.

A movement was started by a great-grandson, Dr. Leland J. Stump, that resulted in the purchase and erection of a monument, paid for by dime donations of the great mass of Stump descendants scattered all over the USA.

An account says they came from every state in the Union for the unveiling in the presence of the largest crowd ever assembled in Gilmer County at the time.

The dedication of Michael IIIs monument, shaped like a
large tree truck, drew the biggest crowd assembled in
Gilmer County at the time (Photo By Tranquillas Wings)

A huge monument was carved into the shape of a large tree trunk, with the design of a gun and ax to represent the pioneer and hunter.

"Everyone brought their dinners and the entire day was spent in relatives getting together and acquainting themselves with each other," the account says.

"Two eminent Stumps who have since passed addressed that great body of people. They were Dr. J. Leland Stump of Charleston and Hon. T.R. Stump, a statesman from Grantsville."

"That day the British Jack under which he had been born and Old Glory under which he fought was lifted over his grave, and a shout of praise rang over the mountain as many tears flowed down the faces of the hundreds that were present."

Michael III was born in what was Hampshire County VA. He was granted a tract of land on Hacker's Creek in Harrison County VA, where he built a cabin and took his bride, Magdalene Richards (1768-1832). They married in 1786.

Michael III decided to take his bride back to his old home on the South Branch of the Potomac because of the renewal of Indian hostilities in Harrison County.

About 1800, Michael III began to yearn for the wilderness with an influx of settlers making him feel crowded on the South Branch. He moved his family to Steer Creek in Harrison County (now Gilmer) in 1804. He was the owner of the largest tract of land of a single individual in the history of Steer Creek Valley.

His mother's brother was Jesse Hughes, frontiersman, hunter, and scout who was an early settler in the western region of Virginia that became West Virginia. His Stump family served in the French and Indian and Revolutionary War.

To Michael Stump III and Magdalene were born: Michael IV, Sarah who married William Boggs, Jacob, Mary Magdalene who married Henry Beall, Absolom, John, George, Elizabeth who married Samuel Stout, Jemina who married Seymore Norman, Temperance who married John Wolfe Stout, and Jesse.

Michael Stump II married Sarah Hughes in 1763 or 1765. Sarah, a daughter of Thomas and Mary Hughes, and a sister of the well known pioneers, Jesse and Elias Hughes, was born in 1746 and died in what is now Hardy County in 1821.

Michael Stump II was a Lt Col in the Militia. He resigned this post and was commissioned a Captain in the Continental Army. He was at the Battle of Point Pleasant.

He was Justice of the Peace for Hampshire, then Hardy County.

Michael Stump was with Washington on the memorable occasion of the crossing of the Delaware when the Hessian troops were surprised and captured and indications are that he was a trusted and loyal soldier. Records show that Michael was a guest of General Washington, at Mount Vernon, in 1798 and took part in a fox hunt there.

He is believed to have served as an Aide-de-Camp to General Washington.

Col. D. S. Dewees' "Recollections of a Life Time" recalls history of the Stump family, as does "Michael Stump, Sr. of Virginia 1709-1768" by Thurman Stump.

Calhoun historian Norma Knotts Shaffer has done extensive genealogy
on a number of Calhoun families, researched and written county
history and is responsible for the largest collection of historic
Calhoun photos, many of which appear under Photo of the Day