Seven-foot-tall Grantsville man, Taylor Randolph "Zach" (1847-1918) photographed on Easter Sunday along Little Kanawha River early 1900s

By Bob Weaver 2022

Taylor Randolph "Zach" Stump was likely the tallest man ever in Calhoun County, a consummate farmer, river man, and cabinet maker, and was among the first coffin makers.

He served in the West Virginia Legislature after Calhoun was declared a county.

His 200-acre farm was across the Little Kanawha River from Grantsville and had one of the first windmills.

He married Samilda Stump (1842-1907), she was the daughter of Jacob J. Stump and Mary "Polly" Vannoy, moving to Grantsville in 1866.

They had eleven sons, ten of whom lived at least beyond early childhood. They were: Loranzan (Dowd), Pratt, Oke, Roy, Franklin, Wade, Robert, Eustace, William, Darius, who died at age two, and Hester, who died in 1909 at the age of 33.

From Norma Knotts Shaffer an 1800s tale that paints the life and times:

"Aunt Betty Ferrell says, "Jane Burrows (afterward Jane Taylor,) and I were going from "Granny" Burrows' down to our house, and we crossed the river just at the mouth of Philip's Run. Incidentally the cows were in front of us in the path, and as Jane and I were going along, at about the place where Mr. Zach Stump's river house now stands, the largest black bear I ever saw stood almost in the path before us. "

"The cows passed on and we followed, and as we passed I could have laid my hand on the bear, but he did not move, and we passed him and left him standing there. The next afternoon, that same bear, crossed the river to "Granny Burrows' and went into the hog pen and lifted out "Granny's" big old sow, took it up in his arms and carried it across the river, carrying it in his arms as one would carry a child, walking on his hind feet; walked up the steep hill on the opposite side of the river and disappeared, the hog meantime squealing and trying to get away."

"It was only a few days after this incident that that same bear was killed by old "Uncle Jimmy" Hoffman, after it had chased his hogs in from the woods, and the old hunters all said its skin was the largest bear skin they had ever seen."

"Philip's Run received its name from Philip Lyons, who was the first settler on the Burrows place, where Grantsville now stands."

READ MORE ... A WONDERFUL PRESENCE - Grantsville Man Almost Seven Foot Tall, Taylor Randolph "Zach" Stump's River House