Eliza Catherine Stackpole 1864-1951

Earliest known picture of Eliza we have in our family collection.

I am afraid that this generation of our family tree starts the ‘tradition’ of knowing very little about the ancestresses, and Eliza is no exception.

Eliza Catherine Stackpole was born on June 7, 1864, probably in Pine Grove, Wetzel County, West Virginia1 (which had become a state all its own almost exactly a year earlier.) She wasn’t alone on this birthing day either, she arrived with a twin brother, William Jackson. [William has a different date of birth in online trees, and the census of 1880 stated their age as 15, the one in 1870 said they were 7, so still not 100% sure.]

Her parents were Thomas R. Stackpole and Lydia Lemasters, both natives of Virginia. The twins ended up being about the middle children of 13 total born to her parents. Two of their siblings were to die young: Elihu/er, who died of scarlet fever at about 1, and Lucy, the youngest, who died at about 4 years of age.

It was a few short weeks after Eliza and William were born that their parents purchased their first property in Wetzel County and according to the deed, they were of Wetzel County at the time. The date on the deed was June 20, 18642.

I believe the property purchased by the Stackpole parents was located somewhere in the red circle. The ‘North Fork’ and head of ‘Wilson Run’ is located in the deed description, see red circled area. Pine Grove is not too far away.

If Eliza was born in 1864, then she arrived while the Civil War was still raging in the country. But her father Thomas, does not appear to have been involved in any of the fighting. (I can find no record of service for him, on either side.) Whether or not Thomas participated in the war in another capacity, I have no idea. There is no evidence that there were battles or fighting going on in their neck of the woods either, so their family had not been personally affected while living in Wetzel County. Although the situation in and of itself would have created great anxiety in the family and their surrounding relatives.

Eliza, in the 1880 census, is noted as ‘attended school’, and in later censuses we know her education, at the least, taught her how to read and write, because they said she could. This education was most likely acquired at the same school her daughter, Rachel, attended when she was growing up, Pine Grove/Free School.

Pine Grove Schools– …Early settlers’ last names were Morgan, Jolliffe, Stone, Long, Lantz, Allen, Stackpole, Borby, Headley, McAlister, Hayes, Willey, Holbert, Wallace, Renner, Pizarro, Brookfields, Roome, Garvy, McCuskey, Lowe.

First reported school was ran by Ms. Hostutler in her father’s kitchen, year unknown.  The first school was built below Wilson Run, called the Free School…

https://www.wetzelcountyschools.com/Page/14390 –related surnames, to us, were bolded in the quote by me.
Interior of Pine Grove School date unknown. Also from: https://www.wetzelcountyschools.com/Page/14390

The above interior picture probably looks pretty much the same as when Eliza went to school here. It’s location, on the map above, is around the blue pin.

At the age of 21 Eliza decided it was time to leave the nest and start her own family. The lucky man was Ausburne,( or Ausborn, or Osburn) Hays, (or Hayes) (I am afraid that documents are inconsistent regarding the spelling of Ausburn, or Hays). Maybe she was attracted to the mystery of how to spell his name. The date for their exchange of vows was December 24, 18853. A happy day all around, with the bonus of it happening on Christmas Eve Day. It would certainly make it much easier to remember when one was married too. (That’s why I married on Valentine’s Day, so I would remember it much easier 50 years from then. Now the year — that is a different matter.)

Ausburn and Eliza do not seem to have owned property during their time together, census records from 1900-1920 list them as being renters, (although, at the time of this writing I have been unable to view deeds of relative’s estates that might have left them property, other than the property left to her by her father’s estate in 1899, that land was sold by her and all her sibling.) In all the census records found for them they were living amidst GEORGEs and HAYSs, in fact you couldn’t turn around without smacking into a cousin, sibling, aunt, uncle, or grandparent. My grandfather remembers that Ausburn and his only other sibling, his brother Edmund, lived next door to each other, and census records concur. For all appearances it seems they spend their whole life in the same spot. Eliza and her husband likely rented part of one of their relatives property. Maybe they used a barter system instead of money, or a bit of both.

Eleven months after Eliza’s marriage she had the first of what would be 10 children during their marriage. Ausburn supported this large brood by working timber, and the family also did a little farming to help supplement the table. The land in this area would have been hard to farm, it was very hilly, so lumbering sounds like a good way to have made a living.

Being so close to all that family would have been a boon in hard times — or weird times as seen in this article from the ‘Fairmont West Virginian’ newspaper of July 13, 1918:


A huge mass of large yellow worms—said to be not less than three miles long and 100-yards wide—is crawling toward Littleton in Wetzel County, W.Va.

The Fairmont newspapers inform that on Sunday morning, June 31, Milliard McDougal, a well-known county farmer, woke to find millions of worms heaped high against the side of his house. Since then, the worms have hidden many buildings from view simply by crawling over them.

Jim Fox, another Wetzel County farmer, was forced to stop plowing when he and his horses were attacked by the worms. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people from Littleton and elsewhere have been traveling on foot, on horseback, by teams and buggies and wagons, and in automobiles, to see the weird worms as they wiggle and stretch and creep and crawl westward across Wetzel County.

One newspaper report is to the effect that it requires three days and two nights for the worms to wiggle past a given point. The mass is at some places a foot thick. It covers completely the hills and hollows and level sections over which it moves. So far, though—and thank the Lord for it!—the worms have done no visible damage. They seem not to eat anything, and some observers believe they are crawling to commit suicide and will pile themselves up and die.

Stock will not eat any grass the worms have crawled across, and chickens will not eat the worms. It is the deepest mystery that ever occurred in this country. The worms are about two inches long and one-eighth of an inch in diameter. They are a bright, brownish-yellow, in color, and they have hundreds of legs, it seems.

Where did the weird worms come from? Where are they going? Will they eventually destroy Wetzel County, as some observers believe?

Prof. Peairs, a university entomologist, does not know why the weird worms march. He has visited Wetzel County for a first-hand look and says:

“Ordinarily, this type of worm does not venture into open country. It does not feed on any food that people eat but subsists entirely on decayed vegetation, rotting logs, and stumps, leaves, etc. It lives in shady, damp places, and will soon perish without abundant moisture.”

The professor says he never heard of the worms appearing in such great numbers and is at a loss to understand how such a thing could happen. He states that, indeed, the march of the weird worms is phenomenal and unique, and that nothing like it has ever been known before in his experience.

The march, however, has finally stopped, and most of them along the way are dead and lying in heaps along the railroad. Prof. Peairs says there is very little recorded information about these worms. Their scientific name is, the professor says, “polydesmus.” [Polydesmus is a genus of millipedes in the family Polydesmidae]

Fairmont-West Virginian, July 13, 1918.

All I gotta say is ICCKKKKK! I am not fond of any worm that has a large amount of legs wriggling about and to see them in such a large number would have had me running, screaming, to the next state over. I would imagine that there were some pretty interesting conversations at the dinner table when this was going on.

Four months after this crazy incident appeared in the newspaper, a matter of a more personal nature could be found in the columns:


Ausburn Hays, a widely known resident of Grand district, died at his home near Jacksonburg, Tuesday, October 8, of heart trouble in the 53rd year of his age.

The deceased was a son of Ezra Hays, and a member of one of the oldest Wetzel county families.

He was a member of the Church of Christ for many years, and a well known and honored citizen who has many friends who will be grieved to lear of his death.

Funeral services were held from his late home Thursday, October 10, Rev. David Maine officiating and interment was at the Lyon cemetery on Indian Creek, in Tyler county, Harry Palmer, undertaker, of Pine Grove, being in charge.

The deceased is survived by his widow, five sons and five daughters, his father and one brother.



We wish to thank the many friends and relatives for their kindness during the sickness and death of our loving husband and father; also Rev. David Main for his consoling words; and Palmer and Fair, undertakers for their efficient services.

Mrs. Ausburn Hays, Sons and Daughters

According to my grandfather, Ausburn was in the middle of carving a new yoke for the oxen he used to haul timber out of the woods when he became ill. It was never finished.

After Ausburn’s death4 Eliza continued running the farm, likely with the help of her sons and their families. I found her noted as being on the 1920 agriculture census, but, the actual record no longer exists, so I don’t know what crops or livestock she was farming. Eliza and her sons together continued to work the land until she was in her 60s at which time she decided it was time to retire:

Eliza C., Hayes,  mother,  female, white, 75, wid. did not attend school, highest grade 0, born in West Virginia, resided in same place in 1935, did not work and no income [her son Leslie was supporting her at this time.]

Details of 1940 Census  Jacksonburg (Unincorporated) Grant District, Wetzel County, West Virginia:
p12B (ancestry.com image 24 of 32), 16 Apr, ED 52-10, 191, line 42

NOTE: The census regarding her education is possibly correct in that she didn’t finish a particular grade, we don’t know how long she attended school. It could have been only long enough to get some reading and writing in. Earlier census records do indicate she was attending school sometime when she was younger.

In the photo above, Eliza looks like a pretty strong woman. She had to have been to raise all those children. She survived her husband by 33 years. On May 26, 1951 she passed away at a home in Marion, Ohio.

Mrs. Eliza Hayes

Pine Grove, May 26 – Mrs. Eliza Hayes, 87, of Pine Grove, one of the oldest twins in West Virginia, died at 1:30 p.m. Friday at a convalescent home in Marion, Ohio, after a short illness. She was the sister of Jackson Stackpole, of Pine Grove.

Born June 7, 1863, in Wetzel County, she was a daughter of Thomas and Lydia Lemasters Stackpole. Her husband was Osburn Hayes, who died nearly thirty years ago. Until three years ago, Mrs. Hayes had spent her life in this section. She had visited among her ten children since that time.

Her children are Mrs. Vada Edgell, of Smithburg [? Jacksonburg or Smithfield]; Mrs. Rachel Shepherd of Westerville, Ohio; Mrs. Lydia Williams, of Fairport, Ohio; Ellis, of Jacksonburg; Leslie, of Pine Grove; Mrs. Essie Morris, of Jacksonburg; Harvey, of Fairview, Ohio [?]; Simon, of Smithfield; John, of Reader, and Mrs. Bessie Johnson, of Ashley, [Delaware Co., Ohio].

She also leaves her twin, Jackson, of Pine Grove, and a second brother, Tommy, of Pine Grove. Mrs. Ruth George, of Ravenna, Ohio, and Mrs. Amanda Fluharty, of Jacksonburg, are sisters. There are thirty-seven grandchildren and twenty-one great-grandchildren. The body will be returned to Pine Grove.

Transcribed from a clipping in Arlene Cozart’s Obit collection, publ. in Wetzel Co. Gen. Soc. newsletter.
Photo from family collection. Headstone located in Lyons Cemetery, Tyler County, West Virginia.

If you don’t know where Eliza is in our family tree then visit my website and find out.

1. There is no birth record for the twins. The date of birth is found on her headstone, so is not a primary source. If the birth date on Eliza’s headstone is correct, Lydia, her mother, being so close to giving birth, would have been in no mood to be making a major family move to a different county, which is why I believe she would have been born in Wetzel County–if the birthdate is correct.
2. Thomas Stackpole deed v9 p235-236, Wetzel County, West Virginia Deeds, 1845-1902; deed index, 1845-1970; Clerk of the County Court; Deeds, v. 8-9 1870-1872 – Digital Film #8285414 – image 436-437 of 505, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. This deed was dated a couple of weeks after the birth of the children using 7 Jun 1864 date, and indicated that they (Thomas and Lydia Stackpole) were of Wetzel County.
3. Thomas R. Stackpole and Lydia Lemaster marriage, Tyler County Marriage book, book 1, p. 99, returns of Jacob Yeater, Tyler County, West Virginia. April 1, 2003.

4. A. B. Hayes certificate of death, register no. 136, October 18, 1918, Wetzel County, Grant District, Jacksonburg; West Virginia State department of Health. Online digital image from http://www.wvculture.org.

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