Enoch And Esther, Confirmed

I have been obsessed lately with my DNA research, probably because I can’t currently do much in the way of records research, except for what’s available online due to the pandemic, (which contrary to popular belief is not over!) So, in order to feel that I haven’t abandoned genealogy completely, I am focusing on the DNA end of things.

This obsession has also led me to try and learn as much as I can about how to analyze one’s data. Because I will admit, all those charts, lists and matches can get overwhelming! If nothing else, I have learned one thing for sure – focus. Pick one particular problem, or ancestor, and focus on analyzing only data related to that particular answer. Don’t get distracted by all the other pretty little lights.

As I have posted previously here, and here, with the addition of my parents DNA to Ancestry.com, two research puzzles were almost solved, we just have to find the actual records now to suss out exact data.

Now for some more good news! I can also say that DNA has confirmed our connection to Enoch Shepard and Esther Dewey, Hartley Shepard’s grandparents. We have DNA matches with several descendants of children of Enoch and Esther: Luther, Calvin, and Anna – all siblings of Huldah, mother of Hartley.

In the chart above you can see the 5 matches that we have with descendants of Enoch and Esther’s other children.

This is great news, because we have no documents that connect these Shepards to ours other than a yDNA test with 5 markers off on this Shepard line, which made me very nervous about connecting us to the Massachusetts line. But now we have more DNA connecting us. Which makes me breathe a sigh of relief.

In a nutshell this means that the word of mouth story of Hartley’s parents being Henry and Huldah Shepard, was not just a story. This also confirms that General William Shepard of Westfield, Massachusetts was indeed our ancestor. So, yes we can brag about it in full confidence now.

Here is a source mentioning the children of Enoch and Esther: “Colonel Enoch Shepherd, wife and nine Children, Enoch, Daniel, Luther, Calvin, Esther, Anna, Rhoda, Lorana, and Huldah.”

History of Washington County: Residents at Campus Martius – Marietta and at “The Point” – in and Near Fort Harmer during the Whole or Part of the period of the Indian Wars between 1790–1795
Here is Hartley’s tree in a beautiful fan shape. There is quite a bit of cousin marrying cousin in Hartley’s family, up to and including his son Elza marrying his 2nd cousin, Jane Buchanan.

This also means that I will be posting more about this line in the future than I have previously. Having more confidence in the connection to the Westfield Shepards makes me feel much better about researching and sharing this line with family.

Peeking Over Brick Walls

A few months ago I asked my parents if they would do another DNA test, only this time through Ancestry.com. Currently I have their DNA data at MyHeritage, FTDNA, LivingDNA, and GEDMatch, (I think that is all of them) But, of course, greedy Ancestry (what a bunch of wankers) doesn’t allow you to upload results from other companies, so I have to test everyone all over again just for this site. This also means that those relatives who donated in the past, and have since died, are out of luck.

My main reason for doing this was to see if the Irish DNA my Dad carries would show up as from a particular part of Ireland, but also, we would most likely find lots of different matches because so many people get suckered into Ancestry’s universe and don’t use the other DNA sites.

Thankfully they both said yes and the results arrived a week or two ago.

First, to get it out of the way: my Dad’s Irish DNA is too small an amount to even show up (guess I will have to try my sister). My Mother has Irish too, in fact more than my Dad, but I still have no idea where in Ireland these ancestors came from as both didn’t have enough DNA from this ethnicity to sort it out. Bummer.

Now the good stuff. I have to say that the Thrulines and DNA matches have really been exciting.

  1. Our Cross and Warner connection has been reaffirmed with several matches with siblings of our ancestors.
  2. My Norwegian ancestry is 100% correct. Damn I am good!
  3. And Mary Baker/Weekley can stop wavering as she appears to be a Weekley.

A little background on Mary. I talked about her a little bit in a previous post, but the nitty gritty is this. Elzy George and Mary Baker likely were married1 in December 1825. They posted their marriage bonds in November and December. These are the parents of Rachel George who married Ezra Hays, who are then the parents of my great grandmother Rachel, aka Dick. In this bond it clearly states her name as Mary Baker:

But then several of her children’s death records started showing up with their mother’s surname being stated at Weekley. And the confusion commenced.

One of my theories at the time was it was possible that she married a Baker who died very shortly afterward and then married Elzy George. Or she was a Baker. No one in the genealogy circles had developed any theories, at least that I know of. Research into the matter didn’t really clear it up either. I could find no record that connected Mary specifically to either surname other than this marriage bond.

But now we have DNA, and DNA says she was a Weekley:

ThruLines as defined by Ancestry.com: ThruLines uses Ancestry trees to suggest how SJ may be related to their DNA matches through common ancestors.

Now this match does not mean that Mary is a daughter of Thomas, it is merely being suggested because we match all these other Weekleys who appear to be children of Thomas. The DNA only tells us that we match these Weekleys, not HOW we match them. ThruLines are suggestions, that could be correct. It is also possible that Thomas had a sibling who is Mary’s parent.

At Ancestry Thomas shows up in SJ’s list of ThruLines as:

Here is Thomas Weekley and his wife Mary Jones (Polly is a nickname for Mary).

The dotted line around his square means potential ancestor, which is also indicated on the square. If there is no line then that means you have that person in your tree, and we will all assume that it is the correct ancestor. Below is the ThruLines from the top when you first go into your results, scrolling down will bring you to each generation that they have ThruLines for, some of which will also be potential ancestors.

Of course now that we have more of a nudge to the Weekley line, I will have to be more vigilant in researching the Weekley family in Tyler County, West Virginia. She is connected somehow. Maybe she is illegitimate!

  1. Elzy George and Polly/Mary Baker marriage bonds, November 30, 1825 and December 1, 1825. Tyler County, [West] Virginia. Test. Absalom George and John Baker, son of Evan, William George and Deborah George.

A Trip Across The Pond

Some years back my grandparents took a trip to England and Scotland for 14 days. They did a lot of site-seeing, and I guess, gramps wanted to talk to someone about the Scottish origins of our Shepards. (At the time we didn’t know that the Shepards are actually English. DNA.)

Grandmother kept a little journal of their trip, which I found recently while going through their papers. I loved finding it, because my husband and I do the same thing when we go on trips, it must be in my genes. In fact I created a book of our first visit to Hawaii together, as it was a 5 year anniversary vacation. It included photos, little mementos (scanned), and our journal entries, then I had it printed by Apple’s photo book company. It looks pretty spiffy, if I say so myself.

So, anytime I run across these types of items my heart sings. Admittedly, it might be the only one she kept. The year is not indicated on the journal, but I know we have letters that talk about them going on the trip. I believe it occurred sometime in the 70s-80s.

I scanned the whole journal and am putting it here for anyone to enjoy. It is not a novel, the entries are pretty short, they talk mostly about the foods they ate, arrivals, departures, but there is a little bit of commentary. The file can be downloaded, it is a .pdf, or just read it here in my blog. Enjoy!

Fashion Envy?

I have been going through my grandparents papers recently, reorganizing, seeing what needs scanning, throwing away, etc. When I ran across this great newspaper clipping about my mom! She looks gorgeous in this pic too.

She was attending Bliss College in Lewiston, Maine at the time. The picture was taken in the winter of either 1960 or 1961.

Window shopping in Lewiston, Maine.

Bliss College in Lewiston, Maine; opened 1897, closed 1972; records held: Maine Department of Education, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333. Songe, Alice H.  American Universities and Colleges: A Dictionary of Name Changes. 1978.

Jane Buchanan 1852-1925

Jane (Buchanan) Shepard; I think she looks beautiful in this picture.

[Author’s note: I know it doesn’t seem like it should have, but this post took me over 2 years to write. It was one of those writer’s block episodes. Maybe because there is so little to write about, I didn’t know how to put it down on paper and make it seem…meaningful. Well, here it is, although I still don’t think I did her justice! Maybe I will find more about her life in the future – fingers crossed.]

The family papers from our Shepard side of the family have lots and lots of photos of Jane, her husband, and her children, but we know very little about her life other than what we see in these pictures. Hm, and I don’t recall my grandfather talking much about her either. Which means this bio is not full of much data, but, I have tried to piece together a bit of a life for her. So, here goes.

We know nothing about the how, or why, of our Buchanan line’s arrival in America.

It was possibly sometime in the 1700s, (the date is not currently known, nor has it been proven). The current theory is that John Buchanan is the first in the U.S. of the name in our line. So, until we know differently, he is the dude we start with.

John Buchanan and his wife Jean/Jane Rowan[?] are found in York County, Pennsylvania, where the family stayed for a good 25 years before their grown children started moving out and about the country. Their son William, Jane’s great grandfather, was living in Virginia by the 1780s. I know this because land records were found for him in the area at that time.

When Jane was born, on October 10, 1852, her parents, William Atkinson Buchanan and Margaret Mobley, had settled in Wood County, Virginia (later to become West Virginia). The map below shows the approximate location of the family farm in Wood County, which was deduced using land records for William and Margaret. I think the farm was more towards the right part of the encircled area on the image. Pond Creek Road can be seen towards the bottom of the image; (I think this is the road my mother and I were trying to find the cemetery for Hartley and Susannah Shepard on when we visited years ago.)

Jane attended school from about 1857 to about 1866. Which gave her enough time to learn the basics of reading and writing. (I found some great images of old schools in the County). It is possible that one of these two schools is where the Buchanan children attended, (I lean more towards Mount Hope as it just seemed closer to their farm).

Jane must have been in a hurry to get out of the house, (or maybe it was what all the cool girls were doing), because she was married at the age of 15. The groom was Elza Shepard, the eldest child of Hartley Shepard and Susanna Smith, and he was 21.

Number 16 on the list is the marriage record for Jane and Elza. [Wood County Register of Marriages, 1868, page 38, line 16, County Clerks Office, Parkersburg, West Virginia.]

At the time of the marriage Elza’s family was living in Jackson County. So, I believe that because Elza was 21, he was out on his own making a living as a farm hand, or working at oil rigs in the Wood County area, and that is how he met Jane. Of course, I have no proof of that, but it seems plausible.

After Jane and Elza were married they made their first home together on a farm that they didn’t own, at least not in 1870, (there was no ‘value of real estate’ entered for them in the 1870 census, just ‘value of personal property’). By 1872 they had purchased 110 acres, (4 acres of this property description were owned by W. A. Buchanan, Jane’s father), and Elza appears in the 1873 Table of Tracts of Land, which included valuation and acreage (which was listed as 106). However, they didn’t live on this property for long, their son Thomas was born in Wood County in about 1874, and they stopped paying property taxes in Wood County after 1874. Their son Isaiah was born in Jackson County in 1877. This indicates that by at least 1875 they were living in Jackson County.

Elza and Jane purchased property from her parents when they moved to Jackson County. And they lived on that property for about 10 years before they made another move, this time to property in Wirt County that Jane’s father had sold to her for $1.00 in August of 1888. Maybe her parents realized they were having a hard time of it and wanted to help them out by selling them property at this nice discount. or they possibly made side deals regarding crops and the like.

It is believed that the above pictures are of Jane and Elza’s home. If it is, then it would likely be in Wirt County, as that is where they settled permanently after the move from Jackson County (and the photograph seem like they was taken in the early 1900s). But, again, I don’t know for sure. I need cousins to verify!

You can see the oil rig in the background of one of the pictures. Oil was a big industry in this area at the time. And, our relatives took full advantage of the money making opportunities when they could by leasing their property to these oil companies. In fact my mother inherited a share in one of the leases, it wasn’t worth much by the time she inherited, and it has since been sold.

Jane and Elza had 14 children together (which included a set of twins), but only 11 of those children lived to adulthood.[1]

This picture is great, you can see the stone under Elza’s stool/chair to keep it even, and Jane, holding the treasured family bible, is a little downhill. I believe this is the earliest photograph of Jane and Elza in our collection.

That’s really all I can say about Jane at this time. She looks like she lived a hard life, but she also looks like she enjoyed her grandchildren. Her family was large and poor, but Jane was a respected and loved wife and mother. She died 12 Mar 1925 in Wood County, West Virginia.

…as you go south from Parkersburg on “old” Route 2, you go up what is called “Limestone Hill”. There is a church to the left, as you reach the top of the hill. To the right is a junction with a dirt road, called Gate’s Ridge Road. It is one lane and, if the weather is dry, is passable. Winding about three miles on this road, you come to a church on the left. The church-yard also serves as a cemetery. Here lie the remains of Elza, Jane and several of their children, as well as many friends and relatives. Where the church sets is the junction of another road coming from the left. Down this road about a mile or so (setting on a rise of the hill) is the old farm. It appears that the old barn may still be there; but obviously the house with its electric wiring and modern siding must be a replacement. Grandmother died in about 1925, I guess. I recall being taken on a long journey during the winter from Verasailles Avenue to Parkersburg, and being presented to Grandmother lying on a bed; she knew me but I not her. (She had cared for me as an infant at the farm). Brother Bud told the story of being chased, as a small boy, by a large Tom turkey in the yard of the farmhouse, it appearing that the bird was about to catch him; but as he ran screaming from the bird (which stood higher than he) it passed the front porch step, where stood grandmother, who had run from the kitchen to see what the commotion was all about. She made a fast grab for the turkey, and seized it by the neck and started to shake it. After a vigorous shaking the turkey suddenly went limp, and Bud, in complete amazement watched her wheel about and carry the bird into the house. They had turkey for dinner that evening!! When grandmother cared for me as an infant at the farm, it was the winter of 1917-18 when a terrible flu epidemic swept the nation. There were deaths in the family at that time at the farm, so I understand. Some time after her death, grandad moved into Parkersburg to stay with Uncle Hod, where I visited with him overnight in the 1930’s. He had a large picture of her by his bed, and he would look at it and say “she was a good woman.”

Notes from a letter to Sally from Zara and Brooks, [currently unknown Shepard relatives].

We are lucky in that we have many images of Jane, although they are when she is older. You can get a good sense of her in the pictures. (Click on first image then you can click through each at its proper size.)


  1. 1910 Federal Census, Tucker, Wirt County, West Virginia; Roll: T624_1699; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0114; FHL microfilm: 1375712. [Ancestry.com image 11 of 24, lines 11-17, dwelling 94, family 97.]
  2. Jane Shepard entry, Wood County Deaths, Death Record no. 3: 209, County Clerks Office, Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Cowboys and Indians

These days the headline is not very PC. But I thought I would share anyway because one of my cousins is in this article, James Nevitt. He is my grandmother’s nephew through her sister Evelyn Shaw who married Bob Nevitt. (So, maybe a 1st cousin twice removed, to me?)

There is no date on the article, so, speculating from the date of their marriage and birth of James soon thereafter, early 1940s is when, the place is in Ohio.

I think I am a bit jealous, my dream job was to be an archeologist, and they didn’t even have to try! (I think all the schooling I would need put me off pursuing it though.)

DNA Strikes Again

Thank goodness I have had more family than just myself DNA tested.

My sister and I were recently having a discussion regarding our Irish DNA percentages. I knew that I didn’t have much of any, but I wasn’t sure about her’s. Today I decided to check into the matter. The answer is, none to speak of. So both my sister and I inherited miniscule to none of our Irish DNA. That answered that question. [Update: Oooops. Wrong…my sister actually has a good percentage of Irish, they updated the charts.]

But while I was there, I decided to check through her matches and looked at any trees that were available (one of my pet peeves with folks who get their DNA tested is few to none have any kind of decent tree online, which makes their match of no use to us who are trying to find DNA connections to surnames!!!). Anyway, one of her matches that did have a tree included the surname WARNER. Hmmm, that rang a loud bell in my brain. In fact I think my adrenaline started pumping. Further investigation on this WARNER line in his tree showed a Daniel WARNER married to Ann PEMBER, and this match’s ancestor was their son Thomas who was born in 1756 in Tolland, Connecticut. BINGO! Full on rush going on now.

Screen capture of my sister’s match’s tree from FamilyTreeDNA. Daniel WARNER and Anne PEMBER are right there in black and white.

This one little DNA match has broken down one of my brick walls! And inside I am so jumping up and down with great excitement and joy. The best news I have had all year! (Well, other than being able to get my vaccine.)

I made sure to look over his tree with more diligence, but the WARNER surname is the only commonality between us that I was able to find. So, this means that Zerviah WARNER, wife of Joseph CROSS, and daughter of the same Daniel WARNER and Ann PEMBER in our matches’ tree, was indeed our ancestress. No question about it. Which also means that we descend from Joseph Cross, her husband. (We have their marriage record and we know that when he died, she was still married to him.) Unless she had an affair we don’t know about. I’ll assume she didn’t.

Previous to this DNA find, the only connection we were unable to make was that of Zerviah and Joseph CROSS’s possible daughter Clarissa CROSS, (who married Garret ROSA), to this couple. DNA has sorted it out for us.

I am still doing that happy dance inside my head every time I think about it! Thank you many times over to my family for donating their DNA to help in me my obsession, because if they hadn’t, I would have missed this connection. You see, I have no DNA that matches this person, but my sister did.

A Treasure Found

Yes, I know. It has definitely been a while. COVID-19 is all to blame. Can’t go anywhere, can’t get research done, can’t get records, or access to them. It has put a crimp in my work flow. But, I do try to plug away at it once in a while.

In fact, recently while going through my tree on my FamilySearch.org site, I kept seeing a picture of a Barry family that someone had posted about 4 months ago, I always ignored it. But this week I asked myself why was it here, and could this Barry family possibly be related to me? So, I actually did a little investigation into the matter. Come to find out one of my great Uncles is in this photo. One of my great Uncles I do not have a picture of, at all. This photo’s label was focused on the Barry family, which is actually no relation to me other than by marriage. And, the reason I didn’t understand why it kept showing up on my page.

William Cain was Gertrude Cain’s brother in fact he was the eldest son of John Cain and Carrie Rosa, born right after Gert. He married a woman named Lovina Philomena Barry in Oconto in 1902. William, his wife and family eventually moved out to Oregon and Washington state (a place a lot of other John and Cain cousins, aunts and uncles ended up).

William Cain is standing, his wife is next to him.

What is weird about this discovery is before I decided to investigate the photograph I had found the entry shown below regarding this same Uncle’s marriage to Lovina.

I had to read this document over several times before I was sure it was the same William Cain, because some interesting information shows up in his marriage record. Such as, his mother is named as Catherine Lavallee. If the clerk filled out the form, then Catherine could have been misheard for Carrie, or the record was transcribed incorrectly into the index. But, even more interesting is the reference of his mother’s surname as Lavallee. This was his grandmother Jennie’s surname at the time she died in the 1870s. And Carrie and her sister Ida were Rosas not Lavelleys. So I can only imagine what stories Carrie was telling her children, or how even she didn’t really know what was true. There was already the story being told, and passed down by her children, that Carrie’s father had died during the Civil War. We know that was not true, and it was her mother who probably told her girls this when they moved to Wisconsin, without their father.

Anyway, the marriage record does not contain earth shattering news or anything, it is just interesting. And, another reason to not always trust official records as the purveyors of truth. Sometimes they are just plain wrong. This is also a good reason to see actual records and not indexed ones. I have no idea if the transcription is correct, but, I don’t really care enough to see the actual record in this case. He is only an uncle, and I, apparently, know more than he did about his own family history.

In this case it is the picture that is a true treasure, and I thank the person who uploaded it very, very much. William was a very handsome man. As were all the Cain children so far as I have seen.

It’s All About Me

Well, what I really mean is this post is about ‘girl power’ and a celebration of WOMEN, because, I am one of those.

A month or so ago the Women’s Center on campus, where I work, sent me an email:

You have been nominated as a Titan LeadHER to be featured in the Women’s Center’s Titan LeadHERship Photo Gallery! The Titan LeadHERship Photo Gallery is a photography exhibition on display during the month of March in the second-floor gallery of Reeve Memorial Union. The exhibit depicts images of women or femme-identified leadHERs on campus and their inspirational narratives. It is intended to promote leadHERship and empowHERment on campus throughout Women’s HERstory Month. The goal of this exhibit is to recognize current and inspire future women and femme-identified leadHERs on campus!

At first I decided, naw, I don’t feel like I have really done anything in the way of leadership examples, or empowering women. But, when I sent an email saying such, they sent back to me possible examples of leadership or empowerment. In other words, they changed my mind.

In this mornings’ work email I see that the exhibit is up and ready for folks to enjoy! There are lots of cool stories from lots of women. Including mine. I encourage you to check it out.

So, in my theme of focusing on the women in my ancestry, most of whom didn’t have much of a voice or power in their time, here are stories of their descendants, standing on the shoulders of their mothers, and mothers mothers, back through time, making their mark on the world. Being heard.

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.