Jasper Byrd Stewart, M.D.

 

 

            Jasper was born in 1829 and died in 1914. Footnote In 1848, he married Nancy Mullins (1833-1908) of Letcher County. They had ten children. Footnote Jasper practiced medicine in Hindman, Kentucky for sixty years. The writer, James Still, describes Hindman of the early 1930's in a letter dated January 20, 1985, to Professor Stoneback of Vanderbilt. “Hindman was a village of some two hundred souls with a single blacktop road leading from Hazard in Perry County and terminating abruptly in midtown at the creek bank where a bridge had washed out. Until another bridge was in place, a body had to walk a plank during low-water or resort to a jumping-pole when there was a ‘tide.’ You could cash a check at 4:00 a.m., the cashier an early riser, and call for mail at midnight, the postmaster an insomniac. I was assigned Box 13. Nobody else would have it. I had come to the ‘jumping off place.’ The first week I witnessed a fatal shooting and admitted the fact whereas several bystanders would not. There followed warnings to stay out of town, a court trial, an embarrassment to the school, and a sense of being in the ‘doghouse.’" Footnote

 

Jasper Stewart and Nancy Mullins

 

                      Mary Stewart - (1849) Died in infancy.

 

                      Andrew Jackson Stewart (1851-1876)

 

                      Alexander Hamilton Stewart, born on December 07, 1852, in Letcher

County, Kentucky; died on April 10, 1933, Lawton, Oklahoma. He was a doctor and a Kentucky State Senator. He married (1) Margaret Pigman; (2) Laura Hargus; (3) Mattie Hampton. For a short biography of A.H. Stewart, go here.

 

                      Sallie Stewart, born on September 15, 1854; died on October 16, 1954. Married Jessie Boggs. She was the longest living grandchild.

 

                      Ambrose Stewart (1857-1947) married Rachel Holiday on September 21, 1889. Ambrose was minister who was very active in temperance movement. Rachel Jane Holliday was born April 1, 1868, and died August 10, 1890. She is buried in a unmarked tomb beside her parents in the Holliday Cemetery at Ary, Kentucky.

 

                      James M. Stewart (1861) married (1) Polly Maggard; (2) Lizzie Breashear.

 

                      Martha Ann Stewart (1864-1929)  She was born on August 16, 1864 in Perry County, Kentucky and died on August 27, 1929 in Knott County, Kentucky. She married Marion Stamper (1856-1953) on January 12, 1878 in Perry County. Their children:
----------John C. Stamper (born in November of 1878 - married Adeline Engle)
---------- Nancy Jane Stamper (born in 1880 - married (1) John Casebolt-Terry (2)_____ Davis)
----------Robert "Robin" Stamper (October 18, 1881 - June 29, 1970). He never married.
----------Arminta Stamper (born in June 1883 - married Will Rogers)
----------Jasper Byrd Stamper (born September 2, 1885 and died in 1948 - married Sylvania Engle)
----------Willie Stamper (born on March 25, 1887 and died in 1913 - married Tottie Baker)
----------Sally Stamper, (born on February 27, 1889 - 1948 - married Jack Coney)
----------David J. Stamper (born on March 16, 1891 - 1969 married Rena Allen & Mattie Slone)
----------Hiram Stamper (born March 16, 1893 - 1992 - married Martha Kelly) Veteran of World War I and noted fiddler of Eastern Kentucky.
----------Daniel Harrison Stamper (born on November 15, 1894 - 1966- married Exie Lee Mullins) Veteran of World War I. In 1927, he was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives representing Pike County.
----------James Carmon Stamper (December 30, 1896 - 1984 - Ruthena Ritchie)
----------Charles Stamper (born on May 13, 1899 - 1983 - married Beatrice Smith)
----------Richmond D. Stamper (born on October 1, 1901 - 1954 - married Cassie Combs)

 

See Also Martha Ann Stewart and Marion Stamper's Page.

 

Photograph of the Descendants of Martha Ann Stewart and Marion Stamper. First row, left to right: Marion Stamper, John C. Stamper, Nancy Jane Stamper Davis, Robert "Robin" Stamper, Minta Stamper Roberts, Jasper Byrd Stamper. Back row, left to right: Richmond D. Stamper, Charles Stamper, James Carmon Stamper, Daniel Harrison Stamper, Hiram Stamper, David J. Stamper, Sally Stamper Conley.

 

 

                      Armintha Stewart (March 3, 1869-1957) married John L. Triplett (born on December 23, 1862), farmer, teacher, own of water mill on September 17, 1883.

 

            

                      William M. Stewart was born on August 2, 1871, in Knott County, Kentucky. He married Lucinda Sparkman on May 1, 1889. William was a hunter, a timber man, country store keeper, and an unlicensed country doctor practicing with his father. He attended two terms at the Louisville Medical School. William also married to Alice Slone. Albert Stewart (1914), a son, was a poet and editor, who inspired and encouraged generations of Kentucky writers. A native of Knott County, Stewart attended Hindman Settlement School where he was befriended by Lucy Furman. He graduated from Berea College and got a Master's from the University of Kentucky. As a teacher at Northern Kentucky University, Morehead State and Alice Lloyd College, Stewart actively encouraged writers by initiating writer's workshops, creating anthologies of Kentucky writing and founding Appalachian Heritage magazine. His best-known collection of poetry is The Untoward Hills (1962).

 

 

Dr. and Mrs. Adron Doran hold a reception for Al Stewart on the publication of his book of poetry, The Untoward Hills.

 

             William "Willie" Stewart was born in 1871 in the difficult time immediately following the civil war. His future wife, Lucinda Sparkman, was born on the same day a few miles away on Possum Trot. She was the daughter of Mahalia (Amburgey) and John Sparkman. The couple were married when they were 18 on May 1, 1889. Their children were: (1) William Alexander Stewart, born on July 17, 1889; (2) John A. Stewart, born on September 17, 1893-- died 1913; (3) Laura Adelaide Stewart born on December 17, 1894; (4) Robert Burton Stewart, born in April of 1898; (5) Alfonso Stewart, born in January of 1901-- died 1906; (6) Nancy Margaret Stewart, born on March 17, 1903; (7) Sidney Stewart, born on August 31, 1906; (8) Ben L. Brunner Stewart, born in 1909-- died in 1910; (9) Marie Stewart, born on September 11, 1911; (10) Maude Stewart, born on September 11, 1911; and, (11) Albert Franklin Stewart, born on July 7, 1914 and died in April of 2001.

 

             "William Stewart was a farmer, a hunter, a timber man, country store keeper, an expert wit the double bitted axe, and unlicensed country doctor practicing with his father. When typhoid serum became available, he ordered a supply from Bowling Green and vaccinated anyone who would come free of charge. In secret, he hauled currency (money) to and fro for the Bank of Hindman. He worked with Mowbray and Robinson Lumber Company in selling out the big timber on his land by building tram roads up the small streams of that big logs could be hauled out on tram cars pulled by mules. He build a water mill for grinding corn and a splash dam for floating the logs into larger streams. When he was seven years old he grafted an old-fashioned Rome Beauty apple tree that continued to bear until it was past ninety years old. He was probably the first many to ride a bicycle around Knott County." Comments of his son, Albert Stewart.

 

                      Margaret Stewart (1865) married Daniel Triplett.

            

Jasper Byrd Stewart and LaVicy Thacker

 

In addition to Nancy Mullins, Jasper also had a common law wife, Lavicy Farrell-Thacker (June 10, 1835- August 24, 1921). See History and Families, Knott County, Kentucky at 382 (1995). They had nine children who were born from 1854 to 1878. These children kept their mother’s surname and went by the name of Thacker. Footnote Thus, Jasper had nineteen children.

 

Mary Polly Thacker Stewart

 

                       Mary Polly Thacker-Stewart (October 24, 1854); she married Wilburn H. Pratt, a Knott County educator.

 

Mary Polly Stewart Thacker Pratt, her daughter Elizabeth Maggard, her husband Loy, with their

children Gertrude and Parker.

 

                    Nancy Thacker-Stewart (March 1857); she married William H. Smith.

 

                    Henry C. Thacker-Stewart (May of 1860); an educator, he married (1) Margaret Slone (2) Sarah Pigman.

 

                     Robert Preston Thacker-Stewart (October 8, 1861) married (1) Lucinda Pigman on June 6, 1886; (2) Annie Owens. Their son, Leonard Stewart, was a police judge in Knott County, a school teacher and relocated to Oklahoma. Leonard Stewart authored three books: Trail of Tears and Other Poems (1969); God’s Indian Children and Other Poems (1977); and, The Happy Hunting Ground and Other Poems (1979). Vera Thacker Johnson, a granddaughter of Robert and Lucinda Thacker-Stewart, married Congressman Carl D. Perkins, who represented Eastern Kentucky in Congress for 40 years. One of Robert’s grandsons, also named Robert Thacker, the son of William Thacker and Mary Jane Ritchie Thacker, maintained the family-owned telephone line during World War II. After fighting in the Korea War, he returned home to Knott County in 1952, and operated the Thacker-Grisgsby Telephone Company with his sister, Janice Grigsby. Later he developed three other independent telephone companies in Eastern Kentucky; they share a partnership in Kentucky cellular, a wireless telephone service. He founded the television service, United Cable System, serving Knott, Letcher and Perry Counties with fiber-optic cable television service.

 

Congressman Carl Perkins

 

                     Elizabeth Thacker-Stewart (July 1867); she married George Stamper.

 

                     Malean Thacker-Stewart (March 1868)

 

                     William Thacker-Stewart (January 1871); he married (1) Sylvia Combs; (2) Mary Jane Ritchie.

 

                     Rufus Thacker-Stewart (December 1876); he married Elizabeth Huff.

 

                     Isaac Thacker-Stewart (August 1878); he married Cumine Terry.

 

 

 

            It is not clear how Jasper was permitted to have two wives in such a small town. He clearly must have been a persuasive person. In his book of poetry entitled Trail of Tears and Other Poems (1969), Leonard Stewart a descendant through Thacker attempted to explain this unusual arrangement. He stated:

 

            My father was Robert Thacker Stewart. He was the son of Dr. Jasper Stewart, and Vicy Thacker Farrel.  Dad

Robert Preston Thacker Stewart

was born on October 8, 1861, at the mouth of Mill Creek near Hindman, and died on Jones Fork in June 1939. Dad was born and raised in Knott County Kentucky. He was born and grew up with the Civil War in progress, Kentucky tried to remain neutral which made things worse, than if she had been on one side or the other. For they had their home guards on each side, the Rebels would come by one day and take what the people had, and if they left anything the Yanks would come along the next day and take that, that was left. So Dad had a hard time growin' up. He said the first pair of shoes that he ever owned. that his Dad tanned a cow hide and made them for him, and that he was big enough by then to take a gun and dog and go a rabbit hunting and was he proud.

 

He said that he had neither coat nor pants until he was a great sized boy. that his mother made him long shirts to come below his knees out of spun flax, tow shirts. they called them. One day in his long, tow shirt, his mother sent him to get the geese out of her bean patch and that she had one old sturdy gander, that was apt to flog. This old gander tackled Dad and took him by the privy member, so Dad took him by the head and led him up to a hollow stump and sharpened his knife on a rough rock and cut the gander’s head off and threw him in the hollow stump. He said Grandmother wondered what had become of her gander, but he was afraid to tell.


Concerning his grandfather, Jasper, Leonard observed that:

 

Grandfather Stewart was a self-made, self-educated, self-made man and medical doctor. He could trace his ancestors back to Bloody Mary of Scotland and James the second of England.

   

The first Stewart to come to America was a man named William. He had a son named Alexander, that was a merchant prince. Grandfather said that he was a close Scotchman, that he would not waste even a piece of a string. He said that Alexander said the way to get rich was "Work like hell and spend nothing." Alexander had a son called William or Charlie, and Charlie was Grandpa's father. Charlie, or Bill, as he was called, came into Kentucky. Charlie was a great hunter, but not tight like his father, and not so rich. Grandpa said if his dad got without meat and had only one cow or one brood sow he'd kill them for meat.

 

Great-grandfather Charlie, or Bill, as he was called, was the father of three sons, Footnote Preacher Jim, Doctor Jasper, Byrd, to his friends, and Will, Jim and Will lived in Rowan

Leonard Stewart

County, and Dr. Byrd stayed in Knott County, Preacher Jim had a boy that he called Will that was a great preacher and a medical doctor. Will had a son that he called Jim that was a Baptist preacher and a politician. He died in the Kentucky Senate making a speech. Footnote The Stewarts were Scotch Irish before they came to America. They were also Baptists.

 

A young doctor came to Knott County to practice medicine and he tried to stop Grandfather from practicing medicine because he had not attended a Doctor's College. The Kentucky Legislature was in session at the particular time and they passed a special act to give Grandfather the right to go ahead with his practice. He was indeed a great doctor and we consider that a great tribute to his wisdom and to his honor that the legislature of the state would take that much notice of him. He never sought public office but once, and most of the people in Knott County voted for him. He was elected to be county assessor. Dad did the work for Grandfather. He was too old to get about much by then.

 

Grandfather and Preacher Dave Maggard married sisters. Grandfather married Nancy Mullins, a wonderful and good woman, and she bore him ten children, Alexander, Ambrose, Jack, James and Willie. Alex and Willie were doctors, Jim was a merchant. Ambrose was a school teacher and a fireside preacher, and Jack died a young man.


            Concerning his grandmother Thacker, he recalled that:

 

Grandmother Vicy, the reputed daughter of Jesse Thacker, was a beautiful red haired fair faced young woman, and Grandfather made her his common law wife, and she bore him nine children, Henry, Robert, Wilburn, Rufus, and Isaac were the five boys; Four daughters, Polly married a Pratt, Nancy married a B. Smith; Lizzie married a Stamper and Malean married a Slone. But grandmother was not the daughter of Jesse Thacker, for the very good reason, he had got himself into trouble with the law and had to go to prison, and while he was in prison, great-grandmother took up with a man named Farrel, and Farrel was Grandmother's dad, but when Jesse got out of prison arid returned home he and Nancy patched up things and he stayed with her and helped to raise my grandmother and she bore his name. He was a good man and lies buried at the mouth of Mill Creek. I've been to his grave but Grandmother and her children bore the name of Jesse Thacker, which was not right, but sin makes a lot of things not right.

 

Grandmother Vicy's children were as much Stewart's as was Grandmother Nancy's. I say and I think that such an arrangement was unfair to both families, to Nancy's children and to Nancy and to Vicy's children and to Vicy.


            Leonard’s legitimacy was a question that bothered him. He went into court and had himself declared a legal grandchild of Jasper Stewart. He recounted:

 

So Grandmother Vicy was a Cook on her mother's side and a Farrel on her father's side and her children are Stewarts on their father's side. If they had gone into court the court would have so decided, and I think that they should. I think that every calf should bear the marks of the bull that got them.

 

That is the reason that I went into court during the lifetime of Grandmother Vicy and Grandfather Stewart and asked the court to ratify their mistake so far as I was concerned. It did and I am glad that I am a Stewart according to law and in line with nature, and the gospel. I want to say for Grandmother Vicy, a better hearted woman never lived than Grandmother Vicy. She'd give you the shirt off of her back if she thought that you were in need. Her besetting sin was just loving my precious Grandfather. He was a big man, and smart, and good looking. I suppose that he was hard to resist. He said and she said, that she never knew another man. I do hope that God was gracious to them both, and that I'll meet them in heaven together with all their descendants where we will be one big happy family.

 

Vicy's headstone records that she died May 20, 1918 and is buried in the Dyer Cemetery behind Congressman Perkins' home. One of Vicy's descendants married into Congressman Perkins' family. According to the death certificate filed with the Commonwealth of Kentucky vital records, she died August 24, 1921 and was 86 yrs old at the time of her death and was buried at Dyer Cemetery. Also, this death certificate shows her parents were John Thacker and Sarah Turner, which appears to be an error because according to family tradition she was born when her step father Jesse P. Thacker was in prison and her mother Nancy (Cook) Dyals-Thacker became involved with an unidentified man with the surname Farrell.

   

            Another of Jasper sons through Nancy, William (Willie) remained at Jasper’s place known as the Kingdom after Jasper died. Willie’s son, Albert Stewart, now lives there.

 

Albert Stewart who now lives at “the Kingdom,” is the author of The Untoward Hills, a volume of poetry. He is recognized folklorist and editor and in the family tradition has a deep love for the “the Kingdom.” Stewart says “I now live in and own by legal process the house where I was born. It is a quiet place, a place of birds and wild flowers with the old field growing up and lost in second growth timber. All the bottoms are grass except for the acre-plus of garden that has been tended, for more than a hundred years regularly as the seasons. Footnote


See History and Families, Knott County, Kentucky at 383 (1995). Footnote


            Albert has talked about his family home in Knott County. He wrote:

 

My birth certificate tells me I was born at Yellow Mountain, Ky., the name for a long ago discontinued post office in a small country store two miles and a half from my home. I now live in and own by legal process the house where I was born. My grandfather, Dr. Jasper “Byrd” Stewart, moved a mile up creek to this location and built the first house here in the “Spring of the Surrender” (of the Civil War). He was Knott County’s first medical doctor and model for the character of Old Doc Ross in Lucy Furman’s novel, “The Lonesome Road.”

 

That first house was built on the traditional, “time-honored,” pattern of split-log with two pens and a dog trot or breeze way between. My father used old logs plus new ones to build a double log house later added rooms and porches to make an L-shaped house with weatherboarding — a style prestigiously popular at the time.

 

The place has come to be called The Kingdom of Yellow Mountain through, change, and chance. A visitor came in one night without the opportunity to see how the valley suddenly opens up into a pleasant and harmonious arrangement of bottom lands and home seat, between four hills where three streams meet. The next morning he claimed “Why you have a pyore kingdom here.” Eventually it became “The Kingdom of Yellow Mountain — or just “The Kingdom.”

 

And it is a quiet place now, a place for birds and wild flowers with the old fields growing up and lost in second growth timber. All the bottoms are in grass except for the acre-plus of garden that has been tended for more than a hundred years regularly as the seasons.

 

I tell people that I can stand in my yard and look in any direction except up and not see anything I don’t own — and sometimes I think I own a part of up. I am two miles from the paved road and down want to be any closer. The whippoorwills (corn-plantin) birds are my alarm clock for at least a fourth of the year. And that’s how it is with me and “The Kingdom.”


            Another son, Dr. Alexander Hamilton Stewart, Footnote was a Kentucky senator from 1887 to 1894 and served in the Spanish-American as a Captain with his son, Burt, who was a first lieutenant. Footnote His other son, Robert Lee Stewart, is buried in the Lee Cemetery in Morehead, Kentucky. Footnote


            The editor of the Stewart Clan Magazine reports on Lee Stewart that:

 

Mr. Stewart is one of those great characters of American life, a typical descendant of the line of Alexander Stewart, a prominent man in eastern Kentucky in the time of Daniel Boone. He was born February 3, 1873, on Carr creek in Knott county, son of Dr. Alexander H. Stewart, physician, author, soldier and Republican politician. The boy was named Robert, after an uncle, without any middle name, but shortly after his birth there fell into the Stewart household a red bandana handkerchief bearing the pictures of Confederate generals. The portrait of Robert E. Lee was dominant, of curse, and Mrs. Stewart, whose people, the Pigmans, were always Democrats, and the baby’s father being Texas at the time, appropriated the general’s last name and gave it to her boy Robert, where it stuck, and everybody in seven

Well known fiddle player of Kentucky, Hiram Stamper, son of Martha Stewart and Marion Stamper, grandson of Jasper Byrd and Nancy Stewart.

counties knows him as Lee Stewart.

 

He taught school, traveled as a salesman, clerked in a hotel and was appointed a storehouse keeper and whiskey gauger by the U.S. internal revenue collector at Danville in 1899. His father moved to the Oklahoma Territory in 1901, and R.L. homesteaded 160 acres on land in the Territory in 1907-1908, and returned to Kentucky. His interest in Republican politics took him to the Kentucky house of representatives, first as enrolling clerk and later as an elected member. He served as secretary to Congressman W. Langley for two years in Washington, and was assistant secretary of state of Kentucky under Governor Morrow for two years. After locating in Rowan County he was elected police judge or Morehead. He was twice nominated for clerk of the court of appeals earlier in his career. But the highlights of his life were in the spectacular raids he led and took part in as a federal officer on the unlawful whiskey stills in his beloved mountains.


See Stewart Clan Magazine, page 67-68 (October 1949).

 

Country Music Tradition

 

Hiram Stamper's son, Art, was a very successful blue grass fiddler:

 

"Art Stamper is a classic Kentucky fiddler and a giant in traditional mountain music and the bluegrass style that evolved from it. When the old-time music heavy soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou? became a hit, there was speculation that the "Art" in the title might be Art Stamper, veteran of the Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, and countless classic bluegrass recording sessions. When Stamper was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2000, the bluegrass community poured out for a subsequent benefit concert, the lineup of the artists on the roster like flashing one's eyes across the spines of the albums on a bluegrass collector's shelf. His health problems coincided with yet another bloom in his career, as the new millennium also marked the release of one his most praised albums to date, Goodbye Girls, I'm Going to Boston, the title-track a programming favorite on several prominent radio shows devoted to this genre. Fiddlers and classical violinists alike can sometimes be accused of winning audiences over by making them submit to mind-numbing displays of technical virtuosity, yet Stamper can never be accused of this artistic fault. His fans love him for his superb grasp of very basic musical issues: a firm and inventive grasp of melody, heartfelt sincerity, and a constant sense of enjoyment in what he is doing. All the same, a look back at his career does reveal that he was somewhat swept away by the tides of technical one-upmanship that temporarily flooded the bluegrass scene as it moved into the progressive or newgrass stage. His recordings from this period are still loaded with feeling, however, especially when he matches licks with banjo master J.D. Crowe on the superb 1982 County release The Lost Fiddler. Even though it might have been hard for a listener to really notice, the fiddler eventually felt that he was lost, drifting away from his Kentucky roots toward an anonymous picking paradise. He began emphasizing a return to his homeground of making music, resulting in music what bluegrass fans apparently find overwhelmingly beautiful. He joined the Stanley Brothers' band at a crucial time in country music history, as the 1952 entrance of fiddler and mandolinist Jim Williams into the band is considered the end of a transition between the old-time string band sound and what would come to be regarded as a bluegrass instrumental lineup. Stamper has received the Best Old Time Fiddlers award three years in a row at the SPGMA bluegrass awards in Nashville. Since the '80s, he has also been active as a teacher, including a regular residency at the Blackwell Farm Fiddle Camp in Niangua, MO. He began undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments at the Veterans Hospital in Louisville, KY, sometime in 2000, and the following year underwent surgery on his throat which involved a tracheostomy. He has still been able to keep up a schedule of concert appearances from time to time, including bluegrass festivals, as well as reunions of surviving members of the Clinch Mountain Boys, one of strawboss Stanley's main backup aggregations." ~ Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide

 

See Art Stamper's Obituary.

 


 

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