Margaret Stewart Messer

            Margaret was born in 1834 in Knox County, Kentucky. At the age of 17, she married Mose Messer, age 22, in 1851 in Letcher County. They had six children.


Margaret Stewart and Mose Messer



                     Henry Messer (October 14, 1852) (1860 Census, Letcher County) He was not listed in the 1870 for Rowan County.


                     Mary Messer (1853) (1860 Census, Letcher County) She was not listed in the 1870 Census of Rowan County.


                     Hiram Messer (October 18, 1854-1889) (1860 Census, Letcher County). He is buried in the Dawson Cemetery.


                     William Messer, born on August 12, 1856 (1860 Census, Letcher County), married Nancy Jane Christian on April 16, 1878. They are buried in the Dawson Cemetery in Rowan County. Their daughter, Lydia Messer Caudill was the Superintendent of the Rowan County Kentucky School System. On June 4, 1891, he married Alemeda Sparks. The following is his obituary from the Rowan County News in 1939.



William and Alemeda Sparks Messer



Lydia Messer Caudill at her family's homestead in Rowan County.



                      Alexander Messer - He was listed as nine years old in the 1870 Census for Rowan County. Thus, he was born around 1861.          


                      Louanna Messer - She was listed as seven years old in the 1870 Census for Rowan County. Thus she was born around 1863.


                      James Messer - He was listed as two years old in the 1870 Census for Rowan County. Thus, he was born around 1868.


Lydia Messer dressed as Mary, Queen of the Scots. She was very proud of her Scotish and Stewart heritage.


            Lydia Messer, the daughter of William Messer and his first wife, Nancy, was born in 1879. She married William Caudill of Morehead. The editor of the Stewart Clan Magazine reports on Lydia Messer, one of Margaret’s grand daughters through her son, William Messer:


“Mrs. Lydia Messer Caudill, widely known in Kentucky education circles, died Tuesday (Apr. 22, 1958) en route to a Lexington hospital after suffering a stroke at her home (at Morehead),” reported the Ashland Daily Independent. “Mrs. Caudill was a direct descendent of Mary Stuart, queen of Scotland. Her lineage is traced through her father and through the reigns of William & Mary, James II, Charles II and James I of England who was

Lydia Messer Caudill

also James VI of Scotland and son of Mary, queen of Scots. For 26 years Mrs. Caudill was a star of American Folk Song festival held in Ashland. Wearing the royal plaid of the Stuart clan, she annually sang ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie.’ She was unable to appear last year, due to illness, but had been scheduled to sing this year.” Her paternal grandmother was Margaret, daughter of William Stewart, son of Alexander of Knox County, Kentucky. Nobody has yet been able to trace Alexander’s ancestry. Lydia’s belief was fantasy.”

See Stewart Clan Magazine, page 4, volume 35 (1958).


Lydia Messer was elected as a Republican candidate to be Superintendent of the Rowan County Schools in 1906 before women had the vote. She had been selected to run by her friend, Cora Wilson Stewart. She was reelected in 1930. In 1910, she established the first school for black students in Rowan County. See Morehead News (April 2, 1999).


She and her husband,William T. Caudill, are buried in the Lee Cemetery, Morehead.


"Between her first and second term as Rowan School Superintendent, Lyda Messer married William T. Caudill. Mr. Caudill served as County Court Clerk from 1914-1930. They had one daughter, Leona Margaret (Caudill Hurst) ...." Ellis, Morehead Memories (2001 Jesse Stuart Foundation), at page 363.



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