Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pewter John Reeves Stamper

There are numerous sites on the internet with discussions and opinions regarding the origins of John Stamper who migrated to Carter County, Kentucky from North Carolina. The countless conflicting theories speculating on John Stamper's parentage are far more than there is room to relate on this post. Here are a few of the hypotheses found on this subject:

Eastern Kentucky - Carter County
Some published genealogy records report James W. or John Stamper as a half-Cherokee Indian reportedly fathered by a Cherokee Indian and a Reeves woman, either Agnes Reeves or Agnes' sister. (Who is Agnes Reeves? None of the websites espousing this theory identified her.)

John's birth name was James W. Stamper and James himself took the name "John". This same John was also known as "Pewter John Reeves Stamper".

A notarized affidavit by a descendant, Vernon J. Mead, in December 1983, shows John as a son of a Cherokee Indian.

Stamper genealogy lists a James W. Stamper (John) as the son of Richard Stamper and Martha Carter of Wilkes County, North Carolina.

One story relates that John was the offspring of one of William Stamper's sisters, possibly named Joanna. A Joanna Stamper lived in the Ashe County, North Carolina/Grayson County, Virginia area, and many Stamper researchers believe she was the sister of William and Thomas Moore Stamper. She married a Perkins.

Richard and Martha Stamper were possibly adopted parents who took him in when the out of wedlock birth to a Cherokee father and a Stamper mother occurred.

John seemed to have been a counterfeiter of coins, making silver coins out of pewter. He therefore had the nickname of "Pewter John".

Prior to locating in Kentucky, John's history is sketchy and questionable as many reported "facts" are conflicting. His birth has been variously reported in either February, September or December of 1800, in Ashe, Swain or Cherokee Counties, North Carolina.

The facts that don't appear to be contested regarding John Stamper are:

Grave of Sarah Stamper in Carter County, KentuckyHis marriage license and marriage bond were recorded in Floyd County, Kentucky, as John Stamper in Book 1, page 127 and Book 1820-2, page 24, respectfully. On 8 Jun 1820, he married Sarah Stamper, who was presumed to be his first cousin.

He was born about 1799, according to an Ashland Independent Newspaper dated June 22, 1882, that lists John's death at age 83, at the home of his son-in-law, Ezekiel McGlone, Buffalo Valley, Carter County, Kentucky.

John is buried at Bethel Cemetery, Olive Hill, Carter County, Kentucky, but his monument is now degraded and unreadable.

And finally, to put to rest the speculation that his father was a Cherokee Indian, the DNA of a descendant of John Stamper is a genetic match to the descendants of the Reeves' family of Grayson County, Virginia and Ashe County, North Carolina, and additionally to their Reeves' relatives in Wake County, North Carolina. Based upon DNA, Pewter John Reeves Stamper was the child of a Reeves male and an unknown female, possibly from the Stamper family. From the fact that John himself added the "Reeves" to his name, it could probably be assumed that he was aware of the family connection.

(Thanks to Anna Fultz Braun, Stamper descendant, for the use of her photo of Sarah Stamper's gravestone.)

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