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Margaret (Miller) Stafford


Margaret E. "Maggie" (Miller) Stafford was born in 1855 in or near Kingwood, Preston County, WV, the daughter of Hezekiah and Keziah Ellen (Fawcett) Miller.

Margaret married John Wesley "J.W." Stafford (1856-1931), the son of Catherine Stafford, on Feb. 23, 1875, in Preston County. She was age 20, and he 19, at the time of marriage. They had four children -- Charles B. Stafford, Mary Ellen Erwin, Dora Hustead and Ollie C. Stafford. 

The federal census for 1880 shows the Staffords in the Lyon District of Preston County, where John worked as an ore miner. In 1891, when they signed legal documents on behalf of Maggie's mother, they lived in Athens County, OH. 

Maggie apparently divorced or separated from John sometime before 1900. She made her home with her son and daughter in law Charles and Maud (Shrout) Stafford in 1900 in Kingwood. 

Sadly, Maggie passed away at the age of 55 on Dec. 13, 1909, at Victoria, Preston County. In her official Preston County record of death, she was listed as a "widow." The cause of her passing was listed as "dropsy" -- accumulation of fluids in the body. The site of her burial was not provided.


Kingwood tunnel and environs, on the B&O Railroad, sketched by William Prescott Smith, an image from the Library of Congress American Memory Project.


When the federal census was taken in 1910, John made his home alone in Newburg as a 55-year-old widower. His married daughter Dora Hustead lived next door. That year, he continued his longtime work as a coal miner. Residing just several houses away were his wife's distant cousins Ruhama (Hanshaw) Menefee, Belle Menefee and Cordelia (Menefee) Frazier.

John died in Tunnelton on Sept. 2, 1931, at the age of 75, with burial at Campground Cemetery. No obituary for him -- or Maggie -- has been found in the extensive newspaper collection of West Virginia University

Strangely, at the death of their daughter Dora Hustead in 1938, the Clarksburg (WV) Exponent said that Maggie and J.W. were still alive and residing in Tunnelton. More will be clarified here when known.


~ Son Charles Bailey Stafford ~

Son Charles Bailey Stafford (1876-1947) married Maude Anna Shrout (1877-1969) in 1899, when he was age 23, and she 22. She was the daughter of Charles and Martha (Conner) Shrout. Performing the nuptials was Rev. C.W. Nestor of Tunnelton.

They produced no children. 

The year after their wedding, the newlyweds lived in Kingwood. In their home that year were Charles' widowed mother Maggie and Maude's divorced father Charles W. Shrout, a Civil War veteran. 

By 1910, the Staffords were still living in Kingwood, where Charles labored as a bridge carpenter. They resided in the Tunnel Hill (Tunnelton) section of Kingwood as shown on the 1920 census, and Charles was a farmer at that time. He also was a blacksmith in later years. 

Charles died of a stroke on Nov. 26, 1947, at the age of 70. Burial was in Campground Cemetery near Tunnelton. 

Maude outlived her husband by 22 years. She died at the age of 91 on June 25, 1969, at Hopemont Sanitarium.


~ Daughter Mary Ellen (Stafford) Erwin ~

Daughter Mary Ellen Stafford (1877- ? ) was born in 1877 in Preston County, and apparently moved as a girl with her parents to Athens County, OH. 

She wed John Jefferson Erwin (1877- ? ), a native of Athens County, on Oct. 7, 1894, when both were age 21. The ceremony took place in Parkersburg, Wood County, WV, just across the Ohio River from Athens. Rev. H.H. Smith, minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church South in Parkersburg, performed the ceremony in his residence. They were married the same day they obtained their marriage license. 

She may be the same "Mollie Stafford" (Mollie is a nickname for Mary) who was residing unmarried at Tunnelton, Preston County, circa 1938.


~ Daughter Ollie C.  Stafford ~

Daughter Ollie C. Stafford (1880- ? ) has disappeared into history. More will be added here when learned.


~ Daughter Dora (Stafford) Hustead ~

Daughter Dora Stafford (1884-1938) was born on May 18, 1884 in Ohio or Preston County. At the age of 17, on May 8, 1901, she married 26-year-old George T. Hustead (1876-1919), an Ohio native. The ceremony took place in Irona, Preston County, by the hand of H.C. Howard. Because she was underage, her mother Maggie signed a consent letter. 

They had at least two children -- Frederick Hustead and Margaret Cralton. The Husteads lived in the Lyon District of Preston County at the birth of son Fred in 1904.

When the federal census was taken in 1910, the family lived in Preston County, where George owned his own restaurant. Their next door neighbors were Dora's father and her distant and aged cousin, Ruhama (Hanshaw) Menefee.

The Husteads moved to Clarksburg, Harrison County during the 1910s, and apparently remained there for the remainder of their lives. Their residence was in the Lyon Stop section of the city. 

Tragedy rocked the family in 1918, when 14-year-old son Fred, a schoolboy, contracted a life-threatening case of Spanish influenza that was sweeping the nation. Unable to beat the deadly disease, Fred passed away on Dec. 30, 1918. 


Glen Elk Bridge looking south in Clarksburg


In his last years, George's mind was affected by "paresis" which was a type of psychosis which led to impaired thinking, delusions and memory loss. He died on Feb. 17, 1919, at age 47, just a month and a half after his son's death. On his certificate of death, George was listed as "single," even though Dora signed his the document as the informant. He was buried at the Greenlawn Cemetery in Clarksburg. The Clarksburg Exponent obituary named his widow as "Flora" and daughter Margaret.

The 1920 census lists Dora as residing with daughter Margaret in Clarksburg. She had no occupation, but took in a boarder, Italian immigrant and coal miner Modesto Torrocci (1881-1954). (He had come to the United States from Florence in 1906, and later became a naturalized citizen.)

Dora outlived her husband by almost two decades. By 1930, the census record shows 46-year-old Dora and 49-year-old Modesto residing together, in Dawmont, near Clarksburg, with him listed as the head of the household, and her as the servant. His continuing employment was as a coal miner. Modesto also was a member of the Clarksburg Moose Lodge.

Suffering from encephalitis, a swelling or inflammation of the brain, Dora passed away at the age of 54, in Dawmont, Harrison County, on Oct. 7, 1938. She was laid to rest in Clarksburg's Greenlawn Cemetery. Daughter Margaret Cralton was listed as the informant on her official certificate of death. A short obituary was published in the Exponent, noting she had passed of "a brief illness."

Modesto outlived Dora by 16 years, and married again, to Lenola Lambert. He became a retail store merchant, and maintained his home in Dawmont. In his later years he was afflicted with endocarditis, the inflammation of the inside lining of the heart. At the age of 73, he died suddenly of a heart attack, on Oct. 25, 1954, while sitting in a chair at home. He was buried in the Shinnston Masonic Cemetery, with a brief obituary appearing in the Exponent.


Copyright 2008, 2010 Mark A. Miner