On this day, 22 July 1882, Charles Stark passed away. He was my 3rd great-grandfather.
Born on 10 December 1802, in Pendleton, Anderson County, South Carolina, Charles Stark was the son of James Benjamin Stark and Rebecca Geary. Charles was the couple’s second child, joining older brother Thomas Geary Stark, who was born 13 May 1801.
On 1 November 1803, brother Isaac Stark was welcomed to the family’s Pendleton home.
Not long after the birth of brother Isaac, the Stark family left Anderson County, South Carolina, traveling approximately 350 miles west to Robertson County, Tennessee, located in the northcentral part of Tennessee along the Kentucky border. (It is unknown why James Benjamin Stark uprooted his family. Perhaps it was a sense of wanderlust and wanting to make a new start in a new place or maybe his grandparents Thomas and Rachel (Couts) Stark, who had been laid to rest in Springfield, Robertson County, Tennessee circa 1802, had bequeathed him land.)
In 1806, sister Polly Stark was welcomed to the family. It is unknown whether she was born in South Carolina or in Tennessee or perhaps somewhere in between. What is known is that three years later in 1809, sister Rebecca “Betsy” Stark was recorded as being born in Robertson County, Tennessee.
In 1813, brother James Kingery Stark was welcomed to the family.
Brother Jesse Stark came along two years later on 24 April 1815, in Columbia, Boone County, Missouri.
Several years passed. Then, on 12 June 1823, in Cole County, Missouri, Charles Stark, age 20, married Sarah Anne “Sally” Amos, age 21, daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Griffin) Amos.
Circa 1825, the couple welcomed their first child, a son named James Stark.
The next year on 12 August 1826, son Benjamin Amos Stark was born.
Daughter Elizabeth Stark joined the family four years later circa 1830.
Another daughter, Rebecca Stark, arrived circa 1832.
That same year (1832), Charles received a patent for the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 35, Township 44, Range 13 in Cole County, Missouri, along the North Moreau Creek.
On 30 July 1833, Charles Stark purchased more than 80 acres in Cole County, Missouri.
Two years later, Charles’ and Sally’s final child, Nancy, was born in 1835.
Sadly, soon thereafter, on 6 July 1835, Charles’ wife Sally (Amos) Stark passed away, possibly from complications due to childbirth. She was only 33 years old.
In December 1835, Charles Stark increased his holdings to 120 acres, purchasing the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 28, Township 44, Range 13, Cole County.
Realizing that his five young children needed a mother, Charles Stark wed Elizabeth Manes (my 3rd great-grandmother) on 13 June 1836. She was the daughter of James and Margaret (Kelsay) Manes.
Two years after the marriage, Charles Stark, age 28, appears in the Cole County, Missouri militia roster.
That same year, he and his wife Elizabeth celebrated their first child together, daughter Mary “Polly” Stark, who was born in June 1838.
Two years later, on 2 January 1840, another daughter, Sarah Stark, was welcomed to the family.
Eight days after Sarah’s birth on 10 January 1840, Charles Stark purchased 79.09 acres of land in nearby Moniteau County, Missouri.
Two years passed. Then, on 13 January 1842, a third daughter, Margaret Stark, was born.
A fourth daughter, Vianna Stark, arrived in their home on 13 February 1844.
Three years later, daughter Eliza Jane Stark was born on 16 September 1847.
Three years after that, on 7 January 1850, the couple’s first son, Lewis Manes Stark, joined the family.
On 26 November 1850, the Stark family was enumerated in Buffalo Township, Morgan County, Missouri. Residing in the home were Charles Stark (spelled Starkes in the 1850 U.S. Census), age 49, a farmer; wife Elizabeth, age 30; daughter Elizabeth, age 20; daughter Rebecca, age 18; daughter Nancy, age 15; daughter Polly, age 12; daughter Sarah, age 10; daughter Margaret, age 9; daughter Vianna, age 6; daughter Eliza Jane, age 3; and son Lewis, age six months (more like nine months).
Living on the farm next door was son James Stark, age 25; his wife Nancy Jane, age 20; their daughter Sarah, age 2; and their son Benjamin, age six months. And on another adjacent farm was Charles’ 32-year-old brother-in-law Lewis Manes and his wife Mary, age 26, along with their children Alexander, age 7; Martha Jane, age 2; Nancy E., age 1; and Mary, age one month.
The next year, on 13 November 1851, son Benjamin Amos Stark married Sarah Ann Scott in Cole County, Missouri.
One year later (1852), Charles and Elizabeth Stark welcomed another son, Samuel J. Stark, to the family.
Meanwhile, over in Moniteau County, Missouri, Charles’ father, James Benjamin Stark, died on 13 September 1852. Circa 1844, James Benjamin Stark had freed the few slaves had he owned. We know this to be true because these four individuals were listed by name in the 1850 U.S. Census, living on James’ farm: Peter Stark, age 37, a farmer whose real estate was valued at $100; Benjamin Stark, age 35, a laborer; Lucinda Stark, age 31; and Mary Stark, age 4. Both Peter and Benjamin were listed as black, while Lucinda and Mary were listed as mulatto.
Unfortunately, because the process of freeing slaves, called manumission, was both arduous and costly, some people were not legally free even though they were freed by word and deed by their previous owners. Such was the case with one of the women listed above: Lucinda Stark. In James Benjamin Stark’s last will and testament, dated 4 June 1844, and proved seven years later upon his death, Lucinda was “legally” freed:
It is my will and desire that my slave Lucinda be free, and I do hereby fully emancipate and set free the said slave and her increase as I have already done by deed, and which I do hereby again do, not thereby intending to affect or impair any rights which may be confirmed by the deed of emancipation heretofore made: And it is my request that none of my children shall ever disturb Lucinda in the enjoyment of her freedom and if respect for a father’s memory or his wishes can influence them, I am sure it will not be done…
Sadly, one of the will’s executors, Thomas Geary Stark, defied his father’s wishes and contested the release of Lucinda Stark. This caused dissent in the family, with Charles Stark and all but one of his siblings pitted against their brother, Thomas. Ultimately, the stipulations of James Benjamin Stark’s will were upheld, and Lucinda was legally free.
Less than a year after his father’s death, Charles Stark became a father again, when his son William Shelton Stark was born on 13 March 1853.
Two years later, another daughter Martha Elizabeth Stark came along on 22 April 1855.
Almost a year later, on 15 April 1856, son John Daniel Stark (my 2nd great-grandfather) was born.
While he and Elizabeth were welcoming new little ones to the brood, some of their elder children continued to leave the nest to start families of their own. Their next child to get married was daughter Mary “Polly” Stark, who wed Thomas B. Vaughan on 17 September 1857.
Two months later, on 25 November 1857, another daughter, Sarah Stark, married Hezekiah Davis
Five months later, on 17 April 1858, another daughter, Permelia Ann Stark, arrived in the Stark home.
Almost a year later, another daughter Elvira Stark was born on 18 March 1859.
On 1 June 1859, Charles Stark was deeded 120 acres of land in nearby Morgan County which later became Miller County, Missouri. This land, formerly owned by William Bunker, a veteran of the War of 1812, boasted a large cave, about 3/4 of a mile long. Reportedly, it was this cave that was the major selling point for Charles, who envisioned using it as a shelter for his livestock, as well as a cool respite for himself and his family on sweltering summer days. The large stream flowing from the cave was also a plus.
After purchasing the cave property, Charles Stark sold off his Cole County land and built a log cabin on the new property, where he continued his calling as a subsistence farmer.
Meanwhile, unrest was brewing. On 20 December 1860, the state of South Carolina seceded from the United States. A month later, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana followed suit. Texas left the Union in February, Virginia in April, Arkansas and North Carolina in May, and Tennessee in June 1861. Border states like Missouri established both pro-Confederate and pro-Union governments within their borders. Dozens of battles and skirmishes happened on Missouri soil.
In these unsettling times, Charles Stark’s final child, Elisha Vaughan Stark (child #18), was born on 27 February 1862. Sometime after Elisha’s birth, the Stark family was forced to leave their beloved farm. It seems that both the Confederate and Union guerillas coveted Charles Stark’s cave, using it as a meeting place and supply depot. Fearing for his wife and children’s safety, Charles took his family to a safer locale. However, as soon as the war was won, the family returned home.
A year after the Civil War had ended, daughter Vianna Stark married George V. Wood on 1 March 1866.
Two years after that, on 5 January 1868, daughter Margaret Stark wed Hugh Kelsay Purl.
On 16 July 1870, the Stark family was enumerated in Franklin Township, Miller County, Missouri. Residing on the farm were Charles, age 68; Elizabeth, age 50; Eliza J., age 22; Lewis M., age 20; Samuel J., age 18; William S., age 17; and Martha E., age 15. (The Stark children not listed who were not already married with families of their own were staying with siblings at the time of the census.) The farm was valued at $500, and their personal property was worth $250.
On 13 April 1871, daughter Eliza Jane Stark married Henry Tolbert Wood.
Son Lewis Manes Stark followed in his sister’s footsteps soon after, tying the knot with Sarah Jane Wood on 3 August 1871.
The next year, daughter Martha Elizabeth Stark wed John Wesley Pruitt on 26 September 1872.
Two years later, on 4 October 1874, daughter Permelia Ann Stark said “I do” to James Jasper Kelly.
Daughter Elvira Stark followed suit with Wesley Houston Hall on 29 March 1877.
Supposedly, on 21 December 1877, Charles Stark transferred ownership of his cave property to his youngest son, Elisha Stark, for $250. However, as Elisha was only 15 years old, I somehow doubt that he was able to make such an expensive purchase at such a young age, unless he was bequeathed money from a relative or if Charles sold the property to his son on a “payment plan.” More likely, the farm was transferred to Elisha’s name, on the contingency that Charles and Elizabeth, who were not getting any younger, would live there for the rest of their days.
Two years later, son John Daniel Stark married Elizabeth Jane Campbell (my 2nd great-grandmother) on 6 February 1879.
Not long after this joyous event, heartache came to the Starks when Charles’ daughter Eliza Jane (Stark) Wood died on 14 June 1879, in Miller County, Missouri. She was only 31 years old.
Despite the despair their family must have felt, life must go on. Two months later, on 31 August 1879, son William Shelton Stark married Lucy Lavinia Burton.
On 26 June 1880, the Stark family was still living in Franklin Township, Miller County, Missouri. Residing in the household were Charles Stark, age 77, a farmer; his wife Elizabeth, age 65; and their son, Elisha, age 18.
Sadly, two years after this census, Charles Stark, the husband of two loving wives, 18 children, and more than 130 grandchildren, passed away in his home on 22 July 1882. He was 79 years of age. His grieving family buried him in Dooley Cemetery in Eldon, Miller County, Missouri.