Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Otts from Greenbrier County

Sometime between 1840 and 1850 most of the Ott family moved to Cabell County, and this move may have been related to the economic depression that existed as a result of the Panic of 1837.  On 23 December 1844 Michael D. Ott obtained an indenture for $84 of some personal property, livestock, and farm equipment to secure a debt he owed to William Ott.  It's probable that William was settling up any money owed to him before he moved to Cabell County
The area to which the Otts moved became part of Lincoln County in 1867.  In 1850 the Cabell County census lists William Ott as the head of the household.  He was 48 years old and had $1100 in real estate.  Michael Ott, age 77, and Catherine Ott, age 55 (an error because she would have been 72), both born in Virginia, lived with William.  Also in the household were Simeon Ott, age 37, a farmer; Julia A. Ott, age 50; and Elizabeth Ott, age 44.  All were born in Virginia.  The unmarried children had moved with William and their parents to Cabell County.  This census was enumerated 26 August 1850.
In 1851 Michael Ott still owned his property in Greenbrier County because it is listed in the Greenbrier Land Book.[1]  He owned 125 ¾ acres of “river hills” with a total value of $257.50.  He owed 31 cents in tax. 
Sometime in 1851 Michael Ott, Sr. died.  Although many of the death records of Lincoln County were destroyed by fire, a power of attorney was recorded in Greenbrier County 15 December 1851 in which Catherine Ott gave Simeon Ott of Cabell County all right of dower to any lands held by “late husband, Michael Ott, deceased, late of Greenbrier County”. 
After Michael’s death, Catherine gave Simeon the right to dispose of the land Michael had owned.  A deed was recorded in Greenbrier County 25 December 1851 from Simeon Ott of Cabell County to John W. Adwell selling 125 ¼ acres lying on both sides of the Greenbrier River and adjoining the lands of Thomas Creigh’s heirs, Thomas Black, Adam Adwell, and others. 
Another deed dated 31 December 1851 transferred 185 acres of land from Simon (sic) Ott for Catherine Ott of Cabell County to Lewis Creigh.  The land adjoined that of Joseph Anderson, Archie Edgar, John Dumlap, and John W. Adwell. 
William Ott received a land grant of 337 acres on the Middle Fork of the Mud River in Cabell County on 1 July 1856.  A second land grant was given on 1 May 1857 to William Ott in Cabell County for 500 acres on the right hand fork of Bear Fork of Porter Fork.  These streams are near Duval in present-day Lincoln County, West Virginia, about seven miles above Hamlin, the county seat.  The main town in the area is Griffithsville. 
  On the 1860 Federal Census for Cabell County, William Ott, age 59, a farmer, was still the head of the household.  He had real estate valued at $1800 and personal property valued at $1500.  His sister, Elizabeth Ott, had died 4 October 1853 in Cabell County of a lung disease.  Simeon Ott was age 45, a farmer, and he had personal property valued at $200.  Catherine Ott was age 82, and the remaining sister, Julia Ott, was age 60.  All were born in Virginia.  A girl named Lucinda lived with the Otts, but the handwriting of her surname is difficult to make out.  It appears to be “Nikels”. 
Catherine Ott was not listed on subsequent censuses, so it is assumed that she died between 1860 and 1870.  Considering her age, it is possible that she died before 1865.  Michael and Catherine Ott are most likely buried in Lincoln County, but the place of the burial has not yet been found. 

Family of Lucinda Ott Humphries 
            In the family Bible of Michael D. and Elizabeth Ott, which is displayed at the North House Museum in Lewisburg, West Virginia, Michael David Ott was born 5 December 1802.  In some records his name is spelled “Michel” which is the German form of his name. 
            The first occurrence of Michael’s name in Greenbrier County records is found in a court order on 25 February 1828 when Michael would have been 26 years old.  He, along with his brothers, William and David, are ordered to work under George Hoover to keep their road repaired.[1]  The section of road to which the Ott brothers (along with Archer Edgar, Thomas Scott, Alexander Scott, Phillip Sydenstricker, George Comber, James Hoover, Daniel Hoover, William Littlepage, William Adwell, and John Sydenstricker) are assigned ran from Lewisburg to Lewis Stuart’s home, known as Beau Desert (later as Stuart Manor). 
Births listed in the family Bible of  Michael D.
and Elizabeth Clingman Ott.  The Bible is
 housed in the North House Museum in
Lewisburg, WV.
            Michael D. Ott married Elizabeth Clingman in January 1835.  The marriage bond was signed by Michael D. Ott and Archibald Handley.  Margaret Clingman signed a note dated 5 January 1835 giving permission for her daughter to marry Michael D. Ott.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Jacob and Margaret Hess Clingman and was born 8 October 1813.[2]
            The first child of Michael D. and Elizabeth Ott was James William Ott, born 5 December 1836.[3]  Addison Ott was born on 11 September 1840.[4]  In the Federal Census of Greenbrier County in 1840, Michael Ott is the head of the household which includes one male under age 5 (James William), one male age 20-30 (Michael D. Ott) and one female age 20-30 (Elizabeth).  Addison was probably born after the census was taken that year.  A third son, Lockard Patten Ott, was born 7 August 1844.
On August 14 of 1844, Michael D. Ott filed a deed of indenture for $41.61 against his personal property, livestock, and farm equipment.  Edward R. Skaggs secured Michael’s debt to Nesmith & Co.  On 23 December 1844 Michael again filed a deed of indenture with William Cary to secure a debt of $84 that he owed to William Ott who was perhaps preparing at this time to move to Cabell County.  National economic problems may have accounted for Michael’s need for cash at this time. 
The economy of the country was coming out of a deep depression.  The banking policies of Andrew Jackson led to the “Panic of 1837” which occurred only weeks after the new president, Martin Van Buren, was inaugurated.  Economist Milton Friedman wrote that the Panic of 1837 led to a depression that was comparable “in severity and scope” to the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Because there was no central, national banking system, the panic also led to the failure of local banks, but by 1843 the country was recovering from the economic trouble.[5]  It was about this time that Michael Ott, Sr., and his sons moved to Cabell County.        
            On 29 April 1847 Michael and Elizabeth’s only daughter, Lucinda, was born, and a fourth son, Samuel Ott, was born on 26 September 1849.[6] 
In the 1850 census the Ott family was listed as follows:  Michel D. Ott, age 42, a farmer; Elizabeth Ott, age 31; James W. Ott, age 12; Addison Ott, age 8; Lockert Ott, age 5; Lucinda Ott, age 2; and Samuel Ott, age 8 months.  No real estate values were listed for Michael, leading to the conclusion that he did not own the land on which he lived.  He is listed between the families of Moses Hendrick and Dana Hendrick.  In the two deeds of indenture in 1844, he offered personal property to secure his debt, a further indication that he did not own any real estate at this time.  He may have rented farm land from the Hendricks. 
Two more sons were born to Michael and Elizabeth:  Edwin Ott on 7 September 1852 and Clowney Ott on 12 December 1855.[7]  Michael and Elizabeth’s family did not appear on the 1860 census, although dozens of residences in the 1860 Greenbrier census were listed only as “occupied” or “unoccupied”.  The family probably lived in one of these houses.  It is unknown exactly where the family lived at that time; Michael’s parents and his brothers and sisters (except for David) had moved to Cabell County.  Michael’s sister, Susanna, died in 1845.  Michael D. Ott’s oldest son, James Ott, age 23, was living with the Archibald Lewis family as a laborer.    This was the last census before the Civil War.
The Otts would soon become part of the national tragedy that tore the United States apart in 1861.  The Compromise of 1850 signed by Millard Fillmore was thought to address the issues of slavery and westward expansion, but in reality it only intensified the conflicts between those who supported an economic system that included slavery and those who opposed it. 
Greenbrier County was militarily significant during the Civil War.  Occupying Greenbrier County gave an army the ability to defend or attack railroads in southwestern Virginia and to have access to the salt industry in the Kanawha Valley.[8]  Both the Union and Confederate armies traveled through and occupied Greenbrier County.  There was a battle in Lewisburg in May 1862, General W. H. Powell captured a confederate camp on Sinking Creek in November 1862 during a fierce snowstorm, and a battle was fought at Dry Creek near White Sulphur in 1863.[9]
Although West Virginia became a separate state in 1863 and joined the Union, sentiments were not so clear cut in Greenbrier County.  The Confederacy experienced great support from the citizens of the area, and the Ott family threw its support to the South. 
By the end of the Civil War, Michael D. and Elizabeth Ott had lost three of their six sons.  Although no documentation has been found that indicates that James, the oldest son, enlisted in either the Union or Confederate Army, the Ott family Bible lists his date of death as 13 March 1862.  The cause of death is not known.  Confederate military records indicate that Addison Ott, the second oldest son, enlisted in the 22nd Virginia Infantry of the Confederate Army, Company A, on 1 May 1862 at White Sulphur Springs.  He enlisted for the duration of the war.  Addison’s cousin, Jewitt Ott, son of David V. Ott, also enlisted.  According to military records, Addison was never paid for his service because he was killed in the Battle of Lewisburg on 23 May 1862
Addison and Jewitt most likely participated in an attack by the 22nd Virginia Infantry against Giles Court House on 10 May 1862.  The 22nd Virginia suffered light casualties and then marched toward Lewisburg.[10]
The Battle of Lewisburg began at 5 a.m. on May 23.  In reference to the war, this battle was of little significance, one of those skirmishes that is life and death to those involved, but little noticed by others.  Colonel George Crook commanded the Union forces which were camped on the western side of Lewisburg in the area where the Confederate Cemetery is now located.  The federal troops had about 1400 soldiers and two mountain howitzers.  Guards were posted on the bridge at the Greenbrier River at Caldwell.[11]
The Confederates were commanded by Brigadier General Henry Heth and were composed of about 2300 soldiers and six artillery pieces.  The 22nd Virginia Infantry was commanded by Colonel George S. Patton, the grandfather of the famous General Patton of World War II.[12]
The southern forces had marched from Pearisburg, Virginia, through Monroe County.  They captured the Federal pickets at the Greenbrier River in the early morning of May 23.  The 22nd Infantry had not yet been defeated in any battle, and the Confederate Army thought it had the “element of surprise.”  A  Union scouting party returned to General Crook to inform him of the southern forces advancing on Lewisburg.  There was a short encounter between the forces during which Dr. Andrew Barbee of the 22nd Virginia Infantry urged his men on, yelling, “Come on boys, we’ve got them by the umbilicus, come on!”[13]
General Heth formed his line on the eastern hill opposite the Federal army.  The 22nd Infantry was in a field in the area where the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine is now located. 
While the Union soldiers were eating breakfast, General Heth began his bombardment at 5 a.m.  Some artillery fell short killing 19-year-old Private Charles Chewning in the 22nd Infantry and hitting the John Wesley Methodist Church.[14]  The Union soldiers returned fire and the 36th Ohio advanced “uphill against a superior position, delivering heavy and effective fire on the 22nd Virginia.  Captain Bahlman of the 22nd described his men as ‘falling like ten pins in a bowling alley.’”[15]
The Union forces overran the Confederate artillery, although the Southern artillerymen refused to abandon their guns.  The Confederate militia on the left collapsed, exposing the 45th and 22nd Virginia forces.  Private George Caldwell said, “The balls flew like hail. . .you ought to have heard the balls whiz past us.”[16]
In Recollections of the Rev. John McElhenney, D.D. the granddaughter of Rev. McElhenney gave details about the fate of the 22nd Virginia Infantry:
"On the opposite side of the town Col. Patton's regiment met with equal ill luck. The 22nd attacked the enemy's left flank, and a sharp fight went on in the fairgrounds (now the campus of Greenbrier Military School). For an hour or so a brisk firing was kept up, then it slackened and died away. Something told us the day had been lost. About 9 o'clock a cloud of smoke appeared on the horizon; it was from the bridge over the river, recklessly destroyed by Gen. Heth in his retreat.”[17]
The Confederate forces retreated to Union, burning the bridge after they crossed the Greenbrier River.  In a little over an hour, 80 Confederate soldiers were killed, 100 wounded, and 157 taken prisoner.  As the Union soldiers were returning to their camp, a sniper in a house shot and killed one of them.  General Crook threatened to burn the houses and hang any snipers that he found.  The house was located from where the shot was fired, and the house was burned, but the sniper had escaped.[18]
Rev. McElhenney’s granddaughter described the aftermath of the battle:
"The town was filled to overflowing with sick and dying men. Every public building in the place was converted to their service. The pews were taken up in the lecture room of the (Old Stone) church, and its aisles filled with double rows of cots. The Academy, the Masonic Hall, the hotels, offices, and private dwellings were filled to overflowing."[19]
The Confederate Cemetery in Lewisburg, WV.
 General Crook refused to let the Lewisburg citizens bury the Confederate dead, one of whom was Addison Ott.  The dead soldiers were laid out in the Old Stone Church before being put in a trench in the churchyard.  After the war the Confederate soldiers were removed from the churchyard and buried in a mass grave in the Confederate Cemetery now located on the western edge of Lewisburg.[20]
In the fall of 1862, Michael and Elizabeth lost their third son, Lockard Patton Ott.  He died 13 October 1862 of fever.[21]  He was 18 years old, but there is no indication that he had joined the army.  Listed on the line below Lockard in the county death records is Jewitt Ott, his cousin, who died 20 August 1862 of a wound received in the Battle of Lewisburg.  Of the 48 names listed on the same page of the death records as Lockard Ott, 24 died of either diphtheria or fever, indicating that disease raged through the communities of Greenbrier County that year. 
Food was scarce because armies on the march, whether Federal or Confederate, fed from the supplies of the local families.  Military horses grazed local pastures until nothing was left for the livestock of local farmers; there was no hay, and whatever meager crops were available were soon consumed by the troops of both sides.  In 1864 the situation became so severe that soldiers ate bark from small birch tree branches to survive.[22]
General Crook kept trying to interrupt Confederate activities in Greenbrier County, so he ordered another raid toward Lewisburg in November 1862.  Captain G. W. Gilmore in Summersville captured a wagon train of supplies near Williamsburg on November 10.[23]  This activity occurred near where David V. Ott is thought to have lived, and probably also where Michael D. Ott lived.  The Confederate Army had instituted a draft in the mountains of West Virginia, and when General Crook heard that the 14th Virginia Cavalry was recruiting near Sinking Creek in Greenbrier County, he planned to assault the troops there.[24]  The Union troops commanded by Major William Powell marched toward Sinking Creek over Cold Knob Mountain during a howling winter storm.  They were eventually successful in capturing 112 Southern soldiers surprised by the attack on their camp.  The Union Army killed two Confederate pickets.[25]
The Battle of Lewisburg and the raid on Sinking Creek were major military events of the Civil War in Greenbrier County.  Troops from both sides often moved through the county as they variously protected and attacked local farmers, crucial railways, and military vantage points.  Since many Greenbrier citizens supported the Confederacy, times were difficult for them both during and after the war.
For those who had converted their currency to Confederate dollars, the economic ruin was great.  This may have been the situation Michael D. Ott found himself in as his financial difficulty is evidenced by the deed of indenture he filed on 24 August 1866.  He owed money to several people:  Robert Humes, $85; John Hedrick, $80 from 1858-1859 plus the interest; and John Lipps, two notes totaling $200.  To pay these debts, Michael mortgaged land (which the deed says he had purchased from Lewis Watts); all of his household and kitchen furniture; one mare and colt; two cows; two one-year-old heifers; three sheep; 13 hogs and their future increase; all the crops that were growing and were harvested, consisting of corn, wheat, oats, and rye; and all farming utensils.  The debts were to be paid by 24 August 1869 or the property would be sold.
This deed of indenture raises the question again of whether Michael D. Ott ever actually owned any real estate in Greenbrier County.  Although it lists the land as having been purchased by Michael Ott from Lewis Watts, no deed of sale for such a purchase was found during a search at the Greenbrier County Courthouse, but a deed does exist dated 1858 for David V. Ott’s purchase of land known as the Watts Place.  It is possible that Michael purchased the land and was forced to sell it to settle the debts from the deed of indenture in 1866; perhaps he lived on the same farm as his brother, David Ott, or he lived near David as a tenant and borrowed against land he didn’t actually own.  Chancery files of Greenbrier County circuit court indicate a lawsuit was filed by Lewis Watts, plaintiff, against M. Ott.[26]
The 1870 Federal Census for Greenbrier County enumerated 6 September 1870 in the Big Levels Township (Lewisburg area) listed Michael Ott, age 67, “works on farm”, with personal property valued at $300.  Michael had no real estate value listed, indicating that he owned no property at this time.  His wife, Elizabeth, was age 56.  The surviving children lived with them at this time:  Lucinda Ott, age 23; Samuel Ott, age 20 (worked on farm); Edwin Ott, age 16; and Clowney Ott, age 14.
On 21 November 1870 a deed of indenture was filed in Greenbrier County Courthouse between Michael Ott and J. D. Blake.  In the deed of indenture personal property is mortgaged for the benefit of Michael’s two children, Samuel Ott and Lucinda Ott, who bound themselves to pay “certain sums of money”, secured by deed of trust on the property.  L. D. Blake would, when the money was paid, convey the property to Samuel and Lucinda.  The property included one bay mare; one red cow; six beds and bedding; one sewing machine; two clocks; one bureau; one large table; one looking glass; 10 chairs; one side saddle; one man’s saddle; one lot gear; one harrow; one plow; two mattocks; one loom; one big wheel; two trunks; and all other household and kitchen furniture.  In memoirs written by Lucinda’s granddaughter, Carrie Amick Tuck, Carrie describes a fire that destroyed Lucinda’s home in the late 1920s.  Among the items that Carrie described as being destroyed in the fire was a “big old loom”, most likely the same loom that Michael passed on to his children. [27]
Was Michael unable to pay off all his debts by 24 August 1869, losing his farm to his debtors?  It’s impossible to be certain, but it seems that Michael and Elizabeth were breaking up housekeeping when they sold the entire contents of their house to Lucinda and Samuel.
It’s unknown how Lucinda Ott met a young man from Nicholas County, although a major road ran from northern Greenbrier County to Nicholas County.  Obviously Mr. William Humphries had reason to visit the area where he met Lucinda.  They were married 26 September 1872 by Rev. George P. Wanless.[28]  William was age 23, and Lucinda was age 24.  They were both single at the time of the marriage, and William’s occupation was farmer. 
William and Lucinda Ott Humphries had the following children:  Martin Luther Humphries, born 1874; Liz Ann Humphries, born 1876; Walter Humphries, born 1878; Lilburn Humphries, born 17 August 1880; Ruthie Humphries, born 1883; Sadie Humphries, born 23 August 1885; and Lelia Clingman Humphries, born 8 January 1888.  All of their children were born in Nicholas County, West Virginia.
Will and Lucinda Ott Humphries.
In 1880 and 1900 Will and Lucinda were reported on the Nicholas County censuses in the Wilderness District of Nicholas County.  In 1910 when Will was 60 years old, all their children were grown, but their daughter, Lelia, and her husband, Irvin Amick, lived with them.  Lelia was then 22 years old and had been married to Irvin for 4 years.  Lelia and Irvin’s two children, Leathel, age 2, and a son who was not named at the time (Ted), age 11 months, also lived with the family.  Irma Amick Ballengee, daughter of Lelia and Irvin, told that for some reason Lelia could not decide upon a name for her son.  Although Teddy Roosevelt was popular at the time, the boy received his name when Grandma Humphries (Lucinda) saw her grandson sitting in the floor and said he “looked like a teddy bear.” 
In 1920 the Federal Census reported that Will, age 70, and Lucinda, age 72, lived in the home of their son, Walter Humphries, who was age 42 and single.  Walter never married.  Also in the home were Lucinda and Will’s daughter, Ruthie Arthur (who had married Thomas Arthur), age 37 and widowed; her children Clyde C. Arthur, age 10; Lydia B. Arthur, age 9; and Lettie M. Pennington, age 12, a niece (the daughter of Liz Ann Humphries and Ward Pennington).
When Will Humphries died in 1925, Lelia Humphries Amick and her children again moved in with Lucinda while Lelia’s husband, Irvin, worked in Charleston as a carpenter.[29]  Carrie Amick Tuck wrote that Grandma Humphries (Lucinda) was very strict and wore long, full skirts and two or three underskirts.   According to Carrie, if she used a powder puff to powder her face, her grandma would “jump up out of her chair, flip that long skirt about, and snub out of the room, saying that stuff stinks.”[30]
Another of Lucinda’s grandchildren, Irma Amick Ballengee, told about Will Humphries’ log shop where he built caskets for the community.  Irma wrote,
“Grandma got dinner on the table (lunch) and rang the big dinner bell (she rang for the men to come to the house. . .she used it for emergencies or at meal time) for Granddad to come to dinner and waited for him to come to eat.  She kept hearing him sawing and pounding.  She thought someone had come for a casket.  She waited for a few minutes, and he never came, so she sent one of the children for him, and he wasn’t there, but the making of the casket went on.  When he came to dinner, he came from a different direction.  He had been to the post office.”[31]
Irma also wrote that her grandmother was “big on apples”.  The family had an orchard and Lucinda preserved the apples by drying them.  Apparently she used the plentiful apples often in preparing meals. 
The home of Lucinda Ott Humphries burned after Lelia and her children moved there.  Irma wrote,
“My mom had churned and took the butter to the spring house (it was built on a rock and had a bubbling spring in the center of it; that was our fridge).  When she came in, some of us was sitting around the dinner table.  She says, ‘If there’s not a fire in the stove, our house is on fire.’  We all ran different directions to see what it was.  Sure enough the house was aflame upstairs.  We had no fire department, and the spring was a ways off, so the best we could was try to save what we could and watch the rest go up in flames.  I can remember my Grandma yelling, ‘Get Walter’s bureau!’  That was where he kept his papers.  (Uncle Walter was her youngest son and a bachelor.)[32]
Carrie also wrote of the house fire.  She said,
 “It was one morning about 9 a.m.  Mom had churned her some butter and took it to the cellar a few yards from the house, we called it the spring house.  It stayed pretty damp so the milk and butter stayed good for a while.  Well, Mom was returning to the house when she happened to look up and saw smoke coming out of the roof.  She came running and hollered, ‘If there is no fire in the fireplace, the house is on fire.’  One of my cousins had come to stay with a new baby and a small child.  Mom said to get the kids and get out quick.  Marylene (Lelia’s youngest child) was small, too, so Grandma and Lettie, that was her name (the cousin) got the kids together and run down away from the house.  Mom ran up, ‘Carrie, run and get a bucket of water.’  I ran up to the horses trough at the barn.  There was running water in the trough from the spring a few yards away.  It was piped in for the cows and horses to drink.  Well, I ran with the tub of water in my arms, about 500 ft. away from the house.  By the time I got there with the water and dropped it, the fire was coming out in our bedroom which was upstairs.  Irma and I shared it, so I ran up the stairs and grabbed all my old dresses; they were precious and hard to come by.  I got several out.  There was a lot of antiques in the house that got burned up.  There was a big old loom upstairs that was lost.  Mom and Grandma wove a lot of blankets out of the wool they gathered from the sheep we raised. . .We figured out later that the fire started in the attic where Grandpa always threw his old newspaper and magazines.  It had papers in there way back to 1800’s.  Grandpa took a lot of farm magazines like Farm Journal, the Grit paper, and others.  Anyway, we figured it caught from spontaneous combustion.”[33]

After the fire, Irvin and Lelia and their children moved to Rainelle, West Virginia.  Neely and Sadie Humphries Dorsey (Lucinda’s daughter) built another house on the same spot.  They lived with Lucinda to take care of her.[34]  Neely Dorsey was killed in a logging accident in 1928.  Sadie stayed on at Lucinda’s house until her children were raised.  In the 1930 Federal Census of Nicholas County, Lucinda lived with her son, Martin Luther Humphries, and his wife, Mary, in the Wilderness District of the county.  Lucinda was age 82.  
Gravesite of Lucinda Ott Humphries at
 the Mt. Gilead Baptist Church.
Lucinda Ott Humphries died in Pool, Nicholas County, 4 May 1936.  Both William and Lucinda are buried in the cemetery of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church at Pool in Nicholas County.
When Sadie was visiting out of state, the second Humphries home also burned.  Sadie’s son built a home out of the granary which was built on solid rock; this home was eventually sold as a summer home.[35]  

Lucinda’s parents, Michael and Elizabeth Ott were still living in Greenbrier County in 1880.  The Federal Census of Greenbrier County in 1880 listed them as living with their three youngest sons.  Michael, age 72, was a farmer; his wife, Elizabeth, was 66 years old and keeping house.  The sons living with them were Samuel, age 30, working on farm; Edwin, age 27, working on farm; and Clowney, age 24, working on farm.  The Otts lived in the Lewisburg District of Greenbrier County. 
Tragedy again visited the Otts on 9 August 1887 when Edwin Ott died.  The cause of death was listed as “unknown” on the county death records.[36]  He was age 34 at the time of his death.  The last will and testament of Edwin Ott, dated 19 November 1885 was registered in the Greenbrier County Courthouse on 31 August 1887.  He gave all of his property, both real and personal, to his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Ott.  After her death, one hundred dollars was to be paid to his brother, Clowney Ott, and the remainder of the property be divided between his two brothers, Samuel Ott and Clowney Ott.[37]  There was no listing of the individual items of property, nor was Michael Ott or Lucinda Ott Humphries mentioned.  It is probable that Michael died between 1880 (listed on the census) and 1885 (not mentioned in Edwin’s will).   
It is certain that sometime after 1880, Michael died.  The date of his death is not known at this time.  No census records are available for 1890, but in the 1900 Federal Census, Betsie Ott, age 87, lived with L. N. Baker, age 40, and D. R. Baker, age 30, his wife.  Betsie was listed as their great-aunt.  They lived in the Lewisburg District with their five children.  The exact date of Elizabeth’s death, occurring after 2 June 1900 when the census was taken, is not known at this time.  Property she had inherited from her son, Edwin, was sold by Clowney and Samuel Ott in 1901 to John T. Banton.[38]  Edwin had purchased this land in 1880 from Samuel McClung.[39]  The land consisted of 63 acres west of Lewisburg along the James River and Kanawha Turnpike.  Since the property was to be divided between Samuel and Clowney at Elizabeth’s death, it is assumed that she died between 2 June 1900 and 1901.  Her burial place is not known at this time. 
Only three members of this family were living after 1900.  Lucinda Ott Humphries lived in the Wilderness District of Nicholas County.  Her brothers, Samuel and Clowney, did not marry and lived as bachelors.
In 1900 Samuel Ott was 48 years old and lived as a boarder in the home of G. M. Morris.  He was single and worked as a farm laborer.  In 1910 Samuel was listed as the head of household with no other family members.  He lived in the Lewisburg District and gave his age as 60 years old.  He worked as a miller at a local mill.  No census information is available for Samuel in 1920, but in 1930 he lived in the Williamsburg District with Homan Hartsook and Mary Hartsook, who was the widow of William Hartsook, nephew of Elizabeth Clingman Ott. 
William B. Hartsook was Samuel’s first cousin.  Elizabeth Clingman Ott had a sister, Mary Clingman, who married Charles Andrew Hartsook.  Their son, William Hartsook, married Mary Legg in 1887, and one of their children was Homan H. Hartsook.  As Samuel aged and was no longer able to do manual labor, he moved in with his first cousin’s wife, Mary Hartsook, and her son, Homan, who was then 35 years old and single.  In 1931 Homan married Nina Gilkeson.  Helen Garner of Beckley, West Virginia, is a descendent of Charles Hartsook and Mary Jane Clingman, Elizabeth Ott’s sister.  She wrote, 
When I was a child I remember an old gentlemen with a long white beard that used to visit my grandmother Hartsook and we called him Uncle Sam.  I seem to think he was an Ott.  All I remember of Uncle Sam was seeing him sitting in Gram's living room and he had snow white hair and beard.  If he came very often I was not there to see him.”[1] 
            At the time of the 1930 Federal Census, Samuel Ott was 81 years old.  Mary Hartsook and her son listed him as an uncle, but he was actually a cousin.  Customs of the time referred to older people in the community as “uncle” or “aunt”.  His marital status was noted as widowed, but there is no evidence that Samuel ever married. 
            Samuel Ott died on 21 March 1934 at age 85 in the Williamsburg District of Greenbrier County near Hughart.  The cause of death was cardiac dropsy (congestive heart failure) with the onset of bronchial pneumonia on the 20 March.[41]  Samuel is buried in the cemetery at Calvary Methodist Church on US Route 60 about three miles west of Lewisburg.[42]
            The youngest of the children, Clowney, lived in the Lewisburg area until around 1923 when he retired.  Clowney lived with his parents at least until 1880.  No census information has been found for him in 1900.  In 1910 Clowney lived with his cousin, Mike Stuart, age 76, in the Fort Spring District.  Also living with Mike and Clowney was Mary Stone, a servant.  Michael J. Stuart was the son of John Stuart and Susanna Ott, believed to be the daughter of Michael Ott (who signed her marriage bond).  Susanna was the sister of Michael D. Ott, making Mike Stuart Clowney’s first cousin. 
            John Stuart was the son of George Stuart.  In 1817 John married Elizabeth Holesapple.  In 1832 he married for the second time to Susanna Ott.  Five children have been documented for John and Susanna Stuart:  Michael J. Stuart, born September 1833; Elizabeth C. Stuart, born 1835; Margaret Stuart, born 1838; James William Stuart, born 1844; and Mahala Stuart, born 1845. [43]
            Clowney’s age was not given in the 1910 census, but his occupation was listed as machinist.  A copied photograph from Bill Ott of Fairlea shows the Eagle and Ott Machine Shop in Ronceverte, West Virginia.  The photograph appears to be from a newspaper clipping and says in the caption, “This shop was located on the site of the present Holiday Powell Motor Company.  They could repair anything, were machinists, plumbers, tinsmiths, and iron founders.  Note the galvanized bathtub and bicycles for repair.”  The photo includes Harry A. Cobb, Clowney Ott, and J. W. P. Eagle.  No date is given on the photograph. 
            Between 1903 and 1921 Clowney sold five pieces of property in and around Ronceverte.  He had purchased three pieces of property between 1890 and 1920: two in 1890 (one from Ronceverte Mining and Manufacturing Company and another the same year from the estate of George Kester) and the last one in 1920 from Mahala Stuart Green, his cousin who inherited land from her brother, Michael Stuart. 
No census information was found for Clowney Ott in 1920, but in the 1930 Federal Census Clowney Ott lived in the San Jose Township of Los Angeles County, California.  He resided in Pomona City.  For $5 per month Clowney rented a residence at the rear of the home of John Burnley on East Columbia Avenue.  Mr. Burnley owned a radio store.  Clowney was 74 years old, could read and write, and was born in West Virginia.  He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Pomona.[44] 
            Census information for 1940 will not be available to the public until 2012, but Clowney continued to live in Pomona, California, until his death on 12 July 1943 at 1:30 a.m. in the Sunshine Rest Home in San Dimas.[45]  Clowney died of a cerebral hemorrhage due to arteriosclerosis.  The duration of his illness was two weeks, and he had been treated by Dr. J. F. Adams of San Dimas, California.
His usual residence was 220 West Third Street in Pomona, but he had been at the rest home for the past 12 days and had lived in California for 20 years.  His usual occupation before retirement was as a machinist in farm machinery manufacturing.  The person who reported information about Clowney’s death was Charles A. Steadman who lived at 218 Lincoln Avenue, Pomona, California.   Clowney Ott was buried in the Pomona Cemetery on 15 July 1943.
The Progress Bulletin of Pomona printed an obituary for Clowney Ott as follows:
“Clowney Ott, 87, of 220 W. 3rd Street passed away Monday morning at 1:30 o’clock following a short illness.  Mr. Ott was born in Lewisburg, W. Va., on December 12, 1855.  He came to California from the East in 1923 after retiring.  He was a member of the First Baptist Church of this city.  Arrangements will be announced by Reeves Funeral Service of 575 N. Towne Avenue.”
            Clowney was the last of Michael and Elizabeth’s children.  Of seven children, the only one to marry and have children was their daughter, Lucinda.  Four sons died at early ages, and the two younger sons never married.  It's wonderful when family stories are handed down, but we've not had too many stories from the Ott side of the family.  They struggled through war and deprivation, but they did the best they could in difficult times. 

[1] Greenbrier County W. Va. Court Orders 1780-1850, transcribed by Helen S. Stinson, 1988, p. 331.
[2] Ott Family Bible, North House Museum, Lewisburg, WV.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] America the Last Best Hope, William J. Bennett, 2006.
[6] Ott Family Bible, North House Museum, Lewisburg, WV.
[7] Ibid and Greenbrier County Births, 1855, p. 17, line 184.
[8] The Civil War in Greenbrier County, Tim Mckinney, 2004, p. xiii.
[9] The Civil War in Greenbrier County, Tim McKinney, p. 242.
[10] “Men of Virginia-Men of Kanawha-To Arms!”, Val Husley, West Virginia History, vol. 35, no. 3, 225.
[11] The Battle of Lewisburg, Lewisburg Visitor’s Center.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid.
[14] The Civil War in Greenbrier County, Tim McKinney, 2004, p. 174.
[15] The Battle of Lewisburg, Lewisburg Visitor’s Center.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Recollections of the Rev. John McElhenney, D. D., Rose W. Fry, 1893.
[18] The Battle of Lewisburg, the Lewisburg Visitor’s Center.
[19] Recollections of the Rev. John McElhenney, D. D., Rose W. Fry, 1893.
[20] The Battle of Lewisburg, the Lewisburg Visitor’s Center.
[21] Greenbrier Death Records, p. 33, line 9, and the Ott Family Bible, North House Museum, Lewisburg, WV.
[22] The Civil War in Greenbrier County, McKinney, p. 291.
[23] Ibid, p. 237.
[24] Ibid., p. 239.
[25] Ibid., p. 242-243.
[26] General Index of Chancery Records, Book 1, p. 156.
[27] Growing Up in West Virginia, My Memoirs, Carrie Mae Amick Tuck, p. 9.
[28] Greenbrier Register of Marriages, 1872, p. 61, line 62.
[29] Growing Up in West Virginia, My Memoirs, Carrie Mae Amick Tuck, p. 7.
[30] Ibid., p. 8.
[31] Letter from Irma Amick Ballengee, 21 April 1997.                                                                                                 
[32] Ibid.
[33] Growing Up in West Virginia, My Memoirs, Carrie Amick Tuck, p. 8-9.
[34] Letter from Irma Amick Ballengee, 21 April 1997
[35] Ibid.
[36] Greenbrier Register of Deaths, 1887, p. 83, line 88.
[37] Greenbrier Book of Wills, p. 520.
[38] Greenbrier County Deed Book 56, p. 468. 
[39] Greenbrier County Deed Book 32, p. 213. 
[40] Email from Helen Garner, 9 February 2007.
[41] West Virginia state death certificate, no. 3236.
[42] Greenbrier County Cemeteries, Lewisburg District, Greenbrier Historical Society, p. 6.
[43] Federal Census, Greenbrier County, 1860.
[44] The Progress Bulletin, Pomona, California, 12 July 1943 obituary.
[45] County of Los Angeles death certificate, no. 8478.

[1] Greenbrier Land Book, 1851-1854, pg. 19.

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