||Stephen Bumgarner [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] |
||18 May 1811
||, , Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA [2, 6]
||, Captain McNiel's District, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA 
|male 20-30: Stephen Bumgarner [at 29], engaged in agriculture, cannot read or write|
female 20-30 [Rebecca at 29], cannot read or write
male 5-10 [James Linville at 8]
male <5 [Simeon Nelson at 4]
female <5 [Nancy Caroline 1]
||13 Oct 1842
||, District 46, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA 
|Stephen Bumgarner: head|
||22 Jul 1850
||, , Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA 
|1) Stephen Bingham [sic], male age 45, farmer, $600 real estate, born in Ashe|
2) Rebecah Bingham, female age 45, born in Ashe
3) James Bingham, male age 17, farmer, born in Wilkes
4) Nelson Bingham, male age 13, born in Wilkes
5) Nancy Bingham, female age 10, born in Wilkes
6) Matilda Bingham, female age 8, born in Wilkes
7) Wesley Bingham, male age 6, born in Wilkes
8) Alexander Bingham, male age 4, born in Wilkes
9) Robert Bingham, male age 2, born in Wilkes
||19 Jul 1860
||, Wilkesboro, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA 
|1) Stephen Bumgarner, male age 49, farmer, $500 real estate, $500 personal estate, born in NC, cannot read or write|
2) Rebecca Bumgarner, female age 49, born in NC, cannot read or write
3) Nelson Bumgarner, male age 24, born in NC
4) Nancy Bumgarner, female age 21, born in NC, cannot read or write
5) Lydia Bumgarner, female age 18, born in NC
6) Wesly Bumgarner, male age 16, born in NC, attended school
7) Stephen Bumgarner, male age 14, born in NC, attended school
8) Robert Bumgarner, male age 12, born in NC, attended school
9) Fanny Bumgarner, female age 10, born in NC, attended school
10) William Bumgarner, male age 7, born in NC, attended school
11) Andrew Bumgarner, male age 5, born in NC
||23 Aug 1870
||, Mulberry Township, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA 
|1) Stephen Bumgarner, white male age 59, farmer, $349 real estate, $383 personal estate, born in NC|
2) Rebecca Bumgarner, white female age 59, keeping house, born in NC, cannot read or write
3) William Bumgarner, white male age 16, farm labor, born in NC, cannot write
4) Andrew Bumgarner, white male age 15, farm labor, born in NC, cannot read or write
5) Vilia Beman, white female age 13, domestic servant, born in NC
||8 Jun 1880
||, Reddies River Township, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA 
|1) Stephen Bumgarner, head, white male age 69, farmer, cannot write, born in NC, parents born in NC|
2) Rebecca Bumgarner, wife, white female age 69, keeping house, cannot write, born in TN, parents born in VA
||11 Jun 1900
||, Reddies River Township, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA 
|1) Andrew Bumgarner, head, white male age 44, married 27 years, born Dec 1855 in NC, parents born in NC, farmer, unemployed 4 months, owned farm #129, cannot write|
2) Cornelia Bumgarner, wife, white female age 43, mother of 6 kids, 5 living, born May 1855 in NC, parents born in NC, cannot write
3) Tennessee Bumgarner, daughter, single white female age 18, born Jan 1882 in NC
4) Monroe Bumgarner, son, single white male age 14, born Oct 1885 in NC, farm labor
5) Wiley Newton Bumgarner, son, single white male age 5, born Aug 1894 in NC
6) Stephen Bumgarner, father, widowed white male age 89, born May 1811 in NC, parents born in NC, cannot write
||29 Jul 1901
||, Millers Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA 
||, , Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA 
|"Stephen Bumgarner was born in Wilkes 8 May, 1811. He lived on the headwaters of Maiden Cane Creek. As a young married man he built a home at the conflux of Maiden Cane and Reddies River. He acquired several tracts of land, some by grant and some by purchase. When he deeded land to his children, he did it in such a way that it could not be sold during his lifetime without his signature. It was said that because of this arrangement, some had homes who otherwise would have had none.|
Family tradition describes Stephen as a large and powerful man, strong enough to carry a buck home on his shoulder after the hunt. He did everything in a big way. He raised plentiful farm and garden crops, kept bees, swine, poultry, and cattle, and did much fishing and hunting to provide food for his large family, and many guests. His hospitality was expansive, and people came from miles around to spend weekends with him and his son Andy, who had a house close by.
Stephen married Rebecca Nichols, daughter of William and Elizabeth Holdaway Nichols, and granddaughter of WWI [this is should instead say Revolutionary War] veteran, Henry Holdaway.
Seven of the ten children of this family lived to have families of their own. The eldest, Rev. James Linville Bumgarner, was in [sic] an itinerant Methodist minister, and a 2nd Lt. in the Home Militia. Simeon Nelson died in prison in Petersburg, after serving in the 52nd Infantry Regiment. Nancy Caroline married Andrew Bullis and moved to Tennessee. Lydia Matilda married Joseph Rash and settled in Wilkes. Wesley Levi was captured at the Battle of the Wilderness and died in prison. Stephen Alexander married Belle Hayes and settled near his father's home. Absolom Bobbitt married Sarah Miller and settled east of Millers Creek. Fanny Rebecca died at age 13 in an epidemic."
||, , Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA 
|"STEPHEN BUMGARNER (8 May 1811-29 July 1901), the patriarch of this family, was born, lived, and died in the county of Wilkes, state of North Carolina, United States of America. He married 6 Jan 1831 REBECCA NICHOLS, who was born 17 Apr 1811, also in Wilkes, to William and Elizabeth Holdaway Nichols. Rebecca's grandfather was the Revolutionary veteran, John Nichols, who came to Wilkes from Maryland, "near the Federal City, called Washington now, but Georgetown formerly," before 1796. Rebecca preceded her husband in death, taking her departure 30 Oct 1887, and was buried in the family cemetery on the hill above their home.|
The "work ethic" was very much a part of Stephen's philosophy. Even in his last years, when he suffered crippling rheumatism in his knees and feet, age and infirmity only slowed him down; it did not stop him. When he could not bend his knees to lift his feet, he would slide his feet along the rows and hoe corn with the other workers.
No portrait of Stephen is available, but from the physical characteristics of his sons and grandsons, it can be deduced that he was tall and strong, that he probably had angular features, and was crowned with a healthy suit of hair and a full, flowing beard which turned white in his later years. He was known for his fiery temper, for his tall tales and for his generosity. He was also trusted and respected, but was at the same time intolerant of behavior he did not condone. The anecdotes which have come to us through his posterity attest to these traits, as the following paragraphs demonstrate.
In 1838, when he was twenty-seven years old, married, and father of two sons, Stephen moved to Haywood, thinking he would cast his lot with relatives there. In the fall of that year an early freeze killed all the crops, and Stephen, discouraged and disillusioned with life in Haywood, returned to Wilkes. He built his home near the conflux of Reddies River and Maiden Cane Creek, and lived there for the remainder of his life.
Stephen was a powerful man and a hard worker. He did everything in a big way, and had a heart to match. He planted large fields of grain and had a big garden. He made lots of honey, processed plenty of meat and milk from his farm animals, bagged wild game from his forests and fish from his streams.
The home of Stephen and Rebecca became a mecca for friends, relatives, and some who just had no other place to go. People from miles around came to share its bounty, and to bask in its warmth and hospitality. It was a common sight for a string of loaded wagons to come rolling down the hill for a weekend rendezvous at Stephen's.
Monroe Bumgarner, grandson of Stephen, lived beside him as a boy, and remembered him well. In recalling some of his experiences, he said Grandaddy Stephen was a "powerful story teller," and would spin his yarns for a half a day at a time if anyone would listen. He would begin, "If you could see all that I've ketched, killed and found in my lifetime..." And he would be off, telling about "That 'ar buck I killed," or some other adventure.
About one of his bucks, Stephen would say, "I shot him, and then I threw him over a log, and he kicked me." He carried the buck down the hill and got as far as the creek before he stopped to rest. After he had laid it down he was too winded to pick it up again, and had to call Rebecca and some of the children to help him get it across the creek and up to the house.
Once Stephen took some lumber to be dressed, and some corn to be ground, to John Lin Whittington's mill. He waited for the work to be finished, then loaded the lumber on one shoulder and had someone put the bag of meal on the other. Telling about it later, he would say, "And so help me, if my feet didn't sink up to my ankles in solid rock on the way home."
A great-grandson, Spencer Bumgarner, remembered another tall tale. Stephen said he cleared an acre of new ground, fenced it in, and sowed it in turnips. Only one turnip came up, right in the middle of the patch. It grew until it was so big it "busted the fence all the way around."
There is evidence that Stephen was earnest in his desire to do right, and was humble enough to accept the counsel of his ecclesiastical friends. It was a family custom at the beginning of a meal, for Stephen to pass around a dram glass of whisky, so that each person at the table could take a sip. But that practice ended abruptly after a visit in the home by a minister who told Stephen that it was a sin to drink strong drink. Stephen never again passed the whisky around. His conviction and his consequent example bore fruit, at least among some of his children. Millard wrote that no liquor was ever used in any home he lived in. Those included that home of his father George, and the homes of both his grandfathers, John Wilburn Nichols and Rev. James Linville Bumgarner. In a letter to Stephen from Rev. Ned J. Bird, written 3 Jan 1870, Rev. Bird cautions, "Try to be faithful in serving God, be careful not to get angry, pray as much as you can, read that Bible of yours often, live for God & meet me in heaven."
Stephen acquired several hundred acres of land, some purchased from individuals, and some by grant from the state. Several of his transactions are recorded in the deed books at the Wilkes courthouse, but probably the most interesting ones are those not on the books. (When asked why they were not recorded, Monroe said, "Sometimes they just had to do things that way.")
The lands on record as belonging to Stephen lie along the Reddies River, Maiden Cane Creek and Buck Branch. He also owned land in the Suncrest Orchard area.
Stephen was not a speculator, but two recorded transactions indicate that he was, at least, pretty shrewd. In 1831, when he was twenty years old, he paid ten cents per acre for a grant of fifty acres. In 1839, just eight years later, he sold it for $150.00, fifteen hundred times its purchase price.
There is also on record the purchase of a tract of one hundred acres from Samuel Kelly (or Kilby) and John Wright for $24.00. What the record doesn't show is that land was sold at auction. On the day of the sale it was raining and there was no crowd. The three auctioneers came, and in order to sell the property they had to get out and recruit builders. They found one - Grandaddy Stephen - against his protest that he had no money to buy land with. They told him they would see that he got money if he would just bid. True to their word, they gave him a way to make the money. Shingles were needed for the new Episcopal Church in Wilkesboro, and Stephen made them. Tradition says the roof lasted fifty years.
Stephen and Rebecca had ten children, of whom seven married and had families. Of those receiving land from him, Monroe said that Stephen deeded it to them in such a way that they could not sell it during his lifetime without his signature. Because of that provision, Monroe concluded, some had homes who otherwise would have been homeless. Four sons and one daughter lived out their days on land they inherited from their father.
Stephen outlived his wife and four of his children. He lived to see 40 grandchildren and 79 great-grandchildren born. He died at home and was buried beside Rebecca in the cemetery named for him. That site was chosen, in 1955, for a family reunion, and yearly thereafter, on the first Sunday in October, the clan has gathered to enjoy good food and great fellowship. A very few times the weather has prevented an outdoor meeting, and at those times the reunion was held in the fellowship hall of the Millers Creek United Methodist Church."
||Stephen Bumgarner Family Cemetery, Millers Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA 
||29 Aug 2023 |
||Rebecca Nichols, b. 17 Apr 1811, , Millers Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA d. 30 Oct 1887, , Millers Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA (Age 76 years) |
||6 Jan 1831
||, , Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA [15, 16, 17, 18]
- Bride: Rebecca Nicholds
Groom: Stephen Bumgarner
Bond Date: 05 Jan 1831
Record #: 01 036
Bondsman: Joseph Nichols
Witness: T S Bouchell
Bond #: 000164374
|+||1. Rev. James Linville Bumgarner, Sr., b. 7 Oct 1832, , Fishdam Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA d. 12 Apr 1921, , Millers Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA (Age 88 years)|
| ||2. Simeon Nelson Bumgarner, b. 9 Jun 1836, , , Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA d. Yes, date unknown [Father: natural]|
| ||3. Nancy Caroline Bumgarner, b. 30 Jun 1839, , , Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA d. Yes, date unknown [Father: natural]|
|+||4. Lydia "Matilda" Bumgarner, b. 11 Dec 1841, , , Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA d. 30 Apr 1924 (Age 82 years) [Father: natural]|
| ||5. Wesley Levi Bumgarner, b. 26 Mar 1844, , , Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA d. Yes, date unknown [Father: natural]|
|+||6. Stephen Alexander Bumgarner, b. 23 Apr 1846, , , Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA d. 14 Feb 1925, , Millers Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA (Age 78 years) [Father: natural]|
|+||7. Absalom Robert Bumgarner, b. 18 May 1848, , , Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA d. 19 Feb 1918 (Age 69 years) [Father: natural]|
| ||8. Fanny Rebecca Bumgarner, b. 4 Oct 1850, , Millers Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA d. 8 Sep 1863, , Millers Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA (Age 12 years) [Father: natural]|
|+||9. William Amon Bumgarner, b. 25 Aug 1853, , Millers Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA d. 22 Aug 1934, , Millers Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA (Age 80 years)|
|+||10. Andrew Jackson Bumgarner, b. 15 Dec 1855, , , , North Carolina, USA d. 18 May 1901, , Millers Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA (Age 45 years) [Father: natural]|
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||13 Feb 2011 |