Thursday, January 1, 2015

Homer Meets Mary

Homer Wilson Stewart 03/02/1871 - 12/18/1953 (82)
Father:  Fortune Stewart ~1808 - 08/01/1888 (80)
Mother:  Rebecca Payne 11/1838 - 07/04/1910 (85?)

Homer started as a farm laborer in rural Grant County West Vriginia.  He later became a tenant farmer, providing a home and loaned farm for his family.  He was known for his work ethic and his hardy laugh.

Mary Elizabeth Smith 10/13/1877 - 06/11/1950 (73)
Father:  unknown (possibly Solomon Peterson)
Mother:  Celia Smith 04/23/1853 - 06/06/1903 (50)

Mary was a housekeeper and an excellent cook.  It was while she was working in the home of Daniel and Margaret Belle Babb that she met Homer Stewart.

Homer W Stewart and Mary E Smith were married on 04/12/1909 by Rev. J. T. Reed in Hardy County West Virginia.  Homer and Mary had eight children:

Wilson Alfred Stewart (10/07/1909 - 12/14/1992) farmer (sheep breeder); avid reader
Charles Edward Stewart (12/03/1910 - 12/03/1910 perished in delivery)
Pearl Daniel Stewart (12/11/1911 - 11/10/1999) coal miner; quilting was his hobby
Homer Ernest Stewart (09/04/1913 - 12/1984) grocer; avid hunter
Kendall Smith Stewart (08/18/1915 - 12/31/1979) (US Army WWII) local store, farmer
Brownley Thornton Stewart (04/07/1917 - 01/06/2011) (US Army WWII) carpenter/general contractor
Stanley William Stewart (05/13/1919 - 12/23/2003) (TEC 5 US Army WWII) logger, construction, farmer (horses); hunter, motorcyclist
Mary Elizabeth Payne "Sipper" Stewart (08/23/1921 - 12/30/1937...only 16 years old) 

The family experienced the tragic loss of the youngest child Sipper in 1937.  As you can imagine being the youngest and only girl she was very loved and spoiled by the rest of the family.  At the tender age of sixteen she died of lung cancer.  No one seems to know how that could happen, but it was detected late and progressed quickly.

Then the family was called upon to address yet another challenge.  Three of the sons served in World War II.  Kendall served in Australia, Brownley went to England, and Stanley was sent to the Philippines. There was no other family in the county who made such a sacrifice; even the other families noted the significant contribution.  All three returned home not too much for wear:  Kendall had suffered from malaria, Brownley had broken his leg, and Stanley was an escaped prisoner of war.


  1. Wonderful photos. Especially like the one at the end with the mountains. It's very sad that they lost their daughter like that. And the three boys, despite being "none the worse for wear" had quite the challenges while serving, none the less.

    1. Thanks. I am glad we have the pictures. I didn't have a chance to know my grand parents. My grandmother died before I was born and my grandfather passes when I was just one. But I did have the honor of getting to know my unique uncles.

  2. Amazing story! I know about that sacrifice in the Military. They were some hardworking folks who had hard times and survived. I won't look at West Virginia the same!

    1. I grew up with hardworking West Virginians as my role models; especially my family and the very small, but tight-knit, black community.

  3. I really enjoyed your post. I can't image what it was like for them to lose their child then send three off to war It was a blessing that all three of your uncles returned from the war. Your photos are amazing. I look forward to reading more about your family.

    1. The war did offer them opportunities they might not have had. They returned, took care of their parents, started families, and became very productive citizens in their community. I'm proud to have known and learned from them.

  4. Definitely a model mother, even though her biological mother gave her up at birth.