James W Stamper

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This page is part of the Genealogy Research being done by Samuel Antonio Minter. It represents the best information I have at this time on this individual. This site is a Wiki open to be edited by anyone. If you see errors, or have additional relevant information, feel free to update this page. If you are not comfortable editing the page directly, please email me with the information at abulsme@abulsme.com. Thank you!


  • Date: 10 Jun 1799
  • Location: Cherokee, Swain Co, North Carolina, USA

Immediate Ancestors

Immediate Descendants

With Sarah Stamper

  • George Washington Stamper
  • Silvia "Silvey" Stamper (b 2 Aug 1822 in Floyd Co, Kentucky)
  • Martha Patsy Stamper (b 1825 in Letcher Co, Kentucky)
  • Cynthia Stamper (b 1826 in Kentucky)
  • Andrew Jackson Stamper (b 10 Jul 1827 in Kentucky River)
  • Permelia "Pamelia" Stamper (b ~1828 in Lewis Co, Kentucky)
  • Marion Stamper (b 1830)
  • Thomas Jefferson Stamper (b 17 Jun 1832 in Carter Co, Kentucky)
  • Nancy Jane Munford Stamper (b 17 Jan 1834 in Carter Co, Kentucky)
  • Washington Stamper (b 13 Jan 1837 in Kentucky)
  • William Stamper (b ~1839 in Carter Co, Kentucky; m Nancy Penland; m Sarah ???, m Cynthia ???; d 1906 Carter Co KY)
  • Joanna "Hannah" Stamper (b ~1844)

Places Lived

  • Carter Co, Kentucky (1850, 1860, 1870 Censuses)


  • R Stillwell
  • Sarah Stamper (married 8 Jun 1820 in Floyd Co, Kentucky)


  • Date: 1894
  • Location: Carter Co, Kentucky, USA
  • Burial: Bethel Church Cemetery, Carter Co, Kentucky, USA

Biographical Information

  • John seemed to have been a counterfeiter of coins, making silver coins out of pewter. He therefore had the nickname of "pewter john".
  • He also had a second nickname of "Cherokee John"
  • Also sometimes called "Pewter Jim"
  • According to the 1860 Federal Census for Carter Co, John owned real property valued at $150.00 and personal property valued at $500.00.
  • He had several alias's including James Stamper, James Reser, and James Stilwell. He may have also been known as James Reeves.
  • "John Stamper... was born, reared and married in North Carolina and in the early '20s he emigrated to Kentucky, locating on the Kentucky river in Wolfe county, where he engaged in farming. He and his wife, whose maiden name was Sallie Stamper, and who was a cousin of her husband, raised a family of ten children, most of whom were born in Kentucky." (from the biography of his grandson George Washington Stamper Jr in the kygenweb source listed below)
  • From Rootsweb "kycarter"
    • James W. Stamper was born December 5,1800, Cherokee or Swain County, N.C. He was born about 1799, according to an Ashland Independent Newspaper dated June 22, 1882, that lists John's death at age 83, at the home of his son-in-law, Ezekiel McGlone, Buffalo Valley, Carter County, Kentucky. He married under John Stamper June 8,1820, Floyd County, Kentucky, to Sarah Stamper "Sallie". As John Stamper, he was age 50 and 60 in the 1850 and 1860 Carter County Kentucky Census.
    • Cleo Ruthard Woodrow Stamper stated John's birth name was James W. Stamper and James himself took the name "John". This same John was also known as "Pewter John Reeves Stamper". John was a farmer from Ashe or Cherokee County, North Carolina. The 1860 Lewis County Kentucky Census on James W.'s son, George, carries additional information stating George was the grandson of Richard and Martha Carter Stamper. Some Stamper genealogy do lists a James W. Stamper as the son of Richard Stamper. However, some published genealogy records carry James W.(John Stamper) as a half-Cherokee Indian reportedly father by a Cherokee Indian and a Reeves Women, either Agnes Reeves or Agnes' sister. Cleo Ruthard Woodrow Stamper, verbally referred to John as half - Cherokee Indian and stated that John also used aliases of Reeves, Reed and Stillwell. A notarized affidavit by Vernon J. Mead in December 1883, also shows John as a son of a Cherokee Indian. Prior to locating in Kentucky, John's history is sketchy and questionable as many documented facts from various sources are in conflict. For example it has been stated in print that John was born in either February, September or December, 1800, in Ashe, Swain or Cherokee County.
    • From North Carolina, John relocated to Carter County, Kentucky, sometime prior to June 1820, the year his marriage license and marriage bond were recorded in Floyd County, Kentucky, under John Stamper in Book 1, page 127 and Book 1820-2, page 24, respectfully. He married June 8, 1820, to Sarah Stamper, reportedly his first cousin. At least eleven children were born to this union. John and Sarah, both age 50, are listed in the 1850 Carter County, Kentucky Census with six of their children and in the 1860 census with three of their children. John, age 71 and Sarah, age 70 are living with their son, William Stamper, in the 1870 Carter County, Kentucky Census. John is buried Bethel Cemetery, Olive Hill, Carter County, Kentucky, but his monument is unreadable. Sources: Census, Marriage Certificate & various articles
  • In a court suit with George Penland as early as 1845



  • It is speculated that the statements from Mary Alice Stamper about being part Cherokee originate with on of John Stampers parents. Some sources specifically say that his mother was not Martha Patsy Carter but rather Joanna Stamper, and his father was a Cherokee Indian. I have gone with the parents listed above as there seems to be more information. However Pewter John's parentage is a point of controversy. (See further note below.) Traditionally my branch of the family has always gone with the Joanna Stamper and Cherokee Indian story, based on currently living relatives who heard Mary Alice Stamper directly insist on the fact that she was part Cherokee. I may yet revert to this depending on what else I dig up.
  • Some sources give birth in 1800. I will go with the stampers.org date of 1799.
  • Stampers.org gives a birthplace of Wilkes Co rather than Swain Co. I will go with the location given elsewhere of Cherokee, Swain Co, cause I have a nagging suspicion that his place of birth might be the source of the family tradition about a Cherokee origin. Just a hunch, no proof, but I could see "I'm from Cherokee" being misinterpreted...
  • More on The Parentage question from stampers.org:
    • This John Stamper's parentage is a bit uncertain.
      • A story among his descendants is that he and his wife Sarah were cousins. This is probably true, but we do not know for certain whether they were first cousins.
      • One story relates that John was the offspring of one of William Stamper's sisters, possibly the one named Joanna. It is worth noting here that John himself apparently had a daughter named Joanna. A Joanna Stamper lived in the Ashe Co., NC/Grayson Co., VA area, and many Stamper researchers believe she was the sister of William and Thomas Moore Stamper. She married a Perkins. The 1790 census of Randolph Co., NC shows a "Jammez" Stamper with two sons and several daughters, so apparently James and Sarah Moore Stamper did have several female children.
      • Some descendants of John also claim that a family tradition states that he was fathered by an Indian.
      • Additionally, some researchers say his full name was John Reeves Stamper.
      • A good case has also been made that John was the son of Richard Stamper and wife Martha "Patsy" Carter (see elsewhere in this volume).
    • No real proof exists either way to the knowledge of the compilers of this volume.
  • If John's mother is Joanna Stamper, daughter of James Stamper and Sarah Moore, then his wife Sarah Stamper would be his first cousin rather than his second cousin as the Richard Stamper and Martha Patsy Carter parentage would indicate.
  • The Pirates source gives a birth location of Surry Co, NC. I credit this less though, as that is where it says his Grandfather Joel lived, but the same source gives the Grandfather as Joshua, and the note about Joel is not repeated on that page.
  • I have however added the first wife listed by the Pirates source, although I have not seen her mentioned elsewhere
  • Some of the locations of birth of the children also differ in the Pirate source. For the moment I am not giving them credence over the other sources.
  • About the other potential mother:
    • Johannah Stamper "Hannah" was born November 5, 1781, Ashe County, N.C. Johannah married in 1861, to Gordon Perkins, son of Timothy and Miriam Sperry Perkins. Johannah died in July 1861, poss. Ashe Co., N.C.. Remark: James A. Stamper of Dwarf, Ky. believes this Johanna may be the mother of Pewter Johyn Stamper before her marriage to Gordon Perkins.
    • Note, marriage date above, from the kycarter source, must be wrong because A) Johanna would already be 80, and B) Her first child with Gordon was born in 1804.
  • Based on the kycarter source which seems to be the most complete I can find so far, I will file this as James W Stamper rather than John Reeves Stamper. More than anything else it looks like James, a less than reputable person, when he moved to Kentucky decided to take on a new name and identity and at that time started going by John instead of James (as well as a few other aliases it seems) and may well have made up the half-Cherokee story as well. This is all complete speculation of course, with no evidence. But the fact that there is a document on his son GW listing Richard as GW's grandfather and the fact that all the Cherokee stories seem to originate later seem to indicate against that being real. Sarah being refered to as his FIRST cousin rather than his second though would lead toward the conclusion of Richard NOT being James W's father... or someone just assuming "cousin" meant first cousin somewhere along the line. Also possible of course that Richard and Martha were adopted parents who took him in when the out of wedlock birth to a Cherokee father and a differnt Stamper mother occured. I'm going to continue to go with the Richard and Martha parentage, although CLEARLY this is a controversy where the truth will probably never be known.
  • Sarah Stamper was also known as "Sallie".
  • I'm actually liking that adoption line more and more, cause it would bring all the contradictory reports together. His REAL parents were Johanna (who was only a teenager at the time) and the Cherokee... but he was brought up by Richard and Martha. The out of wedlock birth would at that time surely not have been looked upon highly, and it seems Johanna did not marry until she was quite old. This would also make him biologically first cousins with Sarah but second cousins through the adopted family. Again though, all complete and total speculation. Absolutely ZERO to back that up.
  • The Rommel source gives parents as James Stamper and Sarah Moore... yet another possibility.
  • Another source of course says "John's wife Sarah was his second cousin. John's paternal grandfather, Joel Stamper and Sarah's paternal grandfather, Richard Stamper, were brothers; both the sons of Johnathan Brooks Stamper and Rachel Parks. A similar incestuous relationship was found in the descendents of their son, G.W. Stamper." which goes back to the second rather than first cousin idea.
  • Note: I will defer making a semipermanent judgement on which parentage theory I will use here until I get to this page "in order" as I systematically go though my ancestry in ahnentafel order. That may yet be quite awhile. In the meantime, I leave here in the notes all the various theories.
  • From Bevwatson on 2012 Feb 23: "I have another new theory for consideration regarding the parentage of James W. or John Reeves Stamper - The DNA of a descendant of James/John and Sarah Stamper matches the DNA of the Reeves family of Grayson VA, Ashe NC and Wake NC. The kinship is as close as proven 3rd cousins in the Reeves' family. I have seen the speculation that he was an indian and adopted by the Stamper family which might be true for his mother, but his father appears to have definitely been a Reeves' male probably in the Ashe County NC community."