John Stiles
By Richard Wilt

      John Stiles is my great, great grandfather and is the subject of this narrative. He was born in Monongalia County in Virginia, now the area of West Virginia. His father was Stephen Stiles and his mother was Mary A. Wise. He grew up on his father's farm located near and just to the east of Wana, West Virginia.

      John was the fourth child of nine children. Their births extend over nearly 30 years. His older brother Levi C. Stiles was born in 1817 when his mother was only 16 yeas old. The youngest in the family was also named Levi C. Stiles and was born in 1846 when his mother was 45 years old. It is unknown just what name the "C" represented in the middle name of the two brothers. Mary's parents were George Wise and Jane King. John married Sarah Anne Park were married near the mid of the 1800s since there first child, John Wesley Stiles (my great grandfather) was born on November 20, 1853. When John and Sarah were married his father deeded land which was located in Marion County, VA (WV) near the area of Metz, WV. This land was deeded to John by quit deed but John did not place the land in his name which was the case during that time when receiving land passed from father to son. His father, Stephen, then deeded most of his holdings in Monongalia County to his other children thus dividing up most of the land that he had gotten from his father, William Stiles. William had passed on his property in Monongailia County to all if his seven children. Most of William's descendants remained in the north western part of West Virginia.

      After his marriage John built a small log house on the Left Fork of Campbell's run off Pikes Fork about 2 miles north of Metz, West Virginia. Here, John and Sarah prospered and had seven children: John Wesley, Mary Elizabeth, Rachel, Henrietta, Phoebe, Suzzie and Stephen Nelson. It appears that the Civil War was taking a toll on John and his in-laws because in 1864 just after the youngest child was born on July 22, 1864, John sold, by quit deed, a large portion of his holdings in Marion County and decided to take his family west. John, Sarah, James, and Rachel Park took the train and moved to the area of Seymour, Iowa. It is noted that they were all still in West Virginia in November because Stephen Nelson is listed in his obituary as being born in Fairview, West Virginia.

      They must have arrived in Iowa prior to October 29, 1864 listed as the date of death for Sarah. John's wife. Since the youngest was very small, Stephen Nelson Stiles, was given in Iowa to his grandfather, James Park and his grandmother, Rachel Darrah Park. John returned to West Virginia soon because he remarried on May 4, 1865 to a widow, Anna McCoy Moore. Anna had two children under the age of 10 and her husband had died. Martin VanBuren Moore had enlisted in the Union Army in December 1862 and was captured on January 4, 1864 and died in Andersonville Prison in March of 1864. James and Rachel with Stephen Nelson Stiles returned to West Virginia because they appear in the 1870 census living in Monongalia County, WV.

      After returning to Marion County the marriage was arrange either by family or friends between John and Anna. John and Anna had four children, making that 13 children, a fairly large family. They all lived on a 100 acre farm where all of the children grew to be prosperous and productive adults.

      The only child still at home when John passed away was he and Anna's youngest son, Melvin born in 1873. Melvin was mentally challenged and only lived to be 36 years old. Everything run smoothly for John and his family until his father passed away in 1880. Stephen had been living with his youngest son, Levi C. Stiles just east of Wana near Wadestown, West Virginia when he wrote his last will and testament.

The following is:
The last Will and Testament of Stephen Stiles of Battilles District Monongalia County, WVa.
I Stephen Stiles considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound mind and memory do make this my last will and testament in manner following, to wit:
First, I give and bequeath unto my son Levi Stiles the sum of five Dollars to be paid out of my personal property.
2nd I will to Levi C. Stiles and his Son John L. Stiles after my funeral charges are paid what personal estate remains on hand together with my real estate and Bonds making it compulsory on the said Levi C. Stiles, and his son John L. to take good care of myself as long as I shall live: hereunto set my hand seal in the presence of the describing witnesses this the 10th day of July 1879.

Stephen died prior to November 18, 1880 which was the date of probate.

      From this will the younger Levi C. Stiles found that his brother John had not registered the quit deeds for land in Marion County which had been passed to John, so Levi was making claim to all the land. This caused concern placing all of the land in Marion County which now was in the name of other parties so John had to go to court proving his ownership of said land. This placed in jeopardy, the small town of Metz since John had sold land to the Metz brothers who settled the small village of Metz.

Law Suit by John Stiles and his sister Elizabeth Moore
Since a deed was not recorded when Stephen transferred the property in Marion County to his children, John and Elizabeth, a suit was brought in Chancery Court of Marion County with John and Elizabeth as Plaintiffs naming all the brothers and sisters and spouses as defendants registered in Chancery Order Book of 1882-1885 Pages 107-109 dated 17 July 1883. A gist follows of the proceedings:

Defendant Heirs listed are:
Levi Stiles, Isaac Stiles, John Stiles, Louise Tuttle and William Tuttle her husband, James A. Park, Lewis Cross, Ezra Cross, Stephen Cross, Stephen Tuttle, Casandra Simpson and husband, Daniel Tuttle, Brice Tuttle, Mary Ann Miller and husband, Levi C. Stiles, Clarence L. Smith appointed guardian for John L. Stiles, infant.

By deed with Special Warrant to the complainant, Elizabeth Moore 70 acres of land on Pyles Fork of Buffalo Creek all rights and title interest and estate which the infant John L. Stiles has right, commissioners appointed by the Court where John W. McCoy and James Morrow Jr. (Deed recorded Marion County on 26 June 1889 Deed Book 22 pages 213/214.

Also John Stiles was deeded by commissioner appointed by the court, John W. McCoy 140 acres belonging to Stephen Stiles, deceased, in suit with Heirs in law. One Hundred and forty acres located on Pyles Fork of Buffalo Creek in Marion County bought from Isaac Horner on Jun 5, 1867, Deeded 26 June 1889 to John Stiles, Marion Count Deed Book 22 page 213/214

Before John died he passed on his holding in the property on Stiles Run to his son, Melvin D. Stiles, and his two daughters, Eunice Stiles Sturm and Harriet Stiles Jones with the stipulation that they would have to care for Melvin and could not dispose of the property until after Melvin's death. Soon after John passed away in 1899 Eunice and Harriet went to court in Marion County and had Melvin declared incompetent and Eunice was appointed his guardian. Harriet transferred her share of the property to Eunice giving them both clear deeds to over 100 acres. Melvin did live with his sister, Eunice until his death in 1909. After John's death Anna moved in with her daughter Harriet and her husband Joseph Jones.

1920 census Mannington District Marion County
30 January 1920 by Homer N. Campbell
Joseph Jones Head of household age 50
Harriet Jones wife age 48
Anna Styles mother in law age 78

Buried in the Stiles Cemetery are:
John Stiles 1829 - 1899
Anna Stiles 1841 - 1931
John Wesley Stiles 1853 - 1883
Eunice Stiles Sturm 1866 - 1834
James Sturm 1864 - 1929
Melvin Delmount Stiles 1873 - 1909

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