The John Stepp Sr. Line
John Stepp Sr. is first found in the Campbell County, Virginia area. He and wife, Martha sold 120 acres to Vincent Glass for £40, dated October 6, 1783. The land lay on both sides of the South Fork of Beaver Creek. This deed was signed by both John and his wife, Martha. From land records, marriage documents, and other records, we can infer that John Sr and wife Martha had at least 5 children. They were: Stephen, Solomon, John Jr., Elizabeth, and Peggy. Since they couldn’t have passed down the Stapp surname no research has been done on the two girls, past their marriage records in Campbell Co, VA and Greene Co, GA.
John Stepp Sr. executed a deed to his son, Solomon, March 27, 1795, for "all and singular my goods and chattels now being in my present dwelling house and in my possession, viz: one horse, two colts, five head of sheep, seven head of cattle, four feather beds..." It is here in Campbell County, Virginia that Solomon married Mourning Wynne, December 30, 1794.
Apparently John Sr. and family moved to Greene County, Georgia before 1785, which can be observed from a newspaper article:
THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, SATURDAY, JULY 12, 1795, PAGE 3, COLUMN 3
Ten Pounds Reward
State of Georgia }
Personally came before me, Isaac Stocks, and made oath that on the sixth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, near Wrightsborough, a certain John Stepp stole out of his waggon (sic) about two hundred dollars, together with several papers and orders, the property of several of the citizens of Greene County, and of the said deponent. ISAAC STOCKS
Sworn to before me this 8th day of July 1795.} JOHN WILSON, J.P.
The “certain John Stepp” of this article was probably John Jr., simply because of the age of John Sr. and consideration of the youthful deviance that Jr. would have had. There in Greene County, Georgia the Stapps enveloped themselves in land deals.
Deed Book CC, Page 414
John Stepp of Campbell County, Georgia, on 27 March 1790, for love good will and affection toward my son, Solomon Stepp of Greene County, all my goods and chattels now being in my present dwelling house, plus livestock, absolutely without any manner of condition. Witness: Robert Armisted. Recorded 22 May 1810. It is this deed to his son Solomon that we can prove that the John Stepp of Greene County is the same as the above John of Campbell County, Virginia.
On the 31st of October 1825, John Stepp Sr.’s will was executed: To wife, Martha Stepp, plantation whereon I now live and also lend to her household and kitchen furniture, plantation tools, livestock, and for support of her during her natural lifetime. After her death all to my son Stephen Stepp and his heirs forever. Appoint Robert Booth and Stephen Stepp executors. Witnesses: William H Price, James Bledsoe and Robert Booth. Recorded 1 May 1826. Ebenezer Torrence, Clerk.
It can be concluded that the reason that Stephen inherited the majority of his father’s wealth, was due to both of his brothers, Solomon and John Jr. both moving away from Greene and Oglethorpe Counties before 1810. That information can be found from land records of Morgan County, Georgia. The last record that can be found on Stephen is his 1825 marriage to Sarah Curry in Greene County, Georgia.
Solomon bought a considerable amount of land in Morgan County, and it is here that lived for the rest of his life. He and wife did have children, but right now is not known how many children or their names. The three sons that are known are mentioned in Mourning’s 1853 will, “I will unto my grandchildren, the orphans of Thos Stapp...” and “…by my consent to my sons Jones W Stapp & John Stapp.”
It is my belief that the present day Morgan County, Georgia Stapps are the descendants of Solomon and Mourning Stapp’s sons, Thomas (who was deceased in Mourning’s will) and Jones Wynne Stapp and his wife Delilah Rush. As far as the children of Thomas Stapp, noted in the will, Solomon John Stapp, Henry J Stapp, and Thomas W.J. Stapp, are likely candidates. All three served in Company I, 44th Georgia Infantry, CSA. But their parentage has not yet been proven. These 3 Stapps could also have been the eldest sons of Jones Wynne and Delilah Rush Stapp.
They probably aren’t the sons of the John Stapp, listed Mourning’s will, because that John is probably John T. Stapp who later moved to Campbell County, Georgia. A land record, dated September 21, 1835 puts John T Stapp of Morgan County, Georgia, buying land in Campbell County, Georgia. That in itself has proven a dead-end. We now know that the John T. Stapp of Campbell County and later of Talladega County, Alabama is of the Morgan County Stapp clan. Whether or not he is the same as the John listed in Mourning’s will has not been proven, and will be soon looked into…but the good thing is that we still know that John T came from Morgan County.
And John T. Stapp’s line has had its fair share of troublemaking too! John T’s son, Milton Cook Stapp was put into the Georgia Penitentiary for “assault to kill” in 1850. Like many of his other cousins, Milton also moved to Texas and lived there the rest of his life.
After the few land records of John Jr. and Solomon (sons of John Sr.) as noted above, John Jr. seems to have disappeared all together from Georgia. It is now been uncovered that he moved to Hardin County, Tennessee, and there he and wife, Genny “Jane” Diggins/Dickens has sons, John David Stapp and Solomon Stapp. John Jr. seems to have picked up the nickname of Jack there because his descendants know of him by that name. And it is in Tennessee that John Jr. “Jack” must have died because his wife Jane appears as head of household in the 1830 census of Hardin County.
In 1839, John David and Solomon appear in multiple newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi for the murder of John Fraley, near Wolf’s Ferry. A description of each is included:
MISSISSIPPI INTELLIGENCER (Pontotoc, Mississippi)
$1000 Reward will be paid by the undersigned for the apprehension of John Step and Solomon Step, who murdered Martin Fraley, Sen’r. on the 8th October near Wolf’s Ferry in Hardin County, Tenn. John Step is about 26 years of age, five feet eight or nine inches high, dark complexion, dark eyes, black hair inclined to curl, and very low forehead. Solomon Step is about 23 or 24 years of age, 5 feet 11 inches high, stout build, a little inclined to be stoop-shouldered, dark complexion, dark eyes, dark hair inclined to curl, and very high cheek bones. The Steps formerly resided in Cherokee Country, Georgia. Signed: Sally Fraley, Henderson G. Fraley, Jackson Fraley, Samuel Lenox.
In another newspaper, a separate article states “…it is thought they will either make their way back to Georgia or strike for Texas.” And apparently they did; the next time we find John and Solomon, they appear in the 1846 and 1850 censuses of Angelina County, Texas.
I can verify all this information with documentation...and if there are any doubters, please email me and I will be more than willing to submit the evidence to you.
David Alan Stapp