House of James
James R. Stewart was the fourth surviving son of Walter Stewart, Sr., founder of the Walter Stewart Family, and his first wife, Mary Ross. He was born about 1795 in the Bethany community in Laurens County, SC. His mother died when he was a child.
James was one of the two "Georgia" brothers among the seven Stewart sons. (The other was his younger half-brother, 7 David Bobo Stewart.) Our information about him comes from several different sources, and not all of it meshes neatly when put together. However, the account below appears to be an at least plausible summary of the available information.
James left the Bethany community as a young man, joining the group of families who set out in 1824 for newly opened land in Gwinnett County, Georgia, some 40 miles north of the trading post that later became Atlanta. Also in the group was James' father, who took with him his second wife Isabel Bobo and their two young sons, 6 Clark Berry Stewart and 7 David Bobo Stewart. Other members of the Bobo family appear to have been in the group as well.
Family tradition says that James took a wife with him to Georgia. According to the best available information, she was 16-year-old Scynthia Bobo, a young niece of his stepmother, Isabel Bobo Stewart. The name of her parents is not known.
Walter Stewart, Sr. settled in northwest Gwinnett County, near the present town of Duluth, Georgia. James appears to have settled some 20 miles away in east Gwinnett County, at the headwaters of the Alcovy River near Hog Mountain. (The name comes from the Cherokee word for the opossum, or "woods hog," hunted in the area - later shortened to "Hog" Mountain.) In 1982, the Hog Mountain community is found about eight miles northeast of Lawrenceville on Highway 124.
It was probably at Hog Mountain that most of James and Scynthia's 13 children were born. James' half-brother, 6 Clark Berry Stewart, notes in his journal that he visited them here from time to time until his mother's death about 1843. The last child in the family, little James, was born about 1849.
According to 1850 Georgia Census records, James and his family lived at that time in Forsyth County, just north of Gwinnett County. They were close neighbors of a Tilmon (Tillman?) B. Bobo, age 60, and his wife Catharine. They appear to have moved again after 1850, about 40 miles west to Cass County (later Bartow County), where James' younger half-brother David had lived some years earlier. One account says they lived on the "Altoona" (probably Allatoona) River. Here, according to an old letter in the family records, James and four of the children died within a few days of each other in June 1853. The children who died ranged in age from five to 17, with two of them buried in the same grave. Tradition says they died of the flu.
From the bits and pieces of information available, it appears likely that James' widow Scynthia and two or three of her remaining nine children joined her Bobo parents after this tragedy. She may have gone to old Campbell County (later Douglas County) about 15 miles west of Atlanta. She died in 1858 at about age 50, when her youngest child was nine years old, and is said to be buried in the same place as several other Bobo relatives, including her father (exact location uncertain, but she had a brother living in Campbell County). An old story in the family says that James' two oldest children (41 Catherine and 42 Walter) were taken to Campbell County and reared by their Bobo grandfather. This story appears a bit unlikely, since the two children were married and had babies of their own at the time. However, 42 Walter enlisted for Civil War service from Campbell County a few years later, and apparently had been living there for some time before he enlisted. There is some evidence that one or two of his sisters lived nearby also.
Several of James' daughters may have been married at the time of his death. Four of them (43 Emaline, 45 Sarah, 46 Nancy, and 49 Linia) appear to have married men who enlisted for Civil War service from Cherokee County, just east of Cass County where James and his children died. In the years after the Civil War, most of the daughters appear to have settled in Atlanta. As a group they do not appear to have had many children, and not much is known of their descendants.
The fate of baby James Stewart, about four years old when his father died, is uncertain. By one account, he was still alive and well in 1876, at about age 27, but we have no further record of him.
According to later descendants, little James' oldest brother 42 Walter Washington Stewart was the only surviving son in the family. After many thrilling adventures during the Fall of Atlanta in the Civil War, he and his family eventually settled in northeast Alabama, from where the children and grandchildren spread to Texas, Oklahoma, and elsewhere. Most of the known descendants in the House of James are descended from 42 Walter and his two wives.
An old letter in the family records supplies some of the oldest information we have on James R. Stewart and his family. The letter was written to 6 Rev. Clark Berry Stewart of Fountain Inn, SC by John S. Bobo of Douglasville, Georgia (Douglas County, part of which was Campbell County until 1870). John S. Bobo (name of parents not known) is thought to be a grandson of Nancy Berry and Francis Spencer Bobo, Jr. and Clark's first cousin. He also appears to be a brother of Scynthia Bobo, James Stewart's wife. Excerpts from the letter are shown below. (For an earlier letter by J.S. Bobo, see 111 John Pinckney McKelvey.)
NOTE: 4 James Stewart's wife is listed as Scynthia Bobo. The source of this information is (1) J.S. Bobo's letter above, and (2) 1850 Census records for Forsyth County, Georgia - also the source of information for James' children listed by initials and last name only.
The earliest records of the Stewart family, compiled in 1901 by 61 Wistar Stewart, give Lida Bobo as the name of James Stewart's wife (see Introduction, page 9). The original source of this information is not known. It is not likely that either Wistar or his cousin 31 Squire Bill Stewart had any first-hand knowledge of 4 James Stewart's wife - or possibly wives. James moved to Georgia with his father before Wistar and Squire Bill were born, and we have no indication that he ever returned to South Carolina.
The Bobo family history, Bobo Cousins by the Dozen, also lists Lida Bobo as the wife of James Stewart. This Lida Bobo, born in 1774, is said to be a daughter of Nancy Berry and Francis Spencer Bobo, Jr. and a younger sister of Isabel Bobo, wife of Walter Stewart, Sr. The information on the two sisters' husbands appears to have come from 683 Maude Stewart Buford, Wistar's niece and one of the early historians of the Walter Stewart family. Maude's information, in turn, was almost certainly derived from Wistar's original data.
The Lida Bobo of the Bobo family records (the only source of information on the date of her birth) was said to be born in 1774. She would have been about 53 years old on January 11, 1827, when the first of James Stewart's thirteen children was born. James himself was about 32 years old at the time. Because of the manifest difficulties presented by these dates, we have listed only Scynthia Bobo as James' wife, pending further information on the mysterious Lida Bobo.
The following excerpt from Bobo Cousins by the Dozen, by Herbert M. Newell, Jr. and Jeanie Patterson Newell of Fayette, Alabama, shows their listing of the family of Nancy Berry and Francis Spencer Bobo, Jr.
4 James R. Stewart
Catherine Ann Stewart was the oldest child of James R. Stewart and Scynthia Bobo, Founders of the House of James. She was born in 1827 in Gwinnett County, Georgia, possibly in the Hog Mountain community.
Catherine was already married and had a child of her own by the time her father James and several of his younger children died of the flu in 1853. In 1849 she married young James Bunyan Scarborough, parents not known. Family tradition says he was descended from one of three Scarborough brothers (first names unknown) who came to America from England. One brother settled in North Carolina, another in lower South Carolina, and another in Georgia. James is said to be descended from the brother who settled in Georgia.
Very little is known about where Catherine and James Scarborough lived; probably Georgia, since their two children with issue were later found living in Bowman County in northeast Georgia and in nearby Anderson County in South Carolina.
James Scarborough was 36 years old when the Civil War began in 1861, but no Confederate military record could be located for a James Scarborough of Georgia. It is possible that he is the "Uncle James" who "had rheumatism in time of war and couldn't go," according to 422 Synthia Stewart, who later remembered him as a noncombatant civilian refugee during the Civil War (see 42 Walter Washington Stewart).
Catherine and James Scarborough had seven children, only two of whom had issue. The oldest records in the family, compiled at about the time of the first Stewart reunion in 1907, list the five younger children as deceased. Catherine died in 1868 at age 41. Her husband James survived her by many years and died in 1901 at age 76.
4 James R. Stewart
Robert Francis Scarborough was the oldest child of Catherine Ann Stewart and James Scarborough. He was born in 1851, probably in Georgia, exact location not known.
It is possible that Robert F. Scarborough was one of the two young sons of "Uncle James" later recalled by 422 Synthia Stewart, who was "refugeed" with them in Louisville, Kentucky in 1865 late in the Civil War (see 42 Walter Washington Stewart).
When he was 18 years old, Robert married Sarah J. Fortson, by whom he had seven children. They named their oldest son Walter Washington, apparently after his great-uncle 42 Walter Washington Stewart, who survived the Battle of Atlanta, was twice taken prisoner by the Yankees, and survived to come home to his family after the Civil War.
The oldest records of the Stewart family, dating from about 1907, give this family's address as Route 1, Bowman, Georgia (Elbert County in northeast Georgia). Very little more is known of the family.
4 James R. Stewart
Walter Washington Stewart was the second child of James R. Stewart and Scynthia Bobo, founders of the House of James. He was born in 1828 in Gwinnett County, Georgia, possibly in the Hog Mountain community where his parents lived for a number of years.
At age 21, Walter is listed in the 1850 Census as a farmer and a member of his father's household in Forsyth County, just north of Gwinnett County.
In 1851, at age 22, Walter married 15-year-old Charlotte Elizabeth Russell (Lizzie), the daughter of a widow named Elizabeth Webb Russell (husband's name unknown). In the years after their marriage Walter and Lizzie appear to have moved to the Factory Shoals area of Campbell County, Georgia (later northeastern Douglas County) on Sweetwater Creek, a short distance upstream from where it flows into the Chattahoochee River. (In 1982, the area is fifteen miles west of downtown Atlanta.)
Here, according to later descendants, Walter was "a boss man in a mill," probably the old Sweet Water Manufacturing Company, organized in 1849 and one of the earliest large textile mills in the state. The Rev. George White gave this early description of the mill:
The ruins of the five-story plant still stand on the site, now Sweetwater Creek State Park.
Walter was 32 years old when the Civil War started in 1861. His Confederate military record states that he enlisted in Campbell County on March 4, 1862 in Company K (Campbell Saltsprings Guards), 41st Regiment, Georgia Infantry. He was captured at Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 4, 1863 and was later parolled (signed a statement saying he would not fight with the Confederate forces again). He returned to his unit, was later promoted to Sergeant, and was captured again on August 3, 1864 during the Battle of Atlanta. He was sent briefly to the Union Military Prison in Louisville, Kentucky and then on to Camp Chase just across the Ohio River in Ohio. Here he applied for parole again in October 1864, and safely rejoined his family at or near the end of the war.
Walter's wife and children, unfortunately, lived squarely in the path of Sherman’s troops who advanced on Atlanta late in the Civil War. During the first week of July, 1864, the highly successful Union forces occupied the area from Sweet Water Town to Roswell, the site of another early textile center. As Sherman prepared to cross the Chattahoochee to seize Atlanta, he gave some orders about factories in general and about those at Sweet Water and Roswell in particular:
House of James Historian 42262 Lucille S. Jones has in her possession recordings of the memories of Walter and Lizzie's daughter 422 Synthia Stewart Boyd and their granddaughter 4225 Pearl Boyd Bruce of how Sherman's orders affected the family:
Walter and Lizzie and their children appear to have lived in the Atlanta area for a number of years after the Civil War. Family tradition says they lived on old Peachtree Street in Atlanta.
In later years Walter and Lizzie and their family moved to Gaylesville in northeast Alabama (Cherokee County) between Gadsden and the Georgia line. Their oldest surviving child, 422 Synthia, married there in 1878. Later Walter settled at his last home in the nearby Liberty community of the Lookout Mountain area in DeKalb County near Collbran, Alabama. Lizzie died in 1887 at age 51 and is buried at Old Mt. Vernon Cemetery five miles from Collinsville, Alabama. The family appears to have belonged to the Methodist church.
Four of Walter and Lizzie's seven children died without issue. The remaining three (422 Synthia S. Boyd, 423 James Buchanan Stewart, and 427 Robert Allen Stewart) removed to Texas, where they have numerous descendants.
After Lizzie's death, Walter married a second time to Mrs. Martha Alabama Taylor Coffman. Martha, thought to have been born in or near Nashville, Tennessee, was the 33-year-old daughter of Steve and Celia Taylor of Cassville, Georgia (Cass County, later Bartow County). She was the widow of James David Coffman, Sr. She and her young son James Coffman, Jr. (born March 27, 1877) were living with her Coffman in-laws on Lookout Mountain when she met Walter Stewart, her second husband. Walter and Martha are known to have been members of old Liberty Church (now McNutt Memorial Methodist Church) in the Liberty community on Lookout Mountain. Four sons were born to this marriage, with known descendants of the three with issue (428 Walter Taylor Stewart, 429 Henry Lester Stewart, and 42.11. Clarence Howard Stewart) living chiefly in Alabama and nearby states. 42.10. Herbert J. Stewart was killed in WW1 in Argonne Forest, France. He was buried first at Flanders; later his body was brought back to Alabama and reinterred at Old Mt. Vernon Cemetery near his home.
The extended Stewart family appears to have "lost track" of Walter and his family for many years, although contact has been reestablished in recent years through the efforts of 42262 Lucille S. Jones, their historian. An old letter dated 1876 from John S. Bobo of Georgia reports him as dead (see 5 James R. Stewart). Another letter dated 1890 from Walter's uncle, 7 David Bobo Stewart of Alabama, says he was “run over by the Oxford dummey” (a street car) and killed (see 7 David Bobo Stewart). However, Walter had just embarked on his second marriage in 1890 and was far from dead. He survived until 1904, died at age 75, and is buried with his two wives at Old Mt. Vernon Cemetery on Lookout Mountain in Alabama. His second wife Martha outlived him by many years and died at the old Walter Stewart homeplace on Lookout Mountain in 1948. In her last years she was joined by her son 428 Walter Taylor Stewart and his wife Vennie Kemp.
4 James R. Stewart
Synthia Catherine Stewart was the second child of Walter Washington Stewart and his first wife, Charlotte Elizabeth Russell (Lizzie). She was born in 1854, probably in Campbell County (later northeast Douglas County) near Atlanta, Georgia.
Synthia was apparently named after her grandfather James Stewart's second wife, Scynthia Bobo Stewart. The old family Bible lists her name as "Scynthia" Catherine Stewart. Presumably she simplified the spelling to "Synthia" in later years.
Synthia grew up in the Atlanta area in the hard years after the Civil War. In 1878 she married young Ephraim David Bass Boyd (David), the son of Mary Vashti Mobley and Archibald David Jerry Boyd. David was born in Smyrna, Georgia (Cobb County), just north of Atlanta. He and Synthia were married at her parents' home after the family moved to Gaylesville in northeast Alabama (Cherokee County) Their old Bible record notes that 100 guests were present.
David and Synthia settled at Portersville, Alabama in the Lookout Mountain area of nearby DeKalb County, where their nine children were born. David's parents died not long after their marriage. In addition to their own growing family, he and Synthia reared his six younger brothers and sisters.
In 1903, when their youngest child was seven years old, David and Synthia "went West" to Texas with their large family. They settled in Comanche County in central Texas, about 100 miles southwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. (The family of Synthia's older cousin 72 Clark Berry Stewart, originally of Gadsden, Alabama, lived about 50 miles away in north Erath County, but we have no indication that the two families knew anything about each other.) David and Synthia and their family lived in the Indian Creek area and on the old Huff Ranch for two years, and then settled at Sidney, a few miles northwest of the town of Comanche, the county seat of Comanche County. David died here in 1928 at age 71. He is buried at Pendergrass Cemetery in Sidney, where Synthia was later buried.
Synthia outlived her husband David by many years and died in 1951 a few days before her 97th birthday. Her obituary in The Comanche Chief described her long and interesting life. Excerpts:
4 James R. Stewart
James Buchanan Stewart (Jim) was the third child and oldest son of Walter Washington Stewart and his first wife, Charlotte Elizabeth Russell (Lizzie). He was born in 1857, probably in Campbell County (later Douglas County) near Atlanta, Georgia.
Jim was five years old when his father left to serve in the Civil War, leaving his young family in a house he had built near "Factory Town" so his wife Lizzie could work in the mill and support herself and the children while he was gone. (This is thought to be old Sweetwater textile mill, the ruins of which still stand in 1982 at Sweetwater Creek State Park near Atlanta.) The mill was burned by Sherman's troops in 1864, after which young Jim and his family were "refugeed" to Louisville, Kentucky where they were rejoined by Jim's father after his release from a Yankee prisoner of war camp nearby.
Jim and his family returned to the Atlanta area after the war, and in later years settled in the Lookout Mountain area of DeKalb County in northeast Alabama, near the community of Porterville. In 1876, when he was 19 years old, Jim married 17-year-old Josiphy P. White (Josie) of Alabama. Their first child, a little boy named Edward Antenas Stewart, was born in 1878 and died at age three. Jim and Josie had four more children, and Josie died in 1897 at age 28, when her youngest child was less than two years old. Her place of burial is not known; probably near Collinsville, Alabama (DeKalb County), where she and her husband are thought to have lived.
Not long after Josie's death Jim married young Sarah Frances Anderson. Sally, as she was called, was born in Alabama, the daughter of Sarah Lawson and Marcus Calhoun Anderson. Jim and his second wife Sally had five children, three of whom died as infants or children.
About 1894, Jim took his family to the Oklahoma Territory, which had been opened for homesteading in 1889. They lived for a year or two in the Eufalala community near Seminole in central Oklahoma (now Seminole County), and then moved to Texas. Here they settled just across the Oklahoma line near the communities of Ladonia and Pecan Gap in northeast Texas (county name uncertain, since the area is at the intersection of four counties). Jim and Sally's last child, a little boy named Joseph who died not survive, was born here in 1896.
A year later, in 1897, Jim died at age 38, leaving Sally with six children and stepchildren, the eldest of whom was 18 years old. The oldest records in the family say that Jim is buried in Pecan Gap, Texas (Delta County). Another account says he is buried at Ladonia, Texas (Fannin County), seven miles away. The name of the cemetery is not known. Like his brothers and sisters, he belonged to the Methodist church.
After Jim's death, his widow Sally married G.T. Smith, a widower who lived in Pecan Gap. About 1901 she and her children went back with him to the Oklahoma Territory, where they homesteaded near the community of Alfalfa in southwest Oklahoma (now Washita County). Sally and G.T. Smith lived here for many years, until both were killed in a car wreck in 1940. Sally is buried at the Alfalfa Cemetery near their home.
All of James Buchanan Stewart's surviving children settled in Oklahoma with the exception of his sons Henry Washington Stewart and James Homer Stewart (no known descendants), who moved to Long Beach in southern California. They are both said to be buried in Long Beach.
4 James R. Stewart
Robert Allen Stewart was the seventh and youngest child of Walter Washington Stewart and his first wife, Charlotte Elizabeth Russell (Lizzie). Robert was born in 1868, in the unsettled years just after the Civil War.
It is not certain where Robert was born; probably near Atlanta, Georgia (either Fulton or Campbell Counties) after the family returned from Louisville, Kentucky where his mother and her young children were "refugeed" during the Civil War. Robert's older sister 422 Synthia Stewart Boyd later indicated that the family returned to their home in Campbell County in the years after the war, where the fields "came up in strawberries" that they picked and sold in Atlanta. In later years the family moved to DeKalb County, Alabama, where they settled in the Lookout Mountain area near Portersville. Robert's mother, Lizzie Russell Stewart, died there in 1887 when he was a young man of 19.
Robert appears to have left home about this time. He lived for a time in Louisiana, where in 1890 he married Martha Eula Walker, the daughter of Mollie Mae Payne and William Henry Harrison Walker. Mollie was born in Old Athens in Bossier Parish in northwest Louisiana, where her parents lived. She and Robert settled for a time in Old Athens, where the first three of their six children were born. About 1898 they packed up their young family and "went West" to Texas and the Indian Territory, eventually settling in Wichita County in north central Texas near the Oklahoma line. Their youngest daughter-in-law, 4276 Ardelta P. Stewart of Boyd, Texas, remembers this about them:
Robert Stewart died in 1931 at age 62 and is buried at Highland Cemetery in Iowa Park, Texas (Wichita County). His wife Eula, who died in 1958 at age 89, is also buried there.
4 James R. Stewart
Walter Taylor Stewart, born in 1889, was the first of the four children of Walter Washington Stewart and his second wife, Martha Alabama Taylor Coffman. Like his three younger brothers, Walter Taylor Stewart was born in the Lookout Mountain area near Collbran, Alabama (DeKalb County in northeast Alabama).
Young Walter married Mary Lou Vennie Kemp, the daughter of Robert Kemp and his first wife (name unknown) of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Walter and Vennie were the parents of one son, Robert Elwin Stewart, who married Helen McClung.
Walter worked for the Alabama Great Southern Railroad for many years, spending most of his life in south Alabama. At retirement he and Vennie moved back to the old homeplace on Lookout Mountain in DeKalb County to care for Walter's elderly mother, Martha Taylor Coffman Stewart. Walter died there suddenly in 1844 at age 54. Vennie continued to live at Lookout Mountain and cared for her mother-in-law until the latter's death in 1948. She then moved about 25 miles south to Gadsden, Alabama (Etowah County), where she lived with her son Robert and his family for several years. In 1960 she went to Tuscaloosa in west Alabama to live with and care for her widowed sister, Augie Kemp King, and in 1978 returned to Gadsden. She died there in 1979 at age 90, and is buried with her husband Walter Taylor Stewart at Old Mt. Vernon Cemetery near Collbran.
4 James R. Stewart
Henry Lester Stewart, born in 1891, was the second child of Walter Washington Stewart and his second wife, Martha Alabama Taylor Coffman. Like his three full brothers, he was born and reared in the Lookout Mountain area near Collbran, Alabama (DeKalb County).
As a young man Lester, as he was called, married Dana Mae McReynolds, who was also born in Collbran. She was the daughter of Ida Mae Cannon and John McReynolds. Lester and Dana Mae lived for a number of years in Collbran, where their first four children were born. Their fifth and last child, Martha Ida Stewart, was born in nearby Gaylesville, Alabama in Cherokee County.
Lester Stewart and his wife Dana Mae are buried at Resthaven Memorial Cemetery, Decatur, Georgia near Atlanta. They were members of the Methodist church.
4 James R. Stewart
Clarence Howard Stewart, born in 1896, was the eleventh and last child of Walter Washington Stewart, his fourth child by his second wife, Martha Alabama Taylor Coffman. Like his three older brothers, he was born in the Lookout Mountain area of DeKalb County in northeast Alabama. His father died at age 68, when young Clarence was seven years old.
Not much is known of Clarence and his family. His first wife was Leba Young of Selma, Alabama. His second wife Berta (last name unknown) married W.H. Givens of Baker, Florida (Okaloosa County) after Clarence's death.
Clarence became a Methodist minister, later a Church of Christ minister. He died in 1965 at age 68 at Crestview, Florida in Okaloosa County; his residence was Baker, Florida in the same county. He is buried at Selma, Alabama (Dallas County).
Clarence and his first wife Leba Young had one son, called Toby Stewart.
4 James R. Stewart
These were the five younger daughters of James R. Stewart, Founder of the House of James, who lived to reach maturity. Family tradition says that four other young children died of the flu in north Georgia at the same time as their father.
Not much is known of these five daughters. They were all born between about 1833 and 1844, probably near the Hog Mountain community in Gwinnett County about 80 miles northeast of Atlanta, where their half-uncle 6 Rev. Clark Berry Stewart visited the family from time to time. According to the 1876 John S. Bobo letter (see 4 James Stewart), the family was living in Cass County (later Bartow County) in north Georgia when the father died in 1853. In the years after the Civil War, most of the remaining children appear to have settled in Atlanta for a time.
Most of our information on these five daughters comes from the memories of their grandniece, 4225 Jessie Pearl Boyd Bruce of Loraine, Texas (Mitchell County). The relevant passages are shown below.
(NOTE: 4222 Zoe Dorilla Boyd was Jessie Pearl Boyd's sister; 42271 Daviddie Boyd was her niece.)
Civil War records may have been found for four of the five younger daughters' husbands: 43 George Smith, 45 John Reeves, 46 Thomas White, and 49 George Gardner. Four men by these names enlisted in or were drafted into Confederate service in Cherokee County, Georgia, about 30 miles north of Atlanta. It is not certain that these Confederate soldiers were the husbands of 4 James R. Stewart's younger daughters, but family records indicate that these were the names of their husbands. Two of the men (45 John Reeves and 46 Thomas White) enlisted on the same day and served in the same unit, and a third (43 George Smith) enlisted a month later, but also served in the same unit.
In summary, all of James Stewart's five younger daughters married. The two older of the daughters, 43 Emaline and 44 Malinda, may have been already married by 1850, as they are not found as members of their father's household in the 1850 Census for Forsyth County. When their father died in 1853, the three younger daughters (45 Sarah, 46 Nancy, and 49 Linia) were about 13, 18, and 20 years old respectively. Three of the daughters left one or more children, but very little is known of their descendants.