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Our West Virginia Pioneer Families & Their Stories

Updated November 10, 2012

Dear Relatives and Friends,
Welcome to Pioneer Families! The family information on this website comes to you from a number of relatives. First, and most importantly, I must thank my Aunt Edith Carte for saving every bible, book, newspaper article and piece of paper for us! Of course Edna Davenport is our Dotson Family historian and Ron Miller has tromped the backwoods of Normantown, WV to take photos and cover the Norman family with style! Noted newspaper author in the family, Cal Kenney, has left us a legacy of articles and history that'll last us a lifetime! Family author, William Griffee Brown, has also left us his book, "The History of Nicholas County, West Virginia."

The many trips I've made to West Virginia to collect courthouse records, locate the plantations of our pioneer families in several counties, and visit the family churches and cemeteries, have been priceless!

When you get a chance, visit the Kesler Presbyterian Church at Hico, West Virginia. For in this cemetery, you will find over 5 generations of Keslers and Campbells in one place!

Did you know the Civil War occurred on our West Virginia relatives' farms? Check out the Civil War Battleground Photo below!

Did you know several towns, creeks, ridges, mountains, churches & schools in West Virginia were named for our families? Here's just a few of them: Kesler Memorial Church (Hico, WV), Kessler's Cross Lanes, Hugheston, Hughes Fort, Hughes Creek, Dotson, Normantown, Norman Ridge, Nutterville & Nutter Fort.

By traveling to Scotland and England, my sister and I have traced our Campbell and Norman families back even further in Argyle, Scotland and Duffield, Derbyshire, England. At Inverary Castle in Argyle, Scotland, we found an oil painting of the 8th Duke of Argyle whose Campbell physical features are remarkedly similar to our mother.

Although we found only one Norman headstone in the Duffield Parish Church (St. Alkmund's) cemetery, we now know at least 10 generations of Normans have been christened, married and buried at this ancient church dating back to the Doomsday Book.

Although my website focuses mostly on Virginia/West Virginia family genealogy, you can see more records, photos and extended family genealogy we have discovered and proven dating back to the 1400s on my sister's website on titled "Normans of WV-1."

I hope you enjoy learning about Our West Virginia Pioneer Families on both of our websites!

Nancy Norman Hopkins, Daughters of the American Revolution # 829497: John Campbell, 2nd Lt PA; Thomas Hughes, Pvt VA

Nancy Jo Norman-Hopkins (DAR# 829497)
7504 Bradford Pear Drive
Irving, TX 75063
United States

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My Family History


Family Photos

  • Rev War John Camble, 2nd Lt, PA Flying Camp Marker (13 KB)
    John's tombstone is located at the Hughes Cemetery on the Waller Farm in Kessler Cross Lanes, WV. His wife, Nancy, and her Rev War father, Thomas Hughes, are also buried here, as are Rev. War John Hamilton and his wife. It's a lovely cemetery on Mr. Waller's place, and he asks that you kindly sign his guestbook when you visit the heroes and their wives buried in the cemetery.
  • Rehoboth Church Historical Marker & Road Signs (56 KB)
    Historical Marker and Directions to Rev War Isaac Wiseman's resting place in Monroe Co., WV
  • John Frank Campbell & Leona Arabella White (28 KB)
    John provided a living for his family as a carpenter and farmer. His black leather bag was always at his side as it contained his carpentry tools.
  • James Norman Headstone & Footstone (25 KB)
    Several generations of Normans beginning with James Norman of Duffield, Derby, England are buried in the Meadows Cemetery located on the original Norman land grant property in Normantown, WV. The gravesite of James Norman, the first settler there, has a headstone & footstone with two large feet drawn on the footstone. His large feet are an indication that he was a tall man, like many of the Normans today. Or, perhaps, he was known for his large feet! In either case, the feet drawn on his tall footstone are very unique.
  • Norman Family Reunion in Texas (36 KB)
    Famous Norman Brothers Bluegrass Band from West Virginia and their sisters gather in Texas for a family Reunion!
  • Deputy Sheriff Lee Norman's Tombstone (8 KB)
    An fine oak tree marks the location of this proud Texas law enforcement officer from Hico, WV. His children miss him dearly!
  • Jacob Kesler 1830 Deed in Fayette County, WV (38 KB)
    For the sum of $1500 Jacob Kesler agreed to purchase 640 acres of a 4533 acre survey on May 3, 1830 from Thomas L. Lomax lieing on Dogwood Ridge between Hedericks Creek and Dogwood Creek. After paying the remainder of the note, Jacob received a deed to the land in 1832 and built the first brick home in Fayette County on this property in 1836 for his large family. Jacob was a cattleman and farmer and helped build other relatives and friends homes in the community.
  • Lee Norman Family Portrait (8 KB)
    Lee & Josephine with their six children in Texas. Bill, Jim, Bob, Mary, Janet & Nancy
  • Rehoboth Log Church Building in Monroe, WV (85 KB)
    Rev War Isaac Wiseman family cemetery in Monroe Co., WV The old log church building is still there today!
  • Civil War Battlegrounds on our Pioneer Farms (17 KB)
    Many of our pioneer families were torn apart during the Civil War with fathers and sons fighting on opposite sides, and often shooting at each others troops. While the Battle of Kessler's Cross Lanes resulted in a win for the Confederacy, the Battle of Carnifix Ferry that followed, was a win for the Union Army. Troops fled the battlegrounds by way of the Sunday Road in Clifty, West Virginia.
  • Map of 109 Fayette County Cemeteries (27 KB)
    This map marks the location of 109 family cemeteries lieing between the New River & Gauley River in Fayette County, West Virginia. The Sunday Road & the Kesler Presbyterian Church Cemetery are located at #45. It's the location of many Kesler and Campbell forefathers and mothers. The Dotson family cemetery is located nearby at #97. Many Normans, Cartes and Leggs can be found at the Jennette Cemetery located at #2 at the top northwest corner of the map.
  • Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church (15 KB)
    One of the founding forefathers of this church is James Norman, Sr. Church meetings were held in his home prior this church being built in Normantown and he was known as Father Norman.
  • J.C.'s son Scotty in WV (12 KB)
    Long lost relative is found in West Virginia! He's anxious to meet his aunts, uncles & cousins in Texas.
  • Kesler Presbyterian Church Before & After (24 KB)
    In 1910 the original steeple of the church was much taller and could be viewed from a greater distance on Dogwood Ridge. The beautiful split rail fence that surrounded the church can also be seen in the photo. In 1991 the congregation gave the church a new steeple, entrance and white wood fence. This is the church that we know and love today.
  • Old Stone Church, Greenbrier County, Lewisburg, WV (8 KB)
    The Kesler's & Dotson's attended this beautiful old stone church that was established in 1796. Several of their children were married in this church & have very ornate gravestones in the adjoining church cemetery.
  • Zion Reformed Congregation Church, Hagerstown, MD (19 KB)
    Jacob Kesler of Clifty, WV was christened in this church in 1785 prior to his family moving to Rockingham County, Virginia and Greenbrier County, WV. Jacob & Catherine Sheets are listed in the church registry as Jacob's sponsors. This beautiful church was established in 1774. The congregation of which our Peter & Catherine Sheets Kesler were members purchased "Silver Bells" for this church from Holland in 1785, the same year that their first child, Jacob, was born.
  • New River Gorge Bridge (39 KB)
    Scenic overlook of the highest suspension bridge east of the Mississippi River that overlooks the Campbell, Kesler, Norman & Dotson Farms.
  • Michael Kesler 1828 Marker (59 KB)
    At the corner of Rt. 60 & Unus Rd 5 miles west of Lewisburg, WV lies Michael Kesler, eight year old grandson of Peter Kesler, and son of Jacob Kesler. The cemetery is located on the Goodwin farm, the location of the famous Shue Murder. Jacob & Catherine Kesler, perhaps Peter's brother, sold the property to Moses Shue after moving to Preble County, Ohio. The cemetery is thought to be the Richland Church cemetery. The church was located on the opposite side of Rt. 60, and has been transformed into a home. It is believed that Peter & Catherine Kesler are also buried in the cemetery alongside their grandson in unmarked graves. Further down Unus Rd., on the other side of the mountain, is an old two-story red brick plantation house that may have been the Kesler home that Peter Kesler & his sons, Jacob and Frederick built.
  • Thomas Dotson War of 1812 Hero (35 KB)
    For all you Dotson Family fans, which I am one of, this is a photo of the government marker that was placed on Thomas Dotson's gravesite in Hico in memory of his service in the War of 1812. At the time of the war, Thomas lived in Greenbrier County on his parents' plantation adjoining the Peter Kesler plantation. In 1815 he married his lovely neighbor Susanna Kesler. They later sold the property they inherited from Peter Kesler and moved their family to Fayette County near Jacob Kesler's and Richard Dotson's plantations.
  • Grantsville WV during Sheriff James Norman's Era (148 KB)
    This fabulous western photograph of the old dirt main street, horses & wagons in front of the A. Huffman & Sons Mill was taken in 1893. The two booming industries at the time were timber and coal mining.
  • Law & Order (22 KB)
    Lee Norman was a 5th Generation Law Enforcement Officer in the Norman Family. His great-great grandfather, James Nedley Norman, served as the 1st Sheriff in Calhoun County, WV in 1856. James swore in his wife, Catherine, and their two sons, Alpheus and Philip to serve as his Deputy Sheriffs. Alpheus followed in his father's footsteps and was elected Sheriff for two terms in 1860 and 1864. This family tradition lives on today!
  • Derby Parish Church in Duffield England (16 KB)
    This gothic church and cemetery lies southwest of Nottingham Forest and just a few miles north of Normanton, England, the home of our Norman Family. Norman Castles & Pubs blanket the area for miles!
  • 1798 Deed to Peter Kesler in Rockingham Co, VA (43 KB)
    Traveling from Hagerstown, MD, Peter purchased 117 acres located near Frieden's Church, previously called the Peace Congregation Church, 3 miles west of Harrisonburg, VA. Several of Peter's children were christened at Frieden's Church and he purchased additional property adjoining his original estate.
  • Pvt. Samuel Clinton Loomis' Civil War Portrait (30 KB)
    Cousin George Thomas contributed this fabulous photo of our Grandfather Loomis in his Civil War uniform in 1864. He was 24 years of age at the time of this photo and recently married to our Grandmother Mary Ann Custer. Yes, we're related to General George Armstrong Custer! Our great-great-great-great....grandfather Herman Custer and Arnold Custer, George Armstrong Custer's forefather, are brothers! It's a shame the Battle of Little Big Horn wasn't a success. This would give us something to brag about with our friends. On another sad note, Samuel's brother, Macy, died in action at the 2nd Bull Run near Manassas.
  • 1802 Deed to Peter Kesler in Greenbrier Co., WV (72 KB)
    Traveling from Rockingham Co, VA, Peter purchased this beatiful 138 acres 5 miles west of Lewisburg, WV on Unus Road. The Stuart vs Kesler suit concerned 5 acres in this same area that Peter had purchased in 1799 from Edward Miller.
  • James Melvin Norman & Rachel Wigner Portrait (32 KB)
    This is a beautiful oval portrait of Walter Lee Norman's parents who lived in Elliott & Camden on Gauley, WV. James worked in the lumber industry as a timber grader.
  • Peter & Catherine Kesler's Signatures & Marks (x) (30 KB)
    Peter Kesler and his sons Jacob and Frederick exhibited fine handwriting skills on each and every Deed and Will they signed. Although Peter's wife Catherine signed her name with an "X" mark, Jacob's wife Elizabeth Funk, and Frederick's wife, Elizabeth Hutsinpiller, exhibited excellent handwriting skills on deeds and records in Greenbrier and Fayette counties.
  • John Wesley Cart & Rosetti Sevy (43 KB)
    John Wesley Cart & Rosetti Sevy visit the Normans at Hico. John is Minnie Belle's father and a sixth generation blacksmith in the Cart family.
  • Walter Norman & Minnie Carte in WV (35 KB)
    Hallie Cart & her son Jimmie visit Walter, Minnie & their son Lee on the Norman family farm at Hico, WV
  • 1832 Peter Kesler Estate Sale (32 KB)
    Many relatives, neighbors and friends purchased kettles, brandy, livestock, farm equipment, wagons, feather beds, and other items. Peter's wife Catherine purchased a cow, coffee pot, coffee mill, bed and bureau, looking glass, shaving utensils and a set of knives and forks. Son Frederick purchase 3 Dutch Books & cards, brandy, blowing fan, streachers (to press his pants) and a chest.
  • Rev. War John Campbell's Land Grant (45 KB)
    2nd Lt John Campbell received 2 100-acre land grants for serving his country honorably during the Revolutionary War.
  • Kesler Cemetery at Clifty, WV (46 KB)
    3 Generations at a Glance: Jacob Kesler & Elizabeth, John Kesler & Margaret, James Kesler & Louisa gravestones in the Kesler Cemetery next to the Kesler Memorial Presbyterian Church.
  • Rev. War Thomas Hughes Land Grant (48 KB)
    Pvt. Thomas Hughes received 100 acres for serving his country honorably during the Revolutionary War.
  • Rev War, Isaac Wiseman's Tombstone (40 KB)
    Revolutionary War marker at Rehoboth Church, Monroe Co., WV honoring his service to his country.
  • Lacy Leven Cambell & Cora Kesler Family Portrait (16 KB)
    A treasured family photo of our lovely relatives at their home in Clifty.
  • Reverend William E. Loomis found in Wisconsin! (33 KB)
    Miracles do happen if you believe in miracles! Civil War Samuel C. Loomis' family is discovered August 2002 by way of an email! After locating Cousin Dale in California, who is the great-great-grandson of William E. Loomis, Samuel Loomis' brother in Wisconsin. And that's not all! We learned that Samuel's father and brother Macy also served in the Civil War, and there's a sister name Fouis. Cousin Dale has contributed this fabulous photo and published biography of William E. Loomis. Wow! Is this great, or what?
  • Rev War Isaac Wiseman's & Wife Elizabeth's Marker (56 KB)
    Buried at the Rehoboth Church Cemetery in Monroe Co., WV
  • John & Margaret Kesler Portrait (21 KB)
    John and Margaret were co-founders of the Kesler Presbyterian Church and avid readers of the Bibles you see them holding.
  • Wilbur & Nell Loomis' Bear & Deer Trophies (51 KB)
    For all you hunters out there, you'll love this photo of Wilbur and Nell Loomis posing with their rifles next to the huge Bear and Deer they shot in Wisconsin. Oh, by the way, Nell shot the Big Bear! Way to go Girl! It was obviously a successful hunting expedition and the family feasted on plenty of meat throughout the winter!
  • Old James B. Kesler Farmhouse (24 KB)
    Although this family home no longer exists on the Sunday Road, the warm loving family that lived there passed down many family stories that are still talked about today.
  • Rev. War John Cambel Portrait (238 KB)
    John was approximately 40 years of age when this photo was taken, making it the earliest photograph that we have dated approximately 1798. He was respected highly in the Kesler Cross Lanes community, a devout Baptist, Judge and Justice of the Peace. His plantation lies on the right side of Whitewater Road at the foot of the mountain in the meadow lands. On the left side of Whitewater Road lies Rev. War John Hamilton's plantation and location of the first Nicholas County court held in a log house that no longer exists today.
  • Zoar Baptist Church at Kesslers Cross Lanes, WV (10 KB)
    The Campbells, Keslers, Hughes' & Dotsons were co-founders of this church that has been rebuilt 3 times on top of this hill. It was in the path of the Civil War and destroyed by the troops that used it as their headquarters. Frederick Kesler & wife Elizabeth Hutsinpiller, John R. McCutcheon & wife Sally Kesler, & numerous friends and relatives are buried in the well cared for churchyard.
  • Nancy Hughes Cambel Portrait (211 KB)
    Nancy was approximately 40 years of age when this portrait was taken in 1798, making it and husband Rev. War John Cambel's portraits the earliest pictures we have of our Cambel family. Nancy was a devouted wife, mother, sister, neighbor and Baptist in the community and respected by everyone that met her.
  • Peter Kesler 1746 German Bible by Martin Luther (98 KB)
    After over 25 of searching for the Peter Kesler Bible, I finally found it! A descendant of Peter's son, Frederick Kesler, owns the Bible and welcomed me into their home to photograph and videotape Peter's Bible. Although the cover, first few chapters, and the genealogy pages are missing, the Martin Luther print date page is in tact. The Bible has been well preserved as the pages are remarkably soft. Two notes saved inside the Bible state, "Catherine Kesler stood head" with the dates. I think the notes record the dates that Catherine stood at the podium and spoke to the congregation.

Related Files

  • Kesler Memorial Presbyterian Church Anniversary (12 KB)
    Members of the Presbyterian Church residing in Fayette County petitioned the Presbytery of Greenbrier to establish a church in Fayette County. On May 4th, 1866 the following people became the first members of the new Presbyterian Church of Fayette, later renamed the Kesler Memorial Presbyterian Church.
  • The Nutter Family (German) (4 KB)
    Although Wm. Griffee Brown thought the Nutter's to be German, they sailed to America in the 1600's from Lancaster, England. David Nutter's great-great grandfather Wm. Nutter was hired by the government as an Indian interpretor. William's son Matthew married Ann Huett, great granddaughter or Reverend John Huett of England who was beheaded in 1658 for his involvement in a plot to overthrow the King of England. The Norman's, Carte's and Legg's are also descendants of Rev. Huett.
  • The Campbell Family (Scotch-Irish) (7 KB)
    From Argyleshire, Scotland to Ulster, North Ireland to America.
  • The Carte Family (German) (7 KB)
    From Germany to America.
  • The Kesler Family (German) (6 KB)
    From Hesse Darmstadt Germany to America.
  • The Hughes Family (Scotch-Irish) (5 KB)
    From Scotland to Ulster, North Ireland to America.
  • The Dotson Family (German) (5 KB)
    From Germany to America.
  • The Wiseman Family (English) (5 KB)
    From England to America.
  • The Norman Family (English) (15 KB)
    From Holbrook, Duffield, Derby, England to America.

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