(02/07/2020)
By John "Jack" Umstead 2001

Amos Sturm, born May 29, 1877 in Calhoun Co. West Virginia and Martha Fowler also born in Calhoun Co. May 6, 1873 were married in the late eighteen nineties.

Martha gave birth to her only child, a girl, Frances on July 23, 1901. They lived on Philips Run in Calhoun Co. before moving to Sistersville West Virginia living there during the oil and gas boom in that region. Amos was in partnership with a brother in a wagon freight business.

Around the year 1910 they moved back to Calhoun Co. and Amos purchased a sixty acre parcel of hill top land on Mount Nebo, accessed by the Riffle Run road. Then he cleared the land, built a home and farmed the land. The house was a plank house constructed of creosoted native chestnut lumber.

Amos was a good God loving man. He made his family a living by working hard on the farm and he was also a stone mason and a blacksmith.

He made farm tools and shod horses for farmers all around the Calhoun area. His shop was located just West of the house beyond the garden. He also worked cutting timber in the Richwood area and more than once walked all the way home.

Amos loved to listen to the run of his fox hounds spending the night around a fire listening to see which dog was ahead as they ran through the hollers. He also liked to trade horses a lot and always had a good team and one of those was always a good riding horse. Amos was all man, but at the same time kind and sensitive.

Martha was the oldest from a family of twelve children and certainly knew what hard work was all about. Wood stove for heat and cooking and oil lamps for light was all they had until a gas well was drilled on the farm giving the house free gas.

Amos installed gas lights and stoves in the house and a gas Servel refrigerator. Up until then a cellar was used. The cellar was made of cut sand stone. It was located just East of the main house and under the smoke house. Martha was a very good cook and a meticulous home keeper.

Frances's school years involved reading and studying by oil lamp light. She was an avid reader. She attended a one room school, the Barr School, which was located where is now the entrance to the Calhoun Co. community park.

There was no high school in Calhoun Co. at that time.

After finishing grade school, she assisted the teacher for a while. In February 1921 she married Ivan H. Umstead at the Mt Zion Church. She raised three sons and a daughter. My Mother was an exceptionally kind and giving woman. God was certainly in her heart. She died July 21, 1984.

The farm was left to her oldest Son, Hoyt.


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