The Legacy of Edward Wampler [hp4-2],
Last update: 02/05/'04
Edward and his brother Joseph were early settlers in Johnson County Missouri. Their farms were located a few miles apart in what was the Grover Township, north and northwest of Knob Noster. Edward's farm was originally 1200 acres, all in one contiguous plot. Of the original property, several hundred acres and the house that Edward built are still intact.
These two brothers were members of the Church of the Brethren and had major roles in establishing the Walnut Creek Church north of Knob Noster. The area they settled was known as the Mineral Creek Brethren settlement. An article in the Brethren Encyclopedia (p. 1315) says the Walnut Creek group "is considered to be the oldest Brethren congregation in sw. Missouri" and that "Joseph Wampler was the first elder." This church later divided (1881) when a group of the members went with the Old Order movement. In 1919, this Old German Baptist Brethren congregation paid $400 for the old Presbyterian Church in Knob Noster and moved it to property donated from the original Edward Wampler farm by his son William. The original Walnut Creek Church, built with bricks fired from clay on Edward's Farm, was located on property donated by his brother Joseph.
Another brother of these two Wamplers, John, also moved to Missouri from Ohio. He settled in Jasper County near Carthage in 1874. John was active in the Dry Fork Brethren Church there. These three families seemed to have been in close contact. Edward's sons Philip, Isaiah and Jesse all lived in this part of the state at one time. Philip settled between Webb City and Carthage and lived there the rest of his life. Isaiah stayed in Jasper county for some time before moving to California where he died in 1927. Jesse moved to Vernon county, two counties north of Jasper county.
For several generations, Wampler descendents of these three brothers lived, worked, raise their families and lived out their lives in Johnson and Jasper Counties. The extended branches of this large family tree have kept in close contact over many generations. Beginning in 1927 and for many years thereafter, annual family reunions drew large numbers of descendants and friends to Johnson county to celebrate their common heritage. In 1933 more than 125 people attended. There were 145 in 1935, 159 in 1937, 140 in 1947, and over 100 in 1993.
Edward's youngest son William and his descendents occupied a large brick farmhouse built by Edward in 1872-73. The house is still standing and in good repair, having been carefully maintained first by William, then by his son Elmer and then by his granddaughter Peggy and her husband Richard Zink. While the house recently passed out of the family, it still stands as an impressive monument to the quality of its original construction and the careful stewardship of its owners.
The walls of the house are four bricks thick and it took over a year to build. Unusual for its time, it did not have fireplaces but each outside wall had a flue within the wall with chimneys in all four corners. The inside doors had transoms to promote circulation. Each room had a lamp shelf. Over the years the porches were enclosed, the transoms were removed, gas heat was added, and the original carbide lighting was replaced with electrical systems. Peggy Zink reports that the old "carbide tank is still in the back yard".
This house has a somewhat sad early history. It was built in 1873 and Edward never lived in it. His wife, the former Elizabeth STONER, died as it was completed and he refused to have her funeral in the house as was the custom since she had never lived there. He felt that the building of it contributed to her death.
In fact soon there after, Edward left Johnson county accompanied by his youngest son William on his way back to his home in Ohio. They stopped in Quincy, Illinois to visit friends. There Edward met Rebecca Wolf SPRINKLE, widow of Daniel SPRINKLE, whom he subsequently married. The couple apparently had one child, Rebecca or Ella, who died in infancy. The Fulton County Illinois courthouse has death certificates for both Edward and Ella Wampler. Ella's record is dated January 1881 and gives a date of death of December 1880. It lists her age as 3 or 4 saying she died of the croup after 3 days of illness. In the South Fulton Cemetery of the Dunkard Brethren Church of Astoria, IL, where both Edward and his daughter, Rebecca, are buried, Rebecca's death date is 9Jan1881 with the age given as 2 years, 11 months and 5 days. There is no death record or certificate for a Rebecca Wampler in the Fulton County courthouse. The 1880 census index listing for Edward, Rebecca his wife and Rebecca their child gives the latter's age as 26. This is likely a miss print where the age should be 2 years and 6 months or 2.6 years.
William and Rebecca lived in Astoria, Illinois (east-north-east of Quincy) until his death on the 15th of December 1886. The Brethren Encyclopedia says that Edward was a member of the Old German Baptist Brethren at Mud Valley IL at his death. The death certificate says he died of apoplexy after 7 days of illness with paralysis as a complication of the illness. William is buried in the South Fulton Cemetery in Astoria, IL.
The probate file at the Fulton County courthouse contains no will. The inventory of the estate indicates that Edward owned no real estate in the county or state. There were substantial outstanding notes (about $1500) with the largest being to his son William and personal property with an apraised value of $890.
Meanwhile, Edward's son William who married Mrs. Sprinkle's daughter Sarah in 1879 had returned to Johnson County and occupied the house. After Edward's death Rebecca moved to Missouri to live with William and her daughter where she died in 1926. She is buried in the "Wampler Cemetery" located on land donated to the brethren congregation by Joseph Wampler. It is worth noting that Joseph's wife Lydia had also been a WOLF. This couple, Edward's first wife, Elizabeth, his son William, William's wife Sarah and many of their descendents are also buried there.
The bricks for the house and the Brethren church were fired on the Edward Wampler farm. While the house still stands, the brick church was raised for a new frame building by the Lutheran congregation that now owns the property. As noted above, the property for the Old German Baptist Brethren congregation was donated by William Wampler from the farm property in 1920 and a nice frame church stands there today.
Another landmark feature of the farm until 1963 was a huge "Bank" barn with Walnut sills and lentils cut from a gigantic tree found on the farm. The barn finally burned after a lightning strike. Molly Wampler Yost, Edward's grand-daughter remembered the event in a letter to Barbara S. Wampler:
The large bank barn was in good repair, Elmer had all [of] his farm equipment in it, two big tractors besides all the tools that went with them, stored in it. When one morning about six o'clock, lightening struck it, and burnt it to the ground, He was sitting on the porch at the house and was stunned, but ran to the barn to turn out his Tennessee Walker, who immediately ran out. That was all that was saved. Elmer immediately rebuilt another on the same site what resembled the old barn, only it's all on the ground. No loft in it. We were saddened to see it go in that way, but there are so many things over which we have no power. This barn had long been rather a conversation piece to people who remembered the huge walnut timber that was in it, and how well it stood the many storms."The original barn was located higher on the property and more toward the frontage on the main road than the house. While some thought that a new barn should be built more appropriately sited behind the house, Elmer insisted that it be put on the exact same site as the old landmark.
The following excerpts of a copy of a newspaper story that was published in the Wampler Newsletter by Barbara S. Wampler and that in turn was entered into a computer text file by Shirley Jo Watkins. This historical piece accompanied the announcement of a Wampler Family Reunion. It gives the fundamental details of Edward's life. The parenthetical comments are those of Barbara Wampler, the footnote comments are my own. Molly Yost was a frequent contributor of material for Barbara Wampler's Newsletters. The named children of Edward were all still alive at the time (1935), the three dead being Daniel, Susie and Philip. As indicated above we know little about Daniel, Susie died an infant and Philip had died in 1931 in Webb City near where he had settled, raised his family and farmed.
"Wampler Family has been represented in County Since 1856"
The Wamplers are having their family reunion Sunday in Shepard Memorial Park, The members who gather here are descendents of two Wampler families, one coming to this county in 1856, the other three years later. Edward Wampler and his family located on a farm bought of Jehu Robinson1 in Grover township in 1856, and the Joseph Wamplers settled on the Langston farm about six miles northwest of Knob Noster in 1859. Philip Wampler of Dayton, Ohio was their father, in whose family were six boys and six girls
Edward Wampler reared a family of eight. He married Elizabeth Stoner in Ohio, where seven of their children were born. One history says that Edward Wampler was born in Maryland and was taken to Ohio while still an infant: another says they were natives of Ohio. Their children were; Jessie, Ezra, Isaiah, Philip, Jehu, Elizabeth and Lydia born in Ohio; and William who was born in 1857 in Johnson County, Mo.
The Ohio born children lived in this county for some years. Jesse went to Vernon County, married and lived there until he died. Ezra went back and married in Ohio and reared a large family. Isaiah married and lived in this county for a while, he made several moves and died in California. Philip married and lived in Vernon County. Lydia married Jacob Knaus and they lived in this county. He was an attorney and they Lived in Warrensburg for many years. Their son, Vernon Knaus, is in the west. Elizabeth married Ben Knaus and they lived near Knob Noster and reared a family of 7 children. Walter and John are living near Knob Noster; William is in Kansas City; three are dead2.
William Wampler is the youngest child of that Ohio family who settled here in 1856. He is still living on the old homestead, and in the large brick house built by his father. William married Sarah Sprinkle in 1879 and they reared 8 children; Mary, Elizabeth, Anna, Leona, Elmer, Alberta, George and Russell.
Mary (is our Mollie Wampler) who married Ami Yost, and they and their two daughters live in LaMonte; Elizabeth is Mrs. Lee Olvis; Anna married Will Kinsey; Leona married James Knight; and Elmer is married and lives in the home with his father; the last four children all live in, or near, Knob Noster. The other three children are married and live in Indiana.
Edward Wampler was prosperous and at one time owned about 12 hundred acres of land. He owned and operated a saw and grist mill and supplied lumber, meal and flour to the pioneers from far and near. He built a big bank barn which is still standing and is in constant use.
A black walnut tree, of which the stump was nine feet across, furnished some of the large sills in that barn. This walnut framework is probably worth more now than the original cost of the barn, Mr. Wampler also had a brick klin, and burned the bricks for his own house, and for the Walnut Creek Church which stands just across the road from the Hepsidam school house. After his wife died, he went to Ill., in 1874 where he died in 1888.
With so many descendants living in the county, the family reunion on August 18th should be largely attended. As these represents only a part of the descendants of those pioneer brothers, Edward and Joseph and as there were ten children (Other than them) in that home who grew to maturity, married and reared large families; these reunions might include hundreds of other closely related Wampler descendents.
1- The newspaper says the farm was bought in 1856 from John Robinson.
2- This last statement is confusing. It apparently relates to the seven children of Elizabeth and Ben Knaus (Walter, John, William, one daughter and 3 dead). This article fails to mention several of Edward's children in more detail: Jehu who had died in 1869 at the age of 27; his sister Catherine who died as an infant; Susie who died single; his brother Daniel who probably never married and died before him; and Edward's last child, Rebecca, who died in 1881. Indeed both Philip's obituary (1931) and Isaiah's (1927) only mention one other surviving sibling, their brother William.
"Wampler Ancestors and Descendents in America," Book number 1, a newsletter published by subscription in 1977 by Barbara S. Wampler, 310 Thayer Ave., Joliet, IL 60432 (from the author's collection). Most of the pertinent material in this issue was provided by Edward's grand-daughter, Molly Wampler Yost.
"The Brethren Encyclopedia" (1984), The Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. 3 Volumes.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis Counties Missouri, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago (1805) (from Trails Regional Library, Warrensburg, MO).
Knob Noster Newspaper Archives of Dorothy Bonar. Private Collection.
Interviews with Peggy Wampler Zink, daughter of Elmer, great-granddaughter of William, great-great granddaughter of Edward.
The Wampler Family Cemetery, Johnson County, MO.
"Welcome", a guide to the 1987 Christmas Open House at the WZW (Wampler, Zink and Wharton) farm, by Peggy and Richard Zink.
"House Has Been Home to Wampler Descendants for 112 Years", Knob Noster Newspaper, January 9, 1986. Provided from the collection of Dorothy Bonar, Knob Noster, MO.
Fulton County Illinois Cemeteries, Indices found in Macomb IL (Genealogoical Library, county seat of McDonough Co.)
Fulton County Death Record #1, 1878-1883, Fulton County Courthouse, Lewistown IL. Ella Wampler Death Cirtificate on Record.
Fulton County Death Record #2, Fulton County Courthouse, Lewistown IL. Edward Wampler Death Cirtificate on Record.
Probate Package 2363, Fulton County Courthouse, Lewistown IL. Edward Wampler Probate file.