The Stiltner Family Genealogy
Clevinger Family History
August 1, 1971
This is the third edition of the history and genealogy of a large kinship
group - the Clevingers, Stiltners, and related families of Washington state
This clan, now numbering in the hundreds, became related in the Cumberland
Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky in the period 1800 - 1900.
After 1900, many families of this kinship moved northwestward across the United
States to become prominent pioneers in Lewis County in Southwestern
The ancestral leaders of this migration were five blood-related men of
Southern Appalachian stock. Discontented with the poverty of the Virginia
hills, they with strong faith and courage, moved their entire families to the
Cascade Mountain foothill country of eastern Lewis county.
The West Virginians and Kentuckians who led this migration west Milburn
Jackson Stiltner (1847 - 1919), Joseph C. Clevinger (1857 - 1937) and Charles
Clevinger (1849 - 1954), pioneers of the Rainy Valley, and Nelson Clevinger
(1858 - 1935) and Franklin P. Stiltner (1856 - 1934) who were pioneers at
The descendents of these men and their relatives by marriage with other
pioneer families of Washington organized the Clevinger - Stiltner Family
Association in 1957 at Morton.
While most of the members are residents of Lewis County, there are many
families of this kinship living in Oregon, California, and elsewhere in
The stronghold of this large Cascade Mountain clan is in the Morton - Glenoma
area. attended by hundreds, member families have registered and met at
Morton, Washington annually on the first Sunday of august since 1957.
This history and genealogy has been written from information collected by
three family historians: Woodrow R. Clevinger of Seattle, Donna Stiltner
Wildman of Tacoma, and Burton G. Stiltner, deceased in 1967 in Kelso,
Washington. This is not a complete record and there may be errors in some
names and dates. It is hoped that this booklet will contribute to the
appreciation of our early American forefathers in Virginia and Kentucky and
especially our forefathers and mothers who ventured to Washington and Oregon
and endured and progressed on the new Cascade Mountain Frontier.
Woodrow R. CLevinger
CASCADE MOUNTAIN CLAN
AND RELATED FAMILIES
Genealogy and History of a Large Kinship Group
Originating in the Cumberland Mountains of
Virginia and Kentucky and Migrating to the
Cascade Mountains of Washington
By Woodrow R. Clevinger
Clevinger-Stiltner Family Association
Published by Seattle UNiversity Bookstore,
Seattle, Washington, 98122
Clevenger - Stiltner Migration, 1650 - 1920
The Clevenger name and its variant spelling, "Clevinger" started with the
Colonial immigrants from the British Isles to New York and Monmouth County,
New Jersey about 1650.
They were George Clevenger from England, recorded as a resident of New York
City in 1650, and John Clevenger from Wales, recorded as a farm settler at
Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey between 1650 and 1700.
The Stiltner name, changed from the German name, "Stegler," begins in America
with the immigrant from Germany, Frederick C. (Stegler) Stiltner, arriving in
Norfolk Virginia about 1775.
The two names became kindred through intermarriage during 1790 - 1860 in the
Southern Appalachian Mountain counties of Tazewell and Buchanan of Virginia and
Pike County, Kentucky.
Between 1900 and 1930, many kindred families of Clevengers, Clevingers and
Stiltners and their related in-law families moved by train to Southwestern
Washington and Northwestern Oregon, concentrating mainly in the Cascade
Mountains of eastern Lewis County, Washington.
The Clevenger and Clevinger families of early American Colonies and states
Origins in Europe
The family surname of Clevenger originated in Europe in Medieval time before
1000 A.D. This name came into usage as "Claviger," or "Clavinger" in the
French language, and was brought to England with the Norman conquest of
Britain after 1100.
It was an official and professional name given by the Norman nobility to a
specialized and important government occupation: one who keeps the keys to an
official place, and also an officer who bears the mace in courts and
ceremonies conducted by the nobility. The name was derived from two Latin
roots: _clavis_, a key, and _gerer_, to carry.
When the King of Normandy, William the Conqueror, led his forces across the
English Channel in 1066, his entourage of feudal government officials included
men named "Clavigers." They were stationed at castles and towns controlled by
the Normans in England and Wales.
During the centuries 1100 - 1500, the name became anglicized to "Clevenger."
As an English and Welsh surname, Clevenger, even today, is not common in the
Early Clevengers in America
The earliest Clevengers of record in the American Colonies were George
Clevenger and two sons, George and John. George emigrated from Wales to
Yonkers and Westchester, New York, about 1650 and was married to Sarah Hadden.
Their son John became a farm settler at Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey
just before 1700.
On the land frontier of the coastal plain of northeastern New Jersey in the
county of Monmouth, the early immigrant from Wales, john Clevenger raised a
family that became the major root of all the Clevenger families of America.
John Clevenger was married in 1667 to Ruth Hyatt and they lived on a frontier
farm near Freehold, New Jersey.
It is believed that Richard Clevenger was his son who was born in 1668 and
married Rachel Holmes about 1690. The archives of New Jersey have a record of
the marriage of John Clevenger's grandchildren who were living in the Colony
of New Jersey just before the American Revolution. These marriage unions which
are listed below produced a generation of Clevengers who were to move out of
New Jersey into Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Mary Clevenger married Thomas Hawkins, N. J., 1728
Hannah Clevenger married William Dackworth, N. J., 1731
Catherinbe Clevenger married Charles Miller, N.J., 1732
George Clevenger married Deliverance Homer, N.J., 1737
John Clevenger married Hannah Baker, N.J., 1742
Abraham Clevenger married Jane Platt, N. J., 1742
Margaret Clevenger married Thomas Assen, N.J., 1746
William Clevenger married Mary Assen, N.J., 1750
John Clevenger married Mary Horner, N.J., 1760
Abraham Clevenger married Mary Pitman, N.J., 1760
job Clevenger married Margaret Brown, N. J., 1772
Zachariah Clevenger married Mary Gaskell, N.J., 1778
Joseph Clevenger, son of the above John Clevenger and Hannah Baker, moved
southward to the Shenandoah Valley of Northern Virginia about 1770.
His brother, Asa Clevenger also moved to this Blue Ridge Mountain region of
Virginia from New Jersey.
Some other New Jersey Clevengers who migrated to Virginia were Job and Thomas.
A large line of Virginia Clevengers became established in the areas of
Winchester, Frederick County Virginia and Front Royal, Shenandoah County,
Three sons fathered by Joseph Henry Clevenger in Shenandoah County, Virginia
were to advance the Clevenger name farther westward into the mountains of
Virginia and into the Ohio valley after 1800,
His eldest son, John Clevenger (Clevinger), born about 1775 moved to Tazewell
County southwestern Virginia about 1800, and he is one of the important
ancestors of the Cumberland Mountain Clevingers and the Clevengers of
Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky.
Benjamin Henry Clevenger, the second son of the above Joseph Henry Clevenger,
was born in 1777 and emigrated with his family across the Allegheny mountains
to Allen County, Ohio, and Franklin County, Ohio. Benjamin Clevenger had ten
sons and three daughters born in Virginia and Ohio and he was thus the
ancestor of a very large set of Clevenger important in Ohio and Indiana.
Clevengers in the Continental Army
History records of New Jersey and Virginia reveal that a number of the early
American Clevenger men were patriots and soldiers in the American Continental
Army. They were volunteers in the Militia of New Jersey and Virginia fighting
the British and Hessians for the independence of the Colonies in the American
Revolutionary War, 1775 - 1783.
Isaiah Clevenger, born about 1750 in New Jersey, was a private in the 2nd
Regiment, Captain Hendry's Company, New Jersey Militia. This unit was part of
the Continental Army, and was engaged in the battles of Concord, Trenton, and
Monmouth, New Jersey.
Zachariah Clevenger, 1750, of Burlington, New Jersey, was a captain and a
company commander in the 1st Regiment of the New Jersey militia. He was at
Trenton and Valley Forge
Thomas Clevenger, born about 1745 in New Jersey, was a private in Captain
Jonathan Holmes' Company, 2nd Regiment, Spencer's Regiment, New Jersey
Militia, 1775 - 1783. After the war, he moved southward to Shenandoah County,
Ebe, Eben Clevenger, a son of George Clevenger, who moved before 1750 from New
Jersey to Frederick County, Virginia, served in the Virginia Militia,
Continental Army, 1775 - 1783. After the war, he moved westward on federal land
grant land for veterans in the present Fayette County, Ohio. It is recorded
that he applied in 1818 in Ohio for a veterans pension.
Clevengers in Northern Virginia
Families of Clevengers were prominent in the Blue Ridge Mountains and
shenandoah Valley of Northern Virginia during its early settlement from about
1750 up to the Civil Ware of 1860 - 1865.
Originating in New Jersey, and possibly one family emigrating from Scotland,
there were numerous Clevenger families living in early in the localities of
present Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia, Woodstock, Shenandoah County,
Virginia and Front Royal, Warren County, Virginia.
There are today many Clevenger families in farming, business and professions
in the Shenandoah Valley who are the very distand cousins of the Clevenger
families now living in the Cumberland Mountains of southwestern Virginia,
eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, Ohio, Missouri, western Washington and Oregon.
The Clevenger families of northern Virginia, who were predominantly in farming,
found that their sons and grandsons who were born between 1800 and 1840, were
restless for their own farms. They joined the westward movement to Ohio and
the old southwestern frontier of Virginia, Kentucky ann Tennessee.
The Clevenger families of Ohio
After 1800 there was a sizeable migration of Clevenger men from nothern
Virginia across the Allegheny Mountains to the new frontier. George R.
Griffiths has written a detailed genealogy of the large line of Ohio families
descendent from Joseph H. Clevenger, a settler of 1772 in the Woodstock area
of Shenandoah County, Virginia.
Benjamin Clevenger, a son of Joseph H Clevenger, moved his family to Ohio in
1807. He was an early and prominent settler in northwestern Ohio where he
operated a mill and was a township treasurer at Gomer, Allen County north of
the present city of Lima, Ohio.
Benjamin Clevenger (1777 - 1853) made an important contribution to Ohio
history through his large family of ten sons and three daughters. The eldest
sons were born in Virginia and the youngest was born on the Ohio frontier.
Each of the following sons of Benjamin Clevenger are the ancestors of many
present Clevengers in Ohio as well as Clevengers in other midwestern and
William Clevenger (1800 - 1858), Gomer, Ohio, married Elizabeth Henry and had
three children; Jacob Clevenger (1803 - 1880), Gomer, Ohio, married Eliza
Rimer and had fourteen children:
Isaac Clevenger (1816 - 1893), Gomer, Ohio
George Clevenger (1805 - 1885)
Samuel Clevenger (1808 - ?)
James Clevenger (1818 - ?)
Eli Clevenger (1820 - 1854), Gomer, Ohio
And there are two daughters of record -
Susannah Clevenger (1811 - 1831)
From another set of Ohio Clevengers came a nationally famous artist, the
unusually gifted sculptor, Shobal Vail Clevenger. He is the first of the
Clevenger surname to be recorded in the major biographical literature of the
United States. He was the son of Samuel Clevenger, an emigrant of 1810 from
New Jersey to Middletown, Butler County, about 30 miles north of present
Cincinnati, Ohio. Starting as an apprentice in stone caving, Shobal became
famous as a sculptor in Cincinnati and New York in the period 1827 - 1840. He
did statuary of famous statesmen - Presidents Harrison, Van Buren as well as
Daniel Webster. He went to florence, Italy, to further his art and while there
became inflicted with silicosis of the lungs from which he died tragically
while enroute from Italy to America in 1843.
The son of Shobal, Shobal Vail Clevenger Jr., born in Florence, Italy in 1843,
was returned to America by his mother, Elizabeth (Wright) Clevenger, a
daughter of Thomas Wright and Comfort Hancock of New York. He had a varied and
illustrious career after his formal education in New Orleans and at the
Chicago Medical College. In 1861 he enlisted in the U. S. Army, Engineer Corps
for service in the war between the States, attaining the rank of First
Lieutenant. After the Civil War, he was U. S. Deputy Surveyor in Dakota and
Montana territories. In 1879 he was a doctor specializing in psychiatry and
became the Physician and Medical Director of the Illinois State Insane Asylum.
In his later years, he was professor of anatomy at the Chicago Art Institute.
From 1874 to 1898 he wrote several publications on surveying. psychiatry and
medicine. The author has no information on Shobal vail Clevenger Jr.
pertaining to his marriage, children, or death. He is recognized as one of the
most successful and professional men bearing the Clevenger surname.
A nationally known Clevenger in Ohio was Congressman Clifford Clevenger (1885
- 1960). His genealogy is not available, but he is possibly a descendent of
Asa Clevenger of northern Virginia who had several sons who came to Ohio after
1800. Clifford Clevenger was born in Brown County, Nebraska in 1885, but he is
recorded as moving east to Iowa, Wisconsin and the Ohio during the 1904 - 1914
period. He was active in retail merchandising and became the president of
Clevenger Stores, Bowling Green, Northern Ohio, In 1938 he was elected as a
Republican to the Congress of the United States representing Ohio and was
reelected several times, serving in Congress until 1959. He died in 1960 and
was interred in Neenah, Wisconsin. He had a son, John G Clevenger, now living
in Tiffin, Ohio. The author has no other information on this family.
Clevengers in Tennessee and Missouri
A large number of Clevenger and related families living today in Tennessee,
North Carolina and other southern states, and in Missouri are descendents of
Thomas Clevenger (1710 - 1809) who had left New Jersey for Frederick County,
Virginia about 1750. After his service in the Virginia Militia in the
Revolutionary War, Thomas Clevenger moved his family by covered wagon from
northern Virginia 500 miles southwestward to Cocke County Tennessee. He was
one of the early settlers in the valley and Smoky Mountains if the Knoxville
region of old East Tennessee. He est5ablished his family of four sons in Cocke
County where they were members of the Big Pidgeon Baptist Church.
A geneological record of Thomas Clevenger and his wife, Syche, shows that
their four sons had over 25 sones who made the surname of Clevenger prominent
in east Tennessee and in Ray County, Missouri between 1800 and 1850.
The sons of Thomas Clevenger and their wives are as follows:
Elsey Clevenger (daugheter) married Reuben Allen, Virginia, 1791
Richard Clevenger married Sarah Wood in Virginia, 1795
Jesse Clevenger married Jeannette Fleming, 1834, Ray County, Missouri
Samuel Clevenger (no marriage information available)
Elias Clevenger married Sarah Jane Nelson, 1844
Richard Clevenger the eldest son of Thomas, was prominent early in Tennessee.
The first governor of Tennessee, John Sevier, commisioned him as Ensign of the
Regiment of Cocke County in 1798. He served on gunboats on the upper Tennessee
River. Richard Clevenger and his wife, Sarah (Wood), Clevenger had four sones
and three doughters. Their eldest son, John Clevenger, born in Virginia, 1798,
left east Tennessee as a youth in a flat boat up the Tennessee River and the
Missouri River to settle in Ray County. Missouri about 1815.
Their second son, William Clevenger (1806 - 1901) by two marriages - to Dorcas
Garner, 1829, and Nancy McCorkle, 1838, had ten sons and one daughter born in
Tennessee between 1830 and 1860,
These sons who became the heads of Tennessee and other southern Clevenger
George Clevenger (married Nancy Emmett)
and Jasper Clevenger.
Jesse Clevenger (ca 1815 - 1875) was the third son of Thomas Clevenger.
During his youth in Cocke County, Tennessee, he emigrated by flat boat on the
courses of the Tennessee and Missouri rivers to Ray County, Missouri, about 40
miles northeast of the present Kansas City. Here on the western frontier in
1834 he married Jennett Fleming and raised a family of five sons and three
daughters between 1835 and 1860. The were some of the early farm families in
The sons were:
Lewis Clevenger (1835 - ?) was a Lieutenant in the 6th Missouri Cavalry of
the Union Army during the Civil War, 1861 - 1865. He is recorded as having
been in charge of a detail of 50 men chasing "bushwhackers" in Greenfield
County (Green County, southwestern Missouri) in an action June 14, 1864.
The other sons were Isaac Clevenger, Andrew Clevenger, Samuel Clevenger and
Jesse Clevenger, Jr. His daughters were Elizabeth Clevenger, Agnes Clevenger,
and Margaret Clevenger.
Tennessee and Missouri Clevengers became separated by geography and later by
the Civil War. Those who left east Tennessee for Missouri were "free Soilers."
The author has no information on the record of the Tennessee Clevengers during
the Civil War.
Cocke County, Tennessee and Ray County, Missouri were certainly the historic
origins of many Clevenger families living in the South and Southwest in the
present century. The genealogies and the lives of the Virginian, Thomas
Clevenger and his sons Richard and Jesse are typical of the westward movement
across the Appalachians and into the fast farm lands of the Louisiana Purchase
or the Mississippi Valley between 1810 and 1860.
Clevenger families of the Kentucky-Virginia Cumberlands
The Clevenger families and their related Stiltner families now living in
western Washington and Oregon trace their parentage to the Cumberland
Mountains of Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. The author's estimate is
that by 1875 one-fourth of the Clevenger families of America were isolated
and separated from the mainstream of progress because their grandparents had
determined to settle and remain in the bottoms and hollows of the Cumberland
Journalist and social scientists have written much about the poverty
and cultural conservation of the Cumberland Mountain folk. It is know today as
Appalachia, a depressed region of low family income.
As early as 1890 the Cumberlands were a region of emigration. Thousands of its
younger men and women moved to seek land and employment in the far west or in
the industrial cities. Many Clevenger and Stiltner families were a part of
this outmigration from the hills of Kentucky and West Virginia. The new
frontier for them was the lumber towns and the bottomlands of the Cascade
Mountains of southwestern Washington.
It has been difficult for the author to come by records on the earliest
Clevengers who separated from their kinsmen in northern Virginia, east
Tennessee and Ohio by settling in then isolated Cumberlands about 1800. Most
are believed to be descendents of George Clevenger (1710 - 1809) who pioneered
in Frederick County, Shenandoah Valley, northern Virginia. He had a large
family of restless sons - Revolutionary War veterans who took different
westward paths after this war of 1790. One of those families was Joseph Henry
Clevenger who had six sons who all went to the frontier in West Virginia,
Ohio and Kentucky.
One large family which was formed about 1815 in Buchanan County, Virginia, is
the root of many Clevinger (Clevenger) families living today in the
southwestern Washington and northwestern Oregon. John Clevinger spelled his
name differently from the usual "Clevenger" spelling. It is difficult to trace
his ancestry from records and even memoirs because nearly every Clevenger
family in New Jersey and northern Virginia had sons with the name of "John."
This was perhaps a tradition to honor the original John Clevenger of early
New Jersey. John, the Virginia mountaineer, Clevenger, was born about 1800 in
the very hilly country about Grundy, Virginia. A genealogical record of this
family was generally compiled from some memoirs and old Baptist Church records
collected by Burton Stiltner.
About 1816 John Clevinger married Polly Stiltner in Buchanan County, (then
part of Tazewell County, Virginia). This marriage was to blood-relate a very
large number of persons which the author has termed "The Cascade Mountain Clan
of Clevengers and Stiltners" concentrated in the present Lewis County,
Washington. Polly Stiltner (date of birth unknown) was the daughter of
Frederick Charles Stiltner, a frontiersman of old Tazewell County, Virginia.
John Clevenger and Polly (Stiltner) Clevinger started their family in Buchanan
County. Virginia, but because of the lack of land and employment they moved
northward into what is Webster County, Virginia. His living was that of part
time farming and working in the hardwood logging. Born to this union was a
large family of eleven sons and one daughter who were to separate, but remain
largely in the Cumberland Mountains. Their youngest son, Joseph C. Clevinger
was to move with a large family to Lewis Count,y, Washington in 1910 and many
of their grandchildren from their sons Levi Clevinger and Lewis Clevinger
migrated to Washington after 1905. (See Clevinger families of Lewis County,
To the union of John Clevinger and Polly Stiltner were born the following in
Virginia and West Virginia. Data on their marriages and children are
Taylor Clevinger, born ca 1817, Buchanan County, Va
Hemp Clevinger, born ca 1818, Buchanan County, Va
Levi Clevinger, born ca 1819, Buchanan County, Va
md Nancy Hamilton, moved to Pike County, Ky
Fred Clevinger, born ca 1822, Buchanan County, Va
James Clevinger, born ca 1825, Buchanan County, Va
John Clevinger, Jr, born ca 1835, Buchanan County, Va
Lewis Clevinger, born ca 1839, Webster County, W Va
md Collie Jane Collie, several sons, moved to Washington
Robert Clevinger, born ca 1840, Webster County, W Va
Harrison Clevinger, born ca 1850, Webster County, W Va
Joseph C. Clevinger, born ca 1857, Webster County, W Va
md Virginia Perdue, 1875, moved with large family in 1910 to Lewis County,
The Levi Clevinger family in Pike County, Kentucky
Levi Clevinger, third son of the above John Clevinger, raised a family of
seven in the Elkhorn City area of Pike County, Kentucky during the period 1840
- 1860. One of his younger sons, Nelson Clevinger and most of his grandchildren
were to migrate from the poverty of this area to Lewis County, Washington and
western Oregon after 1900. A mountain farmer and woodsman, Levi Clevinger
married Nancy Hamilton, eldest daughter of Nelson Hamilton, a prominent
Virginian who had settled in Pike County, Kentucky.
To the marriage of Levi Clevinger and Nancy (Hamilton) Clevinger were born the
following in Pike County, Kentucky.
John Wesley Clevinger, born 1845,
md Luvida Bartley and raised a family of eight children in Pike County
Pleasant "Pleth" Clevinger, born 1847, had a large family in Pike County. Died
1928, many grandchildren.
William George Clevinger, born 1843, died in youth in logging accident.
Louis Clevinger, born 1856, married Nancy J. Canady, Pike County Ky;
several children and many grandchildren in Kentucky. Several grandchildren by
his son John Emmet Clevinger and Mary Bartley who moved to Oregon. (See
Clevinger families in Oregon.)
Nelson Clevinger, born 1858, married Mary Childers, Pike County, Ky, and moved
large family to West Plains Missouri, thence to Grays Harbor and Lewis County,
Lucy Clevinger, born 1860, married John Ratliff (Ratcliff), Pikes County, Ky.
Their son, John Ratliff emigrated to Tacoma, Washington about 1915. His son,
Stanley Tadcliff lives in Tacoma.
Judy Clevinger, born 1848, married Bud Belcher, Pike County, Ky. They moved to
western Oregon about 1910.
Lewis Clevinger family in West Virginia
Lewis Clevinger was the seventh son of John Clevinger and Polly Stiltner and
was born about 1840 in Webster County, West Virginia. About 1860 he married
Pollie Jane Collie (Colly) who was part Cherokee Indian blood. He was a
woodsman, mountain farmer, and a religious man, serving as an elder in the
Regular Baptist Church in this church's associations in the Cumberland
Mountains of old Virginia and West Virginia. He became closely associated with
the families of Milburn Jackson Stiltner and Franklin Pierce Stiltner in
Webster County, West Virginia. Lewis Clevinger died about 1910 in West
Virginia just as most of his sons were planning to emigrate with the Stiltner
families to Lewis County, Washington. Lewis Clevinger's widow and her
following sons and daughters had moved to Morton County, Washington by 1917:
Charles P. Clevenger, and
daughter Diadama (Arnold) Clevenger
(see Lewis Clevinger families in southwestern Washington.)
Charles Clevinger family in West Virginia
Charles Clevenger, born in West Virginia in 1869, probably a descendent of
George Clevenger (1710 - 1809) in northern Virginia, was the head of another
large family closely associated with the Milburn Jackson Stiltner family in
the West Virginia Cumberlands and in the migration to Washington State. hE
married Reedy, daughter of Milburn Jackson Stiltner in Elk Lick, West Virginia
in 1892. In 1901 as a young family with several children they migrated to
Lewis County, Washington.
Clevenger and Clevinger families in western Washington and Oregon
A number of families with the surname Clevinger or Clevenger have migrated to
the young Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington since 1880. Most
of them are distantly related but do not have the common ancestor of John
Clevenger in New Jersey in 1700. These families are from the different lines of
Clevenger that were established after 1800 in northern Virginia, Ohio, est
Tennessee, the Kentucky-Virginia Cumberlands and western Missouri. The author
has collected some information in preparation for a forthcoming book -
Clevenger Families of Washington. These notes will be found in part VIII -
Other Related Families.
The majority of the Clevenger families living in Washington and Oregon today
are the descendents of the large clannish groups who migrated from the
Cumberland Mountains between 1900 and 1925. The author has take the liberty of
identifying them in the literature with the unique title - "Cascade Mountain
Clan, The Clevengers and Stiltners and Related Families."
Nelson Clevinger Family in Lewis County, Washington
Nelson Clevinger (1858 - 1935) is the patriarch of a large group who left Pike
County, Kentucky after 1900 and eventually settled by 1910 in the area of
Morton and Randle, Lewis County, Washington. He was born February 26, 1858 on
Elkhorn Creek, Kentucky, one of the younger sons of Levi Clevinger and Nancy
Hamilton. In 1880, he married Mary Childers, daughter of Love Childers and
Rebecca Ratliff from two large Pike County pioneer families. His major
occupation was logging and log driving on the Big Sandy River. This work was
at better wages to attract him to Howell County, in the Ozarks of southern
Missouri where he moved his family about 1903. He joined a number of other
Pike County Kentuckians who were finding good employment in lumbering and
logging in a booming area of Washington, the Chehalis Valley of Grays Harbor
County. He moved his family there about 1905 by using the continental trains.
Nelson Clevinger's main goal was to settle this land and this was fulfilled by
taking up a homestead in the Big Bottom Country of the Cowlitz River near
Randle, Washington about 1909. Here to he rejoined with his kith and kin from
Virginia and Kentucky who were literally colonizing eastern Lewis County,
causing some to call it "Little Kentucky."
Nelson Clevinger and Mary Childers had a large family born in Kentucky, but
they matured in Lewis County, Washington and which in turn raised another
generation of Clevingers now living in Tacoma, Seattle, Chehalis, Centralia
and Morton, WAshington. Their children and grandchildren are summarized here.
Cora Clevinger, born 1880, md Omar Bradshaw, West Virginia, moved a large
family to San Diego, California, 1920; several sons, Alvin, Eldon, Omar, and
Danny residing in San Diego.
William Keenus Clevinger, born 1882, died 1957, Morton, Washington, md
Priscilla Tina Adams, Pike County, five sons, two daughters born in Kentucky,
Missouri and Washington. (See William K. Clevinger Family.)
Daisy Clevinger, born 1884, married Ira W. Spears, West Plains, Missouri,
1905; moved to Grays Harbor, Washington and thence to Randle, Washington,
thence to Randle, Washington, thence to Chehalis, Washington.
Children raised at Randle, Washington:
Kearns Spears, born 1906, married Helen Pollard at Randle, three sons, Ernest,
Edward, Alvin. Kearns Spears was a prominent lumber business man, Grants Pass,
Oregon in 1971.
Raymond Spears, born 1908, married Opal Martin of Glenoma, four children
raised in Chehalis: Lyle, John, Mary and Patricia. Raymond Spears was a
businessman in Chehalis in 1971.
Elmo M. Spears, born 1912, married Wade W. McNee, Randle; raised three sons at
Carson, Skamania County, Washington: Dale, William, and Dean McNee.
Robert Spears, born 1928, married ???, sons Robert and Brian.
Phyllis Mae Shaeffer (adopted niece of Daisy Clevinger Spears), born 1925,
Morton, Washington, married Dean Scott, Randle; now a businessman in
Centralia, Washington. Three children, James, Judy and Joan.
Jack Schaeffer (adopted nephew of Daisy Spears), born 1927, Morton, married
Naomi Scott, Randle, two children, Daniel and Lynda, raised in Chehalis,
Millard Clevinger, born 1887, unmarried, settled in Portland, Oregon, died
1967, interred at Centralia, Washington, World War I veteran.
Orville Clevinger, born 1892, married Bertha Short, Morton, Washington, one
daughter, Virginia Clevinger. Orville died 1963, interred at Randle,
Charles Bradshaw Clevinger, born 1896, married Florence Shadell, Morton,
children Elva Dell and Gerald Clevinger, second marriage to Hope Werst,
Randle, one daughter, Beverly Clevinger.
Charles B. "Brad" Clevinger served in the U. S. Army in France in 1918 - 1919,
World War I and was a machine operator with the U. S. Forest Service. at
Randle for many years. He was retired at Mossyrock, Washington in 1971.
Landon L. Clevinger, b. 1898, md Erna McKay, Randle in 1920, one daughter,
Marjorie Clevinger who married J. J. Wasson of Seattle. Landon Clevinger
served U. S. Army AEF, 693'd Co., Motor Transport Corps in France and
Belgium, 1918 - 1919. He was with the U. S. Forest Service at Randle,
Washington until he retired in 1935 with a serious injury; now retired in
Ernest Clevinger, b. 1901, died as a youth at Morton, Washington with
influenza in the 1918 - 1919 epidemic; interred at Morton.
Josephine Clevinger, b. 1904, md Norbert Schaeffer in 1925 who was son of
German immigrant family at Ashford, Washington. Josephine died from childbirth
in 1926 and her widower Norbert died in a high-climbing logging accident in
1927 at Mineral, Washington. Two children, Phyllis May and Jack were adopted
by Ira W. and Daisy Clevinger Spears at Randle.
The men and women of the Nelson Clevinger family contributed much to the
development of the Morton and Randle communities in Lewis County. Nelson and
his son William developed an 80 acre livestock farm out of the Davis Lake
swamp; cleared and built several houses on their acreage in the Cutler
Addition to Morton; were part owners with their brother-in-law, Lorenzo D.
Childers in one of the first general stores in Morton; and were trustees of
the Methodist Churches in Morton and Randle. The son in law, Ira W. Spears and
his son Kearns developed 40 acres on the Spears Road of the Big Bottom at
Randle, and, about 1925 built the first theater in this community. Landon
Clevinger had a garage business in Randle and contracts for hauling U. S. mail
from Morton to Randle. Charles "Brad" Clevinger, a man of great physical
strength, was a skilled bulldozer operator and worked with the original crews
of the U.S. Forest Service under the supervision of Henry Blankenship in
making the original forest road up the Cispus River to Mount Adams. The
womenfolk of the family, Mary Childers Clevinger, Priscilla Adams Clevinger,
and Daisy Clevinger Spears, were noted for their hard work in church and
school functions and their folk arts and customs brought from Pike County,
Kentucky. The practiced home spinning, home made soap making, quilting and
cooking of the Kentucky Mountain culture as late as 1930.
William Keenus Clevinger Family in Western Washington
William Keenus Clevinger, prominent pioneer of Morton in Lewis County,
Washington was born November 7, 1882 at Elkhorn City, Pike County, Kentucky
and died at Morton, Washington in 1957. He was the eldest son of Nelson
Clevinger and Mary Childers and one of the many grandsons of Levi Clevinger
and Nancy Hamilton (1818 - 1895). William was married to Priscilla Tina Adams
in Pike County, Kentucky in 1901. She was the daughter of Martin Adams and
Cilla Wright (1860 - 1940) and the granddaughter of John Adams (1824 - 1900),
head of a large pioneer family in Pike County, Kentucky.
William sought work outside the Cumberland Mountains and moved down the Big
Sandy River to Greenup County, Kentucky. He then joined his father Nelson and
other woodsmen in moving to southern Missouri and then onward to Grays Harbor,
Washington and finally to Morton, Washington. To the union of William K.
Clevinger and Priscilla T. Adams during their residence in three states were
born the following between 1903 and 1932 -
Ethel Maude Clevinger, b 1903, Geenup County, Kentucky, graduated from
Ellensburg Normal Teachers College, 1924; school teacher at Bremer, Morton,
Mineral, Randle, and Bremerton,1925 - 1965. Married L. Leroy who died 1945;
living at Bremerton, Washington.
Kemper Lester Clevinger, b 1906, Westplains, Missouri, married Julia Compton,
daughter of James Compton and Celia Tiller, Morton, Washington, 1927. He was in
sawmilling and logging business at Morton. Their children were Donald
Clevinger, b 1928, died 1933, Jerene Clevinger b 1935, md Paul Smart, Randle,
children Craig Smart and Cherri Smart. Allen Clevinger, second son of Kemper,
b 1936, served in the U.S. Air Force in Europe, 1954 - 1957, md Dorene
Springer, living in Centralia.
Arnold Samuel Clevinger, b 1907, Greenup, Kentucky, in oil and gasoline
distributing and retailing in Morton and Tacoma 1930 - 1970; md Caroline
Wellman of Tacoma, 1935; now retired in Tacoma.
Martin, MArshal and Marion Clevinger, triplet sons who died at birth, 1912,
Woodrow Rex Clevinger, b 1914, Morton, Washington; graduate of the University
of Washington with BA, MA, and PhD degrees 1939 - 1955; commissioned officer,
U. S. Navy, Pacific Feet in World War II and Japan occupation 1940 - 1950.;
Lt. Cmdr and Commanding Officer of USS LSM 290, 1945, and USS Patroclus, 1946;
Economist ad Statistician with the U. S. Department of Agriculture 1955 -
1960; Professor of Business, Seattle University, 1960 - 1971. Married Ella Mae
Anderson, daughter of Richard P. Anderson, Kansas City, Missouri, 1950; tow
children, Carolyn L. Clevinger, b 1951 and Martin, b 1953, Seattle.
Return to Stiltner Family home page.
The Universe is An Affirmative Communication Process!