Notes on Clara Elizabeth Norman

The 1900 Calhoun County WV Census record indicates that Clarissa Norman was living with her mother "Seneth" (Aseneth Norman) in 1900, along with her daughter Addie.

NORMAN, 53-55
Seneth...Head...WF...Jun 1841...58...Widow...5/5...Farmer...WV WV WV
William O...Son...WM...Jun 1863...36...Farm Laborer...WV WV WV
Clarissa...Dau...WF...Feb 1876...24...WV WV WV
Addie...Gr-dau...WF...Mar 1894...6...WV WV WV

Clarissa Norman, daughter of Aseneth Norman, was born in 1876. She gave birth to Addie Norman March 19, 1894. Addie's birth record, available online AT THIS LINK, indicates birth 3/19/1894, mother's name Clara Norman, with the father's name difficult to decipher by this writer:

Actual image taken from the Calhoun County WV birth records

Some researchers have taken this name to be Jack S. Nutter. However, all the other father names on this original record are written as first name first - last name last. The first letter in the first name is similar to the letter "A" in other entries on this ledger.

Clara (Clarissa) Norman married Thomas Alexander Hopkins 11/22/1903. She was 28; he was 42 and noted to be a widower, born in Wood Co. WV. An image of their marriage certificate is available AT THIS LINK. Thomas first wife, Nancy L. "Nannie" Hopkins, was born June 22, 1861, died June 18, 1903, cause of death reported as consumption, report made by Clara Hopkins. Link.

Addie Norman is listed in the 1910 census as living in the household of William and Mabel Merrill, a step-sister. Presumably, Mabel Merrill was the daughter of Thomas H. Hopkins by his first wife.

1910 Federal Census, Burning Springs district, Wirt County WV.

Addie Norman married Ray Kelley on October 30, 1910. Her age was given as 17, parents Clara Hopkins. Ray Kelly's age was given as 19, born in Calhoun County, parents Henrietta Kelley. An image of their marriage certificate is available AT THIS LINK.

Additional information regarding the family of Ray Kelley is available in a genealogical file produced by Don Norman AT THIS LINK.

We have been fortunate to have come into contact with Nancy Cretella of New Jersey, grand-daughter of Addie Norman Kelley. Ms Cretella has in her possession transcripts of personal letters between Clara Norman and Thomas A Hopkins, and other family members, from as early as 1903. These letters, highly personal in nature, suggest that Thomas A. Hopkins met Clara through his acquaintance with Peter Booher, uncle of Clara, brother of Aseneth Booher Norman. One can only speculate how Thomas A. Hopkins and Peter Booher came to be friends. It can be noted that Peter Booher and Thomas A. Hopkins father Thomas Bartlett Hopkins both served in the 11th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry, Union regiment in the Civil War. Hopkins Co. F, Booher Co. C.

All photos on this page courtesy of Deborah Hopkins, DVM, Long Island NY, granddaughter of Clara Norman Hopkins.

Clara Elizabeth Norman Hopkins (1876-1953).

Thomas Alexander Hopkins (1862-1943).

This writer speculates that Clara Norman and Thomas Alexander may have in fact been second cousins. Evidence leading to this speculation is available AT THIS LINK.

Clara died August 17, 1953 at her home in Parkersburg WV. An image of her death certificate is available AT THIS LINK.

Thomas Alexander Hopkins died February 26, 1943 in Parkersburg WV. An image of his death certificate is available AT THIS LINK.

Obituaries taken from The Parkersburg News, Parkersburg West Virginia

Thomas Hopkins is Claimed by Death

Thomas A. Hopkins, aged 80, died Friday at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Anna Hartley of 3301 Dudley avenue, City.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Clara Hopkins and several children by a former marriage: Marion Hopkins of Fleming, Ohio; Richard Hopkins of this city; Mrs Mabel Merrill of Creston , W. Va.; Mrs. Estella Brondon of Bellaire, Ohio, Mrs. Irma Stutler of Oxford, W.Va.; Mrs. Anna Hartley of this city and Durwood Roscoe Rolla and William Hopkins of the U.S. Navy.

The body was removed to the Pomroy funeral home at Elizabeth where the services will be conducted Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock by Evangelist C.D. Plum of the local church of Christ. Burial is to take place in the cemetery at Burning Springs.

Mrs. Clara Hopkins

Mrs. Clara Hopkins , 77, widow of the late Thomas A. Hopkins, died yesterday morning at 10 a.m. at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Paul Hartley, of 3314 Dudley Av.

Mrs. Hopkins, a member of the Parkersburg Church of Christ, was born February 6, 1876, in Arnoldsburg, W. Va., the daughter of the late William and Aseneth Booker Norman.

She is survived by four sons, H.D. Hopkins, Roscoe A., Rolly J., and William R. Hopkins, all of Parkersburg: three daughters, Mrs. Adda Kelley, New Cumberland, W. Va., Mrs. Hollie Shepler, Oxfrord, W.Va., and Mrs. Paul Hartley, at whose home she died: one brother, H.M. Moffet, Milstone, W. Va.: one step-son, E.R. Hopkins, Parkersburg: and three step-daughters, Mrs. Mabel Merrill, and Mrs. Glenna Turner, both of Creston, W. Va, and Mrs. Estella Brordon, of Bellaire, Ohio: 18 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Kimes funeral home. Evangelist Paul Hall will officiate, and interment will follow in the Arlington Memorial Gardens. The body will remain at the Kimes funeral home where friends may call after noon today.

From this information, and from information found AT THIS LINK, a family tree for Clara Norman and Thomas A. Hopkins is offered AT THIS LINK.

An additional Hopkins family genealogical listing, compiled by Don Norman, is available AT THIS LINK.

Clara Elizabeth Norman Hopkins.

Clara Norman and Clarissa Elizabeth.

Clara and Jimmy Bills Bay.

Family photo.

Notes regarding Thomas A. Hopkins first wife, Nancy L. Hopkins

Nancy L. Hopkins was born June 22, 1861, daughter of Oakley and Hannah Virginia (Menefee) Hopkins.

1860 Federal census, Calhoun County (Virginia)

1870 Federal census, Lee Dist., Calhoun Co. WV

Family of Oakley Hopkins, 1880 Federal census, Burning Springs Dist. Wirt Co. WV

Marriage records at the West Virginia archive AT THIS LINK document the marriage August 4, 1881 of Thomas A. Hopkins to Nancy L. Hopkins.

According to the genealogical information provided by Don Norman AT THIS LINK, Thomas A. and Nancy L. would have been first cousins once removed.

As noted, Nancy L. was the daughter of Oakley Hopkins. Historical evidence indicates that Oakley Hopkins was killed by Union bushwhackers at his home in Calhoun County in 1861.

According to a family history written by Eileen Dianne Hopkins Barr, published in History of Calhoun County West Virginia 1989, page 104:
Oakley Hopkins, a descendant of Stephen, was killed on Yellow Creek, Calhoun county, by raiders during the Civil War. It is believed that Oakley is buried in the Depue cemetery. It is my thinking that Oakley was either a brother or a first cousin of my greatgreat- grandfather, James M. C. Hopkins, born around 1801, in Monongalia county.
Further note of this event is made in an account provided by Leman Wilson, Big Bend, West Virginia, great-grandson of George Wilson. This account has been published AT THIS LINK, as part of the collection of articles "Calhoun County In The Civil War," a part of the Calhoun County WV GenWeb site, maintained by Linda Cunningham Fluharty.

When the Civil War started, my great-grandfather, George Wilson (June 25, 1811-December 13, 1861) and his sons decided to be neutral.

General McClellan moved into western Virginia at Philippi. Still no change of opinion. When he moved onto the Virginia campaigns a General Roberts took command. He sent a company of soldiers to every crossroad to guard the B&O Railroad --Clarksburg, Buckhannon, Glenville, Spencer, Smithville, Parkersburg, and other locations. They were supposed to guard the B&O Railroad, however, they did more. Companies of soldiers were always on the march. They plundered homes, drove off livestock, punished women who would not give out information.

When a few started bushwhacking those who would not join or stayed neutral, my great-grandfather began to change his mind. Finally a neighbor, Mr. Hopkins, was shot in his own doorway at Yellow Creek near where the Ayers Post Office used to be located. The evening after the funeral they were around the fireside and George Wilson remarked that it was safer in the army than playing neutral. More talk brought on the idea to join up. George Wilson and five of his six sons and a son-in-law, Joshua Martin, made their way to the home of Peregrine Hays and joined up. They joined the Duskey and Downs brigade. Alf, the youngest, was only twelve years old, so he stayed with his mother. (Editor's note: Hays, Duskey, and Downs were leaders of the infamous "Moccasin Rangers," a Confederate partisan home guard).

Calvin, the oldest, soon transferred to the Cavalry unit and served as a colonel. His reason was to be in the same unit as Major Hiram Ferrell, a cousin. They served in Virginia and the Great Kanawha Valley. When they got a furlough the whole company traveled together for protection. They had many skirmishes and at Droop Mountain it turned out to be a pretty lively engagement.

On one of their furloughs there was a dance, probably at the Duskey home. After the dance, in the morning hours, they were awakened by the Federal troops and forced to flee. The young men all made their escape.

George Wilson was a man of fifty years. He was overtaken and captured by a man named Harsock. Harsock knew he must turn him in at Spencer. They stopped to get a breath and while waiting George Wilson lay down to get a drink from a spring, which I am told still exists by the roadside near Cremo. As he raised up from his drink, Harsock shot him with his own gun and joined his own buddies up the road, leaving George Wilson's body by the path or narrow road.

When the Federals started back to their headquarters, probably Smithville, they were ambushed by the Confederates who were ready for them. They made the mistake of all shooting at the leader, a Colonel Feathers. They riddled Feathers's body. Both sides then made their getaway. It was left up to the women of the neighborhood to bury the dead. The next morning a Mrs. McCune and two other women put the bodies on an ox-sled and brought them to a knoll below what is now Cremo. Yes, foe lay side-by-side. Years later Alf Wilson, the youngest son, with the help of Clark Wilson, collected enough money from the descendants to erect a small marker for George Wilson. Someone has since made a small marker for Colonel Feathers.

My grandfather, Robert Wilson, was wounded at Spencer, at a point where the old depot once stood. He was lying behind a rail fence when a bullet hit the fence and glanced down and entered the right side of his neck. He lay unconscious for hours. His companions fled, thinking him dead. He finally rallied but could not see nor walk. Finally sight came and he crawled to the home of Al Hopkins of Spring Creek. He lay there for six weeks. When he was well enough he returned to his outfit. Later in 1886 the bullet worked from under his shoulder and lay under the skin. He had a Dr. Thomas remove it and the bullet became one of his keepsakes. The wound had injured his spine and caused him to stoop. He suffered in old age from rheumatism brought on from the wound.

Some of grandfather's buddies who, as I remember he talked about, were his bed-buddy and close friend, George Gibson--they slept under the same blanket and saved each other's lives on several occasions, Adam Starcher, John Houchin, George Washington Shaffer, father of Carr Shaffer, a Mr. Bailey, Emory Ball, Captain Knotts, a Mr. McCune, and others.

James Wilson, as a young soldier, vowed to never be taken prisoner. On one occasion he accidentally walked into ranks of two companies of soldiers. The Yankees were on fatigue and lay asleep on top of Nicut Hill. James saw one awaken and he immediately gave alarm. He started to run and when he heard the officer say "ready-aim-fire," he dropped into a gully. He started to run again. The command higher up got ready for "ready-aim-fire" and he fell behind a large stone. Then out he came and told them where to go. He then made his way round about and was on his way.
Alvin Engelke, 2-great grandson of William Rodman Hopkins, writing in the HurHerald, notes that Oakley Hopkins was killed by bushwhackers who wanted his rifle, which he had obtained in the Mexican War. There is a notation on the subscription service that Oakley was a surgeon in the Mexican War and was discharged at Vera Cruz, Mexico on January 2, 1848. He was killed by bushwackers on October 14, 1861, at his home in Calhoun County, Virginia, during the Civil War.

This account is most interesting at it illustrates the difficulties of the times in Calhoun County. Clara Norman's mother, Aseneth, was the mother of Thomas Jackson Starcher, by Thomas Starcher, reportedly a member of the Moccasin Rangers. Thomas did not survive the Civil War. Aseneth's husband, William Zinn Norman, was a union soldier who likewise did not survive the Civil war, having been taken prisoner by the Confederates and killed near Browns Gap, Virginia, in 1862. The above account documents yet another connected family disrupted by the mayhem of the times.

As noted elsewhere, the internet holds numerous pages detailing the history of the Moccasin Rangers. This band of irregulars is often described as bushwhackers, outlaws, and plunderers. Names associated with the Moccasin Rangers include Perry Conley, George Duskey, Nancy Hart, and others. Their reputation became such that apparently even the Confederate Army of Robert E. Lee called for their disbandment. Records indicate that elements of the 3rd Virginia State Line (Moccasin Rangers) were rolled in to the 19th Virginia Cavalry. An excellent book, Civilian War in West Virginia - The Moccasin Rangers, provides much detail concerning this topic.

However, the above account suggests that both sides - Union and Confederate - were guilty of bushwhacking and what many would consider criminal behavior. The above account does lend some validity to the claim that the Moccasin Rangers were formed, at least to some degree, as a result of atrocities committed by Union soldiers early in the Civil War.

The account also illustrates how difficult it must have been for the women living in that area at that time. As noted in the above account, "Both sides then made their getaway. It was left up to the women of the neighborhood to bury the dead."


Calhoun County WVGenWeb, maintained by Linda Cunningham Fluharty

West Virginia Division of Culture and History
       Vital Research Records

Rob Salzman's pages at

Taped interview with Victor Starcher, 1992

Personal communication, Deborah Hopkins, DVM, Long Island NY

Personal communication, Nancy Cretella, New Jersey,

Don Norman's Family Files, Don Norman, Elyria, Ohio

Work in progress

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