Biography of George Washington Stamper

George W. Stamper
From “History of Kentucky and Kentuckians” 

Circa 1911

Vigor, enterprise, and persistency – these are the qualities which make for success and these are the characteristics which have dominated 
the career of George W. Stamper, who, through his own efforts, built the ladder by which he has climbed to affluence. He ahs been identified 
with farming, blacksmithing, merchandising, lumbering, and banking, and in each of these enterprises his success has been on a parity with 
his well-directed endeavors. He has also been an important factor in connection with public utilities, and as a citizen he holds a high place 
in the confidence and esteem of his fellowmen.

George Washington Stamper was born on a farm in Lewis County, Kentucky on the 26th of December, 1850, and he is a son of George W and 
Catherine (Dyer) Stamper, the former of whom was a native of north Carolina and the grandfather of him whose name initiates this review, was 
born, reared, and married in North Carolina, and in the early ‘20s he emigrated to Kentucky, locating on the Kentucky River, in Wolfe County, 
where he engaged in farming. He and his wife, whose maiden name was Sallie Stamper, and who was a cousin of her husband, raised a family of 
ten children, most of whom were born in Kentucky. The father of George W., Jr., was the first born, and he was an infant at the time of his 
parents’ removal to the Blue Grass State. When he was fifteen years of age the family home was established in Carter County, and there he grew 
to manhood, married and in 1845, engaged in agricultural pursuits on a farm near Olive Hill, Lewis County. He was very industrious, an excellent 
farmer and business an, and in due time he accumulated competency. About 1865 he opened a store on his farm, continuing to be identified with 
the general merchandise business for the ensuing twenty-five years. His death occurred on his old homestead in 1905, at the venerable age of 
eighty-two years. He was a stalwart Democrat in his political convictions, and he served for several years as justice of the peace. His wife 
was summoned to eternal rest in 1898, at the age of sixty-eight years. She was a daughter of Francis Dyer, of Morgan County, Kentucky. 
Mr. and Mrs. George W. Stamper became the parents of twelve children – five boys and seven girls – nine of whom are living in 1911, and of the 
number the subject of this review was the third in order of birth.

George Washington Stamper, Jr. passed his youth in a manner similar to that of the farmer boy of that day, attending the district school during 
the winter months and working on the home farm during the summer seasons. When he had attained to the age of sixteen years he entered his father’s 
store, where he learned the details of general merchandising, and he continued an inmate of the parental home until he had reached his legal 
majority. Thereafter he worked in a blacksmith shop for a time, and was engaged in farming on his own account for a couple of years, at the 
expiration of which he started a general store on a small scale on Grassy Creek. This store, which he still owns and operates, has been doing 
business for the past thirty-five years. For thirty-three years Mr. Stamper was the able incumbent of the office of postmaster at Head of Grassy, 
and he was one of the oldest postmasters, in point of continuous service, in this section of the State. He also became interested in the timber 
business while located on Grassy Creek, and he was for many years engaged in the stave business and in other enterprises most successfully. 
In 1888 he established his residence at Vanceburg, and in the following year he organized the Stamper Stave & Lumber Company, which carried on 
an extensive trade for nine years, at the expiration of which that firm was dissolved and Mr. Stamper continued in the lumber business in 
partnership with is brother, Joshua Stamper. Two years later, in 1900, he became a member of the firm of Johnson & Stamper, the same engaging 
in the railway tie business, getting out railway ties at various points in this section of the State. This business is now controlled by 
Johnson & Stamper, who are successors to the Elliott Tie Company, which conducts it operations on the Little Sandy River. The annual output 
of this concern is from two hundred thousand to five hundred thousand ties.

In September, 1889, Mr. Stamper laid the foundation of his present large mercantile establishment at Vanceburg by opening a general store in one 
room. This concern has grown to such gigantic proportions that it now occupies space equivalent to nine ordinary storerooms, the stock 
consisting of everything found in a modern department store, except hardware. All Mr. Stamper’s successes are due to his indefatigable energy 
and great business ability, and it is no exaggeration to say that he is one of the greatest hustlers in the State. In addition to his other 
interest he owns several fine farms in the Ohio Valley, and he has extensive real estate holdings in Vanceburg, where he has constructed a 
number of residences and the majority of the business block he now occupies. He was one of the organizers of the Deposit Bank at Vanceburg, of which he is president at the present time and in which he is one of the heaviest stockholders. At the time of the building of the local electric plant he was elected president of that corporation, of which position he is still incumbent. He is a man of tremendous vitality and most extraordinary executive capacity. Beginning with practically nothing in the way of worldly goods, he grasped his opportunities as they appeared, and made of success not as incident, but a logical result. To-day he is recognized as one of the biggest financiers in Eastern Kentucky, and his fair and honorable methods in all his business dealings have gained to him the highest regard of this fellow citizens.

Mr. Stamper is a loyal Democrat in his political proclivities, but he as not had much time for political activity, having been a member of his 
first convention in 1910, at which time his influence was felt in no slight degree. In the Masonic order he has through the circle of the 
York Rite branch, holding membership in Polar Star Lodge, No. 363, Free and Accepted Masons; and Maysville Commandery, No. 10, Knights Templar. 
He and his wife are devout members of Christian Church, to whose charities and benevolences he has ever been a liberal contributor and in whose 
faith his children have been reared.

In 1862 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Stamper to Miss Sophia W. Stafford, a native of Carter County, and a daughter of Sylvester Stafford, 
a farmer who served in the Union Army in the Civil War and who died in service. Mr. and Mrs. Stamper have eight children, namely – Rebecca, 
Cinda, William J., James E., Cora Mae, Julia, Bessie L., and Marie, all of whom were born in Lewis County and all of whom were afforded 
excellent educations.

Note: George served as director and President of the Deposit Bank of Vanceburg for 27 years. George died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Transcription by: Sherry Lowe

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