The Stultz family is not as large as some other Brocks Gap families, but they’ve been in the area since at least the 1790s. Peter Stultz lived on Dry River near Dull Hunt Road after moving from Shenandoah County. His 1796 will named wife Margaret and eight children. One of Peter’s descendants wrote that three of Peter’s sons married Caplinger sisters and moved to Highland County, Ohio. Another son married in 1798 and moved to Adams County, Ohio.
Most of the Stultz descendants in the Gap today are from Philip Stultz’s family, a cousin of Peter. Philip first appears in Rockingham County records living in upper Linville Creek area near Harrisonburg. About 1808 he moved to the Gap at the Blue Hole near the Doves (at Bergton) and Fitzwaters (on Route 259). He purchased his farm from Thomas and Catherine McKinzie who had purchased it from the Fitzwaters. Philip’s 141 acres at West Gap stretched from near Highway 259 almost to Bergton. There was a problem with the title, though, and Stultz sued McKinzie’s heirs in 1825 to correct the title.
That was not his first lawsuit, however. Philip did not get along with some of his neighbors, especially the Doves. In 1811, he sued to prevent George Dove from selling alcohol in his store. Maybe Philip strongly opposed liquor sales, but maybe he was upset because about 1809, George’s son Aaron Dove had fathered twins out of wedlock with Philip’s daughter Mary “Polly” Stultz. His daughter Barbara Stultz sued Jacob Dove in 1812. In 1815 Philip sued Jacob Dove, and in 1816 Philip sued G. Caplinger.
In 1827, Philip, John and Abraham Stultz put up their farm as security in a deed of trust to secure a loan of $108.46 from George and Frederick Dove. Philip and his sons worked for Dove to help repay the loan. In the court case Philip Stultz vs. George Dove and others, the witnesses’ testimony reveals details about everyday life. Farm laborer wages were $5 per month, driving a wagon to Moorefield would take three days, and wages to drive a wagon to Fredericksburg would be half a dollar per day. In a three day trip, Philip Stultz Sr. hauled whiskey to New Market for George Dove, and his labor would have been 50 cents a day and use of the wagon two shillings a day. Poplar logs were used to make water troughs for Dove’s mill.
The Stultz family cemetery near the Blue Hole is the probable resting place of Philip Stultz, his wife, and other family members. We will never know for certain because only river rocks mark the graves. Lewis Yankey wrote that one of the old Stultz men was away once on a trip near Harrisonburg. On his way home to Bergton, he died near Fulks Run. Since this was before embalming, he was buried in the nearest cemetery which happened to be the Trumbo Cemetery near present-day Fulks Run Elementary School. There is no carved tombstone for him.
Philip’s wife may have been named Catherine. There may have been more children than the nine children whose names we know. Philip Stultz Jr. (ca 1790-after 1850) remained in Brocks Gap. Married in 1833, Philip Jr. and his wife Catherine Riggleman Moyers Stultz had one child together, William Stultz (1833-1892), and they raised Catherine’s daughter Hagar Moyers.
William Stultz married Mary Ann Moyers, and they lived in the Bergton area. William and Mary Ann are buried in the Perry Moyers Cemetery. Their eleven children married into the Whetzel, Sonifrank, Fitzwater, May, Dove, Delawder families. Some of their children and grandchildren moved to Nokesville/Manassas area. The 1880 census reported that William had not worked in twelve months because of “white swelling,” which is the old name for tuberculosis of bones and joints.
William’s daughter Hagar Stultz married George W. Sonifrank, and they became the ancestors of most of the Sonifranks in Rockingham County. Two of William’s Whetzel grandsons married Albrite women and were my great-uncles, Van Whetzel and Sam Whetzel.
William and Mary Ann’s son Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Stultz married Susannette May. They had two sons, Seymour Stultz and Joseph Stultz. Joseph and his wife Virginia “Dare” Stultz owned and ran the store at Criders, VA where “Dare” was postmaster for many years.
William Philip Stultz, son of William and Mary Ann Moyers Stultz, married Phoebe Delawder. Their four children were Felix (married Annie Lantz), Etta (married Calvin “Little Cal” Moyers, Minnie (married Joseph Hupp), and Margie (married John M. Dove). Rev. Owen G. Stultz, Church of the Brethren minister, is William P. Stultz’s grandson.
More information on the Stultz family is in The Stultz Family of Brocks Gap area, Rockingham County by Lewis H. Yankey.