10 Jun 1833 - 17 Jan 1925
Evergreen Cemetery, Block 07-72-01
Paris, Lamar County, TX
From Loose Leaves of The History of Lamar County, by Ed. H. McCuistion, a series of
newspaper articles in The Paris News, compiled and reprinted by Betsy Mills, Paris, TX, 1995,
page 155 - 162, the following account:
Dr. William Wynne Stell
by Maude Neville
A pioneer of pioneer stock, soldier of the Confederacy, physician, philanthropist and Christian
gentleman, Dr. William Wynne Stell has entered upon the ninetieth year of his life, the day being
celebrated with the unveiling by his granddaughter, Miss Bernice Stell, of the granite boulder
marking the Central National road, the military highway surveyed three-quarters of a century ago
by Dr. Stell's father, George Washington Stell.
Eighty-three years ago, six years after Dr. Stell's birth in Henderson County, Tennessee, the Stell
family came to Texas and settled within the present confines of Lamar County. Ever since, Dr.
Stell, engaged in a score of different vocations, has made his home within the same bounds.
His father, a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Battle of New Orleans, like most of the early
settlers in this part of the country, was a farmer, and brought with him on the migration, his
family, slaves to clear and cultivate the land, and some household furniture.
Farm work, hunting, fishing and the like filled a happy, healthy boyhood, and the future
physician's first "job" was overseeing for "Uncle Johnny" Johnson.
In the fall of '51, at the age of 18, he entered the McKenzie Institute at Clarksville and spent two
years there under the tutelage of the "Old Master," as Dr. McKenzie was called.
This was a famous training place for young divines of the Methodist belief, and it was here that Dr. Stell's own confession of faith was made. He joined the Methodist Church of Paris in 1853.
Then followed a period in which the young man pursued various occupations, and in this list of
his own compilation, are included the majority of them, though the record includes also those
businesses which he engaged in later in life.
"What I Have Been"
1. Farmer almost all the time.
2. School teacher.
3. Sold goods, groceries, hardware, etc.
4. Kept the post office in Paris.
5. Split rails (10 footers at 50 cents per 100).
6. Practiced medicine.
9. Hotel Keeper.
10. Public ginner for 40 years.
12. Fine hog raiser.
13. Trader in lands.
14. Dealer in cattle.
15. Fruit grower and shipper.
He has a keen recollection of the building of the Central Highway, for his father, as well as
surveying it, actually cleared and constructed the road.
In a rare copy of "Laws passed by the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas," owned by Hon.
H. D. McDonald, are found the acts authorizing the survey and opening of this Central National
Road - as well as a number of other measures pertaining to the early history of Lamar County.
The volume was printed about 1844, by "S. Whiting, public printer, Congress Avenue," in Austin.
The act providing for the highway is found on page 101, and its text is: "An act to Open and
Establish a National Road.
"Section 1. Be it enacted, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas
in Congress assembled, that Jason Wilson, William M. Williams of the County of Lamar, John
Tearey of the County of Fannin, Rowland W. Box of the County of Harrison, and James
Bradshaw of the County of Nacogdoches be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners to
view, mark and lay out a road to be called "The Central National road of the Republic of Texas"
from the main Trinity River, beginning at or within 15 miles below the mouth of the Elm Fork of
said stream; thence the nearest and best route to the bank of Red River, opposite the mouth of the
"Section 2. Be it further enacted that George W. Stell of the County of Lamar, be, and he is
hereby, appointed a surveyor to survey and measure said road, agreeable to the provisions of this
act and the directions of said commissioners."
Section 6 of the same act provides that 1280 acres of land, "to be located on any of the
unappropriated lands of Texas" were to be granted the surveyor in payment for his services.
These two sections were subsequently taken up by Mr. Stell in the territory that now belongs to
Delta County, but what was at that time a portion of Lamar.
Still another act provides for the extension of contracts on the road, from January 1st, to April
Section 2 of a supplementary act to a measure to "designate the Southern boundary of Lamar
County, and for other purposes," approved December 26th, 1942, reads:
"Be it further enacted, That John Emberson, Claiborne Chisum, George W. Stell, Hamlin
Williams, and John F. Griffin be, and they are hereby, appointed commissioners, or a majority of
them, to locate the County Seat of Lamar County, agreeably to, and in accordance with, the
provisions of the second and third sections of the Act to which this is a supplement."
These sections designate the boundary, and provide that the territory so described be within the
jurisdiction of Lamar County.
On page 122 is found the measure authorizing the incorporation of the "town of Paris, the County
seat of Lamar County."
In speaking of the construction of the road, Dr. Stell recalled that the thing which was impressed
most clearly on his memory was the fact that the crop that year on the Stell farm was a failure, in
spite of its being a rich, black land tract.
This was because the surveyor, in his desire to have the road constructed, had commandeered
every able bodied Negro on his place to work with him in clearing the highway. Thus only the
feeble and inexperienced hands were left to cultivate the crops - and they failed for want of proper
The work took its toll of injured as well: One strapping black was unwary enough to get in the
way of a big tree that was being felled, and was pinned beneath the mass of limbs and foliage.
His fellows were compelled to cut away the debris before he could be released, and they carried
him back to the master's plantation, terribly, perhaps fatally hurt. He recovered finally, but was
useless for any sort of work for months.
But it was all in the fortune of a day, and the way was finally cleared, as the State had directed,
from the Trinity to the Kiamatia.
About six or seven miles north of where the Kiamitia flows into the Red, lie the ruins of old Fort
Towson for which the present town of the name a mile and a half southwest of the site is called.
This was the headquarters for troops, both cavalry and infantry, and was at one time one of the
strongest military posts in this part of the country.
There are a number of stories about its destruction, but the one finding the most credence is that
bandits descended upon the fort to rob it of the soldiers' payroll and either in attempting to take
possession of the place, or in trying to open the safe or strongbox in which the money was kept,
used dynamite, and demolished it. A chimney or two, the entrance to a secret passage, and the
lookouts, corresponding in a measure to the corner buildings of a block house, are all that remain,
the stones overgrown with creeping vines and grasses. If you look long and carefully enough,
you may find an arrowhead of gray or brown stone, or a corroded brass button with the company
designation on its face.
Yet within the living memory of Dr. Stell, that was an outpost of civilization - the fort to which he
rode to procure a precious sack of flour or a bag of sugar, sparingly used and carefully hoarded.
Thus the Central road had a definite goal, a real reason, in those perilous days, for having as its
furthest destination the mouth of the Kiamitia.
But if it was a land of hazardous experiences and dangerous livelihood it was a land of milk and
It was but sparsely settled, and only a few acres here and there were cleared. The streams,
because the trees and undergrowth kept the soil from washing as it does on cleared land,
abounded in lakes that were a fisherman's dream; every sort of finny prey was to be found in them,
and they furnished real sport for the youths of that day.
Because they were left undisturbed by the scattered settlers, the bees settled where they listed - in
hollow trees, stumps and tree crotches - and honey was much cheaper sweetening than garrison
sugar, and much more easily gotten, too.
Game abounded, and deer, bear and feathered things - prairie hens, partridges and other birds
were the chief source of the meat supply.
The timber was well grown and practically untouched; when a cabin was built enough logs could
be obtained from the trees occupying its site to erect it. In the winter, the chinks between the logs
were stopped with clay and twigs. The chimneys and the wide fireplaces - built to burn cord
wood - were of the roughest construction.
The schoolhouse where Dr. Stell attended was used half the year for a blacksmith shop, and like
the house, it was a log cabin. He later taught in one similar to this, about seven miles northeast of
At that time there was a man who even then, cheap as land was, was accounted well to do, in the
amount of black land he possessed. He and his wife and their five children lived in the one room
home - and there was not a bed in it. A shallow pit, some eighteen inches deep, was sunk into the
floor, and was filled with bear skins, panther and deer pelts, to form the only bed. They had
neither mattress, featherbed nor pillows.
In better homes, bunks were built into the corners of the rooms, by sinking a stake into the dirt
floor, and placing saplings between this and the wall, so as to form a framework. Thongs were
woven across the space between, and the bedclothing placed over this.
The rest of the furniture, too, was homemade. The manufactured furniture was made by two men
- Williams and Webb - who made use of the abundance of wild cherry wood available and
constructed chairs. The process products were of the rudest, but far better than anything the
settlers had had up to this time, except the articles they had brought with them from former
For manufacturing lumber, a whip saw was the best means available, and the work was slow and
crude. The whip saw is so constructed that one man stands on the platform above the log, and
another below. The slabs were marked with "pokeberry" juice or charcoal, on top and bottom, so
the saw would cut true. It took a week's time to saw enough splintery planks for a floor - but it
was better than packed earth at that.
Three legged stools and bees-wax- and-tallow dips were made at home. A section of log would
be sawed fairly thin, the holes bored with an auger, and smoothed off saplings made the legs for
Beeswax from the robbed trees, and tallow from the domestic animals were melted and wicks
dipped into the mixture to form candles - for many years the only means of lighting. A hollowed
out block of wood, or rarely, a brass candlestick, held the feeble taper.
The store where Dr. Stell worked was on the present site of the Carter Anderson building. It was
also the location of Dr. Cole's office, and a supply of drugs was kept on hand.
The stock ranged "from side combs down" - for they were the epitome of elegance and the final
touch to a general merchandise line. They sold for twenty-five cents a pair. Dr. Stell tells the
story of a man and his wife who brought their daughter into town on a shopping expedition.
When they had dickered for a bill of five or six dollars, and the transaction was completed, a pair
of combs was "thrown in" for the young lady as good measure. Whereupon the old lady inquired,
"You ain't goin' to be partial, are ye?" She explained that the daughter was only one of her
children and the others might not appreciate favoritism. Of course, business ethics demanded that
the merchant rise to the occasion, so he asked how many girls she had and the answer was,
"Seven, beside this one."
The storehouse for the merchant's wares was a lean-to shed behind the building, and barrels and
kegs, sides of bacon, hams, hides, dress goods and fancy articles were stacked together under one
The post office was located in this store, and young Stell, the following year, was in charge of
In 1855, he began the study of medicine under Dr. P. W. Birmingham, and laid the foundation for
his professional career. In the fall of the same year, he went to Louisville, Ky., and entered the
medical university there.
On March 7th, 1857, he graduated from the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and
returned to Texas, to begin his practice, in partnership with the man under whom he had begun his
studies, Dr. Birmingham.
For three years, this partnership continued, and then Dr. Stell removed to the country, and
continued his practice there.
The fall after his graduation from college, Dr. Stell had married Miss Nannie Patton, daughter of
Andrew B. Patton, and when the guns were fired at Sumpter and the Nation rushed to arms, there
was a two-year-old baby, Sarah, at the Stell home.
But with the thousands of other Texans who so loved their State that they had cast their fortunes
with her and now determined to stand by her in the decision to withdraw from the Union, Dr.
Stell joined the ranks of Maxey's men, and started out as a private in Company K, 9th Texas
But Colonel Maxey, (as he was then titled) realized his worth as a physician, and taking him out
of the rank and file, made him a surgeon for the three Lamar County companies of the regiment.
From that time on, Maxey and Dr. Stell were closely associated in a friendship that continued for
many years, cemented by the comradeship in the service of the Confederacy.
In the "Old Cemetery" on North Sixteenth Street, there is a lot occupied by some twelve or fifteen
graves, and in the center is a marble monument, erected by the Lamar Chapter, U.D.C., in
memory of these men of Maxey's brigade. Some of the names are unknown; and others could
never be traced, but monument stands for them all. The records are nowhere to be found, but the
indication are that these men died while in camp, preparatory to joining the active forces of the
Confederate Army, and that Colonel Maxey had their bodies sent to a resting place at his home
until they would be cared for by relatives who could not be located at the time.
The years have passed, and the chance of tracing the families has grown smaller and smaller, but
the Daughters of the Confederacy, spring after spring, have placed flowers on these graves in
honor of the men who made the sacrifice for the South.
So it was with this sort of patriots that Dr. Stell worked during the first two years of the war. But
the exposure, strain, lack of proper food, and long vigils undermined his health, and he was
discharged from active service.
Unwilling to leave unturned a single store that would benefit the cause, Dr. Stell came back to
Texas to buy supplies - oxen and flour - for the Confederate forces. Between times, he spent his
energies in practicing medicine, particularly in attending the families of the men who were in the
service of the Confederacy.
He attempted to rejoin the army when his health improved, but was taken ill on his way, at the
home of a cousin in Monroe, La., and after a sickness of about six weeks was forced to return
For the next ten years he continued his practice of medicine, but on account of the strain, and his
low state of health, he gave up this work and started farming. He was an enthusiastic farmer, and
strove to reach the highest possible standards in raising hogs, cattle fruit, and crops of every
He dealt extensively in cattle and real estate, and was a nurseryman of real distinction. He became
associated in this latter with Mr. Warlick, father of Miss Annie May Warlick, who has been his
constant companion for several years. At the time of the partnership she was a very tiny girl, but
she and the doctor conceived a friendship that has ripened with the years, and she is now a
daughter by legal adoption.
The handsome old magnolia trees on the old Stell homestead (now leased to Rufus Scott, Jr.) are
of Dr. Stell's own planting, and there are none finer to be found in this section of the country.
This home was built over fifty years ago, and fortunately the fire which partly destroyed it a few
months ago did not damage it beyond repair. The original walls were unharmed, and the interior,
which received the worst of it, can be restored very satisfactorily.
Dr. Stell himself oversaw the building of this house, and the brick for its construction were fired
on the ground under his supervision. It stands in a beautiful grove of splendid trees, in an ideal
location just east of the city.
Up to a few years ago, when his health would no longer permit his staying in this climate during
the severe weather of summer and winter, he made his home there, and later, spent as much time
there as was advisable without endangering his health.
During the Civil War, Dr. Stell's wife died, and he later married Miss Elizabeth Brinley. To them
were born three sons and a daughter.
(His daughter by his first marriage, became the wife of Dr. Moore, and their son James, married
Marjorie McCuistion. Their children are Mary Elizabeth and Eleanor).
The eldest son, William McKenzie, married Miss Mamie Gunnell, and after her death, took as his
wife Senorita Josefita Sequerios of Jesus Maria, (Chihuahua) Mexico. Their daughters are Marie
and Magdalena. Marie married Senor Jose U. Calderon, and is the mother of Arturo Pedro, Jose,
Jr., and Guillermo Stell.
To Dr. Stell's second son, George Stephen, whose wife was formerly Miss Lee Beyers, were born
two children, Bernice Ermania, who participated in the unveiling ceremonies for the highway
marker, and George William Stell, who met his death in an airplane accident at Post Field, Fort
Sill, Okla., on July 11, 1919. He had entered the United States aviation service in March of the
previous year, receiving his lieutenant's commission within a few months. He followed in the path
of his pioneer forefathers, and offered his life for his country in her hour of need.
The daughter, Eleanor Meigs Stell, married E. S. Easley, and their three sons are Stell, Edwin,
and George Lee.
The youngest son, Rebel Lee, married Miss Bernice Williams.
It is a notable fact that unto the third and fourth generation, the family names have been handed
down, even in the Spanish forms, preserving the memory of the head of the clan.
As a public citizen, Dr. Stell has achieved an enviable reputation.
He has never lost track of the events of the day, and has kept himself thoroughly posted on the
current happenings, both in the community and throughout the Nation.
For years, he has been recognized as one of the leading democratic supporters, and his opinion
has been sought and respected as worthy of consideration, and reliable in fact.
He has never held public office, but he has assisted in putting the proper sort of candidates in
positions of trust, through his influence and campaign support. As an authority on State and
National matters, he has been the guide-post for a large percentage of the voters who sought his
advice and information on the qualifications and past records of men in the race for important
His time and energy have been freely and willingly spent in this, as in other public interests, and
they have never failed to bear fruit.
Never has a call come to the citizens of the city, county or State, that Dr. Stell has not been
among the first and most liberal contributors.
Notable among these donations was that to the relief fund for the 1916 fire sufferers; the amount
which made it possible for the Negro church to pay off a mortgage and save its building; the gift
last year to the ladies of the First Methodist Church for their work on the new edifice, and among
lesser sums, the prizes given for the oldest Negro slaves during the Old Settlers' celebration.
Of more recent interest was his the Central highway - not so much in honor of his father, as in the
nature of a contribution for the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, in their laudable work of
preserving the memory of the pioneers and State builders.
Theirs is a noble aim, and they feel it a privilege that they had so worthy a man whom they might
justly choose to name their chapter for.
These are but the merest indication of the scores of movements and campaigns to which Dr. Stell
has given so generously, and more often, his good work follows the Biblical injunction, "But
when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right had doeth."
These same characteristics have been evident in his associations as a member of the Odd Fellows -
a membership that dates back 64 years. During that period he has been a faithful and loyal
brother, the sort of man who has made the lodge stand for something as a power and institution in
Dr. Stell is perhaps the oldest living Odd Fellow, with the longest membership record, not only in
the state, but in the Nation as well.
As shown in his various occupations, and fostered by his early environment, Dr. Stell is an ardent
lover of nature.
Born in a log cabin, and growing up in one, his life has been spent chiefly close to the heart of
nature, and he is never contented away from "Mother Earth."
A farmer, nurseryman and cattle raiser, constantly associated with the fundamental elements, he
has shown his love for trees and flowers and animals. It seems to have broadened him, and
developed his high senses of benevolence for fellow creatures.
He believes, he says, that the longer he lives, the more firmly convinced he becomes that there is
potential good in every human being and that just as many good, and honorable men and women
may be found in one walk of life as in another.
The formalities of today, as compared with the open-handed customs of the past, have warped
many of us out of a natural kindly bent, but the man beneath is just the same, if only he is given
opportunity to show it.
That is but another evidence of his true conception of the Christian spirit, and his loyalty to the
precept of the Golden Rule.
It is the combination of these - good works, fair spirited-ness, and a high-minded attitude toward
his fellowman that have won for Dr. Stell the name of Lamar County's best loved citizen.
DR. WILLIAM WYNNE STELL
By Mike Hutson, 1020 Madeline, El Paso, Texas 79902, email: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The following is from the book Horticulture and Horticulturists in Early Texas, by Samuel
Wood Geiser (Dallas: SMU University Press 1945), at pp. 80-81:
"STELL, DR. WILLIAM WYNNE (1833-1925). Nurseryman owner of the "Paris Nurseries" in
Lamar County, 1871-94. He introduced the Texas Belle, Tudor, and Bonner plums. Stell had a
too facile pen, which occasionally led him into futile and acrimonious debates with many of the
best horticulturists of Texas, such as Stringfellow and Munson. His contributions to Texas Farm
& Ranch (1887-95) are numerous, and many of them of considerable value. These include:
"The LeConte pear" (1 May 1887),
"Pedigreed LeConte vs. grafted LeConte" (1 Jul 1887),
"Fruit trees-their propagation and management" (15 Feb 1888),
"The grape" (1 May 1888),
"What's a scion?" (1 Jul 1888),
"Pruning trees and vines" (15 Jan 89),
"The Keiffer pear" (1 Oct 1889),
"LeConte and Keiffer pears" (15 Oct 1889),
"How to begin an orchard" (15 Oct 1889),
"Oldest nursery-first nursery in Texas" (15 Mar 1890),
"The bollworm-June planted cotton" (1 Sep 1890),
"Farmer's orchard" (15 Oct 90),
"The piece-root fraud" (1 Jun 1891),
"The piece root fraud dies easy" (1 Jun 1891),
"Peach yellows" (15 Jul 1891),
"Professor Munson's misrepresentations" (15 Sep 1891),
"A farmer's orchard" (1 Jan 1892),
"Pear growing for profit" (28 May 1892),
"How to plant a tree" (29 Oct 1892),
"Sun scald vs. frozen sap" (26 Nov 1892),
"Experiments on root-grafting the apple" (31 Dec 1892),
"Root-pruned fruit trees" (18 Mar 1893),
"Profitable fruit growing (16 Sep 1893),
"Planting, pruning and training" (30 Sep 1893),
"Cultivation and care of orchards" (2 Dec 1893),
"Root pruning" (9 Dec 1893),
"Pruning for low heads" (3 Feb 1894),
"Marianna as stock" (10 Feb 1894),
"Apple trees from lateral roots" (9 Jun 1894).
Dr. Stell was born in Henderson Co., Ky. [sic] 10 Jun 1833, and died at Paris, 17 Jan 1925. In
1839 he came with his parents to a small Mexican trading station, "Pin Hook" near present Paris.
After two years at McKenzie College near Clarksville (c. 1851-53) he attended Jefferson Medical
College in Philadelphia, and practiced medicine until 1861. "Failing health cut short his career as
a surgeon, C.S.A."
About 1871 (with Philip Monroe Warlick), he commenced in the nursery business; and in 1894
retired, selling his interest to his (then) partner, Henry L. Clark. From 1894 to 1900 he turned his
attention to Poland China hogs; and (after having savagely attacked Stringfellow and Munson on
horticultural matters, and after having even invoked the odium theologicum against the gentle
Munson), Stell, ironically enough, published "A plea for mercy [against ringing pigs]" in the April
13, 1895, issue of Texas Farm & Ranch! Portrait: Texas Farm & Ranch (15 Jan 1891, 26 Jan
Dr. William Wynne Stell married twice: his first wife, who he married on December 22, 1857,
was Nannie O. Patton (15 Aug 1836 - 10 Feb 1864), daughter of Andrew B. and Elizabeth O.
Patton. They had one daughter, Sarah O. Stell, b. ca. 1860, who married a Mr. Moore.
Dr. Stell married secondly, on November 1, 1864, Mary Elizabeth Brinley (14 Mar 1840 - 13 Jun
1916), daughter of Jacob and Eleanor Brinley. They had four children:
1. Dr. William McKenzie Stell, b. 1865,
2. Dr. George Stephen Stell (1867 - 1936),
3. Rebel Lee (R. L.) Stell b. 1871, and
4. Nellie Stell, who married E. S. Easely.
Of these children, Dr. William McKenzie Stell married (1) in Texas, Mamie Gunnell, and (2) in
Jesus Maria (Ocampo), Chihuahua, Mexico, Josefa Siqueiros (of the family of the famous
Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros), daughter of Ignacio Siqueiros and Luz Ruiz. Dr.
William McKenzie Stell and Josefa Siqueiros had two daughters: Maria Stell (9/15/1891-7/22/1945), who married Jose U. Calderon (parents of Pedro Arturo Calderon, Jose Luis
Calderon, Guillermo Calderon, Maria Teresa Calderon, and Lilia Guadalupe Calderon), and
Magdalena Stell, who married Julio Meyer (parents of Ana Elena Meyer, Bertha Meyer, Miriam
Meyer, and Marta Meyer).
From an undated and unnamed newspaper clipping (probably a Paris newspaper):
"In the death of Dr. William Wynne Stell at 11:30 Saturday morning at his Brownsville home,
Rails and Lamar County lost one of their best loved and most public spirited citizens, as well as a
pioneer whose like the country will not see again soon, for, on June 10, he would have reached
his ninety second milestone. The body will be brought here for burial arriving Monday morning.
The services are to be held at First Methodist church, of which he had been a member for years, at
1:30 Monday afternoon, Revs. O. T. Cooper, the pastor, W. D. Mountcastle of Paris and W. T.
Whiteside of Greenville officiating. The U. C. V. and Odd Fellows will serve as honorary
He is survived by three sons, Dr. W. M. Stell of Jesus Maria, Chihuahua, Mexico; Dr. George S.
Stell and Reb T. Stell of Brownsville, and a daughter, Mrs. Eleanor M. Easley of California, all
children by his second wife, who was Miss Elizabeth Brinley; several grandchildren and a number
Possessed of an unusual vitality and retaining all his faculties, save his hearing, which he lost as a
result of an illness earlier in his life, his strength began to fail noticeably only within the past year
or so, and his death was a shock to the community, following only a few hours the passing of his
grand-nephew, Ralph Provine.
He never served in public office and was affiliated with few organizations, but his influence and
service for years to Paris and Lamar county, were such as few citizens have rendered. His
judgment and his word were respected and honored as being both wise and sincere and he held by
integrity the esteem of all who knew him. He was a member of the local Odd Fellows lodge,
having joined the organization in 1858, and he had the distinction of having perhaps the oldest,
living member in the State and perhaps in all the country. Always an honored brother in the body,
he set a standard for others to strive for in the discharge of his fraternal duties. No local gathering
of Confederate veterans was quite complete without the presence of Dr. Stell, and if he were too
far away to attend in person, he sent greetings or a gift to his former brothers-in-arms. In
Confederate picnics and the like he always took greatest pleasure, and in lore of the war, as in all
other matters, he was a mine of accurate information.
As a member of the Methodist church, which he joined in his young manhood, in 1853, while
attending the old McKenzie institute, he was ever a loyal and faithful worker and his many gifts,
always made quietly and without ostentation, are countless, including money for the colored
church, when it was to be sold for lack of funds, to the missionary society when the ladies wanted
to finish the interior of the basement and scores of other similar acts, have enshrined him in the
hearts of people here as a real benefactor and Christian.
He was the son of George Washington Stell, the man who laid out the old Central National
Highway, a military road for the Republic of Texas, from the Trinity to the Kiamitia, opposite old
Fort Towson in the Indian Territory, and on Dr. Stell's eight-ninth birthday, his granddaughter,
Miss Bernice Erminia Stell, unveiled the granite marker which stands beside the ford at the
entrance of the Paris golf club grounds. George Washington Stell came to Texas from Tennessee
in 1839, when Mr. Stell was a boy of six, and from that time on, Lamar county was claimed by
him as his home.
Much of his time, in the last years, has been spent away from Paris on account of his health, which
was affected by the winter climate here, but as much of his summers as possibly, he spent in the
city. His old home with the two beautiful magnolia trees he himself planted, stands at the eastern
edge of Paris and was always visited when he came to Paris, even after it was not feasible to keep
it as a homestead, and had been leased out. His winters were passed in Brownsville, where two
sons live, and part of the summer in Rogers, Ark.
As a boy, Dr. Stell followed various pursuits, clerking in a general merchandise store, farming
with his father and them taking up medicine as his practice. It was as a physician that he gave his
best service to the Confederacy, though he enlisted with Maxey's men as a private, leaving at
home his young wife, formerly Miss Nannie Patton, whom he had married after his graduation
from Jefferson medical college in Philadelphia. His strength was sapped by the great strain of a
physician's and surgeon's service, and he was forced to quit active service, but assisted in the
purchase of supplies for the army, and by other local aid.
His life in after years was spent more quietly but not less industriously, and he has left his mark
upon the community, its institutions and its people in such a way as not to be soon forgotten."
1. Lamar Co. Marriage Record Book 2, p. 239: William W. Stell married Nannie A. Patton on 22
Dec 1857. Lamar Co. Marriage Record Book 3, p. 237: W. W. Stell married Bettie Brinley on 1
Dec 1864. NOTE: This license is an issue date only. Her obituary stated marriage date was 2
Dec 1864. There is a second license in Book 6, p. 371 for W. W. Stell to M. E. [Mary
Elizabeth?] Stell on 15 Dec 1875.
2. The History of Lamar County, A. W. Neville, p. 113: listed as a private in Milton Webb's
3. W. W. Stell is named in the Compiled Service Records of Co. K, 9th Texas Infantry on
microfilm at the National Archives. Service Record as abstracted states: Stell, W. W.- enlisted as
private, December, 1861; March, 1862 - on sick furlough to Texas; discharged at Corinth, MS, 30
Apr 1862, for disability.
4. Tombstone is inscribed, "Dr. W. W. Stell." On the same stone with Mary Elizabeth Brinley.
5. Information left at the Lamar Co. Genealogical Library without any source named: Evergreen
Cemetery book by Elizabeth Booth states birth date as "1833." Marriage records give marriage
date as 2 Dec 1865. He was a Confederate soldier. In 1857, he first married Nannie Patton,
daughter of Andrew Patton. She died during the war. He later married Mary Elizabeth Brinley.
See Evergreen book, p. 354, for more information.
6. Index to TX Death Records 1903-1940 (microfilm): "Stell, William Wynn, died in Cameron
County, 17 Jan 1925, #712."
©Ron Brothers, All Rights Reserved, 2000
June 18, 2000
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