Generation #5

Descendants of Benoni Teter Powers 

Benoni Teter was "adopted" (not proven) Please check the DNA info below.

1 Benoni Teter Powers 1815 - 1891 

. +Elizabeth Watson McCally 1815 - 1887 Father: Henry G. McCally Mother: Sarah M. (Sally) Alkire

........ 2 Prudence Eliza Powers 1837 - 1911

........ 2 Newton J. Powers 1838 - 1912

............ +Minerva Arbuckle - 1907

........ 2 Susan Cordelia Powers 1839 - 1919

............ +Richard Camden Hawkins 1839 - 1917 Father: John Hawkins Mother: Sidney Fisher

........ 2 Henry Lafayette (Lafe) Powers 1842 - 1886

............ +Mary Jane Norton 1850 - Father: Thomas B. Norton Mother: Harriett

........ 2 Benoni Columbus Powers 1843 - 1929

............ +Polly Melinda Watson 1844 - 1930 Father: James Wilton Watson Mother: Margaret Ann Morrison

........ 2 Sarah Lee Powers 1845 - 1846

........ 2 Martha Ellen Powers 1847 - 1889

............ +David Alkire Berry

........ 2 Lysander Powers 1849 - 1860

........ 2 Charles A. Powers 1850 -

............ +Margaret Peterson 1840 - 1916 Father: William Bennett Peterson Mother: Margaret Lowther

........ *2nd Wife of Charles A. Powers:

............ +Sarah E. Bennett

........ 2 Walter F. Powers 1852 - 1929

............ +Martha A. Morrison Father: David Morrison Mother: Hannah Amarylis Powers

........ 2 Elihu Reed Powers 1854 - 1909

............ +Antoinette (Annetta) Agnes Davis - 1932

........ 2 James B. Powers 1856 - 1929

............ +Sarah Susan Chandler


By Ann Bleigh POWERS in the Hacker's Creek Journal Vol. XXV, Issue 2

Benoni Teter POWERS was born in Jane Lew, Lewis Co. VA on 4 July 1815 and died 26 August 1891 on Sand Fork, Lewis Co. WV. He married Elizabeth Watson MCCALLY on 13 September 1836 in Lewis County. She was a daughter of Henry and Sarah Alkire MCCALLY and was born 4 February 1815 in Lewis Co. and died there on 16 April 1887. Both she and her husband are buried in the Marvin Chapel Cemetery near Roanoke, WV. They had twelve children. Amongst them, many who married, also had large families. Now almost 200 years after the birth of Benoni Teter POWERS there are hundreds of his descendants who want to know who his parents were. Included in these descendants is my husband, James Allen POWERS. As his wife, I wanted to know the answer to these questions and I started doing research. I asked Joy Stalnaker, a genealogist specializing in central West Virginia, to help me.

The place where I began was with Benoni Teter POWERS' death certificate at the Lewis County Court House. It states that his parents were "William and Jemima POWERS." There was indeed a Revolutionary War Indian Scout, William Powers, who was living in Jane Lew in 1815 when Benoni was born. He, however, had long been married to Hannah STOUT, had several grown children, and was 48 years old. Since he was already married to Hannah, it was then quite clear that Benoni Teter POWERS was born out of wedlock to William POWERS and to Jemima, whose last name the family always said was TETER. How then, could I prove this relationship to William POWERS?

I turned to Family Tree DNA to solve this problem. My son, James Judson POWERS, sent in his DNA to Family Tree DNA to be analyzed. While this was being done, Joy STALNAKER researched and discovered that Jemima TETER did exist and lived in Jane Lew in this same period, 1815. She found both a marriage bond and a marriage record for her and John BOOHER, The marriage bond from the Harrison

County Court House was taken out on 21 December 1816 and signed by Jacob STANLEY and John BOOHER. On this marriage bond there is also a note written by Henry MCWHORTER, also of Jane Lew, which states, "26 December 1816 this is to sartafy that Jemima TETER that  was aprantis to me is of full age and that I am willing for her to marry to John BUGHER giving over my hand and seal in the presents of test." And he signed this note with his signature. There is also a marriage record in the Harrison County Marriage Record books showing that the Rev. John MITCHELL married Jemima TETER and John BOOKER on 27 December 1816. '

It was discovered that Jemima TETER and John BOOHER presumably moved to Wirt County, WV where Jemima BOOHER later shows up on the 1850 Census at age 62 being married to William BOOHER, 58. Also in this census is an eight year old girl, Jemima BOOHER, living with her parents, John and Elizabeth BOOHER, also in Wirt County.

Some eight weeks later I received from Family Tree DNA the analysis of my son's DNA. The results showed that James Judson POWERS was genetic distance one from Chester MCWHORTER. Genetic distance one means that every one of the 37 markers of the DNA of the two men matched, except for one that was off by one number. I sent an email to Chester MCWHORTER who had since died in Ohio and whose cousin was handling his correspondence and doing research on the MCWHORTER family. Chester MCWHORTERIS family was originally from Bucks County, PA but they thought that one member of the MCWHORTER family had gone to West Virginia. The family conferred on this and after some time said that they thought that the member who had gone to West Virginia was a distant cousin of Chester MCWHORTER, Henry MCWHORTER. They, however, did not have proof of this relationship but were searching for it.

In the meantime, I wanted to find a direct male descendant of William POWERS to prove our relationship to him. Joy STALNAKER suggested that I should take the Weston, WV telephone book and call all the POWERSES in the book. There turned out to be 38 people with the POWERS name who lived in Lewis, Upshur, Gilmer, Harrison, and Randolph counties. I had many interesting conversations over a period of a couple of months with many who were related to my husband and his family and many who were not. But I did not turn up anyone whose family went back to William POWERS. Joy STALNAKER then turned to

Gloria Powers HUSK, a descendant of Benoni Teter POWERS, who has done research on this family. Gloria knew Earl Arnold POWERS of Parkersburg, WV who was a direct descendant of William POWERS through his son, William D. POWERS, Jr. and his wife, Charity PAXTON. She gave Joy Earl's telephone number and I called him.

Earl POWERS is a generous man who is very interested in, and proud of, his POWERS family roots. He was immediately willing to give his DNA in the interest of finding out more about his family and in helping me to find out more about ours. I ordered a DNA kit for Earl and after about six weeks we got the results from his test. There was absolutely no relationship between Earl Arnold POWERS and my son, James Judson POWERS, although Earl had an exact match with another man on the Powers family FTDNA website. We were fully expecting to find a relationship and were quite shocked by the results. Family Tree DNA provided the comparison of 25 markers of Earl Arnold POWERS, DNA with James Judson POWERS, DNA as follows:

In comparing the 25 markers, the probability that the males who provided the samples shared a common male ancestor in the past is...

Test results:

4 generations is 0.00% ; 8 generations is 0.03% ; 12 generations is 0.38%

16 generations is 1.78% ; 20 generations is 5.21% ; 24 generations is 11.29%

When I realized that this meant that there was no relationship between a direct descendant of William POWERS and my son, I looked again at the results of the DNA analysis of my son. There the one relationship that had come up was with Chester MCWHORTER. In addition I knew from Henry MCWHORTER’S note on the marriage bond of Jemima TETER and John BOOHER that Jemima TETER had been his apprentice. At this point I told Joy STALNAKER that there was no DNA match with Earl Arnold POWERS and that I now needed to find a direct male descendant of Henry MCWHORTER who would be willing to help us by taking a DNA test. She knew two male descendants of Henry MCWHORTER, one in Upshur County and one in Monongalia County, WV. She suggested that I call Robert F. MCWHORTER in Morgantown and ask his help and this I did.

Like Earl POWERS, Bob MCWHORTER knew his family history and was very proud of ft. He had been to Scotland in search of his roots and had helped his relatives write up their family genealogy. When he heard about our 200 year old search for the parents of Benoni Teter POWERS, he generously offered to help us by sending in his DNA for testing. It took some time, but when it was finally finished, our son tested genetic distance one with Bob MCWHORTER’S DNA as he had with Chester MCWHORTER. Bob MCWHORTER and Chester MCWHORTER had an exact match. The results from Family Tree DNA showed the comparison of 37 markers of Robert F. MCWHORTER and James Judson POWERS as follows:

In comparing the 37 markers, the probability that the males who provided the samples shared a common male ancestor in the past is...

Test results:

4 generations is 58.99% ; 8 generations is 89.03% ; 12 generations is 97.47%

16 generations is 99.46% ; 20 generations is 99.89% ; 24 generations is 99.98%

Thus after 200 years the mystery is solved. Although Benoni Teter POWERS was raised by the descendants of William POWERS and used their surname, DNA evidence indicates that he was a MCWHORTER. There are four men who could have been his father. He was the son of either Henry MCWHORTER (1760-1848) or of one of his sons, John (1784-1880), Thomas (1785-1815), or Walter (1787-1860). Who was Benoni Teter POWERS' father finally has an answer. It is not a definitive answer but it is the best that modem science can give us at this time. The search for the parents of his mother, Jemima TETER, continues.

It looks like we POWERS of this family line "by blood" are really MCWHORTER'S.