Early St. Louis


HANNAH (DAVIS) STAGG - A Woman of Culture and Taste

Always curious about how my ancestors might have met each other prior to their marriages, I’m always on the look-out for those ties that eventually brought their lives together.

That Joshua Pilcher and his nephew Ezekiel (less than ten years his junior) were close and their relationship was more like brothers, has been mentioned in family notes and newspaper articles.  But what has always intrigued me, is how well Joshua might have known the ancestors of Ezekiel’s wife, Louisa Ballard.  The major point of interest is that Louisa’s 2nd great grandmother was Elizabeth (Clark) Anthony, and was purported to be a cousin to the family of George Rogers Clark and his younger brother William Clark.

Recently, on my blog PDP’s Roots and Branches, I wrote about Hattie Robinson whose father, Dr. Anselm Clark Robinson (born 1851 in St. Charles, MO) was 2nd great grandson of Micajah Clark, the brother of Elizabeth (Clark) Anthony.

Marriage of Hannah (Davis) to Henry Stagg
It is Elizabeth (Clark) Anthony’s great-granddaughter, Hannah Isabella Davis, who is the subject of this sketch.  She was born on the 21st of October in Cincinnati, Ohio, to John Davis and Hannah B. (Anthony) of Bedford County, Virginia who were among the early settlers of the “Queen City of the West,” having arrived in Cincinnati sometime between 1812 and 1814.  There she married Henry Stagg on the 20th of November 1842, he having been employed under the management of Ephraim Robins and was the head clerk and bookkeeper of the General Agency Office of the Protection Insurance Company of Hartford until December when the couple moved to St. Louis.  There Henry opened a branch of the insurance company and was known as a pioneer agent for fire, marine, and life insurance in St. Louis.

As well as maintaining her husband’s insurance business, Hannah readily took up the charitable actions and church work where it was said that her zeal and intelligence in counsel and action credited her among the leaders of these organizations.  Upon the suggestion of Jessie, daughter of Senator Thomas H. Benton of Missouri and wife of explorer John C. Frémont, she became a charter member of the Ladies’ Union Aid Society, having thrown her loyalty to the Union when the Civil War broke out.  Additionally, she was a member of the executive committee, efficiently managing the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair which had been held in St. Louis from May 17, 1864, to June 18th and had raised an amazing $550,000 to feed, clothe and care for the wounded, disabled and suffering Union soldiers who were returning from the atrocities of the war.

After the war, Hannah became involved in the St. Louis Protestant Orphan Asylum which had been founded in 1834 after the cholera epidemic of 1832 had left so many children orphaned.  She served as a member of the board of managers and worked with this organization for more than forty years, also serving several years as its secretary.

Hannah was widowed in 1887 and a couple months after Henry's death, she put their home on Finney Avenue up for sale.  She then moved in with her married daughter Virginia Forbes, as indicated by the 1900 census.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Friday, April 8, 1887
She survived her husband by more than twenty years, passing on the 5th of December, 1908.   Hannah and Henry were the parents of five children, suffering the heartbreaking loss of three in the children's tenderest of years.  Their eldest, Charles Henry was born in 1844 and was enumerated with them in the 1850 census, but died of Inflammatory Rheumatism of the heart at the age of seven.  Their fourth child, Mary Charlotte "Lottie", was born in 1856 and died in 1859 of Scarlet Fever; and the youngest child, Henry Taylor, died of Cholera at the age of four years, nine months and nine days during the war in 1862.  Of their two surviving children, daughter Virginia Isabella Stagg was born in 1846 and married Moses Southwick Forbes, a wholesale tea merchant, in 1871.  Widowed in 1912, Virginia moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where she died in 1930.  Hannah and Henry's youngest surviving child, William Lewis Stagg, was born in 1853 and like his father, was an insurance man.  He married to Mary Elizabeth "Libbie" Phares in 1883 and was later a resident of Springfield, Illinois, the same city where Ezekiel Pilcher and Louisa Ballard had married in 1828.

Hannah was laid to rest beside Henry on December 7, 1908, in Bellefontaine Cemetery. Also included in the family lot are sixteen other family burials including Henry’s brother Warren who drowned in the river at Helena, Arkansas in 1862 as well as Warren’s wife, Sarah (Matthews) who had died in 1859.

For more detailed genealogical information on Hannah’s family, please feel free to contact me.

As always, I’m grateful to my good friend Connie Nisinger, Archivist at Bellefontaine Cemetery, for providing headstone photos and additional  information.

Relative Notes/Blogs/Websites: 

Hannah's name is documented more than once as Hannah J., and middle name has been listed as Isabel and also Isabella.  

Hattie Robinson - Her Minature Likeness and an Envelope, a PDP's Roots and Branches blog

By late spring of 1848, Henry Stagg was business manager for Henry Lewis' project: "Lewis' Mammoth panorama of Mississippi River."  Records show that he acted as general manager, responsible for the fifteen thousand dollars of start-up capital needed, an immense sum at the time. John Bates, the proprietor of the National Theatre in Cincinnati, was a major investor. (See Panorama: History of a Mass Medium by Stephan Oettermann)  

The 1850 census for the family of Henry Stagg, lists his wife and children by other names, but his occupation, along with name and age of son Charles, in my opinion, confirms this as the same family.


  1. A Look Back - Fair held here in 1864 Raised $550,000 to aid Union Troops, Tim O'Neil, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 22, 2011.
  2. Anthony Roots & Branches by Nancy Vashti Anthony Jacob, p.3-5; 64.
  3. Bellefontaine Cemetery Map of Henry Stagg Lot#1122 Burials.
  4. Biographical Souvenir of the States of Georgia and Florida; F.A. Battey & Co., 1890 p.498-499.
  5. Campbell Chronicles & Family Sketches by Ruth Hairston Early, p. 347-348.
  6. The Cincinnati Enquirer, May 8, 1930 (Death of Virginia Forbes)
  7. Daily Missouri Republican, January 8, 1859 (Death of Lottie Stagg)
  8. Daily Missouri Republican, July 16, 1859 (Death of Sarah Stagg)
  9. Edward Pleasant Valentine Papers Vol. II, p.752; Vol. IV, p.2269-2272.
  10. Encyclopedia of the History of St. Louis, The Southern History Co., 1899 p.2115-2116.
  11. Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy by William W. Hinshaw, Vol VI.
  12. Farnsworth Cincinnati Directory 1819, p. 115.
  13. Find A Grave Memorial# 162935262, Hannah (Davis) Stagg.
  14. Henry County Will Book 1 Henry County, VA p.120-124.
  15. The Hills of Wilkes County, Georgia & Allied Family by Lodowick Johnson Hill p.174-178.
  16. History of Albemarle County, VA by Edgar Woods.
  17. History of Bedford County, VA by Lulu E.J. Parker, p. 42-43.
  18. Insurance in Connecticut, Henry P. Wood, D.H. Hurd and Co.. Boston, 1897.
  19. Kimball & James' Business Directory for the Mississippi Valley, 1844, p.396
  20. The Lineage Book, National Society of the Daughter of American Colonists, Vol. 5, p.252.
  21. Making a Motion Picture in 1848, Henry Lewis on the Upper Mississippi, Minnesota History Quarterly Magazine, Vol. 17, No. 2, June 1936.
  22. Missouri Digital Heritage (Death of Hannah Stagg).
  23. Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013, database with images, FamilySearch: Henry Stagg and Hannah Isabel Davis, 20 Nov 1842; citing Hamilton, Ohio, United States, reference p 294; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 344,455.
  24. Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953, database with images, FamilySearch:  Virginia Isabella Forbes, 06 May 1930; citing Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio, reference fn 30178; FHL microfilm 1,992,169.
  25. Old Woodward: A Memorial Relating to Woodward High School, 1831-1836, and Woodward College, 1836-1851, in the City of Cincinnati, Old Woodward Club, 1884, p.280-281.
  26. Our Kin : the genealogies of some of the early families who made history in the founding and development of Bedford County Virginia, Mary Denham Ackerly and Lula Eastman Jeter Parker, Harrisonburg, Virginia : C.J. Carrier, 1976, p..284
  27. Our Quaker Friends of Ye Olden Time by James Pinkney Bell, Lynchburg, VA, 1905, p.255
  28. Over the Mountain Men, Their Early Court Records in Southwest VA, Compiled by Anne Lowry Worrell
  29. The Panorama: History of a Mass Medium, Stephan Oettermann, Zone Books, 1997, p. 334. 
  30. The Parish Register of St. Peters, New Kent Co., VA 1680-1787.
  31. Saint Louis: The Future Great City of the World: with Biographical Sketches of the Representative Men and Women of St. Louis and Missouri by L. U. Reavis, C. R. Barns, 1876, p.625.
  32. St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri), Friday, April 8, 1887, p.5 (Death of Henry Stagg) 
  33. United States Census, 1850, database with images, FamilySearch: Matilda Stagg in household of Henry Stagg, St. Louis, ward 4, St. Louis, Missouri, United States; citing family 1384, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  34. United States Census, 1860, database with images, FamilySearch: Henry Stagg, 1860.
  35. United States Census, 1870, database with images, FamilySearch: Henry Stagg, Missouri, United States; citing p. 1, family 1, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 552,316.
  36. United States Census, 1880, database with images, FamilySearch: Henry Stagg, St Louis, St Louis, Missouri, United States; citing enumeration district ED 150, sheet 380A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0724; FHL microfilm 1,254,724.
  37. United States Census, 1900, database with images, FamilySearch: Hannah T Stagg in household of Moses S Forbes, Precinct 14 St. Louis city Ward 21, St. Louis, Missouri, United States; citing sheet 1A, family 3, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,240,898.
  38. Will Book 1 of Henry Co., VA; p.120.
  39. William & Mary Quarterly Vol 9, p.328 - 330.