Family Tree: Bill Stepp and His Kinfolk

Home to 180 Hatfield family members, 152 Hensley descendants, 106 members of the Ball family and family histories of 87 other surnames; this website was created on Dec 20 2008 and last updated on Jan 01 2009. The Family Trees on this website contain 1625 relatives and 9 photos. If you have any questions or comments you may send a Message to the Administrator of this site.

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  • Hatfield
  • Hensley
  • Ball
  • McCoy
  • Varney
  • Stepp
  • Maynard
  • Hartsock
  • Marcum
  • Ferrell
  • This project was inspired by the death of Bill Stepp, born William Elias Stepp in 1935 in Peebles, Adams County, Ohio. "Billy The Kid," as he was known, was a larger-than-life figure known simultaneously but separately as a gangster, car racing enthusiast and superstar and a man of infinite kindness and generosity. My name is Martha Hardcastle and it's been my job as a reporter for the Dayton Daily News to write his obituary and try to capsulize his amazing life. I do not seek to judge or to canonize - as Mick Jagger so succinctly once sang, "Every cop's a criminal - and all the sinners saints" Stepp lived nearly all of his adult life in or near Dayton, Ohio, where he made dozens of headlines over the years for his many arrests and brushes with the law. It was there that he lived with his wife and they raised their two children in as ordinary fashion as they could - even though the Stepp kids' cars always were the envy of their peers. In my research, I found far more than I expected. As I use Family Tree Maker whenever researching most "people" stories, both to keep my facts straight and also to find out "Who are these people I'm writing about?" "Where did they come from?" "Who are their people?" Bill Stepp was a goldmine. As soon as I saw that his mother was a Hatfield and that his father's middle name was Hatfield, I sniffed some interesting genealogy. I was right. As a matter of fact, Bill is a descendant of both the Hatfields and the McCoy's. I still haven't figured out the Hatfield middle name for his father, Elias Hatfield Stepp, but perhaps that information will be later revealed. In addition, his blood was as blue as any American Patriot imaginable. Many of his lines go straight to Orange County, Virginia. His fifth great-grandmother, Jane Jefferson Davis was the sister of President Thomas Jefferson. And although nearly all of his ancestors point straight to the Commonwealth of Virginia and Jamestown, his 10th great-grandfather, Joseph Rogers was a passenger on the Mayflower. What is more important is that in southwest Ohio, where Stepp's reputation was most well known, he was just as well known under another moniker - Briar. Briar is a indigenous term to Dayton, Ohio and its surroundings and Richmond and Connersville Indiana. Originally, according to my father (a Briar) it was in reference to a person from Kentucky. A Ridgerunner was somebody from Tennessee. Today in Dayton. Ridgerunner seems to be long forgotten. "Briar" has expanded to include those from Kentucky as well as parts of West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee and southern Ohio - but only the Appalachian areas. In some ways, Briar is one of the commonest of terms but one that isn't ever in print - until now. Briar is nearly the equivalent of the white "N" word of Dayton, Ohio. As my father was from south central Kentucky - the "sinkhole country" around Bowling Green, I don't even feel like I'm really a Briar any more. Being from Kentucky alone doesn't even seem to fit the bill. We aren't Appalachians. I still claim the title, however. Why not? I'm proud to be a Briar. I suspect Bill Stepp was, too.

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