Following is an excerpt from a good genealogy story found in the August 8, 2010 edition of GoDanRiver.com. The honored ancestor had 13 children and something in the area of 1800 descendants.
For more than 75 years, the descendants of Stephen Tarpley have held family reunions, and this year, over the Fourth of July weekend, more than 270 descendants reunited in Danville and dedicated a headstone to their ancestor, buried at Union Hall Baptist Church.
In 1941, The Danville Register recorded the obituary of Tarpley in Swansonville.
The article noted Tarpley had been a slave on a plantation owned by Robert Tarpley in Callands during the Civil War, serving as a blacksmith for Confederate forces.
An article in an unidentified newspaper in 1939 said Tarpley fashioned swords for the Confederate Army and help construct breastworks to protect Danville from the invading Union Army.
Supposedly, he was baptized at Tarpley’s Chapel at the age of 100 and had a habit of sleeping on the floor in front of the fireplace where he could reach out and warm his rheumatic hands. His diet consisted of bread and the occasional watermelon.
He died of the flu at the age of 110.