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HISTORY OF BELL COUNTY KENTUCKY
HENRY HARVEY FUSON
of H.H. Fuson
I began this history while County Superintendent of Schools for Bell County, in 1907. At that time I wrote two chapters that appear in this book: "The Cumberland Ford Settlement" and "Cumberland Gap in the History of the State." These chapters appear practically as written at that time. A few additions have been made to the first one mentioned. The chapter on Cumberland Gap has been abridged and some few additions made.
There has been no attempt to write a complete history of Bell County. Even if the attempt had been made, it would have been hard of fulfillment. I have tried to cover the main facts of the history of the county, and give some idea of its place in the history of the counties of the state, I have considered of first importance the early settlers of the county, and have given to this subject three chapters. These chapters form the background of the book and stand as a basis for all that is Bell County today.
I am indebted to many people for information
used in writing this book. To P. W. Woollum, former Superintendent of Schools
of Bell County, for information about the people of Left Fork of Straight
Creek; to Jasper Howard for information about the people of Right Fork
of Straight Creek; to Simon Delph, former County Superintendent of Schools
of Bell County, for information about this family and about the Asher and
Kellems families; to C. G. Turner for information about the people of Yellow
Creek and Clear Fork of Yellow Creek; to Rev. Joe H. Peace for information
about the people of Clear Fork of Yellow Creek; to H. C. Chappell, editor
of the THREE STATES, for information in general and encouragement to finish
this history; to Howard Douglas, Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce of
Middlesborough, for the businessmen of Middlesborough; to Scott Partin,
of South America, for information about the people of South America; to
Rev. Hiram M. Frakes for information about the Henderson Settlement School;
to Rev. W. T. Robbins for the chapter on "History of the Churches," which
he wrote in its entirety; to Bob Hollingsworth for the names of the Circuit
Court Clerks; to the late W. T. Rice, of Harlan, Kentucky, for information
about the boundary and origin of Bell County, and information about the
Rice family; to Judge M. J. Moss and Captain W. M. Bingham, in their lifetime,
for information on the "The Cumberland Ford Settlement"; to William Lowe,
in his lifetime, for information on "The Cumberland Ford Settlement" and
Swift's Silver Mine; to Raleigh V. Trosper, County Agricultural Agent of
Bell County, for "The Present Status of Agriculture in Bell County"; to
the Filson Club, Louisville, Kentucky, for "The Building of Middlesborough-A
Notable Epoch in Eastern Kentucky History" by Charles Blanton Roberts;
to the late J. D. Tipton for his book, THE CUMBERLAND COAL FIELD AND ITS
CREATORS; to Anna Walker Burns for information in the chapter on "Some
Early Statistics of the County"; to the late Dickey Thompson for information
about the people of Greasy Creek; to the late Shelton Evans, of Middlesborough,
Kentucky, for information about the people of Little Clear Creek; to Robert
Partin for information about the people of Big Clear Creek; to Joe Parsons
for information about the people of
Upper Cumberland River; to Levi H. Lee, Gilmore Cox, and J. B. Cox for information about the poeple of Browney's Creek; to John M. Durham, J.C. Hoskins, and Rev. J.C. Buell for information about the people of Hances Creek; to Ben Risner for information about the people of Hances Creek; to Elmer Decker for some information on the early history of Bell County and Cumberland Ford; to Frank Durham for information in regard to the veterans of World War One and some facts about his father, Dr. C. C. Durham; to Herndon Evans for information about the newspaper and editors in Pineville and vicinity; to J. J. Howard, County Court Clerk of Bell County, for a list of county officers; to E. G. Asher, Louisville, Kentucky, for the chapter on "History of the Schools of Bell County, continued"; to Maurice Tribell for "The Present Status of the Bell County Schools"; to J. L. Lair, Superintendent of the Pineville Schools, for information on "The Present Status of the Pineville Schools"; to A. E. Lehman, Superintendent of the Red Bird Settlement School, for information in regard to the school; to W. M. Slusher, Superintendent of the Lone Jack High School, for information in regard to that school.
I am especially indebted to H. C. Chappell, Editor of the THREE STATES in Middlesborough. He came to me about two years ago (1937) and asked me to complete this History of Bell County, and stated that he would aid in selling it through the press, if I did so. I told him, at the time, that I would consider it and let him know. The more I thought about it the more it appealed to me, and so I wrote him that I would undertake the task. The two years (1937-1939) work on the manuscript have been pleasant years, but the task has been laborious at times. It tried my persistence to the limit. I was tempted time and again, to give up the task; but interest in the work held me to it. After having gone over the field and having done what I reasonably could to write the history of the county, I realize how far short of what it should be, it is. However, the attempt will show something of the history of the county and will be a basis for future histories of this Gateway to the West.
I feel that this is a debt I owe to my people, and, having performed it in the best way I could, under the circumstances, I am sure that they will accept it, with all of its short-comings, and will give me credit for having been faithful to my task. With a heart full of love for each individual in Bell County, with malice toward none, I send this history on its mission.
H. H. Fuson
Harlan, Kentucky August 30, 1939
I BELL COUNTY THE GATEWAY TO THE WEST 1
II ORIGIN AND BOUNDARY OF BELL COUNTY 8
III PHYSICAL FETURES OF THE COUNTY 22
IV THE CUMBERLAND GAP REGION IN THE HISTORY OF THE
V THE CUMBERLAND FORD SETTLEMENT 41
VI EARLY SETTLERS OF BELL COUNTY 71
VII EARLY SETTLERS OF BELL COUNTY, CONTINUED 107
VIII EARLY SETTLERS OF BELL COUNTY, CONTINUED 126
IX SOME EARLY STATISTICS OF BELL COUNTY 158
X POLITICAL HISTORY OF BELL COUNTY 163
BELL COUNTY THE GATEWAY TO THE WEST
During the Revolutionary War, and immediately after, a mighty impulse stirred the people of the Atlantic Coast region---an impulse to cross the mountain barrier that impeded their progress to the West. A vast wilderness lay across these mountains and beyond toward the Pacific Coast. It was an unknown country, a new country to be discovered and occupied. Its vagueness and vastness intrigued their imaginations. From time to time hunting parties penetrated eastern Kentucky through Cumberland Gap and gradually learned of the possibilities of the new country. Immigration began to flow into the region and the movement to settle the West had begun. Bell County stood at the very gateway to this movement and passed the moving hosts on into the mountain region of Kentucky, into the bluegrass, and on into the West.
Speed says of this movement: "Less than two hundred miles inland, and parallel with the Atlantic Coast, were the mountains. Beyond these lay a wilderness of unknown extent, the occupation of which presented obstacles scarcely less formidable than those which attended the first planting of the colonies."
"With the accomplishment of independence, however, the time came for passing the western barriers; the section of occupied territory was to widen from a narrow ribbon along the coast line to the whole extent of the continent. Space was to be cleared for the gigantic growth to the new Republic, and the coming wonders of railway and steam navigation.
"It was in the far-distant region of Kentucky that the permanent occupation of the West began. In the heart of that region, full five hundred miles as the crow flies from the sea--coast, and more than three hundred miles beyond the crests of the mountains, population suddenly gathered and civilization suddenly bloomed.
"It was not an adventure of bold men
alone, but a movement of men, women and children. It is equally wonderful
that from the first they were imbued with the idea of permanent settlement
and residence in the far-west country. It was to be their home; return
was not thought of. They carried with them all their possessions, and as
the alter-fire for the distant colony they carried with them a clear perception
of the prime necessity of stable government, of obedience to law, and the
observance of order."
From, Captain Imlay we get a very distinct statement of the two routes of travel: the one, down the Ohio River, which was made perilous on account of the number of fighting Indian tribes; the other, through the great wilderness by way of Cumberland Gap, which was freer from Indian warfare.
William Brown, on his route to Kentucky in 1782, says: "From thence (from Cumberland Gap) until you pass Rockcastle River there is very little good road; this tract of country is very mountainous, and badly watered along the trace, especially for springs. There is some good land on the water-courses, and just on this side Cumberland River appears to be a good trace, and within a few years I expect to have a settlement on it. Some parts of the road is very miry in rainy weather. The fords of Cumberland and Rockcastle are both good unless the waters be too high."
Bell County's line joints that of Virginia and Tennessee along the top of Cumberland Mountain and includes part of the Gap itself and the land on the side of Cumberland Mountain facing Middlesborough. The march of the pioneers, crossing through the Gap, trod the soil of Bell County in their movement into Kentucky and the West. Bell County was the first to receive these hosts and send them on to create an Empire of the West. Some tarried within her confines, settled and built homes. Thus was the territory of Bell County the earliest to feel the tread of these pioneers and the first to open the gates to the oncoming hosts of a new civilization, a civilization that was to people the new country from the mountains on the east to the Golden Gate on the west.
Dr. Thomas Walker, Daniel Boone, Finlay and others were the advance guards of the new movement. Walker in 1750 came through the Gap and descended into the Yellow Creek Valley. There on a beech tree Ambrose Powell, one of Walker's party, carved his name and the date, "A. Powell 1750." This record became the cornerstone of the history of Bell County and of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Walker's Journal, which will be found in more detail in the chapter on "Cumberland Gap in the History of the State, "details his route through Bell County along the present highway between Middlesborough and Pineville and out of the county near Flat Lick. Walker camped on the Rufus Moss farm near the mouth of Clear Creek, went down the creek to where it empties into Cumberland River, saw Cumberland River for the first time and gave it the name Cumberland from the "Bloody Duke" of Cumberland in England. Walker tells in his Journal why he camped on the Moss farm. His moccasins had worn out and he made a new pair there. He named Clear Creek, "Clover Creek," because of the presence of so much wild clover growing there.
Following Walker, came Daniel Boone
in 1769, whose imagination had been fired by the accounts of Kentucky from
Findlay who had preceded him. Later, in 1775, Boone, with others, had opened
up the Wilderness Road, which passed through the Gap, down Yellow Creek,
through the gap in Little Log Mountain, through Ferndale, up Moore's Branch,
through the gap in Big Log Mountain, through the "Narrows" south of Pineville,
through Cumberland Ford in Pineville, and down Cumberland River to Flat
Lick, and on to Boonesborough. Photo
of Narrows Road (Wilderness Road looking north
to the ford)
Very little is known of Findlay, who soon disappears after the pioneer movement began. He had been a trader with the Indians, and, in this way, had became acquainted with the Kentucky wilderness.
Cumberland Ford is one of the important landmarks in the early history of Bell County and the state of Kentucky. An account of the Cumberland Ford Settlement will be found in a chapter under this title further on in this history. As a small boy, before the days of bridges in this county, I was familiar with this Ford, and it was in use some time after I was a grown man. In the fall of the year, when the water in the smaller streams was low, I was accustomed to leave our home on Little Clear Creek and go to Pogue's gristmill near Flat Lick in Knox County to get corn ground into meal. I passed through this Ford on these occasions. The town of Pineville was thus early known as Cumberland Ford.
Probably the first white men to come to and through the Gap were some roving bands of hunters. They came in, no doubt, before 1750, the date of Doctor Walker's visit, or exploring expedition. Then came Doctor Walker's in 1750. He was followed by Swift in 1761, 1762, 1763, and in 1767. After the Treaty of Watauga, between Henderson and the Indians, in 1775; after our Independence had been declared in 1776;and after the break-up of the State of Franklin, under Sevier and others, in 1788, the influx of pioneers into southeastern Kentucky began in earnest. It was about this time that Bell County was settled.
Thomas Fuson, the Kentucky pioneer of the family, came into this section with different hunting parties just before and just after 1800. His son John Fuson, under the name of John Fuston or Funston (which spelling was probably due to the enlistment officer who got the name wrong) was in the War of 1812 from Kentucky. This would indicate that Thomas Fuson and this son were in Kentucky at that time. Later, in 1826, Thomas Fuson settled near Chenoa, lived and died there. It is known that Thomas Fuson lived at the mouth of Brush Creek, opposite Artemus, Kentucky, prior to 1826, where he and his sons, in that pioneer day, raised a thousand bushels of corn with hand-made plows and shopmade hoes. It is barely possible that he was living here at the time John Fuson, his oldest son, joined the army.
A large number of people had settled in Bell County prior to 1800. Abraham Buford took up the land at Cumberland Ford, now Pineville, on a Virginia Treasury Warrant, in 1781, and it is said that shortly thereafter he built a log house on the land near where the Indian Mound was located, on which, years afterwards, Dr. W. J. Hodges built his house. Thus Cumberland Ford, in all probability, was the first occupied land by whites in what is now Bell County.
At a later date, June 28, 1799, it
seems that Evan Shelby, father of Governor Isaac Shelby, took up some of
this same land under a Military Warrant, and, shortly thereafter, built
a brick house on the property at the Ford, or the house was built by his
son Isaac Shelby. This brick house was the first brick house erected in
limits of Bell County, and was the first brick house erected in Southeastern Kentucky. Governor Shelby had some difficulties with the title of his father to this land, and cleared the title up by purchases from Abraham Buford in 1814 and James Johnson in 1816. Mr. Elmer Decker, of Barbourville, Kentucky, in delving in the old records of Knox County, has this to say, quoting from these old records in regard to this Shelby house:
"Governor Shelby early acquired title to one hundred acres 'lying at the Ford of Cumberland, on the south side of said river, where the Wilderness Road crosses the same.' It was patented 'under a Military Warrant,' June 28, 1799, to Evan Shelby, father of the Governor. On December 16, 1816, Governor Shelby, in order to clear up a cloud on his title, bought the same tract from James Johnson 'for and in consideration of two likely negroes, a man and a woman, of the value of one thousand dollars, paid to him by the said Isaac Shelby on the 4th day of February, one thousand eight hundred, and for the further sum of one hundred and fifty dollars.'
"Sometime between the date of the above patent and July 11, 1811, when 'Joseph Eve, assee of the County Court of Boone,' entered 'four acres of land in the County of Knox (now Bell) on Cumberland River to begin 6 1/2 poles north of the door of Shelby's brick house between the state road and said river.' The Governor erected the first brick house in southeastern Kentucky near the old Ford within the present city limits of Pineville.
"I added the information about Morgan moving the house during the Civil War to the Gap, giving you credit for that information. I know the above land was said to have been patented by Buford much earlier. However, the date I give is taken from our deed and surveyor's books here."
From these quotations from Mr. Decker, based upon these early Knox County records, we know that Shelby's brick house was there at the Ford in 1811, because the four acres taken up by Joseph Eve, between the road and the river, calls for Shelby's brick house; but, as to when it was built, it must have been some time between 1800 and 1811.
This brick house was built upon the site of the present J. J. Gibson house there at the Ford. This brick house passed to the Renfros and then to the Gibsons, and was torn down during the Civil War by Gen. George W. Morgan, who used it as headquarters while stationed there at Pineville, and taken to Cumberland Gap, where the brick was used in building fortifications, when Morgan occupied the Gap with the Union forces.
Thus it will be seen that Pineville
was settled, in the name of Cumberland Ford, about 1781, and the names
of Abraham Buford, Evan Shelby, Governor Isaac Shelby, son of Evan Shelby,
James Johnson, Joseph Eve, and the Renfros were connected, in
one way or another, in this early settlement. For a long time after the settlement, it went by the name of Cumberland Ford, but, sometime prior to the establishment of the County of Bell, in 1867, the name of the place had been changed to Pineville, and has been known as Pineville ever since. Pineville was confined to the Narrows in the early days, and the entire town was lodged on either side of the road in the Narrows until about 1888, when the Louisville and Nashville Railroad reached Pineville. Then Fred Hull, as President of the Pineville Land & Lumber Company, purchased the bottom where Pineville is now located from J. J. Gibson, and the town was built around the square now occupied by the courthouse This part of the town then was known locally as new Pineville and that part of it in the Narrows was known as old Pineville. Pineville was designated as the county seat of Bell County upon its formation and has remained the county seat since, although in recent years Middlesborough shares a part of the Circuit Court term. Photo Narrows Road
Middlesborough is the largest town in the county and is known as a new town. The foundations of the city of Middlesborough were laid around 1889 to 1890. An English company, headed by Arthur, laid out the town and promoted the building of it. In the chapter in this book on "Middlesborough," the founding and development of this town will be found adequately treated.
The main points of historical interest for Bell County, aside from the people who compose the County itself, are: Cumberland Gap, because of it being the gateway for the early pioneers into Kentucky and the west; Cumberland Ford, which includes the history of Pineville, because it was one of the principal points on the Wilderness Road and the first place settled in the county; Middlesborough, because it is the largest town in the county and is directly connected with the industrial development of the county and grew out of that industrial development. These three points of interest, because of their significance, are adequately treated in this book, a chapter having been assigned to each of them.
The settlement of the Yellow Creek Valley, in and around Middlesborough, was begun shortly after 1780, as was also the Cannon Creek region around Ferndale. Settlements began along the Wilderness Road in Bell County shortly after this road was built in 1775.
The second brick house in the county was that of Rev. John C. Colson, Middlesborough. This house stands on the main highway leading into Middlesborough and near the bridge that spans the railroad tracks, just before you reach the grounds of the old iron furnace. The house is still standing. Rev. John C. Colson was father of D. G. Colson, who afterwards went to Congress from the old Eleventh District of Kentucky.
The farming period of Bell County
took its rise between 1780 and 1820, and was continued with increased force
and efficiency until 1889, when the industrial period began. Farming has
been carried on, more or less, in the county from the earliest
pioneer day to the present, but, after 1889, it was carried on to a less extent than before that period, because many men left the farms, after this industrial era began, to work in the mines or around the mines. The greatest period of farming in the county was from 1840 to 1889. During that period the inhabitants depended almost entirely upon farming, with occasional logging jobs thrown in.
The logging industry started up after the Civil War ended in 1865, and continued up into the industrial era of the county, to about the year 1900. Of course, the lumber industry is still going on. Mills are located in different parts of the county and are getting out a limited amount of lumber, but the most active years of the industry were between the years of 1865 and 1900.
At first, logs were floated down the streams to the mills at Williamsburg, Kentucky. The Jones Lumber Company and the Kentucky Lumber Company held the logs with log-boams across Cumberland River, there to await their turn to be sawed into lumber. Most of the best poplar timber was taken out in this way.
But, in the early '90's T. J. Asher and Sons erected a large sawmill on their property at Wasioto, and carried on a large lumber business until after 1900, when the firm went out of the lumber business and went into the coal business. This mill was the largest that ever operated in the county.
Then came the coal business after
1888. This was brought about when the Louisville and Nashville Railroad
Company entered Bell County in that year. This railroad entered Bell County
just south of Flat Lick and followed up Cumberland River, through Pineville,
to a point just above Wasioto, where it left the river and went up Patterson's
Branch to Ferndale, and from Fernadale, through the tunnel at Little Log
Mountain, to Yellow Creek and up Yellow Creek and up Yellow Creek to Middlesborough
and Cumberland Gap. Since that time, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad
Company have built spur lines from, this main line to different points
in the county. One branch extends up Four Mile Creek from Four Mile Station;
another up Greasy Creek from just below the mouth of Four Mile Creek; another
up Straight Creek from Pineville, which road divides at old Straight Creek
Mines, one branch extending up the left Fork of Straight Creek and the
other up the Right Fork of Straight Creek; another branch road leaves the
main line just above Wasioto and goes up Big Clear Creek to Chenoa; another
one extends up Yellow Creek, leaving the main line at the mouth of Yellow
Creek; another extends up Pucketts Creek; another branches off to Cardinal
near the Harlan County line; another line leaves the main line in Middlesborough
and extends up Bennetts Fork, and, where Bennett's Fork and Stony Fork
join, this road divides, one branch extending up Stony Fork. The Southern
Railroad Campany has a Short line in Bell County on Clear Fork River across
the mountain from Middlesborough, and the Southern enters Middlesborough,
from the direction of Knoxville, through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel. This
net of railroads have contributed more to the industrial development of
Bell County than any other agency.
Mines opened, after 1889, with the coming of the L & N Railroad, in the following fields: on lower Greasy Creek in the Dean coal; on Four Mile Creek in the Straight Creek seam; on the two Straight Creeks in the Straight Creek seam; in the Chenoa field on Big Clear Creek; on Bennett's Fork and Stony Fork in the Middlesborough area; and later on Cumberland River between Pineville and the Harlan County line. Bell County reached its highest development in the coal business around 1915, and since that time, it has declined in output of coal.
A few years ago, a new line of railroad was built up the Left Fork of Straight Creek, which opens up a new coal field. This will give a new impetus to the coal business in the county, and will tend to bring the output back to a higher level.
Today, the inhabitants of Bell County
depend for a livelihood upon a small amount of farming, and to a greater
extend the coal and lumber business. County, state and governnent road
work furnishes occupation for some of the inhabitants. The coal industry
still furnishes more employment for the inhabitants of the county than
any other one industry.
ORIGIN AND BOUNDARY OF BELL COUNTY
Bell County was the one hundred twelfth county formed in the state. It lies between the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh meridians north latitude, and between the parallels eighty-three and eighty-four west longitude. The Cumberland Valley Division of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad passes through its territory and the Southern Railroad enters the southern part of the county at Middlesborough and Fonde. The main highway south parallels the railroad through the county and passes out through Cumberland Gap. Both the Southern Railroad and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad pass out of the state through a tunnel under Cumberland Gap.
Bell County is located in southeastern Kentucky, in the mountainous portion of the state. Its boundaries extend from the Knox County line on the west to the Harlan County line on the east, and from the Clay County line on the north to the Tennessee-Virginia line on the south. Bell County is bounded on the north by Clay, Leslie and Knox counties; on the south by Tennessee and Virginia; on the east by Harlan and Leslie counties; and on the west by Tennessee, and Whitley and Knox counties. It has an area of 384 square miles.
Bell County is located in the Ninth Congressional District, Seventh Senatorial District, and the Twenty-sixth Judicial District.
Bell County, known at the time of its formation as Josh Bell, was established by an act of the Legislature in 1867 from portions of Knox and Harlan counties. The act establishing the county and the description of the boundary of the county follow:
CHAPTER 1553. ACTS 1867
AN ACT to establish the County of Josh Bell
BE IT ENACTED BY THE CENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY:
Approved February 23, 1867
1. That, from and after the Ist day
of August, 1867, all parts of Harlan and Knox Counties lying within and
included in the following boundary shall be, and the same is
hereby, stricken from said counties and erected into a district or county, to be called and known as the county of Josh Bell, to-wit: Beginning at the Narrows on Cumberland River, in Harlan County, about one mile above C. J. Calloway's; thence crossing said river and running on the dividing ridge between William G. Howard and William S. Howard, crossing Puckett's Creek about half way between John W. Slusher's and Samuel Creech's; thence up the dividing ridge between the Pond Mill Branch and Bond Branch; thence with the same ridge dividing Puckett's Creek and Browning's Creek to the head of James Howard, Sr's, Mill Creek; thence straight to Browning's Creek, at the lower end of Isaac Ely's old farm; thence a straight line south to the Virginia line on top of Cumberland Mountain; thence with the Virginia and Kentucky line to the Tennessee line to the Whitley County line; thence with the line between Whitley and Knox counties to the head of Clear Creek; thence with the dividing ridge between Turkey Creek and Greasy Creek to Cumberland River, in Knox County, so as to include the Reuben Hendrickson farm; thence crossing the river to the top of the ridge west of Four Mile Creek; thence with said ridge to Mulberry Gap; thence with dividing ridge between Stinking and Straight creeks to the Clay County line; thence with the line between Clay and Harlan counties to the head of Big Run; thence down Big Run with its meanders to Straight Creek; thence a straight line to the beginning. Photo Narrows1
It occurs to me that the first survey of Bell County would be an interesting historical document, sufficiently interesting to find a place in this history. The survey was made by James B. Partin under the authority of the Legislature of Kentucky. The act follows:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COMMONWEATH OF KENTUCKY:
Sec. 1. That the second section of an act, entitled 'An Act to amend an act to establish the County of Josh Bell,' be amended by striking out the name of William F. Westerfield, and inserting the name of James B. Partin, Surveyor of Josh Bell County.
Sec. 2. This act to take effect from its passage.
Approved January 28, 1870
(Acts of 1879, Ch. 185)
William F. Westerfield was at first appointed by the Legislature to run this line, but, for some reason, he failed to perform the duties and James B. Partin was selected in his stead. The act which selected Westerfield to run the line of Bell County is given below because it contains the names of other men, as commissioners, who were to aid him in doing the work. The act follows:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY:
Sec. 1. That so much of the fifth section of an act, entitled 'An Act to establish the County of Josh Bell,' approved 28th February, 1867, as appoints Isaac Dean a commissioner to run and mark the boundary line of said county of Josh Bell, agreeably to the boundary designated in said Act, be, and the same is hereby repealed.
Sec. 2. That William F. Westerfield be, and is, appointed a commissioner, in conjunction with Robert Howard and William North, and such assistants as they may employ, to do and perform all the duties required by the Act to which this is an amendment, so far as the running and marking of the said boundary line is concerned.
Sec. 3. This Act to take effect from its passage.
Approved March 4, 1869
(Acts of 1869 Ch. 1701)
It will be noticed by this act that Isaac Dean was at first selected by the Legislature to run and mark the line, or limits, of Bell County, which selection was later changed to William F. Westerfield, and, when he did not accept, to James B. Partin, who ran the line.
James B. Partin, 1844-1917, lived in the Big Clear Creek section of Bell County. He was a surveyor by profession, but lived on and cultivated a farm, as a side issue or occupation. I was well acquainted with him in his lifetime, since he lived to be an old man, and was, at the time he surveyed the boundary of Bell County, comparatively a young man. Along in the nineties sometime, he associated himself with some others in the promotion of a company to mine silver in the region of Chenoa, Kentucky, claiming to have located such a mine, either in the Pine Mountain or in Log Mountain; but nothing came of the project. However, the company was incorporated and some digging was done at the proposed mine. James B. Partin was an intelligent man, with but little education, and played an important part in the early history of Bell County. The fact that he was its first surveyor, the engineer who first ran its boundary line, places him as one of the first citizens of Bell County at the time of its formation.
Following these paragraphs I am giving the survey of the boundary line of Josh Bell County, in metes and bounds, as surveyed by James B. Partin, and which was reported by Partin as the official survey of the boundary line for the first time.
STATE OF KENTUCKY
September the 15th, 1873
I, James B. Partin, being appointed
by the Legislature of Kentucky to run the lines of Bell County (to wit)
Beginning at a large rock and elm
on the bank of Cumberland River at the narrowes, about one mile above C.
J. Calaweyes (C. G. Calloway's); thence up said river, N 24 E 160 poles
to two white oaks on top of Barnets Ridge between John and Green Howards
near Cumberland River, thence S 70 E 140 poles to a black oak on top of
a small ridge; thence S 51 # 390 poles to three chestnuts and chestnut
oak on top of the ridge that divides Sale's (Saylor's) Creek and pides
branch; thence with the same. S 33 E 188 poles to a saves (sarvis) and
two small bushes on top of the hanging rock, thence due South 414 poles
to Pucketts Creek above William R. Howards, and above the mouth of Black
Snake Creek, course continued in all 482 poles to a poplar; thence S 21
W 120 poles to a Pine and Hickory on top of the Buzzard ridge; thence with
the meanders of said ridge S 220 poles to three chestnuts on top of said
ridge; thence with the meanders of said ridge, S 26 W 438 poles to four
chestnut oaks on top of Buck Butt at the head of Black snake between Brownyes
Creek and Pucketts Creek; thence S 30 E 600 poles to the top of the ridge
at the head of James Howards Mill Creek; thence with the meanders of the
ridge that divides Howards Creek and Browneys Creek, N 85 E 104 poles to
two white oaks at the head waters of James Howards Mill Creek; thence S
20 E 500 poles to Brownyes Creek Road at two rocks at the lower end of
Isaac Ealeys Old Farm on Browneys Creek; thence crossing said creek due
South 196 poles to the top of the Brush Mountain, course continued in all
966 poles to the top of the Cumberland Mountain to a large rock and spotted
oak tree in Bailes medders at the State line between Kentucky and Virginia;
thence with the State line, N 88 W 330 poles to a forked Burch on top of
some rocks; thence with the State line N 85 W 606 poles to Chadwells Gap
on top of Cumberland Mountain course continued in all 4176 poles to Cumberland
Gap; thence S 1 mile and a half and 12 poles to seven pines and three black
oaks on top of Cumberland Mountain On Walkers line at the corner of the
State of Kentucky; thence with Walkers line N 86 W 1600 poles to a stone
erected on said line on the West bank of benets fork, course continued,
in all 15 miles to a stone erected on Walkers line on the trace branch
above George Teagues and at the County Road that leads from Kentucky to
Tennessee; thence with the meanders of said Road, N 2 W 340 poles to Wilsons
Gap, course continued in all 800 poles to a Hickory at Andy Lamdens; thence
N 50 W 400 poles to a White Oak Tree at Laurel Fork Bridge; thence N 21
W 70 poles to a sign-post at the forks of the road at John Lamdens; thence
N 50 W 320 poles to two poplars and hickory on top of the Pine Mountain
at the Hesse Shoe Gap; thence with the top of Pine Mountain N 65 E. 7210
poles to the Henderson Gap on top of said mountain, course continued in
all 1656 poles to the narrowes on top of the Pine Mountain at a large square
rock and poplar and chestnut oak; thence N 15 W 180 poles to the divide
between Greesey Creek and Poplar Creek; thence with the dividing ridge
between Greesey Creek and Poplar Creek N 38 W 80 poles to the top of the
first ridge; thence N 7 W 566 poles to a hickory and sassafras and three
chestnuts on top of the dividing ridge that divides Greesey Creek and Harps
Creek; thence with the meanders of said ridge, N 35 E 100 poles to a Peach
Tree and Stone, including Arch legers Houses; thence N 60 E 58 poles to
a stone on top of a ridge that divides Greesey Creek, Harps Creek and Brush
Creek; thence W 49 E 286 poles to the Brush Creek Gap at the main head
of Brush Creek where the Road crosses from Greesey Creek to
Brush Creek; thence with the meanders of the Brush Creek Ridge, N
65 E 174 poles to a chestnut and chestnut oak tree on top of the Brush
Creek ridge; thence with the meanders of the same, N 35 E 341 poles to
two chestnut oaks; thence N 5 W 562 poles to a locus and chestnut oak on
top of a ridge dividing Greesey Creek and Brush Creek; thence N 85 E 282
poles to two lynns in a low gap of the mountain that divides Greesey Creek
and Brush Creek; thence with the meanders of the same, N 48 E 68 poles
to two buckeyes and spanish oak on top of said mountain; thence N 48, course
continued in all 110 poles to an Ash tree and black gum tree on top of
the ridge that divides Brush Creek and the Left Hand Fork of Locks Branch,
the waters of Greesey Creek; thence N 27 W 70 poles to six chestnut oaks
on top of the ridge that divides Greesey Creek and Brush Creek; thence
with the meanders of the same, N 18 E 296 poles to a sugar tree and hickory
on the ridge that divides Brush Creek and the left hand for of Goodins
Branch, the waters of Greesey Creek; thence N 10 E 110 poles to a hickory
and dogwood; thence N 40 E 62 poles to a dogwood and white oak; thence
N 18 W 278 poles to two chestnut oaks on top of the ridge that divides
the head of Marsees Branch of Greesey Creek and Brush Creek; thence N 42
W 46 poles to three white oaks; thence N 25 E 134 poles to the path on
the Brush Creek ridge that crosses from Greesey Creek to Brush Creek, course
continued N 25 E 60 poles to three chestnut oaks on top of the mountain
at the head of Deens Branch, the waters of Greesey Creek; thence N 160
poles to an ash, spanish oak and hickory on top of the ridge at the head
of opossum Branch that divides Greesey Creek and Brush Creek; thence N
21 E 30 poles to a chestnut oak and two hickories on top of the pinacle
of the mountain that divides Greesey Creek and Brush Creek at the head
of Deans Branch; thence N 87 E 350 poles to three hickories on top of a
high pinacle and divides Parets Branch and Deens Branch, the waters of
Greesey Creek; thence S 41 E 124 poles to a white oak; thence E 160 poles
to a elum on the bank of Cumberland River, thence up said river S 6 E 120
poles to a hickory and maple on the bank of Cumberland River at the mouth
of Greesey Creek; thence N 80 E 268 poles to two maples on the bank of
Cumberland River at the divide between Hendrickson's farm and Tinsley's
farm; thence crossing said river, N 20 E 260 poles to two chestnut oaks
on top of the ridge that divides four mile Creek and Marks Branch; thence
with the top of same, N 15 E.. 8.40 poles to a stone set up in the mulberry
Gap at the head of Moores Creek and four mile Creek; thence N 280 poles
to a black oak and chestnut oak on top of the ridge that divides Moores
Creek and Four Mile Creek; thence S 76 E 286 poles to a large white oak
on top of the ridge that divides the head of Four Mile Creek and Caney
Fork of Strate Creek; thence N 40 E 692 poles to a black gum and chestnut
oak on top of the mountain between Caney Flork and Strate Creek and Moores
Creek; thence N 3 W 496 poles to a white oak and black gum on top of the
mountain that divides the waters of Strate Creek and Stinking Creek; thence
N 78 W 230 poles to the chestnut log gap; thence N 60 W 202 poles to three
chestnut trees; thence N 11 W 264 poles to a white oak on top of the mountain
that divides the head of Strate Creek and the waters of Stinking Creek,
N 58 E 380 poles to a gap of the right hand fork of the head of the trace
branch, course continues in all 658 poles to a beach and dogwood and three
hickories, course continued in all 908 poles to a doqwood and three hickories
at the gap of the mountain between Strait Creek and the
waters of Stinking Creek; thence N 70 E 580 poles to two white oaks at the minyard Gap near the head of Straight Creek; thence with the meanders of said mountain N 35 E 630 poles to a chestnut oak and poplar at a gap of the mountain that divided the main head of Stinking Creek and the waters of Red Bird; thence with the meanders of said mountain, N 50 E 260 poles to a forked chestnut in the gap of the mountain between the head waters of Stinking Creek and the head of Lock Fork; thence S 87 E 1108 poles to the mouth of the rich branch, where it empties into Red Bird; thence up said branch S 65 E 428 poles to four chestnut oaks on top of the mountain that divides rich branch and Phillips Branch; thence S 13 W with the top of said mountain, 1053 poles to the but of the ridge that divides the Dow Fork and Phillips Fork; thence S 85 W with the meanders of the ridge 1100 poles to two white oaks and a black gum on the top of the mountain that divides middle fork and Phillips fork; thence S 85 W 960 poles to the head of the Stoney Fork; thence S 30 E with the meanders of said mountain 960 poles to two hickories at the head of Big Run; thence down Bigrunn S 35 E 1048 poles to a white oak and maple at the mouth of Bigrunn where it empties into the right hand fork of Straight Creek; thence S 28 W, crossing the Pine Mountain----poles to a sugar tree and ash and horn beam at the beginning corner on the Cumberland River about one mile above C. J. Calaways.
James B. Partin, S.B.C.
A. M. Goodin)
John Begley) Chaimian
William Begley) Marker
State of Kentucky
County of Bell
I, J. B. Knuckles, Surveyor of Bell County hereby certify that the foregoing is a correct and camplete copy of survey of Bell County as surveyed by James B. Partin, as appears of record in my office in Book No. I at Page 175 &c.
Given under my official hand this the 18th day of June 1904.
J. B. Knuckles, Surveyor of Bell
By C. Hurst, Deputy Surveyor.
Copied from and compared with certified copy on file in the office of Charles H. Davis, at South Yarmouth, Massachusetts.
This October 14, 1912 George S. Ward
It is interesting to note how Bell
County, at the gateway to Kentucky and the West, came into being. I wish
here to relate some of the details leading up to the formation of
Kentucky and the establishment of Bell County within the Commonwealth. A. B. Lipscomb, in his POLITICAL HISTORY OF KENTUCKY, says: "The territory now comprised within the boundaries of Kentucky was originally part of the grant from James I of England, in 1606, to the Virginia Colony, of all the land from the thirty-fourth to the forty-fifth parallels of latitude, and extending back from the coast westwardly to the South Sea, as the Pacific Ocean was then called, the distance between the two oceans being unknown or vaguely surmised."
Kentucky County of Virginia originally embraced all of Kentucky and the Northwest Territory, including Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, and west to the South Sea as the Pacific was then called. In 1776 this Kentucky County was divided by the Virginia Assembly into three counties: (1) Montgomery, (2) Washington, (3) Kentucky. Then it was that Kentucky County was confined to the limits, or nearly so, it occupies today.
Under boundaries with reference to Tennessee and Virginia, Chapter IX, Dembitz on KENTUCKY JURISPRUDENCE (1890 ed., p. 152 ff.) has the following to say on the approval of the boundary of Kentucky and how it originated:
Section 51. Boundaries. In 1776 the county of Fincastle, of the newly arisen state of Virginia, comprised all of its wild western lands, and among them all the territory now known as Kentucky. By a Virginia Act of that year the county was divided into the new Counties of Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky, the last named of which became afterwards the District, and a few years later the state of the same name.
In 1776 Kentucky County was created out of part of Fincastle County, as shown in Littell's LAWS OF KENTUCKY (vol. I, p. 626, chap. 245, "Acts of Kentucky of 1797"). The act follows:
AN ACT CONTAINING SO MUCH OF EVERY ACT OR ACTS AS ASCERTAINS THE BOUNDARY OF THE STATE, AND OF THE SEVERAL COUNTIES:
Approved February 25, 1797
From and after the last day of December ensuing, the said County of Fincastle shall be divided into three counties; that is to say, all that part thereof which lies to the south and westward of a line beginning on the Ohio, at the mouth of Great Sandy Creek, and running up the same and the main or northeasterly branch thereof to the Great Laurel Ridge, or Cumberland Mountain; thence south-westerly along the said mountain to the line of North Carolina, shall be one distinct county, and called and known by the name of Kentucky.
In 1780 Kentucky County was divided by the Virginia Legislature into Jefferson, Fayette, and Lincoln counties, as shown by Littell's LAWS OF KENTUCKY (vol. I, p. 626, chap. 245, "Act of Kentucky of 1797").
Approved February 25, 1797
The Act is as follows:
From and after the first day of November next, the said County of Kentucky shall be divided into three counties, that is to say, all that part of the south side of Kentucky River, which lies west and north of a line beginning at the mouth of Benson's big creek, and running up the same and its main fork to the head; thence south to the nearest waters of Hammond's creek, and down the same to its junction with the town fork of Salt River; thence south to Green River, and down the same to its junction with the Ohio, shall be one distinct county, to be called and known by the name of Jefferson. And all that part of said County of Kentucky which lieth north of the line, beginning at the mouth of the Kentucky River, and up the same to its middle fork to the head; thence south-east to Washington line, shall be one other distinct county, and called by the name of Fayette. And all the residue of the said county of Fayette shall be one other distinct county, and called and known by the name of Lincoln.
From and after the first day of January next, the county of Jefferson shall be divided into two distinct counties by Salt River, and all that part of said county lying south of said river, shall be called and known by the name of Nelson, and all the residue of the said county shall retain the name of Jefferson.
From and after the first day of May, one thousand seven hundred and eight-six, the county of Fayette shall be divided into two distinct counties, that is to say, so much of the said county within the following lines: Beginning at the mouth of Upper Howards creek on Kentucky River, running up the main fork thereof to the head; thence with the dividing ridge between Kentucky and Licking creek, until it comes opposite to the head of Eagle Creek; from thence a direct line to the nearest part of Raven creek, a branch of Licking, down Raven Creek to the mouth thereof; thence with Licking to the Ohio; thence with the Ohio to the mouth of Sandy Creek, up Sandy Creek to the Cumberland Mountain; thence with the said mountain to the line of Lincoln County; thence with that line, and down the Kentucky River to the beginning, shall be one distinct county, and called and known by the name of Bourbon. And the residue of the said county shall retain the name of Fayette.
From and after the first day of August
next, the county of Lincoln shall be divided into three distinct counties,
that is to say: so much of the said county bounded by a line beginning
at the confluence of Sugar Creek, and Kentucky River; thence a direct line
to the mouth of Clark's run; thence a straight line to Wilson's station
in the fork of Clark's run: thence the same course continued to the line
of Nelson County; thence with the said line to the line of Jefferson County;
thence with that line to the Kentucky River; thence up the said river to
the beginning, shall be one distinct county, and called and known by the
name of Mercer; that such farther parts of said county within the following
lines, to-wit: Beginning at the confluence of the Kentucky River and Sugar
Creek: thence up the said creek to the fork James Thompson lives on; thence
a straight line to where an east course from John Ellis's will intersect
the top of the ridge
that divides the waters of Paint Lick from the waters of Dick's river; thence along the top of said ridge southwardly opposite to Hickman's lick; thence south forty-five degrees east to the main Rockcastle River; thence up the said river to the head thereof, thence with the ridge that divides the waters of Kentucky River from the waters of Cumberland River to the line of Washington County; thence along the said line to the main fork of Kentucky river that divides the county of Fayette from the county of Lincoln; thence down the said river to the beginning, shall be one distinct county, and called and known by the name of Madison. And all the residue of the said county shall retain the name of Lincoln.
From and after the first day of May next, the county Fayette shall be divided into two distinct counties, that is to say; all that part of the said county lying westward of a line to begin one mile and half above Todd's ferry, on Kentucky River; thence a direct line to the eight mile tree, on the Lees-town road; thence a direct course crossing the north fork of Elkhorn, four miles on a straight line below William Russell's; thence the same course continued to the line of Bourbon County; thence with Bourbon County line to the mouth of Licking; thence down the Ohio to the mouth of Kentucky River; thence up the river to the beginning, shall be one distinct county, and called and known by the name of Woodford. And the residue of said county shall retain the name of Fayette.
Between 1784 and 1792 the three counties of Lincoln, Jefferson and Fayette, were divided into nine counties, as follows: Jefferson, Nelson, Fayette, Bourbon, Woodford, Mason; Lincoln, Mercer, Madison. There were two counties of Jefferson; four counties of Fayette; and three counties of Lincoln. These nine counties comprised the Commonwealth of Kentucky when she formerly entered the sisterhood of states, on June 1792.
The Virginia Legislature erected the district of Kentucky into an independent state. The act follows:
1789. Compact with Virginia. See Carroll's Kentucky Statutes 1803 ed., page 43.
Commonwealth of Virginia
An Act concerning the erection of the district of Kentucky into an Independent State.
Passed the 18th day of December, 1780
Whereas it is represented to this
present General Assembly, that the act of last session entitles "an act
concerning the erection of the district of Kentucky into an independent
state," which contains terms materially different from those of the act
of October session, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five, are found
incompatible with the real views of this commonwealth, as well as injurious
to the good people of the said district:
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that in the month of May next, on the respective court days of the counties within the said district, and at the respective places of holding courts therein, Representatives to continue in appointment for one year, and to compose a convention, with powers, and for the purposes hereinafter mentioned shall be elected by the free male inhabitants of each county above the age of twenty-one years, in like manner as the delegates to the General Assembly have been elected within the said district, in the propositions following: In the county of Jefferson shall be elected five representatives; in the county of Nelson five representatives, in the county of Mercer five representatives; in the county of Lincoln five representatives, in the county of Madison five representatives, in the county of Fayette five representatives, in the county of Woodford five representatives, in the county of Bourbon five representatives, and in the county of Mason five representatives: Provided, that no free male inhabitant above the age of twenty-one years, shall vote in any other county except that in which he resides, and that no person shall be capable of being elected unless he has been a resident within the said district at least one year.
Sec. 2. That full opportunity may be given to the good people of exercising their right of suffrage on an occasion so interesting to them, each of the officers holding such elections, shall continue the same from day to day, passing over Sunday, for five days including the first day, and shall cause this act to be read on each day immediately preceding the opening of the election, at the door of the court house or other convenient place; each of said officers shall deliver to each person duly elected a representative, a certificate of his election, and shall transmit a general return to the clerk of the Supreme court, to be by him laid before the convention.
Sec. 3. For every neglect of any of these duties hereby enjoined on such officer, he shall forfeit one hundred pounds, to be recovered by action of debt by any person suing for same.
Sec. 4. The said convention shall be held at Danville on the twenty-sixth day of July next, and shall and may proceed, after choosing a president and other proper officers, and settling the proper rules of proceeding, to consider and determine whether it be expedient for, and the will of the good people of the said district, that the same be erected into an independent state, on the term and conditions following:
Sec. 5. First, that the boundary between the proposed state and Virginia, shall remain the same as at present separates the district from the residue of this commonwealth.
Sec. 6. Second, that the proposed
state shall take upon itself a just proportion of the debt of the United
States, and the payment of all the certificates granted on account of the
several expeditions carried on from the Kentucky district against the Indians,
since the first day of January, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five.
Sec. 7. Third, that all private rights and interests of lands within the said district, derived from the laws of Virginia prior to such separation, shall remain valid and secure under the laws of the proposed state, and shall be determined by the laws now existing in this state.
Sec. 8. Fourth, that the lands within the proposed state of non-resident proprietors, shall not in any case be taxed higher than the lands of residents, at any time prior to the admission of the proposed state to a vote by its delegates to congress, where such non-residents reside out of the United States, not at any time either before or after such admission, where such non-residents reside within this commonwealth, within which this stipulation shall be reciprocal; or where such non-residents reside within any other of the United States, which shall declare the same to be reciprocal within its limits; nor shall a neglect of cultivation or improvement of any land within either the proposed state or its commonwealth, belonging to non-residents, citizens of the other, subject such non-resident to forfeiture or other penalty, within the term of six years, after the admission of the said state into the federal union.
Sec. 9. Fifth, that no grant of land or land warrant to be issued by the proposed state, shall interfere with any warrant heretofore issued from the land office of Virginia, which shall be located on land within the said district, now liable thereto, on or before the first day of September, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one.
Sec. 10. Sixth, that the unlocated lands within the said district which stand appropriated to individuals or description of individuals, by the laws of this commonwealth, for military or other services, shall be exempt from the disposition of the proposed state, and shall remain subject to be disposed of by the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to such appropriation, until the first day of May, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two and no longer; thereafter the residue of all lands remaining within the limits of the said district, shall be subject to disposition of the proposed state.
Sec. 11. Seventh, that the use and navigation of the river Ohio, so far as the territory of the proposed state, or territory which shall remain within the limits of this commonwealth lies thereon, shall be free and common to the citizens of the United States, and the respective jurisdiction of this commonwealth and the proposed state on the river as aforesaid, shall be concurrent only with the states which may possess the opposite shores of the said river.
Sec. 12. Eighth, that in case of any
complaint or dispute, shall at any time arise between the commonwealth
of Virginia and the said district, after it shall be an independent state,
concerning the meaning or execution of the foregoing articles, the same
shall be determined by six commissioners, of whom two shall be chosen by
each of the parties, and the remainder by the commissioners so first appointed.
Sec. 13. Provided, however, that five members assembled, shall be a sufficient number to adjourn from day to day, and to issue writs for supplying vacancies which may happen from death, resignations, or refusals to act; a majority of the whole shall be a sufficient number to choose a president, settle the proper rules of proceeding, authorize any number to summon a convention during a recess, and to act in all other instances where a greater number is not expressly required. Two thirds of the whole shall be sufficient number of determine on the expediency of forming the said district into an independent state on the aforesaid terms and conditions: Provided, that a majority of the whole number to be elected concur therein.
Sec. 14. And be it further enacted, that if the said convention shall approve of the erection of the said district into an independent state on the foregoing terms and conditions, they shall and may proceed to fix a day posterior to the first day of November, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, on which the authority of this commonwealth, and of its laws, under the exceptions aforesaid, shall cease and determine forever over the proposed state, and the said articles become a solemn compact mutually binding of the parties, and unalterable by either without the consent of the other.
Sec. 15. Provided, however, that prior to the first day of November, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, the general government of the United States shall assent to the erection of the said district into an independent state, shall release this commonwealth from all its federal obligations arising from the said district as being part thereof, and shall agree that the proposed state shall immediately after the day to be fixed as aforesaid, posterior to the first day of November, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, or at some convenient time future thereto, be admitted into the Federal Union.
Sec. 16. And to the end that no period of anarchy may happen to the good people of the proposed state, it is to be understood that the said convention shall have authority to take the necessary provisional measures for the election and meeting of the convention, at some time prior to the day fixed for the determination of the authority of this commonwealth, and of its laws over said district, and posterior to the first day of November, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, with full power and authority to frame and establish a fundamental constitution of government for the proposed state, and to declare what laws shall be in force therein, until the same shall be abrogated or altered by the legislative authority acting under the constitution so to be framed and established.
Sec. 17. And be it further enacted,
that the electors going to, continuing at, and returning from an election
of members to the said convention, shall be entitled to the same privileges
from arrest, as are by law allowed at an election of members to the General
Assembly; and each person returned to serve as a member in said convention,
shall be entitled to the same privileges from arrest in going to, during
his attendance on, and returning from said convention, as are by law allowed
to the members of the General Assembly.
Sec. 18. This act shall be transmitted by the Executive, to the representatives of this commonwealth in Congress, who are hereby instructed to use their endeavors to obtain from Congress a speedy act to effect the above specified.
Following this act of the Virginia General Assembly to make and establish the district of Kentucky into an independent state, the Congress of the United States proceeded to take Kentucky into the Federal Union. The action of Congress follows:
1791. An Act admitting Kentucky into the Union, lst Congress, third session, February 4, 1791.
An Act declaring the consent of Congress, that a new state be formed within the jurisdiction of the commonwealth of Virginia, and admitted into the Union by the name of the state of Kentucky.
Approved February 4, 1791.
Whereas the Legislature of the commonwealth of Virginia, by an act entitled "an act concerning the erection of the district of Kentucky, into an independent state," passed the 18th day of December, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, have consented that the district of Kentucky, within the jurisdiction of the said commonwealth, and according to its actual boundaries at the time of passing the act aforesaid, should be formed into a new state: And whereas a convention of delegates, chosen by the people of the said district of Kentucky, have petitioned Congress to consent, that on the first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, the said district should be formed into a new state, and received into the Union, by the name of "The State of Kentucky."
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, of the United States of America in Congress assembled, and it is hereby enacted and declared, that the Congress doth consent that the said district of Kentucky, within the jurisdiction of the commonwealth of Virginia, and according to its actual boundaries on the eighteenth day of December, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, shall, upon the first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, be formed into a new state, separate from and independent of, the said commonwealth of Virginia.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted and declared, that upon the aforesaid first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, the said new state, by the name and style of the state of Kentucky, shall be received and admitted into this Union, as a new and entire member of the United States of America.
Knox County was created from a part
of Lincoln, December 19, 1799; Whitley from Knox County in 1817; Harlan
from Floyd and Knox in 1819; Jose Bell from Harlan and Knox in 1867; later
changes were made between Knox and Josh Bell, between Whitley and Josh
Bell, where the district known as South America was added to Jose Bell
Whitley, and the prefix Josh was cut off the name Josh Bell, leaving the name thereafter Bell County, a change of the line between Harlan and Bell, and numerous smaller changes so as to include certain farms of individuals. Finally, through all these changes, Bell County emerged into what it is today.
The line between Harlan and Knox counties,
prior to the formation of Bell County, ran as follows: Beginning at Cumberland
Gap and running a straight line to the mouth of Straight Creek; thence
north to the Knox County line. This line from Cumberland Gap to the mouth
of Straight Creek passed through what is now Ferndale, and the north line
from the mouth of Straight Creek passed up the ridge to the left of the
Left Hand Fork of Straight Creek, so as to include all the waters draining
into the Left Fork. All the territory east of this line from Cumberland
Gap to the Knox County line, in what is now Bell County, originally was
included in Harlan County, and all of the land west of this line was originally
included in Knox County. The Cumberland River country above "The Narrows"
at Pineville and the two Straight Creeks were in Harlan County, and most
of Yellow Creek Valley, Cannon Creek, the two Clear Creeks, Greasy Creek
and Four Mile Creek were in Knox county.
PHYSICAL FEATURES OF THE COUNTY
According to the geologists, long after the mountains in this region were formed, Pine Mountain was thrown up by a mighty upheavel across the path of the other mountains. Some parts of the other mountains, near the path of the Pine Mountain upheavel, were titled up in the upheavel. The upheavel of the mountain across the streams formed a vest lake over all the northern and most of the western portions of the county. This lake extended from Pineville up Cumberland River into Harlan County, up Yellow Creek to the Gap itself and the Log Mountain at the Heads of Bennett's Fork and Stony Fork of Yellow Creek, and up Big and Little Clear Creeks to Log Mountain and Cumberland Mountain systems on the south and east. This lake found outlet, at first, through Cumberland Mountain, hollowed out the Gap and flowed out through Powell's River. Later, as time went on the waters of this lake broke through Pine Mountain at the southern edge of what is now Pineville and cut Pine Mountain in two, forming what is know as "The Narrows," with walls of rock on either side some 1300 feet high. The waters drew off through Cumberland River and the lake was no more. I am told that even today, when drilling wells in this region, pieces of wood and even tree trunks and stumps are found at considerable depths below the level of the ground. I have heard depths of from 40 to 200 feet mentioned in this connection.
Pine Mountain extends in almost a straight line from the Whitley County line in the Southwestern portion of the county, in a northeastern direction, to the Harlan County line between Molus and Cardinal. This mountain, 1000 to 1500 feet in height, divides Bell County into two parts: (1) a northwestern part and (2) a southeastern part. The northwestern part is drained by Cumberland River, the two Straight Creeks, and Greasy Creek. The southeastern and southern part is drained by Cumberland River, Puckett's Creek, Browney's Creek, Hance's Creek, Yellow Creek, and the two Clear Creeks.
Pine Mountain is a rough, rugged mountain,
with the coal broken up in it, and is good only for timber, grazing and
scenic views. The south side of the mountain is smoother and more regular
than the north side, where the break occurred. The mountain on the south
side is a series of smooth ridges, with deep gorges between. Rugged cliffs,
long cascades and waterfalls are to be found in the gorges. The north side,
where the break occurred, is nearly all rough and rugged, lined along the
top of the mountain with a huge stone wall many feet in height. The heavier
timber grows on the north side of the mountain, where the limestone is
thrown up, consisting of oak,
hickory, poplar, pine, etc., while on the south side pine is the
principal growth, although there is some beech, oak, hickory and poplar.
There are numerous gaps in Pine Mountain, through which roads cross between the settlements. The principal gap is "The Narrows" at Pineville, where the mountain is cut completely in two. This gap is on the main highway and railroad through the county. The "Lee Gap," named after Philip Lee, grandfather of the author, lies between Big Clear Creek and Greasy Creek, and is one of the best known and most frequently traveled of any of the gaps, save "The Narrows." Then there is the gap in South America, on the Bell-Whitley border; the gap at Chenoa, between Big Clear Creek and Greasy Creek; and the gap near Tanyard Hill, between Cumberland River and Right Fork of Straight Creek. "Bear Wallow Gap" is located a few miles from "Lee Gap" and is so called because in the pioneer days bears came there to wallow in the watery mud and were killed by those in hiding. It is told, on good authority, that this wallow was keenly contested by some of the early pioneers, and that, on one occasion, when some of the hunters visited the place, they found two men in the trees over the wallow, looking for bear, and they promptly shot the men out of the trees and waited for the bears themselves.
Cumberland Mountain bounds a portion of the south and southeastern part of the county, on the border of Virginia and Tennessee. This is the highest mountain chain in the county. The Pinnacle at Cumberland Gap is the highest peak in this range, towering above the surrounding country at an elevation of sixteen hundred feet. The Gap is the lowest point in all the Cumberland Range and was the pioneer gateway into Kentucky and the west. The main highway south today passes through the Gap. Baptist Gap, in the region of Bennett's Fork of Yellow Creek, in this same mountain chain, has also been used as a highway or crossing. The southern wall of this mountain is a ledge of solid stone some three hundred to eight hundred feet high.
Log Mountain lies in the southwestern part of the county, wedged in between the waters of Big and Little Clear Creeks, on the one side, and Yellow Creek, including Bennett's Fork and Stony Fork, and Laurel Fork and Clear Fork River, on the other side. The main Log Mountain extends from near Wasioto in a southwestwardly direction, between Yellow Creek Valley and the headwaters of Clear Fork River, on the one side, and Big and Little Clear Creeks, on the other side. One range leads off between Big and Little Clear Creeks and is known as Fork Ridge. Another range extends westward between the headwaters of Clear Fork River and Stony Fork of Yellow Creek. And another range extends northwestwardly between the headwaters of Big Clear Creek and Laurel Fork.
Parallel with Cumberland Mountain,
in the southeastern part of the county, is Brush Mountain, extending from
the head of Shallalah Branch of Clear Fork of Yellow Creek to the headwaters
of Browney's Creek. An extension of this mountain from the head of Shallalah,
southwest, between the headwaters of Clear Fork of Yellow Creek and
Crane Creek of Yellow Creek, on the one side, and the headwaters of Black Snake of Browney's Creek, Hance's Creek and Williams's Branch, on the other side, is known as Black Mountain. A Range leads off between Hance's Creek and Browney's Creek and is known as Hance's Ridge. A range of Black Mountain system extends along the eastern border of the county between Path Fork and Brownley's Creek.
The Kentucky Ridge Mountain System lies in the northern and northwestern part of the county. One chain of this system lies along the northwestern border of the county from near Ely's to the Clay County line. Another range of this same system lies between the Left Fork of Straight and the main Straight Creek, with Red Bird Creek rising on the northern side of this range flowing north. Another range lies along the northern border from Red Bird Creek to Big Run Creek of Straight Creek.
According to Professional Paper No. 49, 1903 edition, Geological Survey of the United Stated Government, the elevations for Bell County, as shown on the map, accompanying this report, are as follows:
For Pine Mountain 2000 to 2500 feet, with the elevation in Pine Mountain State Park of 2392, and Clear Creek Springs, which lies at the foot of Pine Mountain, at 1000. The three peaks surrounding Pineville are from 2306 to 2500 feet high.
The Cumberland Mountain, on the Tennessee-Virginia state line, are shown to be on Shillaia Creek 2432, the Pinnacle 2510, Cumberland Gap 1649, Baptist Gap 1956, Butchers Gap 2800, and the highest point above Butchers Gap and at the head of Shillaia 3200, Hance's Ridge 1720 to 1753, Browney's Ridge 2500, Cubage 1135, Iaurel Hill 1600, Crane's Spur 2000, and Jackson Mountain (Tom's Creek) 2200. Rocky Face, near Ferndale, is shown to be 2400.
The Log Mountain, which covers the most of Bell County, runs, in places, as follows: Stony Fork below Rocklick's Branch 1327, Fork Ridge between Stony Fork and Bennett's Fork 2800, Log Mountain between Stony Fork and Bear Creek 3000, Excelsior 1135, Middlesborough 1150, Ferndale 1172, Ralston 2140, Chenoa 1327, and the State Road opposite Moore's knob 1412.
It will be seen that the highest point in the county, at the head of Shallaia in Cumberland Mountains, is 3200 feet. The next highest peak in the county is on the Log Mountain, 3000 feet.
Numerous streams line the surface
of Bell County. Cumberland River enters Bell County near Molus, Kentucky,
and flows in a southwestern direction to the mouth of Clear Creek and from
there it flows in a northwestern direction through Bell County and enters
Knox County near Ely's, a distance of approximately 28 miles. Greasy Creek
rises near the Whitley County line in the southwestern part of the county
line in the southwestern part of the county and flows northeast for a distance
of ten miles and enters Cumberland River between Ely's and Four-mile. Big
Clear Creek rises in the
Log Mountain in the southwestern part of the county and flows fourteen miles parallel with the Pine Mountain, northeast, and joins Little Clear Creek at Clear Creek Springs, to form Clear Creek which empties into Cumberland River near Wasioto, Kentucky. Little Clear Creek rises in Log Mountain, flows in a northeastern direction for nine miles and joins Big Clear Creek at Clear Creek Springs. Laurel Fork Creek heads up in Log Mountain, flows west for about four miles and enters Whitley County. Back Branch, Sowders Creek, and Marcy's Branch all rise in Log Mountain and flow two to three miles south and enter Clear Fork River near the Tennessee border. Bennett's Fork rises in Tennessee, enters Bell County at Bosworth, Kentucky, flows for about five miles northeast and enters Yellow Creek near Middlesborough, Kentucky. Stony Fork rises in Log Mountain, flows east for about six miles and enters Yellow Creek just west of Middlesborough, Kentucky. Lick Branch rises in Log Mountain, flows south for four miles and enters Yellow Creek in Middlesborough, Kentucky. Yellow Creek, formed by the junction of Stony Fork and Bennett's Fork west of Middlesborough, flows through Middlesborough and north for fifteen miles and enters Cumberland River at Ponza, Kentucky. Clear Fork Creek rises in Brush Mountain, flows west for about eight miles and enters Yellow Creek. Cannon Creek rises in Log Mountain, flows east for about six miles and enters Yellow Creek one and a half miles below Ferndale, Kentucky. Hance's Creek rises in Hance's Ridge, flows northwest for four miles and enters Cumberland River near Page, Kentucky. Browney's Creek rises in Brush Mountain, one of the Cumberland ranges, flows southwest for fifteen miles and enters Cumberland River at Miracle. Puckett's Creek rises in Martin's Fork Range of Cumberland Mountain in Harlan County, enters Bell County below the mouth of Rocky Branch and flows for two and half miles west into Cumberland River near Hulen. Four Mile Creek rises in Kentucky Ridge, flows south three miles and enters Cumberland River at Fourmile. Straight Creek rises in Kentucky Ridge across the ridge from Bledsoe, Kentucky, in Harlan County, flows southwest for twenty-two miles, fourteen miles of which flows through Bell County, and enters Cumberland River in Pineville, two miles below its junction with the left Fork of Straight Creek. Left Fork of Straight Creek rises in Kentucky Ridge, flows southwest for twelve miles and joints Straight Creek two miles from its mouth. Stony Fork, six miles long, Mill Creek, two and a half miles long, are branches of Straight Creek. Symm's Fork, five miles long, and Caney Creek, three miles long, are branches of Left Fork of Straight Creek. Martin's Fork of Cumberland River rises in Brush Mountain in Bell County and flows east for three miles and enters Harlan County. Fern Lake, the water reservoir for Middlesborough, lies across, about half and half, the Tennessee-Bell County border in the southern part of the county and can easily be seen from the Pinnacle as it lies stretched out between the mountain ranges.
The level land of Bell County consists
of narrow river and creek bottoms along the streams. Middlesborough occupies
the largest level area of the county. In the region of Pineville, including
the mouths of Straight Creek and Clear Creek, is another level area. Down
the river from Pinevile, including the mouth of Greasy Creek, to the Knox
County line are some broad bottom lands. Along the Cumberland River, below
Harlan County line, down past the mouth of Puckett's Creek and Browney's Creek is to be found some more level land. Little Clear Creek, in the Fuson Settlement, is a good sized level tract of creek bottom land. Around the mouth of Clear Fork of Yellow Creek, in South America, and on Greasy Creek a other sections of level land. South America is largely a plateau section, partly level and rolling. Bell County is blest with many mountains, numerous streams, and a smaller amount of level land.
Mr. R. V. Trosper, Agricultural Agent of Bell County, in a recent letter to the editor of the THREE STATES, says of the physical features of Bell County:
"In round numbers there are 245,000 acres of land in Bell County. The U.S. Census data show 1,800 farmers owning a portion of these acres. The remainder belongs to corporations. Here are how these 245,000 acres are roughly classified: (1) About 10,000 acres of level lands; (2) About 10,000 acres of level lands occupied with buildings; (3) About 35,000 acres too steep to be plowed, but considered good pasture lands; (4) About 5,000 acres of upland occupied with buildings; (5) About 185,000 acres good for timber growing. Millions of dollars' worth of soil are lost by erosion annually. Only soils that are bare permit erosion. Grasses and legumes prevent erosion."
Ashley and Glenn in "Geology and Mineral Resources of the Cumberland Gap Coal Field,, Kentucky,- in 1906, say of the geology of the Cumberland Mountain, Rocky Face fault, and the Pine Mountain:
The structure of Cumberland Mountain
presents two types. In one type the mountain is a simple monocline, and
the rocks all dip about uniformly at angles of from 25 degrees to 50 degrees.
In the other type the rocks are bent sharply upward at the north foot of
the mountain at angles closely approaching a right angle, then they are
fractured sharply or bent into a nearly horizontal position with a dip
of 20 degrees or less. It is of interest that the second type coincides
with that portion of the mountains that appears to have been pushed bodily
to the north. Beginning at Cumberland Gap the valleys following the foot
of the mountain lie a mile or more north of a line from the valley of Little
Yellow Creek to the valley of Martin's Fork below the end of Brush Mountain.
Over much of that distance there is a corresponding northward movement
of the escarpment of the southern face. Furthermore, at the southwest end
the change from the first type to the second comes sharply at Cumberland
Gap and is closely associated with the fault at that point. At the summit
of the gap on the west side the rocks are quartzitic sandstones that dip
N. 55 degrees W. at an angle of 65 degrees and no trace of the Newman limestone
is found until the limestone quarry is reached at the south foot of the
hill, about 1,350 feet south of the gap. On the east side of the gap, the
Newnan limestone outcrops 80 feet above the saddle, and dips N. 28 degrees
W. at angles of from 18 degrees to 25 degrees. On the south side of the
gap the line of fault, as shown by fragments of limestone on one side of
it and none on the other, has a direction N. 23 degrees W. From the gap
northward the fault appears to run out in the form of a nosing,
horizontal fold. On the west side of the Harlan Road the dip is N.
70 degrees to 85 degrees W. at angles of from 50 degrees to 55 degrees.
On the east of that line the dip is N. 5 degrees E. to N. 25 degrees W.
at angles of from 15 degrees to 32 degrees. Here then is consistent evidence,
along several lines, of differential movement along the Cumberland Mountains;
that is, that the part of the Cumberland Mountains between Cumberland Gap
and the east end of Brush Mountain has yielded more to the thrust forces
from the southeast than the adjacent regions and the Lee sandstone has
there been carried a short distance farther north that to the northeast
or southwest. In this case it should not be supposed that there has been
an actual northward movement of a mile or more, for a slight elevations
combined with the northward movement would throw the Hance shales which
determined the line of the valleys well to the north, and, correspondingly,
a higher elevation of the Lee sandstone in pre-Cretaceous times combined
with the north dip would have allowed it to be eroded much farther to the
north. In fact, a slight elevation of the northward-dipping rocks would
tend to move the longitudinal valley and the escarpment northward as indicated
without actual northward motion on the part of the rocks. The structure,
however, indicates that there has been horizontal as well as vertical motion.
In the neighborhood of Cumberland Gap it is evident that part of this movement
has been by actual shearing along the Cumberland Gap fault. The shape of
the escarpment for 2 or 3 miles southwest of Cumberland Gap suggests that
that part of Cumberland Mountain was dragged forward at the same time.
If so, the rocks just north must have been subjected to torsional stresses.
That, it seems quite possible, may account for the highly folded and faulted
condition of the shales in the hills immediately about Middlesborough.
This folding would also seem to satisfy the demand for a shortening or
buckling of the strata in that region to allow the northwestward movement
of the Cumberland Mountain. It is quite possible that the folding of the
shales that shows at the surface corresponds with a synclinal dip of the
massive Lee sandstones, the sandstones being folded while the shales were
crushed. Northeast of Cumberland Gap the necessary shortening seems to
have been obtained in the main by the change in the shape of the fold.
Part of this shortening may have been obtained by the faulted buckled of
Rocky Face Mountain. Whether the fault of Rocky Face Mountain joins the
Cumberland Gap fault could not be determined, but the evidence was rather
against the theory that it does. It is probable, however, that if the two
are not parts of a single fault they belong to one fault system and were
produced at the same time and by the same force. The Rocky Face Mountain
fault will be described below. At the west end of Brush Mountain occurs
another interesting fault, or double fault. In this case the two faults
appear to meet each other about at right angles, one extending along the
strike in Brush Mountain, as though there were a break at the sharp fold
where the rocks turn from nearly vertical to nearly horizontal at the top,
while the Shillaly Creek fault that meets it at right angles to the strike
is followed by Shillaly Creek. As nearly as could be determined the mass
of rock occurring with the intersecting faults bad dropped down at the
corner, the edges of the downthrown block gradually rising until they join
the edges from which they were broken. In this case the downthrow has been
sufficient to bring down and protect from
erosion some rocks that appear to belong to the formations overlying the Lee.
Near Hurst the rocks in places tend to buckle in horizontal planes, so that strata that on either side have dips of 45 degrees to 60 degrees locally are perpendicular or more or less overturned, as though lateral stresses, as well as the main traverse stress, had been induced.
Rocky Face Mountain is a north-south ridge with unusually narrow crest and steep flanks. Structurally it is a faulted arch with downthrow on the west. The rocks involved are the massive Lee sandstones and conglomerates. The fault appears to become an anticline at each end and to nose out rapidly. At the north end the fold shows plainly on the north side of Cannon Creek, the west limb of the anticline being nearly perpendicular and the east limb dipping N. 82 degrees East at an angle of 30 degrees. The congolmerate appears in the bed of Cannon Creek and is slightly faulted. The faulting probably begins at the creek. The upthrust side rises rapidly, attaining an elevation of over 2,500 feet. The upthrust strata acquire a dip of from 80 degrees to 87 degrees, the change from a dip of 25 degrees to one of 80 degrees at the foot of the mountain taking place in a few feet. At the crest the rocks bend sharply almost to the horizontal and then are sharply cut off, presenting an almost perpendicular face several hundred feet high. At the south end the structure is not entirely clear, but apparently the fault changes to an anticline before the south end of the mountain is reached, and fairly low dips both southwest and southeast indicate a nosing out of the anticline. The disturbance crosses Yellow Creek, but does not appear to extend far into Dark Ridge .... It seems possible to estimate roughly the amount of north-south shortening that has taken place in the buckling or arching seen in Rocky Face Mountain. An estimate made by graphically plotting to scale the facts as known shows a shortening just along the line of fracture of from 1,200 to 2,000 feet. Such a fold probably does not extend to any great depth. Below the arching Lee Sandstone the Pennington shale has probably been folded up much as the Hance shales have been at Middlesborough. In the case of the Middlesborough area it would seem possible that there exists a local synclinal fold in the massive Lee sandstone corresponding in shape to the Rocky Face Mountain arch, but reversed.
In Volume III, new series, of the
reports of the Kentucky Geological Survey, Professor Shaler argues that
the Pine Mountain and other faults of this region were formed recently,
especially when compared with such features as the Powell Valley anticline.
The basis for this argument is mainly the small amount or erosion that
has taken place since the faults were formed. Thus, in the case of Pine
Mountain, the fault scarp has retreated but little from the original plane
of faulting while the Cumberland Mountain scarp has retreated several miles
fram the axis of the Powell Valley anticline. In all this no account was
taken of the Cumberland peneplain. This peneplain is believed to have been
the last stage of a cycle whose end came near the close of the Cretaceous.
With that in mind it is evident that the
present Pine mountain was below drainage from the Carboniferous nearly to the end of the Cretaceous. On the other hand the anticlinal structure carried the Lee sandstone east of Cumberland Mountain well above the level of the peneplain, where it was subject to erosion, and it is more than probably that a large share of the northwestward curring of the Lee Sandstone of Cumberland Mountain took place during the production of the peneplain. That the Pine Mountain fault has not been produced since Cretaceous time is evident from the fact that Pine Mountain, resulting from it, was leveled off in pre-Cretaceous time. For the same reason it is evident that no large movement along Pine Mountain fault has taken place in post-Cretaceous time, though small movement may well have have occurred. That such movements have taken place in the Yellow Creek Valley appears from the discussion of the Middlesborough plain in the section on geography. As stated there, if erosion below the 2,000 foot level did not begin here until nearly the end of Cretaceous time, erosion that reached down to the present drainage levels must have been comparatively recent. If, as stated above, there exists at Middlesborough a local synclinal fold in the Lee sandstone, it is possible that a slight further yielding would deepen it and might locally depress the land there, bringing the old drainage lines below their former level of outflow and allowing the silting up the basin thus formed. In this case, while sinking at Middlesborough is certain, there may also have been a movement along the fault face at Rocky Face Mountain. Such a movement would be closely related to a subsidence at Middlesborough, the two movements, if both occurred, being but two expressions of a single readjustment.
There is slight evidence of a still
more recent movement of similar character, though of slight amount in the
dip of the Arthur Heights graduation plain from north and south. This dip
amounts to about 20 feet to the mile. It cannot be asserted that this dip
is not due to the differential effects of erosion, but it suggests that
there has been at comparatively recent time a noticeable tilting of the
rocks with sinking at the south or uplift to the north.
THE CUMBERLAND GAP REGION IN THE
HISTORY OF THE STATE
Less than a century and a half ago that intrepid leader, Daniel Boone, led a band of bold pioneers into the vast wilderness country beyond the Alleghany Mountains. Just why he, of all the men that came, and, too, at a time when a fearful war was being waged for independence, should be chosen the leader for the extension of a vast empire--an empire that in time was to extend from ocean to ocean--is one of the unexplainable facts of history. Destiny, in some way, seized on this unlettered child of the forest and used him to perform one of the greatest feats of all time.
An intelligent historian has said: "Daniel Boone appears before us in these exciting times the central figure, towering like a colossus, amid that hardy band of pioneers who exposed their breasts to the shock of the struggle which gave a terrible significance and a crimson hue to the history of the dark and bloody ground."
No nobler undertaking ever came to man
Than came to Boone and his followers!
They extended mankind's plan
To a wider domain among the powers!
When time enough elapses
And history has been given her due,
The record of those great collapses
Will give place to records anew.
Then Boone's achievement will stand
On the pages of history as actor,
And mankind will read in grand
Pageant the record of the benefactor
To whom all mankind is debtor.
Long may his memory live in her annals!
Long may his deeds become the better
To shine in dark places like candles.
As early as 1773, Boone, with his
family, and some others were on their way to Kentucky by way of the famous
Cumberland Gap route, and, just before they reached the Gap, a party of
young men in the company, who had fallen in the rear with the cattle, were
attached by the Indians in a narrow defile of the mountain. A number of
them were killed, Boone's own son, seventeen years old, being among the
number. After this incident, at the insistence of the other members of
the party, they fell back to a point in southwestern Virginia. There they
remained for a time, but in 1775, after Boone had completed the Wilderness Road and the Fort at Boonesborough had been built, or partially so, they made their way safely through Cumberland Gap to Boonesborough.
Mr. Shaler says: "Almost every part of the surface (that of Kentucky) had been traversed by other explorers before this man, who passes into history as the typical pioneer, set foot upon its ground." This is doubtlessly true, and yet he possessed such dauntless courage, such rare persistence, such gentleness of nature, such a vivid imagination, such consummate skill and judgment, such lofty manhood, that he easily became the dauntless leader, the moving spirit, the very soul of the whole movement.
Elmira Miller Slaughter, in her poem on "The Breaker of the Trail," has this to say of Daniel Boone:
Here where the mighty mountains rise
through gleamy crests to heaven,
Where pass the splendid nights and
days, red dawn and starry heaven
Responsive to a silent call as one
who sought the Grail
He came, the knightliest knight of
all, the breaker of the trail--
Schooled only in his wild wood lore,
his trusty gun in hand
He left the Yadkin's peaceful shore
to seek the promised land;
His was a heart that knew no fear,
a soul that might not quail,
Kentucky's dauntless pioneer, the
breaker of the trail.
We owe much to Dr. Thomas Walker,
the real discoverer of southeastern Kentucky. He, the learned explorer
from Virginia, in company with some others, came through Cumberland Gap
in 1750. Collins, in his HISTORY OF KENTUCKY, has this to say about them:
"In 1750 a small party of Virginians from Orange and Culpeper counties-Dr.
Thomas Walker, Ambrose Powell, and Colby Chew among them-entered what is
now the state of Kentucky at Cumberland Gap, being the first white men
to have visited the interior of eastern Kentucky for the purpose of exploration,
in a scientific way, and the settlement of the country. The date was preserved
by the distinct recollection and statement of Dr. Walker, the leader and
most prominent man of the party, and by the carving upon the trees, those
silent recorders of Kentucky's early history. Isaac Shelby, the first governor
of the state, stated that in 1770 he was on Yellow Creek, a mile or two
from Cumberland Mountain, in company with Dr. Walker and others, when Walker
told him of having been upon the spot twenty years before, and 'yonder
tree contains the record of it; Ambrose marked his name and year upon it,
and you will
find it there now.' Colonel Shelby examined the tree and found upon it, in large, legible characters, 'A. Powell-175O.'"
Walker gave the names to the important streams and mountains of the region: Cumberland Mountain, Cumberland River, Cumberland Gap, and other points. The Cumberland Mountains were called by the Indians "Waseoto," which name is retained by the present town of Wasioto, one mile south of Pineville.
Walker and his party traveled through Cumberland Gap, down into Yellow Creek Valley, where Middlesborough is now located, down Yellow Creek to the Little Log Mountain Tunnel, through Little Log Mountain Gap, across Cannon Creek to Ferndale, up Moore's Branch to the Gap in Big Log Mountain, down to Clear Creek at the Moss Farm, down Clear Creek to the mouth, down Cumberland River on the south side to a point four miles below Barbourville, across the river to a point opposite the mouth of Swan Creek where his men built a house, 12 X 18 ft., the first building ever erected by white men in southeastern Kentucky.
Dr. Walker was first married in 1741 to Mildred Merriwether, the widow of Nicholas Merriwether, a daughter of John Thornton. She was the mother of Dr. Walker's twelve children, and died in 1778. On January 14, 1781 he was married to Elizabeth Thornton, daughter of Francis Thornton, and first cousin of his first wife-both of them being second cousins of George Washington. The names of Dr. Walker's twelve children, were: (1) Mary Walker, who married Nicholas Lewis; (2) John Walker, who married Elizabeth Moore; (3) Susan Walker, who married Henry Fry; (4) Thomas Walker, Jr.; (5) Lucy Walker, who married Dr. George Gilmer; (6) Elizabeth Walker, who married Rev. Matthew Maury; (7) Mildred Walker, who married Joseph Hornsby; (8) Sarah Walker, who married Col. Reuben Lindsay; (9) Martha Walker, who married George Divers; (10) Reuben Walker, who died at the age of three years; (11) Francis Walker, who married John Byrd Nelson, daughter of Col. Hugh Nelson and granddaughter of Col. William Byrd, of Westover; (12) Peachy Walker, who married Joshua Fry, son of John Fry and grandson of Joshua Fry, Sr.
"In 1779 it became necessary for Virginia and North Carolina to survey and define the dividing lines between those states far to the westward in order to settle controversies between those states and the settlers on the border. Dr. Thomas Walker and Daniel Smith were appointed Commissioners for that purpose by the state of Virginia, and met with Richard Henderson and W. B. Smith as Commissioners of North Carolina and entered upon that work in the later part of 1779." These Commissioners settled the line in Cumberland Gap between what is now the states of Virginia and Kentucky, and Tennessee and Kentucky.
1. DR. THOMAS WALKER'S JOURNAL
Dr. Walker's Journal is a very important
document. It is the first written record of Bell County and Southeastern
Kentucky. Doubtless, some white men visited this region prior to the time
Walker's journey, but no written record was left behind. Hunters penetrated this region very early and probably before the time of Dr. Walker's visit, but they left no written record behind them.
Dr. Walker says, in the introduction to his Journal: " Having, on the 12th of December last, been employed for a certain consideration to go to the Westward in order to discover a proper Place for a Settlement, I left my house on the Sixth day of March at ten o'clock, 1749-50, in Company with Ambrose Powell, William Tomlinson, Colby Chew, Henry Lawless and John Hughs. Each man had a horse and we had two to carry the baggage. I lodged this night at Col. Joshua Fry's in Albemarle, which County includes the Chief of the head branches of James River on the East side of Blue Ridge."
Leaving out that part of his Journal which deals with the route to Clinch River, I begin the quotations from his Journal after he reaches Clinch River. The idea being to include that part of his Journal which directly affects Bell County.
The Journal is as follows:
(April) 9th. We travel to a river, which I suppose to be that which the Hunters call Clinches River from one Clinch a Hunter, who first found it. We marked several Beeches on the East Side. We could not find a ford Shallow enough to carry our Baggage over on our Horses. Ambrose Powell Forded over on one horse and we drove the others after him. We then made a raft and carried over one load of Baggage, but when the raft was brought back, it was so heavy that it would not carry anything more dry.
April 10th. We waded and carried the remainder of our Baggage on our shoulders at two turns over the River, which is about one hundred and thirty yards wide, we went on about five miles and camped on a small branch.
April 11th. Having traveled 5 miles to and over an High Mountain Cumberland Gap, we came to Turkey Creek, which we kept down 4 miles. It lies between two Ridges of Mountains, that to the Eastward being the highest.
12th. We kept down the creek 2 miles
further, where it meets with a large Branch coming from the South West
and thence runs through the East Ridge making a very good pass; and a large
Buffaloe Road goes from that Fork to the Creek over the west ridge, which
we took and found the Ascent and Descent tollerby easie. From this Mountain
we rode on four miles to Beargrass River. Small Cedar Trees are very plenty
on the flat ground nigh the River, and some Barberry trees on the East
side of the River, on the Banks is some Beargrass. We kept up the River
2 miles. I found small pieces of Coal and a great plenty of a very yellow
flint. The water is the most transparent I ever saw. It is about 70 yds.
April 13th. We went four miles to large Creek which we called Cedar Creek being a Branch of Bear-Grass, and from thence Six miles to Cave Gap, the land being Levil. On the North side of the Gap is a large Spring, which falls very fast, and just above the Spring is a Small Entrance to a Large Cave, which the spring runs through, and there is a constant Stream of Cool air issuing out. The Spring is sufficient to turn a Mill. Just at the Foot of the Hill is a Laurel Thicket and the spring Water runs through it. On the South side is a Plain Indian Road. On top of the Ridge are Laurel Trees marked with Crosses, others Blazed and several Figures on them. As I went down the other Side, I soon came to some Laurel in the head of the Branch. A Beech stands of the left hand, on which I cut my name. This Gap may be seen at a considerable distance, and there is no other, that I know of, except one about two miles to the North of it which does not appear to be so low as the other. The Mountain on the North Side of the Gap is very Steep and Rocky, but on the South side it is not so. We Called it Steep Ridge. At the foot of the hill on the North West side we came to a Branch, that made a great deal of flat land. We kept down it 2 miles, several other Branches Coming in to make it a large Creek, and we called it Flat Creek. We camped on the bank where we found very good coal. I did not See any Lime Stone beyond this ridge. We rode 13 miles this day.
April 14th. We kept down the Creek 5 miles chiefly along the Indian Road.
April 15th. Easter Sunday. Being in bad grounds for our Horses we moved 7 miles along the Indian Road, to Clover Creek. Clover and Hop vines are plenty here.
April 16th. Rai(n). I made a pair of Indian Shoes, those I brought out being bad.
17th. Still Rain. I went down the Creek a hunting and found that it went into a River about a mile below our camp. This, which is Flat Creek and some others join'd I called Cumberland River.
18th. Still Cloudy. We kept down the Creek to the River along the Indian Road to where it crosses. Indians have lived about this Ford some years ago. We kept on down the South Side. After riding 5 miles from our Camp, we left the River, it being very crooked. In Riding 3 miles we came on it again. It is about 60 or 70 yds. Wide. We rode 8 (?) miles this day.
The Flat Creek Walker speaks of is
known as Yellow Creek today, and Clover Creek is known as Clear Creek.
Walker saw for the first time and named Cumberland River at the mouth of
Clear Creek, one mile South of Pineville. This was in 1750.
II. INDIAN OCCUPATION
A man by the name of Cockrell, who lived in the town of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, just under the Pinnacle on the Tennessee side of the mountain, collected in his lifetime, from all parts of the region around Cumberland Gap, a large number of Indian relics. These he sold to Lincoln Memorial University at Harrogate, Tennessee, only a short distance from the Gap.
From these remains, in this collection, it would appear that there was more of an occupation of the Indians in this region than that of just hunting trips. In former times, long before the time of our earliest pioneers, there seems to have been an occupation of the Indians over a wide territory in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. Afterwards, they either died altogether or which is more probably, moved to some other hunting ground, and made occasional excursions into Kentucky, as they were doing at the time of the coming of the white men.
III. CIVIL WAR
Early in the Civil War, Cumberland Gap was considered of strategic importance. Mr. Shaler is authority for the statement that President Lincoln planned to have a railroad constructed to Cumberland Gap, and to have the position strongly fortified, "so that an army there might give an element of security to Central Kentucky and threaten the Rebel lines of communication in Eastern Tennessee. His project, though excellent in its conception, was never carried out. This part of the state was never provided with any adequate defenses."
Kentucky declared her neutrality early in the year 1861, but so determined were the Confederate forces to secure the state for their cause that Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk, nephew of President Polk, and General Zollicoffer agreed on an invasion of the state, thereby breaking the very neutrality the state, had declared. Polk "took up a strong position on the bluffs that commanded the stream at Columbus and Hickman," while Zollicoffer moved through Cumberland Gap and took up his position on the foothills around Cumberland Ford in 1861. This occupation has been fully described in the chapter on the Cumberland Ford Settlement.
General Johnston's Confederate Army
was sorely pressed in Western Kentucky and Tennessee, and, wishing to divert
attention from his perilous position, decided to make another attack in
Eastern Kentucky. Gen. George B. Crittenden, who held an entrenched position
on the north wide of Cumberland River, at Beech Grove, in Pulaski County,
was ordered to make the attack. Gen. George H. Thomas, with his Federal
forces, was moving against this position when General Crittenden decided
to beat General Thomas to the attack. So, with 5,000 men, General Zollicoffer
was sent against Thomas. The engagement was the most fiercely contested
one in the Mississippi Valley up to that time. The receiving of reinforcements
by Thomas and the death of General Zollicoffer by a pistol shot from Col.
Speed Fry turned the tide of
battle, and the Confederates, with difficulty, fled across Cumberland River. "The Battle of Mills Spring, or Logan's Cross Roads, though the total killed and wounded did not exceed 600, was a remarkably well contested fight. The men of both sides were unused to war, yet they showed the endurance of veterans."
The battle of Perryville was a draw, amid misconceptions on both sides. Sheridan, who was in charge of the action under Buell, who was at some distance from the conflict, thought he was in contact with the whole of Bragg's army, when, in fact, Bragg had only about one third of his army there. This made Sheridan very cautions. The Confederates, on the other hand, considered that they were dealing with an inferior force, only a fragment of Buell's army, and could wait their time for the men to rest till the next day for the engagement. Buell had a large army there, must larger than Bragg's, and, when Bragg came up in the midst of the fight and saw the situation, he retreated, and, by forced marches, outstripped Sheridan. Bragg then headed for Cumberland Gap, and, by felling trees across the roads in the rear, escaped to Tennessee beyond Cumberland Gap.
General Stephenson, with his Confederate forces, had occupied Cumberland Gap. The present site of the town of Cumberland Gap, on the Tennessee side, was a tented field of warriors. Roads were constructed from Tennessee and Virginia up into the Gap, around the mountain by the Gap and beyond on the same side, and down into Yellow Creek Valley on the Kentucky side. Strong breastworks were thrown up on the rugged mountainsides in this Gap, and the pass was guarded on both sides for many miles around.
Today braces of this occupation are visible all about the Gap. Just beneath the Pinnacle on the Kentucky side are great breastworks that have been thrown up and are now in fairly well preserved condition. Trees, with trunks much larger than a man's body, have grown up in and around them.
On the low ridges back of Cumberland Gap town are long rows of pits from which the bodies of the soldier-dead were taken after the war. The hard ground of these hilltops has kept them in a pretty good state of preservation.
Confederate Gen. Stephenson, by threat
of invasion, was driven from this impregnable position by Gen. George W.
Morgan, the Union general. He occupied the position for some time. But
the Federal Government at Washington, in the press of the war, seemed to
forget about the force in Cumberland Gap. Gen. Morgan found himself without
provisions, and could obtain them only by foraging in the valleys of Virginia
and Tennessee, which were held by the Confederates. Central Kentucky was
also in the hands of the Confederates, and the mountain district could
not be depended upon to furnish sufficient food to sustain his army. Gen.
Morgan was in a perilous situation.
There are two other gaps, Baptist Gap and Big Creek Gap, west of Cumberland Gap, which it seems, Gen. Morgan did not know about, or knowing, failed to fortify. Gen. Kirby Smith, at this juncture, added another peril to his already perilous situation by entering the state through Big Creek Gap in the region of upper Clear Fork of Cumberland River. But some men under Colonel Mundy, who were at that time stationed behind breastworks thrown up in the bluffs overlooking the Phil Ford of Little Clear Creek near Clear Creek Springs, about a mile up from where Big and Little Clear creeks join, and some six month's Ohio troops, who were in the region, were dispatched against Gen. Smith at Big Creek Gap. The division, though cut to pieces, checked the movement of the confederates and enable Gen. Morgan to begin this retreat. He carried on a successful retreat for 200 miles across Kentucky, against a most carefully laid plan to trap him, to the Ohio River at Greenupsburg. It "was a long, running, starving fight, from which the force came out looking like an army of spectres, shoeless, their clothing in tatters, and their bodies wasted by scant food. This retreat deserves to be remembered as one of the great exploits of the war and one of the most successful movements of its kind in military history."
The people of the mountains of Kentucky were strong for the union, they, who owned few or no slaves and cared nothing for the slavery questions, came into conflict with their neighbors in Central Kentucky and the bordering regions of Tennessee and Virginia. In fact, they, together with the other people of the Appalachian region around them, were caught between the contending armies of the North and the South. In the Federal armies, and on their own part in many instances, they began the extermination of the rebels in the region. The rebels had some sympathizers among the people, who retailiated by killing Federal soldiers. Thus, in this way, feuds grew out of the Civil War. The relatives of the people who were killed took it up after the war and sought to settle the matter by killing others. In fact, they only added fuel to the fire, and long-standing feuds broke out in different parts of the mountains. Only a very small part of the population was engaged at any or all times in these feuds. Ninety percent of the people, taking them as a whole, condemned the feuds and the feudists. Of course, this feudal warfare has a basis, no doubt, in individualism, which harks back to the border wars of England and Scotland.
The mountain people of Kentucky, at a critical time in the history of the nation, were the balance of power in saving Kentucky for the Union in one of the greatest conflicts in history. The raw levies of General T. T. Garrard from the mountains of Kentucky were the first to strike a blow against the Confederacy in Kentucky, when they attacked General Zollicoffer at Wildcat Mountain.
Whether at New Orleans under Jackson,
at Lake Erie under Perry, at King's Mountain under Campbell and Shelby,
upon the battlefields of Mexico, in the Indian warfare of the Revolution,
or under George Rogers Clark in opening up the Northwest Territory, or
the great World War, these mountain men have always shown that bravery
under fire, that loyalty to their commander, that true marksmanship that
have ever characterized the bravest of people of any time or age.
IV. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
Who are these people? Authorities are not so much divided on this questions today as they once were. They are generally agreed that the mountain people of the Cumberland Gap region are of English and Scotch-Irish descent. A look at some of the more prominent pioneers will confirm this. Dr. Walker, the real scientific discoverer of this region, the learned explorer who gave English names extraction. Daniel Boone, the leading pioneer of the times, traced his descent from Exeter, England. It is said on good authority that one of the reasons for Daniel Boone wishing to leave his home on the Yadkin was because some Scotch people had moved into the neighborhood and were clearing away the forests too much to suit him. Here we have suggestions in the lives of these people, of the character of the people, English and Scotch, who moved southwestwardly in the direction of Cumberland Gap.
The union of these two peoples has made a strong and hardy people who, with the other peoples of the Appalachian region, have become the very backbone of patriotic America.
Some historians have tried to make a distinction between the ancestry of the people of the Bluegrass and the people of the mountains, but their statements cannot find support among the best authorities. Virginia was settled by the rural peoples of England, and Kentucky, being an off-shoot of the same settlement, traces her ancestry to the same source. Some of these people from Virginia, from choice, settled in the Bluegrass or moved on fartherwest. Of course, the Bluegrass region pressed ahead more rapidly because of the move favorable physical conditions, and left the mountains to struggle for a century against almost insurmountable obstacles.
Shaler says: "This glance at the sources of population in Virginia is sufficient to show that, with the exception of the slaves, they came almost entirely from truly British people. This character, it essentially retains to the present day. At the time of the Kentucky settlement it retained it almost altogether.
"In Virginia the colonists were principally from the country districts of England. Their absorbing passion was not for religious discussions; it was for the possession of land, for the occupations and diversions of rural life. When their interests were involved they tended not to religious disputations, but to politics. This appetite for land seems never to have been a part of the New England desires; in Virginia and Kentucky it was the ruling passion.
"A small portion of the Kentucky settlers came from southern Maryland and from central North Carolina, societies essentially like that of Virginia in their general aspect."
William H. Haney says: "The settlers
of Eastern Kentucky, the descendants of those Englishmen of five or six
generations, were amalgamated with other stock; nevertheless, the English
blood is predominant in the mountain people. Fortunately, the amalgamation
with the Scotch-Irish, a race which instilled into their veins a stream of blood which gave them greater courage, endurance and sturdiness to battle with the difficulties with which the pioneers of any country must contend."
William Aspinwall Bradley says: "The length and condition of my stay in the hill country gave me an unusual opportunity to become acquainted with the life and character of the mountain people, about whom, perhaps, more has been written and less actually known than about any other on the continent. It used to be the theory of historians, like Fiske, that they are the descendants of Scotch-Irish settlers. More recently the view has been advanced by Miss Ellen Churchill Semple and other Kentucky writers that the Cumberland Mountains, at least, are of English ancestry, and this view has been widely accepted, with the result that we hear much nowadays of the purest Anglo-Saxon blood on earth--whatever that may mean. To me it is clear that both strains mingle in Kentucky. "
Bishop Wilbur R. Thirkield says of them: "The mountain people are of fine mental capacity. A man of affairs and a deep student of character once said of them: 'They need only an introduction of civilization to prove themselves equal to any men in the world. I regard them as the finest rough material in the world, and one of them molded into available shape is worth to the world a dozen ordinary people.!"
Dr. Harvey W. Wiley says: "These highlanders are not degenerates. On the contrary, they are the best human specimens to be found in the country, and probably in the world. They are the last remnants of the undefiled."
These quotations of regard to the mountain people, in general, apply as well to the people of Bell County, since these people are a part of the movement of the pioneers into this mountain region. They occupied, and now occupy, the very gateway to this region, the Cumberland Gap area. The people of Bell County came from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee principally. They are the ancestors of the people who originally settled in Virginia. The pioneers of Virginia moved south into North Carolina and then north through Tennessee into Bell County; or these Virginia pioneers moved west into Tennessee and then north in Kentucky.
In Imlay's AMERICA, A Topographical
Description of the Western Territory (published in London, England, in
1797) he quotes Boone as saying: "Thus, through an uninterrupted scene
of sylvan pleasures, I spent the time until the 27th day of July following,
when my brother, to my great felicity, met me, according to appointment,
at our old camp. Shortly after, we left this place, not thinking it safe
to stay there longer, and proceeded to Cumberland River, reconnoitering
that part of the country until March 1771, and giving names to the different
"Soon after, I returned home to my family, with a determination to bring them as soon as possible to live in Kentucky, which I esteemed a second paradise, at the risk of my life and fortune."
"I returned safe to my old habitation,
and found my family in happy circumstances. I sold my farm on the Yadkin,
and what goods we could not carry with us; and on the 25th day of September,
1773, bade a farewell to our friends, and proceeded on our journey to Kentucky,
in company with 5 families more, and 40 men, that joined us in Powell's
Valley, which is 150 miles from the now settled parts, of Kentucky. This
promising beginning was soon overcast with a cloud of adversity; for, upon
the 10th day of October, the rear of our company was attacked by a number
of Indians, who killed 6, and wounded one man. Of these my eldest son was
one that fell in the action. Though we defended ourselves, and repulsed
the enemy, yet this unhappy affair scattered our cattle, brought us into
extreme difficulty, and so discouraged the whole company, that we retreated
40 miles, to the settlement on Clinch River. We had passed over two mountains,
viz, Powell's and Walden's, and were approaching Cumberland Mountain, when
this adverse fortune overtook us. These mountains are in the wilderness,
as we pass from the old settlements in Virginia to Kentucky, are ranged
in a S.W. and N.E. direction, are of great length and breadth, and not
far distant from each other. Over these nature has formed passes, that
are less difficult than might be expected from a view of such huge piles.
The aspect of these cliffs is so wild and horrid, that it is impossible
to behold them without terror. The formerly suffered same violent convulsion;
and that these are the dismembered remains of the dreadful shock; the ruins,
not of Persepolis or Palmyra, but of the world!" (The book from which this
is taken is so old that the old English "s" is used throughout the text,
and the pages are yellowed with age. I am indebted to Robert Asher, of
Pineville, for a look at this old book, and the privilege of copying from
THE CUMBERLAND FORD SETTLEMENT
I. THE LOCATION OF PINEVILLE
The present town of Pineville, which occupies the site of the old Cumberland Ford Settlement, and surrounds the Ford itself, is a town of some four thousand inhabitants if some suburbs, not within the present limits of the town but closely connected with it, are included. The town lies in a bend of Cumberland River, principally on the south side, and is surrounded by three high mountains so close that their peaks seem to overtop the town and close it in from the surrounding country. So near do the foothills of these mountains project themselves into the town that a number of flourishing suburbs have been built upon them. These three peaks are the butts of mountains formed by cutting through of Cumberland River. On the south side of the town Pine Mountain is completely cut in two, forming the Narrows, on each side of which are two peaks 1300 feet high. Along the foot of this mountain, on the south side in the Narrows, is the suburb of Old Pineville, the original site of the town before it was moved nearer the Ford. At the foot of the mountain on the north side of the Narrows, between Straight Creek and Pine Mountain, is the suburb of East Pineville. From the northeast, along the side of Pine Mountain, Straight Creek flows into Cumberland River, opposite the center of the town, and only a short distance from Cumberland Ford below. Between the mouth of Straight Creek and Cumberland River, opposite the main part of the town, on the north side, is the third one of the high peaks, at the foot of which is Breast Works Hill, another suburb. Down the river farther, on the same side, at the foot of the same mountain, is the suburb of West Pineville, the largest of all the suburbs.
Cumberland Ford crossed Cumberland
River at few hundred feet below the mouth of Straight Creek, a short distance
below the present freight depot, and just below the home of J. J. Gibson.
It comes out at the foot of the mountain on the north side just below Breast
Works Hill. The old Wilderness Road passed along in front of the J. J.
Gibson house and entered the Ford just above a newly "built barn, now standing
upon the river bank near the Gibson house. The depressions in the bank
were still visible when I visited the Ford in the summer of 1921 to obtain
the picture and saw information included in this sketch.
The town is known as "The Queen City
of the Hills," because of its fine homes and neat, carefully kept streets.
It well deserves its name; for here some enterprising businessmen have
built a number of fine residences; a large passenger depot and freight
depot have been built by the railroad company, with bridges crossing the
river to the
depots, two large hotels, a splendid hotel building, a spacious new school building, some modern churches, a large bank, and many other public and private buildings.
The town is in the center of a large and lucrative coal industry. Straight Creek, on the north; Pucketts Creek and the upper Cumberland on the northeast; Clear Creek on the southwest; and Four Mile and Greasy Creek on the northwest, are four large coal fields, some in the full stage of development and some worked out and partially worked out, lying within a short distance of the town. Then at the head of Straight Creek lies the Red Bird district, which is now under development in a big way, with railroad graded and track laid most of the way, with a tram across the mountain between the head of Straight Creek and Red Bird built, and drilling for oil and gas going on. Here lies a big field and the outlet to this field is Pineville. All this coal and timber must come through the town. Then up the river about 40 miles is the Harlan Coal field. The coal of this, in the main, and three of the four or five regions named above, passes directly through this town to the outside markets. Large railroad yards have been developed at West Pineville, Balkan, Loyall in Harlan County, for the handling of this coal. The L & N has double-tracked its road from Corbin into Harlan, thereby increasing the facilities further for the handling of this growing coal business.
This town is, and has been for many years, the center of a large lumber business. T. J. Asher and Sons, at Wasioto, one mile south of Pineville, at one time had one of the largest sawmills in southeastern Kentucky. They gradually went out of the lumber business and went into the coal business. They are now, and have been for many years, developing large boundaries of coal lands in Bell and Harlan counties. Their office building and headquarters are in Pineville.
A number of coal companies have their offices in Pineville and coal agencies there handle a large volume of business.
II. REMAINS OF INDIAN CIVILIZATION
That the Indians visited this region,
camped here for long seasons and left records of their civilization, is
evident in many instances. But, prior to this hunting life of the Indians,
evidences of which mere found by Dr. Thomas Walker and his party, a race
of Indians inhabited this region. A mound, in the present town of Pineville,
only a short distance from Cumberland Ford, upon which Dr. W. J. Hodges
built a residence a few years ago, was doubtlessly erected and used by
the Indians as a buryinq ground. A peculiar thing about this mound was
a yellow strip of sand, about four inches thick, half way between top and
base. Evidently the Indians had carried this earth from some point near
to make the mound and had imposed a layer of river sand at this point in
the construction. Or the river overflowed, which has been known to happen
in recent years, the mound when it was only partially
constructed. Collins says of this mound: "In the large bottom at Cumberland Ford is a mound 10 or 15 feet high, and one hundred feet in circumference. Bones, pots, and other curiosities have been dug from it. It has evidently been a burying ground of the Indians, or some earlier and extinct race."
In the Narrows, described above, a young man by the name of L. Farmer, at that time a laborer on the farm of my uncle Gabriel Lee, who lived in Pineville, found under a big cliff in the gorge the image of an Indian carved from Yellow pine. Collins says of this image: "In the winter of 1869, L. Farmer, of Pineville, was hunting a fox (that had caught his turkey) among the cliffs that surround Pineville, and found a wooden image of a man, about two feet high, in sitting posture, with no legs. It looked as though it might have been made by the Indians centuries ago. It is a good image of a man, and is made of yellow pine. Some of the features, part of its nose and ears, are obliterated by time, although found in a place where it was kept entirely dry. one ear is visible, with a hole pierced in it as though once ornamented with jewelry. It is a great curiosity to travelers." My uncle Gabriel Lee visited me a few years ago, when an old man, and, in reply to my question as to what went with the image, told me it was sold to some one who took it to a museum at Frankfort, Kentucky.
On my father's farm, in the Fuson
Settlement on Little Clear Creek, four miles from the mouth of Clear Creek,
on some high ground, in what was once a canebrake in the bend of the creek,
was once an Indian settlement. The ground for a wide space around was burned
to a reddish color and would not produce crops like the rest of the ground
around it. From this we plowed tomahawks, arrow flints, axes, clay pipes,
rude pottery and other relics. The pipes, and most of the other relics
for that matter, my father gave to some curious people who were passing
through the community. Some of the tomahawks, arrow flints and axes, I
collected together and held in my possession until a few years ago. However,
most of the relics disappeared before one was large enough to begin collecting
them or to appreciate their value. Two Indian graves were also found on
the Elijah Smith farm, adjoining that of my father. They are located on
a bench of Log Mountain back of the farm house. They were opened up a few
years ago and bones and trinkets were found in them in a badly decayed
The present town of Harlan, forty
miles up Cumberland River from Pineville, is built on the site of an old
Indian town. The excavations for houses reveal relics and bones of this
race. Collins says of these remains: "The first court house in Harlan County
was built upon a mound in Mount Pleasant (the original name of the town
of Harlan), upon which, in 1808, the largest forest trees were growing.
In August, 1838, a new court house was erected upon the same mound, requiring
a deeper foundation and more digging, with these discoveries: Human bones,
some small and other very large, indicating that the bodies had been buried
in a sitting position; several skulls, with most of the teeth fast in their
sockets, and perfect; the skull of a female, with beads and other ornaments
which apparently hung around the neck. Close by the larger bones was a
half gallon pot, superior in durability to any modern ware,
made of clay and periwinkles pounded to powder, glazed on the inside, and the outside covered with little rough knots, nearly in length. A neat and well formed pipe, of the usual shape, and various other ornaments and tools evincing ingenuity and skill were found; also, charcoal in perfect state apparently. The mound abounded in shells, bones and fragments of bones, in all stages of decay. They were found from three to five feet below the surface.
"In 1870, more human bones were dug from it, together with nicely polished weights, some pipes, made of hard blue stone."
An old stone fort on Straight Creek,
near Pineville, a few years ago was the subject of a controversy in a lawsuit.
I quote here from the letter of Mr. William Low to me, on November 15,
1921, in regard to it. "In this same lawsuit (Taylor and Crate vs A. J.
Asher), while not pertaining particularly to Pineville, there was a question
as to the location of an old patent, which called for a large encampment
on Straight Creek. There was a good deal of evidence taken in the case
as to the location of this encampment. One side contending that it was
at the junction of Stony Fork of Straight Creek and the main right hand
fork, and the other claiming that it was at the mouth of Laurel Branch."
III. THE EARLIEST MEN HERE
DR. THOMAS WALKER AND OTHERS
We owe much to Dr. Thomas Walker, the real discoverer of southeastern Kentucky, and the first white man known to have made a scientific exploration of the state, and the man who built the first house within the present limits of Kentucky. He, the learned explorer from Virginia, in the employment of the Loyal Land Company, and, in company with Ambrose Powell, William Tomlinson, Colby Chew, Henry Lawless, and John Hughs, came through Cumberland Gap in 1750. According to his Journal they examined Cumberland Gap and passed on to Clover Creek (Clear Creek) and made a camp. This camp was located on what is now known as the Moss farm, one mile from the mouth of Clear Creek. Here they camped while Dr. Walker made himself a pair of moccasins and hunted down to the mouth of the creek. Here, where Clear Creek joins the river, upon a spot of ground that lies between Clear Creek, the river and the Chenoa Railroad, Dr. Walker saw the river for the first time and named it Cumberland in honor of the Duke of Cumberland. Dr. Walker, in his Journal, says: "15th (April). Easter Sunday. Being in bad grounds for our horses we moved seven miles along the Indian Road, to Clover Creek (Clear Creek). Clover and hop vines are plenty here.
"April 16th. (rain.) I made a pair of Indian shoes, those I brought out being bad.
"17th. Still rain. I went down the
creek a hunting and found that it went into a river about a mile below
our camp. This, which is Flat Creek (Yellow Creek) and some others joined,
I called Cumberland River."
It was thought for a long time that Dr. Walker came down Yellow Creek to its mouth and there saw Cumberland River for the first time, but, in 1898, J. Stoddard Johnston, through the restoration of some of the leaves of Dr. Walker's Journal (April 10th to the 20th), established the fact that Cumberland River was seen by Dr. Walker for the first time at the mouth of Clear Creek. Then the mouth of Clear Creek becomes a very historic point in the early exploration of this region and another key to the history of our great state.
It has been disputed by historians, or one at least, that he named the mountains here, at the same time, Cumberland. It is true he does not specifically say so, but the implication is so strong that the true historian cannot escape the conclusion that he did. If not, why did they take the name Cumberland later? Is the fact that he named the "Pinnacle," "Steep Ridge" and the Gap "Cave Gap" sufficient evidence for holding that he did not name the mountains here Cumberland? I think not--not any more than the word Pinnacle now stands for the whole mountain region here. These names were applied to local parts of the mountain region, and, no doubt, were not intended to apply to the mountain chain. Grant that he did name the mountains by indirection, as Mr. Connelley says. Is this sufficient grounds, in opposition to the best historians of the state, for denying that Walker had anything to do with the naming of the mountains? Mr. Connelley goes farther and denies that he even named Cave Gap and Steep Ridge. In note 4 at the bottom of page 60, volume I, HISTORY OF KENTUCKY, By Kerr, he says: "And here we come to one of those commonly accepted statements so often found in history. It has been asserted, and without challenge apparently, that Walker named this great range of mountains the Cumberland Mountains, and the gap the Cumberland Gap. They bear these names to this day. The truth is that he did no such thing. He found the gap named Cave Gap and left it with that name. He named Cumberland Mountain, Steep Ridge. These facts are very plainly stated in his journal. And it may be asserted here that Dr. Walker did not bestow the name 'Cumberland' on either the Cumberland Gap or on the Cumberland Mountains. On the 17th of April he discovered and named Cumberland River."
Mr. Connelley was born and reared in Johnson County on the Kentucky River. All through his chapters in the HISTORY OF KENTUCKY, edited by Mr. Kerr, he tried to discredit the commonly accepted history of the Cumberland Region. He raves against an article by W. S. Hudson on "The First House Built in Kentucky" and tried to discredit the whole thing; he denies that Walker even named Cumberland Gap "Cave Gap"; says that he named Cumberland Mountains, Steep Ridge, when, in fact, he only named the Pinnacle, Steep Ridge; but, after all this, he does finally admit that Dr. Walker named the mountains Cumberland by indirection.
Here is what Dr. Walker himself in
his Journal says: "April 13th. We went four miles to a large creek, which
we called Cedar Creek being a branch of Bear Grass, and from there six
miles to Cave Gap, the land being level .... The mountain on the north
side of the Gap is very steep and rocky, but on the south side it is not
so. We called it Steep Ridge."
Shaler, a man who knew Dr. Walker's Journal well and one of the best historians Kentucky ever had, says: "The first authentic report of a deliberate journey beyond the line of the Alleghanies is that of Dr. Thomas Walker, who in 1750 traveled to the central parts of the region afterwards called Kentucky, and returned with a good report of the country .... Walker named the principal features of the country he traversed: the Wasioto Mountains, which he called Cumberland; the Shawnee River, to which he gave the same name; the Chatterwawh, which, with the Virginian dislike of Indian names, he called the Big Sandy."
Smith, in his large HISTORY OF KENTUCKY, says: "Descending the mountain, they found a river flowing southwesterly, on the other side. The Doctor gave the name Cumberland to both the mountain and the river, which yet they bear, in honor of England's Bloody Duke of Cumberland."
But in the latter part of the note, a part of which is quoted above, Mr. Connelley says: "It may be admitted that Doctor Walker named this gap and this major mountain range by indirection. His name of the Cumberland River stuck, and from it, more than likely, the name 'Cumberland' later attached to Cumberland Gap and Cumberland mountains." Thus he gingerly admits what he tried to disprove.
They left the camp on the Moss farm, descended Cumberland River and came through the Narrows to the present site of the town of Pineville, two miles below where they camped or one mile below the mouth of Clear Creek. Here they made some examination of the land about Cumberland Ford, for Walker says that he found some evidence of old Indian occupation here. He must have seen the Indian mound, though he does not specifically say so, in the center of the town and only a short distance from Cumberland Ford. This mound was later found to contain Indian relics and skeletons.
They did not cross at Cumberland Ford, where the old Shawnee Indian Trail crossed, but kept on down the river on the south side. Walker says: "18th (April). Still cloudy. We kept on down the creek to river along the Indian Road to where it crosses (Through Cumberland Ford). The Indians have lived about this Ford some years ago. We kept on down the south side. After riding five miles from our camp, we left the river (just below the mouth of Greasy Creek), it being very crooked. In riding 3 miles we came on it again. It is about 60 or 70 yards wide. We rode 8 miles this day."
Much speculation has been entered
into as to why Dr. Walker kept on down the south side of the river instead
of following the Indian trail through Cumberland Ford to the north side
of the river. Some historians have thought that he had information about
the country before coming and wished to explore this side of the river
especially. This could easily have been, for it is not unlikely that men
who kept no records of their visits ventured across the mountains from
time to time on hunting expeditions. But it has long been a theory of mine,
knowing something of the lay of the country and the Indian trails of the
region, that Dr. Walker thought his party might meet up with some roving
bands of Indians if they followed along this trail. This he would naturally
try to avoid since he was bent on a peaceful mission of exploration and
A good many people have thought that Dr. Walker had no other thought in view but to explore and give names to this part of the new country, but we shall find later, in connection with the settlement near Barbourville, that he had in mind the definite idea of a permanent settlement. This idea was not given up until after he had made his second journey to this country and had come away with an unfavorable opinion of it.
IV. SWIFT'S SILVER MINE
I suppose there is no part of the mountains of Kentucky that has not had some experience in search for this silver mine. Last summer (1921) I was on the train going from Pineville to Harlan, when someone on the train pointed out to me a large cliff on the opposite side of the river that had recently been partly blown away in the search for the silver of this mine. It came out in the conversation that some man had come here, probably from the west, and with maps in his possession had located the mine here. He spent much money, time and labor in the futile attempt to disclose it in the cliff.
James Renfro lived at Cumberland Ford in the early days, 1821 to 1832, and it has been said that the Journal of Swift was left with Mrs. Renfro after the death of her husband. The Renfros came from Virginia, but it may be that another Renfro family figured in the possession of the Journal. Mr. Low doubts that Swift was ever in Bell County. However, I am not so sure that he is correct in this statement. I think it probable that Swift never left any money here as he claimed, but evidently he came here searching for silver. Collins says: "In 1854-55, while making geological investigations in the southeastern part of Kentucky, as part of the official survey ordered by the state, Prof. David Dale Owen examined the supposed location of the notorious Swift mine, on the north side of Log Mountain, only a few miles from Cumberland Ford, then in Knox County, now Josh Bell or rather Bell County. The Indians are said, in former times, to have made a reservation of 30 miles square, on a branch of Laurel Fork of Clear Creek. Benjamin Herndon, an old explorer, and a man well acquainted with the country, guided him to the spot where the ore was supposed to be obtained by the Indians, and afterwards by Swift and his party....
"Judge John Haywood, who emigrated
from North Carolina at an early day to Tennessee, and years after, in 1823,
wrote its civil and political history from its earliest settlement up to
the year 1796, says of this locality: 'Cumberland Mountain bears N 46 E;
and between the Laurel Mountain and the Cumberland Mountain, Cumberland
River breaks through the latter. At the point where it breaks through,
and about 10 miles north of the state line, is Clear Creek, which discharges
itself into the Cumberland, bearing northeast till it reaches the river.
It rises between the great Laurel Hill and Cumberland Mountain; its length
is about 15 miles. Not far from its head rises also the south fork of the
Cumberland, in the state of Kentucky, and runs westwardly. On Clear Creek
are two old furnaces,
about half way between the head and the mouth of the creek--first discovered by hunters in the time of the first settlements made in the country. These furnaces then exhibited very ancient appearances; about them were coals and cinders, as they have no marks of the rust which iron cinders are said uniformly to have in a few years. There are also a number of the like furnaces on the south fork, bearing similar marks, and seemingly of very ancient date. One Swift came to east Tennessee in 1790 and 1791; and was at Bean's Station, on his way to that part of the country near which these furnaces are. He had with him a journal of his former transactions--by which it appeared that in 1761, 1762, and 1763, and afterwards in 1767, he, two Frenchmen, and some few others, had a furnace somewhere about the Red Bird Fork of Kentucky River--which runs toward Cumberland River and Mountain, northeast of the mouth of Clear Creek. He and his associates made silver in large quantities, at the last mentioned furnaces; they got the ore from a cave about three miles from the place where his furnace stood. The Indians becoming troublesome, he went off; and the two Frencbmen went towards the place now called Nashville. Swift was deterred from the prosecution of his last journey by the reports he heard of Indian hostility, and returned home--leaving his journal in the possession of Mrs. Renfro. The furnaces on Clear Creek, and those on the south fork of the Cumberland, were made either before or since the time when Swift worked his. The walls of these furnaces, and horn buttons of European manufacture found in a rock house, prove that Europeans erected them. It is probable therefore that the French--when they claimed the country to the Alleghanies, in 1754 and prior to that time, and afterwards up to 1758--erected these works. A rock house is a cavity beneath a rock, jutted out from the side of the mountain, affording a cover from the weather to those who are below it. In one of these was found a furnace and human bones, and horn buttons supposed to have been a part of the dress which had been buried with the body to which the bones belonged. It is probable that the French who were with Swift, showed him the place where the ore was."
Mr. William Low, of Pineville, in
his letter of October 29, 1921, has this to say of Swift's journal: "I
asked Mr. Gibson (Frank Gibson, son of J. J. Gibson) about Swift's journal.
Someone told him that there was such a document, but I doubt the fact myself.
I never heard of such a document (in fairness to Mr. Low, I might say here
that he was not reared in this section but came here as a young man) and
I have heard a great deal about Swift's Silver Mine. This mine has been
searched for in every county in eastern Kentucky and personally I very
much doubt whether there ever was such a mine, or that any silver was ever
obtained from a mine in Kentucky. Years ago it was supposed that this mine,
or at any rate a silver mine, had been found on Clear Creek, and a company
of native citizens, John I. Partin and others, and some others whose names
I have forgotten, secured patents and organized what they called a mining
company, but nothing was ever discovered, in the way of silver ore, on
this land. I have understood that about Ferndale years ago some persons
thought that silver existed and some work was done towards opening a mine
at that place, but no silver existed. Since I have been in Bell County,
there have been a number of persons here from other places searching for
Swift's Silver Mine because every
place where it was thought silver existed was at once claimed to be the place where Swift claimed he found the mine. I doubt if ever Swift was in Bell County. There is an old survey located in Letcher County which calls for a survey made by Swift, but so far as I know no silver was ever discovered on Swift's survey."
Mr. Connelley says: "But the important question is not whether or not these mines had any existence in fact, but whether eastern Kentucky was visited and explored during the ten years from 1760 to 1770 by Swift and his companions. There is good reason to believe that Swift and his associates visited eastern Kentucky, as is affirmed in Swift's journal. The fact does not rest solely on either the journal or tradition, nor on any combination of the two. It is based to some extent at least on statements of some of the best and most careful historical writers of the time."
Mr. Connelley says of Swift's journal: "There are many forms of Swift's journal and, no doubt, many copies of each of these forms. They agree substantially. They are evidently all copies of some part or parts of Swift's Original Manuscript Journal left with Mrs. Renfro. Through repeated copying from copies by persons little capable of doing accurate work, the journal degenerated finally into a few pages of incoherent jargon, as will appear from an examination of the most common form of the journal, many copies of which are extant in Eastern Kentucky.
"In 1769 the company left Mundy's house on 16th day of May and went by New River and Cumberland Gap.
Whatever may be the facts concerning Swift's mines it is certain there were many expeditions made to Eastern Kentucky by men in pursuit of hidden minerals long before the central portion of the state was settled."
It appears from these quotations that the Swift mines and journal just form one of those chapters in the history of the early explorations of Eastern Kentucky. As such they are important; in fact these men show by these that they explored Eastern Kentucky shortly after Dr. Walker came here and long before the other parts of the state were settled.
The silver deposits may be all a myth, but, as such, they form the one great folk-tale of the mountains since white men came here. As such, the story will live for a thousand years. Every section of the mountains has a somewhat varied story (as all folk-stories are and should be) of this mine. The one current in Bell County at the time I grew up there as a boy, is told in the first poem, "Swift's Silver Mine" in my book, THE PINNACLE AND OTHER KENTUCKY MOUNTAIN POEMS. The opening stanza goes like this:
The silver mine of Swift
A fine will-o'-the wisp
Left in heroic age
For vision of the sage
With reason bereft?
This states, more or less, what I believe about Swift's mine. But the next stanza denies this and the following ones tell the traditional story as I had heard it from my youth.
Did Swift visit Bell County, not that he left money here, is the question. Did he help explore this section of country? If not, who does Judge Haywood say came to Red Bird (the headwaters of which are in Bell County), in company with two Frenchmen, and worked a mine there? If these mines on Clear Creek (all in Bell County) were of French origin, then did not these Frenchmen with Swift know about them? Isn't it reasonable to believe that they visited them since they were on Red Bird only about one or two days' journey from them? If not, why does his journal (as given by Mr. Connelley) mention the fact that he came from Mundy's (in East Tennessee) to mines by way of New River and Cumberland Gap? The quotation from Mr. Low's letter, in which it was stated that an old patent in Letcher County called for a patent by Swift, shows beyond a doubt that Swift visited Eastern Kentucky.
Whether or not Mrs. Renfro, of the Cumberland Ford Settlement, is the Mrs. Renfro mentioned as receiving the original journal I do not know. It is easy enough to get names of the same kind, in different places near each other, mixed. It may be that this is a case of mistaken identity. Mrs. Renfro was a very old woman at the time I knew her in 1886.
Swift was an Englishman and it may be that he had some connection with their piracies along the coast. If so, he might have been hiding some money taken in these raids. Then, too, he could have been a counterfeiter who obtained his silver elsewhere and smelted it here. Mrs. J. A. Watson, of Pulaski County, Kentucky, is authority for the statement that somewhere near Pulaski County recently a man, whom she knows, while digging a mill race, found forty thousand dollars in English gold which he turned over to the state treasury, subject to claims that might arise for the treasure. Is this one of the Swift mines? Or is this just another hoax regarding this legend?
The mountain people in the past have
been good subjects for the creation of this folk-tale, since no mines have
been found that we can trace to Swift. They lived for a century far from
railroads in a wilderness of mountain country. They made a living, a bare
living in many instances, by the hardest of work. People in this condition
dream of wealth and luxury. The story of Swift fell into fertile soil of
their dreaming minds and became fixed there as a fact. After it became
fixed, and no mines could be found, then reasons were invented to account
for not finding the silver. Hence, dark caves with heaped-up silver guarded
by demons, great kettles of silver deep down in the ground protected by
a league of devils, and many other stories grew up around this tradition.
What better modern folk-tale could we have?
V. THE WILDERNESS ROAD
AND DANIEL BOONE
The three points on the Wilderness Road of Daniel Boone that are definitely known, and for that reason and for the further fact that nature has marked them so well for points on a highway in so rugged a country, are Cumberland Gap, The Narrows, and Cumberland Ford--these, the great trio, formed not only the main features of the Wilderness Road but the outlet for the extension of the vast empire known as the United States of America. William Allen Pusey, in his WILDERNESS ROAD TO KENTUCKY, has this to say of these three points:
"The essential key to this route is Cumberland Gap, for the Cumberland Mountains running northeast and southwest between Virginia and Kentucky and across Eastern Tennessee offer an impassable barrier to the west for a hundred miles except at Cumberland Gap. Of no less importance is the gap in Pine Mountain at Pineville. With these two gaps found no great barriers exist to prevent the traveler from getting into Kentucky. But without the gap in Pine Mountain, Cumberland Gap would simply have allowed the explorer to reach the interminable series of mountain ranges through which Walker floundered to no purpose in 1750."
He goes on to say, "The Ford of the Cumberland and Cumberland Gap are, to my mind, the most interesting landmarks on the Wilderness Road, and the stretch of the road between these two points is the most interesting part of the road. At the Ford of the Cumberland, the Warrior's Path met the Wilderness Road. This path started in the Indian villages around Sandusky, on Lake Erie, passed through the Indian villages of the Scioto, crossed the Ohio at the mouth of the Scioto, and made its way almost directly south across the mountains to Eastern Kentucky. It came down straight Creek hugging the foot of Pine Mountain until it found the gap made by the Cumberland (The Narrows). This path was the highway of Communication between the Indiana north of the Ohio and those of the Tennessee country. No one can estimate how long the path which the Wilderness Road appropriated from Cumberland Gap to the Ford of the Cumberland had been the Indians' highway. As one looks at the Ford, which is probably little changed from its old character, he can, in his mind's eye, see these Indians picking their way in single file across the Ford; then he can follow them, trailing along the river-bank through Pine Mountain Gap (The Narrows), going over the path along the west of Rockey Face, up the marshy valley of Yellow Creek and finally climbing over the great Gap itself to the head waters of the Tennessee.
"After them he can see the pioneers
going over the same trail in the opposite direction. Up the mountain to
Cumberland Gap they struggled, then down Yellow Creek, and then across
the same ford: Walker and his little party (this is incorrect, Walker and
party did not cross Cumberland River at Cumberland Ford, but kept on down
the river on the south side until about four miles below Barbourville where
they crossed over to the north side and built a house, then the early hunters
and land-lookers-Findlay, Scaggs, Harrod, Boone, McAfee and
the rest of them-and after them and more had gone by this path through the gateway to the land of Kentucky. It was a real thoroughfare."
Here I am concerned with that part of the Wilderness Road that led into and out of the Cumberland Ford region, and, according to Mr. Pusey, it is the most interesting part of the great highway. The reason he was so interested in this part is apparent. I think-he could definitely define this part of the road, too, in reality, it is the basic part of the road. The road came down Yellow Creek to a point near the tunnel on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, between Yellow Creek and Ferndale, passed through the gap over the tunnel, passed along by Rocky Face to Ferndale, passed up the branch on which T. J. Kellems lived, passed through the gap in Log Mountain above the Rufus Moss farm, along the line of the present highway between Middlesborough and Pineville, but departed from the present highway on top of Log Mountain and came down the hollow to the left of it to the Moss Farm, passed on down the small stream near the Moss residence and crossed Clear Creek to the left of where this small stream joins Clear Creek, on the Moss Farm, passed down by the mouth of Clear Creek, to the left of it, down Cumberland River and through the Narrows, to Cumberland Ford. Here the crossing was made at Cumberland Ford at the same place as that of the Warriors Trail, as mentioned above.
The depressions in the bank of the river are still visible at this ford and can be definitely traced. There is no doubt as to the location of this Ford.
Mr. Pusey says: "Leaving the Ford of the Cumberland the road followed along the north bank of Cumberland River 7 miles. It then turned north from the river, and one mile further on reached Flat Lick. The Old Flat Lick is one of the landmarks on the road. It was to the pioneer Big Flat Lick in distinction from Little Flat Lick at Duffield. The Lick is a half mile north from the present railroad station called Flat Lick. An old brick house stands there now as a reminder of the days when the road was a thoroughfare to the east. It is not a prepossessing spot.
"The present railroad parallels the old road from Pineville to Flat Lick station."
The journals and writings of four or five men present some very interesting facts. Filson, according to Speed in giving his itinerary from Philadelphia to the Falls of the Ohio, in all 826 miles, enumerates the main points of his journey with distances from one point to the other. With reference to Cumberland Ford he gives,
To Cumberland Mountain
To Cumberland Ford--13 miles
From William Brown's journey, as related by Speed, to Kentucky in 1782, we have this:
To Cumberland Mountain Gap
To Yellow Creek---2 miles
To Cumberland River--13 miles
Brown continues: "From thence (Cumberland Gap) until you pass Rockcastle River there is very little good road; this tract of country is very mountainous, and badly watered along the trace, especially for springs. There is some good land on the water-courses, and just on this side Cumberland River appears to be a good tract, and within a few years I expect to have a settlement on it. Some parts of the road is very miry in rainy weather. The fords of Cumberland and Rockcastle are both good unless the waters be too high."
From Thomas Speed's itinerary, as given by Speed, in 1790, from Charlotte Courthouse to Kentucky:
To Cumberland Mountain
To Cumberland River----15 miles
Speed says further: "The road marked out by Boone at this time led up to the Gap from the Watauga settlement, and from the Gap it followed the great 'Warriors Path' about fifty miles (through the Narrows and Cumberland Ford) .... Boone's road left the Warriors Path, and bore a more westerly course to the 'Hazel Patch' and to Rockcastle River, following a Buffalo trail instead of the Indian path."
William Calk, as related by Speed, says in his journal, March 17, 1775, to May 2, 1775: "Tuesday 11th (April),--this a very loury morning and like for rain but we all agree to start early and we cross Cumberland River (at Cumberland Ford) and travel down it about 10 miles through some terrible canebrakes. As we went down Abrahams mare ran into the river with her load and swam over. He followed her and got her and made her swim back again. It is a very rainy evening. We took up camp near Richland Creek. They kill a beef. Mr. Drake bakes bread without washing his hands. We keep sentry this night for fear of the Indians. (No attempt has been made to follow the misspellings in this account, corrections have been made.)"
Henderson and his party, in 1775, after his treaty with the Indians at Watauga, reached Cumberland River where they met Robert Wills and his son returning from Kentucky on account of the great slaughter of the whites by the Indians.
Speed says: "The location of the road is a monument to the skill of Boone as a practical engineer and surveyor. There is a popular idea that he was merely a hunter and fearless Indian fighter; but a consideration of his life shows that he impressed the men of his time as being a man of intellectual capacity, sound and broad judgment, and worthy to be entrusted with many important undertakings. It required a mind of far more than ordinary caliber to locate through more than two hundred miles of mountain wilderness a way of travel which, for a hundred years, has remained practically unchanged, and upon which the state has stamped its approval by expenditure of vast sums of money appropriated for its improvement."
Bruce says: "Felix Walker's comment on Boone's
management of the expedition is well worth quoting. 'In the sequal and
conclusion of my narrative, I must not neglect to give honor to whom honor
is due. Colonel Boone conducted the company under his care through the
wilderness with qreat propriety, intrepidity, and couraqe; and was I to
enter an exception to any part of his conduct, it would be on the ground that he appeared void of fear and of consequences--too little caution for the enterprise. But let me, with feeling recollection and lasting gratitude, ever remember the unremitting kindness, sympathy and attention paid to me by Colonel Boone in my distress. (Felix Walker, brother of Dr. Thomas Walker, was me of the men who aided Boone in the building of the road and was wounded in an Indian attack while at work.) He was my father, my physician, and friend; he attended me as his child, cured my wounds by the use of medicine from the woods, nursed me with paternal affection until I recovered, without the expectation of reward.'"
Such is the story of the Wilderness Road, so far as it relates to the Cumberland Ford region, and its creator. Boone passed through the Narrows and Cumberland Ford a number of times on his way to and from the interior of Kentucky, and I am glad to record these things here of this great epoch-making character.
A few years ago I wrote a poem on "Daniel Boone, the Man of Destiny," which gave a picture of Boone in the opening scene of the poem (page 130, JUST FROM KENTUCKY by H. H. Fuson):
Daniel Boone sites on a moss-covered log,
Leans against a big tulip tree, muses
As he looks through the wide stretches of the wood
Before him, and wonders at its wild beauty.
His faithful gun, so long and true of aim,
He holds as it leans up against the log.
The evening shades are gath'ring in the deep
Recesses of the wood and stillness like
A pail has fallen upon the forest.
Here the soothing silence warms itself into
The heart of Boone. No roof is so welcome
To him as the canopy of leaves o'erhead.
This is ever his world. He is at home.
He is nature"s own child and seeks her boon
Ere he leaves her charming presence.
A true picture of the character of Boone is given in the same poem (page 140):
We talk of the wonders of the pyramids,
Of the high tower of Babel that rose up "
Of mummies four thousand years old,
And all the wonders of that ancient world!
But towering above these, in a new age,
Are the fort and highway of Boone, symbols
And means of the great advance of the new
Democracy!--A title that rose on England's
Coast, swept to tour rugged shores, and then passed
To Cumberland Gap, along Boone's highway,
To roaring waves beyond the Rocky Pass!
Was Boone to surrender this in battle?
Was he to abandon his destiny?
Never! He had planted himself in these wilds
And,in company with the great of all time,
He determined to lead the great advance!
VI. EARLY SETTLEMENTS AT THE FORD
Cumberland Ford is not often thought of by historical writers as a real settlement. While we do not have at hand specific statements of settlement, yet we can gather from acts of the Legislature and land titles something of the idea of early settlement of the valley around the Ford. For instance, as stated elsewhere in this history, Abraham Buford, on November 2, 1781, entered one thousand acres of land here upon a Virginia Treasury Warrant, and later entered the same land, March 30, 1782, and surveyed it September 26, 1798, upon which a patent was issued by the state of Kentucky, April 11, 1801.
Then according to Speed in his WILDERNESS ROAD, "in 1795 the Legislature passed an act entitled 'An Act Opening a Wagon Road to Cumberland Gap. The act recites that, 'Whereas it is essential to the true interests of this Commonwealth that a good road should be to Virginia ... and Whereas the General Assembly is desirous that no inpediment may stand in the most speedy and beneficial execution of the work, and is willing that the largest sum that the present state of the public funds will admit of should be assigned for that purpose, 'an appropriation of two thousand pounds was made."
Following this up, according to Speed again, "In 1797, the Legislature appropriated five hundred pounds for the repair of the road and erection of the toll-gate, or turnpike, as it is called in the act." Here follows the amended act:
"An Act to amend an act entitled 'An act for opening a road to Cumberland Gap' (the original was in 1795):
Approved March 1, 1797
"Whereas, an act passed at the last session of the assembly entitled 'An act for opening a wagon road to Cumberland Gap,' it is provided that a road should be opened from the neighborhood of Madison court house to intersect a road by the said act directed to be opened from the Crab Orchard to Cumberland Gap; and as the same has been neglected, and it is represented to the present General Assembly that opening the said road would tend to public utility, therefore,
"Be it enacted by the General Assembly....
"Sec. 3. The keeper of the turnpike shall be entitled to receive
the following toll for passing the same; for each person, except post riders, expresses and women and children under the age of ten years, nine-pence; for every carriage with two wheels, three shillings; for every carriage with four wheels, six shillings, for every head of meat cattle going to the eastward, three pence. And if any person shall forcibly pass or attempt to pass the said turnpike before paying the fees aforesaid, or avoid or attempt to avoid it, they shall forfeit and pay ten dollars for the use of the keeper of the turnpike; and it shall be lawful for the keeper to retain such person or persons in his custody until same shall be paid. The bond taken from the keeper of the turnpike shall be returned by the commissioners to the auditor, and in case of failure to comply with the same, the public defaulters. And no member of the present Legislature shall be appointed a commissioner under authority of this act. And should the said Joseph Crocket decline to perform the duties enjoined on him by this act, the governor shall appoint another in his stead."
Now this tollgate is the point we are approachiing. This tollgate was located at the Narrows on Cumberland River, a short distance up the river from Cumberland Ford, in what is now known as old Pineville. The Settlement of Cumberland Ford might be said to date from the establishment of this tollgate in 1797, if we except that of Abraham Buford in 1781. This was the first tollgate ever established in the state of Kentucky, which really was established in 1795 and put into operation in 1797, and the first to disappear, in 1830. Around this tollgate in the Narrows the town of Pineville had its beginnings and grew up. This part of Pineville today is known as "Old Pineville," the newer developed town of 1887 being located around the Ford itself.
Sometime in the latter part of the eighteenth century, or early part of the nineteenth, Abraham Buford, or Isaac Shelby (Knox County records show the house was built by Governor Isaac Shelby) or James Renfro built a house on the site near the Ford. This house remained standing until the Civil War, when it was torn down and the materials used in the occupation of Cumberland Gap by the Union General George W. Morgan. The house now occupying the site was built by J. J. Gibson after the close of the Civil War.
The occupation of the Cumberland Ford region begins with the settlement of Abraham Buford in 1781, and with the building of a house for the tollgate in the Narrows in 1797. Buford later moved on to Scott County. Some other early settlers along about this time wiere the Pogues, the Renfros and the Moores. Later came the Pursifulls, the Hendricksons and the Goodins.
In order Book A, page 18, of the Knox County Records, the following was entered authorizing a ferry across Cumberland Ford:
"Be it remembered, that this day on
the motion of Isaac Shelby, by his attorney, it is ordered that a ferry
be established on land of
the said Isaac Shelby lying on the south side of Cumberland River at the crossing of the state road in Knox County to the lands of William Robertson, Sr., on the opposite shore and it is ordered that the rate of ferriage for a man shall be three pence and that the rate of a horse shall be three pence and that the rate of ferriage for coaches, wagons, etc., shall be in the proportion of the ferriage for a horse established by law. Whereupon the said Isaac Shelby by John Ballinger, his attorney in fact, together with the said John Ballinger as his surety entered into and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of twenty pounds as is directed by law. And be it further remembered that at the time of moving for the establishment of the above ferry the following notice of the motion was proven in court by Richard Pierce to be given to William Robertson, Sr., of the same better than one month before the making of this motion. A copy of the said motion was exhibited in court and ordered to be recorded, to-wit:
Mr. William Robertson, Sr.
Take notice that I will on the first day of our next April court holden for a county of Knox move the court for the establishment of a ferry across the Cumberland River from my land lying on the South side of the river at the crossing of the state road to your land on the opposite shore
January 31, 1801
Mr. Elmer Decker, of Barbourville, Kentucky, who has made a thorough investigation of the early history of Knox County, says of this ferry:
"This was the first ferry established in Knox county. Two other ferry rights, at this same Ford, were granted prior to the establishment of Knox County: one by Virginia and the other by Lincoln County.
VII. SOME EARLY INHABITANTS OF OLD PINEVILLE
Old Pineville extended from about where the Wasioto bridge is now, down to the forks of the street, and a short distance below, below the Narrows. The town had one street and this was the main road down the river, a part of the old Wilderness Road. The houses were ranged on either side of the road. A few houses were built back on the hillsides from the road, with a path leading to them, just when the change of the name was made from Cumberland Ford to that of Pineville is not known.
Henry Clay Rice, father of W. T. Rice,
of Harlan, Kentucky, lived on the lower side of the road, near where the
present street forks. He
Photo Rice Water Mill
was Circuit Court Clerk of Bell County 1872-76, He moved with his family to Kansas in 1879, but returned to Harlan in 1880, where he lived the reminder of his life, died and was buried there, He was born just below the Wasioto Bridge, and between there and the old mill across Cumberland River, half way between the Wasioto Bridge and the Narrows where it begins to widen out. Benjamin Ajax Rice, father of H. C. Rice, moved there to the Narrows and ran the mill there for a time. The Rices came to the Narrows from Straight Creek, The grandfather of H. C. Rice was reared near Tazewell, Tennessee. Benjamin Ajax Rice built the mill in Harlan about 1870, and he also built the old or first courthouse and jail in Harlan. Benjamin Ajax Rice married Zelpha McPhetridge, and H. C. Rice married Ankinda Eager, daughter of George Eager, of Catrons Creek, in Harlan County. George Eager's wife was William Clark's daughter, Sallie and William was brother.
Pete Hinkle lived on the corner, on the upper side of the road, leading up to the old courthouse and jail on the hill. He was County Superintendent of Schools of Bell County in the early days. This office was then called Commissioner, and appointment was made by the Fiscal Court.
Easter Bates, of the Pursifull family at Page, lived at the upper house just below where people swim in the Narrows. She lived on the lower side of the road.
Captain W. M. Bingham lived and carried on a general merchandise store about the center of the town on the lower side of the road. His house was opposite the courthouse on the hill.
Enoch Bird, who married a Pursifull, father of James, Tom and Lewis Bird, moves to Bird Branch after his marriage.
T. J. Hoskins ran a store on the lower side of the road, about halfway between the present forks of the street and the hotel and the store of Captain W. M. Bingham.
Tip Farmer lived on the upper side of the road, just below the forks of the present street.
Bill Partin was just below Tip Farmer, on the left prong of the present street. The left prong of the road was not there at that time, since the road followed the river down into what is now Pineville.
W. G. Colson built a house on the left side of the upper street as you go toward Pineville, before 1879.
Mrs. Renfro lived on the hill back of Pete Hinkle and ran a boardinghouse there.
Judge B. A. Fuson ran a store for
a time just above were Pete Photo
Hinkle lived and on the upper side of the road. He was one of the later merchants, and was there just before the town was shifted lower down around the Ford, in 1887.
Judge William Ayres, in his HISTORICAL SKETCHES, says: "Among the early official records calling for Cumberland Ford as a land mark are those in the name of Martha Miller and Mordecai Hord, which cover land on the northerly side of the river from the ford down stream to the westward.
"Others are as follows: On November 9, 1781, Green Clay entered 633 acres 'beginning on the south side of the river opposite to where the Kentucky Road leaves the said river on the north side."
"Also 100 acres 'beginning on the south side of Cumberland River at the ford of the Kentucky Road."
"Also 100 acres on Clear Creek, beginning at the fore of the first large creek on the Kentucky Road on the south side of Cumberland River about one mile from the ford of said river.'
"Also 100 acres on the north side of Cumberland River 100 poles below the ford on the Kentucky Road."
"On July 26, 1782, William McBride entered 479 acres on Straight Creek described as follows: 'Lying on a big creek that empties into Cumberland River about 70 poles above where the Kentucky Road crosses.."
On November 24, 1782, Robert Buckner entered 1000 acres of Straight Creek described as lying on the first creek running into Cumberland River on the north side above where the road crosses the said river."
"On August 2, 1785, George James entered 20,000 acres on Straight Creek 'to begin at the mouth of the first creek that empties into Cumberland River above where the settlement road crosses.'
"On March 21, 1782, Abram Buford entered
1000 acres 'lying on the south side of Cumberland River to begin 50 poles
above the ford where the Kentucky Road crosses said river; thence southwardly
to the foot of the hills or mountains; thence down the same, binding thereon,
and likewise down the said river binding on the several meanders thereof
so far as will include the quantity, being the land lying between the hills
and the river.' That entry was surveyed in 1786, again surveyed in 1798,
and patented to Abram Buford on April 11, 1801. Upon that tract of land
has been built since 1888 the greater part of the city of Pineville lying
south of the river. It was conveyed by Buford to Governor Isaac Shelby
in 1814, and under that source of title through Governor Shelby the greater
part of the property in the city of
Pineville is now held."
Later then the first inhabitants of Pineville came Mrs. Mary C. Howard as a girl of two years. She was then Mary Myers. She says of the early industrial days of the new Pineville:
"Unfortunately we did not arrive in Pineville wearing Coonskin caps and carrying the long rifle. My father, Frank X. Myer, came to Rutledge, Tennessee, from Ohio; then he came to Pineville in 1890, and, as a young man, ran Pineville's first electric plant. We lived at first in West Pineville next to the Shys, Johnsons, Berrys, and a handful of others. I was two years old at the time we came to Pineville, but Ann was born in Pineville. At that time the old Wilderness Road was clearly marked (and still is), and an old camping place beneath the willows and the Railroad was still in use as a picnic ground. One fourth of July Andrew Johnson was shot there.
"I have an early picture of Pineville, made about 1898. My first doll was made of a gourd carved by J. J. Gibson at his home on the river bank near the Ford.
"My oldest daughter, Virginia, is Secretary to the Vice Chancellor of the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee. Martha is one of the directors in the Y.M.C.A. work in Chattanooga."
VIII. THE OWNERSHIP OF THE FORD
In my youthful days, I read this statement in Lewis Collins' HISTORY OF KENTUCKY: "Immediately bordering on this town (Pineville, which, at the time Collins wrote, occupied what is now Old Pineville in the Narrows) northeast is Cumberland Ford, one of the oldest settlements in this part of the country, said to have belonged originally to Governor Shelby, and been bought from him by James Renfro, whose family owned it for several generations." I thought about this statement for years and searched in every available placement I knew of, or could hear of, for information to confirm this statement. The point that gave me the most trouble was Governor Shelby's ownership, and I would find no one to confirm or deny the statement. I came to Cincinnati, knowing that the public library here contained many good early works on Kentucky history, looked through a number of these, but found nothing that would aid me. I knew Collins had a pretty good way of getting at the facts and believed his statement true, but what I wanted was proof. Then I turned my attention to Pineville once more. This time my efforts were rewarded. Dear reader, have you ever known the joys of a triumph of this kind--a triumph not measured in dollars and cents, but a triumph in search of truth--after ten or fifteen years of search? If so, then you know how glad my heart was when I read Mr. Low's letter which confirmed my belief and ended the search.
Mr. William Low, son-in-law of J.
J. Gibson, the late owner of
the present Cumberland Ford site, gave me an abstract of the title to the Cumberland Ford Settlement, in which it specifically states that Isaac Shelby, the first Governor of Kentucky, was at one time owner of the Settlement. I quote from Mr. Low's letter, dated October 29, 1921:
"The land of Cumberland Fbrd, which is now Pineville, was entered and surveyed among the first tracts of land in this country. On November 2, 1781, Abraham Buford entered one thousand acres of land upon a Virginia Treasury Warrant, lying on the south side of Cumberland River, to begin fifty poles above the Ford, where the Kentucky road crosses said river; thence southwestwardly to the foot of the hills or mountains; thence down the same binding thereon, and likewise down the river binding on the several meanders thereof, so far as will include the quantity, being the land lying between the hills and the river. This entry was surveyed July 20, 1786, and a patent issued to Abraham Buford for the thousand acres above described by the state of Virginia.
"Buford also entered this same land apparently again on March 20, 1782, which was surveyed, September 26, 1798, upon which a patent was issued by the state of Kentucky to Abraham Buford, dated April 11, 1781. ON JULY 8, 1814, ABRAHAM BUFORD, OF SCOTT COUNTY, KENTUCKY CONVEYED 350 ACRES OF THE LAND, EMBRACED IN THE ABOVE PATENTS, TO ISAAC SHELBY, OF FRANKLIN COUNTY, and, on December 22, 1821, Isaac Shelby and Susanna, his wife, conveyed this tract of land to James Renfro. On October 4, 1832, James Renfro and Dorcas, his wife, conveyed this land to James Renfro, Jr., and James Renfro, Jr., died intestate, leaving two children, James T. Renfro and Josephus Renfro by name, and James T. Renfro conveyed his interest in the land to J. J. Gibson by deed, dated April 14, 1860, but the land had really been sold to Gibson in 1857 by bond and Gibson took possession in 1857. J. J. Gibson lived in Lee County, Virginia, but he settled his sons J. J. Gibson, Jr., and Thomas Gibson on the land. J.J. Gibson, Sr., had five sons and at the outbreak of the Civil War all of his sons joined the Confederate Army, and necessarily left the farm. They remained in the army until the conclusion of peace in 1865 when J. J. Gibson and Thomas Gibson came to Kentucky for the purpose of taking possession of the farm.
"At the time they left there stood an old brick house upon the farm which had been built either by Shelby or Renfro, but during the progress of the war this house was torn down and the brick used by the Union Army at some other place; I think at Cumberland Gap. A house was built on the land by the Gibsons soon after their return, and this house was burned. The house which now stands on the land, and which was the home of J. J. Gibson, Jr., up to his death, was built after his other house was burned.
"The Ford, known as Cumberland Ford,
was immediately in front of the brick house referred to, and of the other
houses which were subsequently built.
"The old Wilderness Trail, passing though Cumberland Gap and through the gap in Pine Mountain (the Narrows) through which Cumberland River passes, crossed at Cumberland Ford....
"J. J. Gibson conveyed a portion of the above described land, upon which the city of Pineville now stands, to the Pineville Land and Lumber Company on September 2, 1887; his brother Thomas F. Gibson having heretofore conveyed his interest in the land to J. J. Gibson. J. J. Gibson died and his widow and some members of the family still occupy the old homestead."
The Ford was used for a number of years after the country was settled and before the day of bridges. As a boy I crossed the Ford a number of times on my way to Pogue's mill near Flat Lick, in Knox County. In certain dry seasons of the year this old water mill in Cumberland River was the only one that could be reached by the people of Clear Creek, in Bell County, a distance of twelve miles or more.
IX. THE FORD DURING THE CIVIL WAR
The Ford was one of the first places occupied at the very beginning of the Civil War. The Union flag had been hauled down at Fort Sumpter on April 14, 1861, and General Zollicoffer had been ordered to occupy Cumberland Ford on September 18. Henry M. Cist on "The Army of the Cumberland" in his CAMPAIGNS OF THE CIVIL WAR has this to say about the first occupation of the Ford:
"General Johnston (Albert Sidney) under his plan of creating a defensive line from Columbus (Ky.), on the west, running through Bowling Green to some point to be determined on (this later became Cumberland Gap), early in September sent General Zollicoffer with a force numbering several thousand men (7,000) to make an advance into eastern Kentucky by way of Knoxville, East Tennessee, through Cumberland Gap, to Cumberland Ford, threatening Camp Dick Robinson (in Garrard County).
"Accordingly in September, just after
Polk on September 7th had taken up a strong position on the bluffs that
command the stream at Columbus and Hickman, Zollicoffer moved from Knoxville
to take up his position at Cumberland Ford. Arriving there he occupied
the Rufus Moss farm, where he established his headquarters and threw up
some breastworks for defense. This farm is about one mile south of Cumberland
Ford itself and is just south of the upper end of the Narrows." (The Narrows
extends from the mouth of Clear Creek, where the creek joins Cumberland
River and where Dr. Walker in 1750 stood when he named Cumberland River,
to the upper edge of Old Pineville, a distance of about one half a mile.)
Here he threw up a line of breastworks. These breastworks were at the end
of the Narrows on the south and commanded the three roads (one from Harlan
down Cumberland River, one from Cumberland Gap by way of Middlesborough,
Ferndale and the gap in Log Mountain, and one from Big Creek Gap by way
of Clear Creek) leading
into the Narrows from that direction, and the one road through the Narrows from the north.
Cist says: "General Zollicoffer was a civilian appointment, without military training of any kind (yet we find that he was in the Seminole War). He had been editor of a Nashville paper, had held a number of minor state offices, and served two terms in Congress prior to the war.... Zollicoffer had no ability as a soldier to handle troops....
"General Felix K. Zollicoffer was born in 1812. He was an American editor, politician, and soldier, of Swiss descent, and was born in Maury County, Tennessee. In 1835 he was elected State printer for Tennessee. He served in the Seminole War; was connected with the editorial staffs of various papers in Tennessee; and was Comptroller of the State Treasury 1845-49. In 1849 he was elected to the State Senate, and from 1853-59 he was a States Right Wig Representative in Congress. He was delegate to the peace conference in 1861, and in June 1861 entered the Confederate service with the rank of Brigadier-General. He was second in command at the battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky, January 19, 1862, where he was killed while reconnoitering."
He threw up a line of breastworks in the shape of a V, with the mouth of Clear Creek at the point of the V. One prong of the V extended up the west side of Clear Creek along the foot of Pine Mountain in the direction of Clear Creek Springs, parallel with the close by the present line of the Chenoa Railroad; the other extended up Cumberland River, on the side of the river toward Clear Creek, to a point opposite the present town of Wasioto.
In order to understand the strong position he took up it will be necessary to give a general description of the topography of the country around Cumberland Ford. Around this narrow valley are three mountain peaks 1300 feet in height. They rise above the river, overlooking the valley and river, and are joined to mountains that extend northeast and southwest for long distances through the country. At the southern end of this valley Cumberland River, flowing north at this point, breaks through Pine Mountain, forming two of these high peaks, and flows in a half circle around the town to the north. This break, known as the Narrows, is only about four hundred to eight hundred feet wide at the base--just wide enough for the river, railroad and highway~with walls of rock almost perpendicular to a great height on either side. An army invading the Cumberland Gap region from the central part of the state would necessarily have to pass up the river, through the Narrows, to the Gap.
Here Zollicoffer had entrenched himself
behind breastworks to protect this approach to Cumberland Gap. On May 16,
Kentucky had declared her neutrality and Shaler says that these acts of
Zollicoffer and Polk showed clearly that the Confederates had planned deliberately
to break this neutrality with the hope of forcing Kentucky into the
Confederate camp. However, the Confederates claimed that they had acted on the defensive since the Union forces had concentrated at Camp Dick Robinson in Garrard County, but Shaler says that this is a poor defense for their acts since all the soldiers in the camp were from within the state.
Judge M. J. Moss, of Pineville, son of Rufus Moss upon whose farm Zollicoffer was entrenched and son-in-law of Captain William Bingham who lived in Bell County at the time of the Civil War and took part in some of its campaigns, in two letters to me on December 5 and 8, 1922, on information secured from Captain Bingham who was still living at the time at the ripe old age of eighty, has this to say about the occupation of his father's farm by Zollicoffer: Photo M.J. Moss
"In September, I think, '61, Zollicoffer with the Confederate forces moved on to my father's place and came down and took charge of where Pineville is now, but was then Cumberland Ford. Zollicoffer was the chief commander of these forces (at this place).
"As to the breastworks at the Moss Place, they were back of the house on the backbone facing up Clear Creek, and were erected by Zollicoffer's forces.
"A bit of unwritten history brought about the erection of these particular breastworks, and they were thrown up very quickly. My mother, Minerva Smith, Craig Smith, and myself were on top of Smith Hill (about two miles away), and saw Rain's cavalry, which was the First Tennessee Confederate Cavalry, approaching the top of the hill. We made an effort to go up to the Hendrickson place on top of Stinger's Ridge to avoid meeting them in the main road. They mistook us for Yankees (not such a bad mistake, was it, judge?). The whole regiment stampeded and came back to my father's place claiming that the bushes were full of Yankees. Then they immediately threw up the breastworks on the backbone of the hill. When my mother came in with us children that evening she had a great deal of trouble explaining to the Confederate picket that there were no Yankees up there; that she, another woman and two small boys had stampeded the regiment. When we got back to our old home, the breastworks back of the house had been thrown up and the cannon placed in position for action."
Zollicoffer remained here for about a month, for we next hear of him in an engagement at "Barbourville Bridge" on October 19. He was then on his way to Wildcat Mountain and Mill Springs.
The next occupation of Cumberland
Ford, and the last of any consequence during the Civil War, was by General
George W. Morgan, of the Union Army. Henry M. Cist says: "Organizing the
seventh division of his army, Buell assigned George W. Morgan to his command.
This division was formed of four brigades, out of a number of regiments
gathered up from different points in Kentucky. General Morgan concentrated
entire command at Cumberland Ford, being directed to take Cumberland Gap if possible and to occupy East Tennessee if able to enter. If not, then to resist any advance of the rebels."
Cist further says: "General George W. Morgan, under orders from Buell, assumed command of the forces in Eastern Kentucky early in April (1862). Acting under his orders he proceeded to Cumberland Ford and commenced operations at once against Cumberland Gap .... Morgan, after encountering the enemy in several skirmishes, determined either to compel him to fight or retreat. He sent General Spears with three brigades to Pine Mountain, on the road to Big Creek Gap. General Kirby Smith, commanding the enemies forces in East Tennessee, placed General Barton's command of two brigades of infantry in Big Creek Gap, and then advanced with some eight thousand men under his immediate command to cut Spears off, and to threaten the Federal forces at Cumberland Ford. Morgan, under orders, withdrew Spears, but learning a few days later from Buell of the operation of Negley's (Union) command before Chattanooga, and that Kirby Smith had proceeded with a part of his command to the relief of that place, resumed the advance. Negley's movements had caused Smith to suspend his operations, but when he heard of Negley's withdrawal he proceeded at once to execute his plans against Morgan. On June 17 (1862), the latter, finding that Kirby Smith had taken his entire command away from Cumberland Gap, marched his troops up Powell's Valley (should be Cumberland Valley) and late in the evening of that day reached the fortification, found the Gap empty, and took possession."
George Washington Morgan was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, in 1820. He died in 1893. In 1836 he left college and fought in the Texan War for independence. In 1841 he entered West Point, but left in 1843, was admitted to the bar and began practice of law at Mount Vernon, Ohio. Upon the breaking out of the Mexican War he was appointed Colonel of the Second Ohio Volunteers, and later became Colonel of the Fifteenth United States Infantry. For gallantry at Centreras and Churubusco the Ohio Legislature on his return brevetted him Brigadier-General and gave him a vote of thanks. He was appointed United States Consul at Marseilles in 1856, and from 1856 to 1861 was United States Minister to Portugal. Returning home upon the breaking out of the Civil War he was Brigadier-General of Volunteers, and served for a time under General Buell. He was then put in command of the Seventh Division of the Army of Ohio, was with Sherman at Vicksburg, and later led the expedition that captured Fort Hindman in Arkansas. owing to ill health he resigned from the army in 1863. He was democratic candidate for Governor of Ohio in 1865, but was defeated. From 1869 to 1873 he served in Congress. In 1876 he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at St. Louis."
Near Cumberland Ford, at the time
Morgan occupied this place, stood a brick house (the only brick house in
this place or near about), built either by Governor Shelby or James Renfro,
who owned the place
before the Gibsons got hold of it. Morgan probably had his headquarters in this building, and it is said on good authority that, on leaving for Cumberland Gap, he tore down the house and took the brick with him for use there.
Morgan fortified Cumberland Ford well, throwing up breastworks and planting cannon on the projecting foothills of the mountains on all sides. Back of what is now West Pineville, on a projecting foothill, he threw up a heavy breastworks that commanded a narrow stretch of valley, about 1200 feet wide, along the river. An army coming from the north would be compelled to come under the fire from this fortification. On another projecting point between Straight Creek and Cumberland River, overlooking the Ford itself, and known today as Breastwork's Hill, he threw up a line of breastworks. He also make use of breastworks thrown up on Clear Creek, at Smith Hill and the Phil Ford near the Clear Creek Springs School House. This line was on one of the roads from Cumberland Ford to the Big Creek Gap, one of the other passes through Cumberland Mountain to the south.
All the breastwork fortifications are well preserved and can be seen today with large trees growing upon them. As a boy, on my way to school at the Clear Creek Springs School, I played in the ones at the Phil Ford and saw the ones at Smith Hill and the Moss farm often, but did not know then their real significance.
Judge M. J. Moss says: "Morgan's headquarters were at Cumberland Ford and not at my father's place, as I get it from Captain Bingham with whom I talked yesterday.
"As to the breastworks at Breastworks Hill, these were erected by the Union forces after Zollicoffer's forces went back to Cumberland Gap.
"As to those at the old Cemetery, West Pineville, they were also erected by the Union forces.
"As to the breastworks at Smith Hill, they were erected by the Union forces, as well as at the Phil Ford near Clear Creek Springs School House."
Rev. W. S. Hale, in a pamphlet on "Clear Creek Mountain Springs," has this to say about the Civil War in this region:
"Pineville is famous for being on the Walker Trail, which was later the Boone Trail. But what is more historic and romantic is a story hitherto unwritten. It is the story of the 'Footprints of the Civil War."
"In the fall of '61, when General
Felix K. Zollicoffer invaded the state from the south,
the state from the south, he was met at Wildcat Hill in Rockcastle County by a Union force under Colonel Theo. T. Garrard and after a sharp fight was driven back along what is now the Boone Trail to what was then Cumberland Ford, now Pineville.
"General Zollicoffer took up headquarters in the home of Mr. Rufus M. Moss, father of our own Judge M. J. Moss. He planted guns on the Moss Hill, one battery facing up Clear Creek, one toward Middlesborough along the old Wilderness Road; and at the mouth of Clear Creek, he had a large battery trained on Pineville through the Narrows. Here his army spent most of the Winter.
"Colonel Garrard's army was made up of the Thirty-third Indiana, Sixteenth Ohio, First and Second Tennessee, and Seventh Kentucky. When General Zollicoffer took up his position at the above named points, he was opposed by Captain G. M. Adams, who occupied Breastworks Hill with the Thirty-third Indiana and First Kentucky. Colonel Garrard with the Seventh Kentucky and the Sixteenth Ohio occupied the old Wallsend Cemetery west of Pineville; the First and Second Tennessee, under Captain Jesse M. Carter, occupied what is now the Odd Fellows Cemetery, and the spot where the home of Frank Gibson now stands.
"This spot was destined to be the bloodiest and most tragic of all places in and around Pineville".
"One year later just after the Battle of Perryville a most bloody scene was here enacted. The Battle of Perryville was fought October the 8th, 1862, General Bragg retreating south the next day when some three miles south of Crab Orchard, KY., was fired upon by a band of Yankee bushwhackers at close range. Bragg's soldiers lost no time in capturing sixteen or more of them. Among them were Captain King, of Lincoln County, his seventeen year old son, and Angden Bridgewater. When these prisoners were brought to Pineville, they were court-marshalled and fourteen of them were hanged; some to a mulberry tree and others to an oak. The exact spot is where Mr. Gibson's barn now stands. Bridgewater escaped a day or two earlier. Captain King refused to be hanged and fought until he was killed.
"In the sping of 1862 General Garrard drove General Zollicoffer's forces from their fortifications to Cumberland Gap. Here he occupied both pinnacles. During the night, General Garrard pointed his guns on Pea Ridge in Middlesborough and the next morning the Confederates waked up to find themselves in the range of the Federal guns from that side and approached by a Union band from the northeast. They spiked their guns and pitched them over the bluffs on the Virginia and Tennessee sides and fled.
"General Garrard turned back by way
of the old Moss home, up Clear Creek to where Harmony (Baptist) Church
now stands, and from there they crossed Clear Creek Mountain Springs property
out by the Stratton cabin, across Big Clear Creek at Slick Rock Ford, through
Chenoa and 'South America' back into Powell's Valley and planted their
guns on Poor Valley Ridge between Cumberland Gap and Harrogate,
Tennessee, and routed another force of Confederates now occupying the Pinnacle. The Pinnacle was a point of contention and was occcupied by first one side and then the other all through the war. It is said that all the generals on both sides were at some time at this spot.
"In the fall of 1862 General Kirby Smith came up through the Gap and was opposed by General George W. Morgan. When he reached the Narrows along where the Boone monument now stands at the south side of Pineville, he barricaded the pass with great rocks and trees and held Kirby Smith back for three days. Morgan retreated up Straight Creek, Smith went the old Wilderness Road to Central Kentucky.
"When the Federalists learned of the tragic hanging of their men on Gibson Hill, they determined on a course of revenge and reprisal and a company of Yankees went back by way of Barbourville and to the left of Corbin and London, hanging and shooting a number of wounded and sick Confederate soldiers who had been left behind.
"An amusing incident occurred on Breastworks Hill during the war. While General Garrard's army was occupying Breastworks Hill, Watt Willoughby, who lived up Wallsend Hollow was accustomed to ride a brindle bull on which he peddled corn 'dodgers.' He would put a bushel in each end of a sack and ride through the camp selling his 'pones' to the soldiers. he usually found a good market for his bread, which must have been hard on the Yanks. But one day the soldiers refused flatly to give his price. They dickered with him but he would not agree to their terms. Whereupon one man got the bull by the tail and the others, one to the side, slit the sack on the under side with his pocket knife. At the proper signal the bull's tail was twisted and the sacks slit. Mr. bull did not like such proceedings; he shook his head and tore off down the hill scatering the dodgers all over the hill. A man who afterwards became great as a jurist and citizen of Barbourville was identified as the twister of the tail of the aforesaid bull and had to pay the enraged Willoughby for his bread."
These two occupations of Cumberland Ford make up the total of such for the period of the Civil War, but other armies passed through here to the north or south at different times, or remained here for a short time only, and scouting parties were constantly in and out of this place. Bragg, after his withdrawal at the Barrle of Perryville in 1863, passed through Cumberland Ford and out of the state at Cumberland Gap.
This was by far the largest army through
here during the war, numbering over thirty thousand. General John H. Morgan,
the Confederate cavalry leader, on some of his raids into Kentucky, passed
through here. And after George W. Morgan, the Union General had taken possession
of Cumberland Gap, Kirby Smith moved with his main command to Barbourville,
and ordered McCown to Cumberland Ford with a large force, Which cut off
Morgan in the Gap from his base of supplies in that direction.
X. THE PINEVILLE OF TODAY
In 1887, after the present site of Pineville had been sold by J.J. Gibson to the Pineville Land and Lumber Company, the town began the movement from the Narrows to the present site around Cumberland Ford. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad had reached Pineville, and far-seeing men were making ready for the development of the coal industry of Bell County. Excitement was running at a high pitch, lots were selling in the town, buildings were going up and business in general was on a boom. To this day the development of the new Pineville is known as the "boom days."
J. J. Gibson retained about ten acres along Cumberland River and around the southern end of the Ford, where his houses and gardens were. The family still retains this property, with the town built up around it.
Pineville is a town of about four thousand people, with good paved streets, electric lights and a fine water system. The business houses and the larger and finer homes are built of brick, and the town has the appearance of a fine place to live and do business. There is one large bank in the town, a large hardware business, wholesale houses, and many local grocery stores and dry goods stores.
The county has built a new courthouse in recent years, the old one having burned down a few years ago. A fine school plant graces the town, and the town is known for its many fine churches.
The Pine Mountain State Park is just south of the town and has been one of the town's chief developments in the last few years. In this park is Laurel Cove where the Mountain Laurel Festival is held each year, at which a queen is crowned each year by the governor of the state.
From a small town in the Narrows, prior
to 1889, the town of Pineville has grown and developed into one of the
most prosperous towns in the mountains of Kentucky.
EARLY SETTLERS OF BELL COUNTY
There is evidence that Bell County's settlement began around 1780. Hunting parties had visited this region prior to this time, and exploration of the region had been made long before this time; but the real settlement, settlement with the purpose of building homes and remaining, began about 1780. In the Middlesborough valley area and around Pineville settlements were made around this date. From 1780 to 1800 settlements were made in most parts of the county.
The Watauga Settlement, in Eastern Tennessee, early became a base for westward movements of the pioneers. From this base they came on through Cumberland Gap, into Bell County and on to the central part of the state of Kentucky and the more distant west. Many of the pioneers, from the first, stopped in Bell County and settled. Probably they did this because there was good hunting in Bell County and this region was freer from Indians than the central and northern parts of the state.
T. D. Clark, in his A HISTORY OF KENTUCKY, says with reference to this Watauga Settlement: "In 1769 several white settlers from Virginia appeared in the valley on the Watauga, and this served as a beginning for the long dramatic journey to the new western homes. Adventurous men came westward walking on the head and rear of processions, driving cattle, sheep and hogs. Women and children formed the center, driving pack-horses loaded with household necessities, and, perhaps, bits of eastern finery with which feminine hearts were loath to part.
"Hardly had these first Virginia settlers finished the task of felling trees with which to construct their rude log cabins, when, in 1771, they were joined by seventeen families from North Carolina, under the leadership of John Sevier, joined the swelling ranks of Watauga settlers. The stage was set. The westward-bound settlers were restless, and the Ohio country lay just over the ridges beyond the Watauga. With the establishment of the Watauga Settlement, the western adventurers had a near-by post which was later to became an excellent base for western operations." (See T. D. Clark's A HISTORY OF KENTUCKY, 1937, p. 41.)
The pioneers, many of them, passed
on through the Watauga Settlement, and came on into the mountains of Kentucky,
or on into central Kentucky, or on further west. On the breaking up of
this settlement in 1888, those who had settled there moved on with the
westward movement. They rapidly settled up Bell County and other parts
of the state.
The early settlers of Bell County will be found further on in this chapter, and they have been taken up according to the natural divisions of Bell County. The earliest settlements were made along the water courses, and later they pushed back into the hills away from the water courses, especially after the lands along the water courses had been taken up by the first settlers. This chapter on Early Settlers deals with these divisions of the county: (1) Yellow Creek Valley, in and around Middlesborough; (2) South America, on the Whitley County border beyond Middlesborough; (3) Little Clear Creek; and (4) Greasy Creek. (1) Red Bird Section, (2) Right Fork of Straight Creek Section, (3) Left Fork of Straight Creek Section, (4) Puckett's Creek Section, (5) On the River Below Puckett's Creek. A third chapter on this same subject deals with (1) Hance's Creek and Browney's Creek Sections, (2) Cannon Creek, Lower Part of Yellow Creek and Clear Fork of Yellow Creek, (3) Big Clear Creek Section, (4) On Cumberland River Below Pineville.
I. YELLOW CREEK VALLEY
The first remembrance I have of Yellow Creek Valley, in and around Middlesborough, was, as a boy, when my father and I rode horseback from our home on Little Clear Creek, across Evans Mountain, down Four Mile Creek of Yellow Creek, crossing Yellow Creek, in what is now Middlesborough, and through the Gap into Powell's Valley where we went to trade in stock. I remember the corn fields and wheat fields, and the three large houses in the valley: (1) the Rev. John C. Colson house, a brick which is still standing across the road from the Middlesborough Cemetery; (2) the Jack Mealer house, a two-story frame, on the right side of the road going to Pineville and opposite the freight depot; (3) the John Colson house, a son of Rev. John C. Colson, at the foot of the mountain beneath the Gap and near where the old Brewery stood. These were pointed out to me by my father, John Thomas Fuson, as we rode through the valley. Photo Rev. John C. Colson House
I remember how he roused my imagination, as a mere lad, when he related to me that the cornerstone of the history of the state stood in this valley. It was a beech tree, upon which Ambrose Powell, a member of Dr. Thomas Walker's party, wrote, "A. Powell 1750." I learned later that, after the state of Kentucky was formed a dispute arose as to the date of walker's entry into the state, and that Governor Isaac Shelby told the disputants that he could settle the matter by showing them the identical tree with this record on it. No better said than done. The party rode on horseback to Yellow Creek Valley and Governor Shelby pointed out to them the tree. The date has never been seriously disputed since. Then Yellow Creek Valley holds the distinction of the first recorded history in the state, this record on the beech tree.
Yellow Creek Valley, surrounded by
Cumberland Mountain and Log Mountain, is one of the most famous valleys
of Bell County. It is a large circular valley, with Middlesborough in the
center and nearer to the Gap side of the valley. Taking this valley, with
the drainage into
it, it extends to Cumberland Gap and the Virginia-Tennessee line, to the head of Martins Fork of Cumberland River, to the head of Clear Fork of Yellow Creek, to the gap in Little Log Mountain on the main highway between Middlesborough and Pineville, to Canada Peak on Log Mountain, and up Stony Fork and Bennetts Fork to where they head up in Log Mountain. Sixty families, descendants of the old pioneers who settled in this valley just after the coming of Boone in 1769, lived in this region before Middlesborough was founded in 1889. The families were (1) Jones, (2) Baughman, (3) Campbell, (4) Evans, (5) Powers, (6) Hamblin, (7) Davis, (8) Smith, (9) Rose, (10) Pierce, (11) Henderson, (12) King, (13) Rains, (14) Marsee, (15) Turner, (16) Gibson, (17) Parker, (18) Moss, (19) Hendrickson, (20) Myers, (21) Partin, (22) Lane, (23) Howard, (24) Meaders, (25) Ellis, (26) Chadwell, (27) Browning, (28) Shumate, (29) Southern, (30) Sowders, (31) Renfroe, (32) Collins, (33) Colson, (34) Fields, (35) Frith, (36) Belew, (37) Willis, (38) Carroll, (39) Watson, (40) Teague, (41) Dunaway, (42) Hammock, (43) Burns, (44) Bull, (45) Johnson, (46) Green, (47) Johns, (48) Slusher, (49) Persifield (Pursifull), (50) Burch, (51) Grayson, (52) Carmack, (53) Givens, (54) Bird, (55) Murray, (56) Lee, (57) Hoskins, (58) Burkett, (59) Lamb, and (60) Wilson.
When the sixty families lived in this region in 1877, and long prior thereto, there was only one post office for this valley, and it was known as Yellow Creek, and was located just below the Tannery on the old Wilderness Road. There were no newspapers in the valley at that time and mail was infrequent, sometimes a year elapsed before an answer to a letter was received.
The John M. Green Graveyard is one of the oldest pioneer graveyards in the valley. It is located in Middlesborough three hundred yards west of the Kentucky Utilities plant and today it is known as "The Green Graveyard." Hughey Parker was the first one buried here. He is the great-great grandfather of John Parker who now lives near Fern Lake mines. There hasn't been any one buried in this graveyard for the past 46 years, this not being permitted since it is a private burying ground and within the city limits of Middlesborough. At one time sixty graves could be located by the mounds over the graves. A marker for this graveyard is planned by Sam J. Turner and John M. Green, his uncle. The graveyard contains about four acres. (This graveyard was sold by the Methodist Church to a developer who push the stones out or covered them up and built 2 houses there. Corner of Glenwood and Wildwood @ 1997)
In the early days there was only two churches in this valley: (1) old Yellow Creek Baptist Church, said to be the oldest in the state, between Stony Fork and Bennett's Fork; (2) the Northern Methodist Church. The Colsons and the Greens promoted the Methodist Church and the Marsess, Turners, and Rainses promoted the Baptist Church.
Rev. John C. Colson was a lawyer,
doctor, farmer, miller, merchant and preacher. He first settled, in the
early part of the nineteenth century or the latter part of the eighteenth
century, on Cannon Creek between the tunnel under Little Log Mountain and
Ferndale. Later he moved up Cannon Creek and built a house on a farm he
owned about one mile above the present highway which crosses Cannon Creek.
Later he purchased land where a part of Middlesborough is now located
and lived there the reminder of his days. He was the father of (1) David G. Colson, who went to Congress from this district: (2) W. G. Colson, who was a large land owner in Virginia and Bell County, Kentucky; (3) John Colson, who lived in the Yellow Creek Valley; (4) James Colson.
He belonged to the Masonic Order. He promoted the building of a log church just back of where the Iron Foundry was later located and preached for many years to a Methodist Congregation there.
Rev. John C. Colson had a grist mill pulled by horses and cattle. It was located between his house and the present line of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. It was located under a large shed, had two sweep poles, to one of which was a yoke of oxen and to the other a team of horses. John Murray, one of Colson's tenants, stood on top of the mill with a whip in his hand and kept the horses and oxen moving. It is said that the mill made excellent meal. I know of no other mill of this kind in the mountains of Kentucky, except one in Harlan County, Kentucky, on the road between Kentucky and Virginia. The others were water mills. A big mill stone now lies near G. W. Marsee"s house and this is thought to be one of the old Colson mill stones.
The first threshing machine was brought to the valley by the Gibsons from Tennessee. This machine was known as the 'Groundhog. Thresher." It was operated by ten to fifteen horses. Yellow Creek Valley was a good wheat producing section in the early days. When Colson's mill was not in operation, people of the Yellow Creek Valley had to take their wheat and corn to Wyrman's mill in Virginia. This milling would have to be done late in the fall when Newley's mill failed to operate at the Gap.
In the Yellow Creek Valley, in 1830-1889,
there were only three general stores: (1) John C. Colson's store in front
of his old brick residence, which is still standing; (2) John Myers' store
up near the junction of Bennett's Fork Road, whose old residence is still
standing; this was a small store for emergency calls and sold principally,
coffee, sugar, calico, and jeans; (3) Samuel C. Jones' store in the Gap
of Cumberland Mountain, now known as "The Saddle of the Gap." Jones made
a specialty of home products, buying for sale beeswax, bacon, hams, and
butter. Most of these products were transported to Boston, Massachusetts,
by wagon and sold there. On the return trip the wagon brought back merchandise
for his store. Jones consumed a lot of corn raised in the Yellow Creek
Valley. He kept on his premises fifty to seventy-five head of hogs. He
also dealt in liquor and would not let anyone drink it on his premises.
The room he used for a store, after the Civil War, was one side, or one
end, of an overhead bridge that the army built across the Gap in 1861.
After the war Jones boxed up the bridge for his store room. Later he built
a residence for his family in the Gap. There was considerable argument
with Jones as to which state his building was in, Kentucky or Virginia,
since the statute of Virginia read that the watershed was the line and
this place was practically level.
It has been said, on good authority, that the Turners, the Rainses, and the Marsees were the first settlers in the Yellow Creek Valley, and that they settled here between 1775-1800. Billy Rains was the first school teacher in the valley, carrying on what was called a private subscription school.
The pioneer of the Lee family, mentioned above, was Andrew Lee, who settled on the head waters of Martins Fork of Cumberland River, near the present Harlan-Bell county line. He settled here in 1818, coming from Rogersville, Tennessee. Prior to this he had come from Virginia and had settled in Rogersville. He had fifty acres of land surveyed here, April 21, 1819, and patented May 24, 1821. (Patent No. 4292, recorded at Frankfort, KY, "G" K.L.W., p. 370). He patended one hundred acres (Patent No. 7448) December 17, 1823, from a survey made May 15, 1823. He sold all of this land in 1830.
Andrew Lee married Peggy Daniels, and there were born to this union (1) Henry Lee, (2) Dave Lee, (3) Bill Lee, (4) John Lee, (5) Philip Lee (grandfather of the auther), (6) Bowl Lee, who married Betsy Barnett, of Indian descent, in 1812, (7) Pierce Lee, (8) Jim Iee, (9) Stephen Lee, (10) Dicey Lee, who also married Ardell Webb, (11) Peggy Lee, who who also married a Webb, (12) Polly Lee, who married Abe Miracle, and (13) Sallie Lee, who married James E. Cox.
The descendants of Andrew Lee, who came from Virginia to Rogersville or Morristown, Tennessee, lived principally on Pucketts Creek and Browney's Creek. Many of them live there today. Joe Lee, a son of John Lee and grandson of Andrew Lee, died on Browney's Creek at a ripe old age, January, 1937.
Dave Lee, a son of Andrew Lee and brother of my grandfather, Philip Lee, was a school teacher in the early days, around 1840, Old John Nolan, who was Commissioner (County Superintendent) of schools of Harlan County, was examining Dave Lee for a certificate to teach. John Nolan, wanting Dave to pass the examination and knowing that he had been a Magistrate and was somewhat familiar with the Kentucky Statutes, asked Dave to turn to the law on the issuing of warrants and read what the Statues had to say. He turned readily to the thumb-worn section and went to reading, but Nolan stopped him before he got through and said: "You have now read beyond my expectations an' you can have a certificate." The certificate was issued. Nolan did not know that he was not able to read anything else, or, if he did, was hiding the fact under the smile of friendship.
The pioneer of the Marsee family was Joseph Marsee, who, after settleing in the Yellow Creek Valley, 1780-1790, went west before the time of the Civil War. He was the father of Roe Atkins Marsee and the grandfather of George Washington Marsee. The grandfather of G. W. Marsee, on his mother's side, was a Jones.
John Turner was the pioneer of the
Turners in this valley, he being one of the first of the pioneers to come,
1775-1785. His son,
Benjamin F. Turner, born in 1826, lived and died here. The grandson of John Turner, Samuel J. Turner, lives in Middlesborough today, as well as a large number of descendants of John Turner.
Judge Sam Turner, one of the few old settlers now remaining in the Yellow Creek Valley, and a member of the Yellow Creek Valley Early Settlers Association that is working on the historical data of this section, is contributing much information that means much to the history of Bell County now being compiled.
Back before Middlesborough was a town, about sixty years ago, this valley was settled by the Turners, Colsons, Rainses, and Marsees. They came mostly from the Virginia and North Carolina sections. In the general migration west, in that period and before, these families dropped off or took up residence in what is now known as Yellow Creek Valley.
During that time quite a few Turners came to this section and they all reared big families. Judge Turner is authority for the story told by his parents that at one time there were twelve "John" Turners living in this valley, and they all had to be nicknamed in order to distinguish one John Turner from another by the same name. "Slickey" John Turner was the oldest of the original John Turners to settle here. Aside from "Slickey," there were the following nicknames for the various John Turners: "Cripple" John, "Powder Face" John, "Slow" John, "pop-eye" John, "Crook" John, "Judy's John," Fiddling" John, "Spug" John, "Black" John, "Johndick," and "Junior" John, known as "Judge" John, son of "Fiddling" John.
In those days it was the talk of the valley here about so many John Turners, and, at times, there was more or less confusion in the minds of the people as to just which John Turner was which, and these nicknames seemed the only solution.
The Turner family of Middlesborough and the Yellow Creek Valley, like most of the other settlers in this section, scattered, and while there are many Turners living in the Noetown section of Middlesborough, there are not as many Turners here now as there were forty years ago, they having moved to all sections of the country.
J. C. Hogan, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a product of the Yellow Creek Valley, he and his people having been reared there. He writes a very interesting letter, which forms a splendid background to some of the early history of Bell County, and, for that reason, part of the letter is copied herein.
"I am very familiar with little Clear
Creek and the Clear Creek and the Clear Creek Springs. I have spent many
pleasant trips fishing and hunting on the mountain range back of those
facing Pineville. I remember the old "Lone Pine" that grew from the crevices
of the rock at the top of the mountain back of Pineville. It was there
in 1895 that we had a school picnic with the clouds below us.
"I knew Gus Hall who lived near you there on Little Clear Creek. I Knew the Partins, Masons and Hendricksons, who were settled up and down the two Clear Creeks. I hauled lumber with Joe Bain and Bill and Bob Burns from Mill Creek, above Kettle Island, on Straight Creek in 1893, when Bob Bird had the livery stable at Pineville. I recall the jail and court house in the narrows, to the right. I believe a part of the old rock wall is still there. I helped turn the railroad engines as a kid. They turned them on an old hand-turntable near the present passenger depot. I used to take a night with Jim Howard (cussin' Jim) while hauling lumber from Mill Creek.
Judge Unthank and Judge Short reigned there about that time. I remember the first slight of hand or minstrel show. Judge Short arranged for the show in the old Court House. Judge Short went into the booth. They pulled the curtain, and, by the way, the woman had his coat and vest on and she was tied to a chair, which was nailed to the floor. He came out of there without any invitation, rather pale and excited.
"I recall seeing Bob Marler hung. I was there. The people tore the high fence down, and when the trap fell, something hit me in the eye and almost blinded it. I also remember going to the Pineville Hotel fire, where the Asher home is now.
"The first school house, a plank building near the jail. I was arrested with a warrant one time (accused of killing Bill Partin's hog at school) for destruction of property. I had a leg of chicken and threw it down. The hog grabbed it and I chased it to get the bone, but the hog swollowed it and died. I was never tried on the charge. Joe Page knows me from childhood, as well as most of the Binghams and Slushers. Most all of the old-timers around there know me. I carried the bills and most of the payrolls from Pineville to West Pineville for the Pineville Coal Company, fighting negroes on my way.
"I worked but was really mean with it, did not steal or lie, but just mean. I was in a certain key house when a certain woman had her head cut off; but I didn't see the trouble. I knew all concerned in it. She was the woman who was supposed to have stood on the Pinnacle Rock and posed for a picture, which later appeared on the tables of the Pinnacle Brewing Company.
I will have to tell a story of a certain
federal agent. Three of them were in the search of a still being operated
without license. They stopped at a certain grocery and partook of some
of the sparkling 'spirits.' One became a little unable to carry this cargo
and the other two left him behind. He later staggered through the dark
towards the place they were staying, having to pass through a cemetery.
In the cemetery a new grave had been dug and was open. The old boy staggered
into the grave, and, try as he might, he could not get out. He slept there
that night and next morning, he raised and looked out. A negro was coming
along through the cemetery singing with a basket of bread on his head.
He said 'hello' to the negro, from the grave. The negro threw the bread
down and outran a 'hant' and, in town, he told about the
ghost he had seen. He knew the bread was for the hotel and he picked it up and took it to the hotel. He said, when he got to the hotel, the negro was looking pale and as if he would faint.
"I remember the old belt-line street car, pulled by a horse, in Middlesborough. I remember the old Quarter House on the Tennessee-Kentucky line, the building of the Booneway Hotel, the first engineer on the railroad to Norton from Corbin, the battle between the L & N and Southern Railroads.
"One of our forefathers had his head amputated during the Civil War, because he refused to join the Rebel side. He was a methodist preacher. All of my relative are on the Byrd side of the family, and there is a very large number of them in Middlesborough, Kentucky. W. C. Byrd, known as Com. Byrd, was my father. He was crippled. My half brothers a sisters all go by the name of Byrd. John Byrd was next to me. Clyde Byrd was asistant Chief of Police. Syphron Byrd and Doyle Byrd are, at present, Commissioners in Middlesborough. I have three sisters in Middlesborough, one in Catlett'sburg, Kentucky, one in Oklahoma City. There were twelve of the children all told.
"I served in the Coast Artillery at Fort Washington from 1912 to 1915, discharged a non-commissioned officer; character 'excellent' certified. I served in the World War as a civilian employee with the Brown Hoist Machinery Company, of Cleveland, Ohio, for the U.S. Government at Bassens, France, 1918 to 1919, the erection of cranes for unloading boats at the supply base. I was in charge of the general erection of those cranes, and leaving France with the same good record, I came back to America. I served one year in the Morton Transport Corps of the U.S. Army, stationed at Presidio, San Francisco, California. I was discharged at term of enlistment a sergeant first class, with an excellent discharge.
"Now I have traveled and worked all through Canada, Alaska, and 43 of the states of the United States; the west coast from Lower California to Vancouver, B.C. and to Juneau, Alaska.
"My mother's name was Mary Harris."
The THREE STATES, of Middlesborough, carried an article in its issue of February 16, 1939, in regard to one of the founders of Middlesborough. I give this article in full here.
"The sudden death of Charles Blanton Roberts, about 65, last Thursday at his home in Fountain City, near Knoxville, removes from the scene a man who perhaps more than any other would have been invaluable to the committee laying plans for observance of the fifieth anniversary of the founding of Middlesborough.
"Mr. Roberts was one of the first
comers (1888) to the Yellow Creek wilderness, which, through efforts of
A. A. Arthur, became the City of Middlesborough. A native of the Blount
County section of
Tennessee, Roberts was secretary to Mr. Arthur, who was in charge of the English syndicate which founded the town.
"In capacity as secretary to the founder of the town, Mr. Roberts would naturally have been in possession of much valuable information regarding the laying-out of the industrial metropolis, and of other plans which Mr. Arthur probably had in mind that did not materialize. That he definitely was well informed is borne out in the 'History of Middlesborough' which he wrote a few years ago for the Filson Club Quarterly of Louisville.
"For about 35 years after leaving Middlesborough, Mr. Roberts lived in New York City, but returned to the Knoxville suburb two years ago. In New York he was associated with a law firm, wrote two book, 'Edmond Peyre'and 'Second man,' and also was writer for a New York newspaper. It is learned that shortly before his death he finished the manuscript of another book, dealing with mountain life, but the book has not yet been published. Whether or not it relates the founding of Middlesborough is not known."
From the record in the Cemetery at Middlesborough, Kentucky, it appears that Alexander A. Arthur was born August 30, 1846, and died March 4, 1912. On the lot where he is buried these other names were given: Catherine Elizabeth Arthur, 1916-1917; Rhoda Edwards Goodman, 1833-1919; James Allen Arthur, 1875-1922.
Mrs. Betty (Marsee) Browning, widow of Rev. J. G. Browning, died at her home in the Yellow Creek Valley on February 28, 1939, and her funeral was conducted by Rev. Marvin Adams, assisted by Rev. L. C. Kelly, Rev. W. T. Robbins and Rev. Wist Bolton.
Mrs. Browning was a native of Yellow Creek Valley. She was born January 2, 1868, a daughter of John and Polly Jane Burkett Marsee. She was the widow of Rev. J. G. Browning, a Baptist preacher.
She leaves surviving her these children: (1) Rev. Sam Browning, (2) Arthur Browning, (3) Lee Browning, (4) Mrs. Nobel (Carrie) Yeary, of Lexington, (5) Mrs. Mossie Keller, of Oakland, California; one stepson and two stepdaughters: (6) J. T. Browning, (7) Mrs. Margaret Long, (8) and Mrs. Mae Thacker. She also leaves three brothers and four sisters: (1) Sam Marsee, (2) Jack Marsee, (3) Mrs. Catherine Bryant, (4) Mrs. Cordia Allen, (5) Luther Marsee, (6) Mrs. Sadie Huntizer, and (7) Mrs. Mattie McFarland.
Rev. J. G. Browning was a crusader against whisky and all its evils. He was a strong force in the Yellow Creek Valley for law and order, as well as a preacher of the first rank, for nearly a half century. His forbears go back to the first people who came into this valley.
Mr. William Ayres, in his HISTORICAL
SKETCHES says: "Descending the Kentucky side of the Cumberland Mountain
and winding amid the romantic wooded ravines the ancient road reached the
from its base to the westward, through which runs a stream, called by Walker, in his 'Journal' of 1750, 'Flat Creek,' but now called 'Yellow Creek,' rising far to the southward in the state of Tennessee and finally reaching the Cumberland about five miles above the gorge at Pineville. Owing to the location upon the Indian highway this section of country from Cumberland Gap to Cumberland Ford had no permanent settlers until a comparatively late day. Time has brought its changes and upon this beautiful plain surrounded by the wooded slopes of Cumberland Mountain and Log Mountain there has risen in recent years the largest city in southeastern Kentucky. And here, upon ground included within the bounds of that modern city Middlesborough, was made the first entry of land that was made under any title in southeastern Kentucky and the first that was made in Kentucky under the title of Richard Henderson and his associates. Richard Henderson on March 31, 1775, appointed Capt. Joseph Martin as his agent and 'entrytaker' for lands in Powell's Valley. He had reached Martin's Station in that valley on March 30, 1775, on his way to Boonesborough, and remained at that station until April 5th. While at that place Richard Henderson made on the back of the first page of his journal of that trip--the original being now a part of the 'Draper Collection'--the following entry in behalf of Brice Martin, a younger brother of Joseph Martin:
"April 3, 1775, Mr. Bryce Martin enters with me for 500 acres of land lying on the first creek after crossing Cumberland Gap northwards from Powell's Valley going toward Kentucky River.
This is one of the early records of land being taken up in the Yellow Creek Valley.
Edward George Hill was born at Edgewood, Bell County, Kentucky, on Stoney Fork above Middlesborough, Kentucky, July 12, 1912. He married Kathleen Beryl Welch of Richmond, Kentucky, who was born in Irvine, Estill County, Kentucky. They have one child, Kathleen Bruce Hill, born December 11, 1936. Mr. Hill graduated from Pineville High School, received a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Teachers College at Richmond, Kentucky, and studied law at the University of Cincinnati, and is at present actively engaged in the practice of law at Harlan, Kentucky, where he is associated with H. H. Fuson.
His father's name is Robert Foster
Hill. He was born in Wise County, Virginia, and is forty-seven years of
age (1939). By profession he is a mine foreman. Ethel Louise Hill, nee
Mills, was born in Whitewell, Tennessee, forty-six years of age (1939)
and is the daughter of John Mills and Mary E. (Ramsey) Mills. John Mills
was associated with T. J. Asher and was foreman at Mr. Asher's mine at
Varilla, Kentucky, for a long time. The children of R. F. and Ethel Hill
are as follows: (1) Myrtle Wardenski, who married Alpha Wardenski. They
have one child, John Robert Wardenski. (2) Edward George Hill, (3) Walter
Robert Hill, age twenty-three, who is at present a senior at Eastern
Teachers College at Richmond, Kentucky. (4) Louise Hill, age seventeen (1939), (5) Raymond Hill, age thirteen.
Thomas Jefferson Hill, the grandfather of Edward G. Hill, was born in Wise County, Virginia. He came to the Yellow Creek Valley during the early development of the coal business and engaged in the business of contractor.
T.J. Hill lived and died in Bell County and was buried at Page, Kentucky. His wife was Mary (Dotson) Hill, who also was born in Wise County, Virginia, and was commonly spoken of as "Ma" Hill. She died and was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Pineville, Kentucky. Their children were as follows: (1) Minnie (Hill) Caton, now deceased, who married Tom Caton; (2) E. Bruce Hill, World War Veteran, engaged in business at Middlesborough until his death; he was buried in Middlesboraugh, Kentucky, (3) George Hill, who married Bessie Slusher. He died and was buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery in Pineville, Kentucky. (4) Robert Foster Hill (5) Clarence Hill, who married Viola Browne and lives in Pineville, Kentucky.
The children of Tom and Minnie Caton was (1) Maude Caton West, who married J.I. West and lives in Pineville, Kentucky; their children being Mary Florence West and Bobbie West. (2) Patton Caton, who married Florence Johnson, and lives in Pineville, Kentucky. Patton Caton and his wife are active in the social and civic affairs of the county. (3) Frank Caton (deceased), who married a Stamper girl from Hazard, Kentucky. They have one daughter. (4) Earl Caton, formerly public office holder, and active politician and at present employed by the State Highway Department; (5) Dean Caton, who graduated from Georgetown College, and at present is the Principal of Schools in Florence, Kentucky.
George Hill (deceased) and Bessie Slusher Hill have one daughter, who married Charles Brown and lives in Pineville, Kentucky.
Clarence Hill and Viola Brown Hill have two children, Mary Hill and Earl Hill. Clarence Hill is now engaged in business in Pineville, Kentucky and is widely known throughtout southeastern Kentucky for his athletic ability. Dean Caton, Frank Caton, Patton Caton, Edward Hill, and Walter Hill participated in an outstanding manner in high school athletics, with Walter Hill having won the Golden Gloves Light Heavy Weight Boxing title for the state of Kentucky in 1939. R.F. Hill, Bruce Hill, George Hill and Clarence Hill were all outstanding baseball players. Edward Hill and Earl Caton have two of the highest scholastic standings of the graduates of Pineville High School.
The great-grandfather Hill was a Methodist Circuit Rider and preacher, traveling in Western Virginia and southeastern Kentucky, in the early days of this country.
In "Cumberland Lore" by Robert L.
Kincaid, which article appeared on August 24, 1939, in the THREE STATES,
of Middlesborough is an account of Isaac (popularly called Ike) Turner.
His people were
pioneers of the Yellow Creek Valley and his account gives a fine background to the people there in pioneer days. The account follows:
I was born on October 30, 1846, in Tennessee, but shortly afterwards my father moved to the Yellow Creek Valley. My father's name was John Turner and he died in 1861 when about 60 years old. My grandfather was Berry Turner, and he died when I was a boy, maybe 15 or 16 years old. He said he came from McMinn County, Tennessee, and I remember him well. He came to Yellow Creek when he was just a young man.
Berry had two brothers who came here with him. They were John Turner and Joe Turner. Two more brothers went to what is now Harlan County, and they were, I think, Bill and another John. Joe Turner died in Yellow Creek Valley about 1862 or 1863.
My grandfather, Berry Turner, married a woman whose first name was Lizzie (I have forgotten her last name just now) and they had the following children: Jess, who died during the Civil War, John Turner, my own father, who died about 1861, and was known as "Churney" John; Billy Turner, who died during the Civil War; Ben Turner, who died after the war; Nancy, who married John Ballew; Sallie, who married Joel Jones; Sidney, who married Aaron Jones; and Judy, who never married and who was known as a great fiddler.
My father, known as "Churney" John, had the following children: John, Jr., who died about three years ago (1936); Isaac, myself; George, who died about five years ago (1934); and Bill, who died in Pineville.
I was married three times. My first wife was Margaret J. Partin; the second, Mandy Pursifull; and the third, Nannie Denny. All are dead. I had five children: Mary Clementine, Lizzie Jane, John, Lucy, and George R.
I can remember hearing my grandfather and my father tell of the conditions here in the Yellow Creek Valley around 1800 and afterwards. There was a Buffalo salt lick where Ben F. Turner lived. My grandfather killed many young Buffaloes by lying in wait for them to come down to the salt lick and then shoot them. It was dangerous in trails through here when Buffaloes got on the loose and stampeded. There were also plenty of deer and bear in the valley and the neighboring mountains.
The first school I went to was taught by Hugh Murphy. It was over here in Stony Fork. It was in a log school house with a puncheon floor. I did not get to go to school much.
Among the preachers I remember in
the old days were Daddy Evans and Ty Goodin. Later there was a Jim Evans.
They were Baptist preachers. I also remember William Beard (Uncle Ike may
have meant "Baird," as the name seemed to confuse him).
I have been through Baptist Gap many a time. Once, when I was just a boy, we moved in a wagon through Baptist Gap. We had all our things in one wagon, and moved through one spring, made a crop over in Tennessee, but did not like it, and then we moved back again to Kentucky. The road was used by lots of people in those days, between the back valley country and the head of Yellow Creek hollow.
Baptist Gap got its name from a Baptist preacher, who was traveling through the pass back before my time, according to the way I heard it. He was on his way to an appointment in Tennessee, and he was way-laid, robbed of 50 cents, all the money he had, and then murdered. After that it was always referred to as Baptist Gap. I heard the story many times when I was a boy, and I have heard the name of the Baptist preacher who was murdered, but I have forgotten it. It was named long before I was born, I reckon.
Baptist Gap was not fortified during the war, but it was used by parties of soldiers going back and forth, by both the Yankees and the Rebels. The piles of rock now in the Gap I do not understand. I do not remember them very well.
Lots of cattle were brought back and forth through Baptist Gap in the old days. Once I remember Mat Kincaid from over in Powells Valley brought 90 head through there for my father to take care of over here in the mountains. The cattle were turned out to graze for the season, and when Mat came over after them he and my father searched all they could in the mountains, and could find only twelve head. It seemed that the rest of the cattle had been taken by folks down on Pine Mountain and over on Laurel Fork. Kincaid accused John Hurst and the Hendersons over on Laurel Fork in South America of taking the cattle. He was mighty mad about it, and did not like it because my father did not look after the cattle like he should.
I was just a boy, about fifteen, when the Civil War broke out, and I can remember the soldiers passing back and forth through Yellow Creek on their way to Cumberland Gap to Fortify and defend the mountain. My father died about that time, and I used to sell provisions to the soldiers in the Gap, and they got to liking me. Sometimes I would hang around the camps a whole lot, maybe a week at a time. They would take what stuff had been raised, corn, hay and things like that. I remember once some Rebels came through our place and got our bee gums. They lifted up the gums and slammed them down in order to break them open. The honey ran out and a lot of it ran down on the ground. They ate what they could of it. I reckon they were hungry.
Toward the close of the war I went
up on the mountain where the soldiers were and helped around quite a bit.
Then I decided to enlist, and right away I was detailed as driver of a
mule team and wagon. I was detailed with seven other fellows with wagons
to go over on Big Sycamore on a foraging trip. After we got across the
creeks over there, the Rebels came along back of us and destroyed the bridges
and cut us off. It took us three days, by a round about way, to get back
to the mountain.
As I remember it, this was near the fourth of July and peace had been made while we were away, and all the soldiers were gone except the quartermaster. I was told that I wasn't needed anymore and I went on home. I tried to get a pension but I could not remember my captain's name, nor what outfit I was in, and so I could not get my pension. It seems that I was not properly discharged or mustered out, as they say, but I was really in the army and did go on this foraging expedition. During all the time that the soldiers were quartered at the Gap, I saw most of the activities, and had access in the lines, because we were trading victuals with them. I heard lots of shooting.
I remember the big gun, Long Tom, mighty well. It was not a brass cannon, but was kindly black and long looking. I saw all the guns they had on the mountain, but I never did see any brass cannon. Long Tom. was thrown off the face of the Pinnacle, you know, and it lit about fifty yards to the left of the old mill. I have put my head in its muzzle many a time, when I was passing where it lay, after the war, just to see how big it was. I can remember when Long Tom was pulled up the side of the mountain. It was pulled up on rollers or skids by a hundred men or more using ropes to pull it. There must have been three hundred men, off and on, pulling the big gun up.
I remember that there was a big bridge built across the saddle of the Gap, and I understand it was built in order to haul the guns and ammunition back and forth from the ledges on the sides. There were cannon on top of the Pinnacle and on the three states corner.
I recall once when I was up there where Long Tom was and I saw the soldiers at target practice. Just as they shot off the cannon, a man happened to get in front of it, and the ball cut him square in two, killing him instantly. Only a thin patch of skin was holding the man together. I saw that with my own eyes.
When I was a little fellow, I think that the ford on the old state road near the junction of Big Yellow Creek and Little Yellow Creek was called "Gideon's Ford." I think there was some property in the valley here once which was owned by a Gideon, but am not sure.
After the Civil War, the most prominent and influential citizen in the Yellow Creek Valley was John C. Colson, who lived in a brick house on the state road. His wife lived to be 90 years old. Colson was a farmer, store-keeper and general all-round leader in things going on. He was post master at one time, and sort of a lawyer. I don't remember that he was ever justice of the peace, though he might have been.
Billy Rains was also quite a prominent
man, and he lived near the Hensley Cemetery. He was the father of Ballinger
Rains and Needham Rains. The post office, which was known as "Yellow Creek,"
was at the old Jack Mealer place. This place is about where Ned Johnson's
home now is, opposite the L & N freight depot.
One of the most talked of things after the war, and before the founding of Middlesborough, was the murder of a man by the name of Wilson by Billy Rains and Will Davis. Rains struck Wilson with a cow bell with a collar on it, and the blow killed him. He was convicted but reprieved. This was two or three years before my father died. It was an election fight about two miles down on the state road from Colson's.
Fighting between families was common before the Civil War and afterwards. Trouble would break out between two families, the women would get to talking, and then some one would be shot, and then the war was on. Moonshining was common. There were few officers in the section to molest folks who would make whiskey.
The only store in the valley that I can renember was the one kept by Colonel Colson. There was a store kept by old Sam Jones in the Gap of the mountain. I don't think there was any store in the saddle before the war.
I can remember hearing folks say that Henry Clay came here to the Gap to speak one time, but I did not hear him, and I do not know anything about it.
I went to mill many a time over in the Gap. Sometimes I would carry a turn of corn around my neck. Before the war there were lots of cattle, hogs, and other stock which were brought here in droves. The cattle and hogs were mostly going north out of Tennessee and Virginia, and the mules and horses going south.
(This is the story of Uncle Ike Turner who lives at the head of Bean's Ford back of Middlesborough).
WILL OF RICHARD DAVIS
September 4, 1815
In the name of God, amen, I, Richard Davis, of the County of Knox, and State of Kentucky, being afflicted by the hands of providence, but retaining at present my perfect mind and memory, and calling to mind the mortality of the body and that it is appointed all men once to die, do make and appoint this my last Will and Testament (viz) In the first place, I commend my body to the ground to be buried in a Christian-like manner, at the direction of my executor and love to God who gave it, not doubting but that I shall receive the same again at the general Resurrection,
Secondly: My worldly affairs I depose
of in the following manner (viz) First, to my wife, Elizabeth Davis, I
will and bequeath all my real and personal estate during her natural life,
to enjoy the same free from control, not putting in her power at the same
time to dispose of any of the land or negroes, but she is to remain on
the plantation and in the house where I now live, and exercise full power
and control of the same as she may think proper after paying my just debts
out of the same if the debts due to me is not sufficient to pay the same
Second: To Joseph Belew and the children of my daughter Polley, after she became his wife, I bequeath One Dollar.
Third: To Dillion Asher and my daughter, Mary, his wife, I will and bequeath One Dollar
Fourth: To John W. Neal and my daughter Patry, his wife, I will bequeath One Dollar.
Fifth: To my daughter, Sarah, I will and bequeath One Dollar.
Sixth: I give and bequeath to William Sims and my daughter Betsy and heirs, One Dollar.
Seventh: I give and bequeath to James Sims and my daughter, Susan, his wife, one equal half of all my estate, real and personal, so soon as a dividend can be made after the death of my wife, Elizabeth Davis, and after las(t) of the aforementioned legatees receive their several parts as above stipulated.
Eighth: I give and bequeath to my only son, Preston Davis, the other half of my estate, which I wish to be equal to that of James Sims and Susan his wife, which division I wish not to be made until my son, Preston, arrives to the age of twenty-one years and then if said Sims and wife, and my son, Preston, should not agree in the division of said estate, I wish it to be divided by four disinterested persons which they may choose for that purpose.
WITNESS my hand and seal this 19th day of April 1815
(Signed) Richard X Davis
Note: Richard Davis lived at foot of Conden (Canada?) Mt. on Davis Branch in Middlesboro, Kentucky. Dillion Asher lived in Pineville and was my great-grandfather. I was named after him.
Dillion M. Bingham
II. SOUTH AMERICA
South America is a district in Bell
County that was cut off from Whitley County in 1876, nine years after Bell
County had been established. It comprises a large plateau section between
the Pine Mountain and Log Mountain systems. Big Clear Creek has its rise
in this plateau and flows into Cumberland River, and Pine Creek, rising
opposite the headwaters of Big Clear Creek, flows in the opposite direction and finds its way to Clear Fork River. This plateau section is a divide between the headwaters of the Cumberland River system and the Clear Fork River System. This plateau section is a rolling, mostly level, section and is a good grazing section for cattle and sheep and, in general, is a good agricultural section. For 150 years it has been, more or less, cut off from the outside world because of its geographical location.
Industrial development has never reached this section, but, in recent years, the coal industry has surrounded its borders. The Chenoa coalfield lies at its entrance, and, when this industry was at its height, many of the men of South America found employment in the mines. The Pruden and Fonde coalfields lie on Clear Fork River just across and mountain from this section. These mines are still active and employ many men in the South America area. The Stony Fork coal mines are just across Log Mountain from this area and are working in the mountains that border this region.
In 1898, when a young man, I went to South America to teach school. I taught in the upper Laurel Fork School. I arrived in the school district on Sunday and secured a boarding place at the home of I. A. Overton. I went to the school house that afternoon to get it ready for Monday morning when the school session was to start. I found a small boxed building which the sheep were occupying. I cleared the sheep out and, with a broom and water, I scrubbed the floor and walls. With a hammer and some nails I repaired the floor and some of the benches. I taught that five months' term out in this old building. It was necessary for me and some of the school boys, when cool weather came, to cut wood and supply the rickety old stove we had as a means of heat for that school room. Such was the interest on the part of the pupils in this school that many of them came through a skiff or two of snow barefooted to school. I taught school, superintendent, principal and teacher for twenty-eight years, and I taught in some of the best and some of the worst in the state, but I solemnly state here that I never taught a term of school that I enjoyed more that I did the first term I taught here. It had its disadvantages but it had its compensations.
I taught this same school for two
months in 1899 and again for two months in 1900. In 1899 a movement was
started for a new school building, and, as a result, the building was erected.
I shall never forget the opening of the school in this new building. The
children all came and many of their parents came with them. They were deeply
interested in the new developmnt of education in their community and grateful
to those of us who had made it possible. When I was later, 1902-1910, County
Superintendent of the Bell County Schools, I had a building erected at
Sutty Hill in the lower end of the district. As long as I was connected
with the schools in Bell County I did everything I could to aid these splendid
people in their efforts to provide an education for their children. They
felt the need of this education and eagerly sought help to obtain it.
In 1876, when this district was added to Bell County, there was said to be twenty-two families living in this area, a number of other families having lived here prior to this time. The families living here at this date and those before them were Bill Madon, I. A. Overton, Wesley Powers, Manse Partin, Henry Murray, b. Feb. 18, 1852, Bob Jones, General Scott Partin, Scott Partin, Bethanian Fuson (on the Wiitley County line), George Partin, Evan Partin, Harve Sparks, Shelt Madon, Esaw Owens, John A. Partin, James Henderson, John J. Partin, Elijah Lyons, John Shepherd, Cal Hubbards, Bill Hamlin, Bryant Madon, Green Gibson, Riley Jones, Richard Murray, James Madon, Bill Daugherty, Billy Partin, Alvus Partin, Tom Wilson, Ephraim Partin, John Davis, Russ Davis, Joe Davis, John Mason, Rev. Davis Mason, George Lamdin, and Jonathan Hurst. The last named four men lived in the Chenoa area on the upper waters of Big Clear Creek.
At the time I taught school there, James Madon was the leading business man of South America. He lived in a large two-story house near the Whitley County line. He had a good farm for grazing and general agricultural purposes. He dealt in cattle, sheep and hogs, and ran a general store. He could not read or write, but was a shrewd business man. He used to send for me to write his checks for him and remarked to me time and again that he would give anything to learn to write. I told him I would teach him how, but he never got up enough courage to try. He made a good sum of money and later in life bought himself a good farm out of the district in another part of Whitley County and moved there to spend his declining years. He is still alive, at this writing (1938), and is doing well from a financial standpoint.
James Fletcher was another good business man of this district and lived on adjoining farms to James Madon. He, too, ran a store and dealt in stock. He accumulated property fast and was on the road to considerable wealth, for this outlying district, when a turn came in the tide of his affairs. He got himself involved in some difficulties and, as a result, lost his life in his prime.
I. A. Overton lived on upper Laurel Fork and not far below the Laurel Fork School house. I boarded with him all the time that I taught this school, one full term and parts of two other terms. In this way, I became intimately acquainted with him. He was a fine man, with a shrewd native common sense. In his immediate section he was looked up to as the leader of his community. He was very much in favor of school for his neighbors and was always one of the first to espouse the cause of a new building, a better teacher and any one or anything that would improve the educational facilities of the community.
He liked a good joke as well as any
man I ever saw, especially when he could turn the edge of it on someone
else. At the time I mention here, there was a hard political fight on for
county offices. He said to me one evening, when I had just returned from
school, knowing him to be on one side of the political fight and I on the
other, and he spoke in a very solemn tone, "Any one who does not vote as
I do is a fool." He waited for just a minute to see the effect on me. My
face blushed and I had it on my tongue to give him a sharp
answer, when he said, "As he wants to." Then we laughed heartily. He could not resist the occasion to display his sense of humor. Thus he went about cheering people up with this sense of humor.
He never got over laughing at me over an incident that occurred near his house. I had borrowed a small mule from him to ride home on Friday afternoon. I returned on Sunday, and, when near the house, the horse in the barn lot snorted, and the mule I was riding jumped like he was shot, stopped suddenly, lowered his head and turned it to one side, and I went over his head with the saddle on top of me. I injured my shoulder and leg and broke my watch. I was so sore for a few days I could hardly teach school. After I had recovered sufficiently, Mr. Overton began to laugh at me, and I can imagine that he kept it up for many years afterwards. It was too good a joke on me and he delighted to tell it on me. But down beneath all this good fun was a heart as true as steel. He was a lover of his fellows.
He told me that one of the first school houses in South America was located in his orchard just across the road from his house. It was a log house with a dirt floor. He taught this school, when school terms were only three months long. He told another incident of pioneer days that was amusing. Some man, I forget the name now, was engaged to some girl of the community to get married. They had to go to Williamsburg to get the license. It turned out that the girl had no shoes. He had a pair. So he gave the girl one of his shoes, and, with one shoe each, they got the license and were married. I have wondered since why he didn't give both of the shoes to the girl At least, he was half way chivalrous.
Often, when I was approaching the house after a hard day at school, I would see him sitting in the front door of the house singing. His voice was deep and loud, with a touch of melancholy in it. His voice seemed to float out over the fields and hills and fill the atmosphere with his sweet, but sad, music. Usually the song was some old religious song of his childhood. On these occasions, with his grey hair above broad shoulders, he looked like one of the old patriarchs of Bible days calling unto his children, long may his bones rest in peace.
There were the Madon men, sons of Bryant Madon. Shelt Madon lived just below I. A. Overton on Laurel Fork. He had one of the finest orchards in that country. Many times have I wandered through this orchard picking out good mellow apples, some of the best apples I ever tasted. He was a kindly, good natured man and a man who tended strictly to his own business. He was a good citizen.
There was Bill Madon, his brother,
who lived lower down in South Almrica. Bill was a fine man and had a sense
of humor like I. A. Overton. Bill died only about a year ago (1937). I
rode a mule through South Awerica, in 1929, the first time I had been there
in 19 years. Bill was cutting wood in the yard and had a wide gate open
into the wood yard. I rode right in and up by the side of him. I said,
"Hello, Bill; you don't know me." He stopped cutting the wood, turned around and looked up at me, and said: "You're a liar, Harvey Fuson, I do know you." Then the wood yard rang with the laughter of Bill, myself and the crowd with me. He grabbed my hand and shook it hard, and yelled out to his wife to came here, that Harvey Fuson was here. Here she came and shook my hand just as warmly. They had not seen me, or I them, for something over twenty years, but glad was the meeting we had there. When I went back there recently (1938), I learned Bill had died. I hung my head for a few minutes. I didn't feel like speaking, for Bill was dead.
James Henderson, who lived across the hill from the Laurel Fork School house, was one of the first men I met in the South America area. He was an old man at that time. He was a rather tall man, with a prominent forehead and keen, intelligent eyes. He was a man of unusual good sense. He had that strong native sense that goes with strong minds. He was a good farmer and was highly respected in his community and wherever he was known. His son Bill Henderson, who was a shrewd man with a good heart in him, led a somewhat reckless life; but, toward the latter part of his short life, he came to the aid of the Henderson Settlement School by giving this school some of the first land it owned when the school was established. It may be rightfully said that he was one of the founders of the school. Whatever may be said of Bill Henderson in a disparaging way, and his sins were many, yet he had a good heart in him and did many things to better his community and the welfare of the people living in it. But, when all has been done and said, let us say this of Bill Henderson, he sinned, yes (who hasn't?); but in the establishment of the Henderson Settlement School, he started a force that has brought enlightenment to South America and, through the years, this force will go on and the result will be a new day for this splendid community. Bill, I would drop a flower on your grave and say, "Rest in peace, hero."
Jess Daughtry (or Daugherty or Darity)
settled about 1860 in "Darity Hollow," a hollow of the Pine Mountain, and
now on the Henderson Settlement School property. During the Civil War,
when Cumberland Gap was occupied by the forces of one of the contending
sides, the other side would use Baptist Gap in order to get around Cumberland
Gap. The route through Baptist Gap in the Cumberland Mountains was reached
from Tennessee and out through South America. After entering South America,
the army could proceed down Big Clear Creek to Cumberland Ford, or it could
cross the Pine Mountain and go out by Jellico, Tennessee. The route was
usually down Big Clear Creek. Daughtry sold corn to the soldiers passing
through this territory, and, since he was up in the mountain off the main
highway, the soldiers did not usually bother him or his crops. But, on
one occasion, he was taken by some soldiers. They took him, tied him on
a horse and left with him. He was gone several days, but returned home,
the soldiers having released him or he escaped, which method was used was
never known. When he first came to this Pine Mountain region, he lived
for a few years under a cliff. He was popularly known as the "cliff dweller."
John A. Partin lived at the very head of Laurel Fork, at the foot of the ridge after you cross over from Chenoa. I used to stop at his house after walking over from the Chenoa region. He had an old wooden clock, with cords and weights, that was said to be between 100 and 150 years old. I tried to buy the clock from him, but could never get him to sell it. I offered him a month's school salary, thirty dollars, for it; but he refused my offer. The clock was still running. I never knew what became of the clock, though I have made many inquiries since his death. John A. Partin was one of the old settlers here.
General Scott Partin was one of the venerable men of South America. He lived to be a very old man and took a lively interest in the betterment of this region. He played an important part in the establishment of the Henderson Settlement School. The donors of the first 120 acres of land to this school were (1) General Scott Partin, his sons, Sherd and Floyd, his daughter, Rosa Murray, his grandson, L. L. Partin, and his brother, Even Partin; (2) Bill Henderson; (3) Scott Partin; (4) Frank Jones. So, it will be seen that General Scott Partin and his family played a very prominent part in the early establishment of this school.
Bethanian (popularly known as Beth) Fuson lived just over the line in Whitley County, but part of his land was in Bell County. He was so much identified with the affairs of Bell County that it was thought prudent to include him in this history. He was a tall, fine looking man. In early years he would probably have been called a "dandy." He looked the part of a country dandy; but, in older years, he was a very thoughtful man and wise in the ways of men. He was a good farmer, owned his own land, and reared a large family. Some of his sons are still living: Mathew Fuson, Fate Fuson and E. Fuson. He was a very clever man in his day, entertaining many people who stopped at his house or visited him. He was a grandson of Thomas Fuson, the Kentucky pioneer who settled near Chenoa, Kentucky. Photo Bethanian Fuson
Cal Hubbard was living at I. A. Overton's when I boarded there in my school teaching experience in South America. Cal was getting pretty old then. Cal could not talk very plain, to the amusement of some of us at Mr. Overton's house. Cal went out squirrel hunting one day with an old rifle of Overton's. He brought back two squirrels, when it was known that he had fired only one shot. Cal's remark, when he came in with the squirrels, was, "I killed one squirrel and slapped another." We did not understand what he meant by saying "slapped." When the matter was explained we found Cal had killed one of the squirrels with the shot he fired. Then he snapped (slapped) at another, which jumped out of the tree and killed itself. Was this a case when the hunter killed two at one shot? However, every few days some one of us inquired diligently of Cal what the squirrel did when he "slapped" at it.
Alvus Partin lived over on Pine Creek
when I taught school there. I kept hearing about Alvus being a good farmer.
So one Saturday I strolled over the ridge and stopped at Alvus' home. Everywhere
were splendidly built fences, built up good and high and strong, with all fence-rows clean as a pin. He had meadows on the rolling hills, with stack after stack of hay. He had some fine cattle in the pastures and some good hogs on the place. His home was neat as a pin and everything had the appearance of prosperity and the best of care. I talked with Alvus around the fire that night and learned that he had some splendid ideas of farming and that he had applied these ideas to his farm, with the result that he was known as the best farmer in South America. I am sure that he is by far the best farmer that South America has ever produced.
Rev. David Mason was the son of John Mason. He was a Missionary Baptist preacher. I have heard him preach many sermons. He was one of our leading Baptist preachers in his day.
Toward the head of Laurel Fork, about half way between the Laurel Fork School House and the head of the creek, stood a big beech tree in a meadow. The tree is just below the present highway across Laurel Fork. I used to think it had the broadest spread of any tree I had ever seen, and, I am not so sure but what this was true when I first saw it, because the tree then was at its height as a thrifty, strong tree. I saw it a few days ago and noticed that many of its branches had died and broken off. This has injured the beauty of the tree and has broken the circular symmetry of its branches; but, still, the tree is a fine specimen of its kind. It is one of the patriarch's of a pioneer day, and, like an old man, it waits the inevitable hour of its final decay.
I would not do this story of South America justice if I did not speak of John Partin, who went with me on March 19, 1938, on my second visit to South America after completing my second term as County Superintendent of the Bell County Schools in 1910. When I taught school there, I had to walk from my home on Little Clear Creek or ride horse-back. There were no roads of any consequence into the territory. Some rough wagonroads led up Big Clear Creek and down Pine Creek, and one road crossed from Chenoa over to the head of Laurel Fork and down that stream. Another wagon road crossed the mountain from Fonde into the region. But, on this day, we went in our car to the top of Log Mountain at the head of Stony Fork, then down the Log Mountain on the other side to Laurel Fork, across the ridge to Pine Creek, and down Pine Creek to the Settlement School. The road from the top of Log Mountain into South America is a Government W.P.A. Road and is in fairly good condition. We found it fairly easy to make thirty miles an hour on most all of the road and more time on some of it. A force of men,were working on it and keeping it in good condition.
John Partin works in the mines of Harlan County and has been away from his native territory, South America, for about twenty years. He is a grandson of John A. Partin, who lived at the head of Laurel Fork.
John Partin was born October 30, 1890, and
married Mary Adkins, January 2, 1935. Alice Partin was his mother and was
a daughter of John A. Partin. She died December 22, 1937, at Corbin, Kentucky.
He now lives at Cawood, Kentucky, and works for the Crummies Creek Coal
Bethanian Fuson, son of Mahala Fuson and grandson of Thomas Fuson, the Kentucky pioneer, married, first, Sidney Partin: (1) James Fuson, (2) Mary Fuson, (3) Sidney Fuson, (4) John Fuson, (5) Matthew Fuson, (6) Nan Fuson, (7) Amanda Fuson, (8) E. Fuson, (9) Fate Fuson. He married, second, Polly Malissa Partin: (10) Sarah Jane Fuson, (11) Mary Frances Fuson, (12) Malinda Fuson, (13) Hannah Fuson, (14) Billy Fuson, (15) Evan Fuson, (16) Ellen Fuson.
III. LITTLE CLEAR CREEK
Some of the earliest settlers of Little Clear Creek were the Haynes family. They settled on Fuson Branch, where later James Arthur Fuson lived; below the mouth of Fuson Branch on the main creek where John Thomas Fuson later lived; and on the lower end of the John Thomas Fuson farm. At this latter place the Haynes family had a water mill, one of the first, if not the first, mill on the creek. It has been related that this family was much annoyed by the wolves coming down out of Fork Ridge and getting the parts of hogs hung up in the chimney corner on the outside of their log cabin, which was used for making soap.
These people planted out a large walnut orchard, where later, my father, John Thomas Fuson, built his house. Some of these trees, at the time I was a boy, were two to four feet in diameter, and it was nothing unusual for us to hull out a hundred bushels of walnuts in one fall. This family, after pioneer days disappeared from Bell County, save some of the women who married into other families on the creek. These people were here 1780-1820. Photo John T. Fuson House
One of the oldest settlers on the creek was James Lake, who settled here about 1790. The place he settled was on the level ground, some hundred acres in extent, opposite the mouth of Ben's Ford of Little Clear Creek, and the place today is known as the "Lake Place." One son, Mose Lake, lived about two miles above the "Lake Place," and lived to a ripe old age. He died about 1905.
Later William Miracle lived at the "Lake Place." He had a son, Rev. Silas Miracle, who was one of the ablest Baptist preachers that ever lived in the county. He ranked with such men as Rev. Ebenezer Ingram and Rev. Robin G. Evans. Three other sons of William Miracle were (1) Elijah Miracle, (2) Nute Miracle, (3) Calvin Miracle.
Bill Bull lived on the lower part
of Little Clear Creek, where later Shelton Evans lived. He was a slave
owner, and Sterl Westerfield, who was one of his slaves, died in Pineville
a few years ago at a ripe old age. One of his sons lived on a bench of
"Seelo," known as John Bull, on a part of the farm Bill Bull owned. Later
this part of the farm passed to Shelton Evans and from him to my father,
John Thomas Fuson. He had another son named Bill Bull.
It has been said that Bill Bull lost his farm after the Civil War, when his negroes were freed, because then he could not pay the mortgage against it. Bill Bull settled there around 1780-1810.
James Mason lived on the upper part of Little Clear Creek at the mouth of Big Laurel Branch. He owned a large boundary of timber and coal lands there. He was a very learned man in the Bible, being about to repeat a large part of it. His knowledge of the Bible was so exact that no one, not even the preachers, cared to argue with him. He usually got the best of the argument, if any one argued with him, and he knew it.
I remember James Mason well. He was an old man when I was a boy, and was much respected on the creek for his honesty and integrity. Considerable excitement was created by his finding on his farm what was thought to be a silver mine. Upon etxamination the ores turned out to be some worthless kind of ore, but he died in the belief that he had a rich silver mine on his property.
He had three brothers and a sister that I remember: (1) Bratcher Mason, (2) Rev. John P. Mason, (3) Will Mason, and (4) Martha Mason, who became the second wife of my grandfather, Philip Lee.
James Mason's children were (1) William Henry Mason, (2) Boshy Mason, (3) John James Mason, (4) Beckey Mason, and (5) Lundy Mason. Most of these children moved to Ohio around 1900 when the Log Mountain Company bought up the land in that region.
John Smith lived at the foot of Smith Hill on the side towards Pineville. He was one of the earliest settlers in this region, around 1800. His children were (1) Andy Smith, who lived up the branch from Calvin Smith's place; (2) Calvin Smith, who lived on the highway between Pineville and Clear Creek Springs, near where the road turned off up Little Clear Creek; (3) Elijah Smith, who lived in the Fuson Settlement and married Letitia Fuson, daughter of James Robinson Fuson, Jr., and Lucinda (Evans) Fuson; (4) Craig Smith, who lived in the Smith Settlement around Smith Hill; (5) Mrs. Hamp Crawford, who lived on Yellow Creek near the mouth of Clear Fork; (6) one sister who married a Peace; (7) Charity Ann Smith, who married W. L. Fuson, son of James Robinson Fuson, Jr; (8) Enoch Smith, who lived in the Smith Settlement.
John Evans settled on the Evans Mountain, the divide between Little Clear Creek and the Yellow Creek Valley at Middlesborough, in about 1780. This part of Log Mountain was named after John Evans, its first settler. He settled near Canada Peak, overlooking the present town of Middlesborough. Near his house was a large hollowed out round place in a large rock, where the Indians had used it to grind their corn with a large pestle. It is known today as "Kettle Rock," because it was about the size of a large kettle, large enough to grind corn for a whole Indian Settlement.
John Evans had several children, among
whom were (1) Lucinda Evans, my grandmother who married James Robinson
Fuson, Jr.; (2) Rev.
William Evans; (3) Eliza Evans, who married Wesley King and lived on Wesley King Mountain at the head of Little Clear Creek and about 1890 went to Little Poplar Creek in Knox County; (4) Peggy Evans, who married Elam Partin.
Rev. William Evans, who married Peggy
Bull, a Baptist preacher, had the following family: (1) William K. Evans,
who married Sallie Peavler, an Aunt of J. M. C. Davis' wife; (2) Betty
Evans, who married Rev. Shelton Partin; (3) Nancy Evans, who married Rev.
Alex Givens; (4) Queen Evans, who married Scrub John Hoskins; (5) Sallie
Evans, who married James Mason, who lived at the mouth of Big Laurel Branch
on Little Clear Creek; (6) Jennie Evans, who married James Fuson, a step-son
of Hall Fuson, and lived on the lower part of Evans Branch; (7) Lucinda
Evans, who married Henry Phipps and lived on the lower part of Clear Creek;
(8) James B. Evans, father of J. E. Evans, Middlesborough, Kentucky; (9)
Rev. John T. Evans, who married a Mrs. Bull from Tennessee and lived on
Evans Mountain, until in his old age when he went to Tennessee; (10) Rev.
Robin G. Evans, one of the greatest Baptist preachers the mountains ever
produced, who married Lindy Hendrickson, and lived on Evans Mountain and
later moved to Middlesborough, Kentucky, where he died; (11) Rev. Ingram
Evans, who married Patsy Madon and lived on Evans Mountain and later moved
to Tennessee; (12) Margaret Evans, who married a Hoskins; (13) Emily Evans,
who married Carse Hoskins.
Photo Rev. Robin G. Evans
Rev. Shelton Partin lived at the head of Little Clear Creek and drank water from the spring at the head. William K. Evans, son of Rev. William Evans, had the following children: (1) Catherine Evans, who married a Head after she went to Missouri; (2) William Evans, who died as a boy on his way back from Missouri; (3) Lewis Evans, who died as a boy on his way back from Missouri; (4) Peggy Evans, who married Crit Noe; (5) John D. Evans, who married a Webb the first time and a Partin the second time; (6) Shelton Evans, born 1855, who now lives in Middlesborough at the age of 82, and married the first time Mary Fuson, daughter of James Robinson Fuson, Jr., and Reny Ward the second time; (7) Jim George Evans, who married a Miracle the first time and a Logan the second time.
Shelton Evans had the following family: First wife Mary Fuson: (1) James Matthew Evans, (2) Dr. J. T. Evans, (3) Dr. W. K. Evans, (4) F. H. Evans, (5) Mrs. Dora Wolfe; (6) Mrs. Sallie Dyer, (7) Mrs. Parrie Moore, (8) Mrs. Fronie Fuller, (9) Mrs. Roxie Newnan, (10) Mrs. Myrtle Carrico, (11) Mrs. Lucy Hendricks; (12) Infant. Second wife Reny Ward: (13) Mary Winston Ward Evans, (14) Shelton Theodore Evans.
The Evans family originally came from Virginia, and, in those days, it took ten cents to carry a letter and six months to a year to get a reply, 1760-1849.
There were a few prominent settlements
on Little Clear Creek in pioneer days. They were (1) The Lake Place where
James Lake settled opposite the mouth of Ben's Fork; (2) The Evans Settlement
on Evans Mountain, a part of the Log Mountain system between Middlesborouqh
Little Clear Creek; (3) The Fuson Settlement two and one-half miles up Little Clear Creek from Clear Creek Springs, where Little Clear Creek joins Big Clear Creek; (4) The Smith Settlement near Clear Creek Springs and around Smith Hill, which hill took its name from the Smiths who lived around it; (5) the Clear Creek Springs Settlement, where J. M. C Davis lived for most a half century; (6) the Moss Settlement at the mouth of Clear Creek and about one mile from Pineville.
The Fuson Settlement was started by the settlement of James Robinson Fuson, Sr., and James Robinson Fuson, Jr., the latter the nephew of the former. The settlement ran up and down Little Clear Creek for four miles and extended from the top of Log Mountain, on the one side, to the top of Fork Ridge, on the other side, about three miles in width. Photo James R. Fuson House
W. L. Fuson, son of James Robinson Fuson, Jr., settled on the upper end of this settlement; Matthew Fuson, son of J. R. Fuson, Jr., settled below and adjoining W. L. Fuson, M. B. Fuson, brother of Matthew Fuson, settled below and adjoining Matthew Fuson, on the old homestead of his father, James Robinson Fuson, Sr.; James Robinson Fuson, Jr., 1844, settled below and adjoining J. R. Fuson, Sr., where later Henry Jefferson Fuson, his son, lived; Judge R. A. Fuson owned the land, part of the J. R. Fuson, Jr. , tract, between the old home place and M. B. Fuson; Elijah Smith, who married Letitia Fuson, daughter of J. R. Fuson, Jr., settled across the creek, on the Log Mountain side, from the old home place; John Thomas Fuson, son of J. R. Fuson, Jr., my father settled toward the lower end of the valley; James Arthur Fuson, brother of my father, settled on the Fuson Branch at the foot of Log Mountain, opposite my father's farm; and Shelton Evans, who married Mary Fuson, daughter of J. R. Fuson, Sr., settled on the very lower end of the valley on the old Bill Bull place and one mile below my father's place.
Thomas Fuson, 1760-1849, the Kentucky pioneer, settled near Chenoa, Bell County, Kentucky, around 1826. His son, James Robinson Fuson, Sr., 1800-1875, who was a tall, learn man, settled on Little Clear Creek in the middle of the Fuson Settlement. He married Katie Lee the first time. She and her only child both died. Later he married Ruthy Staniford (or Stanifer). Most of his children died young, but these survived to good old age: (1) Matthew Fuson, 1852-1936, who married Obedience (Biddy) Lee, 1853-1932, daughter of Philip Lee, 1817-1899, and lived and died on Little Clear Creek; (2) Millard Buchanan Fuson, 1859-, who married Margaret Phipps, 1862-1927 (?) the second time; (3) Mary Fuson, 1854-1910, who married Shelton Evans, 1855-, and lived on the old Bill Bull place.
James Robinson Fuson, Jr., 1822-1864,
my grandfather, who married Lucinda Evans, 1819-1902, a daughter of John
Evans, lived and died in the Fuson Settlement on Little Clear Creek. He
married and came to Little Clear Creek in 1844 from Bear Creek near Chenoa,
where his grandfather Thomas Fuson settled. He was a tall man of commanding
appearance, and was considered a business hustler. He died of smallpox
in 1864 while the Civil War was going on. Two Union soldiers came to
his gate one day asking for something to eat. The family refused to take them out anything because they had smallpox. Grandfather said he would take them out something to eat and did, but later took smallpox and died. General Garrard, who was stationed at Cumberland Gap, hearing of the deed of kindness to his soldiers, sent two of his soldiers who had had smallpox to wait on the rest of the family and none died other than my grandfather.
James Robinson Fuson, Jr., started with no capital whatsoever when he married in 1844, but, when he died in 1864, he owned about 3500 acres of land on Little Clear Creek, and was considered one of the wealthiest men in the county in his day, He was a Magistrate in his district at the time of his death.
James Robinson Fuson's children were (1) James Arthur Fuson, who married Patsy Smith; (2) William Lafayette Fuson, who married Elizabeth Lee, the first time, leaving one daughter by this marriage (a) Elizabeth Fuson, who married Carlo B. Baker, and Charity Ann Smith, the second time; (3) Letitia Fuson, who married Elijah Smith; (4) John Thomas Fuson, my father, who married Sarah Jane Lee, daughter of Philip Lee; (5) Eliza Jane Fuson; (6) Judge Beth Anne Fuson, who married Alice Coppock and was County Judge of Bell County 1910-1914; (7) Henry Jefferson Fuson, who married Nancy Madon.
John Thomas Fuson, 1854-1929, and Sarah Jane (Lee) Fuson's children were (1) Henry Harvey Fuson, 1876-, who married Sara Ellen Watson, of Somerset, Kentucky, and had one daughter, Ruth Maurine Fuson, 1910-, who married Philip Woodmansee Scott, of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1937; (2) Dr. Thomas Sewell Fuson, 1878-, who never married; (3) Cora Lucinda Fuson, 1879-1883; (4) Mary Lee Fuson, 1882-1909, who married Willett Almy and left one son, Lee Almy, 1909-, surviving her; (5) Bertha Letitia Fuson, 1883-, who married Doke Howard; (6) Dr. Arthur Luther Fuson, 1885-1927, who married Mabel Smith, of Knoxville, Tennessee; (7) Verda Ray Fuson, 1887-, who married John Carroll and lives in Los Angeles, California; (8) Van Horton Fuson, 1889-, who never married; (9) Effie Lula Fuson, 1893-, who married Morris Adler, of Indianapolis, Indiana; (10) Maude Elizabeth Fuson, 1895-, who married Walter Johnson, of Indianapolis, Indiana; and (11) Clara Barton Fuson, 1898-, who has never married. Photo John T. & Sarah Fuson
Elijah Smith, 1848-1905, and Letitia (Fuson) Smith, 1852-1924, had the following children: (1) Dora Ellen Smith, 1874-1903, who married James Matt Evans; (2) Florida Alice Smith, 1876-, who married Dock Carroll; (3) Elijah Leonard Smith, 1878-, who married Nellie Hoskins; (4) Letitia May Smith, 1880-, who married Boyd Fuson; (5) Lucy Smith, 1882-, who married James Green, of Harlan, Kentucky; (6) Patty Anne Smith, 1884-, who married George Howard; (7) Rev. John James Lafayette Smith, 1887-1933, a Baptist Preacher, who married a Smith; (8) Edwin Arthur Smith, a Civil Engineer, 1889-; (9) Lloyd Gentry Smith, who married a Fuson; (10) Enoch Ray Smith, 1895-1819, who never married.
Rev. John James Fuson, son of W. L.
Fuson, who was reared in the Fuson Settlement on Little Clear Creek, is
a Baptist preacher and lives in Middlesborough, Kentucky.
Dr. P. L. Fuson, 1883-1926, a son of Matthew Fuson and Biddy (Lee) Fuson, was reared in the Fuson Settlement on Little Clear Creek, and practiced medicine for many years before his death on Straight Creek.
Dr. Roscoe R. Evans, a son of M. F. and Otie (Fuson) Evans, and grandson of Matthew Fuson, was reared at the upper end of the Fuson Settlement, and now practices medicine on Straight Creek, for a number of mining companies there.
Solomon Carter settled on Fork Ridge, on the divide between Big and Little Clear Creeks, and lived and died there.
Bill Money lived on the side of Log Mountain towards Fernadale, and Bishop Money, his brother, lived on Evans Branch at the foot of Evans Miountain, and both were in the Union Army during the Civil War. Bishop was a kind of excitable fellow, and the story is told concerning him during the war of a fellow who tried to scare him. The fellow, a fellow soldier, came out from a hidden place in the dark of the night with a sheet over his head. Bishop picked up a rock, hit him on the top of the head and killed him.
Larkin Baker, 1847-1922, who married Susan Smith, daughter of Enoch Smith, the first time, and Charity Kellems, the second time, lived on the side of Log Mountain near the old Moss farm. His children were: 1. Susan Smith, first wife: (I) Carlo Britain Baker 1872-, who married Elizabeth Fuson, daughter of W. L. and Elizabeth (Lee) Fuson; (2) James Thomas Baker 1874-; (3) William Flem Baker 1876-, (4) Joe Cephus Baker 1878-1918; (5) Millie Eve Baker, who married James Robinson Fuson, 1880-, (6) Julia Baker 1882-; (7) Lucy Baker 1884-; (8) Elijah Andrew Baker 1886-; (9) John Frank Baker 1888-; (10) Halie Baker 1890-; II. Charity Kellems, second wife: (11) Charley Baker; (12) Robert Baker; (13) Lela Baker; (14) Minerva Baker.
Carlo B. Baker, born April 20, 1872, married Elizabeth Fuson, daughter of W. L. Fuson. She was born December 4, 1871. They live on the Log Mountain on the main highway and have the following children: (1) Walter Lee Baker, born December 24, 1904, (2) Enoch Floyd Baker, born March 31, 1904, and died September 3, 1913, (3) Carrie Beatrice Baker, born May 4, 1906, (4) Fuson Carlo Baker, born February 25, 1911. Carlo B. Baker was son of Larkin Baker.
Hugh Cal Smith, for many years Tax
Commissioner of Bell County, born January 4, 1866, and died July 25, 1925,
married Alabama Josephine Fuson, born January 16, 1869. To them were born
the following children: (1) Enoch Arthur Smith, born September 1, 1887
and died October 2, 1896, (2) Sudie Eller Smith, born November 10, 1888,
who married Robert Jones, (3) Lillie Vestina Smith, born June 12, 1890,
who married Rev. J. J. L. Smith, (4) Pattie Anne Smith, born February 15,
1892, who married John Howard, (5) Millie Lora Smith, born November 14,
1893, and died August 8, 1896, (6) Enoch Arthur Smith, born March 22, 1895
and died May 8, 1926, (7) Robert Seward Smith, born October 27, 1896, and
died October 22, 1898, (8) Amanda Letitia Smith, born may 1, 1898, and
died April 16, 1905, (9) Hugh Calvin Smith, Jr., born February 2, 1901,
and died June 12, 1908, (10) Stephen Smith, born October 22, 1901, (11) John Thomas Smith, born August 22, 1905, (12) Ernest H. Smith, born February 19, 1907. Alabama Josephine Smith was the daughter of James Arthur Fuson.
John Smith and Patty Smith had these children) they lived at the Smith Hill): (1) Andy Smith, (2) Calvin Smith, (3) Elijah Smith, (4) Craig Smith, (5) Enoch Smith, (6) Jennie Smith, who married Hamp Crawford, (7) Nervie Smith, who married Pleas Peace, (8) Charity Smith.
Andy Smith married Millie Jones, and to them were born: (1) Ed Smith, (2) Nim Smith, (3) John Smith, (4) Bill Smith, (5) Steve Smith, (6) Dave Smith.
Calvin Smith married Beckey Jones, and to them were born: (1) C. C. Smith, who taught in the rural schools for Bell County for over forty years, (2) Ella Smith, who married Grover Rice, (3) Ida Smith, who married Ed Burner, (4) Reed Smith, (5) Dan Smith, (6) Bradley Smith, (7) Annie Smith, who married a Frebble.
Enoch Smith, who married Mary Tinsley, sister of Steve Tinsley, had the following children: (1) Tom Smith, who married Susan Jackson, (2) Susan Smith, who married Lark Baker, (3) Haley Smith, who married Frank Moss, (4) Bob Smith, (5) Hugh Cal Smith, who served as Assessor for Bell County two or more terms, (6) Hannah Smith, who married Frank Howard, (7) Steve Smith, (8) Mellie Smith, who married John Davis.
Pleas Peace, who married Nervie Smith, had the following children: (1) Patty Peace, who married Tom Durban, (2) Ance Peace, (3) Rosa Peace (died Young), (4) Elijah Peace, (5) Pleas Tom Peace, (6) Millie Peace, (7) Fayette Peace, (8) Ed Peace.
Craig Smith married a Griffy and to them were born: (1) Betty Smith, (2) Will Smith, (3) Hamp Smith, (4) Lucy Smith, (5) Beckey Smith, (6) Enoch Smith.
Frank Hendrickson married Daimy Phipps, and to them were born: (1) Laura Hendrickson, who married Boyd Partin, (2) Millie Hendrickson, who married Boyd Partin, (3) Charley Hendrickson, (4) Tom Hendrickson, (5) Lucy Hendrickson, who married Ben Partin, (6) George Hendrickson, (7) Ed Hendrickson, (8) Dora Hendrickson, who married Ed Sninish.
Beckey Hendrickson had two children: (1) Frank Hendrickson and (2) Tom Hendrickson.
Herrod Hendrickson, grandfather of
Frank Polly Baker, and to them were born: (1) Mary married a Williams,
(2) Jane Hendrickson, who married Tom Crank, (3) Martha Hendrickson, who
married a Davis, (4) Eve Hendrickson, who married John G. Hendrickson,
(5) Nervie Hendrickson, who married Rufus Moss, (6) Beckey Hendrickson,
who married a Peace, (7) Tom Hendrickson, (8) John B. Hendrickson, (9)
Sol Hendrickson, who lived where Jack Asher now lives above the mouth of
Clear Creek and who died at Ferndale, (10) Margaret Hendrickson, who married
John B. Hendrickson, who married Amanda Baker, had the following children: (1) Noah Hendrickson, (2) Ellen Hendrickson, who married Rube Baker, (3) Rhoda Hendrickson, who married Will Pevely, (4) Margaret, who married Rev. George Pope, a Baptist preacher, (5) Jeff Hendrickson, (6) Sudie Hendrickson, who married Kinley Jones, (7) Julia Hendrickson, who married Will Hoskins.
Gillis Hendrickson married Sarah Lake, half-sister of Mose Lake, and to them were born: Eliza Jane Hendrickson, who married Bill Tom Hendrickson, (2) Alice Hendrickson, who married Hugh Hendrickson, (3) Elisha Henrickson, (4) Ed Hendrickson, (5) Dock Hendrickson, (6) Grant Hendrickson, (7) Jimmie Hendrickson, (8) Millie Hendrickson, who married Bill Burns, (9) Kelly Hendrickson.
Charley Hendrickson, son of Frank Hendrickson, married Lillie Jackson, and to them were born: (1) Walter Hendrickson, who married a Stapleton, (2) Esther Hendrickson, who married Hubert Bolten, (3) Ruby Hendrickson, twin of Georgia, who married Charley Bull, (4) Georgia Hendrickson, a twin of Ruby, (5) Buster Hendrickson, (6) Fred Hendrickson, (7) Alice Gertrude Hendrickson.
Henry Phipps married the first time Lucinda Evans, sister of Rev. Robin G. Evans, and to them were born: (1) Daimy Phipps, (2) Millie Phipps, (3) John Phipps, (4) Robin Phipps, (5) Frank Phipps; second marriage, Frances Ward: (6) Jim Tom Phipps, (7) Hodge Phipps, (8) Lucy Phipps, (9) Maggie Phipps.
Zarr Phipps, grandfather of Daimy Hendrickson, came to Bell County from Virginia.
IV. GREASY CREEK
The early settlements on Greasy Creek were (1) Two miles above Ingram post office, where John Fuson settled; (2) At the White Church, where John (Jack) Goodin settled; (3) At the mouth of Greasy Creek, where Thomas Dean settled; (4) Near the mouth of Greasy Creek and up Cumberland River, where Andrew McRobert and his son-in-law Silas Woodson settled; (5) Across Cumberland River from the mouth of Greasy Creek, where John Goodin settled; (6) Le Roy Peace, where he settled about three miles above Ingram post office and near the head of Greasy Creek and a mile above where John Fuson settled; (7) At Ingram post office, where Rev. Ebenezer Ingram settled.
Thomas Dean, who was born before 1800, died and was buried in the Dean Graveyard near the mouth of Greasy Creek in 1875. He lies beneath a large spreading oak tree, some four feet through, and his headstone is close to the lower side of the tree. W. H. Dean, his son, and his son's wife, Mary Patience (Fuson) Dean, lie buried near him.
Thomas Dean built the first house
at the forks of the road, where the Greasy Creek road joins the main highway
along Cumberland River. The house is still standing, having been built
to and worked over.
He built this house in the early part of the nineteenth century. Daniel Dean, a brother of W. H. Dean, lived where later W. H. Dean lived, half mile up Greasy Creek from the forks of the road.
William Henry Harrison Dean, a son of Thomas Dean, was born near the mouth of Greasy Creek in 1829. He married Mary Patience (Pop) (Fuson) Dean, daughter of John Fuson, in 1852. She was born in 1836 further up Greasy Creek. W. H. H. Dean died in 1901 and Mary Patience Dean died in 1904. Their children were (1) John Siler Dean, 1856-1863; (2) William Hansom Mack Dean, 1874-, who holds a first aid diploma in mine rescue work from the U.S. Government, was mine Superintendent for years, and married Willia King, daughter of Harvey King, 1888-1920, no children; (3) Mary Catherine Dean, 1876-, who married a Goodin; (4) James Daniel Dean, 1877-, who married a Tinsley.
W. H. Dean and his wife went to Mercer County, Missouri, in 1852 and remained in Mercer County and St. Joseph, Missouri, until 1884, when they returned to the old farm at the mouth of Greasy Creek, where they lived the remainder of their days.
W. H. H. Dean went with a party of men to California in the gold-rush of 1849 and returned with some twenty-two thousand dollars. He went into the hog-drover business, driving hogs south from Bell County, after his return from California and lost most of his money in this venture.
He was a farmer, school teacher, lumberman and pioneer. He was a man of large, strong build, with the true daring of the pioneer.
John Fuson, born in DeKalb County, Tennessee, June 20, 1792, died near Leon, Iowa, December 31, 1877, and was buried in Palestine Cemetery two and one-half miles west of Leon. He was buried on Lot #80. A Goverrment marker stands at the head of his grave, he having been a soldier in the War of 1812.
John Fuson was the oldest son of Thomas Fuson, Kentucky pioneer. Thomas Fuson lived with his family on Dismal Creek, DeKalb County, Tennessee, where John married Polly Garner. John Fuson left Dismal Creek with his father, sometime prior to 1826, and came to Bell County and settled on Greasy Creek. The house he built, with some additions, is still standing opposite Will Fuson's house on Greasy Creek.
He married twice: (1) Polly Garner,
(2) Nancy Catherine James. His children were: First Wife: (1) Thomas Henry
Fuson, 1818-1895, who was buried on his home place one mile from the head
of Greasy Creek; (2) Rachel Fuson; (3) Rebecca Fuson; (4) J. Fuson; (5)
J. R. Fuson; (6) J. G. Fuson; (7) Nancy Fuson; (8) Betty Fuson; (9) Joseph
Fuson; (10) Pleas Fuson; (11) Mary Patience Fuson; (12) Hansom Mack Fuson;
(13) Jane Fuson; Second Wife: (14) Arnett Alice Fuson, 1886-1927, who married
Edwin R. Clark March 17, 1883, four children survive; (15) George Washington
Fuson, 1868-1918, who married Nancy R. Lile, five children survive; (16)
William Carroll Fuson, 1874-, who married Leapha Turner, 1894, Burmingham,
Iowa, two children survive.
John Fuson left Greasy Creek in 1852 or 1853, in company with twenty covered wagons, bearing Fusons and their families, for Mercer County, Missouri. He remained in Mercer County, Missouri, and Decateur County, Iowa, the reminder of his days. Rev. William C. Akers, a Baptist preacher, who preached John Fuson's funeral in Palestine Baptist Church, John Fuson being a member of this church, said of him: "He was the best man I ever knew." in 1927, when Bill Dean and I were in Leon, Iowa, this preacher, a shaky old man of eighty, took us to the grave of John Fuson. He repeated the above remark to us at that time.
Thomas Henry Fuson, who lived and died on his farm at the head of Greasy Creek, was married three times and had a large family, as follows: Wife No. I, Sophia Peace: (1) John Pleasant Fuson, (2) Jefferson Fuson, (3) Frank Fuson, (4) James R. Fuson, (5) Adeline Fuson, (6) Catherine Fuson; Wife No II, Delilia Goins: (7) Joseph Gillis Fuson, (8) Sylvester Fuson, (9) William Fuson, (10) Polly Fuson, who married a Campbell; Wife No. III, Lucinda Rhodes, 1838-1914; (11) Lizzie Fuson, (12) America Fuson, (13) Rose Fuson, (14) Harvey Fuson, (15) Matthew Fuson, 1877-1906.
William Fuson, son of Thomas Henry Fuson, owns and lives on the John Fuson farm. He was born December 30, 1867. He married Angie Begley, 1877-1925, in 1892. His children are (1) Clayton Fuson, 1896-1925; (2) Floyd Fuson, 1899-; (3) John Fuson, 1901-; (4) Matthew Fuson, 1903-; (5) Walter Fuson, 1906-1925; (6) Elbert Fuson, August 12, 1908--August 29, 1908; (7) Bertha Belle Fuson, 1909-; (8) Rixie Ellen Fuson, 1912-; (9) Robert K. Fuson, 1914-.
John Pleasant Fuson, son of Thomas Henry Fuson, and grandson of John Fuson, 1838-1906, Louisa Lee, daughter of Philip Lee: (1) James Canada Fuson, 1866-; (2) Philip H. Fuson, (3) Thomas H. Fuson, (4) William M. Fuson, (5) Mrs. Eva Jones, (6) George W. Fuson.
James Robinson Fuson, son of Thomas Henry Fuson, and grandson of John Fuson, 1841-1918, and Mary (Lee) Fuson, 1849-1924, had the following children: (1) Roza Z. Fuson, 1873-; (2) Philip C. Fuson, 1874-; bachelor; (3) Eliza Fuson, 1877-; (4) Sarah Fuson, 1882-; (5) Mary Esther Fuson, 1897-; (6) Laura Ellen Fuson, 1887-; (7) Hannah Fuson, 1890-1909. Principally all this family live now in Corbin, Kentucky.
Wilkerson Thompson, who lived just above Ingram, Kentucky, on Greasy Creek, 1836-1921, was married to Rinda Wilson, 1836-1909, Their children were (1) Elizabeth Thompson, 1856-1916, married 1875; (2) Richard Thompson, 1859, was married in 1881; (3) Ellen Thompson, 1863-, married 1881; (4) Margaret Thompson, 1860-, married 1883; (5) Martha Thompson, 1869, married 1896; (6) Callie Thompson; (7) Henry Thompson.
One of the earliest settlers on what
is known now as the Frank Creech farm, on Cumberland River just above the
mouth of Greasy Creek, was Andrew McRobert. He came here around 1780 or
1790 and settled on this farm. He brought with him his young son-in-law
Silas Woodson, who
married his daughter Mary Jane McRobert. This young wife of Woodson died young and was buried on this farm. Afterwards Silas Woodson emigrated to Missouri and became Governor of Missouri. Some of the children of Andrew and Amanda McRobert, who were buried on this farm are as follows:
"William Andrew, son of Andrew and Amanda McRobert, d. May 27, 1853, in the 9th year of his age." "Thomas McRobert, d. June 28, 1847, 16 years, 10 Mo., 9 days old."
"Mary Jane Woodson, wife of Silas Woodson, and daughter of Andrew McRobert, who died March 22, 1845, age 19 years, 5 Mos., 6 days."
Rev. Ebenezer Ingram settled at what is now known as Ingram, Kentucky, post office. This office was named after him. He served as Chaplain in the Civil War in the 49th Kentucky, Voluntary Infantry, composed of ten companies. He had the following family: (1) Thomas J. Ingram, who had a large family of children, one of whom, Judge Eb Ingram, who was County Judge of Bell County, and was one of the leading political figures of the county for a generation; (2) Polly Ingram (the oldest of the family); (3) Rev. James Queener Ingram, who lived and died near Williamsburg, Kentucky; (4) William F. Ingram; 1852-1885; (5) Elsie Ingram, (6) Hannah Ingram; (7) Amanda Ingram, (8) Sallie Ingram, (9) Peggy Ingram, (10) Emily Ingram.
Bill Ingram settled in the Ingram Community on Greasy Creek in 1800, and came from North Carolina. He lived and died there and this community was named for him. He was buried in the Ingram graveyard at that place. Rev. Ebenezer Ingram was his son, and Thomas Jefferson Ingram and William F. Ingram were his grandsons.
James W. Ingram, father of Sidney Ingram, who now lives in Harlan, Kentucky, was a son of William F. Ingram. James W. Ingram was born and reared in the Ingram Settlement, but went to Flat Lick in Knox County where he died, and was buried in the McRoberts Graveyard in Bell County near the mouth of Greasy Creek, on the old Frank Creech farm. James W. Ingram had the following children: I. First wife: Betty Tinsley: (1) Bill, (2) Mary Partin, (3) Josephine Gibson, (4) Hannah Gibson, (5) America Garrett, (6) Jim Ingram, (7) Damia, (8) John, (9) Elbert, (10)Betty Gardner, (11) Sudie Warren, (12) Margaret Hendrickson. II Second wife: Margaret Tinsley: (13) Elizabeth, (14) Mellie, (15) Sidney, (16) Cordia, (17) Ellen, (18) Ollie, (19) Frank, (20) Edna, (21) Axie.
Rev. James Ingram was son of Rev.
Ebenezer Ingram, and was a Baptist preacher, as his father was before him.
He was reared on Greasy Creek in the Ingram settlement, lived at Williamsburg
for a time and died at Jacksboro, Tennessee. His children were (1) E. N.
Ingram, an attorney at law who died in Pineville, Kentucky, recently, and
who was County Judge of Bell County at one time; (2) Eulus Ingram, who
was a physician; and (3) Alice Queener, who married Dr. Queener and lives
at Jacksboro, Tennessee.
Jack Goodin, son of Thomas Goodin, settled at White Church on Greasy Creek in pioneer days. Yater Ebenezer Bronster Goodin, a son of his, lived there. Jack Goodin was married twice and had the following family: I. Anna Morgan: (First wife) (1) James Goodin, (2) Hannah Goodin, (3) Thursey Goodin, (4) Mack Goodin, (5) Hard Goodin, (6) Alex Goodin: II. Mahala Fuson: (7) John Goodin, (8) Joseph Goodin, (9) Thomas Goodin, (10) Ebenezer Bronster Goodin, (11) Rachel Goodin, (12) Amanda Goodin, (13) Sallie Goodin. They both died on Greasy Creek and were buried in the Goodin Graveyard near White Church.
John Goodin, who died October 26, 1888, son of Jack and Mahala Fuson Goodin, lived where the Kentucky Utilities Company plant is now located. He owned the land on both sides of Cumberland River around the mouth of Greasy Creek. He was elected Sheriff of Knox County for two terms before Bell County was formed, and was one of the chief men in the formation of Bell County. He was instrumental, in company with some others, in getting the new county cut off. Judge John Goodin and Sallie Goodin, who died March 8, 1908, had the following family: (1) Robert Goodin, Circuit Court Clerk of Bell County two terms, and married three times: (A) Julia Johnson, (B) Emma Moss, (C) Hallie Lock; (2) W. J. Goodin, married Axie Myers; (3) Mahala Belle Goodin, married J. H. King; (4) Thomas Madison Goodin, (named after Mat Adams, who afterwards went to Congress).
Thomas Madison Goodin who died February 21, 1922, and Lizzie Dean Goodin had the following children: (1) Eve Goodin, born December 26, 1893, married Ester Laws, 1926; (2) Jessie Goodin, married R. W. Coign; (3) William Jefferson Goodin, married Georgia Wood; (4) Bonnie Bell Goodin, never married; (5) John Goodin, married Alma Jackson, (6) Laura Willie Goodin, married William Hollingsworth; (7) Fred Goodin, married Lillian Burgin. Photo Thomas & Lizzie Goodin
W. J. and Axie Myers Goodin had the following children: (1) Ethel Goodin, married Cephus Faulkner; (2) Allie Goodin, married Floyd Tinsley; (3) John Jackson Goodin, married Helen Partin.
J. H. King, September 23, 1866-, who married Belle Goodin, September 26, 1866-1924, had the following children: (1) Sallie King, born November 29, 1886, (2) Willie L. King, April 24, 1888-1920; (3) John Wallace King, born February 22, 1890; (4) Robert G. King, born may 25, 1892; (5) Julia Angeline King, born Novenber 12, 1894; (6) Mary Martha King, born March 1, 1898; (7) Thomas Spencer King, August 24, 1901 to May 3, 1902; (8) Axie Belle King, born June 23, 1903; (9) Ora D. Ramsey King, born June 23, 1903, one of twins, and died March 31, 1904; (10) Marvin Glenn King, born May 30, 1909.
Judge John Goodin lived, at first on Green Briar, a branch of Greasy Creek, moved later to Pineville, and then settled on the present site of the Kentucky Utilities plant near the mouth of Greasy Creek.
Old Jack Goodin, his father, lived
on the farm at the White Church, later occupied by Jack Goodin's son Ebenezer
John Mark built the Judge Goodin house, which is now occupied by Thomas Goodin's widow, and Judge John Goodin moved into the house in 1873. It was one of the early brick houses in this section and stands just back of the Kentucky Utilities plant. John Mark was supposed to have bought this land from Spencer Ball.
Judge Goodin, at one time, owned 1200 acres in Cumberland Gap, including the Gap and Pinnacle and paid $1200.00 for it. He owned the following property besides this tract of land: (1) James Pogue farm. mouth of Greasy Creek, which he gave to his daughter Belle Goodin; (2) the Kentucky Utilities plant farm, which he gave to Thomas Goodin; (3) The Frank Creech farm, bought from Alex Black, was given to Robert Goodin, which included half of the original farm; (4) the other half of the Creech farm went to W. J. Goodin.
A house, supposed to have been built by Spencer Ball, was located just west of the present John Goodin house.
Judge John Goodin was an influential man in his day and a man of many affairs. He was a lawyer and at one time a partner of James D. Black of Barbourville, Kentucky. He was Sheriff two terms in Knox County before Bell County was cut off from Knox and Harlan. He was one of the main men who aided in securing the formation of the new county of Bell.
John Goodin was captain of a company of soldiers in the 49th Kentucky Regiment of Volunteers during the Civil War. This story has often been told by him in his lifetime. Bill Partin, later a prominent Baptist preacher, was a private in Captain Goodin's Company. Mat Adams was Colonel and later went to Congress from the old Eleventh District. On one occasion, when Colonel Mat Adams was inspecting the Company, Bill Partin decided he was going to slip through the lines and get him some whiskey. He so informed Captain Goodin. Captain told him he couldn't get through the guards. Bill assured him he could get through. Captain told him to try it. Bill saw some boys rolling a barrel around where the guards were stationed and went to the boys and for a few cents got the use of their barrel. Bill got in the barrel, let it roll through the lines and laid still in the barrel for a while. As soon as the guards got away, he left the barrel and was on his way. He got the whiskey and returned, but a guard caught him. Colonel Adams was called. He ordered Bill to the guard house. Colonel sent for Bill to come before the officers and Bill sent back word that he was in the lock-up and couldn't come. The officers found him guilty and ordered him to carry a large pole around the grounds. But, said Bill to colonel Adams. I am a small man and that pole is too heavy. Colonel Adams agreed with him and sent him back to the guard house. Bill was getting tired of the guard house and set fire to it. Then they had to release Bill, because there was no guard house to put him in.
Mahala Fuson Goodin, before her marriage
to Jack Goodin, had three children: (1) Bethanian Fuson, who lived and
died, at a ripe old age, in South America on the Whitley-Bell County line;
(2) Hannah Fuson, who married Alex Carroll; (3) Sidney Fuson, who married
James Partin, the first surveyor of Bell County.
Thomas Goodin, son of Judge John Goodin, married Lizzie Dean, December 21, 1892, at the home of her father, W. J. Dean, and Rev. George Hendrickson, performed the ceremony, with Ellen McGaffee as witness.
A son of Amanda Goodin, 1864-1903, who was daughter of Jack Goodin and Mahala Fuson Goodin, was Rev. John Thomas Stamper, 1865-, a Baptist preacher. He was County Judge of Knox County for two terms, 1910-1914 and 1920-1924. He lives near Barbourville, Kentucky. He recently made a statement before the Fuson Family Association of America, in its meeting at Clear Creek Springs, that he had fourteen children, sixty-nine grandchildren, and ten great-grandchild.
The father of Rev. Stamper was W. E. Stamper, who died September 24, 1887. Rev. Stamper married Mattie Golden in 1885, who was born July 11, 1868. Their children were (1) F. W. Stampter, 1886-, who married Florrie Jackson; (2) W. E. Stamper, 1888-1998; (3) Nettie Belle Stamper, 1890-, married Oscar Disney; (4) Bettie Stamper, (5) Jessie May Stamper, 1892-1896; (6) Stephen D. Stamper, 1894-; (7) Annie Lewis, 1896-; (8) Murray Colson Stamper, 1898-; (9) John E. Stamper, 1900-; (10) Mattie Victoria Stamper, 1909-; (11) Henry Harvey Stamper, 1903-; (12) Eaton Stamper, 1905-; (13) Paul Springer Stamper, 1907-; (14) Mary Elizabeth Stamper, 1908-1920, who married Robert Mayors.
Hiram Stamper, grandfather of Rev. Stamper, died on Kentucky River. His grandmother was Lareins Woollum.
Rev. J. T. Stamper is a pioneer in
modern commercial orchards. His apple orchard is one of the finest in southeastern
Kentucky. People from all over this section consult him about the care
and upkeep of an orchard. He is also a breeder of pure bred Poland China
EARLY SETTLERS OF BELL COUNTY, CONTINUED
A. THE TWO STRAIGHT CREEKS AND RED BIRD
I. RED BIRD SECTION
There were three main families on Red Bird when I knew the people in this part of the county. They were Bill Knuckles, Rev. Wilkerson Asher, and Benjamin D. Bingham. These families and their ancestors and descendants will follow in order.
Bill Knuckles married a daughter of Rev. Wilkerson Asher, by name of Amanda Jane Asher. They had six children: (1) George M. Knuckles, (2) James Knuckles, (3) T. J. Knuckles, (4) J. B. Knuckles, (5) W. L. Knuckles, (6) M. F. Knuckles.
Rev. Wilkerson Asher was the son of Dillon Asher, who married Richard Davis' daughter and settled in the East end of Middlesborough in 1766. Rev. Wilkerson Asher's wife was Mary (Davis) Asher, and they had the following children: (1) Mary Slusher, wife of Judge J. F. Slusher, (2) Sallie Crank, mother of J. F. Crank, (3) Bijah Asher (John), (4) Betsy Hutchins, (5) China Neal, mother of Judge J. F. Neal, (6) Lucinda Bingham, mother of Hiram Fee's wife, (7) Amanda Jane Knuckles, mother of ex-County Superintendent of Schools, James Knuckles, (8) Rev. Richard Asher, who served as Assessor and Sheriff of the county, (9) Deborah Hutchins, (10) Martha Alice Bingham, mother of Dill Bingham, (11) Ella Asher.
Benjamin D. (?) Bingham (14th Ky. Cavalry in Civil War) married Alice Asher, and there was born to them the following children: (1) Margaret Howard, (2) Dill M. Bingham, who married Polly Howard, (3) Deborha Bingham, (4) Wilk Bingham, (5) Elisha Bingham, (6) Robert Boyd Bingham, (7) T. G. Bingham, (8) Calloway Bingham, (9) Ethel Morgan, (10) Eva Bowman, (11) Holman Bingham, (12) Lucy Bingham, (13) Jack Bingham, (14) Bessie Peters.
Elisha Bingham, father of Benjamin D. Bingham, married Sallie Howard, and had the following children: (1) Calloway Bingham, (2) Benjamin D. Bingham, (3) Elijah Bingham, (4) Vina Jones, (5) Burdenie Bingham, (6) Eli Bingham, (7) Easter Slusher, (8) Robert Bingham, (9) Julia Cox, (10) Green A. Bingham.
Elijah Bingham, father of Elisha Bingham,
married Easter Green, who was a daughter of Lewis Green, the Revolutionary
War soldier. She was the mother of Easter Kilqore. Their children were
Bingham, (2) Bob Bingham, (3) Vina Howard, mother of James Howard who was Jailer of Bell County, (4)----- Green, who married David Green, (5) Vaney Leforce, (6) Mrs. Leforce (two of the girls married Leforces), (7) Betsy Cox, (8) Mrs. Gatliff, (9) Dewane Bingham.
Col. John A. Bingham, who was father of Elijah Bingham and who was a Colonel under Washington in the Revolutionary War, married Easter Kilgore. Their children were (1) Elijah Bingham, (2) Billy Bingham, father-in-law of old Bobby Howard, whose daughters married T. J. Asher and W. F. Hall, (3) Joshua Bingham, father Of Capt. W. M. Bingham and grandfather of Judge J. S. Bingham, (4) John Bingham, who lived in Knox County, was wealthy and owned slaves, (5) Mrs. Elisha Calloway, (6) Betsy Calloway, wife of Charles Calloway. (There were two or three more girls.)
Dill M. Bingham, born August 17, 1871, married Polly Howard. Their children were (1) Venoba Bingham, (2) Howard Bingham, who married Jessie Hyde, (3) Alice Bingham, (4) Lucy Fletcher, Who married J. B. Fletcher, (5) Myrtle Bingham, (6) Ben Mat Bingham, (7) Luther Bingham, (8) Jack Bingham.
Dillon Asher married Richard Davis, daughter, Mary. Richard Davis settled at the foot of the mountain under the pinnacale on the Kentucky side. Davis' Branch was named after him. Dillon Asher was the first toll-gate keeper in the state which was located in the Narrows at Pineville. Richard Davis Patented fifty acres Of land there in 1792. He was said to have settled there in 1766. Dillon Asher was born in 1774 and died may 9, 1844. John Davis Asher, father of Judge T. J. Asher, was born July 11, 1817, and died August 1, 1888.
Lucinda Asher, wife of Rev. Wilkerson Asher, was a daughter of Rev. John Bingham, an old Baptist preacher. Lucinda Asher's mother was Polly DePriest, a daughter of Robert Depriest, who was a Revolutionary War soldier under Washington. Polly Depriest's mother was Patsy Taylor, a cousin to Zachariah Taylor. She was a sister of Neely Taylor. Billy Taylor was father Of Patsy Taylor DePriest.
Dill Bingham's father's mother was Sallie Howard and her mother was Phoebe Slusher, a sister to old Philip slusher.
II. THE RIGHT FORK OF STRAIGHT CREEK SECTION
Jasper Howard lives near the Burns' Spring section on the Right Fork Of Straight Creek, and owms a good farm at this place. He and his People have lived there and have farmed the land for generations. He is one of the leading farmers and businessmen, not only of Straight Creek, but of Bell County. He gave the author the information about the old settlers of the Right Fork of Straight Creek, which follows:
There are only a few of the oldest
settlements on the creek, since people settled in the early days far apart.
The earliest settlements on the Right Fork are (1) At Burns' spring, where
Burns settled; (2) At Jenson, just below Kettle Island, Sammy Woollum; (3) At Stony Fork and Ben's Branch Benjamin ("Cripple Ben") Howard and John Eperson; (4) At Elliott's Ford, on the Right Fork just above the Forks of Straight Creek, Bill Elliott; (5) Murphy Ward just above the Forks of Straight Creek, where the old Straight Creek Mining Camp was; (6) At Kettle Island (in the early days an old kettle was found buried at this place, and hence its name) Isaac Horn, a Baptist preacher, settled; (7) Elec Locke settled at Kettle Island.
Jasper Howard, 1864-, married Mary V. Howard, 1864-, daughter of James L. Howard, of Leslie County, Kentucky, and had the following children: (1) Dr. Garfield Howard, (2) Garrett M. Howard, (3) Dr. John R. Howard, (4) Bertha Howard, who married James M. Wilson, (5) Doxie Sams, (6) Durham Howard, who married Catherine Morgan, and had the following children: (a) Jasper Howard, Jr., (b) John Garfield Howard, (c) Bivie Joe Howard; (7) Gordon Ray Howard, (8) Nola Howard.
Dr. L. R. Howard, son of Jasper Howard, married Fleda Rose Bird. Their children: (1) Charlotte Howard, (2) Naomi Howard.
Dr. Garfield Howard, son of Jasper Howard, married Fannie Gatliff, and they have one child: Maurice Howard.
Benjamin ("Cripple Ben") Howard (1825-1913), married Lucy Wilson (1829-1884), and their children were (1) J. G. Howard, (2) John R. Howard, (3) Elhanon Howard, (4) Caroline Howard, who married "Big" Berry Howard, former member of the Kentucky Legislature and former Sheriff of Bell County, (5) Jasper Howard, (6) J. E. Howard.
Philip Howard, father of Benjamin Howard, married Peggy Hendrickson, and had the following children: (1) Benjamin Howard, (2) Josh Howard, (3) Jim Howard, (4) Lark Howard, (5) Phoebe Howard,, who married Steve Lee, (6) Betsy Howard, who married Anderson Rice, (7) Nancy Howard, who married Will Slusher, (8) Lucinda Howard, who married a Free in Ohio. Philip Howard's father was Benjamin Howard, who came from the Big Sandy River. The Howards of Bell County, in the Straight Creek section, are descendants of Sir Thomas Howard, an Englishman. Gen. 0. 0. Howard claimed to be related to the Straight Creek Howards.
John R. Howard, a brother of Jasper Howard, married Alabama Howard, a daughter of Elisha Howard, and to them were born the following children: (1) Lucy Howard, who married Tom Knuckles; (2) Mahala Howard, (3) Carrie Howard, who married Letcher Knuckles; (4) Laura Howard, who married Joe Saylor; (5) Matilda Howard, who married Frank Robbins.
Garrett Howard, a brother of Jasper Howard, married Catherine Howard, a daughter of old Jimmy Howard, and had the following children: (1) Millard Howard, (2) Bill Howard, (3) Benjamin Howard, (4) Henry Howard, (5) Carrie Howard, who married John M. Lock, (6) Mattie Howard, who married Henry Corum.
"Big" Berry Howard, who married Caroline
Howard, a sister of Jasper Howard, never had any children. They lived on
a farm at the mouth of Stony Fork of Straight Creek.
John Eperson, who married a Hendrickson, in pioneer days lived in the big bottom at the mouth of Stony Fork. Ben Branch, one mile above the mouth of Stony Fork, was named after the father of Jasper Howard, because Benjamin Howard lived and reared his family there.
Hiram Hoskins, who married Betsy Fultz, had the following children: (1) Gabe Hoskins, (2) Mat Hoskins, (3) James Hoskins, (4) Nervie H. Hoskins, who married Bill North at the mouth of Straight Creek, (5) Nancy Lefevers, who married John Lefevers.
A. J. Bailey, who lived on the head of Mill Creek, was a Methodist minister and school teacher. He taught school in the rural schools of Bell County for forty-nine years, and was very efficient and thorough in all he did. He was a well educated man, and his education was the result of his own efforts. He was a student all of his life. He married Catherine Ward, and they had the following children: (1) Everett Bailey, (2) Bascom Bailey, (3) Vadie Bailey, (4) Lucy Bailey.
The first man who settled on the level ground at the mouth of Mill Creek was James Burns. He had two sons: (1) William Burns, (2) James Burns, Jr. These men died and were buried in the community, and by removals and death the Burns family disappeared from the community. Bill Burns had a son Davis Burns. He built two sawmills and grist mills on Straight Creek, near Burns' Spring and at Murphy Ward's place. He went to the Big Sandy River and built mills there. He sawed the lumber on Straight Creek that went into the building of the old Court House in old Pineville in the Narrows. This was Bell County's first court house.
Abe Lock, son of Elec Lock, married Martha Horn, daughter of Isaac Horn, and had the following children: (1) John M. Lock, (2) Walter Lock, (3) Bell Lock, who married James Hoskins, (4) Mary Eliza Lock.
III. LEFT FORK OF STRAIGHT CREEK SECTION
Palestine W. Woollum (1859-), married 1. Martha Neal, and had the following children: (1) Lucy Woollum, (2) James Woollum, (3) Victor Woollum, (4) Walter Woollum, (5) Mattie Woollum, (6) Mollie Woollum; II. Mary Bingham, second wife: (7) Neil Woollum, (8) Dora Woollum, (9) Alberta Woollum, (10) Leo Kenneth Woollum, (11) Palestine W. Woollum, Jr.
Isreal K. Woollum. (1824-1921), father
of Palestine W. Woollum, married 1. Sallie Jennings. Their children: (1)
Martha Woollum, (2) James Woollum., (3) Eliza Woollum, (4) Harriet Woollun,
(5) Armilda Woollum, (6) Mary Woollum, (7) Pal W. Woollum, (8) Alice Woollum;
II. Betty York, no children; III. Rena Rice, no children; IV. Margaret
Wilson, whose name originally was Ward, fourth wife: (9) Lou Woollum, (10)
Grace (twin of Charity), (11) Hugh Woollum, (12) Charity Woollum. (a twin
Jacob Woollum, father of Isreal K. Woollum, married Sarah Hughes, and their children were (1) Rebecca Woollum, (2) Sam Woollum, (3) Isreal K. Woollum, (4) Eliza Woollum, (5) Mary Woollum, (6) Marie Woollum, (7) George Woollum, who settled on Right Ford of Straight Creek, a short distance above the Forks of the Straight Creeks, was brother to Jacob Woollum.
James Woollum, a brother of Isreal K. Woollum, married a Ward, and had children as follows: (1) Andy Woollum, (2) Tom Woollum, (3) Polly Woollum, who married a York; (4) Jane Woollum, who married a Davis; (5) Charity Woollum, who married a Johnson; (6) Mrs. Jim York; (7) Mrs. Frank Gambrel; (8) Mrs. Gord Gambrel, (9) Mrs. Martin Gambrel, (10) Mrs. Carnes, (11) Mrs. Jack Davis, (12) Mrs. Bingham, (13) Mrs. Jacob Slusher.
Lula Woollum, who married Oscar Broughton, had the following children: (1) Bernard Broughton, (2) Lillian Broughton, (3) Ralph Broughton, (4) Mary Ann Broughton, (5) Norris Broughton; II. Boyd Carnes: (6) David Arnold Carnes.
Edgar Napier, who married Alberta Woollum, had these children: (1) Joyce Napier, (2) Samuel Palestine Napier, (3) Billie Napier, (4) Ester Marie Napier.
James Hunter, who married Dora Woollum, had these children: (1) Mary Lou Hunter, (2) Clarence Richard Hunter, (3) Betty Ruth Hunter.
Clark Smith, who married Nell Woollum, had one child: (1) Donald Smith.
Leonard Blessing, who married Grace Woollum, has the following children: (1) Evelyn Blessing, (2) Billie Joe Blessing, (3) Brenda Jane Blessing. Stanford Ward, who married Amanda Wilson, had these children: (1) Arthur Ward, (2) Margie Ward, (3) Mary Ward, (4) Nora Ward, (5) Rena Ward, (6) Clara Ward, (7) Linus Ward. James Ward was father of Stanford Ward and his grandfather was Murphy Ward. James Ward had the following children: (1) Catherine Ward, (2) Frances Ward, (3) Richard Ward, (4) Stanford Ward, (5) Hugh Ward, (6) Lucy Ward, (7) Margaret Ward, (8) John Ward.
Jake Slusher, who married Emily Woollum, had these children: (1) Lucy Napier, (2) Charity Slusher, (3) Ellen Carnes, (4) Harris Slusher, (5) Leonard Slusher, (6) Tom Slusher, (7) Kittie Slusher.
John Slusher, father of Jacob Slusher, married a Woollum and had these children: (1) Jake Slusher, (2) John Slusher, (3) Robert Slusher, (4) Sam Slusher, (5) Wilk Slusher, (6) Will Slusher.
Wilk Slusher, who married an Asher,
had the following children: (1) Robert Slusher, (2) John Slusher, (3) Sam
Slusher, (4) James Slusher, (5) Jacob Slusher, (6) Will P. Slusher, (7)
Silas Slusher, (8) Richard Slusher, (9) Henry Slusher, (10) America Slusher,
(11) Ellen Slusher, (12) Lucy Slusher, (13) Brit Slusher.
Rev. W. P. Slusher, a Baptist minister, and son of Wilkerson Slusher, married Fannie Bingham, and had one child: (1) Will P. Slusher, Jr.
Silas Slusher, a brother of Rev. Will P. Slusher, married Mollie Meredith, and had these children: (1) Fannie Slusher, (2) Will Slusher, (3) Henry Slusher, (4) Mary Slusher, (5) Bertha Slusher, (6) Elizabeth Slusher, (7) Myrtle Slusher, (8) Floyd Slusher, (9) Leon Slusher, (10) Millard Slusher.
Brit Slusher married Kittie Napier, and they had eight children: (1) Silas Slusher, (2) Ellen Slusher, (3) Will Slusher, (4) Lee Slusher, (5) Franklin Slusher, (6) Golden Slusher, (7) Virginia Slusher, (8) George Napier, (9) Kittie Napier.
John York married Harriet Woollum and had these children: (1) Isreal York, (2) Harris York, (3) Andy York, (4) Schuyler York, (5) Jim York, (6) McKinley York, (7) Mary York, (8) Sidney York, (9) Sudie York (10) Sallie York.
James York married Armilda Woollum and had these children: (1) Palestine York, (2) Sherman York, (3) Mary York, (4) Bessie York, (5) Sarah Ellen York, (6) Amanda York, (7) Dora York.
Anse York married Lucy Woollum, daughter of Abner Woollum and had these children: (1) Harve York, (2) Oscar York, (3) Gillis York, (4) Christopher York. The father of Anse, John and James, was Dennis York.
Philip Rice married Alice Woollum and had these children: (1) Anderson Rice, (2) Palestine Rice, (3) Bradley Rice, (4) Jasper Rice, (5) Boyd Rice, (6) Ada Rice, (7) Mellie Rice, (8) Sarah Ellen Rice, (9) Eliza Bell Rice. Philip Rice's father was Anderson Rice and his grandfather was Stephen Rice.
Palestine Rice married Lizzie Hendrickson and had these children: (1) Sarah Rice, (2) Tilmon Rice, (3) Mary Rice, (4) Selvie Rice, (5) Caster Rice, (6) Ewin Rice.
Anderson Rice married Emily Napier and had these children: (1) Bertha Rice, (2) Robert Rice, (3) Fannie Rice, (4) Lucy Rice.
James T. Napier, married the first time 1. Mellie Saylor, daughter of John L. Saylor, and had two children: (1) Lillie Napier, (2) Robert Napier; II. Lucy Bailey, daughter of A. J. Bailey, second wife: (3) Hattie Napier, (4) A. J. Napier, (5) Irene Napier.
John L. Saylor married Margaret Miracle and had these children: (1) Gillis Saylor, (2) Elijah Saylor, (3) Joe Saylor, (4) Nellie Saylor, (5) Mary Saylor, (6) Maggie Saylor.
Simeon Chappell narried Sidney York,
daughter of Dennis York, and had three children: (1) Ellen Chappell, (2)
John S. Chappell, (3) Will Chappell.
Murph Elliott married Margaret Napier and had three children: (1) Jim Elliott, (2) Bob Elliott, (3) Rev. Cam Elliott, a Baptist preacher.
A. J. Asher, a brother of T. J. Asher, lived near the mouth of Straight Creek and had five children: (1) Chesney Knuckles, (2) Bennett Asher, (3) Hettie Hodges, (4) Lindsay Asher, (5) Margaret Asher.
Simon Delph was reared on Spring Creek of Red Bird Creek, moved to Straight Creek in 1891, and went to Whitley County in 1899. Joshua Delph, 1854-1931, father of Simon Delph, married Lucinda Sizemore (1853-), and they had six children: (1) Simon Delph (1876-), (2) Nancy Delph (1878-), (3) Sarah Delph (1881-), (4) Ollie Delph (1884-1905), (5) Litha Delph (1887-), (6) G. C. Delph (1896-).
Simon Delph's grandfather moved from Hancock County, Tennessee, to Goose Creek in Clay County, Kentucky, in 1859. Harvey Delph (1824-1914) married Mary Irwin (1825-1912) and had eight children: (1) Alexander Delph, (2) James Delph, (3) Joshua Edward Delph, (4) Albert Delph, (5) John Delph, (6) Nancy Sizemore, (7) George Delph, (8) Gilbert Delph. Harvey Delph later moved to Spring Creek, waters of Red Bird Creek in 1861.
Jacob Delph (1800-1905), father of Harvey Delph, was born in Grayson County, Virginia, and died in Lee County, Virginia. Jacob's wife was a Baker. Daniel Delph (1765-1855) came from Germany or Holland and settled in Grayson County, Virginia, lived and died there.
Simon Delph, a son of Joshua Delph, was County Superintendent of the schools of Bell County 1910-1918, and, before that time, had been a teacher in the Bell County Schools for many years. Since his time expired as County Superintendent he has been teaching in the schools of Bell County. He has been a valuable asset to the schools of Bell County for over a quarter of a century. He is well educated, aggressive, and thorough in all of his work, and his influence on the school system of Bell County will be felt a long time after he has passed from the scene, Simon Delph was married twice: I. Sarah Fuson, daughter of James R. Fuson: (1) Lillian Delph, who married Dr. H. W. Terrell, of Corbin, Kentucky; II. Rosa Knuckles, daughter of C. C. Knuckles (no children by second marriage). The Delphs live at Ferndale, Kentucky.
Judge John Green's father was Elijah Green, son of Lewis Green. Judge Green was County Judge of Bell County and lived in Pineville for many years before his death as an old man.
Mose Dorton, for whom Dorton Branch was named, settled in the early days on Dorton Branch.
Bill North lived at the mouth of Straight
Creek, across from Pineville proper. He had two sons: (1) Millard North,
who was County Court Clerk of Bell County, and (2) Grant North who was
County Superintendent of Bell County. Bill North was the second County
Superintendent of Bell County (then Josh Bell County, and the office was
The THREE STATES, of Middlesborough, says: "One of Bell County's oldest residents, Mrs. Mary Ann Huff Ridings, passed away Monday (January 9, 1939) at 12:30 a.m. at the home of a granddaughter, Mrs. Bill Sloan, on Straight Creek, at the age of 94 years. Infirmities of age were given as the immediate cause of death. Her husband preceded her in death 30 years ago.
"Survivors are one daughter, Mrs. Maggie Ward, of Straight Creek, and one son, Robert; 19 grandchildren, of whom J. W. Ridings, of Middlesborough, is one; 37 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild, who is Betty Jean Ridings, daughter of George Ridings, of Middlesborough."
Samuel B. Napier, who lived on the Left Fork of Straight Creek, was born September 11, 1876, and married: 1. Maude Slusher: (1) Tressie Napier, (2) Richard Napier; (3) Cleveland Napier; II. Minnie Brachett: (4) Venus Napier, (5) Lonnie B. Napier, (6) Virginia Napier, (7) Eugene Napier.
The mother of Samuel B. Napier was Jane Napier, and her children were as follows: (1) Hiskel Napier, (2) S. B. Napier, (3) Alec Napier, (4) Mary Napier.
The grandfather of Samuel B. Napier was Joe Napier and his grandmother was Sallie McConkle, and there were born to them: (1) Jane Napier, (2) George Napier, (3) Pence Napier, (4) Robert Napier, (5) Frank Napier, (6) Sam Napier, (7) Annie Napier.
Robert Collett, now residing at Brookside in Harlan County, was born in Bell County October 31, 1884. He was married twice: 1. Hyla Young, born 1886, and to them were born: (1) Robert Collett, Jr., (2) Claud Collett, (3) Evelyn Collett; II. Ellen Brewer: (1) Fay Collett.
His father was Dyer Collett and his mother Emily Jane Sizemore and to them were born: (1) Beve Collett, who married Nora Best, (2) Letcher Collett, who married Rena Best, (3) Farmer Collett, who married Nancy Redmon, (4) Thomas Collett, who married Maggie Redmon, (5) Louisa Collett, who married Bill Kelly, (6) Dillon Collett, and (7) Robert Collett.
B. UPPER CUMBERLAND AREA
I. PUCKETTS CREEK SECTION
Robert Howard, who married Lucinda
Bingham, lived and died on the lower part of Pucketts Creek. He married
twice and left a large number of descendants. His first marriage was to
Lucinda Bingham and his second to Mary Lundy. Their children were as follows:
(1) Varilda Howard, who married T. J. Asher; (2) W. M. C. Howard; (3) Ellissie
Howard; (4) Palestine Howard; (5) Radford Howard; (6) Saretta Howard, who
married Frank Creech; (7) Aretha Howard, who married Jesse W. Howard; (8)
Tyrus Howard, who was Sheriff of Bell County; (9) Lucy
Howard, who married Judge W. F. Hall, of Harlan; (10) Nancy Howard, who married R. W. Creech. (11) Mary Howard, who married Charles Calloway. These above were children by the first wife: (12) Etha Howard, who married White Eldridge; and (13) Cassie Howard, who married Ralph Tuggle.
Robert Howard's father was Larkin Howard, who married a Risner. Bill Howard, a brother of Robert Howard, lived this side of Rock Branch on Pucketts Creek. Michael Howard, another brother of Robert Howard, also lived on Pucketts Creek. James Howard married Robert Howard's sister, Katie Howard. Brit Lee, a first cousin of Sarah Jane Lee Fuson, mother of H. H. Fuson, Lived on Pucketts Creek and married a daughter of James and Katie Howard.
Lewis Green lived on Pucketts Creek, and some of his boys were (1) Garret Green, (2) Palestine Green, and (3) Will Green.
Wilse Payne lived on Pucketts Creek and married a daughter of James and Katie Howard. Jasper Howard, a relative of Robert Howard, also lived on Pucketts Creek and had, among other children, these two boys: (1) Lark Howard, and (2) Ben Howard. William Bingham lived on Black Snake Branch of Pucketts Creek. He was a nephew of Mrs. Robert Howard, and had the following children: (1) Mary Bingham, (2) Debbie Bingham, (3) Bird Bingham, (4) Bass Bingham, (5) Dale Bingham, (6) Varilda Bingham, and (7) Amanda Bingham. John Wadkins, an old residenter of Pucketts Creek, went to Oklahcma, and there he was killed. He married Idis Howard, a daughter of Bill Howard. They had the following children: (1) Eli Wadkins, (2) Elijah Wadkins, (3) Phoebe Wadkins, (4) Emily Wadkins, and (5) Sarah Wadkins.
Sam Creech lived at the mouth of Pucketts Creek. His wife was named Rhoda Creech. They had five children: (1) Robert W. Creech, whose children were (a) George, (b) Ted, (c) Robert, (d) Laura, and (e) Annie; (2) Lila Creech; (3) Frank Creech; (4) Elisha Creech, who had two children: (a) Dora and (b) Belle; (5) Nute Creech, among whose children were (a) Gillis, (b) Vick, (c) two girls.
Capt. Ben Howard, who married Elizabeth Howard, lived on the Upland near the mouth of Pucketts Creek. They had these children: (1) Lige Howard, (2) Lark Howard, (3) Judge Howard, (4) Belle Howard, (5) Ben Howard, and (6) Josephine Howard. Rich Johnson also lived on this Upland. He married Phoebe Howard, sister of Robert Howard, and they had these children: (1) Jim Johnson, (2) Leander Johnson, (3) Wilbur Johnson, (4) Andrew Johnson, (5) Dillard Johnson, (6) Nathaniel Johnson.
II. ON THE RIVER BELOW PUCKETTS CREEK
Coming down the Cumberland River from
Calloway, Charley Callaway lived in the Calloway Settlement. He married
Mary Ball of Virginia, and they had these children: (1) Bal Calloway, (2)
Mrs. Steve Cawood, and (3) Caroline Callaway. John Green, who lived between
Calloway Hill and
Tanyard Hill, married Adison Leforce's sister. Hamp Lewis, who lived in this same settlement, married a Howard, sister of Milt Howard. Jackie Parsons, who married a Williams, also lived in this community, and had the following children: (1) Joe Parsons, (2) Spencer Parson, (3) Catherine Parsons, and (4) Josephine Parsons. Bill Taylor also lived here and had these boys: (1) Mat Taylor, (2) Mount Taylor, and (3) John Taylor (Blind John). Sam Wilder married Aggie Green, daughter of John Green. James Campbell, who married Ruthy Green, had the following children: (1) George Campbell, (2) William A. Campbell, (3) D. H. Campbell, and (4) Lige Campbell.
Levi Hoskins lived on the side of Tanyard Hill towards Pineville. He had these children (1) George Hoskins, (2) Ed Hoskins, and (3) Sarah Hoskins. Another Levi Hoskins lived in the same community. Dan Collett, who married Elizabeth Upton, daughter of Doctor Upton, had these children, among others: (1) Skelt Collett, (2) John M. Collett, (3) Jahu Collett, and (4) a girl who married a Taylor. Elisha Bingham lived on Tom's Creek, and was the father of Jim Tom Bingham and Nath Bingham. Tom Green, who lived on Tom's Creek, married Richard Risner's sister, and had these children: (1) Mrs. Charles Knuckles, (2) Mrs. Bill Blanton, and (3) Henry Green. Noah Smith, who married Jackie Parson's widow, Julia, mother of Joe Parsons, had these children: (1) John Smith and (2) George Smith. They lived on Callaway Hill. Bal Calloway lived on Calloway Hill and had the following children: (1) Ellen Calloway, who married Andrew Johnson; (2) Charles Calloway, (3) Jim Calloway, (4) John Calloway, (5) Richard Calloway, (6) Steve Calloway, (7) Mrs. Bill Howard, and (8) Mrs. Judge Howard.
Si Hoskins lived at the mouth of Pucketts Creek. He married a Williams and had these children: (1) Elizabeth Hoskins, (2) Nute Hoskins, (3) Enoch Hoskins, (4) Andrew Hoskins, (5) George Hoskins, (6) Charles Hoskins, and (7) Jack Hoskins. Henderson Green, uncle of Joe Parsons, lived across the river from Hamp Lewis' place.
William S. Howard, Sr. ("Big Bill"), lived about where Brit Howard lived at the mouth of Mill Branch. He came to Pucketts Creek in 1808, and was born about 1790 and died around 1870 or 71. He was a double cousin of Steve Daniel's mother, who was a Howard and Slusher. He was E. V. Howard's great grandfather. He was said to have been 6 feet 6 1/2 inches tall, weighted 325 pounds, and was 3 feet and 1 inch across the shoulders. Photo William S. Howard
William S. Howard, Sr., had the following children: (1) Capt. Benjamin Howard, (2) Wix Howard, who last lived at London, Kentucky, (3) John C. Howard, (4) James G. Howard, grandfather of E. V. Howard, (5) Katherine Howard, who married Elijah Howard, (6) Phoebe Howard, (7) William S. Howard, Jr., (8) Green Howard, father of Elisha ("Big Lish") and Larkin Howard.
Green Howard had the following children,
among others: (1) Elisha ("Big Lish") Howard, (2) Larkin Howard, (3) James
Jayhugh Collett (1871-) married Cicely Flynn (1877-) and they had seven children: (1) Margaret Pursifull, who married John M. Pursifull; (2) Mrs. James B. Howard, Wallins; (3) Odell Collett, (4) Creed Collett, (5) Hubert Collett, (6) Doris Collett, (7) Reba Collett.
Daniel Greene Collett (1851-1926) married Elizabeth Upton (1854-1912) and had five children: (1) Jayhugh Collett, (2) John M. Collett, (3) J. S. Collett, (4) Ethel Collett, (5) Mary Collett.
James Collett married Caroline Greene, granddaughter of Lewis Greene, and had four children: (1) Daniel Greene Collett, (2) Mary Collett, (3) Nancy Collett, (4) Virginia Collett.
Grandfather of Jayhugh Collett on his mother's side was John Upton. John Upton's mother was a Daniels. John Upton's children were (1) A. B. Upton, (2) Elizabeth Collett, (3) Jane Upton, (4) John Upton, (5) General Upton, (6) Docia Upton, (7) Josephine Upton.
The marker on the road between Calloway Hill and Tanyard Hill to Lewis Green, reads as follows:
"Lewis Green, 1751-1835, Revolutionary Soldier, 1776-1783, settled on Cumberland River 17 miles from Harlan Court House before 1800. He and his wife are buried 100 feet from this spot. Erected by Mountain Trail Chapter D.A.R. , Harlan, Kentucky. (moved to up on hill about 100ft from old road)
There is a marker at his grave just above this marker and the words on this marker are as follows: "Lewis Green, Virginia, Pvt. Shelby's Va. Troups, Rev. War 1835."
Joseph Warren Parson (1863-) married Rosa Bell Flynn (1870-) and had the following children: (1) Baby Parsons, (2) Mendel Boyd Parsons, (3) Norris Prouty Parsons, (4) Pearl Williams, (5) Walter Flynn Parsons.
John Jackson Parsons (1802-1872) married the first time, I. Barbara Spencer: (1) Mary Ann Dixon, (2) Sallie Creech, married Isaac Creech, Clover Fork; (3) Elizabeth Green, married Henderson Green, son of Billy Green, son of Lewis Green; (4) Abigail Hoskins, who married Josiah Hoskins, father of Dr. Albert B. Hoskins, Beattyville, Kentucky, and Enoch Hoskins, who was Magistrate in the Pineville District for many years. (5) Enoch Parsons, union soldier, died at Louisville, and is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery, (6) Susie Ann Wilson. II. Julia Williams, second wife: (7) Spencer Parsons, (8) Barbara Parsons, (9) Rhoda Parsons, (10) J. W. Parsons, (11) Cynthia Ann Parsons, (12) Carrie Parsons.
John Parsons, Lee County, Virginia: (1) Joseph Parsons, (2) Steve Parsons, (3) Bill Parsons, (4) Jim Parsons, (5) John Jackson Parsons, (6) Amy Parson, married Rev. Jim Edwards, of Madison County, a Baptist preacher, (7) Dizie Pennington.
Joseph Warren, who was killed at the
Battle of Bunker Hill in the Revolutionary War, was a cousin of John Jackson
Parsons. John Jackson Parsons and Joseph Warren had correspondence with
Charley Calloway married Betsy Green, sister of Judge John Green, of Pineville, and they had these children: (1) Caroline Calloway, (2) Nancy Johnson, (3) Sylvester Newly, Carrie Newly's mother; (4) Mrs. Steve Cawood, (5) Ballanger Calloway.
Ballinger Calloway married Mary Ball, and had twelve children: (1) Charlie Calloway, (2) James Calloway, (3) Dr. George Calloway, (4) Richard Calloway, (5) Steve Calloway, (6) John Calloway, (7) Ellie Johnson, (8) Margaret Mackay, (9) Lucy Hobbs, (10) Mellie Howard, (11) Carrie Cox, (12) Nannie Bird.
Jim Calloway married Carrier Parsons, sister of Joe Parsons, and they had six children: (1) J. W. Calloway, (2) Richard Calloway, (3) Earl Calloway, (4) Edward Calloway, (5) Doxie Calloway, (6) Mossie Calloway.
Samuel Creech married Rhoda Powell, and had five children: (1) Elisha Creech, (2) Nuton Creech, (3) Frank Creech, (4) Robert Creech, (5) Lilia Creech.
Nuton Creech married Sarah Jones and they had four children: (1) Victor Creech, (2) Gillis Creech, (3) George Wilson, (4) Minnie Martin.
Elisha Creech married America Howard, and had two children: (1) Belle Pursifull, (2) Dora Kirby, wife of James D. Kirby. James E. Kirby and Dora Creech had three children: (1) Hallie Kirby, (2) Hubert Kirby.
John Mack Green, son of Bill Green, grandson of Lewis Green, married Emily Leforce, and they had seven children: (1) W. A. Green, (2) George Green (Harlan), (3) Elijah Green, (4) G. H. Green, (5) Ruthy Campbell, (6) America Wilder, (7) Aggie Corum.
Hampton Lewis, brother of Felix Lewis and Judge Wilson Lewis, married I. Emily Howard: (1) Dr. M. H. Lewis, (2) Mary Lewis; II. Virginia Collett: (3) Myrtle Lewis, (4) Clarence Lewis.
Henderson Green, Billy Green's son, brother of John Mack Green, married Elizabeth Parsons, and had six children: (1) Henderson Green, (2) John Green, (3) Easter Cox, (4) Emily Cox, (5) Nancy Cox, (6) Paralee Miracle.
Rice W. Johnson, mouth of Pucketts Creek, married Phoebe Howard, and had six children: (1) Wilburn Johnson, (2) Jim Johnson, (3) Nathaniel Johnson, (4) Andrew Johnson, (5) Leander Johnson, (6) Dillard Johnson.
Frank Creech married Saretta Howard, daughter of Bob Howard, and had four children: (1) Millard Creech, (2) Dock Creech, (3) Lee Creech, (4) Rosa Creech.
Wilse Saylor married Bill Howard's
daughter and had several children, among whom are (1) Solomon Saylor, (2)
Ben Saylor, (3) John Saylor.
Joe Parsons tells an interesting story of how Browney's Creek and Cubage Creek got their names. Brown Buffalo, probably mixed with some native cattle, roamed Browney's Creek in the early days and in speaking of a Buffalo, they called it a "Browney," and the Creek took the name Browney's Creek from this incident. Cubage was named from a cub bear that was fought and killed on Cubage Creek by Andy Lee (great grandfather of the author). From cub they got Cubage for the name for the creek.
W. T. Rice, of Harlan, Kentucky, relates this story with reference to the name of Cubage. He says Bill Green told him that a party of pioneer hunters were hunting on Cubage Creek, and a fellow by the name of Cubage got his feet frostbitten until he couldn't travel. They had to stay there until he got so that he could travel. After that the people named the creek Cubage.
Which account is correct, I do not know, but it seems the former is the better theory. Cubage from Cub looks more reasonable since the man's name would be spelled more likely Cubbage.
T. J. Asher lived at Wasioto, carried on his business and reared his family there. The house in which he lived is still standing there, although the store building and most of the houses used for his employees in his lumber business are torn down and have disappeared. He carried on an immense lumber business just prior to 1896 and just afterwards. Early in the twentieth century he went out of the lumber business and went into the coal business. Simon Delph says of the Asher family:
"Dillion Asher, born 1774 and died May 9, 1844, the progenitor of the Asher family, in the mountains of Kentucky, was the son of Bill Asher and Sallie Blevins. He married Mary Davis of Davis Branch near Middlesboro, and settled on Red Bird in Clay County, just below the mouth of Phillip's Fork. He is buried just across the branch in front of his house. His son John Asher lived there until he died. Thomas J. Asher was a grandson.
"Dillion Asher, who married Mary Davis, daughter of Richard Davis, had the following children: (1) Bob Asher, (2) John Asher, (3) Blevins Asher, (4) Mrs. Farmer Roberts, (5) Josiah Asher, (6) Farmer Asher, (7) Preston Asher, (8) Wilkerson Asher, (9) Jack Asher, father of T. J. and A. J. Asher. The log house in which Dillion Asher lived is still standing.
Andrew Jack Asher (1813-1884) had the following children: (1) Dill Asher, (2) John Asher, (3) Mat Asher, (4) T. J. Asher, (5) A. J. Asher, a large land owner, (6) Hugh L. Asher, (7) Bige Asher, (8) Martha Asher, (9) Margaret Asher, (10) Charity Asher, (11) Polly Asher.
"T. J. Asher, who married Varilda
Howard, daughter of Robert Howard, of Pucketts Creek, had the following
children: (1) Robert Asher, (2) Mat Asher, (3) Jack Asher, (4) Hugh Asher,
(5) Mrs. Brandenberg."
"Steve W. Daniels, 86 years old, died at his home at Page Tuesday, January 9, 1939, following an illness of three years. He is survived by fifteen children: (1) John Daniels, of California; (2) Bill Daniels, of Jayem: (3) Mrs. Phoebe J. Vison, St. Louis, Mo., (4) Mrs. Houston Ball, Middlesobough, Kentucky; (5) Mrs. Thelma Daniels, Lexington; (6) Philip Daniels, Cleveland; (7) Mrs. John L. Hoskins, Calvin; (8) Mrs. W. E. Eastlind, Louisville; (9) Mrs. Bessie Daniels, Middlesborough; (10) Jim Daniels, Salem, Ind.; (11) Arley Daniels, Providence, Kentucky; (12) Howard Daniels, Providence, Kentucky; (13) Roscoe Daniels, Calvin, Ky. (14) Mrs. Sarah Parker, St. Louis. Funeral services were held at Blackmont on Thursday, January 12, 1939, under the direction of the Durham Funeral Home"--The PINEVILLE SUN, Pineville, Kentucky.
Wilkerson Campbell, who lives on the south side of Tanyard Hill on the main highway, gave me some interesting information about his family.
"Laura (Campbell) Hoskins (1884-), married the first time: I. Charley Hoskins (1854-1908) --No children: II. Daniel B. Thompson: (1) Bertha Thompson, (2) Lloyd Milton Thompson.
"James Archie Campbell (Dec. 3, 1856 to Feb. 15, 1931), married Ruthy (Green) Campbell (April 12, 1856 to December 23, 1914). daughter of John Mack Green, who was a son of Lewis Green of the Revolutionary War. Children: (1) Lloyd Campbell (March 23, 1880-), (2) Martha Campbell (Feb. 11, 1882-), (3) Wilkerson Campbell (July 3, 1883), (4) Laura Campbell (Nov. 16, 1884-), (5) Elijah Campbell (Jan. 3, 1887-).
&nsbp; "Milburn Campbell, brother of James Archie Campbell, lived and died on Clear Fork of Yellow Creek. He married Julia Coldiron, and had the following children: (1) Henry Campbell, (2) Arch Campbell, (3) Edna Campbell, (4) Martha Campbell, (5) Mary Ester Campbell, (6) Elisha Campbell, (7) Bill Goebel Campbell, (8) Lloyd Brownlee Campbell.
"Wilkerson Campbell married twice: I. Martha Pursifull: (1) James A. Campbell, (2) Milburn Campbell; II. Jane Ball; (3) Emily Campbell, (4) Easter Campbell, (5) George Campbell, (6) Will Campbell, (7) Albert Campbell, (8) Clementine Campbell, (9) Adeline Campbell.
"Wilkerson Campbell, son of James A. Campbell, married Stella Bowens. They had the following children: (1) James Campbell, (2) Lloyd Campbell, (3) Norman Campbell.
"Wilkerson Campbell says of his ancestors:
My great grandfather was kidnapped in France when he was four years old,
and was kept on the sea till he was sixteen. He made his escape. While
on board ship, he became a professional cook. His name was Pole Campbell.
He settled in Middlesborough, Kentucky, and reared four boys: (1) Wilkerson
Campbell, (2) Jefferson Campbell, (3) Pole Campbell, (4) French Campbell.
Wilkerson Campbell settled at Page, above Wasioto. Jefferson Campbell in
what is now Binghamtown near the Tannery in Middlesborough. French Campbell
settled near Flat Lick, Kentucky. Pole Campbell went to Oklahoma and never
After getting this information from Wilkerson Campbell, I journeyed down the river about one half mile to the home of General Filmore Cox, whose mother was Sallie Lee, a sister of John Lee and Philip Lee, and daughter of Andrew Lee, and there got a lot of good information about his people and those others he knew.
"General Gilmore Cox (May 11, 1862-) married Elizabeth Green, daughter of Bobby Green, and they had eleven children: (1) D. M. Cox, (2) John Henry Cox, (3) Joshua Cox, (4) Bradley Cox, (5) Levi Cox, (6) Millard Cox, (7) Nancy Cox, (8) Dora Cox, (9) Ida Cox, (10) Laura Cox, (11) Amanda Jane Cox.
"Hobert Walters married Laura Cox, daughter of Gilmore Cox, and they have three children: (1) Ernest Walters, (2) Arthur Walters, (3) Jayhugh Walters.
"Daniel Wilder married Amanda Jane Cox, daughter of Gilmore Cox, and has five children: (1) Arnold Wilder, (2) Thelma Wilder, (3) Lillian Wilder, (4) Martin Wilder, (5) Betty Fay Wilder.
"Levi Cox, son of Gilmore Cox, married Minnie Tuttle, and they have five children: (1) Naomi Cox, (2) Sterling Cox, (3) Wanita Cox, (4) Nuvaughn Cox, (5) Arlis Wayne Cox.
"D. M. Cox, son of Gilmore Cox, married Ellie Lee, daughter of David Lee, and they have five children: (1) Elmer Cox, (2) Warren Cox, (3) Hubert Cox, (4) Edith Cox, (5) Goldie Cox.
"Bill Green lived on Cubage and married Caroline Green, daughter of Bobby Green, and had seven children: (1) Thomas Green, (2) B. D. Green, (3) Lewis G. Green, (4) Aggie Green, (5) Amanda Jane Green, (6) Caroline Green, (7) Nancy Green.
"Bob Wilson (Red Bob) married Katie Lee, sister of Joe Lee, lived on Browney's Creek, and had the following children: (1) Joseph Wilson, (2) Richard Wilson, (3) Isaac Wilson, (4) Garret Wilson, (5) Gillis Wilson, (6) Rachel Wilson, (7) Alabama Wilson.
"Bascom Daniel, who lived on Browney's Creek, married Diddle Saylor, daughter of Gilbert Saylor, and they had three children: (1) Philip Daniel, (2) Garrett Daniel, (3) Percilla Daniel.
"Josiah Miracle (Si), who married Rena Lee, had one child: (1) Josiah Miracle, Jr.
"Jim Green married Emily Poff, lived in the bend of the river back of Tanyard Hill, and had two children: (1) Lou Thomas Green, (2) Mary Jane Green.
"Lewis Green was the father of Jim
Green. He had the following children: (1) Jim Green, (2) Bill Green, (3)
Tant Green, (4) Lewis Green, (5) Chaddie Green, (6) Thomas Green, (7) Lettie
Green, (8) Nancy Green. He lived in the bend of the river back of Tanyard
Otto Pursifull and his good wife Annie (Fulton) pursifull, of page, Kentucky, very kindly furnished me information about the Pursifull family. They have the following children: (1) William Fulton Pursifull, (2) Christine Pursifull, (3) Virginia Pursifull.
"James Arve Pursifull, father of Otto Pursifull, married Mary Bell Creech, daughter of Nute Creech. Her mother was America Howard. They had the following children: (1) Otto Pursifull, (2) Nora Pursifull, who married J. H. Bailey, Manager of the Kentucky Utilities Company, (3) Ada Pursifull, (4) James A. Pursifull, Jr., (5) Dr. Brownlee Pursifull.
"John Mat Pursifull married Deborah Green, sister of Judge John Green, and they had nine children: (1) James Arve Pursifull, (2) Elijah Pursifull, father of John M. Pursifull, the present County Judge of Bell County, (3) Mount Pursifull, (4) Will Pursifull, (5) Charley Pursifull, (6) Ester Bates (Miller), (7) Carrie Pursifull, who married Calvin Hurst, (8) Maggie Pursifull, who married Calvin Miller, (9) Mary Hoskins (Brown) .
"Mount Pursifull, great-great grandfather of Otto Purisfull, married Mary Colson, and had two children: (1) John Mat Pursifull, (2) Henry C. Pursifull who was County Judge of Bell County. James Pursifull was a son of Henry C. Pursifull. Mount Pursifull (1794-1890) is the oldest settler at Page, having settled here in the earliest pioneer times. He married at the Mib Campbell place on Clear Fork of Yellow Creek. His house at Page was in the Hawkan Branch, the first branch on the left above Page.
"Christine Pursifull married Harold Nelson, and they had two children: (1) Barbara Ann Nelson, (2) Mary Elizabeth Nelson.
"William Fulton Pursifull married Reba Wilder, and they have two children: (1) Crede Fulton Pursifull, (2) Milton Otto Pursifull. These four children of these last two families have one great-great grandmother living. The first two children have two grandmothers, three great grandmothers, and one great-great grandmother living.
"Mat Taylor, bend of the river, married a Thompson, daughter of George Thompson, and they had several children, among whom are (1) Bill Taylor, (2) Pascal Taylor, (3) Carlo Taylor, (4) Levi Taylor, (5) Harvey Taylor.
"Elhannon Howard early lived where Colse Blanton now lives.
"James K. Green, brother of Lum Green,
married Sarah Robbins, and had eight children: (1) Gabe Green, (2) Elijah
Green, who married a Hoskins, (3) Vestine Green, who married a Hoskins,
(4) Mary Green, who married a Hoskins, (5) Lucy Green, who married a Wilson,
(6) Amanda Green, who married a Blanton, (7) Caroline Green, (8) George
Green, who married a Hoskins.
"John McGeorge, who married Jane (Howard) McGeorge (1832-1928) lived on Watt's Creek, two or three miles above Page opposite Seven Sisters. This creek is now known as Mack Branch. She died here, where she had lived all her life, and was buried on the Steve Lee place one-quarter of a mile above Mack Branch. she had the following children: (1) Louis McGeorge, (2) Dillard McGeorge, (3) Aggie McGeorge, (4) Green McGeorge, (5) Letitia McGeorge, (6) America McGeorge, (7) John McGeorge, (8) Elizabeth, (9) Sarah, (10) Jim, (11) Tom, (12) Sollie.
"D. Columbus (Lum) Green, brother of James K. Green, married Margaret Van Bever. They live four miles up Hances Creek. They have the following children: (1) Martin Green, (2) Charles Green, (3) James Green, (4) George Green, (5) Jake Green, (6) Bill Green, (7) Ewing ('Dock') Green, (8) Joe Green, (9) Clay Green, (10) Robert Green, (11) Edna Green, (12) Carrie Green.
"Martin Green, father of Lum Green, had the following children: (1) James K. Green, (2) Lum Green, (3) Pink Green, (4) Joe Green, (5) Varzella Green, who married a Pope, (6) Rebecca Green, who married a Robbins. Martin Green came to Kentucky from North Carolina. Maryin Green lived on Clear Fork of Yellow Creek.
"Ewing Green (1895-) married Bessie Durham (1899-), and they had the following children: (1) Howard Endell Green (1922-), (2) Evelyn Faye Green (1925-), (3) Joyce Green (1929-), (4) Mary Margaret Green (1932-), (5) Ewing Green, Jr., (1934-), (6) Virginia Anne Green (1938-).
"Bill Green married twice: I. Dessie Hoskins: (1) Mayo Green, (2) Clio Green, (3) Clarence Green; II. Doxie Miracle: (4) Frances Green, (5) Willie Jean Green, (6) Paul Edward Green.
"George Green married Myrtle Wilder, daughter of Sillus Wilder, and had nine children: (1) Theophalus Green, (2) Della Green, (3) Jack Green, (4) Lois Green, (5) Eulum Green, (6) Elam Green, (7) Joe Green, (8) Georgia Green, (9) Charles Green.
"Barnett Saylor married Edna Green and had two children" (1) Robert Saylor, (2) Ralph Saylor.
"Andy Taylor married Carrie Green and had four children: (1) Roy Taylor, (2) Rex Taylor, (3) Betty Jean Taylor, (4) Mildred Taylor."
Andy Davis, who has a filling station and grocery store at Page, gave me some information about the Davis family. He married Mallie Doss, daughter of James Doss, of East Pineville. They have no children.
"Jeff Davis, father of Andy Davis,
lived on Patterson's Branch not far from Ferndale. He married Ellen Robbins.
They had eleven children: (1) Andy Davis, (2) Mary Davis, who married John
Miracle, (3) Nancy Davis, who married John Mat Hoskins, (4) Martha Davis,
who married a Beson, (5) Henretta Davis, who married Jeff Hoskins, (6)
Bill Davis, (7) John Davis, (8) Jess Davis, (9) Easter Davis, who married
Chesley Thompson, (10) Ewing Davis, (11) Carl Davis.
"Jess Davis married a Baker, sister of Larkin Baker, and they had eight children: (1) Jeff Davis, (2) John Davis, (3) Emily Davis, (4) Rachel Davis, (5) Susie Davis, (6) Sarah Davis, (7) Murph Davis, (8) James Davis.
"Five Davis Brothers came from North Carolina to Kentucky in the early days. Jeff Davis is still living and lives at Jess Davis's on Hances Creek.
"Enoch Bird lived on Bird's Branch, which was named after him, near Wasioto, Kentucky, and the house in which he lived stood on the high ground just about 200 feet up the branch and back of the present barn of Mat Asher. He married a Pursifull, a sister of Mrs. James Gibson, of Pineville. They had the following children: (1) Ellen Bird, who married a Howard, (2) Lewis Bird, (3) Tom Bird, (4) Robert Bird, (5) Minnie Bird, (6) Cephus Bird, (7) James Bird, (8) Henry Bird.
"James McGeorge (1817-1891) married Sallie Jennings (1817-1890) and they had the following children: (1) Jennings McGeorge, (2) Nath McGeorge, who married a Farley, (3) Jim Sparks McGeorge, who married Otie Baker, (4) John L. McGeorge, who married Nancy Lee, a daughter of George Lee, (5) Hiram McGeorge, (6) Will McGeorge, born February 18, 1874, who married Nancy Long, (7) Betty McGeorge, who married James Green, (8) Nancy McGeorge, who married Milt Hensley, (9) Letitia McGeorge, who married Henry C. Miracle, (10) Alice McGeorge, who married John McGeorge. They lived on top of Laurel Hill, between the mouth of Watt's Creek and the Bird Branch.
"Lewis McGeorge, who lived on Laurel Hill between Watt's Creek and Bird Branch, married Easter Green, and they had the following children: (1) Hiram McGeorge, (2) John McGeorge, who married a Jackson, (3) Ike McGeorge, (4) Letitia McGeorge, (5) Dave McGeorge.
"Bill Taylor, who lived in the Bend of Cumberland River above the mouth of Browney's Creek, married Aggie McGeorge, and they had these children: (1) "Blind John" Taylor, who married Mary Parsons, (2) Mat Taylor, who married a Thompson, (3) Carlo Taylor, who married a Wilson, (4) Mount Taylor, who married Rachel Hoskins, (5) Margaret Taylor, who married James Green, (6) Julania. Taylor, who married John Robbins, (7) Mary Taylor, who married Sil Wilder.
"Dave McGeorge married a Lee, daughter of Brit Lee of Pucketts Creek, and they had the following children: (1) Mary McGeorge, who married Rev. Henry Calvin Miracle, (2) Caroline McGeorge, who married a Hoskins, (3) Will McGeorge, (4) Jim McGeorge, who married Mary Lee, (5) Jack McGeorge.
"Jackie McGeorge, father of James
McGeorge and grandfather of Will McGeorge, married Sarah Green. They settled
at the Seven Sisters on Cumberland River. Some of their children were (1)
James McGeorge, (2) John McGeorge, (3) Dave McGeorge, (4) Lewis McGeorge,
(5) Aggie McGeorge.
"Elhannon Howard married Jane Howard, and to them were born: (1) Lucy Howard, (2) Larkin Howard, (3) Benny Howard, (4) John Henry Howard, (5) Twin girls, (6) McKinley Howard. He lived on Cumberland River about three miles above Wasioto.
"Hezakiah Jennings had the following children: (1) Bill Jennings, (2) Ludie Jennings, who married Colts Blanton, (3) Pop Jennings, who married a Blanton, (4) High Jennings, who married a Dailey, (5) Alabama Jennings, (6) Mrs. Kelly Harris.
"Colts Blanton, who married Ludie
Jennings, lives on the old Elhannon Howard farm, which is about one mile
down Cumberland River from Paqe."
EARLY SETTLERS OF BELL COUNTY, CONTINUE
I. HANCES CREEK AND BROWNEY'S CREEK SECTIONS
John M. Durham, who lives about one mile up Hances Creek, gave me some information about his family which follows:
"John M. Durham, born November 29, 1878, married Carrie Hurst, born November 27, 1877, daughter of Sanders and Elizabeth (Pursifull) Hurst, and they have the following children: (1) Ted Durham, born October 4, 1899, (2) Rossie Durham, born March 25, 1901, and died October 16, 1921, (3) Bessie Durham, born September 10, 1905.
"Ted Durham, son of John M. Durham, married Verdie Pursifull, and they have four children: (1) Eugene Durham, (2) Glenn Morris Durham, (3) Alfred Durham, (4) Robert Durham.
"Carl Davis married Bessie Durham, daughter of John M. Durham, and they have one child: (1) Caroline Davis.
"Arthur Durham, son of John M. Durham, married Mary Ellen Hoskins, daughter of Henry C. Hoskins, and they have two children: (1) Arthur Durham, (2) Rossie Magaline Durham.
"Jeff Durham, father of John M. Durham, January 1, 1850 to 1888, married: I. Sarah (Sallie) Miracle, September 15, 1853, to March 31, 1885, and they had eight children: (1) Martha Durham, November 15, 1871, (2) Debbie Durham, May 30, 1873, (3) Nancy Durham, Mary 2, 1875, (4) Willie Durham, March 8, 1877, (5) John M. Durham, November 29, 1878, (6) Julia Durham, October 11, 1880. (7) Lucy Durham, twin, October 21, 1884, (8) Rachel Durham, twin, October 21, 1884; Second wife, Caroline Hoskins, daughter of Bratcher Hoskins: (9) Mary Catherine Durham, January 21, 1887.
"Jesse Durham, grandfather of John M. Durham, married Harriet Edwards, and they had seven children: (1) Will Durham, (2) Jim Durham, (3) George Durham, (4) Martha Durham. who married Tom Ross, (5) Mary Durham. (6) Linda Durham, who married Bill Givens of Middlesborough, Ky., (7) Catherine Durham, who married James Evans.
"Will Durham, son of Jesse Durham, married Easter Miracle, and they had six children: (1) Silas Durham, (2) George Durham, (3) Sarah Durham, (4)Tom Durham, (5) Nancy Durham, (6) Ruth Durham.
"Silas Slusher, born April 20, 1871,
married, September 19, 1884, Debbie Durham daughter of Jeff Durham, and
they had four children: (1) Floyd Slusher, February 14, 1892, (2) Lester
Slusher, June 6, 1895, (3) Nancy Slusher, August 2, 1897, (4) Henry Jeff,
Slusher, September 24, 1899.
"T. J. Durham, father of John M. Durham, and Sarah Durham were married December 25, 1870. T. J. Durham and Caroline Hoskins were married June 21, 1886 (second marriage)."
After leaving the home of John M. Durham, I went on up the creek to the mouth of Sam Low Branch where James Calvin Hoskins lives. He gave me some information about the Hoskins family.
"James Calvin Hoskins, born October 18, 1874, married Laura Bell Pursifull, 1893, who was born May 21, 1874, daughter of George Pursifull, and they had eight children: (1) Edna Hoskins, December 11, 1895, (2) Lloyd Hoskins, February 22, 1896, (3) Dallas Hoskins, August 12, 1897, (4) Carrie Hoskins, January 15, 1899, (5) Otto Hoskins, June 23, 1900, (6) Dewey Hoskins, October 18, 1902, (7) Susie Hoskins, October 6, 1903, (8) Carl Hoskins, March 10, 1906.
"Esau Hoskins, father of James Calvin Hoskins, born April 10, 1854 and died July, 1937, married Mary Thompson, born December 22, 1852, and died March 29, 1911, and they had the following children: (1) James Calvin Hoskins, (2) Martha Hoskins, December 1, 1876, who married Wick Thompson, (3) Hilary Hoskins, October 10, 1878, (4) John Mat Hoskins, September 10, 1880, (5) Bell Hoskins, September, 1882, (6) George W. Hoskins, Mary 20, 1884, (7) William Jeff Hoskins, May 1, 1886, (8) Nany Susie Hoskins, August 12, 1888, (9) May E. Hoskins, June 4, 1891, (10) Rosanna Hoskins, July 26, 1893, (11) Bessie Hoskins, March 30, 1895, (12) Maudie Hoskins, April 1, 1897, (13) Nellie Hoskins, February 27, 1899, (14) Carl Hoskins, May 23, 1901.
"George Hoskins grandfather of James Calvin Hoskins, married Polly Hoskins, and had eleven children: (1) Esau Hoskins, (2) James Hoskins, (3) Stephen Hoskins, (4) Rube, (5) Dan Hoskins, (6) Zeke Hoskins, (7) Peter Hoskins, who married a Neely in Missouri, (8) John Hoskins, who lived in Missouri, (9) Malinda Hoskins, who married Mat Pittman, (10) Telitha Hoskins, who married Abe Thompson, (11) Elizabeth Hoskins, who married James Miracle.
"James Hoskins married a Wilson and had nine children: (1) Larse Hoskins, (2) Dr. L. D. Hoskins, (3) George Hoskins, (4) Dan Hoskins, (5) Barnett Hoskins, (6) Sarah Hoskins, (7) Telitha Hoskins, (8) Amanda Hoskins, (9) Mary Hoskins.
"Stephen Hoskins married Elizabeth Wilson, and they had ten children: (1) John Mat Hoskins, (2) Will Hoskins, (3) Jim Hoskins, (4) Nath Hoskins, (5) George W. Hoskins, (6) Nancy Hoskins, (7) Sarah Hoskins, (8) Cordia Hoskins, (9) Linda Hoskins, (10) Katie Hoskins.
"Rube Hoskins married Telitha Hoskins
and had ten children: (1) Crit Hoskins, (2) Jim Hoskins, (3) Jeff Hoskins,
(4) Milt Hoskins, (5) John Hoskins, (6) Abe Hoskins, (7) Mary Hoskins,
(8) Rube Hoskins, (9) Nancy Hoskins, (10) Hassie Hoskins.
"Dan Hoskins married Margaret Thompson and had seven children: (1) John M. Hoskins, (2) Ewing Hoskins, (3) Charley Hoskins, (4) Ellen Hoskins, (5) Dora Hoskins, (6) Catherine Hoskins, (7) Nancy Bell Hoskins.
"Zeke Hoskins married a Miracle and had one child: (1) James Hoskins."
I then went up, from James Calvin Hoskins' place, Sam Low Branch about two or three hundred yards and came to where Rev. John C. Buell lives. He is one of the leading Baptist preachers of Hances Creek, and has wielded a strong influence in the community. He gave me much information about his family, which is given in the pages that follow:
"Rev. John C. Buell (he changed the spelling of his name after he was a grown man from Bull to Buell, the family previously going by the name of Bull), born January 16, 1863, married Mary E. Pursifull, daughter of John Pursifull, and they had twelve children: (1) Willia Buell, (2) Garret Buell, Hances Creek, (3) Ellen Buell, who married Benjamin Risner, (4) Maggie Buell, who married Joe Miracle, (5) N. J. Buell, born June 20, 1896,and died November 24, 1915, (6) S. J. Buell, born January 27, 1895, and died August 29, 1917, (7) J. M. Buell, born September 17, 1892, and died November 18, 1895 , (8) Lloyd Buell, Chevrolet, Kentucky, (9) Martha Buell, (10) Debbie Buell, (11) Mossie Buell, who married Judge E. L. Howard, of Harlan, Kentucky, (12) Floyd.
"Brit Bull, father of John C. Buell, married Margaret Pittman, and had four children: (1) Will Bull, (2) Jesse Bull, (3) John Buell, (4) Martha Bull.
"Jesse Bull, who lived on the head of Browney's Creek, married a Daniel. They tell a story relating to Jesse Bull and his voting for Abe Lincoln. While living on the head of Browney's Creek, on election day, all the people in the precinct were against Abe Lincoln with the exception of Jesse Bull. They insisted on Jesse voting as they did, since he was the only one for Abe. They wanted to make it unanimous against Abe. But Jesse told them to vote as they pleased. He didn't care, but he was going to vote for Abe. And did. When the vote was counted only one vote was registered for Abe Lincoln. Their children were (1) Brit Bull (2) Jake Bull (a gun smith), (3) Isaac Bull, (4) Press Bull, (5) Katie Bull, who married Sampson Miracle, (6) Rose Bull, who married Jim Wilson, (7) Nancy Bull, who married a Wilder, (8) Betsy Bull, who married Andy Wilder.
"The father of Jesse Bull lived at Morristown, Tennessee, and it was said that he owned most of the land around that town. The Bulls came originally from England. John C. Buell's grandmother was Jennie Daniels, a sister of Pierce Daniels. Pierce Daniels was thought to be a brother of Polly Daniel who married Andy Lee.
"The oldest settlements on Hances
Creek number twelve and were located as follows: (1) The Esau Hoskins place
was originally settled by Bob Chambers, (2) Where preacher Ambros Miracle
now owns a house and
some land was once settled by George Hoskins, (3) Jake Pursifull settled where George Robbins owns now, (4) Esau Pursifull settled where Hilary Hoskins now lives, (5) Pittman's Creek was settled by Joseph Pittman, after whom the Creek was named, grandfather of Rev. J. C. Buell, (6) Where Doc Green now lives was settled by Hilary Hurst, who married Mount Pursifull's daughter, (7) Forks of Sam Low Branch was first settled by Mack Thompson. He married a daughter of James Stewart, Maggie Stewart. Rev. John C. Buell now lives at this place. (8) Ridge between Hances Creek and Browney's Creek, where Bailey Hill school is now, was settled by a Bailey, after whom the school is named, whose wife was named Nancy Bailey. (9) Mount Pursifull was said to have settled near the mouth of Hances Creek, where he had a water mill. He gave the place to his son-in-law Hilary Hurst. (10) Head of Pittman's Creek was settled by Freddie Miracle, which place is now owned by Samps Thompson. (11) Where Ben Risner now lives on Sam Low Branch, the old Bill Durham place, was originally settled by Feddie Miracle. (12) Henry Risner, in the early days, owned Hances Ridge from the head of Pittman's Creek to the head of Sam Low Branch. He settled in this territory, lived and died there. He deeded his land to Feeling Risner and Richard Risner."
After my first round with my good friend Ben Risner, he gave me some information about the Thompson Mill, which follows:
"The old grist mill at the mouth of Pittman's Creek is still in operation and is owned by Chesley Thompson. It is one of the few water mills still in operation in the county. It was built by James C. Thompson in 1870, and has been in continuous use ever since. As John M. Durham put it, 'It still grinds good meal'. Alfred Thompson had a mill near the head of Sam Low Branch, and Mount Pursifull had one near the mouth of Hances Creek. Mount Pursifull was said to have had another mill above there at the bend of Hances Creek.
"Joseph Pittman married Cynthia Wilson, sister of Bob, Jim and Henry Wilson on Browney's Creek. They had the following children: (1) Jerry Pittman, (2) Mat Pittman, (3) Bill Pittman, (4) Margaret Pittman, who married Brit Bull, (5) Nancy Pittman, (6) Rosa Pittman, who married Dempse Miracle, (7) Debbie Pittman, who married Ballinger Wilson, (8) Sallie Pittman, who married Lee Saylor, (9) Vina Pittman, who married Jim Boatright.
"Jerry Pittman married Mary Miracle, daughter of Peter Miracle, and had nine children: (1) Peter Pittman, (2) Joe Pittman, (3) Ewell Pittman, (4) Buck Pittman, (5) Bill Pittman, (6) Sol Pittman, (7) Rosa Pittman, who married Press Miracle, (8) Dora Pittman, who married John Lee, (9) Martha Pittman, who married Wilburn Wilder."
When I came up Sam Low Branch from
Rev. John C. Buell's I ran across Ben Risner at his home. This was Sunday
and Ben was enjoying himself surrounded by his wife and family and some
neighbors. We had some good talk, told a lot of jokes, which Ben and I
both like, ate dinner, and then got down to the records, which follow.
"Benjamin (Ben) Risner, December 7, 1882, married Nancy Ellen Buell, daughter of Rev. John C. Buell, She was born August 14, 1886. They have seven children: (1) Zora Risner, June 9, 1902, (2) J. C. Risner, Nov. 16, 1903, (3) F. G. Risner, September 26, 1905, (4) Ethel Risner, June 12, 1907, (5) Benjamin Risner, Jr., December 16, 1915, (6) Leonard Risner, April 4, 1922, (7) H. C. Risner, May 12, 1924.
"Feeling Risner, father of Ben Risner, born May 14, 1850, and died November 7, 1924, married January 20, 1870, Caroline Virginia Green, born June 13, 1852, and died March 24, 1937, and they had these children: (1) Caroline Virginia Risner, April 29, 1871, (2) Lewis F. Risner, August 20, 1876, (3) James Henry Benjamin Risner, December 7, 1882, (4) Robert Risner, February 25, 1889.
"Henry Risner, grandfather of Benjamin Risner, married Sallie Wilson, sister of Robert, Elisha and Henry Wilson, and had these children: (1) Richard Risner, County Surveyor, (2) Feeling Risner, (3) Mary Risner, who married W. 0. Miracle, (4) Nancy Risner, who married Haywood Slusher, (5) Katie Risner, who married Rev. Silas Miracle, one of the greatest Baptist preachers of Bell County in his day, (6) Ruthy Risner, who married Newton Miracle.
"Lewis Green, grandfather of Ben Risner, married Virginia Leforce, and had eleven children: (1) David Green, (2) B. D. Green, (3) Nancy Green, (4) Lydia Green, (5) W. M. Green, (6) John Green, (7) James L. Green, (8) Thomas Green, (9) Lewis Green, Jr., (10) Chad Green, (11) Virginia Green.
"James Green was father of Lewis Green (who is the grandfather of Ben Risner) and James Green was a son of Lewis Green, who was in the Revolutionary War and lies buried below Joe Parson's on the main highway, which location is between Tanyard Hill and Calloway Hill.
"M. F. Knuckles, born February 13, 1894, married Lydia Green, born August 21, 1892, and to them were born nine children: (1) Della Knuckles, July 16, 1917, who married Paris Doan, (2) Thomas C. Knuckles, March 7, 1919, (3) Oscar Knuckles, March 2, 1921, (4) Brownlee Knuckles, May 2, 1923, (5) Roberta Knuckles, February 13, 1925, (6) Ruby Knuckles, 1917, (7) Cecil Knuckles, 1929, (8) Franklin D. Knuckles, 1931, (9) Paul L. Knuckles, December, 1933.
"Thomas Green married Cynthia Risner, and they had six children: (1) Lydia Green, (2) Nancy Green, (3) Emma Green, (4) Minnie Green, (5) Henry Green, (6) Richard Gillis, February 27, 1889.
"Campbell Durham married Zora Risner, daughter of Ben Risner, and had five children: (1) Evelyn Durham, (2) Geneva Durham, (3) Mildred Durham, (4) Dorris Durham, (5) Jessie Fern Durham.
"J. C. Risner, son of Ben Risner,
married Sudie Howard, daughter of Wilburn Howard, and they have two chidren:
(1) Coline Risher, (2) Roy Lee Risner.
"F. G. Risner, Jr., son of Ben Risner, married Margaret Hurst, and they have five children: (1) Gene Earl Risner, (2) F. G. Risner, Jr., (3) David Risner, (4) Augusta Risner, (5) Georgia Lee Risner.
"Robert Hurst married Ethel Risner, daughter of Ben Risner, and they have seven children: (1) Mable Risner, (2) Arthur Risner, (3) Lorene (twin) Risner, (4) Pauline (twin) Risner, (5) Easter Ellen Risner, (6) May Risner, (7) Bobbie Dean Risner."
Chesley Thompson lives at the mouth of Pittman's Creek and runs the old mill, which turns out the grist for the community, and which was built by James C. Thompson. For sixty odd years this mill has been going and at this time, I do not think of another water mill going in the county. Chesley and I were glad to meet, having been old friends for many, many years. He gave me some information about his family, which follows:
"Chesley Thompson, born June 23, 1870, married Mary D. Hoskins, born May 9, 1876, daughter of James Hoskins, and they have nine children: (1) Cora Thompson, May 30, 1893, who married Ed Smith, (2) William Bradley Thompson, January 1, 1896, (3) Rosanna Thompson, March 24, 1898, (4) Sarah Della Thompson, December 9, 1900, (5) Nancy Hassie Thompson, January 9, 1903, (6) Amanda Ethel Thompson, August 26, 1905, (7) Martha Wanita Thompson, August 15, 1908, (8) Foley Estis Thompson, November 24, 1911, (9) Omie Telitha Thompson, August 7, 1916.
"James Calvin Thompson, father of Chesley Thompson, born May 8, 1835, and died in 1911, married Nancy Wilder, born December 2, 1837, and died in 1896. They had the following children: (1) Chesley Thompson, June 23, 1870, (2) Rachel Thompson, May 22, 1851, (3) Mary Thompson, December 13, 1856, (4) Andrew Thompson, October 12, 1861, (5) John Thompson, February 20, 1864, (6) Sampson Thompson, March 20, 1866, (7) William Thompson, February 26, 1858, (8) Laura Bell Thompson, September 23, 1878, (9) Elvin Thompson, October 3, 1881, (10) Rosanna Thompson, January 23, 1875, (11) Silas Thompson, November 16, 1872, (12) Martha Thompson, December 22, 1868.
"Great grandfather of Chesley Thompson on his mother's side was Sampson Wilder, and great grandmother Annie (Estep) Wilder.
"Ed Smith married Cora Thompson and they have four children: (1) Zella Smith, (2) Waldo Smith, (3) Gentry Smith, (4) Edmond Arthur Smith.
"Bradley Thompson married Jennie Smith and have four children: (1) Carl Thompson, (2) Aline Thompson, (3) Nina Ruth Thompson, (4) Chesley B. Thompson.
"Barlow Pursifull married Rosanna Thompson and have two children: (1) Bernice Pursifull, (2) Mildred Pursifull.
"Bill Parolari married Della Thompson
and they have two children: (1) Bert Wallace Parolari, (2) Frederick Foley
"Jake Wilson married Hassie Thompson and they have one child: (1) Dorcas Wilson.
"G. W. Campbell married Amanda Thompson and they have three children: (1) Viola Campbell, (2) Mary Lois Campbell, (3) Paul Ray Campbell.
"Foley Estis Thompson married Virginia Brock and they have one child: (1) Daniel Foley Thompson, December 30, 1933.
"James C. Thompson built the old mill at the mouth of Pittman's Creek in 1870, and the mill is still in use."
John B. Cox, who lives a few miles up from the mouth of Browney's Creek, gave me some information about his family for this history. The information immediately following came from him.
"Dave Lee, brother of Philip Lee (grandfather of H. H. Fuson), was the father of Sallie Lee, who married James D. Cox, the father of John B. and Gilmore Cox. Dave Lee's children were: (1) Thomas Lee, (2) Stephen Lee, (3) Hiram Lee, (4) Sallie Lee, who married James E. Cox, (5) Polly Lee, who married Abe Miracle, and (6) Mary Ann Lee, who married a Wilson.
"John B. Cox, born May 7, 1865, married Nancy Green, daughter of Robert Green. She is the only living granddaughter of Lewis Green, the Revolutionary War soldier, who settled on Cumberland River between Calloway Hill and Tanyard Hill. She was born March 7, 1865. They have the following children: (1) Jayhugh Cox, born July 18, 1882, and died September 2, 1936, (2) Ewell W. Cox, born March 21, 1886, (3) General S. Cox, born December 7, 1893, (4) James Corbet Cox, born January 29, 1898, and died March 21, 1930, (5) Henry Walton Cox, born June 29, 1899, (6) Sarah Elizabeth Cox, born August 14, 1889, (7) Martha Cox, born March 15, 1895, and died April 3, 1910, (8) Alberta Cox, born November 14, 1901, and (9) Almeda Cox, born December 22, 1904.
"Jayhugh Cox married Lula Green, and had four children: (1) Vanus Cox, (2) Herman Cox, (3) Dala Cox, (4) Clellan Cox.
"Palestine Miracle married Sarah Elizabeth Cox, and to them were born: (1) Denis Miracle, (2) Turner Miracle, (3) Boyd Miracle, (4) Ruell Miracle, (5) Ethel Miracle, (6) Verda Miracle. After the death of Palestine Miracle, Sarah Elizabeth Miracle married Garret Wilson, son of "Red Bob" Wilson, and to them were born: (7) Katie Wilson, (8) Claud Wilson, (9) Nannie Wilson, (10) Corbet Wilson, (11) Walton Wilson, (12) Olan Wilson.
"General Cox married Hassie Thompson,
daughter of Henry Thompson, and to them were born seven children: (1) Lynn
Thompson, (2) Herchel Thompson, (3) Helen Thompson, (4) Bobbie Thompson,
(5) Helen Thompson, (6) Emilee Thompson, (7) Loubirda Thompson.
"Corbet Cox married Linda Wilson, daughter of Lazarus Wilson and they had the following children: (1) Grover Cox, (2) Martha Jane Cox, (3) Gertrude Cox, (4) Corbet Cox, Jr.
"Walton Cox married Virgie Wilder, daughter of Levi Wilder, and they have one child: (1) Levi Cox.
"Roosevelt Miracle married Alberta Cox and to them were born seven children: (1) Eva Miracle, (2) Roy Miracle, (3) Bradley Miracle, (4) Paul Miracle, (5) Arville Miracle, (6) Wilma Miracle, (7) Dorothy May Miracle.
"J. Otis Miracle married Almeda Cox and to them were born six children: (1) Cleston Miracle, (2) H. D. Miracle, (3) Kindel Miracle, (4) J. S. Miracle, (5) Arless Miracle, (6) Cleon Miracle.
"James E. Cox, father of John B. Cox, married Sallie Lee, daughter of Dave Lee, and to them were born: (1) Elizabeth Cox, who married a Wilson, (2) Martha Cox, who married a Wilder, (3) Catherine Cox, who married a Wilson, (4) Sallie Ann Cox, who married a Boatright, (5) J. R. Cox, (6) Jim Tom Cox, (7) Gilmore Cox, (8) John B. Cox, (9) Henry Cox.
"Giles Cox, father of James E. Cox, had these children, among others: (1) James E. Cox, (2) Josh Cox, (3) Rachel Cox, who married John Lee, (4) Hannah Cox, who married a Rollins. He came into what is now Bell County from North Carolina.
"James Hoskins, who lived near the mouth of Browney's Creek, married I. Mary Wilder: (1) Dr. Millard Hoskins, (2) Nancy Catherine Hoskins, who married Martin Green, now Sheriff of Bell County, (3) Nevada Hoskins, who married Weaver Thompson, (4) Mary Hoskins, who married Lou Thomas Green, II. Josephine Poff: (5) Goebel Hoskins, (6) Beckham Hoskins, (7) Oliver Hoskins, (8) Doxie Hoskins, (9) Clara Hoskins, (10) Beatrice Hoskins.
"James (Sickly Jim) Hoskins married Mary Wilder, and to them were born: (1) Willie Hoskins, who married Ninnie Thompson, (2) Rachel Hoskins, who married Dr. Leonard Hoskins.
"Alex Neal, lower Browney's Creek, had the following children: (1) The Neal, who married Ethel Thompson, (2) Amanda Neal, who married Wilse Howard, (3) Mary Neal, who married Milburn Green, (4) Bertha Neal, who married John Corn, (5) Laura Neal, who married Jim Swartz, and (6) Anna Bell Neal.
"W. A. Green, lower Browney's Creek, married Rachel Wilder, and to them were born: (1) Milburn Green, who married Mary Neal, (2) Almeda Green, who married Ewell Cox, (3) Lula Green, who married Jayhugh Cox, (4) Carl Green, who married Doxie Hoskins.
"Press Miracle married Mary Miracle-Wilder,
daughter of John Miracle, and to them were born: (1) Lindy Miracle, who
Shackleford, (2) Rhoda Miracle, who married Hilary Money, (3) Margaret Miracle, who married Jayhugh Wilder, (4) Amanda Miracle, who married Sol Miracle, (5) J. E. Miracle, who married Lucinda Hoskins. Press Miracle was Mary Miracle's second husband. She was married the first time to Levi Wilder and they had the following children: (1) Catherine Wilder, who married Henry Lee, brother of Joe Lee , (2) Jennie Wilder, who married Joe Lee, (3) J. M. Wilder, who married a Miracle, (4) John Wilder, who married a Miracle, (5) Rosa Wilder, who married James Green.
"Abe Miracle married Polly Lee, daughter of Dave Lee, who was the son of Andy Lee, who settled on the head of Martins Fork in 1818, and to them were born the following children: (1) Rev. Abe Miracle, (2) Rev. Henry Calvin Miracle, (3) Sol Miracle, (4) Samps Miracle, (5) Andy Miracle, (6) Rhoda Miracle, who married George Hoskins. They lived on Hances Ridge between Hances Creek and Browney's Creek.
"Levi Miracle married Martha Wilder, daughter of Hiram Wilder, and to them were born: (1) Dr. E. W. Miracle, (2) Leonard Miracle, (3) Gillis Miracle, (4) Walter Miracle, (5) Carl Miracle, (6) Rhoda Miracle, who married J. M. Wilder, (7) Amanda Miracle, who married Carlo Arnett, (8) Nancy Miracle, who married Dan Wilder, (9) Mossie Miracle, who married W. A. Wilder.
"Billy Duff Miracle married Polly Hoskins, and to them were born: (1) Abe Miracle, (2) John Miracle, (3) Frederick Miracle, (4) Nancy Miracle who married Dan Wilder."
"Dan Wilder married Nancy Miracle and to them were born: (1) Bratcher Wilder, (2) Lingar Wilder, (3) Eli Wilder, (4) Martha Jane Wilder."
Going on up Browney's Creek over a very muddy road (the road having been only partly graded up the Creek), I came to the home of Levi Lee. After we got there, Levi sent over for J. M. Wilder. I was at home with Levi Lee and J. M. Wilder. I got a lot of information from them, which follows.
"Charles T. Miracle, born December 25, 1888, married I. Lizzle Wilson: (1) Mossie Miracle, (2) Otis Miracle, (3) Nelia Miracle; II. Luvernia. Rice: (4) Hobert Miracle, (5) Hazel Miracle, (6) Herman Miracle.
"John M. Miracle, father of Charles T. Miracle, married Amanda Poff, and to them were born: (1) Charles T. Miracle, (2) George Miracle, who married Dora Mink, (3) Neely Miracle, who married Wick Miracle, (4) Lou Eller Miracle, who married Rev. Elisha Money, (5) Maggie Miracle, who married Link Shackleford.
"Tom Miracle, grandfather of Charles
T. Miracle, married Julia Miracle, and to them were born: (1) John M. Miracle,
(2) Mary Jane Miracle, who married Jim Miracle, (3) Press Miracle, who
married Rosa Pittman, (4) Ambrose Miracle, who married Dora Thompson, (5)
Nancy Miracle, who married Esaias Pittman, (6) Cleve Miracle, who married
Julia Wilder, (7) Jim Tom Miracle, who married Ellen Hoskins, (8) Walter Miracle, who married Laura Pursifull, (9) Carrie Miracle, who married Jeff Wilder, (10) Sarah Miracle, who married Wilburn Miracle.
Ambrose Miracle, great grandfather of Charles T. Miracle, had these children: (1) Tom Miracle, (2) Jerry Miracle, (3) Anderson Miracle, (4) John Miracle.
"Joseph Martin Wilder, born November November 19, 1866, married I. Nancy Miracle, born November 16, 1867, daughter of Henry Miracle: (1) Levi Wilder, born February 18, 1887, (2) Sarah Wilder, born February 12, 1889, (3) Mary Wilder, born August 30, 1891, (4) Caroline Wilder, born June 24, 1894, (5) Henry Grant Wilder, born April 29, 1896, (6) Rosa Ellen Wilder, born 1900, (7) Josephine Wilder, born May 31, 1898; II. Rhoda Miracle, daughter of Levi Miracle: (8) Carlie May Wilder.
"Levi Wilder, father of J. M. Wilder, married Mary Jane Miracle, daughter of John Miracle, and to them were born: (1) Sarah Catherine Wilder, who married Henry Lee, (2) Caroline Virginia Wilder, who married Joe Lee, (3) Joseph Martin Wilder, (4) Rosa Ellen, who married I. Will McGeorge, II. James L. Green, (5) John Silas Wilder, who married Angeline Miracle, daughter of Nute Miracle.
"Joe Wilder, grandfather of J. M. Wilder, married Sarah Saylor, and to them were born: (1) Mart Wilder, who married Betty Wilson, (2) Hugh Wilder, who married Nancy Bull, (3) Jim Wilder, who married Rossie Wilson, died in the Union army, (4) Levi Wilder, who married Mary J. Miracle, (5) Sol Wilder, who died in the Union army during the Civil War, (6) Sarah Wilder, who married R. A. Miracle, (7) Mary Wilder, who married James M. Hoskins.
"John Miracle, grandfather of J. M. Wilder on his mother's side who was killed in the army during the Civil War, married Katie Risner, and to them were born: (1) Mary J. Miracle, who married Levi Wilder, (2) James Edwards Miracle, who was killed during the Civil War.
"James Miracle, great grandfather of J. M. Wilder, had the following children: (1) Abe Miracle, who married a Thompson, (2) Ambrose Miracle, (3) John Miracle, who married a Risner, (4) Bill Miracle, who married a Wilson, (5) Jim Crow Miracle, who married a Wilson, (6) Frederick Miracle, who married an Ely, (7) Annie Miracle, who married Jim Jackson. It is said that the Wilders came to the colonies from Wales.
"Joshua Wilson, born in 1867, married I. Polly Miracle, daughter of John Duff Miracle: (1) Enos Wilson, who married a Mason, (2) Amanda Wilson, (3) Nancy Wilson, who married J. R. Shields, (4) Causby Wilson, who married John Lee; II. Caroline Cupp; (5) Mary Wilson, who married Bruce Gibson, (6) Sallie Wilson, (7) Liddie Ellen Wilson, (8) Allie Wilson.
"Jim Wilson, father of Josh Wilson,
Civil War Soldier, married Nancy Jane Lee, sister of Joe Lee, and to them
were born: (1) Joshua
Wilson, (2) Lindy Wilson, who married Daniel Miracle, (3) Chad Wilson, who married Telitha McGeorge, (4) Matthew Wilson, who married Maudie Miracle, (5) Betty Wilson, who married George Taylor, (6) Mary Wilson, who married James McGeorge, (7) Bill Wilson, who married Dora Miracle.
"Bill Wilson, grandfather of Josh Wilson, married I. Sallie Bull, and to them were born: (1) Jess Wilson, who married Lindy Arnett, (2) Jim Wilson, who married Nancy J. (?) Lee, Elizabeth Wilson, who married Steve Hoskins, (4) Rossie Wilson, who married Jim Hoskins, (5) Mary Wilson, who married Rev. Andy Miracle; II. Betty Short: (6) George Wilson, (7) Bob Wilson, (8) Bill Wilson, (9) Sim Wilson, (10) Betty Jane Wilson, who married Carter Pittman, (11) Ruthy Wilson, who married Starling Boatright, (12) Martha Wilson, who married D.G. Hoskins.
"Levi Hamilton Lee, born October 8, 1881, married Bessie Underwood, born January 21, 1897, and to them were born: (1) Mary Louise Lee, born January 15, 1921, who married Henry Slusher, January 28, 1939, (2) Jack Lee, born February 26, 1924, (3) Lucile Lee, born December 10, 1925, (4) Loraine Lee, born June 23, 1927, (5) Paul Lee, born December 4, 1930, (6) Bessie Lee, born March 23, 1932, (7) Bobbie Joe Lee, born March 29, 1935, (8) Harvey Fuson Lee, born January 24, 1934, and died April 1, 1934. Photo Levi Lee
"Joseph Wilder Lee, father of Levi Lee, was born Febuary 16, 1857, and died January 20, 1937. He married Jennie Wilder, born February 27, 1863, and to them were born: (1) John M. Lee, born July 4, 1878, (2) Levi H. Lee, born October 8, 1881, (3) G. R. Lee, born April 4, 1884, (4) Henry Lee, born June 3, 1886.
"John Lee, father of Joseph W. Lee, born 1825, and died 1895, married Rachel Cox, daughter of Giles Cox, and to them were born: (1) Josh Lee, who married Sarah J. Miracle, (2) Jim Lee, who married Rossie Jackson, (3) Henry Lee, who married Catherine Wilder, (4) Joseph W. Lee, (5) Nancy Jane Lee, who married Jim Wilson, (6) China Lee, who married Fred P. Miracle, (7) Rena Lee, twin of Joseph W. Lee, who married Josiah Miracle, (8) Katie Lee, who married Robert (Red Bob) Wilson. John Lee joined Harmony Baptist Church near Clear Creek Springs in 1878. He was a very pious Christian man all of his life. He lived his religion.
"Andy Lee, father of John Lee, married Peggy Daniel (for list of children of this family see Yellow Creek Valley). John Lee said that his father, Andy Lee, brought the family from Ireland, and that some of the children were born in Ireland and the others in America. He settled in Buncomb County, Northern Carolina, and came from there to the head of Martins Fork of Cumberland River, near the boundary line of Harlan and Bell counties. It is said that Bowl Lee, a brother of Andy Lee, married Betsey Barnett, who was said to be part Indian, and that he married her in 1832.
"John Madison Lee, born July 4, 1878,
married Abbie Hoskins, born February 15, 1882, and to them were born the
following children: (1) Dora Ellen Lee, born February 11, 1901, (2) Joe
Lee, born January 17, 1903, (3) Jennie Lee, born April 9, 1905, (4) Ethel
Lee, born February 1907,
(5) Mary Lee, born January 4, 1909, (6) Laura Lee, born June 15, 1911, (7) Gladys Lee, born April 9, 1913, (8) Elmer Lee, born February 22, 1915, (9) Pearl Lee, born August 22, 1919, (10) Lillian Lee, born November 22, 1921.
"G. R. Lee, born April 3, 1884, married I. Ollie Miracle: (1) John Lee, (2) Joe Lee, (3) Lewis Lee, (4) Jennie Lee, (5) Nervie Lee; II. Bessie Miracle: (6) Grace Lee, (7) Nettie Lee; III. Sallie Jackson: (8) Edith Lee, (9) Edna Lee.
"Henry Lee married Phoebe Miracle, and to them were born: (1) Edna Lee, (2) Levi Lee, (3) Palestine Lee, (4) Opal Lee.
"Robert Underwood, father-in-law of Levi H. Lee, married Ida Green, daughter of Lum Green: (1) Bessie Underwood, (2) Pearl Underwood, (3) Anna Underwood, (4) Fannie Underwood, (5) Gillis Underwood, (6) Effie Underwood, (7) Edgar Underwood, (8) Nimrod Underwood, (9) Maggie Underwood, (10) Evelyn Underwood.
"Rev. Robert Wilson was a charter member of the Primitive Baptist Church, organized on Browney's Creek Creek in 1836. He was born about 1818 and died about 1913. He married the first time a Hardin, and to them were born: (1) Isaiah Wilson, (2) Lazarus Wilson, (3) Martha Wilson, (4) Debbie Wilson, (5) Ruthy Wilson, II. Barnett: (6) Jim Wilson, (7) R. D. Wilson for two terms Circuit Court Clerk of Bell County, (8) Ruthy Wilson, (9) Margaret Wilson, who married Henry Wilson; III. Annie Miracle; IV. Tolitha Arnett.
"Abe Miracle, who lived on Black Snake, married Betty Thompson, and to them were born: (1) Alfred Miracle, (2) Bill Miracle, (3) Henry Miracle, (4) George Miracle, (5) Harvey Miracle, (6) John Miracle, (7) Jeff Miracle, (8) Mack Miracle, (9) Barnett Miracle, (10) Nancy Miracle, (11) Lindy Miracle, (12) Sallie Miracle.
"Scott Saylor married Mary Miracle, and to then were born: (1) Joe Saylor, who went west, (2) Lizzie Saylor, (3) Ellen Saylor, (4) John Saylor, (5) Gillis Saylor, (6) General Saylor.
"John Thompson lived where John B. Cox now lives, and married Nancy Wilson: (1) Henry Thompson, (2) Jim Thompson, (3) John Thompson, (4) Pleas Thompson, (5) Ewing Thompson, (6) Margaret Thompson, (7) Sarah Thompson, (8) Mary Thompson, (9) Rindy Thompson. This family originally came from North Carolina.
"Peter Miracle (1817-1903) married
Betsy Wilder, sister of Samps Wilder, and they had the following children:
(1) Daniel Miracle, (2) Rev. Andy Miracle, (3) Gilbert Miracle, (4) John
Mat Miracle, (5) Henry F. Miracle, (6) Mary Miracle, (7) Sarah Miracle,
(8) Judy Miracle, (9) Annie Miracle. Charter member of the Primitive Baptist
Church established on Browney's Creek in 1836.
"Captain Andy Wilder, Cubage, brother of Mose Wilder, married Betsy Bull and to them were born: (1) Nute Wilder, (2) Jasper Wilder, (3) Pearl Wilder, (4) Johnson Wilder, (5) Josephine Wilder, (6) Edeline Wilder.
"Mose Wilder, the bear hunter, lived on Cubage and married Sallie Barnett, and to this union were born: (1) Bill Wilder, (2) Jim Wilder, (3) Leander Wilder, (4) Joe Wilder, (5) Jeff Wilder, (6) Mrs. Jackson Barnett, (7) Mrs. Pursifull.
"Bill Wilder married Sallie Ann Lee, half-sister of Joe Lee, and lived on the head of Cubage, and to them were born: (1) Mose Wilder, (2) John Wilder, (3) Wilburn Wilder, (4) Sam Wilder, (5) Brit Wilder, (6) Jeff Wilder, (7) Dora Wilder, (8) Dude Wilder, (9) Amanda Wilder.
"Elias Green married Sallie Jackson, and to them were born: (1) Lewis Green, (2) Dan Green, (3) Jim Green, (4) Bob Green, (5) Mary Alice, who married Enoch Slusher, (6) Tolitha Green, who married Dave Arnett, (7) Caroline Green. Elias Green lived on Jinny Branch, and, when Bryan and McKinley were running for the presidency, he was heard to say the following: 'Kinley' ad as well come off. Ev'ry man to a man on Jinny Branch is fer Bryan' (there were about twelve voters on Jinny Branch at the time)."
Dr. L. D. Hoskins, son of James K. Hoskins, born November 19, 1866, married Rachel Hoskins, born 1875. They moved to Pineville in 1903. They have the following children: (1) Sarah Ethel Hoskins, who married C. S. Rainwater, (2) Viola Nevada Hoskins, who married Fred Smith, (3) Charles Otis Hoskins, who lives in Harlan, Kentucky, and (4) Dr. Leon Cuno Hoskins, who lives in Harlan, Kentucky.
Charles Otis Hoskins, born May 9, 1897, married Mary Ester Robinson, born September 26, 1901, and they have two children: (1) Mary Rachel Hoskins, born November 21, 1924, (2) Robert Springer Hoskins, born July 8, 1927. Mr. Hoskins is member of the firm of Gilley-Hoskins Furniture Company, of Harlan, Kentucky.
II. CANNON CREEK, LOWER PART OF YELLOW CREEK
AND CLEAR FORK OF YELLOW CREEK
Joe Sampson, father of former Governor
Flem D. Sampson, lived toward the head of Cannon Creek and moved from there
to Laurel County. Later the family moved to Knox County, from which county
Flem D. Sampson was elected Governor. Joe Sampson was a brother of Nute
Sampson, who lived all his life on Cannon Creek. Joe Sampson married John
Kellems' daughter, a sister of Thomas Jefferson Kellems, who lived at Ferndale,
and, in his old age, moved to a farm at Red House, three miles from Richmond,
Kentucky, where he died. After Governor Sampson was elected Governor, he
had Thomas Jefferson Kellems and his family present for the inaugural address
and parade. Kellems was then a very old man.
Fred Barner, a prominent farmer and business man, lived at Meldrum on Yellow Creek. T. J. Kellems married Fred Barner's sister the first time, whose name was Sallie Barner, and the second time he married Sallie Cole.
Alec Moore lived on Moore's Branch of Cannon Creek, on the main highway between Pineville and Middlesborough, about one mile from Ferndale in the direction of Pineville. The road then was known as the Wilderness Road and Pineville was known as Cumberland Ford. His wife was named Polly Moore. He had a son named James Moore who moved to Crab Orchard and died there. During pioneer days the Moores ran a tavern on the old Wilderness Road and many were the travelers who stopped with these good people. Children: (1) James Moore, (2) Mrs. Milton Unthank, (3) Mrs. Austin, (4) Mrs. Hugh Browning.
A story has been handed down from pioneer days in connection with this tavern. A girl from a nearby community was employed by the Moores to help with the work at the tavern. One night some men came there and occupied an adjoining room to this hired girl. In the night she heard these men counting money and talking about a robbery they had committed. Next day she got to thinking about what she had heard, got scared and left for home. The robbers evidently thought something was wrong by her leaving, and a few days afterwards, when she went to the spring at her home for some water, she was seized and carried away. She was never heard of afterwards, nor was her body ever found. It was thought that she was killed and her body hidden.
Rev. Alec C. Givens, a Baptist preacher, lived on the head waters of Cannon Creek at the foot of Evans Mountain. He married Nancy Evans, a daughter of Rev. William Evans. Their son, William Givens, Middlesborough, Kentucky, was born February 2, 1857, and at the age of 80 is hale and hearty. He tells it, that his grandfather on his father's side, James Givens, lived to be 102 years old, and would not have died then had it not been for a horse throwing him and breaking his neck. His grandmother was a Bird. His grandfather on his mother's side was William H. Evans. He married twice: first, Lindy Durham and second, Rillie Southern. He helped to open up the coal business in the neighborhood of Middlesborough, when that town was founded about 1890. He also ran a sawmill at the time and furnished lumber for the buildings that were going up. Many of these buildings, in fact most of them, are still standing. He owned a large boundary of coal lands in the Stony Fork region and, for years, drew royalties from the operation of mines on the property. Photo W.M. Givens
Thomas Jefferson Kellems lived at
Ferndale, at the turn of the road on the Pineville-Middlesborough highway
just before you reach Cannon Creek going in the direction of Middlesborough,
and was a prosperous merchant and farmer of this section. Later in life
he bought a farm in the bluegrass region and lived and died there. He was
an uncle of Governor Flem. D. Sampson, and attended the inauguration of
Governor Sampson. He was then a very old man. He was one of the leading
merchants and farmers of Bell County for half a century. He was a tall
man with a commanding appearance and had an intelligence of the first
order. He had two daughters, Mrs. E. G. Asher and Mrs. J. C. Knuckles who lives at the old home place at Ferndale. He was popularly known as "Tan Jeff." T. J. Kellems was born about 1844. He married Sallie Barner, the first time, and a Cole the second time.
Willis Johnson and Mary Frances Johnson, grandfather and grandmother of Rev. Willis Johnson, came from North Carolina and settled at first near Ferndale in the early pioneer period and later moved to Cannon Creek near the upper Cannon Creek School. They lived and died there and are buried at the old Baughman Graveyard. Willis Johnson died about 1901 as a very old man and Mary Frances Johnson died about 1890.
Their children were (1) Rev. Alex Johnson, Baptist Minister, who died and was buried at the Johnson Graveyard in Binghamtown of Middlesborough, (2) Robert Johnson, (3) Mary Johnson, (4) America Johnson, (5) Sallie Johnson, (6) Eliza Johnson, (7) Elizabeth Johnson, (8) James Johnson, and (9) George Johnson.
Eliza Johnson married Elisha Hoskins. They lived on Cannon Creek. Elisha Hoskins died and was buried in Ohio. Eliza Hoskins died about 1911 and was buried at Baughman Graveyard. Their children were (1) Rev. Willis Johnson, Baptist Minister, whose name was Hoskins, but, having been reared by Willis Johnson, his grandfather, he took his name and has gone by the name of Johnson ever since; (2) Thomas Hoskins. Rev. Willis Johnson was born March 4, 1881, and ordained as a Baptist Minister in 1897. He married Martha Wilson, March 4, 1896. Their children are (1) Ed Walter Johnson, (2) Dillard Johnson, (3) Robert Johnson, (4) Mellie Johnson, (5) L. 0. Johnson.
Simon Peace (1834-1907), who married Sarah Crawford, lived in a large log house at the mouth of Cannon Creek. I remember them well, since, as a young man, I taught the Lower Cannon Creek School (later named Happy Valley School by me when I was County Superintendent) and was associated with these good people in this community during that school year. They were good, hard working farmer people, and had the following children: (1) John Peace, (2) Rev. Joe Hamp Peace, a Baptist preacher, (3) Elijah Peace, (4) Levi Peace, (5) Charley Peace, (6) Geneva Peace, who married Rev. W. T. Robbins, (7) Susie Peace, who married James Cox.
Levi Peace (1878-), a son of Simon Peace, married Malina Barnett, and has the following children: (1) W. F. Peace, (2) Inez Peace, (3) Ethel Peace, (4) Fuson Peace.
Garrett Taylor (1872-), married Kate Sulfridge, and has the following children: (1) Edna Taylor, and (2) Millard Taylor, (3) Charley Taylor, (4) Ruby Taylor, (5) Clyde Taylor, (6) Harrison Taylor, (7) Alfred Taylor, (8) Winnie Taylor.
Sherman Taylor, brother of Garrett
Taylor, was born in 1865 and died in 1905. He married Nannie Taylor, and
had two children: (1) Mary E. Taylor and (2) Emmet J. Taylor.
Harrison Taylor (1838-1904) was the father of Sherman and Garrett Taylor. He was married twice and had the following children: I. Mary Katchins (from Releford County, N.C.): (1) Sherman Taylor, (2) Grant Taylor, (3) Martha Taylor, (4) Susie Taylor, (5) Garrett Taylor, (6) Caroline Taylor, (7) Mary Bell Taylor, (8) Margaret Taylor, (9) Gilbert Taylor, (10) John Taylor, (11) Harrison Taylor, Jr., II. Lucy Howard, second wife: (12) Henry Taylor, (13) America Taylor, (14) Pearlie Taylor.
Cornelius Taylor, father of Harrison Taylor, married Sarah Walker from old Virginia, and their children were (1) Nelson Taylor, (2) Isaac Taylor, (3) Harrison Taylor, (4) Elec Taylor, (5) Mary Taylor, (6) Clera Taylor, (7) Mahala Taylor, (8) Sallie Taylor, (9) Peggy Taylor, (10) Alabama Taylor.
One of the oldest settlers of Ferndale was Drury Mayes. When the road was widened in front of the Thomas Jefferson Kellems house at Ferndale a few years ago, the road men cut off a point of the hill and unearthed the grave of Drury Mayes and one of his children. His tombstone showed that he was born in 1771 and died in 1827. It is said that after his death, his family became frightened and left the community. He is supposed to have been the first man to take up land in and around Ferndale.
Simon Delph, former County Superintendent of the Schools of Bell County, tells the story of Drury Mayes, which follows in all of the details he gave to it.
"One of Bell County's pioneers was Drury Mayes, who settled at Ferndale on a tract of land containing 150 acres, patented to Daniel Miller, signed by Governor Christopher Greenup, of the date February 12, 1807. On October 7th, 1826, Drury Mayes had a 50 acre tract surveyed on Canyon Creek, County of Harlan, (afterwards Bell), adjoining the 150 acre tract on which he lived. The patent was signed by Joseph Desha, Governor of Kentucky, July 10, 1827.
"Drury Mayes lived, died, and was buried on his farm. at Ferndale. In 1932, a slide of earth carried the grave and tombstone into the state highway. The words 'Drury Mayes,' born November 19, 1771. Died September 6, 1827,' were plainly visible on the tomstone. The contents of the grave consisted of a strata of brown dust, about four inches thick, three feet wide, and six feet long. A few pieces of bone and some square cut rusty nails could be seen in the dust.
"All that remained of Drury Mayes, after he had been dead one hundred and five years, was about three bushels of brown dust, sufficient to fertilize a few hills of corn or potatoes.
"The state highway maintenance crew
removed the slide of earth from the highway and dumped it on the side of
the highway near the L & N depot, where most of it soon found it way
into Canyon Creek (now Cannon Creek). Consequently, the dust of what was
once Drury Mayes has been scattered from Ferndale to the Gulf of Mexico
and some of it may have been carried by the current into the ocean.
"The tombstone is still learning against the fence of the poultry lot of J. C. Knuckles, proclaiming that Drury Mayes was born November 19, 1771, and died September 6th, 1827.
"The farm of Drury Mayes was sold to Jim Davis. His sons, Murphy Davis and Preston Davis, sold it to John Kellems in 1860. Thomas Jefferson Kellems, son of John Kellems, came into possession of the farm, and it was divided by him and deeded to his daughters: Kate (Kellems) Knuckles and Etta (Kellems) Asher, in 1925. John Kellems died August 10, 1882, aged 76 years, 11 months, and 10 days. Kate (Davis) Kellems was born January 15, 1810, and died March 13, 1895. They are both buried at Ferndale.
James Henry Lee, born June 16, 1901, who lives on Yellow Creek near the mouth of Clear Fork, married Ollie Good, born August 6, 1902, and they have eleven children: (1) Evelyn Aloha Lee, January 29, 1921, who married Kenneth Sharpe, (2) Vivian Lorine Lee, October 3, 1919, who married John Sewell, (3) James Powhatan Lee, August 15, 1922, (4) Jack Hopokon Lee, December 15, 1923, (5) Robert E. Lee, November 27, 1925, (6) Zora Hotense Lee, May 17, 1927, (7) Nell Gretchen Lee, September 7, 1929, (8) Richard Henry Lee, February 10, 1931, (9) Velva Joan Lee, December 13, 1932, (10) Mary Lou Lee, February 12, 1935, (11) Doris Avis Lee Ann Lee, November 26, 1937.
John James Lee, father of James Henry Lee, was born January 17, 1875, and married Dora Isabel Pittman, daughter of Jerry Pittman. She was born March 1, 1882. They have the following children: (1) Zora Ellen Lee, born September 1, 1898, who married Oliver Robbins, (2) James Henry Lee, (3) Vestie Lee, who married Joe Robbins, (4) Sarah Velda Lee, who married Charles Myers, (5) Richard Claudie Lee, who married Cleo Thompson, (6) Mary Lee, who married Tilmon Peace, (7) Howard Jonathan Lee, (8) John Alden Lee.
Gabe Lee, who at one time lived in Pineville, and married Rebecca Lee, his first cousin, was a son of Pierce Lee, who was a son of Andrew Lee.
James Lee, grandson of James Henry Lee and son of John ("Er John") Lee, was known as "Fiddlin' Jim." He married Rozzie Jackson, and to them were born nine children: (1) John James Lee, (2) Rachel Lee, who married Dan Green, (3) Elizabeth Lee, who married Mat Green, (4) Sarah Vina Lee, who married Joe Boatright, (5) Mary Lee, who married Bob Bingham, (6) Dora Lee, who married 0. P. Ingram, (7) George Lee, who lives at the mouth of Browney's Creek, (8) Leonard Lee, who married Teretha Arnett, (9) Clo Eva Lee, who married Neighbor Champlin.
John Ingram, born June 14, 1892, married
Nellie Beason, born February 3, 1898, and to them were born eleven children:
(1) Ruby Catherine Ingram, (2) Alvin Ingram, (3) Lenville Ingram, (4) Mary
Ingram, (5) Grover Ingram, (6) Annie Ingram, (7) Clifford Ingram, (8) Hubert
Ingram, (9) Clyde Ingram, (10) Linnie Bell Ingram, (11) Betty Lou Ingram.
Ebb Ingram, father of John Ingram, married Gelanie Robbins, daughter of John Cal Robbins, and to them were born nine children: (1) John Ingram, (2) George Ingram, (3) Sherman Ingram, (4) Houston Ingram, (5) Bell Ingram, (6) Jim Ingram, (7) Joe Ingram, (8) Maggie Ingram, (9) Eulus Ingram.
William Henry Ingram, brother of Tom Ingram, and Rev. James Ingram, and grandfather of John Ingram, married Rachel Goodin, and had the following children: (1) Ebb Ingram, (2) Bill Ingram, (3) John Ingram, (4) Oliver P. Ingram, (5) Amanda Ingram. This family lived on Greasy Creek.
Rev. Ebb Ingram, who was Chaplain in the 49th Kentucky Infantry during the Civil War, who lies buried in the Ingram Settlment on Greasy Creek, where he lived and died, had several children, among whom are (1) Rev. James Ingram, (2) Tom Ingram, (3) William H. Ingram, (4) Sallie Ingram, who married a Brachet, (5) Hannah Ingram, who married Andy Evans, (6) some others whose names are not known.
Rev. Joseph Hampton Peace, born November 7, 1868, married Martha Kellems, born September 1, 1869. They were married April 30, 1890. They have eleven children: (1) Gertrude Peace, May 19, 1891, who married Joe Denny, (2) Westall Peace, October 11, 1892, who married Samantha Lee, (3) Orpha Peace, September 8, 1894, died September 12, 1899, (4) Oakley Peace, April 1, 1896, who married Rhoda Pointer, December 14, 1916, (5) Anna Peace, March 10, 1898, who married Bill Davis, (6) Madison McClellan Peace, December 29, 1899, who married Dolly Redmon, (7) Clara B. Peace, April 2, 1902, who married Jim Bussell, (8) Ruthy Dorcas Peace, February 21, 1905, (9) Joseph Laman Peace, February 28, 1907, who married Vadie Sutton, (10) Tilman Urlen Peace, June 17, 1909, who married Mary Lee, (11) Verdie Naomi Peace, December 25, 1911, who married Barton Sutton. He is farmer and Baptist Preacher.
Father of J. H. Peace, Simon Peace, who lived at the mouth of Cannon Creek, was born 1835, and died June 13, 1909, and married Sarah Crawford.
The grandfather of Rev. J. H. Peace was Thomas Peace, who settled on Poplar Creek in Whitley County, and was said to have come from Ireland to this country. He married a Harp in Whitley County. They had these children, (1) Simon Peace, (2) Joseph Peace, (3) Pleas Peace, (4) Levi Peace, (5) Thomas Peace, (6) Jincie Peace.
The grandfather of Rev. J. H. Peace on his mother's side was John Crawford, who married Cassie Baker. They had these children: (1) Sarah Crawford, (2) Charity Crawford, (3) Mary Crawford, (4) Mrs. Nute Sampson, (5) John James Crawford, (6) Hampton (A. H.) Crawford.
A. H. Crawford, who was in the 49th
Kentucky, Company B, Infantry, in the Civil War, married Nancy Jane Smith,
born Septemter 4, 1836, and died January 23, 1909, a sister of Elijah and
Calvin Smith, of Little Clear Creek, and they had two children: (1) Ellen
Crawford, who married a Wilson, (2) Hettie Crawford, who married Burrel
John James Crawford married Lettie Eads, and they had six children: (1) Laura Crawford, who married a Sutton, (2) Dora Crawford, who married a Sutton, (3) Minnie Crawford, (4) Cora Crawford, (5) Fred Crawford, (6) John Crawford.
Will Denny had the following children: (1) Nellie Denny, (2) Gracie Denny, (3) Eller Denny, (4) Joe Denny, (5) Gillis Denny, (6) Andy Denny, (7) Virgil Denny, (8) Sturl Denny.
James Denny, who married a Hurst, had the following children: (1) John Denny, (2) George Denny, (3) Robert Denny, (4) Sod Denny, (5) Bud Denny, (6) Dink Denny, (7) Betty Denny, (8) Ollie Denny.
Elisha Wilson, who married Elizabeth Hurst, born July 4, 1833, and died February 19, 1916, had the following children: (1) Marsh Wilson, (2) Andy Wilson, (3) Sanders Wilson, (4) Elisha Wilson, (5) Finley Wilson, (6) Judge Wilson, (7) Brance Wilson, (8) Elijah Wilson, (9) Mary Wilson, who married a Van Bever.
Tom Poff married Jane Kellems, and they had eight children: (1) James Poff, (2) George Poff, (3) John Poff, (4) Tom Poff, (5) Emily Poff, who married a Green, (6) Margaret Poff, who married a Green, (7) Josephine Poff, who married a Hoskins, (8) Amanda Poff, who married a Miracle.
George Van Bever, born February 27, 1823, and died September 7, 1903, married Mazy Van Bever, and born June 16, 1828, and died May 19, 1905, and they had five children: (1) James Van Bever, (2) Base Van Bever, (3) John Van Bever, (4) Will Van Bever, (5) a girl whose name is not known.
Columbus Wright lived on top of the ridge in the Denny Settlemnt. He had these children: (1) Sherman Wright, (2) Tom Jeff Wright, (3) Elias Wright, who married a Green, (4) George Wright.
James Eads, who lived near the Depot at Ferndale, married Charity Crawford and had these children: (1) Susie Eads, (2) Alice Eads, (3) James Eads, (4) Bates Eads, (5) Isom Eads, (6) Thomas Eads.
Fred Barner lived where Meldrum is now and he married Kate Sampson, daughter of Joe Sampson and sister of Governor Flem D. Sampson.
The old settlements on lower Yellow
Creek, Cannon Creek and Clear Fork of Yellow Creek, were as follows: (1)
The John C. Colson place, first on Cannon Creek about one mile above the
present highway, and later in Middlesborough on the highway between Binghamtown
and the old Steel Plant; (2) The old Baughman place where Excelsior is
now located; (3) The Barner place, where Meldrum is now located on Yellow
Creek below Excelsior; (4) The McTee place, across Yellow Creek from Excelsior;
(5) The Kitchen place; (6) The King place; (7) The Hargis place, on Yellow
Creek near the mouth of Clear Fork; (8) George Van Bever place, on Yellow
Creek at the mouth of Crane Creek; (9) Elisha Wilson place, on Yellow Creek
near the mouth of Clear Fork; (10) Tom
Poff place, on Yellow Creek one mile above the mouth of Cannon Creek; (11) John Crawford place, below mouth of Cannon Creek; (12) Elijah Green place, at the mouth of Cannon Creek, later known as the Simon Peace place; (13) Hiram Hoskins place, on Yellow Creek opposite the mouth of Williams Branch; (14) Hiram Green place, right hand fork of Williams Branch; (15) Dixon place, forks of Williams Branch.
Hiram Hoskins married Betty Baughman and had these children: Thomas Jefferson Hoskins, who sold goods in Pineville, (2) John Hoskins, who became a doctor and went west, (3) Joseph Hoskins, (4) Linda Hoskins, who married a Baughman.
Henry King had the following family: (1) John Spence King, (2) Frank King, (3) Sadie King, (4) Martha King, (5) Betty King, (6) Cora King, (7) Ora King.
Elisha McTee lived at Yellow Hill and moved to Texas. Art McTee lived on Yellow Creek near the junction of the Colmar road with the main highway and later went to Texas.
John Gilbert Kellems, brother of T. J. Kellems and father of Mrs. Joseph Hampton Peace, married Annie Miracle, daughter of Ambrose Miracle of Williams Branch, and they had these children: (1) John Kellems, (2) Ambrose Kellems, (3) Martha Kellems, (4) Debbie Kellems, who married Gillis Turner, (5) Charity Kellems, who married Larkin Baker, (6) Fred Kellems, (7) Andres Kellems, (8) Maggie Kellems, who married Frank King, (9) Melton Kellems.
Rev. Houston Ingram, brother of John Ingram and son of Ebb Ingram, was born October 22, 1897, and married Carrie Hurst, born May 22, 1906, and have six children: (1) W. H. Ingram, (2) Pauline Ingram, twin of Augustine, (3) Augustine Ingram, twin of Pauline, (4) Louverna Ingram, (5) Claude Ingram, (6) Jack Ingram. Rev. Ingram joined the Baptist Church in May, 1923, and was ordained to preach the 5th Sunday in September, 1925. He is now pastor of the following churches: (1) Dark Ridge Baptist Church, (2) Hutch Baptist Church.
Craig Gillous Turner, who joined the Baptist at Ferndale in 1890, was born October 26, 1873, and married, January 16, 1895, by Rev. M. C. Hutchins, Deborah Kellems, born January 31, 1871, and they have these children: (1) Girta Stella Turner, December 12, 1895, (2) Charles Ward Turner, November 20, 1898, (3) Rosa Ethel Turner, August 27, 1900, (4) Floyd Preston Turner, August 1, 1901, (5) Arthur Turner, March 26, 1907, (6) Clifford G. Turner, May 22, 1909.
Rev. Preston Turner, father of Craig
Gillous Turner, was born April 1, 1840, and died July 20, 1905, and married
Dorcas Partin, born June 10, 1844, and died July 15, 1909. They were married
December 4, 1868. They had these children: (1) Cordia Turner, born April
6, 1871, who married Jim Partin, (2) C. G. Turner, (3) Sarah Turner, March
25, 1876, who married Grant Goodin, (4) George W. Turner, March 18, 1878,
(5) James Preston Turner, April 22, 1887, who married Emily Quillin, (6)
Rosa B. Turner, January 1, 1884, (7) William E. Turner, March 10, 1887.
Rev. Preston & Dorcus Turner
Grandmother of C. G. Turner was Peggy (Hoskins) Turner, whose mother was a Colson, first cousin of Rev. John C. Colson.
Rev. Mack Miracle, born March 14, 1876, was the son of Jim Crow Miracle and Elizabeth (Hoskins) Miracle, and the grandson of Ambrose Miracle and Nancy (Thompson) Miracle. He has the following children: I. Niley Cruthfield: (1) Martha Miracle, (2) Clifford Miracle, (3) Oscar Miracle, (4) Mossie Lee Miracle, (5) Agnes Miracle; II. Maggie Concklin: (6) Mary Magdaline Miracle, (7) Laura Ruth Miracle, (8) Demarris Miracle, (9) Maxine Miracle. He joined Mount Mary Baptist Church in 1903 and was ordained to preach at the Williams Branch Baptist Church in 1912. He is now pastor of these churches: (1) Harmony Baptist Church, (2) Cannon Creek Baptist Church, (3) Clear Fork Baptist Church.
Rachel Hoskins is buried in the Clear Fork Cemetery and her tombstone shows the following record: (1) born January 13, 1798, and (2) died April 17, 1830.
James Johnson, born November 4, 1841, and died September 19, 1892, married Abigail Johnson, born August 30, 1843, and died April 24, 1875. They are buried in the Clear Fork Cemetery. These children are listed on their tombstone: (1) Percumone Johnson, born May 17, 1868, and died August 1890, (2) James N. Johnson, born February 19, 1870, and died November 2, 1881, (3) Myrtle Johnson, born July 29, 1883, and died August 12, 1883.
Emily Turner, wife of James Turner, brother of C. G. Turner, was born September 7, 1866, and died February 6, 1920, and is buried in the Clear Fork Cemetery.
Rev. W. T. Robbins gives the following
with reference to his family: "The original home of the Robbins family
in Kentucky was Buncombe County, North Carolina. All of the Robbins family
in Kentucky came over from North Carolina during the Nineteenth century.
James Robbins, who married Martha Brothers, was born in North Carolina
in 1750. He was my great-great grandfather. We have the information that
this couple reared a large family, one of whom was my great grandfather,
Jonathan Robbins, born in 1785 in North Carolina. His wife was Mary Massengale,
the daughter of Lemuel Massengale. Their children were as follows: (1)
James M. Robbins, born in N.C. in 1806, came to Kentucky in 1836 and settled
in Bell County about one mile from Calmar. (2) Lemuel Robbins, born in
N. C., came to Bell County in 1838 and settled near Colmar. He died in
1878. (3) James Robbins died April, 1876. (4) Michael Robbins, born in
1810 in N.C., came to Bell County in 1840, married Betty Crawford, and
died in 1896. (5) Absalom Robbins, born in 1812, came to Kentucky in 1856,
and settled in Jackson County. (6) Mary Robbins Holt, born in N.C. in 1814,
married Holt before coming to Kentucky, and settled in Jackson County in
1856. (7) Miss Nellie Robbins, born in N.C. in 1816, and died in N.C. in
1832. She was never married. (8) Jane Robbins Runions, born in 1818 in
N.C., married Thomas Runions, and settled in East Tennessee. (9) Abba Robbins
Ball, born in 1820 in N.C., married Addison Ball, came to Kentucky in 1856,
settled in Jackson County. (10) Joshua Robbins, born in 1822 in N.C., came to Kentucky, remained here only a short time, and returned to N.C. (11) Rev. J. A. Robbins, my grandfather, born in N.C., November 28, 1824, and died April 26, 1867. He Married Matilda Goldsmith, of S.C., and settled in Jackson County, on Pond Creek, in 1856. He was a Baptist minister and taught in the public schools. Founded many of the churches in that section, one of which is the Annville Baptist Church, which is now presided over by Rev. D. S. Smith, as pastor. During his lifetime, which covered only a few years, my grandfather accomplished a great work. Grandfather J. A. Robbins and grandmother Matilda Robbins reared a large family, of whom my father was the fourth. His oldest brother was (1) Lemuel Robbins, born in 1840, and served in the Civil War. (2) James Robbins, born in 1842, served in the Civil War and died with the measles during service. (3) Sarah Robbins Turner, born in 1844, reared her family in Jackson County, Kentucky.
"The Robbins family in Bell County, Kentucky. James Robbins, Lemuel Robbins, Michael Robbins, Rev. J. A. Robbins (through my father, Wiley Robbins and John Robbins, my uncle) founded the Robbins family here in Bell County. James M. Robbins married Nancy Robbins first in N.C. in 1827, settled in Bell County in 1836, and to this union were born: (1) Maria Robbins Miracle, (2) James Robbins, (3) Nancy Robbins Smith, (4) J. A. Robbins. Maria Robbins Miracle, born in 1830 in N.C., came to Bell County with her father and mother. She was my grandmother on my mother's side. She married John E. Miracle in 1854. To this union were born five children: (1) James Miracle, born in 1856, (2) Mary E. Miracle Robbins, my mother, (3) Frederick Miracle, a twin of my mother, (4) Martha Miracle Barnett, (5) Nancy Miracle Browning. Grandfather John E. Miracle died of measles while serving in the Civil War. All of my relatives, who were old enough, joined the army and served as Union soldiers during the Civil War. Grandfather died in 1863 and was buried at Booneville, N.C., but later his remains were taken up and interred in the National Cemetery at Knoxville, Tennessee.
"Lemuel Robbins, who married Kizzar Robbins in N.C., came to Bell County in 1836, and settled on the Colmar Ridge, near his brother James Robbins (also my great grandfather on my mother's side). Here Lemuel Robbins reared a large family. His children were (1) J. A. Robbins, who married Mary Pursifull, (2) Nancy Robbins, who married Alex Dickson, (3) Sarah Robbins, who married James Green, (4) James Robbins, who married Rebecca Green, their children being (1) George Robbins, who lives on Hances Creek, (2) E. L. Robbins, Farriston, Kentucky, (3) Frank Robbins, Broadhead, Kentucky, (4) Charles Robbins, Crab Orchard, Kentucky, (5) Mrs. George Wright, of Illinois.
"Clark Robbins was born in Bell County
but reared his family in Jackson County. Elizabeth Robbins married David
Smith. One of her sons was Rev. G. W. Smith, of Wasioto. This entire family
is now dead. Michael Robbins, who came to Bell County in 1836, married
Betty Crawford and settled near Colmar. Their children: (1) John C. Robbins,
(2) Mary Robbins, who married Rev. James Van Bever, (3) Sarah Robbins,
who married James Barnett. A large family was born to this union, among
those who living are (1) Prof. R. W. Barnett, (2) Jackson Barnett, (3) Moses Barnett, (4) Charles Barnett.
"John C. Robbins reared a large family: (1) Mrs. Kate Blevens, Middlesborough, (2) John Robbins, Middlesborough, (3) G. W. Robbins, (4) W. M. Robbins, (5) Houston Robbins, (6) Mrs. Ervin Wilson, (7) Mrs. Eb Ingram, being some of his children.
"Rev. J. A. Robbins, being represented in Bell County by Rev. Wiley Robbins, son of John Robbins. The late Wiley M. Robbins, my father, came to Bell County from Bond, Jackson County, in 1871, and married Mary E. Miracle, my mother. To this union were born the following children: (1) Rev. John A. Robbins, Glamorgan, Va., (2) Rev. W. T. Robbins, Highsplint, Kentucky, (4) Cleve Robbins, Four Mile, Ky., (5) Leonard Robbins, Wasioto, Kentucky, (6) Garret Robbins, Dayhoit, Kentucky, (7) Mrs. Otis Simpson, Ferndale.
"There are three Baptist preachers in our immediate family. Our grandfather, J. A. Robbins, is a Baptist preacher. So far there have been more than twenty Baptist preachers in the family. Most of them are Missionary Baptist preachers, but some of them are primitive Baptists. One of them is a Holiness preacher. One time one of our cousins was a Mormon preacher. His name was Rev. A. J. Isaacs, Lock, Ark. The best known Primitive Baptist preachers are: Elders J. A. Robbins, Middlesborough, and R. W. Robbins, Route 1, Pineville.
"(1) My brother, J. A. Robbins, born June 27, 1873, (2) W. T. Robbins, (myself), born October 29, 1876, (3) G. W. Robbins, born 1893, (4) Cleve Robbins, born April 25, 1884, (5) Leonard Robbins, born January 8, 1882, (6) Garret Robbins, born 1896, (7) Mrs. Ottie Simpson, born 1898. Every one of the above has reared a large family.
"W. T. Robbins, on July 12, 1902, married Miss Geneva Peace. We have the following children living: (1) Mrs. Juanita Robbins Anderson, born October 19, 1904, Married S. A. Anderson, Abingdon, Va. Juanita is a teacher in the public schools. (2) Beatrice Robbins Rice, born July 27, 1907. (3) Ezra Robbins, born January 17, 1911, (4) Marvin J. Robbins, born September 2, 1912, (5) Thurman Robbins, born June 2, 1916, (6) Birchel Robbins, born January 22, 1918, (7) Roddy Robbins, born December 12, 1921. Seven of our children finished high school. Three have had some college training. Two are in the teaching profession. Two are working for the Kroger Grocery Company. One drives a truck for the Standard Oil Company. One attends Union College. One is at home with his mother.
"The writer has had thirty-five years
experience in the teaching profession, 40 years' work in the ministry,
34 years of this time Clerk of the Bell County Baptist Association, helped
to organize 45 churches, and helped to ordain 48 new preachers. I helped
to baptize 1206 persons into the churches, received by letter 970 persons
into the churches, making a total increase for the churches of 2176. I
was County Judge of Bell County for four years, served on the County Board
of Education four years, and was bookkeeper and stenographer in Knoxville,
Tennessee, for five years. I have traveled 74,500 miles to fill my appointments to preach to my people, walked 31,600 miles of this distance. I acted as Missionary of the Bell Association of Baptists 11 years. Most of the time I have been pastor of four country churches and some of the time as many as six.
"I have an accurate record of all my work. At one time during the flu epidemic I was teaching and working at the same time for the State Board of Missions. I received a letter from the State Superintendent to close my school and that I would be paid in full for all the time I lost. I also received a letter from the State Missionary and he told me to do the same thing, to close my work as a missionary and visit sick folk and to do what I could without trying to preach. At that time my friend H. C. Smith was County Tax Commissioner. He asked me to assist him in his office. This I did, and as a result, I was paid three salaries at the same time. I give this information only to show how many occupations some of our preachers have had in order to pay expenses while preaching to country churches.
"Going back to my great grandfather on my mother's side, James M. Robbins, his second marriage was to Sallie Miracle. By this union there were born the following children: (1) Zachery Robbins, (2) James M. Robbins, Jr., (3) U. S. Robbins, (4) Rev. E. B. Robbins, (5) John R. Robbins, (6) Sarah Robbins Knowles. These were all born in Bell County and reared their families here mostly. There were once two men in Bell County by the name of John A. Robbins, who took their names from my grandfather, Rev. J. A. Robbins.
"Lemuel Robbin's son, J. A. Robbins, married Mary Pursifull. Their children were (1) Thomas Robbins, (2) James B. Robbins, (3) Ellen Robbins Davis, (4) Sarah Robbins Bingham, (5) Charity Robbins Risner, (6) Rev. W. S. Robbins, (7) Jacob Robbins, (8) Alice Robbins Denny, (9) Maggie Robbins Williams, (10) Rev. John M. Robbins, (11) Kizzar Robbins, (12) Henry Gray Robbins. James Robbins' son, J. A. Robbins, married Vicie Pursifull, and had these children: (1) Esau Robbins, (2) John Robbins, (3) Green Robbins, (4) Clark Robbins, (5) Malinda Robbins Jackson, (6) Margret Smith, (7) Mary Robbins Smith, (8) Nancy Robbins Smith.
"Thomas Robbins, the son of Lemuel Robbins, has two sons living in Bell County: Elders J. A. Robbins, Middlesborough, and R. D. Robbins, Route No. 1, Pineville. Both are ministers of the Primitive Baptist Church. Both have large families and are good citizens.
"S. B. Kirby was the founder of the
Kirby family in Bell County. He lived on Cannon Creek a short distance
above the main line railroad trestle across Cannon Creek some 40 years
before his death. He owned and operated a small water grist mill there
on Cannon Creek. He married Louise Helton in 1865. They had the following
children: (1) Nancy Kirby Strovel, born in 1866, (2) James E. Kirby, born
in 1868, (3) Ollie J. Kirby Green, born in 1870, (4) Cornelia Kirby Smith,
born in 1872, (5) Henry Kirby, born in 1874, (6) J. H. Kirby, born in 1876,
(7) W.R. Kirby, born in 1878, (8) Betty Kirby Capps, born in 1880, (9)
Etta Kirby Wilson, born in 1882, (10) Telitha Kirby Smith, born in 1884,
(11) Sallie Kirby, born in 1886.
"J. H. Cox founded the Cox family on Cannon Creek. His wife was named Mahala. Their children were (1) Thomas Cox, (2) George Cox, (3) Mrs. Mary Cox Jones, (4) Mrs. Deborah Cox Robbins, (5) Mrs. Ellen Cox Miracle, (6) Rev. R. M. Cox, (7) Charles Cox, (8) James Cox.
"John Kellems, born about 1820, was the founder of the Kellems family in Bell County. He lived all his life at Ferndale. He died about 1880. He married a Sampson and to this union were born: (1) J. G. Kellems, born about 1842, and died about 1904. (2) T. J. Kellems, born about 1844, and died about 1906. (3) Jane Kellems Poff, born about 1846 and died about 1900. J. G. Kellems was married twice. By his first wife he had two children: (1) Mrs. Fred Miracle, born about 1860 and died about 1920. (2) Mrs. Thomas Napier, born about 1862 and died about 1884. He married a second time, Mrs. Anna Miracle Hoskins, 1865, and to them were born: (1) J. C. Kellems, born in 1866, (2) T. A. Kellems, born in 1868, (3) Martha Kellems Peace, born in 1870, (4) Deborah Kellems Turner, born in 1872, (5) Maggie Kellems, born 1873, (6) Rev. F. R. Kellems, born 1874, (7) Milton Kellems, born 1873, (8) A. G. Kellems, born 1880."
C. BIG CLEAR CREEK SECTION
Thomas Fuson was an expert hunter and woodsman of the pioneer period when Kentucky was being settled. He was born in Hanover County, Virginia, in 1760 and died at Chenoa, Bell County, Kentucky, in 1849. He lived on Dismal Creek, DeKalb County, Tennessee, at the time he was making his hunting excursions into Kentucky. He was in Kentucky with several hunting parties prior to 1800. It is more than probable that he was a member of the hunting party known as the "Long Hunters." He was known to have resided, or hunted for a time on White Oak Creek, in Fentress County, Tennessee . This county is just across the Kentucky-Tennessee line from Wayne County, Kentucky, where the "Long Hunters" had a semi-permanent camp.
T. D. Clark says of the "Long Hunters": "The Long Hunters fared no better than the Boones. Their first semi-permanent camp was established in the neighborhood of Monticello, in Wayne County. Here the party split into small groups to hunt throughout the surrounding territory. Some of the members soon went to Natchez to sell their furs and returned home by way of the Atlantic Coast. Others went home overland, but several members of the party were killed by the Indians." (See A HISTORY OF KENTUCKY by R.D. Clark, p. 47)
There are a number of reasons why
it appears that Tom Fuson belonged to this band of "Long Hunters." One
of them is a tradition handed down from pioneer days to the effect that
he got lost from his hunting party and remained in the mountains of Kentucky,
alone, for two years, and, when he returned home to DeKalb County, his
children ran and hid from him (as they were taught to do in those days
if Indians or dangerous persons appeared). After the mother had called
them back from their hiding places, they asked her not to live with the
old hairy man. It was said that he naturally had an abundance of hair over
his body, and, his hair having grown out long, wearing moccasins for shoes,
and deer-skin clothing, he presented a frightful appearance to his children.
Another reason for so believing that he was a member of this hunting party is the fact that one of the first, and probably the very first, pioneer taverns was the "Feuston Tavern" just outside the city limits of the present town of Monticello, Kentucky. Evidently this tavern was established by some Fusons, who were in the party of the "Long Hunters," or who were informed about the location by Tom Fuson, the pioneer Kentucky hunter and settler.
Another reason is the fact that two descendants of Tom Fuson have spelled their names Feuston, indicating that they were descendants of of the family or families who established the "Feuston Tavern. One of these was Thomas Jefferson Fuson, who went to Drain, Oregon, just after the Civil War and went by the name of Feuston until his death as an old man (he having gone to Drain as a young man). One of Thomas Jefferson Fuson's sisters married under the name of Feuston.
Then, too, the oldest patent for land by a Fuson in Kentucky was taken up in 1807 by Elizabeth Fuston, on Beaver Creek, in Wayne County. Tom Fuson, the Kentucky pioneer, did not take up land until 1827.
Then, too, W. E. Fuson, of Hartville, Missouri, says that his grandfather was born in Kentucky in the early pioneer period, and it is more than likely that he was born at this "Feuston Tavern," or in its vicinity on Beaver Creek where Elizabeth Fuston patented land in 1807.
There is little doubt but that Tom Fuson was a member of the band of hunters known as the "Long Hunters." They were hunting in the region he was known to traverse and at the same time he was known to have been there.
It looks like, after Tom Fuson's hunting excursions into Kentucky, that a party of Fusons came with him by way of White Oak Creek in Fentress County, Tennessee, and crossed over into Wayne County, Kentucky, and settled, erecting the "Feuston Tavern" and taking up the land on Beaver Creek. Tom Fuson later separated from the party and came on into Bell County, settling just below Chenoa on the side of Pine Mountain.
Tom Fuson and his wife lie buried in an old cemetery a few miles up Big Clear Creek from the mouth of Bear Creek, or Chenoa. No tombstones mark their burial place.
His children settled principally on
Big Clear Creek, Little Clear Creek, and Greasy Creek. One remained in
DeKalk County, Tennessee. They were (1) John Fuson, 1792-1877, buried in
Lot #80, Palestine Cemetery, two and one half miles west of Leon, Iowa.
He reared his family on Greasy Creek, and, in 1852, went to Mercer County,
Missouri, with most of his children and their families. His wife was Polly
Garner, 1794-1865, and lies buried in Middlepoint Cemetery west of Mercer,
Missouri. Their children were: (A) First wife Polly Garner: (a) Thomas
Henry Fuson, who lived and died on the head of Greasy Creek; (b) Rachel
Fuson, (c) Rebecca Fuson, (d) J. Fuson, (e) J. R. Fuson, (f) John
Garner Fuson, (g) Nancy Fuson, (h) Betty Fuson, (i) Joseph Fuson, (j) Pleas Fuson, (k) Mary Patience Fuson, (l) Hansom Mack Fuson, (m) Jane Fuson; second wife, Nancy Catherine James: (n) Arnette Alice Fuson, 1866-1927, married Edwin R. Clark 1883; (o) George Washington Fuson, 1868-1918, married Nancy R. Lile; (p) William Carroll Fuson, 1874-, married Leapha Turner 1894. (2) Jonathan Fuson, 1795-1867, who remained in DeKalb County, Tennessee, lived near Smithville, died and was buried in Bonham (Fuson) Cemetery; (3) James Robinson Fuson, Sr., 1800-1875, who lived and died on Little Clear Creek, and was buried in Fuson Chappel Cemetery; (4) Hannah Fuson, who married Elijah Vandapool and went to Missouri in 1852; (5) Mahala Fuson, 1807-1884 who married Jack (John) Goodin and lived and died on Greasy Creek; (6) Betty Fuson, who married Bud Siler and never had any children, and lived and died in Whitley County; (7) Hall Fuson, who married Betty Gibson, but had no children, though some of Betty's children by Solomon Carter, whom she married after the death of Hall Fuson, went by the name of Fuson.
Robert L. Mason, who lived near Furnace Ridge on Big Clear Creek, died on June 23, 1938, at the age of seventy-eight. He was the son of Robert L. and Betsy Mason, who were among the first residents of this section. He and Franklin Mason, his brother, who died several years ago, built many of the older business houses in Pineville. Burial took place on Friday, June 24, 1938, at the family graveyard near his home. In his later years he lived with Mrs. Franklin Mason and his nephew Robert L. Mason on Big Clear Creek. His father, Robert L. Mason in his lifetime, owned a large farm on Big Clear Creek and was one of the best farmers of that section.
Philip Lee, son of Andrew Lee, moved to Bell County from the head waters of Martins Fork of Cumberland River in Harlan County in 1840 and settled on Big Clear Creek (See record of Andrew Lee, Old Yellow Creek Valley). When he came to Big Clear Creek there were no roads that a wagon could get over and he helped to build the roads in that part of the county.
Philip Lee was born December 10, 1817,
in Tennessee, probably at Rogersville, and died May 9, 1899, and was buried
on his home farm on Big Clear Creek. He was a farmer and cattle raiser,
owning around two thousand acres of land on Pine Mountain, Big Clear Creek
and Fork Ridge. He married Mary Bray in 1839, and moved to Big Clear Creek
that year, or the year after. Mary Bray was born January 1, 1817, and died
September 11, 1862, and was buried at the Mason Graveyard on Big Clear
Creek about one mile down the Creek from the Lee farm. Their children were
(1) Rebecca Lee, born March 13, 1840, who married Gabriel Lee, her cousin;
(2) James Henry Lee, born October 10, 1842, who never married; (3) Louisa
Jane Lee, born March 25, 1844, who married John Pleasant Fuson; (4) Margaret
Lee, born February 17, 1846, who married Andrew J. Lawson (she was the
mother of R. E. Lawson, Harlan, Kentucky); (5) Angeline Lee, born December
6, 1847, who married a Mannon and went to Missouri; (6) Mary Ann Lee, born
November 2, 1849, who married James Robinson Fuson; (7) Elizabeth Lee,
born October 5, 1851, who married William Lafayette Fuson; (8) Obedience
(Biddy) Lee, born October 6,
1853, who married Matthew Fuson; (9) Philip Lee, Jr., born October 1, 1855, who never married; (10) Sarah Jane Lee (the author's mother), born September 12, 1857, who married John Thomas Fuson; (11) William Lee, born October 1, 1859, who never married.
J. M. C. Davis lived at the forks of the two Clear Creeks, at the place known as Clear Creek Springs. He purchased the land around the Springs and developed the Springs into a health resort. He married Sallie Peavler, and they had the following children: (1) W. T. Davis, former Circuit Judge of this district, an attorney of Pineville, Kentucky; (2) John Davis, who lived on the hill between the Springs and Clear Creek Springs School house, and married Mellie Smith; (3) Frank Davis, who was a Civil and Mining Engineer; (4) Boyd Davis, who has always lived at Clear Creek Springs; (5) George Davis, who lived and died at Clear Creek Springs; (6) Charley Davis, (7) Kate Davis, who married Curns Gatliff; (8) Anne Davis, (9) Amanda Davis, who married Judge J. M. Gilbert.
James Davis was father of J. M. C. Davis, and had the following children: (1) J. M. C. Davis, (2) Press Davis, (3) Bill Davis, (4) Sill Davis, (5) Sallie Davis, who married a Tuggle and had two children: (a) Jim Tuggle, (b) Jess Tuggle, who married Sudie Root, (6) Lizzie Davis, who married Captain Ben Golden, (7) Jemima Davis, who married Bill Trosper, and part of their children were (a) Annie Trosper, who married Jim Bolin, (b) Betty Trosper, who married Judge Ed Evans, (c) Laura Trosper, who married John Turner.
Frank Davis, son of J. M. C. Davis, married Frances Prichard, and had five children: (1) Murphy Davis, (2) Mack Davis, (3) Sarah Davis, (4) Warren Davis, (5) Frank Davis, Jr.
George Davis married Cordia Howard, and they had one child: (1) Golden Davis.
Charley Davis married Ethel Lane and had two children: (1) Elizabeth Davis, (2) Billy Davis.
John Davis married Mellie Smith, daughter of Enoch Smith, and they had one child: (1) Myrtle Davis, who married Bill Sampson.
Judge J. M. Gilbert married Amanda Davis and they have two children: (1) Sophia Gilbert, (2) James Gilbert.
Curns Gatliff married Kate Davis and they have three children: (1) K. D. Gatliff, (2) Morris Gatliff, (3) Catherine Gatliff.
Judge W. T. Davis married Fannie Gilbert and they have no children.
David Mason, a Baptist preacher, married Polly Partin and had a son named Jack Mason. They lived near Chenoa.
W. M. Henderson, grandfather of Scott
Partin, came from England in 1780 and settled in North Carolina. In 1812
he emigrated to Knox County (now Bell) and settled on the head of Clear
Creek where later
James Henderson lived. Henderson was father of Scott Partin's mother, Sallie Henderson, who married John Partin in 1862.
I. A. Partin came to this country from England with the Hendersons. They intermarried. I. A. Partin settled at the mouth of Clear Creek, just above the Clear Creek Bridge south of the narrows, where Anderson Dude Partin later lived. Then he left his farm to his sons and went to the head of Clear Creek about 1870, where the Hendersons had settled.
I. A. Partin married Susan Potter of Clay County, Horse Creek, whose farm joined the Garrard farm. They had seven children: (1) Bill ("Blacksmith Bill") Partin, who lived in Pineville, (2) Shelt ("Toby") Partin, (3) Ephraim Partin, (4) Ben Partin, (5) John Partin, (6) Eliza Ann Partin, who married a Brummett, (7) Betty Partin, who married a Bowman and reared a family on Tackett Creek.
Dude Partin was a son of I. A. Partin and had, among other children: (1) Sylvester Partin, (2) Mat Partin.
Robert Boyd Davis born February 10, 1877, married Laura Howard, born July 3, 1878. They have four children: (1) Sarita Davis, born July 14, 1907, who married Charles Watson, (2) Nanie Laurie Davis, born March 17, 1909, (3) Marjorie Davis, born November 25, 1911, and died December 3, 1915, (4) Mary Catherine Davis, born August 8, 1921.
Pal Shelton and Nancy Shelton had these two children: (1) James Shelton, (2) Sis Shelton. They lived a few miles above Clear Creek Springs on the Shelton Farm, so named from their residence there.
Jonas Lovell lived on the opposite side of Big Clear Creek from the Shelton farm. He had four children: (1) Sabriney Lovell, (2) Isabel Lovell, (3) Niley Lovell, (4) Lucinda Lovell.
Ben Madon lived about one mile above Clear Creek Springs on Big Clear Creek. He had these children: (1) James Madon, (2) Letitia Madon, (3) Eliza Madon, (4) Mary Madon, (5) Amanda Madon.
Bratcher Mason, born June 20, 1841, and died June 11, 1905, married Ruth Miracle, born August 10, 1848, and died November 17, 1890, and lived on Big Clear Creek about one mile below the Philip Lee place. He had these children: (1) Grant Mason, who was a captain of industry during the development of the coal business in Bell and Harlan counties, (2) Dora Elizabeth Mason, who married Tom Ingram, (3) Sarah Mason, who married Bill Jones, and (4) Cora Mason.
James Henry Miracle, born September
16, 1873, who lives at Davisburg, Kentucky, married Mary Jane Martin, born
May 7, 1873, and to them were born: (1) Hilary Miracle, (2) Alice Miracle,
who married J. B. Fuson, (3) Dora Miracle, who married Luther Mason, (4)
Ella Miracle, who married W. L. Fuson, (5) Troy Elmer Miracle, who married
Zona Daniel, (6) May Miracle, who married Bill Campbell, (7) Jesse Miracle,
who married Hazel Newport, (8) Claud Miracle, who married Meldrum Head.
Mart Head married Sarah Partin, sister of Robert L. Partin. They lived near Chenoa, Kentucky. To them were born the following children: (1) Ellen Head, who married Billy (Blue-eyed) Partin, (2) Harvey Head, who married a Begley, (3) Roberson Head, who married a Rhoads, (4) Maggie Head, who married Bill Partin, (5) Tom Head, who married a Pritchard, (6) Roy Head, who married a Bolin, (7) Sudie Head, who married Hillary Cheeks, (8) Parrie Head, who married John Mason, (9) Docie Head, who married Henry Cheeks.
Rife Mason, who married Angeline Partin, daughter of James Partin, had the following children: (1) John Mason, (2) Dora Mason, who married James Martin Partin, (3) Lizzie Mason, who married Elam Partin, (4) Tisha May Mason, (5) Gentry Mason, (6) Robert Mason.
John P. Mason married Nancy Lee and to them were born: (1) Rev. Davis Mason, (2) Will Mason, (3) Lark Mason, (4) Becky Mason, (5) Ange Mason, (6) Sarah Mason, (7) Martha Mason, (8) Mary Mason.
Rev. Davis Mason, son of John P. Mason, married Jane Partin and to them were born: (1) Tilda Mason, who married Milford Partin, (2) Jack Mason, who married a McFalls, (3) Luster Mason, (4) Laura Mason, who married Ewell Gibson.
Robert Low Partin was born December 23, 1866, and married Sarah Jane Fuson, daughter of Bethanian Fuson, in 1903. She was born May 22, 1876. They have the following children: (1) Louiza Partin, who married Evan Partin, (2) Billy Partin, who married Dora Simpson, (3) Doxie Partin, who married Robert Mason.
Billy Partin, father of Robert L. Partin, married Tildy Low and they lived on the head of Laurel Fork beyond Chenoa. They had the following children: (1) John Partin, who married Letitia King, (2) Sarah Partin, who married Mart Head, (3) Susan Partin, who married Alvis Partin, (4) Ephram Partin, who married Angeline Henderson, (5) Parasittie Partin, daughter of James Henderson, who married Mat Miracle, (6) James Martin Partin, who married Sarah Elizabeth Mason, (7) Elam Partin, who married Dora Mason, (8) Jackie Partin, who married Ange Mason, and (9) Robert L. Partin.
Shelton Partin, grandfather of Robert L. Partin, married a Mason, sister of Robert Mason, and lived where the Pine Creek road and the Laurel Fork road came together in South America. To them were born these children: (1) Billy Partin, (2) John Partin, who married Lizzie Mason, (3) Nancy Partin, (4) Jennie Partin, who married Bryant Madon.
James Mason, father of Rife Mason,
had the following children: (1) Rife Mason, (2) China Mason, who married
Bill Lee, (3) Nan Mason, who married Jackie Partin, (4) Robert Mason.
D. ON CUMBERLAND RIVER BEL0W PINEVILLE
Lee Roy Hendrickson, born February 17, 1856, married Phoebe Hembree, born 1858. They lived at the mouth of Turkey Creek and had the following children: (1) Charley Hendrickson, born 1888, (2) Gillis Hendrickson, 1890-1891, (3) John Hendrickson, born 1892, (4) Maggie Hendrickson, born 1984, (5) George Hendrickson, born 1896.
Noah Hendrickson, father of Lee Roy Hendrickson, who lived at the same place, married Daimy Bingham and had the following children: (1) Rev. George Hendrickson, a Baptist preacher, (2) Sarah Jane Hendrickson, who married John Ore, (3) Calloway Hendrickson, who served as Sheriff of Bell County, (4) Lee Roy Hendrickson, (5) Elizabeth Hendrickson, (6) Eliza Hendrickson, who married John Woods, (7) Gillis Hendrickson.
Ruben Hendrickson, grandfather of Lee Roy Hendrickson, married Hannah Hendrickson, and they had the following children: (1) Billy Hendrickson, (2) Joe Hendrickson, (3) Peggy Hendrickson, who married Bob Knuckles, (4) George Hendrickson, (5) Sallie Hendrickson, who married Sam Lock, (6) John Hendrickson, (7) Jane Hendrickson, who married John Eperson, (8) Noah Hendrickson. It is claimed that the Hendricksons came to this country from France.
Robert Hendrickson married Tilda Buckhanan, and to them were born: (1) Dora Hendrickson, (2) Mary Hannah Hendrickson, (3) John Amy Hendrickson, (4) Ruben Hendrickson.
The father of John Hendrickson was Ruben Hendrickson.
The first man who owned the farm at the mouth of Greasy Creek, after Roberts ownership, who first settled there, was Enzie Parrott. It is said that Parrott bought the land from Roberts. Later it was owned by Mount Pursifull. Then Judge John Goodin owned it, following by his son Bill J. Goodin.
Noah Hendrickson married Lizzie Miller, daughter of Milton Miller. They had these children: (1) Gus Hendrickson, (2) Sarah Hendrickson, (3) Rixie Hendrickson, (4) James Hendrickson, (5) John Hendrickson. There were two other girls whose names we do not have.
Clip from the PINEVILLE SUN, November, 1939:
Editor THE SUN:
The late C. H. Thompson of Middlesboro,
father of J. R. Thompson, who is employed at the Kentucky Utilities Co.,
Plant at Four Mile, was a grandson of the late W. E. N. Mark, who built
one of the first few brick homes in Southeastern Kentucky. The old home
place was sold to the Goodins and is now owned by Mrs. Lizzie Goodin. The
Kentucky Utilities Company purchased a part of the farm on which K. U.
Park Station now stands. The old home is a one story 10 room brick structure,
with eight sides, semi-octagon in shape. The walls are
approxizmtely 20 inches thick. The brick are larger than standard
brick of today, and the bricks used in the corners were made to the degree
of same, making a smooth joint, and corner. Last year during a partial
repair to the roof of this home, it was discovered that the heavy sheet
steelroofing used in its construction was shipped from Ireland to North
Carolina, and from there by ox cart to its final destination. The original
roof, with the exception of repairs made is still in good condition. The
brick for this home was made in a special kiln near the home. Each room
has a three-foot dressed stone foundation.
SOME EARLY STATISTICS OF BELL COUNTY
Jesse Helton married a Watson, July 10, 1816, Person Watson, bondsman.
Skelton Renfro married Juda Renfro, April 8, 1819, by Rev. Bloggrove Hopper.
Thomas Dean married Catherine Chick, March 10, 1820, by Rev. Bloggrove Hopper.
Lewis Renfro married Viney Hubbard, September 12, 1820, by Rev. William Hopper.
Noah Cox married Nancy Lea, March 2, 1820, by Rev. Andrew Evins.
William Evins married Judah Willson, November 8, 1821, by Rev. Andrew Evins; William was son of Andrew.
Ebenezer Ingram married Rachel Goodin, December 25, 1821, by Rev. Bloggrove Hopper.
Marcellus Moss (father of Judge M. J. Moss) married Polly Renfro, November 7, 1822, by Rev. Bloggrove Hopper; father, James Renfro, Sr.
William Ingram married Margaret Tinsely, December 31, 1822, by Rev. Bloggrove Hopper.
Thomas Goodin married Mary Ingram, September 7, 1804, Alexander Stewart, Justice of the Peace.
Joseph Goodin married Ellendar Cox, April 8, 1809, by Rev. Elijah Foley.
Ambrose Evans married Betsy Golden, December 23, 1810, by Rev. James Sullivan.
Joseph Eve married Betsy Withers, November 15, 1811, by Rev. Elijah Foley.
Joseph Cox married Rebecca Lee, July 23, 1812, by Rev. Elijah Foley.
Elisha Green married Nancy Bingham,
June 1813, by George Brittain, Justice of the Peace.
John Goodin married Sarah Ingram, November 7, 1854, by Ebenezer Ingram.
William H. Dean married Mary D. Fuson, January 9, 1855, by Rev. Don R. Johnson; John Epperson and Joseph Fuson, witnesses.
Ephraime Rose married Hannah Lee, September 9, 1822, by Rev. James Sears.
Andrew Bunton married Peggy Evins, February 20, 1823, by Rev. Andrew Evins.
John Goodin (father of Judge John Goodin) married Mary Ann Morgan, September 3, 1824, by Rev. Bloggrove Hopper; Gideon Carter, bondsman.
James Partin married Susan Mosely, August 17, 1825, by Rev. William Hopper.
Thomas Goodin, Jr., married Mary Tinsley, October 16, 1827, by Rev. Bloggrove Hopper.
Larkin Johnson married Olliva Renfro, May 17, 1827, by Rev. William Hopper.
Andrew McRoberts married Amanda M. M. Redd, April 17, 1827; T. J. Woodson, bondsman.
John Evins married Jane Farris, November 12, 1829, by Rev. Andrew Evins; Cornelius Farris, bondsman.
William Johnson married Ferriby Lee, August 13, 1829, by Rev. Andrew Evins; Benage Harp, bondsman.
James R. Fuson married Catherine Lee, November 10, 1831; James Lee, bondsman.
Milton Renfro married Isabella Fletcher, November 29, 1832, by Rev. William Hopper; John W. Fletcher, Jr., bondsman.
John Bull married Matilda Head, October 9, 1834, by Rev. William Hopper; Louisa Peavler, bondsman.
Ebenezer Goodin married Jane Fuson, July 20, 1834, by Rev. William S. Hickey; John Fuson, bondsman.
Daniel R. Johnson married Rachel Feuston (Fuson), February 15, 1839, by Rev. William H. Eve; John Fuson, bondsman.
James Colson married Sophronia Ann Turley, November 5, 1840, by Rev. Henry Wisor; Jefferson Craig, bondsman.
Leroy Goins married Rebecca M. Fuson,
February 13, 1840, by Rev. H. Goodin; Jesse Dykas, bondsman.
Silas Woodson married Jane McRoberts, September 13, 1842, by Rev. William Hopper.
Shelton Partin married Elizabeth Evans, May 25, 1842; William H. Evans, bondsman.
James H. Lee married Sarah C. Craig, September 5, 1843; Daniel G. Dickenson, bondsman.
James R. Fuson married Lucinda Evans, July 25, 1844, by Rev. William H. Evans; Richard Hayness, bondsman.
William Evans married Sarah Peavler, May 30, 1844, by Rev. William H. Evans; Lewis Peavler, bondsman.
Silas Woodson married Malivia Adams, July 28, 1846, by Rev. William Word.
James Ingram married Susan Mays, July 12, 1847.
John Goodin married Sallie St. John, December 29, 1847, by Rev. William Hopper.
John Lambdin married Mary C. Fuson, April 15, 1847, by Rev. Hez. Goodin.
William Evans married Elizabeth Mason, March 17, 1848, by Rev. H. Goodin.
James C. Fuson married Amanda R. Dean, January 20, 1849, by Rev. Thomas Marsie (Thomas Dean's daughter).
Bethanian Fuson married Lucinda Partin,
October 24, 1851, by Rev. H. Goodin' Elam Partin, father; William Roberson
James Duncan married Nancy Lee, May 24, 1851; James Lee bondsman.
Thomas Fuson married Delilah Goin, May 1, 1852, by Rev. H. Goodin; William Goin and John Fuson, Witnesses; James Votow, bondsman.
William King married Nancy Fuson, July 28, 1853, by Rev. H. Goodin; Thomas Fuson and James Golden, Witnesses; John Fuson, bondsman.
John Mason married Nancy Lee, June 1, 1853, by Rev. William H. Evans; James Mason and James Maden Witnesses.
Berry Hembree married Rebecca Lee, January 19, 1853; Benjamin Goodin, bondsman.
William J. Campbell married Elizabeth
M. Lee, December 30, 1853; James H. Lee, bondsman.
Reuben Gibson married Henrietta Lee, February 11, 1853; Demcy King, bondsman.
Hall Fuson married Elizabeth Gibson, December 2, 1838, by Rev. Richardson Herndon; John Goodin, bondsman.
Soloman Carter married Elizabeth Fuson (She was a Gibson before her marriage to Hall Fuson, and, after Hall Fuson died, she married Solomon Carter) , March 20, 1852; John Goodin, bondsman.
Governor Isaac Shelby's old brick house was built by him at Cumberland Ford. A record in the Knox County Court Clerk;s office for 1820 says that he built it.
John Goodin, son of John (Jack) Goodin and Mahala Fuson Goodin, who was sheriff of Knox County, partner with James Black, of Barbourville, Kentucky, in the practice of law, Commissioner of the schools of Bell County and County Judge of Bell County, was killed at a show in Barbourville in 1888. There was an account of his death in the Literary Digest at the time.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES by William Ayres has a good account of the diary of Doctor Thomas Walker.
Joseph Eve was Circuit Judge, Commonwealth's Attorney, County Attorney, and was appointed to represent the United States as Minister to the Republic of Texas.
Silas Woodson, who settled near the
mouth of Greasy Creek, lived near Barbourville, and who was elected Governor
of Missouri, was married three times:
To Mary Jane McRoberts, September 13, 1842, by Rev. William Hopper;
To Olivia Adams, July 28, 1846, by Rev. William Word;
Married after he went to Missouri. (Mrs. W. S. Woodson, who lives between Flat Lick and Barbourville on the main highway knows about the Governor).
Walden is said to have named Cumberland Gap after Cumberland County, Virginia, his native County.
Public whipping was abolished in Kentucky, December 1, 1873.
At one time, before Bell County was
formed, the Harlan County line extended from Cumberland Gap, through Ferndale
to the mouth of Straight Creek, across from the main part of Pineville.
In 1845 James Farmer was surveyor of Harlan County and surveyed lands for
others and surveyed and patented lands for himself. Many of the patents
were surveyed by Farmer in what is now Bell County. James Farmer's old
compass that he used in these days came into the hands of A. B. Culton,
Engineer, Pineville, Kentucky. He tells me he has had this compass
in his possession for thirty-five years. There is probably no compass,
every used in this section of the state, that has done more valuable service
than this one. As a general rule the work of this compass has stood the
test of the courts in after years. The Farmer patents are known all over
Bell and Harlan counties.
POLITICAL HISTORY OF BELL COUNTY
Bell County (at that time called Josh Bell County) was cut off from Knox and Harlan counties in 1867. This was only two years after the close of the Civil War. Lincoln had been assassinated in 1865. John Goodin, later County Superintendent of Schools (Commissioner at that time) and County Judge of Bell County, and formerly Sheriff of Knox County, was said to have been one of the prime movers in getting Bell County established. At the time he was a law partner of James D. Black, of Barbourville, later to become Governor of the state. James B. Partin was designed by the Legislature of Kentucky to survey the boundary line of the new county and establish its limits. This was done. New officers were installed, and the county, on September 9, 1867. was launched upon its road as a member of the Commonwealth's long line of counties.
I. OFFICERS OF BELL COUNTY 1867
A. DISTRICT OFFICERS
(1) The first magistrates of the county when formed in 1867 were William Bingham, John Burns, William H. Baughman, Joshua R. Cox, William L. Evans, James R. Fuson, Benjamin D. Green, Herrod Hendrickson, Hillary Hurst, Stephen Rice, John Partin, and Sampson Miracle.
B. COUNTY OFFICERS
The record of the first county officers, when the county was organized in September 1867, is rather indefinite. The orders show that they were sworn in and the amount of bond is given, but nowhere does it show what office each was to fill. The magistrates gave $500.00 bonds and the officers gave $2500.00 or $3000.00 bonds. From the size of the bonds the officers can be distinguished from the magistrates. Talking to some old men in the county, I think I have the first officers correct. They were as follows:
Lewis F. Payne, County Judge; James
Henry Lee, son of Philip Lee, and uncle of the author, County Court Clerk;
James M. Colson, brother of Congressman David G. Colson, Circuit Court
Clerk, Dempse King, Master Commissioner; William H. Baughman, Sheriff;
Harrison Colson, Assessor; Nelson Durham, Treasurer; and James B. Partin,
C. CIRCUIT JUDGES AND COMMONWEALTH'S ATTORNEYS
Bell County was not formed until 1867, and was part of Knox and Harlan counties prior to that time. In going back to 1828 for the officers of the Judicial District, I am including those that served for what is now Bell County. The officers follow in the order of service:
1828-1836 Joseph Eve, Judge Barbourville, Kentucky
1836-1840 Frank Ballinger, Judge, Barbourville. Kentucky
1840-1858 Tunstall Quarles, Judge.
1858-1868 Granville Pearl, Judge, London, Kentucky
1868-1880 William H. Randall, Judge, London, Kentucky
1880-1886 H. F. Finley, Judge, Williamsborg, Kentucky
H. C. Eversole, Com. Atty. Hazard, Kentucky
1886-1892 Robert Boyd, Judge, London, Kentucky
A. H. Clark, Com. Atty., Manchester, Kentucky
1892-1898 W. F. Hall, Judge, Harlan, Kentucky
Henry L. Howard, Com. Atty., Harlan, Kentucky
1898-1904 M. J. Moss, Judge, Pineville, Kentucky
Henry L. Howard, Com. Atty., Harlan, Kentucky
1904-1910 M. J. Moss, Judge, Pineville, Kentucky
Ira Fields, Com. Atty, Whitesburg, Kentucky
G. A. Denham, Com. Atty, Williamsburg, Kentucky
J. B. Snyder, Com. Atty, 1908-1910, Williamsburg
1910-1916 W. T. Davis, Judge, Pineville, Kentucky
J. B. Snyder, Com. Atty, 1910-1911, Williamsburg,
Grant Forester, Com. Atty. 1911-1916, Harlan,
1916-1922 W. T. Davis, Judge, Pineville, Kentucky
Grant Forester, Com. Atty, Harlan, Kentucky
1922-1928 Grant Forester, Judge, Harlan, Kentucky
B. B. Golden, Com. Atty, Pineville, Kentucky
1928-1934 D. C. Jones, Judge, Harlan, Kentucky
W. A. Brock, Com. Atty, Harlan, Kentucky
1934-1940 J. M. Gilbert, Judge, Pineville, Kentucky
D. B. Smith, Cam. Atty, Harlan, Kentucky
1940-1946 J. S. Forester, Judge, Harlan, Kentucky
D. B. Smith, Com. Atty, Harlan, Kentucky
D. CIRCUIT COURT CLERKS OF BELL COUNTY
I was not able, in the limited time
I had, to run down all of the Circuit Court Clerks, but have most of them.
The first one was said to have been James M. Colson. Then the others follow:
Robert Goodin, Henry Clay Rice, Elijah Hurst, James F. Neal, W. M. Hollingsworth,
R. B. Rice, J. G. Newly, R. D. Wilson R. E. Wilson, Mat Slusher, present
Clerk. R. D. Wilson served one-half of a term, and R. E. Wilson served
two and one-half terms. J. G. Newly and R. B. Rice both together served
two terms. W. M. Hollingsworth was the last four year term clerk. Since
that time clerks have served six years. Mat Slusher has been elected for
his second term.
II. PR0MINENT POLITICIANS OF THE COUNTY
From the organization of the county, or at the time of the organization of the county, the prominent families politically were the Colsons, the Lees, the Fusons, the Goodins, the Binghams, the Pursifulls. David G. Colson went to Congress, James Colson was elected to county office, and Gillis Colson was elected a number of times as County Superintendent. James Henry Lee, son of Philip Lee, was the first County Court Clerk of the county. James A. Fuson was the second Surveyor of the County and served a number of times as such. B. A. Fuson was County Judge of the County and H. H. Fuson served two terms as County Superintendent. John Goodin was County Superintendent and County Judge of the County. James Pursifull was County Judge of the county and John Mat Pursifull has been County Court Clerk and is now serving as County Judge. W. M. Bingham was County Superintendent of Schools for two terms and his son J. S. Bingham was County Judge for two or three terms.
David G. Colson has no doubt, been our most prominent politician. He is the only man, since the organization of the county, who has gone to Congress from the Eleventh (now the Ninth) Kentucky District. He served two terms in Congress, in the fifty-fourth and the fifty-fifth. Prior to serving in Congress he was elected Mayor of Middlesborough, Kentucky, and was a colonel in the Spanish-American War. The following is a sketch of his life, which is taken from the Congressional Record:
U. S. CONGRESSIONAL DIRECTORY
DECEMBER 5, 1898
COUNTIES--Adair, Bell, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Harlan, Knox, Laurel, Letcher, Leslie, Metcalf, Owsley, Perry, Pulaski, Wayne and Whitley (17 counties).
DAVID GRANT COLSON, of Middlesborough,
Kentucky, was born April 1, 1861, at Yellow Creek (now Middlesborough),
Knox (now Bell) County, Ky.; attended the common schools and for a short
time the academies at Tazewell and Mossy Creek, Tenn.; taught school, and
while thus engaged read law; took the junior course in law in the Kentucky
University in 1879-80; went to Washington in September, 1882, from which
time until June the 30th, 1886, he was an examiner and special examiner
in the Pension Bureau of the Interior Department; returned to Kentucky
in 1887 and in that year was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives,
session of 1887-1888; was the Republican nominee for State Treasurer in
1889, but was defeated by Hon. Stephen D. Sharp, the Democratic nominee;
was elected Mayor in Middlesborough in November, 1893, for four years,
which position he resigned to accept a seat in the Fifty-Fourth Congress;
was reelected to the Fifty-fifth Congress as a Republican, receiving 22,404
votes, against 12,518 votes for J. D. Black, Democrat, and 4,587 votes
for John D. White, Independent.
Lawrence Rice, son of Mrs. L. K. Rice of Middlesborough, Kentucky, handed me the following information about the Colson family of which they are descendants:
"The Rev. John Calvin Colson--also know as Judge Colson-was among the early inhabitants of the Yellow Creek Valley, and he and the family he sired have long been counted among Southeastern Kentucky's most prominent and influential people, politically, financially, and otherwise. So invaluable was this native son to his fellow citizens that he became recognized as the 'Patriarch of the Yellow Creek Valley'; and so far as is known he was the only man who ever held this signal honor, although one of his sons, David G. Colson, became even greater in many ways than the Patriarch.
"In addition to being a large-scale landowner and farmer, storekeeper and postmaster, Colson also found time to serve hereabouts as the preacher, teacher, lawyer, and doctor, being gifted along those lines but not 'educated' for such pursuits as one is required to be today.
"He is said to have been the first preacher and school teacher at the Green Meeting House which was erected about 1845 for religious and educational purposes and which in later years became known as Bethlehem Methodist Church. Before this was built the Rev. Colson taught school in a room in his store house. He is also credited with organizing Sunday Schools and with distributing Bibles all over this section of the tri-state area.
"Although a slaveholder, he was an anti-slavery sympathizer and served with the Union Army in the Civil War, but many of his slaves remained with him even after they were set free.
"Colson's career as politician was abruptly ended by his untimely death in August 1882 just as he had been elected County Judge of Bell County. As with the father, so with a son, for 15 years later death likewise took the son named for him, and that son had also just been elected Judge of the Bell County Court.
"John Calvin Colson, the Patriarch of Yellow Creek, was born October 22, 1822, one of fourteen children of James Madison Colson by his second wife who was Amelia M. Colson is said to have been twice married, having 8 children by his first wife.
"According to information handed down through the generations,
James Madison Colson was a native of Fauquier County, Virginia, and migrated
to Kentucky about the year 1806, settling on Clear Fork of Yellow Creek
(Colmar) in what was then Knox County. (Histories relate that this section
of the state became Bell County--Josh Bell-in 1867). After marriage into
the Tinsley family he removed from Clear Fork to Cannon Creek. Sometime
between 1840 and 1850 both he and his wife died of yellow fever within
8 hours of each other and both were buried in the same grave at the same
time on Cannon Creek.
"John C. Colson married Katherine Smith, one of 7 daughters and a son of Redmon Taylor Smith and Zilpha Smith of Lee County, Va. They were married about 1836 or 1838 at Tazewell, Tennessee. Her birthdate, as it appears on her tombstone, was April 1820; her death occurred August 10, 1914.
"Thirteen children were born to John C. and Katherine Smith Colson. The first two sons, died in infancy. Names of the other eleven who attained adulthood (only one of whom, Mrs. W. D. Hurst, is now living) are as follows:
James Madison Colson, married Josephine Green and Ritta Barner; Redmon Taylor Colson, married Marthena Moss; Margaret Amelia Colson, married Mack Howard and J. C. Slusher; John Calvin Colson, married Susan Cottrell; William Gillis Colson, married Margaret Wheeler and Cora Sawyer; Mary Katherine Colson, married W. B. Moss; David Grant Colson, married Ethel Elliott; George Sherman Colson; Laura Bell Colson, married J. S. Bingham; Cordelia Colson, married J. G. Fitzpatrick; Eudoxie Colson, married W. D. Hurst;"
The Moss-Bingham families come in for their share in the political, social and business affairs of Bell County, and next to the Colsons, figures most prominently in the politics of the county. Judge M. J. Moss was elected County Attorney of Bell County in the '70's and served one term as such. In 1897 he was elected Judge of the 26th Judicial District of Kentucky, and was reelected in 1903, serving two terms, 1898-1910. He was also one of the leading figures in the industrial development of Bell County. He owned large tracts of coal lands, organized coal companies and operated these.
Marcellus Jordan Moss was born on the Rufus Moss farm at the mouth of Clear Creek, January, 1854, and died at his home in Pineville, Kentucky, April 1, 1928. He married Sarah Elizabeth Bingham, of Pineville, Kentucky, daughter of Captain W. M. Bingham, in 1874. She was born August 6, 1857. These children were born to them: (1) Edna Moss, who married Dr. Ester Foley, Williamsburg, Kentucky; (2) Marie Moss, who married a Patterson, from Brooksville, Kentucky, and two children were born to them: (a) Moss Patterson, (b) Marie Patterson; (3) White L. Moss, who married Lula Simpson, of Danville, Kentucky, and who served two terms as Kentucky State Senator 1919-1927; (4) Ida Moss, born June 13, 1883, who married John L. Phillips, born October 9, 1873, and to them were born two children: (a) Sarah Moss Phillips, born December 30, 1918; (5) Myrtle Moss, who died in infancy; (6) Ray Moss, who married Mary Hogarty, of Lexington, Kentucky, and who served two terms in the Kentucky State Senate, 1931-1939; (7) Marcellus J. Moss, Jr.
Rufus Morgan Moss, Born May 2, 1827,
married I. Mary Serelda Ball, daughter of Billy Ball, and to them were
born: (1) Marcellus Jordan Moss, (2) Will Moss,
Lexington, Kentucky, (3) Frank Moss, Middlesborough, Kentucky, (4) Dr. Ed Moss, Williamsburg, Kentucky, (5) Elizabeth Moss, Mrs. G. C. Amis, Fort Smith, Arkansas; II. Minerva Hendrickson: (6) Silas Moss, Stanford, Kentucky, (7) Rufus Moss, Jr., Crab Orchard, Kentucky, (8) Mattie Moss, (9) Linda Moss, who married Dr. J. M. Acton, Danville, Kentucky. The brothers and sisters of Rufus Morgan Moss, including himself, were as follows: (1) William Turner Moss, born March 31,1809, (2) Saphira. MacLeigh Jordan Moss, born March 16, 1811; (3) Benjamin Moss, born February 19, 1813; (4) Franklin Moss, born November 22, 1814, (5) Martin Beatty Moss, born December 14, 1816; (6) James Renfro Moss, born October 15, 1823; (7) Marcellus Jordan Moss, born 1825; (8) Rufus Morgan Moss, born May 2, 1827; (9) Reuben Moss, born 1831; (10) Jane Renfro Moss, born August 22, 1834; (11) Charity Ann Moss, born May 4, 1837.
Captain W. M. Bingham, born July 15, 1834, married American Lane, born April 29, 1829, and to them were born five children. They were married December 11, 1855. Capt. W. M. Bingham was one of the first merchants to settled in Old Pineville, and he served two terms as County Superintendent of Schools in Bell County. They were married at Samuel Lane's (her father's) house in Middlesborough, Kentucky, by Rev. Robert Bingham, a Methodist preacher. Children: (1) Sarah Elizabeth Bingham, born August 6, 1857, who married Judge M. J. Moss; (2) Zelpha Virginia Bingham, born February 14, 1860, who married Dr. D. C.Burchfield; (3) Judge J. S. Bingham, born April 10, 1862, who married Laura Colson, and who served three terms as County Judge of Bell County; (4) Lucy Bingham, born July 16, 1869, who married John Chelf; (5) Dora Bingham, born October 16, 1865, who married I. W. B. King, and II. R. H. Grinstead, of Louisville, Kentucky, a son of a wholesale groceryman of Louisville; (6) Amanda Bingham, born September 27, 1872, who married Harry A. Brooking, of Indiana.
The Lanes came from Alabama. Samuel Lane bought a farm on Yellow Creek, which took in the larger part of the Yellow Creek Valley, in and around Middlesborough, and extended up Cumberland Mountain to Baptist Gap. Captain William Bingham sold this land. Mrs. Phillips says, "Grandmother Bingham's father married an Asher."
Zachary Taylor was the twelfth President of the United States. He was born in the year 1784 in Orange County, Virginia, and married Margaret Smith in 1810. In 1849 he became President but succumbed to the burdens of office in one year and a month after his inauguration. To Zachary Taylor and Margaret Smith was born a daughter, whom they named Patsy, and who, in turn, married Robert De Priest 1763-1839. The latter was an illustrious soldier of the Revolution, serving with Washington throughout the long war and becoming a Major in the Continental Army. To Major De Priest and Patsy Taylor was born a daughter, May, who, in turn, married Joshua Bingham, a pioneer of the Cumberland, the grandfather of Captain William Bingham.
Captain Bingham was reared on the
large mountain estate of his father, Joshua Bingham, which lay on the waters
of Caney Ford of
Straight Creek. The old Bingham homestead was built of hewn logs and contained two rooms down stairs and two rooms up stairs, with a large hall between. At the rear was later added a frame dining room and kitchen. After his marriage Captain Bingham settled on Caney Ford of Straight Creek, where he lived for ten years and where his first three children were born.
In the year 1869 the family moved to what is now Old Pineville, there being no other town here then, near the Narrows. The original building was a small frame and consisted of two rooms. Later the building was greatly enlarged and Captain Bingham kept a hotel and general store.
Joshua Bingham, 1800-1853, and Mary (De Preist) Bingham, 1789-June 1881, were the father and mother of Captain W. M. Bingham, and Mary (De Preist) Bingham was a daughter of Robert D. Priest, 1763-1839, and Patsy (Taylor) De Priest, 1768-1856. They were married in 1788.
Mrs. John L. Phillips is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and has been active in the service of this organization for many years.
Judge J. S. Bingham served as Master Commissioner of Bell County and served one term as County Court Clerk. He served three terms as County Judge. His son, W. C. Bingham, served one term as County Court Clerk. J. S. Bingham also served as County Treasurer.
According to Mrs. M. J. Moss, who is still living in Pineville, Patsy Taylor De Priest was not a daughter of President Taylor, but a close relative of his.
The Fuson-Lee families have been identified with the political life of Bell County from the origin. J. R. Fuson was one of the first magistrates of the county when it was organized in 1867. James R. Fuson, grandfather of H. H. Fuson, was a magistrate of Knox County before Bell County was formed, and died in 1864 while holding the office of magistrate.
James A. Fuson, son of James R. Fuson, was the second surveyor of Bell County, James B. Partin having served from September 9, 1876, to December, 1868. James A. Fuson succeeded James B. Partin, who had surveyed the boundary line of Bell County. Fuson served for many years as the county's surveyor. Judge B. A. Fuson, brother of James A. Fuson, was Magistrate, Police Judge of Pineville, Deputy U.S. Marshal, and County Judge, for twenty eight years. He served as County Judge from 1910-1914. He paid the last of the county's indebtedness before he went out of office. I was witness to the burning of the bonds, that had been paid off, in the court house yard. There was much enthusiasm among the tax-payers over the freeing of the county from debt.
H. H. Fuson was elected County Superintendent
of Schools in 1901 and was reelected in 1905, serving two terms, 1902-1910.
He had charge
of the schools of Bell County when the old district taxation system was in vogue. It was almost impossible to make many improvements under such a law. As a result school houses were built by getting the coal companies to put up half of the money and the miners or citizens the other half. In this way, most of the districts got needed school houses and some of them lengthened the term of school.
The year 1910 saw the new County-Unit law of taxation go into effect. H. H. Fuson, during this year, collected the money and held it so that in 1911 and thereafter the schools could run on a cash basis. When he went out office, January 1, 1910, he turned over to the new Superintendent $9000.00, the part of the taxes that had been collected that year. There was no debts left against the schools.
H. H. Fuson was appointed Superintendent of the Pineville Schools in January, 1910, and served as such until June 1, 1912.
James Henry Lee, uncle of the author, son of Philip Lee, who lives on Big Clear Creek, was the first County Court Clerk of the County, September 9, 1867, to December 31, 1874. He was in the Civil War on the Union side, and fought in the battle of Lookout Mountain, and was in Sherman's march to the sea. After his return from the army, he taught school for a while and then was elected County Clerk on the formation of Josh Bell County.
James Henry Lee, a relative of James Henry Lee mentioned above, has served as Auditor of Bell County for a number of years. He lives with his family on Yellow Creek at the mouth of Clear Fork.
James Matt Evans, son of Shelton and Mary (Fuson) Evans, is now (1939) Coroner of Bell County and is serving on his second term. James R. Fuson, of Middlesborough, was Coroner of Bell County prior to the time of Evans.
Dr. W. K. Evans, son of Shelton and Mary (Fuson) Evans, was elected Mayor of Middlesborough in 1938. His term is 1938-1942. He was elected by an overwhelming majority. He is a surgeon for the L & N and Southern railroads and is one of the best surgeons in the state of Kentucky. As Mayor, he is directing the work on a large drainage system for the protection of Middlesborough from floods. This is one of the biggest undertakings any city in the state has undertaken, but Mayor Evans is equal to the task and will carry the project through to completion. The life and health of Middlesborough depend upon it.
Judge John Goodin, the son of John
(Jack) Goodin and Mahala (Fuson) Goodin, was County Superintendent of Schools
(then Commissioner) and County Judge of Bell County. Prior to the formation
of the county he had been sheriff of Knox County. He was a law partner
of former Governor James D. Black. He was one of the leading political
figures of this early period in the history of the county.
John Goodin was Captain of Company "K," a Bell County company, of the 49th Kentucky Regiment of Voluntary Infantry, organized in 1863. Beth Fuson, son of Mahala Fuson, was a Sergeant in this company. He was a half-brother of Captain John Goodin. James Fuson, a step-son of Hall Fuson, was a musician in this company.
Judge John Goodin was an extensive land owner. He owned, at the time of his death, all the land, on both sides of Cumberland River, around the mouth of Greasy Creek, and left a large farm to each one of his children. His son Tom Goodin lived in the old Judge John Goodin house on the old road back of the Kentucky Utilities plant. His widow still lives at this old homestead, one of the oldest buildings standing in the county.
The marriage of Mahala Fuson to John (Jack) Goodin brought some prominent men to Knox and Bell counties. Her son John Goodin became County Judge of Bell County, and her grandson, Rev. J. T. Stamper, a Baptist preacher served two terms as County Judge of Knox County. Rev. Stamper was born in Bell County and later went to Barbourville, where he has lived most of his life. Rev. Stamper is a very forceful speaker and a man of strong character.
The Rices played an important part in the political history of the county. Henry Clay Rice was Circuit Court Clerk from 1874 to 1878. He left here in 1878 and went to Kansas. He remained there for two years and returned to this country and settled in Harlan. He was Master Commissioner in Harlan County when Judge W. T. Davis was Judge.
He was born in the Narrows on the old Benjamin Ajax Rice place, where Benjamin Rice operated a water mill. After his return to Harlan in 1880 he operated a Water Mill in the present town of Harlan just above the bridge leading to the depot. H. C. Rice was born December 5, 1850, and died in 1934.
Benjamin Ajax Rice married Zelpha McFetridge in Hawkins, later Union, County, Tennessee. To them were born these children: (1) John Robert Rice, (2) Mary Rice, who married I. Cam Hurst, II. J. S. Kelly, (3) Ellen Rice, who married Lewis Farmer, (4) Henry Clay Rice, (5) Josephine Rice, who married I. John M. Bailey, II. B. M. Baker, (6) James F. Rice, (7) Eliza Rice, who married Chad Bailey, (8) Benjamin Rice, Jr., (9) Nannie Rice, who married Mack Howard, (10) Grant Rice, (11) Reppie Rice, who married James Woodard, (12) Martha Rice, who married a Davis, (13) Alifair Rice, who married Robert Noaks, (14) Nettie Rice.
Henry Clay Rice married I. Amanda
Eager and to them were born: (1) W. T. Rice, an Engineer of Harlan, Kentucky,
Manager in charge of the Kentenia Corporation office; (2) Maggie Rice,
who married George W. Green, (3) Cora Rice, who married John B. Lewis,
(4) May Rice, who married Jonathan L. Smith, (5) Jeff Rice; II. Lizzie
Neal: (6) G. A. Rice, (7) Vernon W. Rice, (8) Zelpha Rice, (9) Robert Neal
J. R. Rice, a brother of Henry Clay Rice, ran for the office of Circuit Court Clerk, was defeated, but was appointed Clerk on the death of his opponent, who died shortly after assuming office. J. R. Rice was a banker in Pineville for many years.
R. B. Rice, son of J. R. Rice and nephew of Henry Clay Rice, was elected Circuit Court Clerk of Bell County for two terms, serving in all, twelve years.
James F. Rice, Half-brother of J. R. and Henry Clay Rice, was elected Assessor of Bell County and held the office for one term of four years.
Judge L. K. Rice, son of Robert Rice, of Pineville, died in Middlesborough, Kentucky, on August 14, 1939, at the age of seventy-four. He was buried in the old Colson Cemetery in Middlesborough. He left surviving him the following: his wife, Mrs. Luella Howard Rice, two sons and two daughters: Robert, Laurence, Jr., Misses Aileen and Doll Rice, all of Middlesborough; five grandsons, two of whom, Howard and Ben, also live here; two brothers and three sisters, George Rice, of Philadelphia, H. Clay Rice, Miss Bertha Rice, and Mrs. Floyd Broughton, of Pineville; Mrs. J. R. Bowman, of LaFayette, Indiana, and a step-mother, Mrs. J. R. Rice, of Pineville.
Laurence Kilpatrick Rice was born October 17, 1866, in that portion of Harlan County, which later became Bell County, the son of John Robert and Mary (Lock) Rice. With the exception of about two years' residence in Missouri he had lived in Bell County all his life.
In 1886, at the age of twenty, he entered the employ of the late W. W. Duffield, in Harlan, as surveyor, remaining with him until 1893. Much of the surveying in the Yellow Creek Valley, which became the City of Middlesborough under the guidance of the English syndicate which founded the town fifty years ago, was done by Mr. Rice and others of the Duffield Crews. For several years he was County Engineer. Other notable surveying done by him was when he was in charge of operations of Kentenia Corporation from 1906 to 1915. He was also with the United States Coal and Coke Company, in West Virginia, from 1918 to 1921.
He was admitted to the bar in 1894. He served as Police Judge of Pineville. He was Clerk in the office of State Auditor W. J. Stone, Frankfort, for four years. From 1902 to 1906 he served as County Judge of Bell County. In 1910 he was appointed Master Comissioner of the Bell Circuit Court. He served for several years as prosecuting attorney for the Middlesborough Police Court. He was a Republican in politics and took an active part in the affairs of his party.
On March 14, 1896, he married Luella
Catherine Howard, daughter of Mack Howard and Margaret (Colson) Howard.
The next year Mr. and Mrs. Rice established their home in Middlesborough
where Mr. Rice took up the practice of law.
The Ingrams lived on Greasy Creek and had much to do with the political life of the county, as well as the business and social life. Ebb Ingram was elected Sheriff of the county and served in other capacities as an officer. His political life extended over a period of twenty years. He was an influential man and was rarely, if ever, beaten for office.
Ebb Ingram was a son of Thomas Ingram and grandson of Rev. Ebb Ingram. Rev. Ebb Ingram was a Baptist preacher of the first rank and was Chaplain of the 49th Kentucky Regiment of Voluntary Infantry during the Civil War.
E. N. Ingram, a first cousin of Ebb Ingram, was elected County Judge and county Attorney of Bell County, and served one term in each office. He was the son of Rev. James Ingram, who lived and died at Williamsburg, Kentucky. He was an Attorney at law and practiced his profession in Pineville for over twenty years.
The Howard-Asher families have played their part in the political life of the county. T. J. Asher was elected County Judge of Bell County and served from 1914 to 1918. He married a daughter of Robert Howard, of Pucketts Creek. At the time he was elected County Judge there was only one piece of hard-surfaced road in the county and that was in Cumberland Gap. He built the road from the Bell-Knox county line to Cumberland Gap, and the one from Wasioto to Page up Cumberland River.
Tyrus Howard, a brother-in-law of T. J. Asher, was elected Sheriff of Bell County and served one term. He lives just above Wasioto on the Pineville-Harlan highway.
Berry Howard, who lived at the mouth of Stony Fork, on the right Fork of Straight Creek, was elected Sheriff of Bell County and served one term of four years.
J. J. Howard, of Pineville, was elected County Court Clerk of Bell County in 1938, and is serving a term of four years beginning January 1, 1938.
Jakie Howard, at present Principal of the Bell County High School near Wasioto, Kentucky, served four years as County Superintendent of Schools of Bell County. He is a son of Elisha Howard, who is a grandson of Bill Howard, of Pucketts Creek.
James Howard, who lives on the right fork of Straight Creek, has served two terms as Assessor of the county.
Simon Delph served two terms as County
Superintendent of Schools of Bell County, 1910-1914, and 1914-1918. He
was born and reared at Straight Creek mines, at the Forks of Straight Creek.
In his younger days, while going to school, he worked in the mines. His
father was a coal miner. Simon was ambitious and worked hard to get an
education. This he did and has figured prominently in the political and
history of the county. He began teaching in 1895 and has been in educational work since that time, a period of forty-four years. He is at present teaching in the Ferndale school. He lives with his wife at Ferndale.
In 1897 J. L. McCoy resigned as County Superintendent of Schools of Bell County, one year before his term ended, and P. W. Woollum, who lived at the mouth of Symms Fork of Left Fork of Straight Creek, was appointed to fill the vacancy. He served this year out and was elected that year for a four year term. He served as County Superintendent from 1898-1902. He has been teaching in the schools of Bell County for over fifty years and is still actively engaged in teaching.
James Pursifull was elected and served as County Judge of Bell County. He belonged to the large and strong family of the Pursifulls, which goes back to Mount Pursifull who settled at the mouth of Hances Creek in pioneer days and took up a large tract of land on both sides of Cumberland River at this place. Mount Pursifull was one of the most prominent businessmen of this early day. John Mat Pursifull, a descendant of Mount Pursifull, served as County Court Clerk from 1934 to 1938, and is now serving as County Judge, 1938-1942.
W. T. Robbins, a Baptist preacher and school teacher, was elected County Judge of Bell County and served for four years, 1926-1930. I remember W. T. Robbins first in 1895, when I was teaching school for the first time at the mouth of Cannon Creek, the Happy Valley School. He came to school there to me, and I became interested in him at once. He was thoroughly in earnest about getting an education. He obtained a good education and has taught school for over fifty years in Bell County.
When Judge Davis was a candidate for Attorney General of Kentucky, the following sketch of his life was prepared and distributed during the campaign:
"Thirty years of public service and conspicuously successful career as attorney-at-law have prepared the Republican nominee for Attorney General to serve his fellow Kentuckians with distinction in that office. Until now Judge Davis, since retiring as Circuit Judge, has declined appointments to offices, including appointment as Commissioner of the Court of Appeals. It was only at the urgent request of party leaders and others of his friends interested in good government that he accepted the nomination and embraced this opportunity to render real, constructive service to his state.
"William Tuggle Davis was born in
Knox County, Kentucky, May 23, 1864. His parents were Murphy C. Davis,
and Sarah Peavler Davis, both of whom were native Kentuckians and represented
socially and politically prominent families. When he was a child his parents
moved to Bell County, where he completed his education and began teaching
in the public schools. He has been married twice. His wife was Mrs. Fannie
Jones Gilbert, a sister-in-law of the present Assistant Attorney General,
James M. Gilbert. His first wife was Mrs. Sophia McCarthy Martin, deceased,
of Whitley County.
"For years Judge Davis has been one of the outstanding citizens of Southeastern Kentucky and enjoys to a marked degree, the love and esteem of his fellow citizens. He has been a lifelong Republican and has been signally honored by his party. In 1890 President Benjamin Harrison appointed him Postmaster at Middlesboro, Kentucky. Upon completion of this service he served two terms as Clerk of the Bell County Court. When elected Clerk he began the study of law and was admitted to the bar in 1898 and afterwards attended the law department of the University of Michigan.
"In 1901 he was nominated without opposition and elected to the office of County Attorney and served two terms in this capacity. While serving as County Attorney, he soon acquired the reputation of being active, diligent and effective in the enforcement of the criminal laws.
"In 1909 he was elected Circuit Judge of the 26th Judicial District and six years later was nominated without opposition and overwhelmingly re-elected. During his twelve years on the bench he had few reversals in the Court of Appeals. He acquired and maintained the reputation of being a just judge and in his court every litigant was assured of a fair and impartial trial. The splendid type of his public service has been attested to by the fact that, always a staunch Republican, he has enjoyed the support of many of his friends among the Democrats, particularly in his race for Circuit Judge.
"After more than thirty years of public service he resumed the practice of law at his home in Pineville, where he now enjoys a large and lucrative practice. Not withstanding the demands which his profession made upon his time, Judge Davis has identified himself with every movement for the betterment of his community and to this end he has given liberally of his time, talents and means. He is a Mason, Knight of Pythias, Elk and Modern Woodman.
"His religious life has been that of a sincere Christian and in early life he became a member of the Presbyterian Church. He is now a Ruling Elder, and President of the Men's Bible Class in the Moore Memorial Presbyterian Church of Pineville. He enjoys the unique distinction of having been the first layman to be elected Moderator of his Presbytery and was Commissioner of the Knoxville Presbytery to the General Assembly at its meeting at San Antonio, Texas.
R. D. Wilson served one term as Circuit Court Clerk and had been re-elected to a second term and had served part of it when he died. He was a teacher for a number of years in the schools of Bell County, and taught for some time in the west. He was well education. He came from Browney's Creek, and was the son of Robert Wilson. His mother was a Barnett.
William North, who lived at the mouth
of Dorton Branch, was one of the leading farmers in the county during the
early years of the county. He served as County Superintendent of Schools
and as County Judge of the County. His son, Millard North, was elected
County Superintendent of Schools and served his county with credit to himself
and to the people who elected him.
Ballanger Calloway, who lived up the Cumberland River near the Harlan County line, was Sheriff of Harlan County before Bell County was established. He was a political figure in Harlan County in his day, but did not run for office after being included in Bell County after its establishment.
Rice W. Johnson was sheriff of Bell County and for a number of years was one of the leading political figures in the county. His brother, Charles J. Johnson, was chairman of the Republican party in Pineville for a number of years.
Ray Bingham Moss, son of Judge M. J. Moss, has served in the Kentucky State Senate, and WHO'S WHO IN KENTUCKY gives a short sketch of his life which is cited below:
"Ray Bingham Moss, State Senator, b. Pineville, KY., June 13, 1889; S. M. J. and Sarah E. (Bingham) Moss; ed. Kentucky Military Institute, Lyndon, Ky., 1905-1907; University of Kentucky, Lexington, 1907-09; University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Penn., 1909-11; M. Mary Hogarty, of Lexington, Ky., February 19, 1912. Connected with Pineville Insurance Co., Pineville, Ky., since 1930. State Senator from the 17th Senatorial District, 1931-35; re-elected, 1935-39; re-elected 1939-43. Dir. Pine Mountain Settlement School; Mem. Alumni Assn. (exec. com), University of Kentucky; Sigma Alpha Epilson. Republican. mem. Christian Church. Address: Pineville, Ky."
His brother, White L. Moss, served one or two terms in the Kentucky State Senate before the entrance of his brother into the senate.
At the time that Hon. David G. Colson was in power politically in the county, his brother-in-law, John G. Fitzpatrick, came into prominence as a political leader. He was joined by E. S. Helburn and Joe F. Bosworth. These three men played an important part in the success of David G. Colson in his races for Congress, in which he was successful in two. After the death of Congressman Colson, these three men came forward as leaders of the Republican Party in Bell County and held this leadership for a number of years. John G. Fitzpatrick was usually Chairman of the Republican Party Committee in the county and Joe F. Bosworth and E. S. Helburn were strong and forceful Lieutenants of Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick cared nothing for being elected to office, but took an active part in putting his friends into office. Bosworth was usually the office holder, having been elected a number of times to office. A sketch of the life of Joe F. Bosworth is appented hereto, taken from WHO'S WHO IN KENTUCKY:
"Joe F. Bosworth, lawyer; ex-senator;
b. Fayette Co., Ky., October 3, 1866; s. Benijah and Mary (Cloud) Bosworth;
ed. University of Kentucky; University of Virginia, school of law; m. Elizabeth
Veal, August 28, 1890; two children: Joe F., Jr., and Mrs. Eleanor Ramey;
began legal practice in Middlesboro in 1889. Mem. City Council, 1891; City
Judge, 1894-1902; City Attorney, 1902; Mem. Kentucky Legislature eighteen
years (House of Representatives 1906, 1920, 1922, 1924 and
1932; Senate 1908-1916); Speaker of the House 1920; secured passage
of legislation and constitutional amendments in the interests of better
roads; relief of court conditions in Eastern Kentucky, totaling more than
thirty measures. Pres. of first Kentucky good roads association, 1909 (because
of active interest and work in behalf of good roads, was called 'The Father
of Good Roads'. Republican. Baptist. Mem. Elks (Pres. Ky. Elks; Asso. 1920;
past Exalted Ruler of Middlesboro Elks). Address: Middlesboro, Ky."
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