Nov. 6, 1897
An amusing incident occurred at Mr. Roack’s, a mill man near town this
afternoon. He was drinking and had a smothering spell. I was standing near
the house talking to Mr. Lee Callahan, a carpenter and builder, about the
Benge Church. Mrs. Roarck saw me and sent for me. She met me at the door,
weeping, told me to go in. Two men had Mr. Roack on his feet at the window.
He soon revived and they laid him down. He had been attending our meeting,
had been at our room, always under the influence of liquor but professing to
be saved. Lying up in his bed, he began to lament the fact that his wife was
not saved, and in petrified tones begged me to pray for her. He said, “I see
she has been shedding tears perhaps there is hope for her. “ After supper,
when she and her sons were standing around the bed he lifted up his voice and
prayed for his poor family, then asked me to pray.
November 21, 1897, Sunday, Manchester, KY
This morning I preached the funeral of James Hibbard age 11, Frank
Hibbard age 9 and Mary Belle age 4, text “Blessed are They that
hunger and thirst after rightousness.” The two older children died
Dec. 1895 and the yungest Dec. 1896. One year ago the time was
set to preach the funerals of the two boys but only one preacher
was there (Bro. Brigman) and the time was put off. Mr Brigman was
there today. This is the custom of the country. It is so all over the
mountains of Kentucky. Funerals ate usually preached in the autumn,
no matter when the person dies. If it is near autumn when death
takes place it is usually put off a yeat. I have preached a few
funerals over the bodies of the dead. At jackson I go t the custom
pretty well established with the town people. There are reasons for
this custom. It has grown up from the meager population. Friends
were at a distance and could not be brought to the burial. A time
was then fixed most favorable for bringing them together. Again
preachers were not at hand to officiate when the person died and
therefore a time must be fixed then when they could be had.
These things have formed the custom and itis hard to change the
custom of the people. It takes time. Then someone must do it. It
is interesting to trace the developement of the custom and manners
and habits of a people. Long observation and close study are
December 16, 1897, Thursday, Manchester, KY
Bro. pickett is preaching some wonderful sermons. Monday night he preached
on, ‘Influence’ and Tuesday night on ‘Indifference’ – ‘Woe to them that are
at ease on Zion.’ I have never heard him or any other man surpass them, for
pungency, cogency, power of illustration, lucidy, and gospel truth. He is a
mighty man. He hailed fire and brimstone on dancing. To effect this, I
suppose the dancers met en masse at James Reed’s three miles from town, at
the old Judge Reed place last night. As we came from Dr. Burchell’s to
church we met buggies, equestrians, and a two horse wagon load going.
Praise God, Misses Lucretia and Gertrude Reed, who live with their mother
in a house in the yard of the ‘old place’, were at church testifying and
praying. A few weeks ago they were leaders in the dance. Tuesday night, the
14th, Miss Evans, the teacher at Dr. Burchell’s school house, professed
sanctification at church. She is a Presbyterian from Kingston, Green
County, Indiana, a most elegant young lady, very devout and consistant.
December 25, 1897, Dr. Burchell’s Clay County
I came her yesterday afternoon. Have had a delightful day with
this delightful family. Dr, Burchell is a native of Jessamine Cou-
nty, is 47 years old. His wife is a daughter of T. T. Garrard and great
grandaughter of Governor Garrard. They are excellent people.
Mrs. Burchell was converted in our last meeting. Her daughters,
Mary, Jose and Lucy were converted in our first meeting. They are
Presbyterians; Dr. is not yet converted. They have 11 children, a
bright home of immortals. Miss Hannah H. Evans is here. She is
the district school teacher from Greensburg, Ind. She was converted
in our meeting, is a Presbyterian also an extremely modest young
woman, of good mind, refined and fairly well educated. She is
anxious to be used of the Lord and I believe she wil prove a
faithful and efficient worker. How this region need such women!
Last night the children of the district had a Christmas entertain-
mentat the school house, under the management of Miss Evans, which
was very creditable to all concerned. In the festivities of the
day we have kept Jesus before us. I am trusting Him every hour
I am in his hands. All is well.
1979 – Reed
……..I called at widow Reed’s in returning, to see Misses Gertrude and
Tonight there is a dance at Daugherty White’s. This makes 4 in town, since
I came here. Two have been at Dr. Hill’s one at Mrs Potter’s both
Presbyterians, and one at James Reid’s at the old Judge Reed place, three
miles in the county………
January 23, 1898, Sunday, Manchester, Ky
I arrived here at 10:30 am. Today I was overtaken by night and a rainstorm
at John E. White’s and came from there this morning. I
stayed Friday night at Taylor Marcum’s at the mouth of Big Creek.
I hope to establish a church at that point. It is about half way
between Manchester and Hyden. I rang the church bell as soon as I
arrived, this morning and had services. Only a dozen were present. At S.
School we had a fairly good attendance at 2 pm. Last Sunday
Dr. Sandlin acted as superintendent, the Sunday before Miss Evans.
Bro. Farmer conducted prayer meeting both Wednesday nights during
my absence Only 4 or 5 were present. Thank God for someone to
stand in the breach. Tonight as I sit in my room, card playing is
going on in an adjoining room profanity and obscenity most shocking, is
heard. The card playing has been going on all afternoon, perhaps
all day. At the table no one speaks a word to me. The devil
seems to have set everything against me. But God will use me yet
for their conversion.
I told her I thought she could get a school at Big Creek,
this county. She wrote to the trustees, this morning, or rather
Dr. Burchell wrote for her. I trust she will get it for that would
begin my work there at once. I stayed all night there last Friday
and told the people that I would visit the neighborhood and preach
for them and send then a religious teacher. Perhaps she is the one.
I hope so. Tonight Bro. Hiram Farmer came to my room. He said
that he wanted something to do. I told him we would go out to the
school houses about in the country near town and preach/ He said
he was ready. He said he believed that God called him to preach or
rather that he ought to preach. He is a Campbellite, converted
during Bro. Pickett’s meeting. I decided today, to keep Loan Fund
Day in February.
John W. Culton.
I marketed the first saw log above the Cumberland Falls. This was in
1874. There being no railway crossing the Cumberland river above the
Falls, rafts could not be taken over the Falls hence there was no market
for the timber. The Southern Pulp? Co. built a boom below the mouth of
Rockcastle river, caught the timber, rafted it and took it to
Nashville. The Indiana Lumber Co. was interested in the boom as they
also bought logs. In 1875 or 1876 an ice tide swept the boom away
breaking the companies and crippling me. A boom between Barboursville
and P ville (sic) had been built. Here logs were caught and at certain
stages of water were turned loose. The ice tide swept this away also.
The ice piled  up 45 feet high. The breaking away was like the
firing of artillery. If the boom had not given away the whole country
would have been inundated.
The first timber I marketed was walnut. I bought walnut trees 48 in.
in diameter for $2. a piece. I cut thousands of walnut logs on the
banks and islands of the river which did not have to be touched but were
floated away by the rising tide. Walnut and poplar were the only kinds
of timber taken out at that time. This ended the floating of timber
till the L&N was built to Williamsburg about 1892.
The Asher’s have been great factors in the development of the timber
industry in the mountains. Chief among these have been the Asher
brothers, sons of Jackson D. Asher who lived and died on the head of Red
Bird. These sons are named as follows: Ð George Mattison, Thos. J.,
Andrew Jackson, Hugh L. and Abijah B. They were raised barefoot.
Their father was a money maker, by saving. He raised stock, loaned his
money. Then they began the lumber business by putting small lots of
logs from the woods into the  Cumberland river on contracts; each
year he put in more logs. Matt and Jack went to California about ______
when they returned about ______ They all went in together. Their father
helped them and then other brothers joined them and they soon became the
lumber kings of the mountains. When Mr. Hunington (sic) the K.C.R.A.
from Paris to Livingstone their keen perception saw that the crossing of
that road at Ford on the Kentucky river made the best mill site in the
mountains. Four of the brothers, Matt, Tom, Jackson and Hugh formed the
Asher Lumber Co. created mills, put in booms, bought large tracts of
timber on the upper forks of the Kentucky and began business on a large
scale. They made money rapidly. They ran the business for years, then
sold it to a Michigan Co. Matt, Hugh and Jack bought fine farms round
Lexington where Hugh and Matt still reside. Tom now owns one of the
best mills South of the Ohio river at Masioto, one mile above
Pineville. It is of iron, nothing about it that can burn. Jack Asher
lives at Pineville and is operating a saw mill at that  point.
The two have $300,000 worth of lumber on their yards at present.
His (Samuel Cornett) son, William Cornett, son-in-law of John Lewis gave me
In this case and with these two fees I purchased the Negro Boy. John Lewis
and Abner Lewis were the progenitors of the Lewis’s in the mountains.
General George Britain was the administrator of the estate of Calvin
Bailey of Harlan, brother-in-law of Britain.
During war Clay county was remarkably exempt from depredations of marauding
bands. Early in the war in 1861 or 1862 a small regiment of home guards
were organized in the county. Alexander White was chosen Colonel and I
(David Yankee Little) Lieutenant Colonel. My opponent was Capt. William
McDaniel whom I afterward defeated for the Senate.
In 1866 I was elected to the Senate of Kentucky from the 33rd Senatorial
District, composed of the counties of Clay, Harlan, Letcher, Pike, Floyd
and Perry. My opponent was my townsman, Capt. William McDaniel. He had
been a Capt. in the Union Army and had represented the district in the
Lower House. During his term he had formed the 33rd. Senatorial District
expecting to represent it in the Senate. I had a dream before I announced
myself in which my election was won. I told my wife about it and she
encouraged me to run. I was solicited by men from all parts of the
district to make the race. I was a Democrat, Judge Pearl told me to plunge
into the canvass and I would beat McDaniel, who was a Whig. There was a
majority of 1,500 to overcome.
2109 – Reed
Henry Lucas – Manchester, Key., Dec. 22, 1898.
Gen. Hugh White when drinking fell into a salt kettle and came near losing
his life from the burn. He sent for Dr. William Reed, father of Dr. Stephen
Reed. He refused to come. “Let him die and go to hell,” said he. He had
refused him his daughter, Susan in marriage. “Old Alex White, himself a
great drinker, a brother-in-law of Dr. Reed married sisters Brauners –
persuaded him to go. After he had dressed the burn, General White handed
him $100 bill expecting him to give him change, he held out his hand,
“Another” said Reed. “No by the heavens, do you mean to break me up?”, said
Reed and he did so…… (this is verbatim)
William Cornett – Coon Creek, Leslie County, KY, Jan. 17, 1898.
I was born in Perry county, KY, Feb. 3, 1814 on Leatherwood Creek. My
father’s name was Archibal Cornett. He was born in East Tennessee on
either Little or Big Moccasin. His father’s name was James Cornett who
came to Perry County, KY. When my father was a boy 7 to 10 years old. My
father was 84 years old when he died in 1873. This would make the coming
of the Cornett’s to KY from 1796 to 1799. My grandfather was married twice,
once to a Gillam, once an Everedge. He had children as follows:
Nathaniel, Samuel, Roger, Archibald, William, John, Robert, Lucy (Woolery
Eversole), Elizabeth (Campbell), and Nancy (Samuel Combs), Archibald, my
father, married Judy McDaniel; Robert (a Combs), Roger, Charlotte
John H. Gilbert
I was born in Clay County Jan 12, 1842. My father’s name was
Felix G. Gilbert; my mother’s name was Jemmina Snavely of Smith
County, Ga (Va.?) My father was born in Tenn. He was a son of
Felix Gilbert one of the early settlers of Clay County. He came
here a few years after my uncle John Gilbert came. I have heard
my ant Mary Ann McCollum say that when my grandfather came to
Red Bird there were only two families on the creek, viz;-
Dillon Asher and Rev. John Gilbert, my great uncle. My grand-
mother’s name was Wallace of Tenn. Scotch-Irish. The Gilbert’s
are English. My father died in October 1855. (see will in Man-
chester). He was five years the junior of my uncle John. I am
sure of this. He was 95 years old (John Gilbert made his will
August 17, 1860. The same was probated April 1, 1868 – see
record in Clay County Court. This would put Rev. John Gilbert’s
birth 1755 and 113 years at his death.) at the time when he died.
It was in winter time when my grandparents came. My grandfather
had children as follows: John, Mary Ann, Felix, James, William,
Wallace and Hamilton and Haywood the youngest, Jennie, younger
who married Sam Jones. Their descendants live in Knox Co. Mary
Ann married Isaac McCollum. My uncle (or great uncle) married Mollie Bowling
sister of James Bowling and early settler of this county. James Bowling had
a brother whose name I do not remember who was the father of “Hungry” John Bolling still living on Sinking Creek, Knox Co. and “Hungry” James, dead and Mrs. John Holland mother of Anderson Holland of Martin’s Creek, this county.
She still lives. I have heard my uncle Rev. John Gilbert say that he came when
peace was first made at the close of the Revolutionary War.
He was born in 1755, he would be 28 years old in 1782 or 1783.
when peace was made, I heard both my grandfather and my great
uncle John Gilbert say that my grandfather was 95 years old
when he, the latter, died. There were salt wells bored in Red
Bird. John Gilbert made salt there and sold his works to Dire.
James Dixon Black – Manchester, Ky., March 9, 1898.
I was born in Knox Co. Sept. 24, 1851. I am a son of John Craig Black. He
was born in South Carolina in 1805. He came to Nolechuckee (not sure of
the spelling) River in Tenn. and thence to Knox Co. when a boy.
He was a son of Alexander Black who was born in Ireland. I do not know
what part of Ireland. He came to America a married man. John Gilbert, Sr.
said he loaned my father $300.00 to start in business when he did not know
whether or not he would ever get it back. My father brought the first
wagon to Goose Creek. (I doubt this, S.E.H.) Henry Watterson’s mother was
a Tennessee Black. Felix Grundy’s mother was a Black. He was about the
only man who could hold a hand with Henry Clay.
My father died in Knox Co. in 1876 in his 72nd year. He was a young man
when he came to Tennessee. There are a lot of Blacks living in East
Tennessee where he lived. My grandfather Black was an overseer on a South
Carolina Plantation. My father was a farmer on Richland Creek where I was
He never held any office except Magistrate and that before it was elected.
(there are some spaces with letters missing here in the last word not sure what it is suppose to be).
My father and mother had 13 children, John A. Black of Barbourville is my
brother. There are 3 other brothers now living in Madison County, and a
sister, Mrs. Alabama Hopper, in Knox. I am the youngest of the family.
My mother was Clarissa Jones, born in Clay County in 1807, died in 1862.
She was a daughter of Isaac Jones. We have a tradition that his father
came over from France with Lafayette, fought in the Revolution and settled
on the Yadkin in NC. I got this from my uncles. My oldest aunt (Black)
married H.J. Jones of Williamsburg Institute. I attended the common
schools. My father was an uneducated man and did not take the interest in
the education of his children that he should. My mother died when I was 11
and my father married again. Soon after that I left my father at 16. I
worked on a farm for $10.00 per month for about a year.
I then borrowed money from brother John and attended Greenville and
Ferschum (???D.S.) College, Tenn. where I was a student three years. I
completed the B.S. course and expected to return and take the A.B. course,
but being in debt, I concluded not to return. I began teaching in
Barbourville. This was in 1872. I studied law while teaching and at the
end of two years, 1874, I got license to practice law. In 1875 I was
elected to the Lower House of the Kentucky Legislature from Knox and
Whitely Counties, as a Democrat overcoming a majority of 1000. Duley King
was my opponent. He was a nominee of the Republican party. I was not
nominated. I served out my term and resumed the practice of law in
Barbourville. In 1877 I was elected School Commissioner receiving the
entire vote of the Board of Magistrates, though I was an Opponent. In 1886
I was elected Grand Junior Warden of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky and in
1888 Grand Master. In 1892 I was appointed one of five Commissioners from
Kentucky to the World’s Fair
or Columbian Exposition with W. H. Dulaney of Louisville, Dr. Clandy of
(looks like Christian County), J.W. Yerkes of Canville and Dr. A. D. James
of Muhlenburg County. $100,000 was appropriated. $75,000 was used;
$20,000 returned and $5,000 enjoined by Gross of Kentucky Restaurant, still
in litigation. In 1896 I was the nominee of the Democratic Party for the
11th. Congressional District, every county was largely Republican but 367
more votes were cast for me than for Gen. Hardin in 1895 for Governor,
although the party was divided on the financial question in my race. I am
now one of the Commissioners appointed by Governor Bradley to attend the
launching of the Battleship Kentucky the 24th. of this month. I am a
Knight Templer (in 1888 Judge B.E. Day got the nomination for Congress in
the 11th. Congressional District over J.A. Black and was defeated by J.H.
Wilson of Barbourville. If Mr. Black had been nominated he could have been
elected. Wilson would not have run. J.J.D.)
I was married in 1875 to Miss Mary Janette Pulitzer? of Barbourville. I have three children living, one dead.
William Washington White Manchester, Key., March 7, 1898
I am a son of Hugh White. My father came to Kentucky before
Alex 1799, Margaret 1800, John 1802, and Susan 1804, 4 were
born before we came here.
I have always understood that Bollings first made salt, at the
Upper Lick in pots. My grandfathers name was William White.
He died on Yellow Creek. My grandfather was Irish. I had an
Uncle Washington who lived and died n Louisiana, James, Alexander,
John, Aunt Isabella married first Benson then Felix Gilbert Sr.
About 1878 or 1879, after Bob Potter had made an assignment Robert Bradley
of Lancaster, father of Governor William C. Bradley came to the Clay
Circuit Court. He had formerly visited this court but had not been here
for a long time. I got him a fee of $600.00 from Robert Potter’s mother;
James Potter, (brother? or husband?) of Mrs. Lou Simpson. They had all
sold their interest in Barton Potter’s estate for $5,000.00 each and had
never paid anything to them. They were about to lose all they had. Mr.
Bradley took the case and made perhaps the speech of his life before the
court, Judge Randall. At that time he was old, his hair was white as
cotton and very long. He showed the court the law and then to win this
community he led out into a speech which was for pathos, for eloquence and
for power was never over-passed at the Bar of Clay County. It was
published in the “Mountain Echo”.
Mrs. Margaret Jane Wyatt Benge, KY, March 14, 1898.
I was born in Leslie County on the Middle Fork, November 24, 1844. My
father was Abel Morgan. He was the son of Zachariah Morgan. My
grandfather had 16 children, I think. Jesse, William, Joseph, John, Abel,
David, Elisha, Washington, Betsy (Lewis) wife of Judge John Lewis of
Harlan, Nancy (Sergeant), Louisa (Parsons); There were others whom I
cannot remember. My mother was Sarah Brown Lewis. She was a daughter of
Wilson Basil Lewis of Harlan or Leslie County. He lived on Greasy, on the
waters of Middle Fork. His father lived in NC. I do not know whether he
came to Kentucky or not. My Grandfather Lewis had brothers and sisters as
follows: John Lewis (Judge), Abner Lewis, a sister who married a Howard
and one who married a Coldiron.
My grandfather had two sons: Henry M. and Wilson; two daughters, Katie
(Ford, and my mother, Betsy (Morgan). My father moved to Owsley County
when I was 11 years old. 1855 He died about Big Hill (KY). I was married
to Iredel Wyatt in 1863. There are other families of Lewis’s on the Poor
Fork who my people told me were not our relatives. The Leslie County
Lewis’s are our kin. So are the Morgan’s of Leslie, Clay, etc.. My uncle
Henry M. Lewis was said to be the richest man in Harlan County. He began
with nothing. He married Clarinda Wilson who still lives.
My maternal grandmother was a Moss. Dr. Moss of Williamsburg is a
different stock, I think. His father was Henry Moss who came from
Manchester to clerk for Barton Better. He died of Drink. Potter had a
store in Williamsburg.
I moved to Laurel County after the war and the first preacher was Rev.
William Wyatt. He served two years. He was a strong preacher. Others
have been, McDaniel, Travis, Judd, Bullock, Ingram, and Anthony.
Josephus Ponder Clay County KY, May 11, 1898
I was born in Bell County, June 10, 1834. My father was Joseph Ponder. He
was born and reared in SC. My great grandfather Ponder came to America from
Ireland. I do not know where he landed nor where he settled but I suppose
he came to SC. As my father was raised there I suppose my grandfather was
reared there also. My father came to Buncombe, NC before his marriage to
Miss Catherine Holcomb. In 1834 he moved to Bell Co., KY where he stayed
one year and returned to NC, and in 1844 he came to Clay County KY, and
located on Sexton’s Creek. He died on the head of that creek about 1875.
He had children as follows:
Betsey (Daniel Murray), Mary (Levi Bailey), Martha (John Sandlin), Delighta
(Reuben McDaniel), Sally (Nathan Holcomb), Nancy (William Baker), Josephus
– Myself, married Tabitha Murray. My maternal grandfather was a soldier
in the Revolutionary War.
Montgomery Hounshell – Clay County, Ky. May 11, 1898.
I was born in Lee Co., Va. I am 76 years old. My father was
born in Wythe Co., VA. He talked broken English – was Dutch.
His father was reared in America. The people of Wythe County
were nearly all Dutch. They were the best livers I ever saw.
I do not know how far back my people crossed the ocean. I came
first to Breathitt County. The Hounshells of Breathitt are my relatives.
There are a great many Hounshells in Virginia.
There are Hounshells on the Ohio River, some have steamboats and
are rich. I do not know what kin they are to me. My four brothers
came to Kentucky with me. My father came later and died here.
John McDaniel – Benge, March 14, 1898
I was born in Perry County, March 13, 1825. My father, John
McDaniel was born in Buckingham County, Virginia. He came to
Kentucky before he was married. He had 11 children; Reuben,
Thomas, Keziah, Mary, Jesse are dead. Elizabeth (Robison),
Tilah, Nancy (Robison), myself and William who lives in
Barboursville, are living. My great grandfather came from
Ireland. His son Thomas was my grandfather. He was a deaf mute.
My mother, Judah Cornett, daughter of Nathaniel Cornett. He
lived in Perry County. His brother, Roger Cornett lived at
Benge. My uncle Robin Cornett kept the toll gate which
stood just east of where James Benge now lives. It was kept
by Elijah McWhorter at the foot of McWhorter Hill previous
to that time. I think the gate east discontinued about or
during the war. In 1852 I took Bob Potter to Mt. Vernon to
school. We paid toll at a store house some 6 to 10 miles this
side of Mt. Vernon, kept by a man named Smith. There were many
six horse wagons come to Goose Creek when I was a boy, from
Louisville, loaded with goods and went back with salt. Robin
Cornett would buy things from these Wagoner’s for people who
would leave money with him for that purpose. When the K.C.R.R.
reached Lexington it killed the salt trade from central Kentucky.
One was hardly out of sight of wagons those days. When I work-
end at Gen Whites about 1843 there were 12 furnaces in operation
on Goose Creek and salt was selling at 35 cents a bushel.
The following persons owned or operated furnaces at that time:
Alex White, above the mouth of Buzzard; Adam White of Abingdon
at the mouth of Buzzard; Daniel Bates above Horton’s on the
west side of the creek; Gen White at the Forks of Goose Creek;
T.T. Garrard, where it now stands, built in 1832; Daugherty &
James White on the main Goose Creek above the Forks; Frank &
William White on the same Fork; Racener at D.Y. Little’s Ford
below Manchester; someone near where Garrison now lives at
the Ford of Little Goose Creek; Frank Clark at mouth of the Red
Bird, making ten. Precious to that time there was as furnace
at Ford of Little Goose west of Manchester on the Burning
Springs Road between James Love’s house and the ford. There
was once a furnace just above town at the mouth of Tankard
Branch; James Bowling was drowned in the deep well near it
called ___McHone Hole. I worked there three months for Gen.
White. I heard Daugh White say in speech when running against
T.T. Garrard for the Lower House, that he had eaten clabber out
of a dish, sitting on the floor, around which were gathered
his brothers and sisters each of whom would take a spoon in
turn as it was passed from one to the other. (I suppose this
was a little demagoguery to win votes as T.T. Garrard was
born rich. J.J.D.)
A War Tale
Obadiah Hammonds was a fellow soldier of my father. He was
very homely. One morning in camp he said, “Tom, we will all be
killed today”. My father said, “Oh, I hope not. I should hate
to look at you after the cities blow you for you are so ugly that
we can hardly stand to (see) look at you.
John D. Calderon Laurel Creek, Ky., April 9, 1898.
I was born in Harlan County, KY. My father was William Calderon. He was
born near the Falls of the Cumberland about 1800. My mother was Leah
Lewis. She was born near Salisbury, NC. Her father was Abner Lewis. The
first settlers of Harlan County were Samuel Howard, Abner Lewis, John
Lewis, John Dickson, Sen., Creeches. The Lewis’s and Dickson’s, Gilliam’s,
Creeches, and Caldrons lived on the Poor Fork. Polly’s, Day’s, Hall’s on
the same Creek. My grandfather Conrad Calderon came from the continent of
Europe. He was called “Black Dutch”.
I do not know whether he came from Holland or Germany. He was a soldier in
Rev. Hughes Bowling – Hector Creek, April 22, 1898
I was born in Leslie County, Key. then Clay, April 8, 1857.
I was born on Bull Creek. My father was John Bolling. My
mother was Susan Napier. My paternal grandfather was
James Bowling. His wife was Mahala Wilson. My great
grandfather Bollling was named Eli. He came from Licking
River, Tenn. to Clay County, Key. in 1807. His sister Mary
called Mollie, came with him and became the wife of Rev. John
Gilbert. His brothers Levi, John and James came with him also
a sister Nancy who married a Sizemore. My great grandfather
settled on Bear Creek, Clay Co.. He paid for a tract of land on
that creek, containing 1500 acres by herding hogs one winter on
the mast. Dan and Dave Bowling (sons of James Bowling) own and
resided on it. They sold it in the boom for $7,000 but the parties
failed to pay for it. Rev. Jesse Bowling who settled on the North
Fork in Breathitt County was the uncle of Eli, John, James, Levi,
Mary and Nancy Bowling. This is the way I’ve always heard it. I
have heard my father say that he heard Rev. John Gilbert say that
he had the settling of Clay County. He first thought that he would
settle the mouth of Hctor but he finally had to settle higher up
Red Bird. Taylor Gilbert says that his grandfather Rev. John
Gilbert preached in “hard shell” doctrine but I have heard many
old people say that he did not, but preached a free salvation for
all. Hector Creek was named by John Gilbert in honor of a
favorite bear dog by that name which was killed by a bear on it.
Old John Hays who lived and died on Hector said that the Bowlings above
mentioned all came from Tennessee that is, that Jesse Bowling
of North Fork came from the same place that the others did. Hays
died five year ago, at the age of 93. He said there was a Levi
Bowling in that neighborhood, Uncle to Eli and perhaps brother of
Jesse above (mentioned). I think old John Gilbert came from the
same place. Taylor Gilbert wrote them a few years ago to get the
ordination record of Jesse Bowling and others who ordained John
Gilbert but failed to get them. I have always learned that the Hard
Shells broke off from the Baptist Church in 1833. They were
100,000 strong at firsthand in 60 years that had fallen off to
40,000. I learned it from Throckmorton and Potter debate held
in Indiana. Silas Hensley, on this creek has a copy. I joined the
church in 1884, am a preacher in the Missionary Baptist Church.
Rebecca MAGGARD Boggs Combs, Hazard, KY. 4/26/1898,
I was born in 1821 in Harlan County, Kentucky on the Poor Fork. My father was Samuel MAGGARD. He was born in Rockbridge, Co., PA. He was Dutch. My mother was Rebecca ROBERTSON. They had 12 children to live to be grown. The children were: John, Susannah, Henry, Rudolph, David, Mgt (sic), Sarah, James, Moses, Samuel, Rebecca & Elizabeth. Susanna married Henry BACK related to the Breathitt BACKS. Mgt (sic) married Jesse ADAMS, Sarah married Samuel CAUDILL, Elizabeth a CREECH. He was killed in the war. My father and mother were members of the old Baptist Church so were all my bros and sis. John was the father of Samuel, Reuben or Rudolph MAGGARD of Leslie Co. My parents died on the Poor Fork; six or eight miles from its source. My husband's name was Abel BOGGS. He was raised on Callahan Creek, Lee County, Virginia, a mile from the Powell's River.
I was married to Mr. Boggs when I was 15 years old. We had four children. Jesse who lives at Hazard; Silas lives at Troublesome, a Baptist preacher; Elizabeth (HUFF) who lives on the head of the Ball in Knott Co; Susanna who married Wm. AMBURGEY and lives in Montgomery Co. KY. I married John S. Combs Nov 1875.
John S. Combs, Hazard, Ky. 4/26/1898.
I was born in Perry County 7/25/1819. My father was Jeremiah Combs. He was born in N.C. or Va. My grandfather was Nicholas Combs. He was born in Va or New River, N.C. He lived and died near where L.D. Combs now lives in Perry County. He came to Kentucky early in the settlement of Kentucky. There was a large company came together: Mason, George, Nicholas, W, Jeremiah, Henry, Elijah Combs. There was one other who made it. Yes, Henry was his name. Mason was the oldest. I have seen none of these Uncles. Henry moved to Indiana; Wm moved to Bluegrass. I do not know whether or not General Leslie Combs was kin to us but I suppose he was a son of my Uncle Wm. Combs as they both lived in that section of the state. Uncle Wm moved to the Bluegrass before I was born. My father died Jan 1853, 73 years old. This would place his birth in 1780. He was not grown when he came here. I often heard my father & mother say that the Combs's came from Jamestown, Va to North Carolina. My father had two brothers: Samuel who lives or lived at Booneville, the father of Wiley Combs & Nicholas, the father of Lorenzo, one sister who married John WILLIAMS who died on Troublesome.
My mother was Cynthia SUMNER. Her father was Samuel SUMNER who was killed by the Sheriff for resisting arrest either in N.C. or Ky. My mother came with the company to Ky. Her brother, John, came also. He moved to Indiana but some of his children returned and live in Letcher and Perry. My grandmother SUMNER married a HICKS and went to Indiana and raised a family.
Two of my uncles HICKS lived on the Ozark Mts in the edge of Arkansas, when I was there. Nicholas Combs, my grandfather, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Several of his brothers were in the same war. I can't tell which ones were in the war, they may all have been in it.
Old Wm CORNETT came with my uncles to Ky; also Richard SMITH, great grandfather of "Bad" Tom SMITH. He settled on Troublesome.
I have heard my mother tell often of the killing of BENGE, the renegade. She saw the Indians and told of one fellow hiding in the loft and falling through while the Indians were cooking below and scaring them away.
Mason Combs, my uncle, had children as follows: Martin, lived on Carr's Fork; Preston, lived in Breathitt on the Middle Fork, Cyry is son; Washington lived below mouth of Carr on North Fork; Talton Combs at the mouth of Carr; Clinton still lived at the mouth of Carr, very old; Bonaparte lived at Booneville.
George Combs had children as follows: Claiborne lived in Owsley, Henry dead.
Elijah lived in Perry. He was General of the Militia. He had sons: Jesse, Elijah, and Jackson. Josiah Combs was killed by Joe ADKINS was the son of Jesse. Jesse was Clerk of Perry first and as long as he lived and his grandson, Ira DAVIDSON, succeeded him. I have seen him (Gen. Elijah) in his regimentals commanding at the muster. He (Jesse) was killed by the explosion of a keg of powder in Shade DUFF'S store in Hazard. Someone snuffed a candle and accidentally threw the snuff in the keg of powder under the counter. DUFF was son-in-law of Combs. Both DUFF and Combs were killed. DUFF was killed instantly. Combs lay a good while.
Henry (Harry) Combs had children as follows: Henry, lived in Big Creek; Matthew lived on Troublesome in Breathitt, father of Wm. M. Combs of Breathitt and Isaac of Wolfe; also George on Troublesome in Perry. Henry moved to Indiana. Old George married a HERALD.
I do not know when the Combs's came to Kentucky, but I know it was in the 1700's.
My grandfather Nicholas Combs lived to be 101 or 2 or 3 years old. He is buried near L. D. Combs. I was grown when he died. I was married, just married, had no children (He looked at his Bible. J.J.D.) was Feb.28,1838. I bought his dog irons at his sale to go housekeeping.
The old SIZEMORES used to come to my father's to get liquor. They would drink and fight.
Andrew Combs Hazard [Perry Co], Kentucky. April 26, 1898
I was born in 1806. My grandfather lived at the Long Islands of Holston River, a good while. He and my father went there several times. My grandfather married Nancy GRIGSBY. I have been at the Long Islands of Holston myself. My mother was a sickly women and I went back for medicine. I took my mother to Salt Creek, Indiana to see her mother, Mrs. HICKS. I am a brother of John S. Combs who lives on this creek. I knew that General Leslie Combs was kin to us but I do not know whether he was Uncle William's son or not. I saw my uncle William often. He used to come from about Lexington to see us. My Grandfather Nicholas Combs came first. He built a cabin and left his wife and went back for provisions etc.
I think Sam CORNETT was the oldest of the CORNETT'S. My grandfather was detained on his first trip back to (the) Long Island of Holston and he feared his wife would starve or die before he could get back but when he came up to the point of the mouth of Carr, he helloed and she answered him. His heart leaped with joy at the response. the deer were all about the cabin but she did not know how to shoot. The women were not marksmen. I knew my mother to kill bear and deer. the old Combs's were property plenty. They owned slaves. They went back to Tennessee. I crossed New River when I went to the seashore. I think old Thomas GRIGSBY came out with my grandfather; he was his brother-in-law, brother of my grandmother. Old Mason Combs married a terrible women. Martin Combs was his son, on Carr; also Preston on Middle Fork and Bony at Booneville. the Indians used to scout through the settlement and do devilment. My wife was Polly FELTNER, they were Dutch people. My wife is four years my junior. She has a brother on Lot's Creek called Jacob FELTNER, pretty well preserved. The FELTNERS came from Tennessee. They were here when I was born. I was born in this county. My mother was a SUMNER. They came from the Long Islands of Holston. There is a island in the river a mile or two long, just below Blountsville. I am pretty certain my father married in this state. My brother, Moses was the eldest child. He was a man grown when I was a boy. My wife had brothers and sisters as follows:
William, Henry, Rebecca (OSBORNE) in Indiana, and Jacob. My father in law died and is buried at the Squire Nick Combs, place near L.D. Combs. She had a sister Nancy, married a RICHIE. Old Richard SMITH married Nancy Combs, my aunt. He was a Baptist preacher. He would drink liquor and fight. He whipped a bully and got his nose and ear bitten off. He was a blacksmith. He could not be whipped. I have traveled a great deal. I got my eyes hurt in a fight when on the road to Indiana. A fellow imposed on my brother and I whipped him. The Dr. told me my eye would fail when I was old and now the sight is gone. I have had many fights but not on my own account.
I never was whipped. Some of the old Combs's belonged to the church. My father did. He made a great deal of liquor. My grandfather and he were great workers, never stopped. They both got well off. My father made money making flat boats and selling to Clay's Ferry to boat tobacco to New Orleans. He sold one for $200.The Combs's were usually tall. My father was called "Chunky" Jerry. He was like the GRIGSBYS.
He had $10,000 worth of land in Perry County when he died. He had land all over the county. My grandfather was the richest of all the Combs's. All had negros and a great deal of property. My father used to boat coal to Clay's Ferry. I remember when they began to boat coal from here. It was when I was a boy. I remember when he took empty boats down. I am not certain but I think my father Jerry Combs, took the first boat load of coal down the river. I remember when they began to take timber off on rafts. They took walnut first. John AMY(AMIS), Sam DAVIDSON, old Billy STRONG, the preacher the BEGLEYS, and others were involved in the 'cattle war' the middle forkers got the worst of it. Old GILBERT was with AMY(AMIS) he rode up amongst the Grapevine boys. Some of the SIZEMORES were in it. CALLAHANS and DAVIDSONS came from Clay to help the Grapevine boys. AMY(AMIS) was an overbearing man. Joel ELKINS set his gun behind the door of the Court House and at the picked time shot AMY(AMIS). 1807.
They called William Combs of Fayette, "OLD BUCKERY". They said he was doing well. He was a farmer. I have been to his house in Fayette. My grandfather was a wild man, would fight in a minute but was very kind hearted. Old General Combs sent a negro man to bury a negro of his own who had died in a swamp below Squire Nicks burying ground. He had laid down on a log in a swamp and fell off dead. His little dog was lying between his shoulders when he found him. General (Elijah) told the negro to put a chain about the dead Negros neck and drag him out and dig a hole and put him in it. My grandfather (Nicholas Combs) found it out and was about to thrash the negro for doing such a thing. They both carried (it) (him) to the graveyard and buried (him) in a coffin. General and grandfather had some hard words about it. General did not care for such treatment of others nor did he fear anybody, but my grandfather was too strong for him. The FELTNERS came from Long Islands of Holston but came later then my grandfather but not much. I have seen old General Elijah Combs at muster in his regimentals. I have been sick nine month but have had no physician. I have no confidence in the doctors we have. Then I thought I was old and must soon die and it was no use to try. I am in a peculiar condition. I do not believe anybody could do me any good.
Allen ROBERTSON, Manchester, KY, April 15, 1898.
I was born in Madison County, near Fox town on Otter Creek, March 25,
I knew Sam BENNETT, Moses BENNETT, his brother the grandfather of Gov.
My father was born at or near mouth of Dan River, VA, at a little town
called Moravian town.
His name was David ROBISON; he died in Clay County KY 18 0r 20 of June
1872 or 73
age 103 and from Feb to June.
My father was Samuel ROBERTSON. He was born in the Highlands of Scotland.
His wife Elizabeth HARRIS. His brother William came over with him. I
do not know when they came nor whether either was married when they came,
though I think, they were.
My grandfather left Moravian town and settled two miles southeast of
where the water works now are, in 1777. I have heard my father say it
was two years after BOONE went into the Fort at Boones borough.
Col. ESTILL settled near him about the same time, I think the same year.
My grandfather lived
and died near there, a mile near Richmond, adjoining Judge GOODOE’s then
called the John RIGG Farm. My father was the eldest. He had a brother,
John, who went to Jackson County MO.
William, James and Alex settled in Indiana.
James in Shelby County. The other in Morgan County at Martinsville.
Sally married GORDON and went to Mississippi.
Esther married George BAKER and went with others to Indiana.
Mary married METCALF and went to Indiana.
Jessamine went to Indiana unmarried.
Mother married William Mobley and died in Madison.
My father married Alien ALLEN.
In 1839 he moved from Otter Creek to Clay County and located on Goose
Creek opposite the mouth of Beech Creek. He said he came to this part of
the State to hunt, in an early day, when little Goose Creek was the line
between the whites and the Indians before a treaty was made between them.
He hunted with John BAKER Sr., father of “Julius” Bob and “Durham”
John, George who married Esther ROBERTS”ON, my aunt, and was a Methodist
preacher; and James called “Clay bank”
a great fighter, “Clyburn” was the father of Billy Bakers. was called
“RENTA” as has a brother, Bowling BAKER and a brother George BAKER.
George was the father of John BAKER called “Cana” the rhyme, who made
rhymes on Col Felix GILBERT and “Dry” John BAKER when John ran for the
Senate and was elected and when Felix ran for Representative and was
defeated by Elhanan MURPHY. Bowling Jr. son of Bowling Sr was bound to
Daugh WHITE to learn salt making and killed Morgan DEZAM with a single
barrel pistol with two balls in it.
He fled the country and never returned. George’s descendants have
The BAKERS came from North Carolina to Madison County and lived in Forts
there. Another of these hunters from the Blue Grass was William MORRIS,
called “Cuddy” who settled in the forks of Goose Creek and Red Bird.
There, “Renta” BAKER, his three sons, George, John and “Julius” Bob
MORRIS, Jack HARRIS,
He (David Robinson) hunted with John Baker, Sr. father of ‘Julius’ Bob
and “Durkham’ John, George who married Esther Robertson my aunt,
and was a Methodist preacher; and James called ‘Claybank’ a great fighter,
‘Clay Bank’ was the father of Billy Baker, was called ‘Renta’ has a
Bowling Baker and a brother George Baker.
The Bakers came from NC to Madison County and lived in Forts there.
Another of these hunters from the Blue Grass was William Morris, called
‘Cudcy’ who settled in the Forks of Goose Creek and Red Bird. These,
‘Renta Baker, his three sons, George, John and “Julius Bob Morris,
Jack Harris, Elisha Harrison with my father David Robertson made the
8 hunters who visited these regions.
Elisha HARRISON with my father David ROBERTSON made the 8 hunters who
visited these regions. Benge LANGFORD and a man named LYONS first made
salt for commerce. I have seen 40 boat loads of salt, 2,500 bushels tied
up at my father’s place at the mouth of Beech Creek from 1837 to 1844.
There were 18 furnaces in blast above Manchester, besides Francis CLARK’s
two furnaces, one coal and the other wood. Francis CLARK got his 1000
acres at the mouth of Bull Skin by a “Head Right” from VA. I think it
was patented in his father’s name. Salt was worth 75 cents. The Goose
Creek furnaces made about 90 bushels a day and the Bull Skin aobut 60
bushels and they would average 200 days a year. My mother was an ALLEN.
She was a daughter of Adoniram ALLEN. He was nicknamed
‘Tediuoooooooooous” because he was so particular.
The two creeks called “Teges” were named for him; he was born in New
the Vermont line. He was a Captain in Col. CLEVELAND’s regiment at the
battle of King’s Mountain where three Colonels commanded alternately. He
settled in Augusta, GA. He was a mechanic. He was first a ship builder.
At Augusta he put up iron works for some parties there. He also did
some work of that kind in Sparta GA.
He emigrated to KY but stopped in NC fut stayed there only a year to put
up a mill, perhaps. (James and The. GARRARD, James and Daugh WHITE)
were commissioners who expended $20,000 in South Fork and Goose Creek
and Red Bird. This was about 1856-7.
Eighteen years ago Judge HYDEN got an appropriation of $6,000 which
General GARRARD and myself expended in the narrows or from the mouth of
Crain Creek to Turkey Gap, a distance of five miles by land. Most of it
was put in Chute. The “Basin” is 27 feet deep. We put blasts in the
bottom of the narrows.
There have been perhaps 100 salt boats sunk in the “Basin” but no one was
ever lost there until till about 1871.
several have been drowned since. Pilots used to chard $5.00 for taking
boats through the narrows. There were 300 guards at the jail at one time
when Dr BAKER was in prison here.
I was a guard from June to October. I was one of the eight inside
guards. I was always present when any of Dr BAKER;s friends came in to
see him. I was a late comer into the county and all parties had
confidence in me. While the 300 county guards were on duty the State
sent 300 guards; so that there were 600 at one time. Judge F>P>
ROBERTSON and Judge KAINKADE, both of Lexington were retained for the
defense. Joseph MOORE of Mt Vernon was Commonwealth’s Attorney, Dr.
CALDWELL’s father assisted in the prosecution.
Dr BAKER was a monomaniac on the subject of his wife. He would talk with
perfect coherency in any other subject, but the moment his wife was
mentioned he was wild, looked wild, talked incoherent, Daniel BATES made
after Dr BAKER shot him, willing $10,000 for the prosecution of Dr BAKER.
He died inside of 24 hours after he was shot. He was sitting in his
chair, asleep, at the salt furnace, when BAKER shot him.
Milt RICE, afterwards Congressman from the 9th Dist, located at
Barboursville, I think it was, to practice law. His brother located at
Irvine and married a Miss SMITH. They were Irishmen who located first in
NY then came to KY. Rice had not gotten any practice when a suit came up
Commonwealth against “Boston” Bob BAKER.., a misdemeanor. He had no
counsel and the Judge appointed Rice to defend him. Silas WOODSON,
afterwards Gov of MO and John M. ELLIOTT, afterwards Judge of the Court
of Appeals were prosecuting. they made BAKER out terribly guilty. Hi
CORNETT was also before the Court for the same offense; the difficulty
had been between them. In the latter case they changed side. Now CORNETT
was an angel. Rice said that in NY they did not practice law by telling
anecdotes but as it was so common in KY he would indulge. He said he was
reminded of WOODSON’s position in this case of a church trial.
John D. WHITE
Mason Combs was the original Combs in the mountains. he settled on a high hill below the mouth of Carr's Fork, on opposite side. Mace's Creek was named for him and is really Mason's Creek. His brother's Danger Combs and Gen. Elijah Combs came later. He laid out a patent about the mouth of Mace's Creek making his beginning corner a "mill seat" upon which a mill was never built until two years ago by one of the HALLS.
Matilda Duff Lewis, Hyden, Ky., May 27, 1898.
My father was Rev. Daniel Duff, was born in Guilford County, NC in 1776.
His father was Shadrick Duff. He was killed in the Revolutionary War. His
wife was Deborah Dickson, and she did not survive him. Shadrick Duff’s
father was born in Ireland, He was Scotch-Irish. The Dickson’s were Irish also.
My father spoke (used) broken English. My father used to call Mrs. Sparks his
old Irish aunt. My father had a sister, Elizabeth who married to Mr McLean.
They settled in Green County, TN, and reared a large family.
I saw two of the sons at my father’s once. My mother was Nancy Ann Ellison.
My parents married in Guilford County. Her father was Welsh. Soon after
my father and mother married they went to Lee County, VA. There were Duffs
living there. Robin Duff of that county was a very wealthy man. They were
related to my father. While they lived in Lee County several children were
born to them. Their oldest child was Henry, He was born in 1798. John was
born in 1801. In 1818 my parents moved to Perry County, Kentucky, and
settled on the North Fork of the Kentucky River about two miles above the
mouth of Grapevine Creek. He was a Baptist Minister. Attending a meeting
of some kind in Harlan County, he met with Rev. Jesse Bolling (Bowling)
who lived on the North Fork and becoming attached to him and made many visits
to his home. This led to his removal to Kentucky and Perry County. My father’s children
were: Henry, John, Shad rick and Martha . Martha late married William Bowman and
moved to Iowa.
They reared a family. Deborah, who married William Bolling and reared a
large family on Middle Fork about Perry and Breathitt line. Mary married
Shepherd and moved to Missouri; Colson who married Elizabeth Gilbert of
VA. These Gilberts moved to the Sandy County, where Thomas Gilbert, the
father died. Drusilla married William Gilbert, brother of Elizabeth. They
moved to Illinois about the close of the war. They lived in Carter County
up to that time. Alexander, married Miss Holly or Holyfield. He is a
carpenter and lived in Breathitt. Margaret who married John Hays of
Breathitt and moved to Wolf County where he died. She was living at last
account. She raised a large family. I am the next and youngest. I was
born in 1825. I married John Lewis in 1859. Our children: Brusilla
Lewis, wife of Theo. Lewis, and Henry Lewis with whom I live and one who
died are my children. These are all. My father died in 1855 in Carter
County; My mother in Perry County in 1849.
My father then went to his daughters in Carter county where he married a
Mrs. Ellen Roe. He only lived a short time after this.
I went to school to David Fee. He was a smart man, a good teacher and
highly respected. He taught near my home. When my father moved to
Kentucky he came horseback. They came down Red Bird and up Cutshin. There
were no wagon roads. They stayed all night at John Gilberts.
I knew old William Strong, he too, was a Baptist preacher. He married Jane
Callahan, the daughter of Edward Callahan, of Red Bird. Several of her
brothers lived on the North Fork and it was they who were engaged in the
“Cattle War”. John Amis the leader of the other side, was a brother-in-law
of john Gilbert, they having married sisters – Bollings. The names of
Callahans were William and Isaac, nicknamed “Pike” and it seems to me there
was a third. Old Samuel Davidson married a Callahan, sister to Mrs.
Strong, and he was in the war.
Rev. William Strong was a Baptist preacher. He had children as follows:
Edward, Isaac, Alexander and William. William married a Deaton, sister of
the old Legislature. Edward married a Spencer; his children were: Capt.
William Strong, Mrs. Alfred Marcum, Mrs. John Little and Mrs. Henry Duff,
also Robert Strong who died young leaving a few children; also Judge Alex
Strong of Lee Co., Ky. William had children as follows: Judge Edward
Strong of Lost Creek, known as “Red Ned”. Mrs. William Cope (Tom Copes’
father), and Mrs. Wiley Cope, of Big Branch. Isaac had a son, William.
Alexander married Miss Wilson, had several children, one the wife of George
Baker of Clay Co., also Daniel Strong of Laurel County. John Spencer was
an early settler, Grapevine. I think he came from Virginia. He had a
large family. I think William Spencer of Breathitt who married Miss
Britain was a relative of his. Joseph Spencer was one of his sons.
John Spencer who married John Duff’s daughter was a son of Joseph Spencer.
My brother, John Duff married Mary, the daughter of General Elijah Combs.
He had children as follows: Sarah Jane (Davidson), Henry Duff who married
Mahala Strong, daughter of Edward and sister of Capt. Bill Strong; Elijah
married Mary Eversole, daughter of old Billy Eversole lives in Owsley,
father of Miss Mary Duff; Shadrick Duff married Mary Combs, granddaughter
of Gen. Combs. They raised a family; Louisa, wife of John Spencer; Nancy
wife of Major John Eversole, mother of Joseph and Harry, George, John and
Claude Eversole; Orleana, wife of Adam Campbell, they reared a family;
Mary, wife of Anderson Eversole who moved to Kansas, a brother of Abner and
Capt. Billy Eversole.
John Duff, my brother, was the first surveyor in Perry Co.. He was County
Judge of Perry in his old days. He had an arm amputated when he was in the
70’s. He died in 1892, aged 91. He left a fine estate at the mouth of
Grapevine. His wife survives him.
Shadrick Duff, my brother was killed by the explosion of a keg of gun
powder in a store room in Hazard when a young man. He snuffed a candle and
threw the snuff into a keg of powder, accidently. He and my brother John,
were in partnership in the goods business.
We lived in Hazard at the time. John was in the south with a drove of
horses at that time and did not hear of the clamity till he reached home.
His wife told him of it before he got off his horse, whereupon he went to
the grave and stuck his riding switch in the fresh dirt. It grew to be a
tree and stands there today.
John McDANIEL June 13, 1898
I knew Col. Daniel Garrard well. He told me that he drank a great deal
when he was young but when he married he quit and would not drink anything
intoxicating not even cider. General T.T. Garrard never drank not even a
I knew General Hugh White well. He drank a great deal when young but quit
entirely. James White, his son, did not drink anything. Daugherty would
take a dram and sometimes get tipsy.
Jason Walker Bolling. Benge, Kentucky, June 15, 1898
My great grandfather, Jesse Bolling came to Kentucky in
180. My grandfather Elijah Bolling was born at the Three
Forks of Powell River in Lee County, Virginia in 1798, and
when he was 12 years old his father removed to Perry County,
Kentucky. Daniel Duff baptized my grandfather, Elijah
Bolling. Rev, Andrew baker baptized my great grandfather
at Blackwater Church, now Hawkins County, Tennessee. My
great great grandfather was Major John Bolling. He had 19 sons.
I do not knw that there were any daughters. One of the sons
William Bolling married Martha Jefferson, sister of Thomas
Jefferson, President of the United States. Other sons were,
Jesse above mentioned, Benjamin was oldest born 1752 or 3.
Jesse was born 1765. Robert(a) the wife of U.S. Senator,
Archibald Dixon, was the daughter of Dilany Bolling of
Missouri and the granddaughter of Major John Bolling,
Gov. John Young Brown’s wife was a daughter of Archibald
Dixon. (Roger Cornett, son of the original William Cornett
built the house where Hemp. Coldiron lives, in 1802 he married
Zilpha Callahan. This makes the date of the Cornett’s coming
to Kentucky 1796-1799 probable. Men from Crug’s Ferry at
mouth of Sexton were at the raising. Roger Cornett was in slaves
and land. He owned the Coleman Survey, patented in 1783, 5,600
There are Bollings in western Keentucky. One went to Congress
some years ago, perhaps 1870 or 1872.
The first Bolling who came to America was Colonel Robert Bolling
of London, England.
I think old Cava Baker made the rhyme on the “Cattle War”, I
have always heard it that way. Old Julius Bob Baker and
William Neal were in St. Clairs defeat. Baker held a Major’s
commission. They are both buried Buffalo, Owsley County.
Neal requested to be buried beside Baker. John Gilbert and
John Amis married sisters of James Bowling, Eli, John,
grandfather of Judge Josiah Comb’s wife, Christopher,
William, Joseph, Nancy (Sizemore) was another sister from
these have descended most of the Bollings in Clay County.
Jesse Bolling my great grandfather, married Mary Pennington
of Lee County, Va. He was born in North Carolina at Hillsboro.
His father was born in Virginia. David Pennington, her brother,
was living during the war of the Rebellion. My grandfater,
Elijah Bolling stayedd with him in Lee Co. furing the late war.
Jesse Bolling had children as follows; Hannah married Huff;
Mary married Abram Barger; Justice married ????; John
married Polly Lewis; Jesse married Lewis for his second wife;
William married a daughter of FDaniel Duff; Elijah married
Roberts; George married Lewis; a daughter married Joseph
Spencer; Betsey married Abel Pennington; another married
Maggard; another died single. A. P. Hill and Basil Duke
married sisters of John Morgan. His mother was the daughter
of John Hunt, the first millionaire in Kentucky. Dr, Foster of
Kentucky was reared by Mrs. Hunt.
David Benge Wednesday, June 15, 1898
My grandfather, David Benge (called King David) came to Ky.,
and settled in Madison County. While living there he used to
drive stock to this section and herd them on the range. If he
had any brothers and sisters I never heard of them.
Thomas Benge son of David Benge and father of Jane Benge,
killed ___Porter, stood his trail, came clear and then went
first to Indiana and then to Iowa. It occurred near McWhorter.
It was at corn shucking; the pile was divided and these men fell
out – perhaps were Captains- and Benge struck Porter with a
rake. He lived a week or ten days and died. My grandfather
was a soldier in two wars, Revolutionary and 1812, My father
was John Benge. He volunteered in the War of 1812; my
grandfather would not let him go but went in his stead. His
other sons were; Willliam, Joseph, and Lewis Franklin. His
daughters were; Nancy (William Cornett, son of Roger); Sallie
Ann (George Treeman); Adeline (Elisha Stiver); Zilpa (Robert
Stiver); Lucinda (Benjamin Johnson); Mary (Elijah McGee).
John, my father, had 13 children, 10 girls and 3 boys, all still
living but one eldest is 86. My brother’s name was James, he
lives here in Clay. Hemarried Benge! second cousin. I am next
to the oldest. I married Nancy Lynx, daughter of Fred Lynx.
I had twelve children all living but two. My oldest sister, Sallie
Ann, married John Johnson and lives near Bernstadt. Lucinda
married Zessa McWhorter; They had a large family. Lydia Ann
married James Hawes. They had a large family. Martha married
James Bolling, lives on Goose Cree. Betsey married Henderson
Howes, parents of Mark & William Howes. They had a good
family. Eliza married Adam Bolling, both are living and have 8
or 9 children. Bina married Gillum House, both are living. Jennie
married William Bolling, both living on Little Goose. Nancy
married Byrd, she died in child birth, left no children. Evalina
married William Martin, had a large family. I lived where I now
reside 60 years. I used to make whiskey before the war. I think
it a bad business. I never drank much whiskey, ruins a
Alexander Outkaw who made salt on Goose Creek was from the
head of Nolechicky River, Tenn. called Outlaw’s Bend. In digging
salt wells my father said they found a pine log 25 or 30 ft. below
the surface. I think Barton made the first salt on Goose Creek.
I have heard Jake Phipps and Joseph Cox, salt makers, talk of it.
Cox was full of fun. A proud man came along where he worked at
Barton’s salt works. He wanted to get across the Creek. Said he
would give so much money if he were on the other side. Joe said he
would carry him over on his back for that amount. In the middle of
the stream Cox declared they must swim for the water was too deep to
float.. He sunk into the water and thus got the proud man thoroughly wet.
I do not know if this was the Cox who was shot at the battle
on North Fork. When my father came here the people cut down the
cane and planted the corn without fencing. They would break off
the young cane as it would come. There were plenty of buffalo and
elk when my father came here. The bears would eat the corn so it
was with great difficulty they raised corn. Salatiel Martin called
“Dad” Martin, was the first settler at the mouth of Martin’s Fork.
Jesse Pace who settled on Pace’s Creek went deranged. Mr. White.
the son of James White Senator. went to Congress from this district while
he lived at the mouth of Buzzard on Goose Creek, where Judge White
lives. My grandmother has a Welsh Bible. I have heard her read it
often. I think it is in the family somewhere perhaps at Felix
William Washington Hayre Clay Co., Ky. July 1, 1898
My grandfather Hayre, Thomas, was born in Ireland. He married
Miss Martha Corrigan in Ireland. They came to America and
settled in Iredell Co., N.C. They might have been married in
America, both were born in Ireland. My father was William
Corrigan Hayre. He was born in Iredell Co., N.C. in 1802 at least
he was raised there. My father married Miss Nancy Patterson
of Iredell Co., N.C. or at least in North Carolina. After his
marriage, he and his father removed to the Cherokee Purchase, perhaps in
N.C. and lived there about a year. My grandfather
went back to Iredell County and my father came to Clay County,
Kentucky about 1829. My mother’s parents John Patterson and
wife were born in Scotland. They settled in N.C. when they came to
America. I do not know when they came. John McLeod of Rockcastle
River is a relative of Patterson’s. My ancestors were all Protestants
or either Presbyterians or I learned it that way. My father and
mother were Methodists. They joined in this county at Potter’s
Chapel. My mother died just in 1857 and my father in 1881. They
were good people. When my father came from N.C. had no
penitentiary in that state. The gallows or the whipping post were
the alternatives. The second offense in theft was death. The Clay
County lawyers would not have North Carolinians on juries, in those
days. They were afraid their clients would get justice. I married first
Polina Hibbard who bore me five children; Frances (John Davidson); John C.
married Hazel Roberts; Thomas married a Kersly; Robert married a
Pennington; Butler and Nancy. My second wife was Susan Benge,
she had only one child, William Franklin. They all live in Clay and Laurel (Counties). I am a member of the Methodist Church.
I was 13 days trying the Strong and Amis cases. I had Captain Clark with
me. I bound everyone over in bonds. Bill Strong and Amis in $1,000 each;
others less. John Akeman and Dan McDaniel $500.00 each. This was in 1873.
……….The Breathitt Court was visited at that time by, William Harvey
Burus and Newton P. Reed of West Liberty; Kenaz Farrow; Richard Apperson of
Mt Sterling; Judge Daniel Freck of Richmond; Samuel Ensworth and D.Y.
Lyttle of Manchester; Sydney M. Banies of Irvine whom Harvey Burus said was
the heaviest lawyer that he had met in the mountain bars……..
(William Murray) July 10, 1898 Sunday.
I am at Bro. McDaniel’s. Went through 3 services today with good strength.
Preached on Foreign Missions, took a collection, got $2.50.
T. T. Garrard- Manchester, Ky., April, 1898
John Hays married a Callahan. It was in the year 1806, Captain Amos
and his company marched down from the Upper Licks. Kinkade wrote back to
General Hugh White for reinforcements. Davidsons lived on the Middle
Fork, also in Clay. Clay Davidson went to help those on the North Fork.
William Asher, grandson of Dillon Asher, told me that his grandfather
came to Red Bird in 1800. John Gilbert came trapping when he first came
to these parts. He caught the beaver out of the beaver dam on Red Bird,
where Carter Holton now lives just above the mouth of Spring Creek on
the right hand side. He also went to the e Middle Fork and caught t all
the e beaver at the mouth of LongÕs Creek.
James Renfro once owned the site of Pineville but Gibson who came from
Virginia owned it before him.
James and Dough Garrard, Hugh White pooled their issues and it was in
force when the war broke out. They had an agent to sell for all, usually
about 50 cents. Grant said of the salt claims of Goose Creek people, “It
is a just claim and ought to be paid and would be paid some day but this
is not the time to do it.” Salt was worth $1.00 a bushel when the works
were closed down by the order of General Buck.
Mr. Thompson of Louisville was the commissioner who took the proxy in
David Benge, Wednesday, June 15, 1898
My grandfather, David Benge (called King David) came to Ky. and settled in
Madison County. While living there he used to drive stock to this section
and herd them on the range. If he had any brothers and sisters I never hear
of them. Thomas Benge son of David Benge and father of Jane Benge, killed
____Porter, stood his trial, came clear and then went first to Indiana and
then to Iowa. It occurred near McWhorter. It was at a corn shucking; the
pile was divided and these men fell out – perhaps were Captains -and Benge
struck Porter with a rake. He lived a week or ten days and died. My
grandfather was a soldier in two wars, Revolutionary and 1812. My father
was John Benge. He volunteered in the War of 1812; my grandfather would not
let him go but went in his stead. His other sons were; William, Joseph, and
Lewis Franklin. His daughters were; Nancy (William Cornett, son of Roger);
Sallie Ann (George Treeman); Adeline (Elisha Shiver); Zilpha (Robert
Stiver); Lucinda (Benjamin Johnson); Mary (Elijah McGee). John, my father,
had 13 children, 10 girls and 3 boys, all still living but one eldest is
86. My brother’s name was James, he lives here in Clay. He married Benge’
second cousin. I am next to the oldest. I married Nancy Lynx, daughter of
Fred Linx. I had twelve children all living but two. My oldest sister,
Sallie Ann, married John Johnson and lives near Bernstadt. Lucinda married
Zessa McWhorter; They had a large family. Martha married James Bolling,
lives on Goose Creek. Betsey married Henderson Howes, parents of Mark and
William Howes. They had a good family. Eliza married Adam Bolling, both are
living and have 8 or 9 children. Bina married Gillum House, both are
living. Jennie married William Bolling, both living on Little Goose. Nancy
married Byrd, she died in child birth, left no children. Evaline married
William Martin, had a large family. I have lived where I now reside 60
years. I used to make whiskey before the war. I think it a bad business. I
never drank much whiskey, ruins a neighborhood
Matilda DUFF Lewis - Hyden, Ky., May 1898.
My father was Rev. Daniel DUFF, born in Guilford County, N.C. in 1776. His father was Shadrick DUFF. He was killed in the Revolutionary War. His wife was Deborah DICKSON, did not survive him. Shadrick DUFF'S father was born in Ireland. He was Scotch-Irish. The DICKSONS were Irish also. My father spoke (used) broken English. My father used to call Mrs SPARKS his old Irish aunt. My father had a sister, Eliabeth, who married Mr. McLEAN. They settled in Green County, Tenn. and reared a large family. I saw two of the sons at my father's once. My mother was Nancy Ann ELLISON. My parents were married in Guilford County. Her father was Welsh. Soon after my father and mother married they came to Lee County, Va. There were DUFFS living there. Robin DUFF of that county was a very wealthy man. They were related to my father.
While they [Daniel & Nancy Ann ELLISON Duff] lived in Lee County several children were born to them. Their oldest child was Henry, he was born in 1798. John was born in 1801. In 1818 my parents removed to Perry County, Kentucky, and settled on the North Fork of the Kentucky River about two miles above the mouth of Grapevine Creek. He [Daniel] was a Baptist Minister. Attending a meeting of some kind in Harlan County, he met with Rev. Jesse BOLLING who lived on the North Fork and becoming attached to him, made a visit to his home. This led to his removal to Kentucky and Perry County.
My father's children were: Henry, John, Shadrick and Martha who married William BOWMAN and moved to Iowa. They reared a family.
Deborah, who married William BOLLING and reared a large family on Middle Fork about Perry and Breathitt line.
Mary married SHEPHERD and moved to Missouri;
Colson who married Elizabeth GILBERT of Virginia. These GILBERTS moved to Sandy Country, where Thomas GILBERT, the father died.
Drusilla married William GILBERT, brother of Elizabeth. They moved to Illinois about the close of the war. They lived in Carter county up to that time.
Alexander married Miss HOLLY or HOLYFIELD. He is a carpenter and lived in Breathitt.
Margaret who married John HAYS of Breathitt and moved to Wolfe County where she died. She was living at last account. [sic] She raised a large family.
I am the next and youngest. I was born in 1825. I married John LEWIS in 1859. Our children: Drusilla LEWIS, wife of Theo LEWIS, and Henry LEWIS with whom I live and one who died are my children. These are all.
My father died in 1855 in Carter County, my mother in Perry County in 1849. My father then went to his daughters in Carter County where he married a Mrs. Ellen ROE. He only lived a short time after this.
I went to school to David FEE. He was a smart man, a good teacher and highly respected. He taught near my home. When my father moved to Kentucky he came horseback. They came down Red Bird and up Cutshin. There were no wagon roads. They stayed all night at John GILBERTS. I knew old William STRONG, he too, was a Baptist preacher. He married Jane CALLAHAN, the daughter of Edward CALLAHAN, of Red Bird. Several of her brothers lived on the North Fork and it was they who were engaged in the "Cattle War." John AMIS, the leader of the other side, was a brother-in-law of John GILBERT, they having married sisters ... BOLLINGS. The names of CALLAHANS were William and Isaac, nicknamed "Pike" and it seems to me there was a third. Old Samuel DAVIDSON married a CALLAHAN, sister to Mrs. SSTRONG, and he was in the war.
Rev. William STRONG was a Baptist preacher. He had children as follows; Edward, Isaac, Alexander and William. William married a DEATON, sister of the old legislator. Edward married a SPENCER; his children were: Capt. William STRONG, Mrs. Alfred MARCUM, Mrs. John LITTLE and Mrs. Henry DUFF, also Robert STRONG who died young leaving a few children; also Judge Alex STRONG of Lee County, Kentucky. William had children as follows; Judge Edward STRONG of Lost Creek known as "Red Ned;" Mrs. William COPE (Tom COPE'S father) and Mrs. Wiley COPE, of Big Branch. Isaac had a son, William. Alexander married Miss WILSON, had several children, one the wife of George BAKER of Clay County, also Daniel STRONG of Laurel County.
John SPENCER was an early settler of Grapevine. I think he came from Virginia. He had a large family. I think William SPENCER of Breathitt who married Miss BRITTAIN was a relative of his. Joseph SPENCER was one of his sons. John SPENCER who married John DUFF'S daughter was a son of Joseph SPENCER.
My brother, John DUFF married Mary, the daughter of General Elijah Combs. He had children as follows:
Sarah JANE DAVIDSON,
Henry DUFF who married Mahala STRONG, daughter of Edward and sister of Capt. Bill STRONG;
Elijah, married Mary EVERSOLE, daughter of old Billy EVERSOLE lives in Owsley, father of Miss Mary DUFF;
Shadrick DUFF married Mary Combs, granddaughters of Gen. Combs. They raised a family;
Louisa, wife of John SPENCER;
Nancy, wife of Major John EVERSOLE, mother of Joseph and HARRY, George, John and Claude EVERSOLE;
Orleana, wife of Adam CAMPBELL, they reared a family;
Mary wife of Anderson EVERSOLE who moved to Kansas, a brother of Abner and Capt. Billy EVERSOLE.
John DUFF, my brother, was the first surveyor in Perry County. He was county judge of Perry in his old days. He had an arm amputated when he was in the 70's. He died in 1892, age 91. He left a fine estate at the mouth of Grapevine. His wife survives him.
Old Miss EFFIE MOORE, raised one child, Allen MOORE. She was a good woman, raised her child well, never had any other. Allen married Margaret LEWIS, sister of my husband. They had a large family of children; Daniel James, William, who was killed in Jackson, some left the country; Drusilla married James WHITE, parents of Miss Mary WHITE. They were two of the old DAVIDSONS, Samuel who married CALLAHAN above given and who moved to Missouri; and Robert who lived in Breathitt.
Shadrick DUFF, my brother was killed by the explosion of a keg of gun powder in a store room in Hazard when a young man. He snuffed a candle and threw the snuff into a keg of power, accidentally. He and my brother James were in partnership in the goods business. We lived in Hazard at the time. [My brother] John was in the south with a drove of horses at that time and did not hear the calamity till he reached home. His wife told him of it, before he got off his horse, whereupon he went to the grave and stuck his riding switch in the fresh dirt. It grew to be a tree and stands there today.
Margaret Combs Lewis, Hyden, KY, May 30, 1898.
I was born in Perry County, Kentucky in 1820 or 1822.
My father was Nicholas Combs. He was a son of Nicholas Combs, one of the original eight brothers who settled in Perry County from Holston River, Virginia.
My grandfather John Combs, my mother's father, was a Revolutionary soldier, I am certain of that. One of his brothers was also a soldier in the Revolutionary War. I think it was Washington. I was nearly grown when my grandfather, Nicholas Combs, died in 1837 or 1838. He settled near where L. D. Combs now lives and there lived and died. My father, Nicholas Combs, told me that when grandfather first came to Perry he went to Carr to get some wheat to sow from old William CORNETT. He had no wheat but half a bushel of rye which my grandfather brought home. My grandfather sowed it and when the grain was in the milk they washed it and cooked it, so scarce was bread stuff.
My grandfather, Nicholas Combs,* had only five children, viz. Nicholas, Jeremiah and Semund [sic]. Rebecca married a WILLIAMS and Licia married a SMITH.
Granville and Lorenzo Combs are my brothers and still live below Hazard.
My mother was Elizabeth Combs, daughter of John Combs and one of the original eight Combs in Perry. He first settled in Lincoln County near Danville and later came to Perry and settled on Carr's Fork. He moved to Owsley County and lived a number of years and then went to Lincoln or Boyle County where two of his daughters lived and there died. These daughters never came to the mountains. They married before their father moved to the mountains. One of them married Joseph GOOD, two of their sons from about Danville were in Perry once buying cattle. They were prosperous men. Another daughter married James HUNDLEY and they removed to Perry with my grandfather, John Combs. They had two sons, Harry (Henry) HUNDLEY and Samuel HUNDLEY. Harry (Henry) HUNDLEY married a sister of Judge Josiah Combs of Perry. Kenneth HUNDLEY, son of Sam, married Miss MATTINGLY, sister of Judge Josiah Combs' wife. My grandfather, John Combs, had a daughter named Dicie who married a SPENCER and removed to Illinois. This SPENCER was related to the SPENCERS on Grapevine. Another daughter, Margaret died single. My grandfather, John Combs, had sons: Hardin, Benjamin and John, called Jack. Hardin lived and died in Breathitt on Middle Fork at the mouth of Buck Creek. My sister married his son, Hardin. She still lives there. Benjamin lived and died on Turkey Creek, Breathitt County. Jack lived in Owsley on Cow Creek. I think the Combs came from North Carolina to Holston River. Meredith Combs of Clay County is a son of my uncle John or Jack Combs.
William M. Combs, Jackson, Breathitt Co, KY, July 19, 1898.
Henry Combs was my grandfather. He married Rachael CLEMENTS before he came to Kentucky. They had children as follows: Matthew (my father), Henry, George, James, Stephen and Frank; Bettie, Polly and Winnie. Bettie married Jerry Combs; Winnie married John MILLER; Polly, Downey STACY. My grandfather moved to Indiana about 1837 or 1838. He visited KY about 1848. He reared a large family by his second wife, Phoebe FRANCIS. George died in Perry on Troublesome. His descendents are still there. Henry married Nancy BROWN in New River, NC and reared a family on Big Creek, Perry County. Frank married Bettie OLIVER first, second Polly COUCH, lived and died in Perry. Stephen lived and died in Breathitt. My father married Frankie BROWN on New River, (sister to) my Aunt Nancy BROWN (who was married to Henry Combs). His children were: Aaron, Alfred, Matthew, Henry, Richard, Isaac B., Wm. M., Nathan, Rachel. Aaron married Ruth DICKERSON; Alfred, Peggy NOBLE; Matthew, Sallie WILLIAMS; Henry, Tempie DAVIS; Richard, Polly BACK; Isaac B., Louvisa McINTYRE; Wm. M., Jane Combs, daughter of Washington and grandaughter of Mason Combs, one of the original COMBES; Nathan married Miss CLINE of Arkansas and is still living there. Rachael married Isaac BACK. Alfred and Henry lived and died on Troublesome in Breathitt. Aaron and Matthew lived and died in Missouri; Richard in Montgomery Co., Ky. Isaac B., in Wolfe County, Ky., Rachael on Quicksand, Breathitt Co., Ky.
William M. Combs, 1898, Breathitt County, KY.
I was personally acquainted with General Leslie Combs. I met him in Frankfort in 1862, July. Dr. RODMAN knocked him down. Combs called RODMAN a God-d------ traitor. Leslie swore he could cut out a better General with a broad ax out of a buckeye than the General who was commanding at Flafort??? [sic] (Frankfort). Leslie told me we are all kin. I do not know how close, but it was distant. He had two brothers who were not much. Leslie was the boy Captain during the War of 1812. He carried a man off the battle field, and when Leslie broke (?), this man set him up in business.
Nickolson Combs was called "Danger" Combs; his son, Nickolson, was called "Birdeye;" he was Peggy LEWIS' father. General Leslie Combs was Clerk of the Court of Appeals after the Civil War.
At a Methodist meeting at the mouth of Lot's Creek, the preachers were slapping the mourners on the back and telling them to pray on, saying, "We have the devil down. Let's keep him down." Old General Elijah Combs was present and ... (Interview ends here without any warning.)
William M Combs, Jackson [Breathitt Co], Kentucky, July 19, 1898. Reverend Nixon COVEY, a local Methodist preacher, taught school in the Cut Off at Jackson in 1844. I went to school to him in 1844. He is the grandfather of the BARNETTS.
Reverend Carlisle BABBITT was an early circuit rider. He reproved Nathan NOBLE for cooking on Sunday. Next time, he gave him cold bread. BABBITT asked for the warm bread which NOBLE had cooked for himself, but he did not get it. His wife, Aunt Jennie, was a member of the Methodist Church. BABBITT preached on Lost Creek and Troublesome. It was old Mrs. ALLEN who told him where to find his sheep. It was at a log rolling; Mrs. ALLEN was there. He stopped. Mrs. ALLEN was a little tipsy and asked him his business. "I am hunting lost sheep (of Israel)." "I say that is your ram at old BILL (JAKE) NOBLE'S."
Some say she said, "Ill be d--ned." I went to school to a circuit rider in the old Baptist church on Troublesome. Reverend Richard SMITH married Malissie Combs, an ancestor of Bad TOM SMITH.
Napoleon Bonaparte Combs, Jackson, Kentucky, July 19, 1898.
I was born in Perry County, Kentucky, in 1808. All I know about my age is that I voted for General JACKSON. I think it was his second election for I only voted for him once.* My father was Mason Combs. My mother was Jennie RICHESON or RICHARDSON. He and seven brothers came. William Combs, my uncle, went to Fayette County. He was at my mother's after my father died and wanted to take me to his home to raise. My father had 11 children, 5 girls and 6 boys. I am the youngest. The girls were born first. Willie, the youngest daughter, was born in Kentucky. There are seven children, at least, born after the CombsES came to Kentucky, and the youngest was born in 1808. The surveyor (?) books are good authorities. John DUFF was the first surveyor I knew. I think the CombsES are Irish. Stephen JETT told me that he stayed all night at my father's when he moved to Kentucky. My father took up all the land that he could in his own name, and then he took some up in his daughter, Willie's, name. He owned six miles up Carr, also up and down the North Fork. He had land in Tennessee. He left his land on the Holston. He said there were Indians in Kentucky, and if he could not live here, he would have his own land to which to go back. He never sold it. He had plenty here and did not need it.
I married Miss Susan ISOM. My father-in-law said he used to carry his own gun while plowing, but I do not know that there were Indians here. The ISOMS must have come about as early as the CombsES. I moved first to Breathitt about fifty years ago and then to Owsley seven years later. General Leslie Combs, of Lexington, was a cousin of my father's. I have always understood it. One of my nephews named his son for him. So did Hardin Combs of the Middle Fork, Breathitt. Old Leslie told Wiley Combs, my son-in-law, "Never deny your name. It is as good a name as there is in this world." He always claimed kin to us."
Jason Walker BOLLING, Benge, Kentucky, June 15, 1898.
My great grandfather, Jesse BOLLING, came to Kentucky in 1810. My grandfather, Elijah BOLLING was born at the Three Forks of Powell River in Lee Co., Virginia in 1798, and when he was 12 years old his father removed to Perry Co., Ky. Daniel DUFF baptized by great-grandfather, Elijah BOLLING. Rev. Andrew BAKER baptized by great-grandfather at Blackwater Church, now Hawkins County, Tenn. My great-great grandfather was Major John BOLLING. He had 19 sons. I do not know that there were any daughters. One of these sons, William BOLLING married Martha JEFFERSON, sister of Thomas JEFFERSON, President of the United States. Other sons were, Jesse, above mentioned, Benjamin the oldest born in 1752 or 3. Jesse was born 1765. Roberta the wife of U. S. Senator Archibald DIXON, was the daughter of Dilaney BOLLING of Missouri and the granddaughter of Major John BOLLING, aforesaid. Gov. John Young BROWN'S wife was a daughter of Archibald DIXON. (ROGER CORNETT, son of the original William CORNETT built the house where HAMP. COLDIRON lives, in 1802, he married ZILPHA CALLAHAN. This makes the date of the CORNETT'S coming to Kentucky 1796-1799 probable. Men from Crug's Ferry at mouth of Sexton were at the raising. ROGER CORNETT was into slaves and land. He owned the COLEMAN Survey, patented in 1783 of 5,600 acres.)
There are some BOLLINGS in western Kentucky. One went to Congress some years ago, perhaps 1870 or 1872. The first BOLLING who came to America was Colonel Robert BOLLING of London, England. I think old Cava BAKER made the rhyme on the "Cattle War," I have always heard it that way. Old Julius Bob BAKER and William NEAL were in St. Clair's defeat. BAKER held a Major's Commission. They are both buried at Buffalo, Owsley, County. NEAL requested to be buried beside BAKER. John GILBERT and John AMIS married sisters of James BOWLING [sic]. From Eli, John (grandfather of Judge Josiah Combs'S wife), Christopher, William, Joseph, Nancy (SIZEMORE) another sister of these, have descended most of the BOLLINGS in Clay County. Jesse BOLLING, my great grandfather married Mary PENNINGTON of Lee County, Va. He was born in North Carolina at Hillsboro. His father was born in Virginia. David PENNINGTON, her brother, was living during the War of the Rebellion. My grandfather, Elijah BOLLING stayed with him in Lee Co. during the late war. Jesse BOLLING had ten children as follows: Hannah mararied HUFF; Mary married Abram BARGER; Justice married ??; John married Polly LEWIS; Jesse married LEWIS for his second wife; William married a daughter of Daniel DUFF; Elijah married ROBERTS; George married LEWIS; a daughter married Joseph SPENCER; Betsey married Abel PENNINGTON; another married MAGGARD; another died single. A. P. HILL and Basil DUKE married sisters of John MORGAN. His mother was the daughter of John HUNT, the first millionaire in Kentucky. Dr. FOSTER of Kentucky was reared by Mrs. HUNT.
January 3, 1898. Hyden, Kentucky.
I live in Leslie County, I am 55 years old. I was born in Clay County. My father’s name is Aaron Brock. My mother was Barbara Shepherd. Her father’s name was James Shepherd. He was born in Virginia. I don not know what county it was; it was near Fort Yokum and Fort —, which was taken when he was about ten years old by the Indians who were led by Benge, the white man who was taken by the Indians when a boy seven years old. His capture was as follows. His mother had sent him to gather elderberries for the ducks. A party of Indians came upon him and attempted to kill him. He gathered stones and began to fight them. Pleased with his valor they took him prisoner saying, “He will make a good warrior.” I have heard my grandfather tell this and many other things, among them the taking of Fort — and the killing of Benge.
At the taking of this last mentioned fort, the Indians killed all but two women, the wives of George and Peter Levice. (Livingston in Collins.) Among the slain were the aged mother and father of Benge. After the massacre one of the captured women asked Benge if he did not remember an old man and an old woman who were killed. He said he did. She said, “They were your father and mother.” He dropped his head and wept. They crossed the Cumberland Mountains at Benge’s Gap. One of the women was tied to an Indian chief but the other, led by Benge (Peter Levice’s wife), marked the path of their retreat by pieces of her clothing torn and scattered.
As the whites pursued, they came to the house of my great grandfather, Nimrod Shepherd. My great grandmother was baking bread. It was not more than half cooked but was divided among them hastily. They took down some dried bear meat and venison saying, “We will use the bear’s flesh for meat and the venison for bread.” The first sight they got of the Indians was an Indians who had been stationed as a picket. He was roasting a turkey and nodding. Peter Levice slipped within 31 feet of him. They feared to shoot, lest the prisoners should be murdered. Springing for behind a tree, Levice, at three bounds, fell upon his victim and dispatched him with his tomahawk. He fell into the fire and the pursuers first ate turkey and then went on in their pursuit. Peter had lost a wife before this by the Indians and had recently remarried. He swore he would have her if he had to pursue them into Ohio.
George Levice’s wife was enciente. Peter Levice’s wife was sitting awake. Benge was asleep with his hand in her lap. Only one Indian was awake. A bird hovered over Benge’s head, fluttered, and darted off in the direction of the pursuers. The waking Indian shook Benge and told him there was danger. He grunted but fell back to sleep. The bird repeated its performance. The Indian then awakened Benge and told him, “Get up. Bad luck. Bad luck.” Benge rose and climbed a black gum tree nearby and got some mistletoe, saying, “I have always gotten mistletoe from this tree when coming to Powell’s Valley and have always had good luck.” He put it in his shot pouch and they started. The white men overtook them near Benge’s Gap. Mrs. Peter Levice first saw her rescuers, and her husband was the first one she saw. He was peeping from behind a tree. He caught her eye and shook his fist at her to keep her quiet. She went only a few steps, when she broke away and started toward her husband, screaming. Benge made three leaps after her, but seeing his danger, he turned in retreat. Levice fired at him as he was pursuing his wife but feared lest he would kill his wife. As Benge retreated he bounded from side to side to prevent his pursuers from hitting him. Vinton Hobbs saved his load till Benge would get into the narrow gap and then at a distance of 55 yards he put a ball through his head. Benge had a “blackjack” cup tied to his body which he clapped over his forehead, and it filled with blood and brains. He also had a small keg of brandy swung over his shoulder. The white men were so infuriated that they turned the contents of the cup upon the ground and drank the brandy from it. They took three strips of flesh from his back, 18 inches long, saying, “These are for razor strops.” They put his skull in the cleft of a rock, and my mother said she had seen it often. George Levice’s wife clenched the Indian to who she was tied and held his arms. He struck at her with his tomahawk over his shoulders but she had his arms pinioned and he could only use them below the elbows. She would dodge his lick as far as her head was concerned but her collar bone received the blows. She held him till her husband came to the rescue and dispatched him. Soon after she died. A party of white men had gone another route in pursuit of the Indians and they killed all that escaped from this party save one and he died after reaching home. This was the last Indian raid into that country. My grandfather died about 20 years ago (1878), he was about 90 (88-94) years old. This would place this event late in the last century. (Collins’ account is from Beiy Shaw’s in American Pioneers.) Collins says 1793, Bell County.
The Indians had captured a little Negro boy. They had him in one end of a sack and a keg of liquor or brandy in the other end of the sack. When they were attacked they tumbled the sack over the cliff. It struck the top of a spruce pine which softened the fall. After they had settled with the Indians and had started back they heard the little boy crying. Going down under the cliff they found him. When they asked him how he got there he said, “Why they just throwed me over here and didn’t care whether they killed me or no.”
A man named Wallin, with a squad of seven men came from Virginia to Harlan County to hunt. Near the mouth of what is now called Wallins in Harlan County one of the party saw an Indian sitting on a log patching his moccasin and raising his trusty rifle shot him dead. Within two hours the Whites were surrounded by Indians and were all shot dead but one man. He escaped to Virginia and it was 7 days before he returned with a party to bury the dead. Each hunter had his dog. These dogs had attacked the bodies of the dead, except Wallin’s. His dog lay by the side of his master’s corpse and would neither touch it himself nor suffer another to do so. They buried them where they were shot, which was on Laurel Branch, a little above the mouth of Wallin’s Branch, at the foot of Pine Mountain. Wallin’s Creek got its name in this way.