Leah was born in 1773 and the 8th child of Capt. John and Lydia Smith Hurst. She married Jesse Lindsey in 1800 while in Tennessee. These visits from the Indians likely occurred after the Hurst’s arrival in Harrison Co. in about 1803 and before the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 which led to the Indians leaving the area.
This story comes from Bill Hurst, Newburgh, Indiana. He received it from Marie Lewis, California, in a letter dated Sept. 10, 1990.
Then there is the story of the beautiful Leah, Capt. John's daughter. When John came to the area north of Corydon to settle, apparently the Indians were friendly and interacted with the settlers on a regular basis. They would spend the night on the cabin floor at times. They always lay with their head toward the fireplace and their feet towards the cabin door, for fast escape should this become necessary. The temptation must have been great to spend time in the relative warmth of the cabin on cold winter nights, but there must have been reservation about the safety of being in an enclosed building One of these Indians became quite taken with the beautiful white girl by the name of Leah. “White girl beautiful, Indian squaw, Ugh!” He carefully made her a pair of moccasins to match her beauty. He took red bird feathers and threaded them in and out of the toe in a design he felt reflected her exotic beauty. I wonder if she knew the import of his gift to her. I wonder if he really expected that she would accept his engagement gift to her. Since they were seen by later members of the family, she apparently accepted them. I wonder how they work out the differences without the loss of the Indian's friendship. Perhaps, sadly that was the end of the peace these two representatives of their respective races shared. So many times gestures were misunderstood, and in ignorance, anger and mistrust replaced innocence and trust.
The home of John Hurst Sr. was the home where Indians came and stayed. Sometimes overnight, sometimes for days on their way to Louisville to trade their bead works or moccasins for things they wanted These Indians slept on the floor in their blankets with their heads towards the fire and their feet towards the door. They were friendly, of course. These Indians like the white people's cooking One of the white men said, “Your squaws are prettier than our squaws.” They replied, “Indian squaws ugly, white ones pretty.” They looked at Leah when saying it. She was a beautiful girl and the Indians all liked her. One of the Indians gave her a beautiful pair of moccasins once.
Isaac and Menefee Kepley were a couple of good ole farm boys, the
sons of Sarah Hurst (daughter of Sherrif John) and Lewis Kepley. In
1862, the need for good soldiers was great. Together on August 13th,
these two young men answered the call of their country and joined
the army. Isaac was listed as 24 years old, gray eyes, dark hair,
height 5 feet 10 inches tall with dark complexion. His occupation
was listed as farmer. Menefee was 21 years old, gray eyes, light
hair, also 5 feet 10 inches tall and light complexion, also a
After saying good bye to their family, they rode off to New Albany on the 29th of August and were mustered into service. They were assigned to Company C of the 81st Indiana Regiment under the command of Colonel William W. Caldwell. As soon as their regiment was fully formed, they left for Louisville to receive their military training and remained there until the first of October. The army wasted no time in thrusting them into action. The regiment joined Buell’s army, and marched with it in pursuit of a Confederate contingent under the command of Bragg, reaching Perryville, Kentucky, on October 8th. They were present at the battle of Perryville, but did not participate in the engagement. From there they counter marched to Nashville, where they were assigned to the Third Brigade, First Division. The regiment remained in camp near Nashville until the 26th of December, when it moved with the main army on Murfreesboro, and was in position on the right wing when the rebel forces made their terrible charge at the battle of Stone River on the 31st of December. The brigade to which the Kepley’s were assigned successfully repelled the fierce onslaught of the enemy, and held their position with courage. In this desperate battle the 81st lost four killed, forty four wounded, and forty missing. They took part in the fighting on the two subsequent days of that battle, January 1st and 2nd, 1863, then entered Murfreesboro with the main army.
It was there that the brave boys from Harrison Co. found their place in history. According to their military records, Menefee died on March 22, and Isaac on April 15. Did they succumb to illness as so many others who died during the war? Were they wounded during the bloody battle at Stone River and finally fell to infection or disease? They survived the harshest part of the winter months, why was the spring time in Tennessee so unkind.
The two were brought home one last time, and buried in the Wolfe Cemetery, Georgetown, Indiana. The 81st numbered 927 men when it was organized and returned from its campaigns with 277. Six hundred fifty men made the supreme sacrifice for their country, including a couple of good ole farm boys from Harrison Co.
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