Union County Genealogy Trails
History of Union County, Kentucky,
By Courier Co, Evansville, Ind, 1886
Submitted by Veneta McKinney
Among the early settlers of Union County, are the following, who are remembered by Mr. George W. Riddle: Morganfield was first settled by Jeremiah Riddle in 1802. Benjamin Berry settled near the mouth of Lost Creek in 1804. Daniel McKinney in 1804 settled about nine miles west of Morganfield. During the same year, Col. John Waggener settled in the same course and distance. Robert Gilchrist settled at the mouth of Highland Creek in 1810; and John McKinney, about the same time, settled at the present site of Uniontown. Fielding Jones and Isaac Sibley settled about five miles northwest of Morganfield in 1805; Wm. Kabowen, near the Wabash Island, in 1809. David Last settled at Raleigh in 1811; Ephraim Sellers, at Morganfield, in 1811, and Wm. Cockrell, near the Shawnee Ferry, 1812. Ebenezer Briggs and William Dyer settled adjoining farms, about a mile northeast of Morganfield. Mr. Dyer was the blacksmith of ye ancient days.
Baylor Taylor and Daniel Tucker settled near Morganfield. Peter Casey, Samuel Lewis and Hezekiah Cowen had adjoining farms near White Sulphur Springs. Joel Berry, Reuben Berry and Peter Berry came in 1804. Captain Frank Berry came in 1809.
Other pioneers were: Wm. Anderson, south of Morganfield, six miles; John Martin, west of Morganfield, two miles; Charles Carey, northwest of Morganfield, one and a half miles ; John Randolph, northeast of Morganfield, five miles—had an early horse mill ; Samuel Givens, three miles northeast of Morganfield, at an early day; Aaron Harris had a horse mill five miles northeast of Morganfield ; John Reaves, Peter Rives and John Davis, the father of Abner Davis, all settled northwest of Morganfield.
Other settlers, whose locations were not given by Mr. Riddle, were: Thomas Barker, David Neel, Hugh McElroy, Jos. Delaney, John Blue, john Chapman, Joseph Owens, Joseph Hay, John Floyd, John Wheeler, James Latham, Jas. Graham, Nathaniel Floyd, Jeptha Hardin, John Frazier, Peter C. Holt, James Townsend, Josiah Williams, Thomas Alsop, John Sprague, Elijah Finnie, John Finnie, Harrison Holt, Capt. Isaac Newell.
Aquilla Davis was the first postmaster and school teacher. John Pierson was a very early blacksmith. James McGready is the first preacher Mr. Riddle remembers. He was a Presbyterian, and came from Henderson as early as 1811.
The Riddle family is a very ancient, and has always been, in every country where it has been scattered, an influential and enterprising family. The Riddells, Riddles, Ridlons and Ridleys are the descendants of an Earl created by William, The Conqueror, who was called the Earl of Ryedale. The family has, in its history, furnished talented and substantial recruits for all the honorable avocations of life. The descendants of Lord Ryedale have been bishops, generals, gentry, doctors, lawyers and legislators, A very full account of this family is made by Rev. G. T. Ridlon in a book of over eight hundred pages, which is entitled “A Genealogical, Biographical History of the Riddles, Riddells, Ridlons and Ridleys of England, France, Scotland, Ireland and America," comprising an unbroken pedigree of the family for more than 1,000 years, or from A. D., 860 to the year 1883.
The branch of this ancient family, to which the Union County Riddles belong, probably came to Virginia in their own vessels, bringing their own farm stock, implements, furniture, plate and servants with them. Jeremiah Riddle, the founder of theUnion County family, was the son of Gabriel Riddle, who was born in Loudoun County, Va. His mother was Elizabeth Herindon, who was born in Loudoun County, Va., in 1765. Jeremiah married Polly, daughter of Captain Frank Berry, of Revolutionary fame. She was born in Loudoun County, Va., in 1795, and died in her seventy-seventh year. Mr. Riddle came to Union County in 1802, and settled on land owned by Gen. Morgan. His house was erected near the spring in Morganfield, and his field was afterwards selected as the site of Morganfield, in 1811. Mr. Riddle was a farmer, a man of high standing, and his house was always a home for preachers. His children, nine in number, were as follows:
Hon. Geo. W. Riddle, the oldest son of Jeremiah, was born near the spring within the present limits of Morganfield, on July 18, 1807. It is said that he is the first white person born within the present limits of Union County. He is undoubtedly the oldest native of the county. Notwithstanding the poor educational advantages of those times, Mr. Riddle, being of a studious mind, acquired a good education, and shows by his composition of a communication addressed to the publishers of this work, that he is a man of fair literary qualifications He married Eliza B. Hunt, daughter of Enoch and Judith (Hampton) Hunt, on July 2, 1826. She was born in Lexington, on August 18, 1809, and is descended from Daniel Boon, and is allied to the Bryant families, of pioneer fame. Mr. Riddle has always been an office holder, being out of office but five months since he was twenty-one years old. At that time he was selected by the magistrate for constable, and was in that office for sixteen consecutive years. Mr. Buckman, the County Surveyor, then selected him as a deputy, and retained him for several years without any fault being found with him. He was afterward commissioned Justice of the Peace for Boxville District, but after four years became tired of the administration of law, and he was run for the Legislature by his friends. While serving his term in the Legislature, the following compliment was paid him by Miss Laura Ford, who was the correspondent at that time of a Louisville paper:
“The Union County member is winning golden laurels by his excellent course in the Legislature. There is certainly no member more faithful to his constituents than he. He deserves the lasting gratitude of the ladies of Kentucky, whose special champion he is, and is worthy of imitation by all with whom he is associated and all that may come after him." His frank, open-hearted nature has been often imposed upon, and he has had to pay many security debts, which have cost him in the aggregate "thirteen negroes and eight farms." One incident in this pioneer's life is especially interesting to him, and is always referred to with emotions of gratitude by him. It is his acquaintance with Abraham Lincoln. In 1840 Mr. Lincoln was an elector in Illinois for General Harrison, and came to Union County for the purpose of making speeches for the Whig candidate. He was very intimate with Mr. Riddle during this visit to Union County. Well, when the war broke out, Mr. Riddle, being a sympathizer with the Southern Confederacy, was seized and sent to Johnson's Island, where he was imprisoned during three winter months. All at once it occurred to him that, for "auld acquaintance" sake, Lincoln might do something for him, and accordingly he wrote to the President, reminding him of the campaign of 1840, and asking for his release. Lincoln immediately answered him, and said that his release would be sent in a week. It actually came in two days after the letter. This circumstance always lives green in Mr. Riddle's memory, and he says often that he hopes Lincoln is in heaven. George. W. Riddle had nine children born unto him. They are all dead but two, John B. Riddle, now County Surveyor, and Wm. H. Riddle, farmer. He is the deputy to his son. He now has seventy acres in his homestead. Charles C. W. and James Samuel were killed while in the Confederate service.
Mr. Riddle is especially valuable to a work of this kind, by his memories of early days. He has furnished much of the information that makes the general history in this book valuable and interesting. Union County in early times abounded in all kinds of game. The people were troubled very much with wolves, and Mr. Riddle remembers one instance in which the wolves killed eight sheep around his father's house one night. The range for stock during this time was excellent, cattle fattening readily on the pea vines. The hogs soon became a curse to the country, destroying the pea vines. The cattle
were generally wintered in the canebrakes on the Ohio River bottoms. Frequently in the months of March and February the high waters would catch them and drown numbers of them. The people would go great distances to assist each other in rolling logs, raising houses and other work. It was common when an invitation was given to a "raising," for the invited parties to kill a deer or turkey, and, after dressing it, to carry it to the expected scene of the frolic, and give it to the man who was going to raise the house. He distinctly remembers the first crime treated by the county. It was a man named Harbarger, who was accused of killing cattle in the woods for their hides. He was whipped publicly, and ever afterward went by the name of Hardbargain.
The other children of Jeremiah Riddle are as follows: Jackson, Benjamin Franklin, Charles H., William, Henry B., Sedney C., Caroline, and Elizabeth A. They deserve brief mention here.
Jackson was born at Morganfield about 1811. He married Mary Finnie and settled on a farm. He had a host of friends, and was known as “Uncle Jack." He was killed by a mule June 11, 1878.
Benjamin F. was born in Morganfield July 18, 1814; married Anna F., daughter of Major Rowley, who migrated from near Wheeling, Va., in an early day. Mr. Riddle lives on a beautiful farm near Uniontown, where he has been settled since early manhood. His first wife, who died August 7, 1862, was well educated at Wheeling and Fredericksburg in Virginia. He had six children by this union. He afterwards married Lucy A. Hundley and had no children by this union.
Charles H. was born 1816 in Union County; married, and has seven children. He served in the Texan war under General Sam Houston. He is now a widower in Moore's Prairie, Illinois, living on a farm.
William was born in Morganfield in 1818. Married Mary Baldwin and emigrated to California in 1849. He participated in the Civil War, and was killed by a fall from a house on which he was working
Henry B. was born at Morganfield July 22, 1826; married Julia A. Waggener September 6, 1849, and had six children. His first wife died June 10, 1852, and he married secondly, Elizabeth H. Smith, daughter of Moses and Fannie Smith, December 5, 1854, and by her had five children.
Sedney C. was born in Morganfield in 1809; married Wm. Benthall and lived within sight of her birthplace all her life. She lived a devoted Christian and died at the age of sixty-five years, lamented by a wide circle of friends.
Caroline was born at Morganfield, and married, first, Henry Fellows, and, second, Samuel Hunt. She is now living.
Elizabeth A. was born in Morganfield about 1828, and died in April, 1877. She lived in Webster County.
Among the names that are indissolubly connected with Union County, is that of Casey. A hundred years ago a man of that name (the subject of this sketch), came toUnion County and surveyed lands within its limits. His connection with the after history of the county makes him a conspicuous figure.
Peter Casey's ancestry were Irish. Three brothers, Benjamin, Nicholas and another, whose name is not known, came to America before the Revolutionary War. The oldest brother, Benjamin, was a soldier and killed in the War for Independence. The next oldest moved west, and the family lost sight of him. The third was Nicholas, the ancestor of the Union County family. He settled in Virginia, and was the father of Peter Casey.
Peter Casey was born in Virginia early enough to participate in the Revolution. About the close of the war he married Nancy Waggener, a daughter of Andrew Waggener, who lived near Fredericksburg in Spotsylvania County, Va. Mrs. Casey was born in 1762.
An old scrap from the New York Herald gives the origin of the name Casey, and compliments the three elder Caseys very highly, and pursues their genealogy back several generations.
In 1785 Peter Casey superintended a survey of lands in Union County, a grant to which he had been allowed by the Government for his services in the Revolution. He located lands at the mouth of Highland Creek, below where Uniontown now stands; on Casey's Creek, a branch of Highland Creek; and at the mouth of Tradewater, on both sides, some 15,000 acres in all. These lands, at his death, were divided, each of the children receiving 200 or 250 acres, and the balance was sold on joint account. He located the Tradewater lands because he thought there was coal in that vicinity. He told Samuel Casey, in 1827, that from the resemblance to Virginia coal fields, he suspected the presence of coal in that neighborhood.
After his survey he returned to Virginia, and soon moved to Harrod's Station, Ky., where he was engaged in fighting the Indians sometimes. He held the office of Captain at that time, and farmed some land and operated a mill. He finally moved toUnion County, and first settled at Carthage, or "the rocks," below Uniontown, but afterward went to Morganfield and kept hotel. The exact date of his death is not known. His widow survived him many years, and lived to the advanced age of eighty-two. She had forty grand children, most of whom were present at one reunion. Twenty-five were young men and women grown; and yet she never saw a great-grandchild of her own. The following tribute to her memory is from the pen of John C. Rives, the founder of the Congressional Globe :
DIED. —Near Caseyville, Union County, Kentucky, on Monday, the 12th day of July, 1847, Mrs. Nancy Casey, widow of Judge Peter Casey, in the eighty-fourth year of her age. She was born on the 8th of October, 1763, near Fredericksburg, Spottsylvania County, Virginia, and about two years afterwards her parents moved to Mill Creek, Berkley County, in the same State.
Her life affords another example in proof of the influence on character of great and interesting events in a country. Although this excellent lady was distinguished for her kind and feminine nature, yet her zeal for the public cause in every crisis of difficulty rose above the weaker feelings of the sex, and made patriotism the most remarkable trait in her character. She was reared in the midst of the struggles of the Revolutionary War, and passed from them into the most sanguinary scenes of the Indian warfare of Kentucky; and in those fearful times she acquired the spirit which taught her, though the fondest of mothers, to give up one of her sons in the War of 1812; and prompted her, in her feeble old age, to go forth to urge the young men of her neighborhood to engage in the present war against Mexico. She even attended their drills, to stimulate their zeal. When this was remarked on by some as exhibiting a want of Christian feeling, she replied: "These young men who are preparing themselves to fight for their country, will do it more good than some who preach against the sin of the war." She did not inquire by whose fault the war was brought on, nor whether it existed “by the act of Mexico," when war was declared by Congress. She looked only to the duties and sacrifices which the occasion demanded, to conclude it well for the country.
Mrs. Casey was the daughter of Major Andrew Waggoner, who was an officer (first a captain, and then a major) in the Continental Army of the Revolution. During the greater part of his service he was under the immediate command of Washington, and fought well in many well-fought fields, especially at the important battle of Brandywine, which was the key to Philadelphia. All the accounts of that battle agree that the troops “led" by Captains Waggener and Porterfield behaved more gallantly than any others. Indeed, none but those troops are named as having fought bravely; and it is believed if all— or even a moiety—of the army had shown the desperate valor which distinguished the little corps of Waggoner and Porterfield, the battle of Brandywine would have been won by Washington, and Philadelphia saved.
Miss Waggener married Peter Casey about the close of the Revolutionary War, and soon after emigrated to Harrod's Station, now Harrodsburg, Kentucky. This was then the most exposed point of Indian attack in Kentucky. The place was besieged again and again ; and when these formidable attempts were intermitted, lurking parties of savages were continually breaking in upon the settlements; insomuch that the inhabitants took their rifles to the fields as regularly as they did their implements of husbandry, and had often to fight their way back to the fort.
Mr. Casey lived in the neighborhood of Harrodsburg, until about the year 1810, when he moved with his family to Union County, Kentucky, then very thinly and rudely settled. Here the influence of Mrs. Casey's example was soon felt in teaching the comforts of good housekeeping and kindly intercourse. In a few years it became obvious to every one that there was amelioration of manners and improvements in every respect in the neighborhood, and it was generally ascribed to the active benevolence and intelligence of Mrs. Casey. She was loved, and admired, and imitated. She did her utmost to give relief in every case of distress, although it often stinted her own means of comfort, and she gave her personal exertions when her health and strength would hardly justify it. She took orphans into her own family, reared them, and treated them as kindly as she did her own children; and there never was a more affectionate or devoted mother.
Her husband died nearly twenty years before her; and although widowhood generally circumscribes the efforts of the mother of a family to its immediate circle, it had no such effect on her. She still went about doing good. She was looked up to by all around her as one who lived more for others than for herself; and hence throughout her life she had the love of everybody as the recompense for the absence of self-love. I knew her for thirty-seven years, and knew most of the persons who lived in her vicinity during that time, and I never heard her spoken of but in the most exalted terms. I cannot say this of any other person.
Mrs. Casey belonged to no religious sect, but always attended the worship of any denomination of Christians, when in her power to do so; and she advised and encouraged others to go to church. Her religion was, like her charity, universal and practical, and made her end happy. A friend writes to me that her life passed gently away from the gradual exhaustion of vitality, as a fire goes out for want of fuel.
This tribute to her memory is written by one of the orphans raised by her, who, though no blood relation, feels as if he had lost a natural parent. He as little expects to "look upon her like," as upon her face, again, on this earth; and hopes and prays that she may be happy eternally.
The children of this couple were Samuel Casey, who was born in 1787, and died December 22, 1859; Nicholas Casey, who died February 24, 1863, and John Casey, who died December 25, 1867, aged sixty-seven years.
Nicholas, the second son of this couple, who was destined to play an important part in the development of Union County, was born in Harrod's Fort, Ky., in the year 1790. He attended such schools as Harrodsburg afforded at that early day, and afterward attended the select school of Judge Marshall, in Mercer County, in company with such men as Letcher, Burrough, Bowen, etc. When his father was living in the vicinity of Uniontown, in 1814, he went to the Saline River, in Illinois, and filled the office of Government Clerk on the “Mineral Reservation." While there he married Miss Susan G. Finnie, of Morganfield, in 18l5. He returned to Union County in 1824 and prepared to go to Caseyville in 1825. He moved his family there in 1826 or l827, and began to break the wilderness. His object in going there was to establish a woodyard, boat store and ferry. He dug the first ice house between Louisville and New Orleans, in 1828. In those days, a. steamboat, in ascending the river, had to frequently stop at “Casey's Landing," as it was then called, and laying a stock of provisions. They would often lay over an entire day, awaiting the slaughter of meat and arrival of other provisions from the country back of the landing. He was elected to the Legislature and secured the incorporation of Caseyville. _He was a Magistrate for over twenty years His rulings were not always satisfactory to the lawyers, but they were undoubtedly characterized by sound sense and native justice. Once a man was sued in his court for the possession of a cow. The defendant had bought the cow on credit, and when the plaintiff asked for his money he did not pay, and plead the benefit of a law, which allowed a man two cows, when he should be sued for debt. Judge Casey became satisfied in this man's case, that the intention had been to plead the benefit of this law from the first, and he accordingly awarded a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, saying: “It may not be strictly legal, but it is right that the defendant should return this cow for which he has never paid a cent."
Susan Gibson Finnie, the wife of Nicholas Casey, was the daughter of John and Rachel Finnie, was born September 18, 1797. Her father was a Colonel in the Virginia line during the Revolution. Her mother, Rachel Taylor, before marriage, was a resident of Clark County, Ky., when she met Col. Finnie. Her parents moved to Woodford County, and afterward to Union County in 1810 or 1812. She died in Conway County, Ark., August 6, 1871.
The children of Nicholas and Susan G. Casey were John Gibson and Andrew Benjamin, who died in infancy; Ann Trapnall, who was born in 1819 and died in 1834; Samuel Lewis, born February 18, 1821; Peter, born February 13, 1823, died at Vicksburg, Miss., February 8, 1875; Nicholas Waggener, born August 3, 1826, now living in New Orleans; James Finnie, born March 22, 1830; Susan Gibson, born December 29,1831, died August 6, 1871; Rachel Ann Casey, born November 5, 1835, and died in Harrodsburg, Ky., June 17, 1850.
The married children of this family are as follows: Peter married Sarah Attoway Finnie, daughter of James W. and Eliza Finnie, December 17, 1851; Nicholas W. married Eliza McCall Taylor, daughter of John Gibson and Elizabeth Lee Taylor, December 13, 1853; Susan Gibson married Charles Arthur Carroll March 11, 1858; James Finnie married Emma Dent, of St Louis, February 14, 1861; Rachel Ann married Dr. John H. Carroll, in Little Rock, Ark., May 5, 1867.
Samuel Casey, the oldest son of Peter and Nancy Casey, was a man of considerable ability, and held the office of United States Treasurer at the time of his death. John C. Rives, editor of the Congressional Globe says of him :
He was born in Mercer County, Kentucky, in the year 1788, I believe. He studied law under John Rowan, a very celebrated lawyer of Nelson County, Kentucky. Soon after he obtained a license to practice law, he moved to Union County, Kentucky, if I recollect aright, in the year of 1811, and there commenced the practice of his profession. In that year he was elected Clerk of the Circuit and County Courts of that county. He found me there an orphan boy—a foundling, I may say, though I had not been laid at any person's door—without father, mother, sister, or brother, and without a farthing to live on. He took compassion on me, and took me into the Clerk's office in the fall of the year 1812. I then wrote a tolerbly plain hand, and assisted him in recording deeds. That was all the service I was able to render him. Two years afterwards, in the year 1814, a United States land office was established in Shawneetown, Illinois. A clerk was needed in the land office, and Mr. Casey recommended me as a competent person to fill the place, and I obtained it. I may here say that I never had means to support myself until Mr. Casey took me to live with him, and I have never been without means to support myself since. I have continued to prosper, regularly, ever since the day I entered his office. I feel that I am indebted to him for all I am worth, and therefore, shall regret more to hear of his death than I have ever done to hear of the death of any man that ever lived. When I cease to remember him gratefully, daily, I should die. I have known him for forty-seven years, and never heard any person speak disparagingly of him. He was, I think, among the best men, if not the very best man, that has lived in my days.
Mr. Samuel Casey died in Caseyville on December 22, 1859.
Of the sons of Nicholas Casey, Samuel Casey attained distinction as a mining engineer; served a term in Congress, and is now living in Evansville.
Peter Casey is thus described in the Vicksburg Herald of February 9, 1875:
DEATH OF POSTMASTER CASEY.—-The sudden and very unexpected death of Peter Casey, Esq., which occurred at the Prentiss House, about one o'clock yesterday morning, created a profound sensation throughout the city, and called forth a universal expression of sincere and unfeigned sorrow.
Mr. Casey had been a resident of this city for nearly twelve years, and had made the whole community his friends. Coming here in 1863, Mr. Casey engaged actively and extensively in commercial pursuits, and his honorable bearing, coupled with a manly nature, a kind heart, and a gentle and genial disposition, soon won him the respect and friendship of all who had the good fortune to make his acquaintance.
A warm personal friend of General Grant, Mr. Casey was appointed postmaster of this city soon after his old friend became President, and held that position to the hour of his death. How he performed the duties of postmaster, the whole community knows. No man has ever filled that responsible position in this city who brought to the discharge of his duties a higher sense of honor or a more sincere and ardent desire to deal fairly and justly with all men. Actuated by such motives, it is not wonderful that he gave universal satisfaction to the public, while he commanded the entire confidence of the Government. In the six years during which he held the office of postmaster we do not believe there was one well-grounded cause for complaint against him.
The death of Peter Casey will create a void in society here that will not be soon or easily filled. A fond husband, an affectionate father, a warm-hearted, generous, faithful and steadfast friend, a conscientious and upright officer, a liberal and public-spirited citizen, he combined in himself as many noble and desirable qualities as usually fall to the lot of man. Sincerely mourned by all who were honored with his friendship, his memory will be fondly cherished by those who knew and appreciated his many manly and honorable traits of character.
Nicholas was appointed Auditor of Customs at New Orleans in February, 1873. He was made Receiver of the New Orleans Banking Association, June 30, 1874, and now holds that office.
James F. Casey married the sister of Mrs. Grant, and was appointed Collector of the Port of New Orleans by General Grant.
Matthew Christian, the founder of the Christian family in Union County, is the son of Paddy Christian, a Revolutionary hero, who fought entirely through the War of Independence. He was present at Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and a devout believer in the Christian religion. Matthew was born in Augusta County, Virginia, in 1776. He received some training in the schools of Augusta, and, when quite young, entered the United States Regular Army and served a term. When Gen. Wayne's expedition against the Indians of the Northwest, was organized, Mr. Christian accompanied it in the capacity of scout, and was present at the battle of Ft. Wayne. After the war he went to Frankfort. His uncle induced him to come “south of Green River to Highland Lick Salt Works" early in this century, and afterward he removed to the present Bordley Precinct, and remained there until his death in 1853. He was one of the men who pursued Big Harpe to his death, and saw Leper shoot the daring desperado. He formerly owned 600 acres of land, but gradually lost it all but 150 acres, which he had at the time of his death. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church all his life, and honored the church of his father by a consistent Christian life. He had eight children, six of whom are dead. The only survivors are Matthew C. and William. William married a Miss Amberson, who is now dead; Robert Black married Matilda Montgomery; Betsey married James Givens; Peggy married David Potts; Nancy married James Markham; and Prudence lived single, dying at the age of fifty years. The descendants of this pioneer are a solid and conservative set of citizens, who have always been a credit and advantage to the country, as well as an honor to their ancestor.
Matthew C. Christian, a farmer near Bordley, is the son of Matthew and Jane (Black) Christian. His father was a native of Augusta County, Virginia. He served four years as a United States soldier in Gen. Wayne's great campaign against the hostile Indians of the Northwest. He also assisted in the capture of the Harpe desperadoes. His mother was born in Barkly County, Va. His paternal grandfather, Paddy Christian, of Virginia, was in the Revolution, and was present as an orderly sergeant at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. His mother's father came from Ireland and settled in Pennsylvania. His maternal grandmother was from Pennsylvania. Mr. Christian was born near Bordley on the 22d of March, 1810. This makes him one of the oldest natives of the county. He attended the common schools of Union County for eight or nine years, and in 1852 he went to California, when the trip was full of danger. He lived there eight years and returned home in 1860. He has traveled well over the country, and has visited all the principal cities of the United States. He owns and cultivates a farm of sixty or seventy acres. In politics he is a Democrat. He is an Odd Fellow, and has been a member of the United Baptist Church for thirty-five or forty years, and was a clerk in that communion several years.
A. M. Thompson, farmer, who resides one mile east of Caseyville, is the son of Capt. Andrew Thompson and Rebecca (McCorkle) Thompson. His father was from Tazwell County, Virginia, and came to Union County in 1811. He was a militia captain in the War of 1812, and saw many of the hardships incident to a life in Union County in those early days. His mother sailed from Belfast. Ireland, when a child of six years. She was married in Montgomery County, Va. Mr. Thompson's paternal ancestors were of Scotch descent, his grandfather coming to this country before the Revolutionary War. His maternal ancestors were Irish. The subject of this sketch was born in what is now Webster County, but it was then a part of Union County, in 1816. He removed to present Union County before the division, and has consequently always been a resident of Union County. He received a very limited education in the log school houses of those days, attending the common schools for two years. By extensive intercourse with the world and close attention to current events, he has developed into a very intelligent man, who has a fine appreciation of good language, and a good delivery of his vocabulary, which is choice and free from slang. At the age of seventeen he became deeply mortified one day, at being obliged to make his mark, and then bought a half-quire of paper and never ceased until he became a good penman. He entered a store at Morganfield, at the age of twenty-two, and with short intermissions served three engagements as clerk for various merchants. He was appointed Deputy Sheriff under High Sheriff Wm. Davis, who farmed his privilege to Acting Sheriff Grant Blackwell. After that, Mr. Thompson, on a joint ticket with George Parker, held the office of Sheriff for six years. He, then, in 1857, entered the mercantile business at Caseyville, Ky. During the war he was for a short time out of commercial life, and again entered it to finally retire from active business life, to his home, one mile east of Caseyville, in 1876. Here, upon a beautiful eminence, from which the undulating country rolls away in glorious views, he is spending his declining years. Mr. Thompson was married in 1852 to Miss Mary E. Pierson, the daughter of Will S. Pierson, of Union County. Six children have blessed this union. One, Fannie Letitia, died at an early age. The survivors are John B., Andrew W., Mary Melvina, Maria Charlton, and James McCorkle. John is married to a Miss Wolfe, and is engaged in farming in Union County. Mary married Mr. Howard M. Davis, a lawyer ofUnion County, and Charlton married Mr. John D. Hedges, a farmer of Union County. Mr. Thompson has visited the ancestral home of his family in Virginia, and saw the chestnut log fort-like building in Tazwell County, where the people, in early days congregated to defend themselves from the assaults of the Indians. He has been a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church since 1848, and is now a ruling elder in that church. He has also belonged to every temperance organization that has ever been known in his district, and, in his temperance views is of the ultra stripe. In politics, he is a Democrat. He owns about 1,000 acres of land, 600 acres of which are under cultivation, and 300 acres of which he manages personally. About 300 are rented and leased to various parties. Mr. Thompson's history is interesting and instructive, and is contemporary with the county. Raised in this country at an early day, he was frequently obliged; in traveling over it, to go eight or ten miles before he could stop at a house to warm. He remembers when the "General Mercer Survey" of 5,000 acres contained no settler except an occasional hunter. Dr. Jones, who now owns a large portion of the tract, settled on it in 1839. The gathering years sit lightly upon this patriarch's brow, and with his fourscore years he seems as young as many men of sixty. Honored by all good citizens; beloved by his brethren in the church, and respected by old and young, he is filling up the measure of a useful life that will have been, at its close, an epistle well worthy the reading of all men.
This gentleman was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, September 10, 1801. He received but little training, as there were no schools in the county at that early day. His parents were Old School Presbyterian, and left their home in Tennessee in the spring of 1811 to settle in Union County. His father, David M. Neele, was born in Charleston, S. C. His mother, Elizabeth (McClanahan) Neel was a native of Virginia, but died before his father's removal to Union County. His grandfather was a patriot of the Revolution, and was burnt out of house and home in Charleston by the Tories, and lived for seven years in the brush dodging his enemies. He married twice, first in 1826 to Sarah Agnew, of Henderson County, who bore him thirteen children; next to Sarah Cowgill of UnionCounty, about 1852. She bore two children. Only two of Mr. Neel’s children are alive. Polly Ann married Dr. Burgess, and James H. married Miss Mary Buckman. He owns about 250 acres of land some three miles from Morganfield.
When his father arrived here there were wolves and bear in great abundance. His father rented a place about five miles from Shawneetown, of Col. Waggener, and little Sammy was sent often, in the summer of 1812 and 1813, to Morganfield, with apples and peaches to pay the rent. The future capital of the county was then but a very straggling village, indeed, as it had just been incorporated. When he first saw the place, Jeremiah Riddle was the only person living in the present bounds of the town. The Court House was a log building, twenty feet square, board roof, one window and one door. The Judge's stand was built of logs with a "handboard" in front. There were no seats in the Court House, unless they were chairs brought by the auditors.
Mr. Neel says of the deer, that “there were more deer here than was ever seen in the world." Eight acres of land were planted in meadow adjoining the Waggoner tract, and he says he once saw it covered with deer in the fall of 1811. After that they were not so thick. Black bear was also abundant, and Mr. Neel remembers several stories of them that are quite interesting. Once he and his father and Mr. Solomon Blue were going to Shawneetown, and met a very large fat bear. Sammy and his father undertook to keep the bear at bay with the dog, while Mr. Blue proceeded to the ferry to get a gun. There was no gun at the ferry and he went on to Shawneetown, but was so long returning that Mr. Neel left Sammy and the dog to guard the bear while he went in search of a gun. When the men returned, bruin had decamped, and was safe away in the cane. Mr. Neel declares this animal to have been the largest and fattest ever seen in that part. In the years 1815 and 1816, Mr. Neel says the bear were especially numerous in the canebrake near Shawneetown. In the spring of the year he has seen fifty or sixty sunning themselves in the woods near this canebrake. They were soon killed off by the hunters.
He relates a humorous account of an old slave, the property of Mr. David Blue. She was very old, crooked and feeble, and had been to the spring, and when returning she was followed by a big bear. Her master saw the bear, and cried out: “Look behind you, Jin!" She turned and saw the bear, and her infirmities were immediately forgotten, so that she ran with alacrity to the house to escape the great beast. A company was raised to pursue the animal, and the next day he was overtaken and killed.
There were numbers of hogs in those days, but there was no sugar or coffee for most of the inhabitants of Union. The salt was procured from Highland Lick, Knox Lick and Saline Lick. Mr. Neel has seen long trains of pack horses on their road to Hopkinsville and Russellville for trading purposes. They would sometimes have to wait several days at the store before they could be supplied with the goods they wanted. James Townsend and Joshua Davis were the only store-keepers of Mr. Neel's acquaintance. They were brothers-in-law, and commenced business about 1812. They bought their goods in Philadelphia, "wagoned" them to Pittsburg, and then put them into a flatboat and floated them to Red Bank, as Uniontown was then called. This was before steamboat times. When steamboats began to run, Mr. Neel went to New Orleans in the year 1818, on a boat loaded with horses, mules and tobacco He returned on the "Paragon," one of the early steamboats of the western waters.
Mr. David M. Neel, the father of the subject of this sketch, was a farmer in Tennessee, and sold his farm for whisky and iron Loading his fiery liquid and almost precious metal on a boat he floated down the Tennessee; then cordelled up the Ohio to a point opposite Wabash Island. Old Major Fred Mayberry had rented farms for both of them at this point and Mr. Neel unloaded his cargo, built a shed over it, and farmed about eleven acres, upon which there was a cabin. Whisky sold at $1.00 per gallon, and bar iron cost twenty-five cents per pound. It took five years to sell out Mr. Neel's stock. Mr. Neel did not believe in slavery, and never owned a slave in his life. His good liquor had a very salutary effect upon the county musters, for the place of holding them was changed to the neighborhood of Mr. Neel‘s farm. Thus was the oldest man inUnion County raised. He is hale and hearty, and long may he live to tell of ye ancient days. He is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
This gentleman was born February 8, 1806, at Fayetteville, on the Cape Fear River, North Carolina. The river was then called “Cross Creek," but it is now an important stream, up which steamboats run. He came to Union County in December, 1811, at the age of five, years. It was just after a sale of lots in the then infant place. There were only two or three log houses around the spring in the present limits of Morganfield. There was an abundance of deer, turkey and squirrels in the woods. He does not report any bear, but he says that wolves howled nightly around the little settlement. He has since then resided in Union County. From 1811 until 1842, he lived in Morganfield. In 1842 he removed to the country; then, in 1873, returned to Morganfield, where he has since lived. He attended school taught by the pioneer teacher Mr. Davis, who is more fully described in the chapter on education. He married Ellen Williams, the daughter of Josiah Williams, on August 22, 1826 His wife, and three out of six children, are still living. His living children are Johnathan Franklin, the Teller of the German National Bank of Memphis; Ellen Douglass, and Lavinia Paschal, wife of Dr. Muir, of Morganfield. Mr. Sellars was first a cabinet maker, and afterward taught school for fourteen years, and farmed until 1873. While he was teaching school he improved his stock of knowledge greatly, and is now a man of more than ordinary information. He has served as Town Judge. He has been a member of the Christian Church in Morganfield since 1840. Notwithstanding his great age, he has been in bad health most of his life. He is well informed on the early history of Union, and talks intelligently and fluently about pioneer days. Following are some of his reminiscences:
The land at Morganfield was originally owned by General Horgan of Revolutionary fame. It is known now that he did not purchase it from soldiers but got it for services in the war. The spring in Morganfield was called Morgan's Spring. A niece of the General inherited a very large tract of this land; she married a Mr. O'Bannon, who had fought in the War with Tripoli. Mr. O'Bannon sold the land to a Mr. Catlett. Mr. Sellars' father built the first house that was erected alter the town was laid off. It was built of poplar logs, and poplar joists were used. The plank flooring was sawed out by a hand “whip saw" A very luxurious way of covering houses was with hand-made shingles that were fastened on with pegs. Cherry lumber in those days was high. The people did not think highly of walnut lumber in those days.
All the supplies were brought down the river on flatboats to Uniontown, which was then commonly known as the mouth of Highland Creek. The upper part of Uniontown was called the mouth of Highland, and the main part of the present town was called Carthage. The first post office in the county was near Raleigh, on what was known as the Taylor farm. Jonathan Taylor was the postmaster. The first store in Morganfield was established by a Mr. Frazier. He sold dry goods. Another early merchant was a Mr. Millett, who also started the Walker Hotel. The people used maple sugar until 1815, when New Orleans sugar was introduced. The people did not like it very well, and if it was near the same price as the maple, they could not be blamed. The maple was then thirty-seven and one-half cents per pound. Lead was brought from St. Genevieve, Mo., on pack horses. The caravans crossed at Kaskaskia, Ills. It was cut off in lumps with an ax to suit the purchaser. Salt was brought in the same way from the Saline, and sold for two dollars and fifty cents per bushel. Coffee was fifty cents per pound, until Commonwealth money was adopted, when it rose to one dollar per pound.
Change was secured in a summary way. Spanish silver dollars abounded, and when change was scarce, a dollar was halved or quartered with an ax on a stump. The meat of a deer sold for the price of a pound of sugar. The hide was an article of commerce, and could not be bought so cheap. Occasionally the people got loaf sugar from Shawneetown and Henderson.
General Mitchell (Federal) was born in Morganfield. His brother-in-law took him to Ohio and gave him a good education. He was very learned, especially in astronomy. He was a gallant officer, and died at Beauford, North Carolina.
Rev. James McGready sometimes came down from Henderson and preached in the old log Court House, which stood on the present site of the bank.
The jail and whipping post stood on the opposite side of the street. The jail was a two-story building, twenty feet square, built of logs fourteen inches square. The upper story was a debtor's prison, and the lower was a dungeon. Steps on the outside reached the upper story. There were not many incarcerations—-run-away negroes were the principal prisoners. The only lengthy incarceration was two white men for killing cattle and selling their hides. One was whipped at the whipping post, and the other was sent overland to the penitentiary. His name was Isaac Newton. Old Judge Broadway was the first Judge, and Samuel Casey was the first Clerk.
Powder was made six miles from Morganfield by a Mr. Dodge. He lived on the Salem road, and got saltpetre from a cave on the (then) Caseyville road. This cave is six miles from Morganfield. Mr. Sellars, in early days, found human bones in this cave. It is supposed that it was a hiding place for robbers in very early times. No one knows to this day whose bones they were. It is known, however, that John A. Murrell infested this part of the country until he was driven out by the regulators.
The farmers, in early days, could not always find a satisfactory market for their produce, and they would often join together and build a flatboat, and float down the river with a cargo to New Orleans.
There were a number of horse mills in the county in those days, and from them the people were supplied with meal. The roads were so outrageously bad for such a great part of the year, that the people would often depend upon their hominy mortars for bread, in preference to making the long, toil some journey on horseback to the mills. One of these mills was run by John Randolph, five miles on the Henderson road going by Hitesville. The great grandfather of Dr. Richards, of Morganfield, operated another near Boxville. A man named Fletcher, and another named Latham, had mills five and eight miles, respectively, on the Caseyville and Raleigh roads.
For eight years the mail was carried from Louisville to Shawneetown on horseback by john Friley. The trip was one hundred and seventy miles long, but he made it once a week, for at least ten years, through the mud and snow.
The people were very simple in their habits of living. Amusements were scarce, and corn-shucking was the great event in a season of frolic. All of the negroes in the country around would congregate at the rendezvous and divide into two parties, each electing his captain, and then the work of reducing the piles of corn began in down-right earnest, the huskers, or “shuckers," singing songs and telling many humorous anecdotes to while away the time. Mr. Sellars thinks that the music of the slave songs was never equalled. Hospitality here, as elsewhere in Kentucky, was a distinguishing characteristic of the people. "Fair play" and a straight fight were often resorted to when a difficulty arose. When this fight decided who was the best man, the quarrel ended. No interminable feuds ever kept the people in lerment.
In early times, when money was scarce, many persons would issue their personal notes, which would sometimes pass current for quite a circuit.
Joseph C. Dodge, farmer and mechanic, residing five miles north of Caseyville, is the son of Richard and Sallie (Wallace) Dodge. His father died in 1845, and his mother died in 1874. They moved to Union County from Virginia, in 1805, and married in 1814. His father first settled near the mouth of Cypress Creek, but afterward removed to where Joseph now lives. His paternal grandfather was Capt. Richard Dodge, a great Indian fighter of the Revolution. His paternal grandmother was of English descent. His maternal grandfather was a Scotchman, who moved to Virginia and distinguished himself in the Revolution, and then moved to Union County. His maternal grandmother, whose name was Hardin, also had folks in the Revolution. The subject of this sketch was born at the mouth of the Cypress, in 1816. He received about two years training in the UnionCounty schools. He has been married twice; the first time in 1838, to Julia Ann Collins, a native of Virginia, but resident of Union County. She bore him seven children, five of whom are dead. The second time, in 1853, he married Miss Evaline Barnes, another native of Virginia, but she had come to Union County from Jefferson County, Ky., where she had been residing for some time. Six children have been born to this union, four of whom are dead. Of his dead children, Sarah married Luther Collins, and he dying, she married John Mathias. Mary (deceased) married Henry Bass. The children of these deceased daughters were cared for by their grandfather Dodge. Of his surviving children, Minerva married John Jones. Emma married George W. Ray, and Julia Ann married James Hall. His only surviving son, Azariah, is living in Indiana. "Squire Dodge," as he is familiarly called, was formerly a cabinet maker, but of late years has been occupied in farming and in blacksmithing. He does both wood and iron work in making farming implements and wagons. He owns sixty acres of land, forty acres of which are cultivated, and all of which he manages personally. He has always lived in sight of his present home, having traveled only to Louisville and St. Louis. He has been a member of the Baptist Church for thirty years, and is one of the fathers in Masonry, being a Council member in that order, and having filled all the offices in the Blue Lodge, and all in the Chapter, except High Priest. He has been to the Grand Lodge six times. In politics he is a Democrat. He held the office of Constable for three years, and is one of the Magistrates of the Caseyville Precinct at the present. Whether in private life as a kind and affectionate father; or in the fellowship of his bretheren, as a true Mason or Christian; or upon the bench, as an impartial and able jurist, he bears the esteem and respect of all. He has filled out the measure of his threescore years and ten with credit to himself, and with profit to those who have been thrown under his influence.
Away in the earliest settlement of the county, and only five years after it was organized, Mr. S. S. Finnie was born in Morganfield, Union County, January 15, 1816, his father having moved to the county in 1811. He was educated in the common schools of that day, and early in life removed to the present site of Caseyville, while it was yet a mere wood landing. He had many of the privations and hardships of that early day to undergo, and has, no doubt, seen many troubles that the generations now coming up, know little about. The subjugation of the wilderness, in those days, was the all-absorbing theme, and there was not much use for anyone who, in some way, could not assist in this great work. Mr. Finnie was soon employed in an occupation that was almost vital to the wellbeing of a young settlement, viz: blacksmithing. He went to Louisville in 1832 and served an apprenticeship.
In 1845 Mr. Finnie married Miss Elizabeth Buckham. This union has been blessed with eleven children, three of whom are dead. The eight survivors are named Mary Charlotte, James, Leona, Lucinda, Roxie, Fannie, and William. Mary Charlotte married Mr. R. M. D Richardson, of Carrsville; James married Miss Jennie Davis, and Roxie married Mr. Rufus Kennady.
Mr. Finnie's life has been a modest, quiet endeavor to provide the sustenance of his existence and of those who were committed to his trust. He has not held public office much, but on the occasion of his being elected School Trustee, in the year 1882, he showed by his term of three year's service, that he is a faithful and conscientious official, and no doubt his quiet. unassuming ways have had much to do with his not having been pushed forward more for office of trust and emolument He, has a very vivid memory, and is conversant with many of the early incidents of county history, which are fast becoming lost to the world. His business has always been conducted with prudence, industry and energy, and he has acquired some considerable property, besides having raised his family. Mr. Finnie's father, James Finnie, was one of the old-time residents of Morganfield. He passed from earth in 1820, thus leaving the subject of this sketch fatherless at the early age of four years. His mother's maiden name was Mary James, and she lived for twenty years after the death of her husband, and had much to do with the training aright of her son. Mr. Finnie is still a hale, hearty old man, swinging his hammer at his forge in Caseyville, with much of his old-time vigor and will no doubt live many years.
If any family in Union County deserves the reputation of being a Union County family, it must be the Dyer family. The founder of the stock was one of the first settlers, and he raised a large family, all of whom, except one, married and raised families. Most of these children lived and died in Union County, and there are now probably more members of the Dyer family within Union County than any other race.
This family was founded by Wm. Dyer, a blacksmith, who was born in Virginia in 1780. He came to Union County in 1804, and settled near where Morganfield now stands. He married Gracie McGee in Virginia, before coming here. His first four children were by her. He married a Miss Harris about the year 1815. The last five children are hers. Wm. Dyer is said to have been one of the men who located the county seat of Morganfield. Tradition has it that he in company with the other commissioners, were reclining on the bank near the spring, slightly feeling the effects of fatigue and Jeremiah Riddle's whisky, when Mr. Dyer threw his cane up the hill toward where the Court House now stands, and proclaimed oracularly, that there would be the county capital. He was a man of impulse, but integrity. An illustration of this is seen in an incident of his life, that is related as follows: A neighbor of his, by the name of Gwinn, had a horse that was constantly breaking into Dyer's cornfield. After sending word to Mr. Gwinn several times to keep the trespassing horse off his corn, Mr. Dyer shot the offending animal and then sent the price of the horse down to Morganfield to its owner. Mr. Dyer died in 1832. All his children died rather young. There seems to have been considerable consumption in the family. His trade has staid in the family. His sons, John and Nathan, were good regular blacksmiths, and Harvey and James did the work for their farms. John Will, the son of John Dyer, and John Will, the son of Nathan, are blacksmiths, but John, the son of Nathan, is the only one now in the business.
In the second generation the following are the children: James married a Miss Mason, and died in 1851; Elizabeth married a Mr. Ball, and died in 1860; John married Lauren Mason, and died in 1870; Henderson died a bachelor; Nathan Harris married Marium Griggs, and died in 1863. Rebecca married Frederick Wolflin, and died during the war; George married Josephine Haleman, and died about 1847; Mary Ann married Irving Spaulding, and died about 1362; Martha married a Mr. Rice; Edward Harvey married America Bingham, and died in 1872.
In the third generation the following are noted: The children of James, are Kate (Quirey), who has one child, Holbert; Mrs. Hedges, who has four children, John, William, Laura and Alice; Ada, who was never married; William (deceased) had two children, Sallie and Harry; John M., has fourteen children, eleven by his first wife and three by the second. Their names are Mary B., William P., James M., Darius, Thomas, Benjamin, Orval, Marsh, Attie, Saline, Lamond, and three others whose names the reporter did not ascertain; Thomas has never married, and Marsh (deceased) never married.
The children of Elizabeth were Edward, married; Mary Ann, deceased; William, deceased; Thaddeus, deceased.
The children of John, are John Will, who has six children: Brooks, deceased; Ed. Lauren, Russell, Bessie, Charmain.
James has eight children, Hampton, Thomas (deceased), Charles, Adda, Rebecca, Ida, Fred, and the baby.
Dorcas (Kirk) has three children, and Elizabeth (Murray) has two, Mabel and Charles.
The children of Nathan are John Will, who has eight children, Edward, Margeret, Mary, Richard, Mettie, Catherine, Clara and Thomas; America (House) has three children, James, Amanda and one boy; Nancy (Connelly), who has five children, Verna, Mattie, James, Eula and Grover; Mary Minor and Thomas Harris, never married; Susan (House) had five children, Mary, Thomas, Greene, Nellie and Harden; George Frederick has four children, Lillie, Frederick, Cordle, Traverse and Judith Ann (Lata).
Edward Harvey's children were William C., who has six children, Lillie, Pearlie, Orval, Allie, Bertha and Leslie; Henry R. has two children, one deceased and Jennie; George W., two, Thomas John, and one infant; Rebecca (Wolflin) had five children, all dead.
The children of George are Arminda (Hanley), who has three or four children; James, who had three children ; Sallie (Weldon and Craig), who had one child, Thomas, by Weldon, and three by Craig.
The children of Mary Ann (Spalding) are Mary Ann, deceased, who had three or four children ; James and Nellie, who had two children.
The children of Martha (Rice) are Ellen, who had two children by Kirker and one by Rice; Mary, who had four children, and Fred.
Some of the less numerous branches of this family have removed from Union, and live as wide apart as Minnesota and Texas. The main part of this family has always been within a day's walk of Morganfield.
One of the old and familiar names of Union County, which has always been honored by every one who bore it, is that of Thomas Richards. He founded a family that may not be very large, but for quiet, steady business habits, and material benefit to the county, it is as important a family as any in the county. The father of our subject was Lewis Richards, who came to what is now Webster County, from Virginia, in 1800. He purchased a farm three miles north of Providence, of a Mr. Whitesides, giving in exchange, two “likely negro girls." He moved to what has since been known as the "Richard's farm," near Boxville, sometime previous to 1820. Lewis Richards was a soldier of the Revolution, under General Clark, and married Lucy Hunton, in the vicinity of Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. He died on the farm in 1845 or 1846.
Thomas Richards was born in Virginia before his father emigrated. He married Margeret Givens, of Madisonville, in October, 1820. Miss Givens was the daughter of William and Rebecca (Kenney) Givens, both of Virginia. William Givens was a Revolutionary hero as well as Lewis Richards, being present at the surrender of Cornwallis, at Yorktown. He also took part in the early settlement of Kentucky. Thos. Richards had four children, Philemon, William G., Ann and Lewis. The date of his death is not remembered.
His oldest son, Philemon Richards (deceased), was born in Union County September 7, 1821. He married Eliza Bell, a resident of Union County, but who was born in Henderson County. She was the daughter of Kinchen and Susan (Sugg) Bell. Kinchen Bell was a North Carolinian and one of Kentucky's pioneers. Susan Sugg was a native of Henderson County. Philemon Richards never moved from his farm, but carefully husbanded his resources and added to them from year to year. His farm consisted of 345 acres, 300 of which were in cultivation. He was guardian for 310 more acres which belonged to the boys, and which he managed in their interest. He had eight children, one of whom is dead. Thomas B. married Bettie Denton, William A. married Kate Anderson: Aaron W. is a lawyer and real estate agent in Louisville; Lewis is a grocer in Morganfield, being the junior partner of the firm of Young & Richards; Philemon, Jr.; Kinchen and John are upon the old homestead, Kinchen having lately bought the hotel and store of Spencer Sigler, in Boxville.
William Richards was born in Union County, April 11, 1823. He attended theUnion County common schools for five or six years. His earliest memories carry him back to the time when there was but one settled place between his farm and Bordley, and that was the Ross farm, owned by the man who gave Bordley its name. Mr. Richards has never married. His energies have been turned toward the development and management of his farms, which consist of five hundred acres, three hundred and fifty acres of which are under cultivation. He has four hundred and fifty acres rented, which makes nine hundred acres altogether, that he is working under his own supervision. Few men of his age are successfully managing so large a business. In politics Mr. Richards is a Democrat He is one of the bulwarks of the county, having done as near his duty in bringing out the resources of the county as any man in it.
Ann Richards married Eleazar Givens, and Lewis remained single.
There are few men living in Union County at this time, who deserve more credit for success in life than the subject of this sketch. He was born in Washington County, Ky., June 10, 1808, at a time when there were no schools in the county. Afterward a few common schools were established, and from one of them he obtained a little insight into the primary branches, but attended that only for a short time. He was sent to St. Mary's College, but a short time after matriculating this institution burned down, and he returned home never again to enter a school house as a student. His education was limited. indeed, and nothing short of a strong native intellect made him what he is. Mr. Cambron is a man of very strong mind, and as a conversationalist impresses every one with the force and beauty of his expressions. He is beyond question, a self-made man, of the highest order. Returning to his home he commenced farming with his father. In the fall of the year, for five or six years, he would go with stock horses to Georgia and other States, and there sell out. He would then return home and again engage in farming. He continued to farm in Washington County, and by some unfortunate mistake lost all he had. He then worked for six dollars per month for some time, and in 1844 concluded to leave the county and go further west. Next location found him in Union County. Here he worked for eight dollars per month, and then did rough carpenter's work, and then rived and dressed hogshead hoops. The hoops he sold in Henderson, Ky., and made considerable money while engaged in the business. In 1843, he went to work for the Sisters, on the Chapel farm as foreman, and continued in this work for two years. In 1847 he purchased one hundred acres of land on Highland Creek, for which he paid $4.00 per acre. On the 16th day of January, 1849, Mr. Cambron married Miss Marteria Pike, of Union County, and from this marriage there were three children, two of whom are now living, named respectively, George, William and John B. Cambron. Both sons are now married and are progressive, moneymaking men.
Mrs. Cambron died on the 20th day of October, 1877, and our subject has never since married. He has given to one of his sons one hundred and fifty-three acres of land, and his other son tends one hundred and seventy acres, which his father will give him.
Mr. Cambron has never been much of a politician, nor has he ever been an office-seeker. He was once appointed a Constable by the Magistrate, in the time of the old Constitution, and this is the only office he ever held. In matters of religion he was born a Catholic, and has remained consistent to this day.
Basil Cambron and Lucy Smith, his wife's parents of the subject of this sketch, were both born in Maryland, and came to Kentucky at an early date and settled in Washington County. They were married in that county. Basil Cambron was drafted in the War of 1812, and substituted his brother in his place. His ancestors served in the Revolutionary War, and were good and faithful servants of the Government. Our subject remembers when the old soldiers, many years after the war, would come to see his grandfather, and then there would be a big talk concerning the Revolution.
Benjamin Wallace was a true pioneer, and he has left a host of descendants. His children, however, have not clung to Union County very close. He came here in a very early day, and took part in the many soul-stirring events of those days.
Benjamin Wallace had seven children, viz: James, Samuel Bratton, Elvira (Curry), Cyrena (Weathers), Nyre (Spriggs), Benjamin, Martha (Bradburn.)
James’ children are James, Elizabeth (Bean), Martha, Samuel, Rebecca (Gilchrist), Mary Ann, Benjamin F., Hiram J., William and George.
Samuel Bratton’s children are Jeremiah, James, Mary, Sarah, Ben Ray, Samuel, Ellen, Ann, Alice, Laura.
Elvira's children are Artemisa, Louis, Elizabeth and Benjamin.
Cyrena's children are Harry, James, "Duck" Samuel, William and Jeremiah. .
Nyre's children are Benjamin, Elizabeth, Martha, Abraham, Isabella and Catherine.
Benjamin's children are Thomas, Victoria, Alice, Wilt, Kate, Willie and Ellen.
Martha's children are Mollie, "Bird," Florence, Benjamin and Samuel.
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