16 July 2010

Lesley Settlement. Day Tripping Around Eastern Kentucky

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber July 2010

July 2010 has had some perfectly beautiful sunny days just right for day trips around Eastern Kentucky.

Shelved within the library nook of Family Lineage Investigations is Ruth Cleveland Leslie's book Lesley Leslie 200 Years in America 1755-1955. So I was extremely pleased during our day trip this week to end up on John's Creek in Pike County, Kentucky and plant me feet at Lesley Settlement described so well by Ruth in her book.

The Kentucky road side marker is placed at Lesley Settlement at the corner of Hurt's Branch and while educational is not nearly as colorful or insightful as Ruth's publication. The marker tells us that Leslie/Lesley Settlement was the first permanent settlement of the Big Sandy Valley and named for Revolutionary soldier William Robert Leslie.

In the publication the author tries to visually describe the beauty of John's Creek. Standing there and spending the afternoon driving along the creek I can attest that words would never do justice to the area. Ruth Leslie states in the first paragraph "...that word which William Lesley is reported to have said when he first glimpsed the low-lying meadows: "God! What a Spot for Man to Live."

The family came from Virginia. The family consisted of William Robert Lesley, son Robert and Robert's wife Elizabeth and ten children. They erected a log home with the help of the family. William Robert Lesley was approximately 73 years old when they settled the area. Ruth writes on page 15 of her publication: "After the death of William Robert Lesley in 1802, the family of Robert and Elizabeth Compton Lesley increased to 15 children. The first log cabin was replaced by a larger one across the fields where there were more level space. More land was cleared and planted in a variety of grain and other foodstuffs..."

The Leslie/Lesley publication also gives the reader the answer as to why the historical marker was placed at the corner of Hurt's Branch Road. "After a number of years the approximately 500 acres of the original Lesley homestead was again purchased by a descendant of the first settlers. In 1889, Garland Hurt, a great grandson of Robert and Elizabeth Lesley, was married and soon thereafter brought his bride to the ancestral home. He rebuilt entirely most of the buildings which were very much run down..."

While our day trip car thermometer read in the 90's as I stepped out to take pictures, the soft breeze was refreshing and the air crisp. The overhanging trees shaded the road as we drove to Snivley Chapel.

Snivley Chapel was deeded to the church trustees in 1853 by Robert and Elizabeth's youngest son Martin Lesley who died six years later. I fell in love with this little chapel sitting by the side of the road graced by beautiful trees. The pretty little Methodist church was named for circuit minister Rev.
W. J. Snivley.

We hated to say goodbye to Lesley Settlement and the charm of John's Creek. A little further down the road we saw cattle and a donkey enjoying the refreshing coolness of the creek bed. But, it was time to head north to see what other discoveries Eastern Kentucky had to share with us.

1 comment:

  1. Heard about Lesley Settlement but never had the chance to see it. That is some tree next to the church building. Looks about as old as the building. Thanks for a great article and pictures.