Showing posts with label Pike County. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pike County. Show all posts

18 July 2010

John Lesley, Bolts Fork, Kentucky: Day Tripping Around Eastern Kentucky

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber July 2010

Driving back north on US#23 from Pike County, Kentucky to Bolt's Fork on the border of Lawrence County and Boyd County on a super highway is a breeze these days. However, viewing the changing terrain makes one think about the challenges our Eastern Kentucky pioneers had when settling the area.

In my last blog I described Lesley Settlement on John's Creek and spoke of William Robert Lesley and son Robert. When William and Robert left Virginia to travel to John's Creek, son John Lesley remained behind.

John, according to his tombstone and NSDAR papers was born 22 November 1760. Lesley served 18 months on the Clark Expedition to Illinois and is listed as receiving bounty land in George Rogers Clark Papers 1771-1784 edited by James A. James. This is probably the land that he made a survey for on the waters of the Bluestone.

John appears on the 1793 Wythe County tax list as John Lestly. He was recommended to the Commission of the peace in Tazewell County in 1812. Often the spelling of his name was contorted and read as Lasly/Lasley/Lestley/Leslie and other variants.

By 1815 John Lesley had deeded 1/2 acre near where he lived on the Bluestone, now Tazewell County, to the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church [Tazewell deed book 2 page 509] and began selling parcels of land while giving other acreage to his son William.

In Lesley/Leslie 200 Years in America the author indicates that John Lesley and family may have stopped in the area of Lesley Settlement for a couple of years between 1827 and 1833. He does appear on the 1830 Federal Census of Pike County.

John then migrated to Lawrence County, Kentucky. The trip from John's Creek northward could not have been easy. When he applied for a pension in Lawrence County, Kentucky in April 1833 [#25016] the name was filed as Lasley. At this time he states he is a resident of the East Fork of Little Sandy and is 72 years of age.

The following year, 16 June 1834, son John P. Lesley had a confrontation with Josiah Lambert. The Lawrence County Circuit Court record states that Lesley had received a brutal assault and beating at the hands of Lambert. Testimony was requested on his behalf by Gordon Coburn, Isaac Bolt, William Lesley, and Briant Fannin. In April 1835 John P. Lesley wrote a note " Mr. James Rice, Sir I want you to stop that suit of mine as we have compromised it. He says he will pay all costs. I do not see there would be any chance of getting any thing out of him for he is not worth twenty-five cents...John P. Lesley."

When Ruth Cleveland Leslie published her book in 1956 she wrote about the burial of the elder Revolutionary John Lesley: "No actual account of his death was discovered by this researcher but he apparently died before another payment was due in April 1842. The aforementioned source also states that he was also buried in Pike County. However, no information as to the specific burial place was learned." NSDAR applications simply state he died circa 1841. Some online submitted trees still show John Lesley with a death in Pike County.

There is no indication that John Lesley returned to Pike County after filing for a pension in Lawrence County, Kentucky. He appears on the 1840 Lawrence County, Kentucky census as J. Lasley. He appears on the 1841 tax list for Lawrence County as well but does not appear on the 1842 tax list.

Driving north from Pike County on US #23 then left on Old Route #3 past routes to Yatesville Lake is a wonderful afternoon drive. Head up #3 and turn on Bolts Fork Road on the East Fork of the Little Sandy, now Route #773 you meander past the pioneer lands of Isaac Bolt and John D. Ross and what was once Sandy Furnace. Beyond Sandy Furnace you will see Ross Chapel and Jacks Fork Road. And just a short distance more on the right you will see a charming cemetery known as Leslie Cemetery. When the first burials took place in this cemetery it was part of Lawrence County now Boyd County.

Under the shade trees in Leslie Cemetery is a weather beaten stone that is unreadable. Apparently Ruth was not aware of or could not read the stone when she wrote her publication in 1956. When a reading was done in October 1968 historian, Evelyn Jackson, created a rough map of the cemetery and marked a "?" for the old weather beaten stone directly under the tree. She returned to the cemetery again in March 1978 again leaving the stone as unidentified.

Between 1978 and July 2001 the old weathered stone was replaced to honor John Lesley who had helped protect Virginia, saw the Wabash, and traveled the pioneer creeks and hollows of Eastern Kentucky to settle and finally rest under the shade trees of Bolts Fork.

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.

02 June 2010

Pike County, Kentucky War Heros

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber 2010

Memorial weekend 2010 is now a memory and I am back at my desk with another tidbit.

The National Daughters of the American Revolution do remarkable tributes and is a society I have always held dear to my heart for all the things they do beyond being a lineage society.

May 30, 1929, The DAR dedicated a bronze tablet containing the names of sixteen Revolutionary soldiers at Pikeville in the public square. Both the National Guard and American Legion assisted the ladies at the unveiling. School children sang America the Beautiful and the address was given by A. F. Childress of the Sons of the American Revolution.

The 16 names inscribed on the tablet were:

John May
[ From NC died 1813]

Moses Stepp
[ From VA died Floyd County, KY 1856]

Joseph Ford
[From NC]

Robert Mimms
[Not on DAR nor SAR rolls at this writing.]

Rodden Hall
[Is not on DAR or SAR rolls at this writing.]

John Johnson
[From VA d 1850 Pike County, KY]

Dennis Dailey
[1820 Pension transferred from OH to Kentucky Pension Rolls is on roll 1835 listed Preble Co.]

James Jackson

Abram Potter
[From NC d 1837 Pike County, KY]

James Atkinson

James Maynard
[1850 is listed as 107 years of age in Wayne Co., VA]

Christian Trout
[Ashland paper 1929 calls him Christopher. He died 1847 Pike County, KY]

Thomas Stewart

Meredith Collins
[From VA died before 1841 Pike County, KY]

Pleasant Childress
[From NC died 1839 Pike County, KY]

William Blankenship
[From VA died before 1835 Pike County, KY]