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Life in Kentucky

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      Life in Kentucky

Lexington was already a town of considerable size when Michael was in the Illinois Regiment from December, 1779 thru February, 1882. The population of Lexington shortly after Michael arrived in Kentucky was 834. The town could boast of having the first newspaper in the area, "The Kentucky Gazette," founded in 1787. Most of the merchandise in the Lexington stores came by the way of the Ohio River from Philadelphia. The merchandise was unloaded from the boats at Limestone, a landing place about half way between the present cities of Cincinnati and Ashland. The cargoe was then hauled overland by wagon from Limestone on south to Lexington. An enterprising man could usually obtain employment as a merchandise wagon driver, because the journey was perilous. Although the Indians lived on the north side of the Ohio River, they were in the habit of crossing the river to attack travelers and steal merchandise from the wagons. The stores in Lexington stocked hardware, dry goods, groceries, tablewares, amunition, dyestuffs, drugs, some clothing and a few books. The books were mostly bibles, hymn books, primers, arithmetics, almanacs and spelling books.

Michael and his family chose a cabin site about ten miles south of Lexington, in what was then Fayette County, later formed into Jessamine County. The land varied in price. An established fruit orchard on the land boosted the price to a staggering pound and a half per acre. Improved land, but without an orchard, cost less than half that amount. Rough land sold all the way from one to eight shillings (a shilling

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is equivalent to one-twentieth of a pound; or, twelve pence equals one shilling). The location of the cabin site Michael chose is near the present town of Nicholasville, about twelve miles west of Boonesborough. As the usual procedure, the cabin was built near a small creek affording water supply. A location near the road was much preferred, because it enabled the family to keep in touch with the world. A passing traveler along the road was always a welcome sight. A cabin back from the road made life very lonely. Often days would pass without seeing anyone except the family members. The first cabin of a newcomer usually was only a single room and loft, erected as quickly as possible so the more important task of clearing the land could be started. The cabin door with its strong latch faced south. Many cabins were built without a window. If there was a window, its pane was not of expensive glass, but of oiled paper. The floor was sometimes earthen, but usually at best no more than roughly cut boards. A ladder led to the loft where the older children slept. During the early years the children looked thru the cracks in the loft early every morning to see if any Indians were hiding nearby. The heavy crossbar was never removed from the strong door until that morning inspection had been made.

An emigrant always brought his axe and scythe with him to the new country. Not only were they the tools used in daily activities, they became weapons of defense in case of an nocturnal Indian attack and were placed under the bed at night. Danger of Indian attack existed until 1794. The Indian wars, massacres, stealings and captivities were spoken of daily. The men were frequently drafted for Indian expeditions. A man unable to fight hired a substitute and it was considered perfectly proper. Shawnee lived on the Scioto and Wyandots lived on the Sandusky rivers. Mothers often admonished an unruly child at bedtime with the effective threat, "Hush, or the Indians will get you," or, "Hush, or the copperhead snake will get you."

Cooking was done at the fireplace which also served to heat the house in winter. Large stones served as andirons. The teakettle and mush pot hung from lug poles. A long-handled frying pan held the meat. Johnnycake was baked before the fire on an ash board. Adults drank a strong black tea called bohea. Liquid from boiled beans of the Kentucky Coffee Tree also served as a beverage.

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The land was cleared in preparation for planting after the cabin was completed. Michael probably arrived just in time to erect a cabin before the cold winter weather started. He had all winter to clear a patch of land for corn planting in the spring. Deep plowing was impossible because of the many roots in the ground; nor was deep plowing necessary, because of the richness of the soil. Wheat could not be raised on such rich soil until after several crops of corn. A child usually rode or guided the plow horse. The roots made it impossible for a man to guide both his plow and the horse in a straight row. Michael's son was too young to guide a horse that first year, so we imagine that chore fell to his wife. However, the child probably helped his father by dropping the Indian corn seed into the ground while his father covered the seed with a hoe. A child and his dog were also assigned the duty of spending many hours circling the newly planted cornfield, hollering, whistling, yelling and barking to scare away the crows and squirrels after the young seed sprouted, and again when the corn was in the milky stage.

Until a family harvested their first crop of corn, they usually went without any kind of bread for the table. Corn sold at the inflated price of $1.00 a bushel in June, 1788. Salt cost $3.00 a bushel. Both corn and salt were expensive and necessary ingredients for even the lowly cornpone bread or Johnnycake. Salt came from the salt licks. Eight hundred gallons of the salty water were boiled down to make about a bushel of salt.

Table fare was bountiful even though there was no bread for the table. There still were deer, small game and fat wild turkeys in the woods. A family was apt to tire of the wild game before their livestock multiplied sufficiently to produce other fare. The woods also yielded an abundance of other food. Maple trees were tapped with an axe in a sloping cut when the buds were swollen in the spring. Reeds, or wooden troughts, whittled out of buckeye were inserted into the cut to let the sweet sugar water flow into containers. The sugar water then was boiled down into molasses and maple sugar. The wild strawberries waited to be picked later in the spring. They were followed by other berries. Wild plums and crabapples were made into jellies and preserves. After a good hard frost the woods yielded walnut, hickory and butternuts as well as winter grapes. Hackberries, paw-

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paws, plums, haws, and pods from the honey locust were stored in the root cellar for winter. The fruit of the haw substituted for apples. The flight of a bee could be followed until the bee tree was located. The tree was then cut down and the industrious bees were robbed of their honeycombs. While this process always resulted in a few painful stings, the discomfort was conceded to be well worthwhile to obtain the sweet honey. The honeycomb provided a sort of chewing gum after the honey had been extracted by straining.

A truck patch was usually planted in the center of the cornfield where it was generally considered to be safer from squirrels and other animals. Turnips, watermelon, pumpkin and musk melons were planted in addition to many different vegetables. The pumpkin served animal needs as well as those of the people when it was used as a supplemental feed for cows in the winter. The pulp of the pumpkin could be boiled down into a juice which produced molasses, or it could be cut up and dried for winter use.

Neighbors exchanged work at harvest times. Wheat was cut with the sickle and shocked. The wheat straw was carefully stacked over the shocked wheat so the rain drained off and the wind could not scatter the stack. The rich soil often produced a corn crop of sixty bushels to the acre. The ripened corn was pulled from the ground. The top of the corn above the ears was shocked. The lower part and the ears were tied into bundles and stored in a fodder house somewhat like a roofless pen. The shocked tops were then spread over the bundles of corn and served as a covering. When the corn had dried sufficiently, the neighbors gathered for a husking contest. Each man partook of the offered hospitality bottle before and during the contest. The men divided into two sides and the contest of which team could husk the most was begun. The women busied themselves with the preparation of the food which always included a pot pie. The merriment of a husking contest sometimes lasted far into the night. The neighbors gathered for many kinds of work to be exchanged. They gathered for house and barn raisings, for opening new roads and for rolling logs in addition to harvest times. Nearly all drank a little, but seldom to excess, upon the occasions of their gatherings. The women also had their times of merriment in the form of quilting parties. The men idled away their time visiting outside the house while the

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women chatted and quilted around the table inside. When mealtime arrived the quilt was removed from the table and the food set out. This was the one occasion when the women outranked the men by eating first and leaving leftovers for the men.

Milking the cows was considered woman's work, although churning and pounding the corn into meal were done unabashedly by a young boy. Cornmeal was made by putting kernels of corn into a mortar bowl and pounding up and down for many hours with a pestle until the corn became a meal consistency. The concave part of the mortar bowl was made by burning out the center of a large thick block of wood. The pestle was an iron wedge on a handle. Shellbark hickory was considered the best wood for making handles.

Children were taught to break a trail of bushes on the evening trip thru the woods in search of the cows. One of the cows wore a low pitched bell. The rhythm of the bell told a child whether the animal was grazing or walking homeward. The broken trail of bushes enabled a lost child to find his way back, or if he had found the cows, they instinctively led him home. Wolves took their toll of sheep, which necessitated herding the flock home before nightfall. One of the sheep wore a shrill pitched bell to distinguish it from the cowbell. A cabin built on a hillside was usually not underpinned, so as to give winter shelter for the smaller animals. Young lambs were frequently brought into the house to spend the night near the warm fire. The feeding and care of an orphaned lamb fell to the children. When there was sufficient water, the sheep were driven to a pond and washed before they were shorn of their wool. After the shearing came the task of picking out cockleburrs. The wool was then carded into rolls. The women spun the yarn. Part of the yarn was made into skeins for the loom, and part rolled into balls for knitting into stockings and other garments. When the buffalo were still numerous "the noble animal not only supplied meat for the settlers, but his skin made a desirable coarse, spongy leather; the heavy, woolly hair was spun and woven into yarn and cloth; the horns were made into combs; and the sinew produced excellent fiddlestrings and a tough thread for sewing moccasins and leather goods. The rump was the sweetest part of the animal, and the marrow from the bones was a rich delicacy...Fibers of the nettle weed were

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often mixed with buffalo hair to produce a more wearable and durable cloth." 1

Winter days were not spent in idle loafing. Winter was the time for clearing more land and for building rail fences to keep the animals out of the fields. Ash was commonly used for the rail fence because it was easy to cut and split. The axe blade was always warmed before the fire before being taken outdoors in the winter to prevent the blade from breaking. Grindstones for keeping the implements sharpened were quite scarce and expensive, but every family owned a whetstone, which sufficed until they could afford the luxury of a grindstone. A man could split from seventy-five to a hundred rails a day. The rails were split by driving several wedges into a log and tapping lightly and evenly until the log split. A horse pulled the rails, wrapped and tied by a log chain, to the place designated to be fenced. The fence was built by driving two rows of parallel stakes into the ground about five feet apart and the rails were lain between the stakes. The wood which was not used for rails was racked for use in the fireplace.

Some of the winter evenings were devoted to shelling the husked corn. The adults and older children shelled the corn into a blanket or container while the younger children kept busy carrying the cobs out to the cobhouse. Not all of the winter evenings were spent at laborious chores. Sometimes the family grouped together in front of a fire made bright and sparkling with pieces of hickory bark. All were occupied scraping and eating the sweet juicy turnips brought in from the root cellar. Until an orchard was old enough to produce fruit, the lowly turnip or fruit from the haw tree, sufficed for after supper snacks before the fireplace.

Winter clothing consisted of a homemade suit of butternut color linsey-woolsey, a wool hat, a pair of mittens and a pair of old stockings drawn over the shoes to keep out the snow. The butternut color of the linsey-woolsey was made dull yellow by boiling the inner bark of the white walnut. The hulls of the black walnut produced a rusty black. Indigo, at 18 pence an ounce, was used for blue. Madder, at three shillings a pound, made dark red. Copperas, purchased at the store, was mixed with oak bark to produce ink. Cotton was not then in use. The flax didn't take dye well. The materials generally used were wool, linsey, a mixture of

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linsey and wool, or buckskin.

Butchering time was in December. The killing and scalding of the hog was the man's work. The older children helped cut up and render the fat by cooking. The sausage meat was made by a chopping process which took many hours before the sausage grinder came into use or could be afforded. The chopped meat was then seasoned and stuffed into casings and hung on poles to smoke. Mince meat was made if apples were available. The tallow was used for candle dipping. The family feasted on doughnuts and fried cakes cooked in the lard. When the lard became rancid, it was made into soap. The soap making was a family process. The man of the family made the ash hopper from clapboards arranged in the shape of a cone. The bottom of the hopper was filled with layers of straw or cornhusks to serve as a strainer. The hopper was then filled with wood ashes. Water was slowly poured over the ashes and filtered thru the strainer into a container placed under the hopper. The container of water was then boiled down until it would float an egg, and was then strong enough to be used as lye for the making of soap with the rancid lard.

The family washing was usually done at the nearby creek to eliminate carrying water during the warm weather. A child was kept busy for several hours tending an open fire for heating the wash water. The washed clothes were hung on the fence to dry because clotheslines were still quite a luxury. Rainwater was frugally collected to be used when the creek ran dry. A long trough chiseled out of a tree caught rain from the roof eaves. All the wash tubs and buckets were set out during a shower to catch the soft rainwater.

Schools were not very commonplace until the turn of the century. There were not any public schools and very few private schools. The settlers were nearly all poor and illiterate. They did not have enough money to send the children to school, or the means of getting schools started. Most of the teachers were not qualified to teach beyond the rule of three - reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic. Books were scarce and most schools had few books. The reading book was generally the New Testament. Due to the scarcity of books, those who did go to school learned and said their lessons aloud. Proper application of the rod kept the students well disciplined. Children learned politeness both at home and at

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school. The boys were taught to remove their hats and make a bow. The girls were taught to curtsy. These manners were performed by all children to their elders. A forgetful youngster was reprimanded with the phrase, "mind your manners," accompanied with a sharp cuff on the cheek.

A "Tinker Man" was a welcomed visitor to the frontier home. His saddle bags contained all the necessary implements to mend holes in the tin cups, washtubs and buckets almost as good as brand new. His travels took him far and he was a good source of news from other places.

There were almost as few churches as schools in early Kentucky. The most prevalent were Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist. There were only fifty Roman Catholic families in the State by 1787, but they did not have a priest. It was conservatively estimated that only ten percent of the Kentucky population belonged to those four churches, although many more belonged to lesser known organizations. A family was considered fortunate if there was a church nearby. Sunday was observed as a day of rest. Food was prepared on Saturday in order to avoid any labor on Sunday, other than that necessary to take care of the livestock. The men and boys used the creek for bathing while the women and girls used the washtubs inside the house. The family walked to church if they lived nearby. The mother wore a dress made of calico from the store and her store-bought black bonnet. The father wore his best coat. All the shoes had been blackened by soot mixed with fat. There were both morning and afternoon church services. Those families traveling a great distance to attend church carried a lunch to eat between the services.

Every able-bodied man between the age of eighteen and fifty was required to belong to the Kentucky militia. The men were mustered every three months at which time they were spasmodically drilled. The day of drilling usually ended as a day of fun with many games, drinking and contests. Occasionally the men of the militia were called out for Indian fighting, although this had diminished by the time Michael arrived in Kentucky.

Michael and his wife, Elinor Hawkins O'Hair, had moved from Virginia in the Fall of 1788 to a farm about ten miles south of Lexington, in what was then Fayette County, formed into Jessamine County in 1799. The county seat of

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Jessamine County is Nicholasville. Four children were born of this union.

 1. Thomas O'Hair, born in Virginia about 1784, and died in New Salem, Texas. He was married October 15, 1810 to Rachel Janes in Floyd County, Kentucky. They lived in Floyd County until about 1821, then moved to Edgar County, Illinois, for a few years before moving on to Texas. They had eight children:

Mary (Polly)                  Jonathan

Eleanor                         Clarissa

Lydia                            John

William                         Michael


2. Sallie (Sally or Sarah) was born in Virginia (date unknown) and died in 1875. She married James Miller, December 21, 1809 in Montgomery County, Kentucky. They lived near Hazel Green, Kentucky before moving to Edgar County, Illinois in 1834. They had ten children:

Daniel                  Patsy

Robert                  Eliza

William                 Evaline

James                   Mary Ellen

Betsey                  Silby


3. Betsey (probably born in Kentucky, year unknown). She married William Crea. They lived near Hazel Green, Kentucky and had two children:




4. Caty (Katy) born in Kentucky. Married September 12, 1810 in Jessamine County to James Campbell who was born in 1793 in Kentucky.


The Index of Marriages at the courthouse of Jessamine County at Nicholasville, Kentucky records Caty's marriage as follows: "Caty Ohair & James Campbell, Old Box 2." Among the contents filed in Old Box 2 is the marriage bond of Caty and James. John Hawkins was the co-signer of the

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bond. The fathers of the young couple, John Campbell and Michael O'Hair, had both signed a paper giving their consent to the marriage of the underage couple. Michael signed the marriage bond Mical Ohare. Caty and James Campbell moved to that part of Kentucky known as Jackson's Purchase, in the western part of the state, and were never heard from again.

Some family tradition indicates that Caty O'Hair was only fifteen years of age when she was married. This tradition is erroneous because that would establish her birth-date as having been in 1795, at a time when Michael was married to Elizabeth Tribett. (Michael and Elizabeth were married in April, 1793.) If Caty was born after September 12, 1792, as reported by other family references, she would not have been 18 years of age at the time of her marriage; therefore, parental consent to the marriage would have been required. We assume that Caty's mother, Elinor Hawkins O'Hair, died sometime after September 12, 1792, at the time Caty was born.   .

There were no settlements in the present counties of Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Pike or Wolfe in 1790, only two years after Michael settled in Kentucky. These counties are all located to the north and east of the present Daniel Boone National Forest. The Indian activities had decreased the population in 1777 so that only the towns of Boonesborough and Harrodstown had survived, and an estimated one hundred fifty men elsewhere in all of Kentucky.

The population had rapidly increased by 1790, and $250.00 was set aside for taking a census of the Kentucky counties. Details of the 1790 census were sent to Washington, D.C., and were destroyed in the War of 1812 when the British burned the Capitol. Much of the census has been reconstructed from the tax lists in the various counties. Michael's name does not appear on this 1790 census. This is understandable inasmuch as the reconstructed census is only a partial listing and does not claim to be complete. The reconstructed census for Fayette County was taken from five old volumes of the 1789 personal property tax lists of that county. The summarized figures of the census were preserved and give a good indication of the growth of the territory in 1790. The population of Lexington was 834; Louis-

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ville, 350; and Danville, 150.



                                                             Total of

                                               Total       White &

County     White    Free     Slave   Colored    Colored

Bourbon    6,929    . . . .       908       908      7,837

Fayette   14,626        32    3,752    3,784     18,410

Jefferson   3,857          5      903       908      4,765

Lincoln      5,446          8    1,094    1,102      6,548

Madison    5,035     . . . .      737       737      5,772

Mason       2,500    . . . .      229       229      2,729

Mercer      5,745          7    1,339    1,346      7,091

Nelson     10,032        35    1,248    1,283     11,315

Woodford   6,963        27    2,220    2,247      9,210

                     61,133      114    12,430  12,544    73,677


Free white males of 16 years and older          15,154

Free white males under 16 years of age         17,057

Free white females, including

     heads of families                                  28,922

All other free persons                                    114

Slaves                                                    12,430

                                                             73,677 2


Most of the slave population in Kentucky came with their masters from Maryland. Some of the settlers from Virginia were also slaveowners. The majority of Kentucky's population came from Virginia. Michael did not own any slaves, although later several slaves were buried in the same cemetery. They were slaves who belonged to William Trimble, the husband of Michael's daughter, Eleanor. Many slaves were buried at the side of their master. A slave and his master worked closely together, they fought the Indian wars together, so it was considered natural that a slave should be buried at the side of his master.

The population of Kentucky had grown to over 100,000 by 1792. A few settlements were starting in the mountainous sections. Those who settled in the mountains did so because the land there could be purchased for a much lower price than the land in the Bluegrass section, and many of those people had limited assets. Many of the mountain settlers

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were Scotch-Irish people from Virginia, or people who had first settled in the Bluegrass section and moved on to the mountains. Kentucky finally attained Statehood June 1, 1792. The Bluegrass country in 1792 presented a different picture than it had fifteen years before. Many of the forests had been cleared into fields planted to corn, hemp, flax, wheat and tobacco. The inflationary period was now over. Corn leveled off at twenty-five cents a bushel. Tobacco was taken from the farm to warehouses where it was exchanged for certificates which passed as money in trade at the stores. Hemp brought twenty-five shillings a pound by 1792. Hemp and flax were both used in every family for the making of clothing.

A postal service was established in August, 1792 with the "post riders" following the Wilderness Road thru the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. Mail previously had only been received about twice a year. Plans were started that year for improving the old packhorse Wilderness Road. Contributions were made and lottery tickets were sold to start a fund intended for making that road into a wagon road.

Many of the old fighters were now dead, including Harrod, Henderson, Todd and Floyd. Clark, at Louisville, dreamed of his past glories. Boone lived with his son in Nicholas County, not far from the present Blue Licks Battleground State Park. Logan lived on a farm in Lincoln County. The pioneer hero age came to an end as Kentucky gained her Statehood.

The exact date of the death of Elinor Hawkins O'Hair is unknown, but has been estimated to have been in the year of 1792 when her last child, Caty, was born.

Michael O'Hair married Elizabeth Tribett on April 4, 1793. They were married in Clark County which had been formed only two months previously from parts of Fayette and Bourbon counties. Elizabeth was born in Virginia in 1768. She came to Kentucky as an orphan with a widow named Cooper. Elizabeth lived with Mrs. Cooper on Green Briar Creek, about four miles south of Mount Sterling, Kentucky. Michael was forty-three years of age. He was a widower with four young children ranging in age from an infant girl to an eight year old son. Elizabeth was twenty-five when she and Michael were married. Their marriage bond is recorded at Mount Sterling.

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Commonwealth of Kentucky        )


County of Clark                          )


This is to certify that the rites of marriage were legally Solemnized by Robt. Elkin, between Michalo Oharow and Elizabeth Tribit in Clark County, Ky., in the year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Three of April 4.


State of Kentucky           )


County of Clark               )


I, Linville Jackson, Clerk of the Clark County Court, do certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the record in the marriage Register between Michalo Oharow and Elizabeth Tribet, as the same appears on record in my office, duly recorded in Marriage Register No.1 on page 1.

Given under my hand and seal of office, this the 27th day of August, 1928.

                                            Linville Jackson, Clerk

                                            by (signed) Emma Jackson D.C.



Michael and Elizabeth lived on Slate Creek, near Mt. Sterling in Clark County, at the time of their marriage, April 4, 1793. Clark County had just been formed the previous February 1st. The part of Clark County in which they lived became Montgomery County when that new county was formed from a part of Clark County in 1797. Microfilm copies of the Montgomery County tax assessments for several different years were obtained from the Kentucky Historical Society at Frankfort, Kentucky. Michael O'Hair was a taxpayer in that county thru the year of 1805, but his name did not appear on the tax lists for 1806. According to the Montgomery County tax lists for 1805, Michael was assessed on four horses. Michael and Elizabeth remained at that same location on Slate Creek in Montgomery County until 1805 or 1806 when they moved to Floyd County.

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The act passed by the Kentucky Legislature establishing Floyd County read as follows: "Be it enacted by the general Assembly, That from and after the first day of June, 1800, All that part of the County of Fleming, Montgomery and Mason, included in the following country, to wit: Beginning at the mouth of Beaver Creek, near the narrows of Licking; thence north 30 degrees east to the Mason line; thence with said line to a point opposite the head of Little Sandy; thence a straight direction to the forks of the Great Sandy; thence along the division line between this state and the state of Virginia to the head waters of the main branch of Kentucky; thence down the same to the mouth of Quicksand; thence a straight line to the fifty mile tree on the State road; thence along said road in a direction to Mount Sterling; to Blackwater; thence down the same to the mouth thereof; thence down Licking to the beginning, shall be one distinct county, and called and known by the name of Floyd."3

Floyd County was named after John Floyd who made his first eastern Kentucky surveys in 1774, when he was a deputy-surveyor under William Preston of Fincastle, Virginia. The new county included all of what is commonly called the Big Sandy Valley, as well as some adjacent territory. The county seat of Floyd County, Prestonsburg, was named after William Preston. It was first known as Preston's Station. Prestonsburg had been surveyed in 1797, when it was still a part of Mason County, before Floyd County was formed. Since Floyd County was first formed, Prestonsburg has remained the county seat. It was not incorporated as a town until1818.

There had been many explorations and several attempts at settling this county, but there is no record of any white man permanently settling in the mountain region of Kentucky prior to 1789. Some of the early Floyd County tradition claims that George Washington made surveys there as early as 1767. Daniel Boone is credited with discovering the salt licks at the town of David, southwest of Prestonsburg, when he hunted in Kentucky during the years of 1769 to 1771. George Rogers Clark and another man are said to have camped for several days at Great Sandy Creek during the early part of 1773. The wild game remained abundant in Floyd County until several years after Michael's death.

There was a road leading into the new county from the

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south called the Virginia Road. This road branched from the Wilderness Road in Virginia. It crossed the Cumberland Mountains at Pound Gap, in the present county of Letcher, and led on into the new county. A road was authorized by the Kentucky Legislature in 1802 to connect Mt. Sterling, in Montgomery County, with the Virginia Road. Then, in 1817, a road was authorized to go from Mt. Sterling to Prestonsburg. Most of the supplies in the earlier times were taken into the valley by packhorse or by boat down the Big Sandy River from the Ohio River. The whole area was a quagmire of wagon roads until after World War I.

The Wilderness Road improvements were completed in 1796. Joseph Crockett and James Knox were in charge of the road work. The plans for the improvements had been made in 1792 and were financed by contributions and the sale of lottery tickets. The "Kentucky Gazette" in Lexington, proclaimed the completion of the road on a big spread on the front page of the issue dated October 15, 1796.


"THE WILDERNESS ROAD from Cumberland Gap to the settlements in Kentucky is now compleated. Waggons loaded with a ton weight, may pass with ease, with four good horses, - Travellers will find no difficulty in procuring such necessaries as they stand in need of on the road; and the abundant crop now growing in Kentucky, will afford the emigrants a certainty of being supplied with every necessary of life on the most convenient terms.

                                                       Joseph Crockett

                                                       James Knox


(The printers in the various states are requested to re-publish this notice.)" 4


The first census of Kentucky which had been taken in 1790, indicated the total population as 73,677. The second census taken in 1800 showed the population had increased to 220,995 which was an increase of 199.9%. "The commissioners were required to begin their rounds immediately after the 10th day of March, 1800, and to make three alphabetical lists of their returns, one to the County Court Clerk, one to the Sheriff for his guide to collect taxes and

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the third to the Auditor of Public Accounts...Of the 42 Counties making up Kentucky in 1800 only one could not be represented in the 'Second Census.' Floyd County, created June 1, 1800, had to be omitted. The first courthouse of the county, at Prestonsburg, burned in 1808 with many of the most important early records, presumably including the county's sets of the 1800 tax returns. The first date on file at the Kentucky Historical Society (the Auditor's Copy) is for the year 1837." 5

Michael's name on the 1800 census was spelled Michel O'Hair. He was listed as a resident of Montgomery County on the tax return dated August 22, 1800. Michael was still listed on the tax returns for Montgomery County for the year of 1805. He did not move to Lacy Creek in Floyd County until late 1805, or in 1806, as he was still a taxpayer in Montgomery County. 

"The population of the State in 1800 was first published locally when the editor of The (Frankfort, Ky.) Palladium ran in the issue of July 28, 1801:

"The aggregate amount of each description of persons in the State of Kentucky agreeable to the New Census - copied by permission from the Marshal's returns.


Free White Males                         Free White Females

Under 10 years of age     37,274               34,949

Of 10 and under 16         14,045               13,433

Of 16 and under 26         15,705               15,524

Of 26 and under 45         17,699               14,934

Of 45 and upwards           9,233                 7,075

Total                        93,956                85,915


Total number of Free White

            Males and Females                .......     179,871

All other persons, except

            Indians, not taxed       .......           741

Slaves                                     .......       40,343

TOTAL AMOUNT OF CENSUS  ..                 220,955" 6

 K R O'Hair PAGE-217

The 1800 census revealed that there were 7,082 people living in Montgomery County. The town of Mt. Sterling had a population of 83. Only 478 families were reported living in the new county of Floyd, and only six families lived in Prestonsburg, the county seat.

Elizabeth and Michael O'Hair moved their growing family from their home on Slate Creek, near Mt. Sterling in Montgomery County, to a 625 acre farm he had purchased in Floyd County in 1805 or 1806. The farm was located on Lacy Creek, in the Big Sandy Valley of the Cumberland Mountain foothills. The farm embraced a part of what is now the town of Hazel Green. The rolling hills of the farm near Hazel Green, Kentucky, must have reminded Michael of his native hills and valleys in Ireland, where he had lived as a small child. Nature seemed to have prepared this beautiful spot for him. Many artists have tried to capture the beauty of the picturesque land as they painted in the countryside near Hazel Green. The part of Floyd County which included the farm, was formed into Wolfe County in 1860. This farm, according to public records searched, was the only land Michael ever owned, except the land grant he received from the State of Virginia, for service rendered during the Revolutionary War, while he was in the Illinois Regiment. As previously stated, that grant was across the Ohio River from Louisville, in the State of Indiana, and was immediately sold to John Rogers, the captain of his company.

"According to tax lists and other official records there were approximately 550 families living in Floyd County in 1810. Jonathan Mayo, assistant to Joseph Crockett, United States Marshal for the District of Kentucky, enumerated the third decennial United States census of the county and on December 24, 1810, he certified and reported that he had enumerated a total of 3,485. Of this number, 1,809 were white males, 1,561 white females, and 115 negro slaves." 7 Michael O'Hair was listed as a taxpayer in the Floyd County 1810 census. His name was spelled Michael Ohare on that census. He did not own any slaves.

When Floyd County was formed in 1800, it extended eastward all the way to Virginia and West Virginia. It has been formed into many counties during the years since 1800. All or part of the following counties have been formed from what was originally Floyd County:

 K R O'Hair PAGE-218

                     DIVISION OF FLOYD COUNTY

Year of

Formation     County    _County Seat     Parent Counties___      

1800          Floyd         Prestonsburg  Fleming, Mason, Montgomery

1807          Clay          Manchester    Floyd, Knox, Madison

1821          Perry         Hazard          Clay, Floyd

1822          Lawrence   Louisa           Floyd, Greenup

1822          Pike          Pikeville          Floyd

1823          Morgan      West Liberty   Bath, Floyd

1838          Carter        Grayson         Greenup, Lawrence

1839          Breathitt     Jackson         Clay, Estill, Perry

1842          Letcher      Whitesburg     Perry, Harlan

1843          Johnson      Paintsville      Floyd, Lawrence, Mor  gan

1856          Rowan        Morehead      Fleming, Morgan

1860          Magoffin     Salyersville     Floyd, Johnson, Morgan

1860          Wolfe         Campton        Breathitt, Morgan, Owsley

1869          Eliott         Sandy Hook     Carter, Lawrence, Morgan

1870          Martin        Inez               Floyd, Johnson, Lawrence, Pike

1878          Leslie         Hyden             Clay, Harlan, Perry

1884          Knott         Hindman          Breathitt, Floyd, Letcher, Perry

 K R O'Hair PAGE-219

Kentucky County was originally formed December 6, 1776, out of a part of Fincastle County of Virginia. Divisions of that original Kentucky County have been made until there presently are 120 counties in the State of Kentucky. The following list of Kentucky counties has been supplied by the Kentucky Historical Society at Frankfort.




County          Date_ Parent Counties             County Seat

Adair            1802   Green                           Columbia

Allen             1815   Barren, Warren              Scottsville

Anderson       1827   Franklin, Mercer,            Lawrenceburg


Ballard          1842   Hickman, McCracken       Wickliffe

Barren          1799   Green, Warren               Glasgow

Bath             1811  Montgomery                  Owingsville

Bell               1867  Harlan, Knox                  Pineville

Boone            1799  Green, Warren               Burlington

Bourbon         1786   Fayette                       Paris

Boyd             1860   Carter, Greenup,            Cattlettsburg


Boyle             1842  Lincoln, Mercer              Danville

Bracken          1797  Campbell, Mason            Brooksville

Breathitt         1839  Clay, Estill, Perry           Jackson

Breckinridge     1800 Hardin                          Hardinsburg

Bullitt             1797  Jefferson, Nelson           Shepherdsville

Butler             1810 Logan, Ohio                   Morgantown

Caldwell          1809 Livingston                     Princeton

Calloway         1821 Hickman                        Murray

Campbell         1795 Harrison, Mason, Scott     Alexandria, Newport

Carlisle           1886  Ballard                          Bardwell

Carroll            1838  Gallatin, Henry, Trimble    Carrollton

Carter            1838  Greenup, Lawrence         Grayson

Casey            1807  Lincoln                          Liberty

Christian         1797  Logan                          Hopkinsville


K R O'Hair PAGE-220





__County__   _Date_  Parent Counties          _County Seat__

Clark              1793  Bourbon, Fayette           Winchester

Clay               1807  Floyd Knox, Madison       Manchester

Clinton            1836  Cumberland, Wayne       Albany

Crittenden       1842  Livingston                    Marion

Cumberland     1799   Green                         Burkesville

Daviess          1815   Ohio                           Owensboro

Edmonson       1825   Grayson, Hart  Warren   Brownsville

Elliott             1869   Carter, Lawrence,

                                  Morgan                   Sandy Hook

Estill               1808  Clark, Madison              Irvine

Fayette          1780   Kentucky                     Lexington

Fleming           1798  Mason                         Flemingsburg

Floyd              1800  Fleming, Mason,

                                 Montgomery              Prestonsburg

Franklin           1795  Mercer, Shelby,

                                 Woodford                 Frankfort

Fulton             1845  Hickman                      Hickman

Gallatin           1799   Franklin, Shelby            Warsaw

Garrard           1797   Lincoln, Madison, Mercer Lancaster

Grant              1820  Pendleton                    Williamstown

Graves            1824  Hickman                       Mayfield

Grayson          1810   Hardin, Ohio                 Leitchfield

Green             1793   Lincoln, Nelson              Greensburg

Greenup          1804  Mason                          Greenup

Hancock          1829  Breckinridge, Daviess,

                                  Ohio                       Hawesville

Hardin             1793  Nelson                         Elizabethtown

Harlan             1819  Knox                           Harlan

Harrison           1794  Bourbon, Scott             Cynthiana

Hart                1819  Hardin, Barren               Munfordville

Henderson        1799  Christian                      Henderson

Henry              1799  Shelby                        New Castle

Hickman           1821  Caldwell, Livingston       Clinton


K R O'Hair PAGE-221





__County__     _Date_   Parent Counties        __County Seat__

Hopkins           1807   Henderson                   Madisonville

Jackson           1858   Clay, Estill, Laurel,

                                    Madison, Owsley,  

                                    Rockcastle             McKee

Jefferson          1780  Kentucky                     Louisville

Jessamine        1799   Fayette                      Nicholasville

Johnson           1843   Floyd, Lawrence,

                                     Morgan                 Paintsville

Kenton             1840   Campbell                     Independence,


Knott               1884   Breathitt, Floyd,

                                    Letcher, Perry         Hindman

Knox                1800   Lincoln                       Barbourville

Larue               1843   Hardin                        Hodgenville

Laurel              1826    Clay, Knox, Rockcastle,

                                      Whitley                London

Lawrence         1822   Floyd, Greenup             Louisa

Lee                 1870   Breathitt, Estill, Owsley,

                                     Wolfe                    Beattyville

Leslie               1878   Clay, Harlan, Perry        Hyden

Letcher            1842   Perry, Harlan                Whitesburg

Lewis               1807   Mason                         Vanceburg

Lincoln             1780   Kentucky                      Stanford

Livingston         1798   Christian                       Smithland

Logan               1792   Lincoln                         Russellville

Lyon                1854    Caldwell                       Eddyville

McCracken        1825    Hickman                       Paducah

McCreary          1912    Pulaski, Wayne, Whitley  Whitley City

McLean            1854    Daviess, Muhlenberg, Ohio  Calhoun

Madison            1786   Lincoln                          Richmond

Magoffin            1860   Floyd, Johnson, Morgan   Salyersville

Marion              1834   Washington                   Lebanon


K R O'Hair PAGE-222





_County__      _Date_  Parent Counties          __County Seat__

Marshall            1842   Calloway                       Benton

Martin               1870   Floyd, Johnson, Lawrence,

                                        Pike                      Inez

Mason              1789    Bourbon                        Maysville

Meade              1824    Breckinridge, Hardin        Bradenburg

Menifee             1869   Bath, Montgomery, Morgan,

                                         Powell, Wolfe         Frenchburg

Mercer              1786   Lincoln                          Harrodsburg

Metcalfe           1860    Adair, Barren, Cumberland,

                                         Green, Monroe        Edmonton

Monroe             1820    Barren, Cumberland        Tompkinsville

Montgomery       1797   Clark                           Mount Sterling

Morgan             1823    Bath, Floyd                   West Liberty

Muhlenberg        1799   Christian, Logan             Greensville

Nelson               1785   Jefferson                      Bardstown

Nicholas             1800   Bourbon, Mason            Carlisle

Ohio                  1799   Hardin                         Hartford

Oldham              1824   Henry, Jefferson, Shelby  LaGrange

Owen                1819   Franklin, Gallatin, Scott,

                                             Pendleton          Owenton

Owsley              1843   Breathitt, Clay, Estill       Booneville

Pendleton           1799   Bracken, Campbell          Falmouth

Perry                 1821   Clay, Floyd                    Hazard

Pike                   1822   Floyd                           Pikeville

Powell                1852   Clark, Estill, Montgomery  Stanton



K R O'Hair PAGE-223





__County__        _Date_    Parent Counties     _County Seat__

Pulaski                1799   Green, Lincoln              Somerset

Robertson            1867   Bracken, Harrison,

                                       Mason, Nicholas       Mt. Olivet

Rockcastle           1810   Knox, Lincoln, Madison,

                                       Pulaski                   Mt. Vernon

Rowan                 1856   Fleming, Morgan           Morehead

Russell                 1826   Adair, Cumberland,

                                        Wayne                  Jamestown

Scott                   1792   Woodford                   Georgetown

Shelby                  1792   Jefferson                   Shelbyville

Simpson                1819   Allen, Logan, Warren    Franklin

Spencer                1824   Bullitt, Nelson, Shelby  Taylorsville

Taylor                   1848   Green                       Campbellsville

Todd                    1820    Christian, Logan         Elkton

Trigg                    1820    Caldwell, Christian      Cadiz

Trimble                1837     Gallatin, Henry, Oldham Bedford

Union                  1811     Henderson                 Morganfield

Warren                1797     Logan                       Bowling Green

Washington          1792     Nelson                      Springfield

Wayne                 1801    Cumberland, Pulaski     Monticello

Webster               1860    Henderson, Hopkins,

                                         Union                   Dixon

Whitley                1818    Knox                         Williamsburg

Wolfe                   1860    Breathitt, Morgan,

                                         Owsley, Powell       Campton

Woodford             1789     Fayette                    Versailles


 K R O'Hair PAGE-224

Michael and Elizabeth Tribet O'Hair were married in Clark County, Kentucky, on April 4, 1793. Eleven children were born of this marriage, ten of whom lived to maturity:

1. Sibby was born February 4, 1794, at Slate Creek in Clark County, Kentucky. She was married to William Lacey in 1811. They did not have any children, although they raised several orphan children. Sibby was a mid-wife. She was the only general doctor in the vicinity of Hazel Green for many years. Most of her medicines were made of native herbs. Sibby died June 20, 1882 at Hazel Green, Kentucky, at the age of eighty-eight.


2. John was born September 25, 1796, at Slate Creek in Clark County, Kentucky. He died June 20, 1886 in Edgar County, Illinois at the age of ninety. John was married the first time in Kentucky and had four children:

                        Ellen                                        Sidney

                        Sibby                                       Bill


John was married a second time in Morgan County, Kentucky on October 20, 1830 to Elizabeth A. Hardwick. They moved to Edgar County, Illinois by horseback. Nine children were born of this union:


                        Michael Elsberry                     Calvin

                        William Henderson                 Nelson

                        Mary Florence (Polly)              Jesse Ogden

                        John Henry                            Sarah

                        James Jr. (Little John) 


3. Eleanor was born October 14, 1797 at Slate Creek in Montgomery County. (Montgomery Co. had been formed in that same year from Clark County, so they became residents of a different county without having moved.) Eleanor was married to William Trimble in Montgomery County on November 15, 1814. Eleanor died at the age of fifty-eight on May 24, 1855.

 K R O'Hair PAGE-225

Thirteen children were born of this union:

                         Evaline                         Rose Ann

                         Caroline                        Louise

                         William Preston             Mary Elizabeth

                         David Shelton               Nelson Harvey

                         James Greenville            Malissa (Mylissa)

                         Asberry                         James Frank

                         Emily Jane


4. Nancy was born in 1798 in Montgomery County, Kentucky. She died August 2, 1872 in Edgar County, Illinois, at the age of seventy-four. She was married to Jesse Ogden. They had twelve children:


                        Stephen                                  Lydia

                        Elizabeth                                 Sarah

                        Jonathan                                 Mary

                        John Preston                            Rosanna

                        Sybira                                     Michael

                        William L.                                Jesse Jr.

5. Michael Jr. was born July 10, 1801 in Montgomery County, Kentucky. He died March 16, 1875 in Edgar County, Illinois, at the age of seventy-four. He was married to Lucretia Boyles in Floyd County, Kentucky, November 16, 1820. They moved to Edgar County, Illinois in 1825, where he helped to establish the first schools and churches in that county. They had nine children:


                        James Sylvester (Big Jim)

                        John Western (rack)               Daniel Boone

                        Jesse                                     William W.

                        Eleanor                                  Elizabeth

                        Caroline                                 Sibby N.


6. James Edington Montgomery was born July 5, 1804 in Montgomery County, Kentucky. He died at the age of ninety-five in Putnam County, Indiana on July 24, 1899. He married Margaret Montgomery on March 5, 1825, at Mount Sterling, Kentucky. They lived four or five years

 K R O'Hair PAGE-226

on the Kentucky River in Estill County, Kentucky. They moved to Illinois in 1829, and on to Indiana that same year. They had eleven children:


                        William Asbury                     Sarah Elizabeth

                        James Ellsberry                    Robert Simpson

                        Greenberry Montgomery        Celina Gibson

                        John Tribbett                        Sylvester Greenville

                        Eliza Jane                             Leroy Taylor



James' first wife died in 1849. He was married a second time to Permelia Lockridge on March 2, 1856, in Putnam County, Indiana. Two children were born of this union:


                        Robert Leroy

                        Margaret Permelia


7. William was born in 1807, at Lacy Creek in Floyd County, Kentucky. He was assasinated in his front yard during the Civil War in 1864, on his fifty-seventh birth-day. William was married to Polly Nickell in Floyd County on September 2, 1830. They first lived on Lacy Creek, then moved to Edgar County, Illinois. He then traded his 120 acre farm in Edgar County to his brother-in-law for a farm on Laurel Creek, Kentucky. William and Polly had fourteen children.  


                 F. James Sylvester                Leyander

                        Michael                                 Houston

                        John                                     Eveline (Eva)

                        Harlan                                  Green

                        Sibby                                   William Jr.

                        Daniel Boone                         Marion

                        Ella (Ellen)                            Taylor


8. Mary (Polly) was born July 25, 1809, on Lacy Creek, Floyd County, Kentucky. She died at the age of ninety-two, on August 26, 1901, in Edgar County, Illinois. She was married to William Hanks on September 7, 1827, in Morgan County, Kentucky. Her husband was a first cousin of Abraham Lincoln. Polly and William

 K R O'Hair PAGE-227

moved to Edgar County, Illinois in 1829. They had fourteen children:


                        James Sylvester                 Michael Asbury (Mike)

                        John Ellsberry                    Mary Ellen

                        Nancy Jane                        Evaline

                        Sibby Ann                          Rosanna

                        Sarah Elizabeth                  Caroline

                        William Washington            Nelson Tribbett

                        Stephan Greenville             Henderson Jackson


9. Rose Ann was born June 9, 1811, on Lacy Creek, Floyd County, Kentucky. She died at the age of eighty-three in Edgar County, Illinois. She married James Wells in Kentucky, September 5, 1829. They moved to Illinois. Rose Ann and James Wells had seven children:


                        William Washington               Evaline

                        Frank                                    James T.

                        David Nelson                         Jacob



Rose Ann's husband, James Wells, died October 24, 1841. She married Isaac Perisho on June 12, 1845. They had nine children:


                        Hiram                                       Mary Eliza

                        Emily Jane                                Rosanna Shelley

                        infant (died)                             Joseph

                        Barbara E.                                John

                        John Elsberry


10. Washington was born in 1814 on Lacy Creek in Floyd County, Kentucky. He moved to Illinois in 1836, then moved to Texas in 1839. The date of Washington's death is not known, but family tradition indicates he was nearly a hundred years of age. Washington and his wife (name unknown) had seven children:


                        Sarah                                       William

                        John                                         Eleanor

                        Amanda                                    Nancy



11. Harrison was a twin brother of Washington. He died in infancy.

 K R O'Hair PAGE-228

Michael O'Hair died in 1813 at the age of sixty-four. He was buried in a small cemetery across the road from the present cemetery in Hazel Green, Kentucky. Michael owned the land he was buried on, and it was later owned by William Trimble who married Michael's daughter, Eleanor. His grave was marked with a stone bearing the name Ohare. Although sixty-four would not be considered old in this day and age, in view of his hardships and exposure to extreme weather conditions, he was fortunate to have lived such a long and productive life. The four children of his marriage to Elinor Hawkins O'Hair had all reached maturity and had married by the time Michael died. Elizabeth Tribett O'Hair became a widow at the age of forty-five. Michael's twin sons, Washington and Harrison, were of posthumous birth.

Elizabeth O'Hair entered into a marriage of short duration with Joseph Bryant on May 29, 1819. Some of her older children were already married by that date, and the youngest child was five years of age.

When the courthouse at Prestonsburg, in Floyd County, burned in April, 1808, the land deeds were destroyed; however, the following indenture dated February 14, 1822, has been found at the courthouse at Prestonsburg, Kentucky, giving a description of the land Michael owned.


THIS INDENTURE, made this 14th day of February, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-two, between Micajah Harrison and Polly Harrison, his wife, of the county of Montgomery, and commonwealth of Kentucky, on the one part, and Elizabeth Bryant, late Elizabeth Ohare, widow of Michael Ohare, decd. and Thomas Ohare, Sally Miller, late Sally Ohare, Caty Campbell, late Caty Ohare, Silby Lacy, late Silby Ohare, John Ohare, Nelly Trimble, late Nelly Ohare, Nancy Ogden, late Nancy Ohare, Michael Ohare, James Ohare, Polly Ohare, William Ohare, Rosanna Ohare and Washington Ohare, of the county of Floyd, and commonwealth aforesaid of the other part,

WITNESSETH, that the said M. Harrison and wife, for and in consideration of the sum of fifty three pounds, sixteen shillings in trade, to them in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged,

 K R O'Hair PAGE-229

have granted, bargained and sold and by these presents do grant, bargain, sell and confirm unto the said Elizabeth Bryant, late Elizabeth Ohare, and others above named, being heirs and legal representatives of Michael Ohare, deed., their heirs and assigns, all that tract or parcel of land situate and lying in the county of Floyd, on the waters of Red river, at the forks of said river on Laceys creek, containing by survey, six hundred and twenty-five acres and bounded as followeth, to wit:

BEGINNING on a poplar, white oak in the brier patch, thence S 74 W 60 poles to a beech and maple, crossing Laceys creek to the mouth of the big branch, thence South 8 East 56 poles to two hornbeams, thence north 80 East 8 poles to two white oaks and gum trees, corner to Holloway Power on Laceys creek, thence S 9 E 164 poles to a hickory, cherry and two dogwoods on the top of the hill, thence S 65 W 226 poles to a stake thence N 47 W 316 poles to a white oak and maple corner to William Trimble, thence with Trimble line, N 65 E 340 poles to a white oak and maple, thence north 16 west crossing Red river, 133 poles to two maples and two water oaks, thence north 74 E 100 poles to a maple, beech and sweet gum corner to Holloway Power, thence south 16 east 200 poles crossing Red river to the beginning, for quantity, together with all and singular the premises thereunto belonging or in any wise appurtaining to have and to hold the land hereby conveyed with the appurtenances unto the said heirs and assigns, forever, and the said heirs and legal representatives of said Michael Ohare, decd. for themselves, their heirs, executors and administrators, the aforesaid tract of land and premises unto the said heirs and legal representatives, their heirs, or assigns against the claim or claims of all and every person or persons claiming the same under them, their heirs &c, but in case the said land or any part thereof shall be ever lost, the said Harrison is only to refund in trade such as horses or cattle, the consideration without interest, doth and will forever defend by these presents:

 K R O'Hair PAGE-230

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the said Micajah Harrison, and Polly Harrison, his wife, have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and date first above written.


Signed, sealed and acknowledged in presence of:            

                               M. Harrison                  (SEAL)

                                      Polly Harrison               (SEAL)



FEBRUARY 14, 1822.

I, Micajah Volney Harrison, deputy clerk for Micajah Harrison, clerk of the county aforesaid, do hereby certify that this deed from Micajah Harrison, and Polly, his wife, was this day acknowledged by them to be their act and deed for the purposes therein named. The said Polly, being first examined privily and apart from her said husband, freely and voluntatily, relinquished her right of dower, therein without the persuasions or threats of her said husband, and is willing the same shall be recorded as such, which is hereby certified to the clerk of Floyd county where the land lies to be there recorded.

Given under my hand this 14th day, February, 1822.

                                           M. V. Harrison, D. C.


This writer visited with some descendants of Michael O'Hair living in and near Hazel Green, in August, 1970. Information was obtained from them and from Milton C. Nickell, a local surveyor, concerning the location of Michael's farm. Pictures were taken of the land comprising the original farm, which show the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains in the background. About half of the farm is bottomland, and the rest is rough, hilly mountainous land. Except for the timber, mountain land was unproductive and cost less than five cents an acre about the time Michael purchased his land. The total cost of Michael's 625 acres, according to the deed, was fifty-three pounds and sixteen shillings. That amount was then equivalent to about $2,100.00 in Virginia currency. Although the log cabin is no longer in existence, the old well can still be found just a short distance from the original site

 K R O'Hair PAGE-231

of the cabin. The land slopes gently away from the cabin site to the foothills of the mountains.

This writer also visited the Hazel Green Academy which was established in 1880 by J. Taylor Day, William O. Mize and Green Berry Swango, all of whom were descendants of Michael O'Hair. The Academy is located on land which was part of the farm Michael purchased in 1805 or 1806. The Academy has been supported financially by the United Christian Missionary Society of the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ), 222 S. Downey Ave., Indianapolis, Ind. 46219. Descendants of Michael O'Hair, and other individuals interested in the education of the Eastern Kentucky mountain youth, have made contributions to that address or directly to the school.

The Hazel Green Academy was the only college preparatory school serving this area for many years. Many of its graduates have gone on to prominence, including some of Michael's descendants. The school specializes in Industrial Arts, which training is advantageous to the mountain youth. There presently is an enrollment of approximately one hundred students.

A recent article in "The Lexington Leader," written by Bill Powell, has been condensed to give the reader a good description of the school:

Much of the success of Hazel Green Academy can be credited to George (Jack) Buchanan, a 1945 academy graduate, who is director of the school. He is trained in vocational agriculture.

Here at this school the classes are small - one teacher to ten students, a far cry from the crowded public schools. Dr. John Ridgeway, former superintendent of Lexington city schools, is Hazel Green's principal. The school has eleven teachers and a staff of twenty-five.

The old academy - a blend of weathered and worn frame, old red brick and new brick structures - may seem like a world of its own as it begins its 91st school year. The Academy operates like a large, well disciplined family. Its spirit and character are that of people who have strong affection and great hopes for each other. The fruits of its work through 90 years are real and pronounced. The Academy in this small Wolfe County town of Hazel Green [population 250] is located on a hill above the town. The school is

K R O'Hair PAGE-232

gracefully situated on an aged and well arranged campus. It stands out boldly as a healthy survivor of the old days of private schools that have yielded mostly to the age of the high-geared public school. 8

The Hazel Green academy stands dignified as a Beacon of the Hills on a 32 acre campus which was part of the farm where Michael O'Hair settled in 1805 or 1806. Its record of service to the mountain youth merits a long and fruitful life.

The excerpts which follow were written many years ago by James Greenville Trimble, the fifth child of Eleanor O'Hair Trimble and William Trimble. James Greenville Trimble was born June 15, 1823 and died June 22, 1919. He was eighty-seven years of age at the time some of his information was written. These following excerpts were taken from a newspaper, "The Sentinel Democrat," published at Mt. Sterling, Kentucky:


November 12, 1910

Mr. Squire Turner

Editor Sentinel - Democrat

Dear Sir:

. . . My Father after his discharge from the army was married to Miss Eleanor O'Hair, aged 17 years. on November 14, 1814, who was a daughter of a Revolutionary Soldier. In 1815, within a few months after his marriage he went to housekeeping in a log cabin he had erected upon a large tract of land of several thousand acres he had previously purchased from Micaja Harrison, who was then a prominent citizen of Mt. Sterling, and had been before the formation of Montgomery county, and whose bones now rest within the corporate limits of our town. Harrison was the father-in-law of D. John A. Hannah, who died in our city several years ago and well known to most of our citizens.

The land conveyed by Harrison to my father embraced the lower part and about one-third of the large bottom on Red river upon which Hazel Green is now located, and several thousand acres of mountains or hill-land, which was then regarded as being of little value, and the consideration paid for


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 the mountain part of the land was less than five cents an acre, the timber upon which, if it was in its original state, would readily now command $25 an acre.

My father continued to live in the log cabin for eight years, which was the only kind of dwelling houses to be found in Montgomery county at that time. About the first of Sept. 1823 he purchased from Holloway Power his farm of two hundred acres upon which Hazel Green was afterwards located and embracing the bottom lands adjoining, and during that fall he left the cabin with his family and took possession of his new purchase, where he continued to live until his death, in about 1836. The farm located between his two farms which was formerly owned by my Grandfather O'Hair, thereby making with the three farms combined one of the prettiest and most desirable farms in the mountains of ky.

...Mr. Lacey was a young man and lived in the vicinity of Mt. Sterling, but afterwards settled in that part of Montgomery county where Hazel Green is now located, where he married a sister to my mother, Miss Sibby O'Hair. They continued to live there until they died at the ripe old age, each of them being about 90 years of age. They had no children and they spent much of their time at my house in their old age. He was fond of reminescences of pioneer life, and in referring to the mound located in our town on Locust Street, where the colored school building is now located, he said there was a sugar tree growing upon the top of the mound as large as those in the neighboring forest, which was used upon one occasion as a whipping post...The mound which was once in our town, and which I have often seen, was cut down and the dirt made into brick the year that I married, which was 64 years ago. I visited Mt. Sterling while the mound was being demolished. There were many interesting relics found therein, made of copper, interspersed with human bones, Ivory, queensware, breastplate, beads, etc., which showed evidence that they were manufactured by a race of people enjoying a higher

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degree of civilization than Indians.

                                                     J. G. Trimble.

                                                     Mt. Sterling, Ky.                                                                            Nov. 12, 1910 


The following information concerning Thomas, the son of Michael and Eleanor Hawkins O'Hair:

 Thomas O'Hair, only son by the marriage of Michael O'Hair to Elinor Hawkins, was my Grandfather's uncle and he never saw him but once when he came to Hazel Green in 1839 and spent a few weeks with relatives. He was uneducated but had a very fine mind. He was a small man weighing perhaps not more than 145 pounds and differed in complexion from his half brothers being a brunette with black eyes.





                                                 August 11, 1894


Mr. James A. Curtis




Dear Sir:

I have received your letter of 10th June inviting me to attend the reunion of the O'Hair family on the 11th of August at which I feel much honored, and for which you will accept many thanks.

It would afford me much pleasure to be present and participate with all of you in your festivities upon that interesting occasion, but business engagements will prevent me doing so. I therefore send you this communication, which I trust will be more satisfactory than my presence, and in which I will undertake more especially to give you the genealogy of the Trimble branch of the O'Hair family, of which I am an humble descendant.                                                   .

My mothers maiden name was Eleanor O'Hair commonly called Nellie, a daughter of Michael and Elizabeth O'Hair, and was born on the 14th day of October, 1797, she joined the Christian Church on


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the 18th day of June 1835 and died a Christian the 24th day of May, 1855. She was married to William Trimble by the Rev. Joseph Rice in Montgomery Co., Ky., on the 15th day of Nov. 1814 and located at Hazel Green, Ky. where they continued to reside until the time of their death; there has been awarded to them as the fruit of their marriage 13 children, six sons and seven daughters, one daughter died in infancy, the others arrived to maturity, and all were happily married, except Nelson who died while attending college at the age of 19.

...Grandmother O'Hair before she left Kentucky, lived within three-fourths of a mile of my father, and when I was a small boy more than 65 years ago, I frequently visited her in her little log cabin, which were the only kind of dwelling houses in the country at that time. I remember very well the location of the house and its surroundings and equipment, including a little spinning wheel and a big wheel, warping bars, reel and loom, winding blades, tackle spools, and wool, and cotton cards - all necessary articles in every well organized household - which were used in the manufacture of tow and flax linen, blankets and linsey, flannel and jeane which were converted into clothing for the family.

These necessary implements of industry are now obsolete having been superceded by modern improved large saving machinery, and perhaps none of them have been used or seen by the present generation, who will be remembered by their paternal ancestors.

My Grandmother O'Hair's idea about keeping the Sabbath Day holy was very strict. She rarely had any cooking done on that day, but usually made preparations for Sunday on the preceding day.

She left Kentucky in the company of Jesse Ogden [son-in-law] and family and others for Illinois, I think in the fall of 1833. She afterwards returned to Kentucky on a visit and again went to Illinois or Indiana in 1835 or 1836 accompanied by her son, Washington, each time going and coming traveling on horseback, a distance of 1000 miles, a feat that


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none of her female descendants would undertake to preform in these railroad days.

I remember witnessing the separation between her and my mother which I shall never forget.

The best blood that courses through my veins is the O'Hair stock which by crossing and intercrossing with other families has a few instances deter but never improved. The male members of the O'Hair family are noted for their honesty, truth, uprightness and integrity and the females for their virtue, purity, truth, and industry, and for making good wives. I never saw my Grandfather O'Hair, he having died in the early part of the present century and before I was born. My information is he was born in Ireland and migrated to the United States at the beginning of the Revolutionary War with Great Britain and volunteered his service in behalf of his adopted country, and was a gallant soldier until the close of the war, and participated in many of the hard fought battles upon Southern soil including the battle of Cowpens, where the forces on each side were about equal, and the Americans lost 80 men while the British loss was over 800, also the battle of Guilford Court House, Eutaw Springs and many others, and when in marching, their way might be tracked by the blood from their shot-up feet and which resulted in our independence from the British crown, and giving to his thousands of descendants the political and religious liberties which they now enjoy.

At the close of the war he came to and settled in Kentucky to enjoy his well earned honors and the thanks of his grateful countryman, he lived an honored life, and his bones now rest in unknown and unmarked grave upon a beautiful and elevated eminence overlooking the surrounding country in the vicinity of Hazel Green. It is to be regreted that not even a Stone marks his last resting place. I know within a few feet of the location of his grave. Peace to his ashes.

We should never forget that we are living upon soil consecrated by the Blood of our fathers, and 

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the heroes of Eutaw, Cowpens, and King's mountain, and that it is our duty to us and to our posterity such a great and grand country, and we should also bear in mind that we are citizens of this country and owe allegiance to its flag, under which we have been protected and prospered until we have become the greatest nation upon the face of the globe. A flag which is the Symbol of an "Indivisible union of Indestructable States" and our motto should be, The Federal union must and shall be preserved.

Wishing that each of you in attendance may have the pleasure of attending many reunions in the future, and that you may enjoy many years of good health, prosperity and happiness,


                                                        I am yours truly,

                                                        J. G. Trimble