Samuel Haddix - Probably Breathitt's First Settler
By W. H. Haddix
Samuel Haddix was born in 1742 in Virginia, probably in that part of Prince William County, which later became Fauquier County. Family tradition has it that his parents were John Haddix and Mary Taylor. Samuel was married about 1773 in Virginia to Ann (Nancy) Fugate when he was 31 years old, and she was 19. The Fugates and Haddixes were neighbors on Big Moccasin Creek in Washington County, southwest Virginia, in the 1780s.
The first information found concerning Samuel in southwest Virginia is dated from August 3, 1779, when he appeared at a court held for Montgomery County and acted as a bondsman for Thomas Conway and John Conway, who were cited for insurrection. The amount of the bond was 50 pounds.
Samuel and his wife, Nancy, had come to Big Moccasin Creek in 1780, probably from either Fauquier County or Frederick County. In addition to the Fugates, their neighbors on Moccasin Creek were Fraziers, Trimbles, Grosses, and Col. John Tate. One of Col. Tate's daughters, Jane, married Samuel's son, Henley. Colbert Fugate, a relative of Ann Haddix, also married a daughter of Col. Tate.
In 1782, Samuel appears on the tax rolls of Washington County, Virginia, as the proprietor of 100 acres of land valued at three pounds, ten shillings, and nine pence. This acreage was acquired from Walter Preston and lay on the south side of the Clinch River above Blakemore's Fort; known as Hickerson's Bottom. Samuel made his home here until he moved to Kentucky. Additionally, on the 1782 Washington County tax rolls, he was shown as owning two horses and seven head of cattle. He appeared on the Washington County, Virginia tax rolls through the year 1786.
On December 9, 1785, a petition was presented to the Virginia House of Delegates, signed by residents of the Clinch River, Moccasin Creek, Powell's Valley, and other areas. The thrust of the petition was that because of the difficulty in crossing Clinch Mountain and the north branch of the Holston River, especially in the spring due to floods, the petitioners had trouble attending courts and courts martial at the county seat of Abingdon. The petition urged that Washington County be divided and that a new county be formed, with a line along the Clinch Mountain to the Carolina line. Some of the signers of this petition were Samuel Haddix, Nimrod Haddix, James Blackmore, Colby Fugate, and John Tate.
The Virginia House granted this petition and Russell County, Virginia was formed in 1786 from Washington County, and it was named for General William Russell; a hero at the Battle of Kings Mountain. General Russell was married to Elizabeth Henry, a sister of Patrick Henry.
In February 1786, Samuel was assigned 400 acres of land in Washington County by John Blakemore, lying on both sides of the Clinch River between the River Hills and Copper Creek Ridge. Samuel later assigned this land to Henry Hamblin. Hamblin was one of the first settlers at Castles Woods about 1776. Also, in 1786, Samuel was assigned 220 acres by John Blakemore, lying on both sides of the Clinch River and adjoining his 400 acre tract. Another 180-acre tract was surveyed for him, but, due to some fault in the title, this survey was voided.
Samuel Haddix was on the tax rolls of Russell County, Virginia until 1799. He had, by this time, permanently removed to Kentucky. Samuel and his oldest son, Colby, had visited Kentucky about 1792; the year Kentucky was granted statehood. They came to look over land on lower Troublesome Creek and the North Fork of the Kentucky River that they were negotiating to purchase from Capt. Fisher Rice. Rice was a Revolutionary officer living in Fauquier County, Virginia at that time. Captain Rice had fought in the Revolution and took part in the Battle of Yorktown. After the war, he bought and was granted some 40 to 50 thousand acres of land in Kentucky, which was then Kentucky County, Virginia. Later, much of this land was in Fayette County, Kentucky, several thousand acres lying on the North Fork of the Kentucky River. Captain Rice moved to Kentucky and settled on a tract of land near present day Nicholasville, in Jessamine County. The first court for Jessamine County was held at his residence and a move to have the county seat located on his farm failed. The county seat of Nicholasville was later established a few miles away. Captain Rice later operated a tavern at his place of residence.
Colby Haddix served as sales representative and attorney for Captain Rice, handling sales of land on Lower Troublesome and the River. His father, Samuel, purchased 3,000 acres of uncleared wilderness from Captain Rice. When he bought the land, it was in Floyd County. Through the formation of counties, the land at the mouth of Troublesome was consecutively in Floyd, Clay, Perry, and finally, Breathitt Counties. Samuel owned two lots in Prestonsburg until 1815, when he sold them to John Spurlock, a friend and neighbor.
Samuel died in 1816. The county was then Clay. His youngest son, William was executor of his estate.
As far as we can determine, Samuel came to Kentucky to build a dwelling about 1795 or 1796. Coming with him to help clear the land and build his house were his four sons: Colby, John, Henley, and Billy. Also, in the party was Brack McQuinn, a neighbor in Virginia; and Billy's teenage friend, Harmon Hurst. Harmon later married Colby's daughter, Franky. Colby, Jr., later married Brack McQuinn's daughter, Betty. Some of Samuel's slaves also accompanied them to Kentucky.
When Samuel's party came to the mouth of Troublesome in present-day Breathitt County, the entire area was a wilderness. Enormous trees grew in all directions. The site selected for the house was near a small body of water, later called the Fish-Pond, and near where Solomon Noble lived in later years. The house constructed was a large log building, built entirely from trees cut in the immediate area. Tools used in the construction were brought from Virginia on pack horses. Brought along were tools needed in constructing a house in the wilderness, chopping axes, broad axes, augers, and frows. Each man in the group pitched in to help with the construction. There were no neighbors near enough to help with the "raising" as in former days in Virginia.
As the round logs were hoisted into position, a man with an axe was placed at each corner to notch the logs so that they would be as close together as possible. The house was about one story tall, with a gable at each end made with shorter legs in order for the roof to slope for drainage from the rains. The roof was made from boards split from a tree trunk by mallet and frow. This was called "riving the boards." The boards in the roof were held in place by poles, which were pegged down by wooden pegs driven into holes made with an auger. The pegs were individually shaped by hand. The front and back doors were made of slabs and were held in place by wooden hinges, with a wooden latch on the inside. A leather thong called a latchstring was attached to the wood latch and put through a hole in the door just above the latch. By pulling the latchstring from the outside, one could get into the house. At night, the string was pulled through the hole to the inside in order that no one could enter without the occupants' knowledge. This gave rise to the gesture of friendship when one person said to another, "My latchstring is always on the outside." The floor was laid with logs, with the hewn side up. This was called a puncheon floor. It was very serviceable and was held down at the ends by pegs driven through holes bored with a hand auger. Above the main floor an area was floored between the eaves of the house and called the loft. A few feet under the loft, part of a log was left out. A strip of paper greased with ground hog grease was stretched over the hole and served as a window to let in the light. Here and there, randomly placed at strategic spots, were loop holes. These were openings made large enough to permit a rifle to be fired in order to defend the house against a raid by Indians. This was a carry-over from their experiences on Moccasin Creek and the Clinch River in Virginia. The cracks between the logs were filled with clay mud (chinked). This filling was made from a clay-bank found nearby. This building was built entirely without nails. A large stone chimney was constructed at one end and a large wood-burning fireplace heated the entire house. Later, on return trips to Virginia, fireplace implements were brought in; dog-irons to hold the logs in the fireplace, pokers, fire tongs, and other things.
Samuel was an excellent marksman with a rifle and also a good hunter. He always kept a good supply of game on hand for the table. Game was plentiful in the area, even within sight of the house. Deer, bear, turkeys, and squirrel were all in profusion. After this house was built for Samuel, another house was built for Colby near the mouth of Big Branch, a few miles up the North Fork of the Kentucky River. Colby was the oldest son of Samuel and had recently married.
Sources of information for this article: Annals of Southwest Virginia by Summers; History of Southwest Virginia by Summers; Court Records of Prince William, Washington, and Clay Counties, Virginia; Court Records of Floyd and Clay Counties, Kentucky; and William D. Haddix, grandfather of the author.
Generated by GreatFamily 2.2 update 2