LOCAL HISTORY SCRAPBOOK History of the Combs Family by S.S. Combs

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 27: Scrapbooks, Albums, Gathered Notes

LOCAL HISTORY SCRAPBOOK History of the Combs Family by S.S. Combs


TAGS: LOCAL HISTORY SCRAPBOOK History of the Combs Family by S.S. Combs, Combs family, Scotland, Kentucky settlers, Brandy stills, Kentucky River rafting, New Orleans markets, Civil War, first Hazard (KY) courthouse, merchandise business


CONTENTS: LOCAL HISTORY SCRAPBOOK
History of the Combs Family by S.S. Combs

LOCAL HISTORY SCRAPBOOK History of the Combs Family by S.S. Combs ; Combs family ; North Fork Kentucky River ; Harrison Combs ; Scotland ; Matthew Combs ; peaches ; tame bears ; peach brandy ; stills ; Black Mountain ; Henry Ingle ; Fifteen Mile Creek ; Troublesome Creek ; Isaac Combs ; Wolfe County, KY ; Kentucky River ; bow oar ; stern oar ; New Orleans markets ; Henry Combs ; Hugh Combs ; George Combs ; Steve Combs ; walked from New Orleans, 1200 miles ; Charles Allen ; Perry County, KY ; Fannie Brown ; William Brown ; George Washington ; Annie Brown ; Alfred Combs ; William Combs ; Nathan Combs ; Rachael Combs ; Isaac Bach ; Breathitt County ; Tempie Davis ; Henry Combs ; Letcher County ; South Fork of Quicksand ; Robert Davis ; Aunt Polly Davis ; James W. Combs ; Dulcina Combs ; Stephen Combs ; Sewell Combs ; Larkin Combs ; Alfred Combs ; William Combs (d. 1854) ; Ben Grigsby ; Isaac Combs ; Winnie Combs ; Evaline Combs ; Angelina Combs ; Ben Combs ; Mat Combs ; Edward Combs ; James W. Combs ; State College at Lexington, KY ; Henry Clay Monument ; lawyers ; Judge J.M. Elliott ; Union army ; Colonel Barnes’ regiment ; Fourth Kentucky Infantry ; Murfreesboro, Tennessee ; Larkin Combs was Confederate ; General John S. Williams’ regiment ; Capt. J.M. Thomas’ company ; Capt. David Swango ; Uncle Harrison Swango ; Hazel Green ; Grapevine, KY ; typhoid fever ; Asbury Combs ; Irvine, KY ; Col. H.C. Lilly ; Sixth Kentucky Calvary ; Henry Combs ; Jeff Johnson ; Abe Swango ; T.C. Johnson of Lee County, KY ; Alfred Combs, Breathitt County Judge ; David K. Butler, County Attorney ; General Elijah Combs, Revolutionary War, came to Hazard, KY, from Virginia ; Winchester, KY ; Benjamin Combs from Russell County, VA ; floated on Ohio River to Maysville ; Daniel Boone Trail ; Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia ; William Z. Eubank ; peach orchard ; Ned McIntosh’s still ; Hazard Court House ; log houses ; Twin Creek ; Crawford Family ; Austin Godsey ; tax paid in fur skins ; J.G. Trimble ; W.O. Mize ; Ike Combs ; Sheriff A.T. Combs ; corn whiskey ; rye whiskey ; apple brandy ; Joe Sanders ; Elihu Weber ; James E. Sloan ; Campton, KY ; handmade wool and cotton cards ; hooped skirts ; horse thieves ; S.A. Duff ; merchandising ;


GALLERY: LOCAL HISTORY SCRAPBOOK
History of the Combs Family by S.S. Combs


TRANSCRIPTION: LOCAL HISTORY SCRAPBOOK
History of the Combs Family by S.S. Combs [Sewell? Combs]
Page 23, c. 1922

[The text is slightly edited. The subtitles below have been added and are not part of the original text.]

[local_hist_album_023.jpg] First page.

S.S. COMBS
Begins in this issue
The History of the Combs Family

Some time in the year 1600, There were ten brothers of the Combs family, who came over from Scotland to America. Most of them settled in Virginia.

SETTLING IN KENTUCKY

Harrison Combs, my great-grandfather, came to Kentucky from Russell County, Virginia, in 1795, and settled on the North Fork of the Kentucky River. The place at which he settled was known as the Big Bottom, which was about a half mile above where the town of Hazard now stands. This was the first settlement on the North Fork of the Kentucky River in this section of the country.

When Harrison Combs came to Kentucky, his son, Matthew, came with him. He was ten years old. They brought along with them some peach seeds, seed corn, a rifle gun, a supply of ammunition, an ax a weeding hoe, an iron wedge and a froe [a cleaving tool with a handle at right angles to the blade]. They built a shanty to sleep in, cleared two acres of ground, caught a young bear and kept it at their shanty. The young bear took up with Matthew. The bear stayed with them until large enough to eat, when they killed it and kept the meat to eat. So they had some fine tame bear meat.

As soon as they got their corn laid by and a house built they went back to Virginia after the rest of the family. On their return trip, they carried their household goods on two horses. Most of the family walked and drove two cows through to Kentucky.

THE COMBS’ BRANDY STILL

The peach seeds I mentioned before grew and bore more peaches than they knew what to do with, so Matthew and his brother Henry went to Washington County, Virginia, and got a still and hauled it to the foot of the Black Mountain. There they took hickory withes and a pole and carried across the mountain and on to their home where they made peach brandy. This still was in the Combs family for years. It was loaned to Henry Ingle about the year 1856, who lived at that time just below the Fifteen Mile Creek on Troublesome. Isaac Combs, an uncle of mine took it to Wolfe County. I went after it and took it home with me where I made peach and apple brandy in it. It was loaned to someone on the Kentucky River and the house in which it was located was burned in 1872.

Harrison Combs sold their place to his son, Matthew, and he bought on Troublesome Creek, which is now in Breathitt County, but at the time was in Perry County. The Troublesome Creek place was also later sold to Matthew. Harrison Combs’ wife died about the time he sold out. He had five boys: Matthew, Henry, Hugh, George and Steve. Combs later married a young woman and moved to the State of Indiana and was lost sight of. The Troublesome Creek farm of Harrison’s [has been] in the hands of the Combs family to this time.

RAFTING ON THE KENTUCKY RIVER TO NEW ORLEANS

Harrison Combs hung the first bow oar on a raft or boat on the Kentucky River. When they commenced running boats and rafts they had what is called the stern oar and one on each side next to the bow end. When Harrison Combs got to running on the water from Kentucky to New Orleans, he hung an oar on the bow end of the raft or boat and did away with the side oars.

New Orleans was the marketplace for corn, potatoes, tobacco and hemp, also lumber. The farmers would sell their surplus of crops to the men who ran the boats or rafts. They would take it to New Orleans, sell it and walk back home, a distance of 1200 miles, which was traversed almost entirely through the woods.

The last time I ever saw Mr. Charles Allen he took dinner at my father’s when I was a boy just about ten years old. Mr. Allen told me he had made eleven trips to New Orleans and had walked back every time. Mr. Allen lived in what is now Lee County.

S.S. COMBS’ GRANDFATHER, GRANDMOTHER AND FATHER

Matthew Combs, my grandfather, moved to the Troublesome Creek farm in 1828. His son Henry, who was my father, was two years old when Perry County was made and was ten years old when his father moved to Troublesome Creek. Matthew Combs married Fannie Brown, daughter of William Brown, who came from England before the Revolutionary War. Mr. Brown married in the State of Georgia and was among the first troops to enlist when the war broke out. [He] was under the command of General George Washington and served seven years with him.

Mr. Brown came to Kentucky and lived two years. While here his two daughters married two of the Harrison Combs’ sons. Matthew married Fannie Brown and Henry married Annie Brown.

Matthew and his wife, Fannie, lived on their Troublesome Creek farm until he became blind when they broke up housekeeping and lived with their children the rest of their days. His wife lived with her son Henry, my father, until her death. They raised eight sons and one daughter. Aaron lives in Missouri; Matthew in Kentucky; Alfred and Henry on Troublesome Creek in Breathitt County; Richard in Montgomery County; William in Jackson, Ky.; Nathan in Arkansas. Rachel married Isaac Bach and lived in Quicksand about three miles above Jackson.

Henry Combs, my father, married Tempie Davis, a daughter of Evans and Susie Davis, who came from what is now Letcher Count to the South Fork of Quicksand, which was then in Perry County but now in Breathitt. The trip covered a distance of about 75 miles, which was made on horseback. The only road was just a path cut through the wilderness. They had to camp out as they could get no place to stay. They unpacked their bedding and slept on the ground. When they awoke the next morning the ground was covered with about four inches of snow.

Tempie was about 12 years old when she moved with her parents to the South Fork of Quicksand in 1827, seven years after Perry County was made. Her small brother, Robert, rode behind her on horseback. Robert Davis…

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…was the husband of Aunt Polly Davis. Henry Combs raised eight children: James W., Dulcina, Stephen, Sewell, Larkin, Alfred, Asberry and William. Tempie Davis Combs died December 5, 1854.

Henry Combs’ second wife was a daughter of Ben Grigsby, of Perry County. They raised six children: Isaac, Winnie, Evaline, Angelina, Ben, Mat and Edward.

S.S. COMBS’ BROTHERS

James [W.] Combs was the first student to enroll at the first session of the State College at Lexington in September 1856. He attended the laying of the cornerstone of Henry Clay’s monument on the Fourth of July, 1857. He was examined for law license by Judge J.M. Elliott (for whom Elliott County was named in 1896) and admitted to the Jackson bar in 1857. He enlisted in the Civil War on the Union side in 1862 and belonged to Colonel Barnes’ regiment, the Fourth Kentucky Infantry. He died at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, of brain fever in 1863.

Larkin left for the South in 1862 and joined the Confederate side. He was in General John S. Williams’ regiment and Capt. J.M. Thomas’ company.

Alfred joined the Confederate army in 1862, enlisting in Captain David Swango’s Company. Captain Swango was a son of Uncle Harrison Swango, of Hazel Green. The rebels made a raid on the home guards just above the mouth of Grapevine, in Perry County. They engaged in battle. On their way back the rebels waded the river and were compelled to walk sixteen miles before finding a place where they could dry their clothing.

From this exposure, Alfred contracted a cold which later developed into typhoid fever, and he never sufficiently recovered to rejoin his command during the rest of the war.

Asbury, barely fifteen years of age and weighing only 95 pounds, went to Irvine in 1862 and enlisted in Col. H.C. Lilly’s regiment of cavalry, which regiment was known as the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry.

S.S. COMBS’ CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCES

At the beginning of the war, I had a commission from the Governor to raise a company of State troops. I had the company about two-thirds enlisted and we met and drilled every Saturday. The war got so hot that the first thing I knew two-thirds of the men enlisted in my company had joined the Confederacy and the other third had joined the Union cause. So I put my commission away and never told anyone about it. Mu commission afterwards got torn up.

S.S. COMBS’ FATHER’S THIRD MARRIAGE

Henry Combs’ third wife was the widow of Jeff Johnson and a daughter of old Abe Swango, who was the father of Uncle Harrison Swango. She was the mother of T.C. Johnson of Lee County, who died in 1886.

OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS

Alfred Combs, an uncle of mine, was County Judge of Breathitt County. He served four years and received $75.00 per year as his salary. At the same time, David K. Butler drew $40.00 per year for acting as County Attorney. However, he did not serve a full term.

General Elijah Combs came to Kentucky from Virginia after my great-grandfather, Harrison Combs came. He was a nephew of Harrison’s and a cousin to Matthew. He settled at Hazard. After the Revolutionary War was over the men all met and drilled for years, for fear of another war. General Combs became Adjutant General of Kentucky. He was a member of the Legislature of the State. He was also a member of Masonic Lodge No. 1, which met at Lexington.

Grandfather Matthew Combs said that he had four or five Combs cousins who came to Kentucky eight or ten years after he had come. These cousins settled in Clark and Madison Counties. He never saw but one of these cousins afterwards, and this one rode horseback through the woods to my grandfather’s home above Hazard. At the time of this visit, grandfather had one hundred and twenty gallons of good peach brandy, which his cousin bought at 50 cents a gallon. This brandy he shipped on a raft down the [truncated, continued in image 023b] Kentucky River to Boonesboro and then hauled it to the present site of Winchester, where he lived.

Some time in the month of December and before Kentucky was made a State, old Benjamin Combs and five other men came to Kentucky from Russell County, Virginia. They walked to Pittsburg, where they bought some lumber and built a boat in which they floated down the Ohio River to the present site of Maysville. This was a regular landing place but was called some other name at that time. Old Benjamin and his companions, while floating down the river, entered into an agreement that the one of them that touched land on the Kentucky side first should have first choice of the land. When at about fifteen feet of the landing place, “Old Benny,” as he was called, plunged into the river and swam to the shore. Consequently, according to agreement, he was to have first choice.

They walked, taking Daniel Boone’s trail, to the present site of Winchester. Old Benny laid off his tract upon part of which is now located the city of Winchester. His deed was written on parchment and signed by the Governor of Virginia. At that time Kentucky was not Kentucky, but Transylvania County, of Virginia. Patrick Henry was Governor of Virginia at that time. In 1792, when Kentucky was admitted to the Union, Old Benny went to Virginia and got his deed and had it placed on record in the County Clerk’s office at Winchester, where it is still on record. Wm. Z. Eubank owned a farm inside of Benny’s tract.

S.S. COMBS’ GRANDFATHER AND HIS PEACHES

My grandfather had the largest peach orchard of any man in the country, and in the year 1852 or 1853, the trees bore a great crop of peaches. While he and his neighbors were discussing what disposition to make of them, one of them suggested taking them to ned McIntosh’s still and have them made into brandy. The distance was about six miles and no road over which to haul them. There was not even a sled road. The water in Troublesome Creek was too low to take them by water so they decided to hunt up all the sacks they could find, fill them, and take them on horseback. The sacks they had held four bushels each. They spent about three days in carrying peaches to McIntosh’s still, which was located on the north fork of the Kentucky River, just below [truncated, continued in image 023b] the mouth of Troublesome. In all, they took thirty-seven horse loads, which Mr. McIntosh made into peach brandy. All those that helped transport the peaches got a share of the brandy. Some of them brought jugs, some bottles, and some gourds in which to carry home their shares. None of it was sold but was used at home in dispensing hospitality.

[local_hist_album_023b.jpg] Complete text of paragraphs, which were truncated in 023a.

Alfred joined the Confederate army…during the rest of the war.
General Elijah Combs came to Kentucky from Virginia…Kentucky river to Boonesboro and…Henry was Governor of Virginia…dispensing hospitality.

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THE FIRST COURTHOUSE IN HAZARD

The first courthouse at Hazard was built of round logs with a roof of clapboard which were held down with poles. There were no windows in the building nor were there any boards over the cracks. For three or four years corn was grown within three or four feet of the rear of it.

During the sessions of the Circuit Court, the people who attended had to camp across the river from the courthouse as there was no place to stay in town. There were very few people living in Hazard at that time. The first Circuit, County and Quarterly Court Clerk of Perry County was Jesse Combs. He held all three offices up to the time of his death or for a period of fifty-four years.

Austin Godsey (Father of Drue Godsey) married Jesse Combs’ daughter and was among the first sheriffs of Perry County.

In forming Perry County it run a straight line from the mouth of Quicksand Creek to the mouth of Twin Creek at the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River. At the mouth of Twin Creek there lived a settlement of the Crawford family. There were no roads and the people had to travel through the woods. The distance was so great and as there were no roads, Mr. Godsey always just paid their taxes to keep from making the trip. The tax rate was 12 1/2 cents on the hundred dollars. Mr. Godsey also said that most of the taxes of Perry County were paid in fur skins.

About the year 1857, the offices of County Judge, County Attorney, Sheriff, Jailer, County and Circuit Court Clerks were all held by members of the Combs family, and there has not been a time since that some member of the family did not hold some office in Perry County.

S.S. COMBS’ WORK EXPERIENCES

In 1862 I worked for Austin Godsey at cattle driving. My wages were 5 cents per day.

In 1863 my father, Henry Combs, sent me to Hazel Green to get a piece of iron out of which to lay a plow. The piece of iron I got was 10 ft. long, 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. I purchased it from J.G. Trimble, who was the only merchant in that section at that time. W.O. Mize was his clerk and weighed the iron form me. I paid 10 cents per pound for the iron and also bought a few other things. I wrapped a quilt around the iron and carried it before me on horseback to my home, a distance of 36 miles from Hazel Green.

In September 1863, I left my father’s home to work for Uncle Ike Combs who lived on Stillwater Creek in Wolfe Co. When I left home I had one 50-cent piece and one 10-cent piece and one 3-cent piece. I spent the 50-cent piece and said that I would keep the 10- and 3-cent pieces for good luck. I worked three years for Uncle Ike (the father of Sheriff A.T. Combs) and most of my time was spent in the still house making corn and rye whiskies and apple brandy.

In October 1864, I went to Beattyville and sold two barrels of apple brandy for $242.00. When I had sold my brandy I left Beattyville and stopped about five miles out to stay all night. That night I was robbed of the $242.00 and my 10- and 3-ent pieces by Joe Sanders, Elihu Weber and James E. Sloan. Sanders was later killed at Hazel Green. The following day I went to Campton.

In 1864, I went to Hazel Green and bought thirty-seven pairs of handmade wool and cotton cards and some hooped skirts of J.G. Trimble. I sold some of the skirts in 1865. When I was a…[truncated] to start out to assess the county, someone stole my horse and I had to walk to do my assessing. Wolfe County was made in 1860 and named for Nathaniel Wolfe.

In November 1866, I went into the merchandise business at Campton with S.A. Duff. I remained in that business at Campton for forty years. When I first went into business at Campton the whole population of the town was thirty-five souls.

Yours Truly,
S.S. Combs.


See Also COMBS FAMILY


Title

LOCAL HISTORY SCRAPBOOK History of the Combs Family by S.S. Combs

Alt. Title

“History of the Combs Family” by S.S. Combs

Identifier

LOCAL HISTORY SCRAPBOOK History of the Combs Family by S.S. Combs

Creator

Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Combs Family ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; LOCAL HISTORY SCRAPBOOK History of the Combs Family by S.S. Combs ; Combs family ; North Fork Kentucky River ; Harrison Combs ; Scotland ; Matthew Combs ; peaches ; tame bears ; peach brandy ; stills ; Black Mountain ; Henry Ingle ; Fifteen Mile Creek ; Troublesome Creek ; Isaac Combs ; Wolfe County, KY ; Kentucky River ; bow oar ; stern oar ; New Orleans markets ; Henry Combs ; Hugh Combs ; George Combs ; Steve Combs ; walked from New Orleans, 1200 miles ; Charles Allen ; Perry County, KY ; Fannie Brown ; William Brown ; George Washington ; Annie Brown ; Alfred Combs ; William Combs ; Nathan Combs ; Rachael Combs ; Isaac Bach ; Breathitt County ; Tempie Davis ; Henry Combs ; Letcher County ; South Fork of Quicksand ; Robert Davis ; Aunt Polly Davis ; James W. Combs ; Dulcina Combs ; Stephen Combs ; Sewell Combs ; Larkin Combs ; Alfred Combs ; William Combs (d. 1854) ; Ben Grigsby ; Isaac Combs ; Winnie Combs ; Evaline Combs ; Angelina Combs ; Ben Combs ; Mat Combs ; Edward Combs ; James W. Combs ; State College at Lexington, KY ; Henry Clay Monument ; lawyers ; Judge J.M. Elliott ; Union army ; Colonel Barnes’ regiment ; Fourth Kentucky Infantry ; Murfreesboro, TN ; Larkin Combs was Confederate ; General John S. Williams’ regiment ; Capt. J.M. Thomas’ company ; Capt. David Swango ; Uncle Harrison Swango ; Hazel Green ; Grapevine, Perry County, KY ; typhoid fever ; Asbury Combs ; Irvine, KY ; Col. H.C. Lilly ; Sixth Kentucky Calvary ; Henry Combs ; Jeff Johnson ; Abe Swango ; T.C. Johnson of Lee County, KY ; Alfred Combs, County Judge of Breathitt County, KY ; David K. Butler, County Attorney ; General Elijah Combs, Revolutionary War, came to Hazard, KY, from Virginia ; Winchester, KY ; Benjamin Combs from Russell County, VA ; floated on Ohio River to Maysville ; Daniel Boone Trail ; Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia ; William Z. Eubank ; peach orchard ; Ned McIntosh’s still ; Hazard Court House ; log houses ; Twin Creek ; Crawford Family ; Austin Godsey ; tax paid in fur skins ; J.G. Trimble ; W.O. Mize ; Ike Combs ; Sheriff A.T. Combs ; corn whiskey ; rye whiskey ; two barrels of apple brandy for $242.00 ; Joe Sanders ; Elihu Weber ; James E. Sloan ; Campton, KY ; handmade wool and cotton cards ; hooped skirts ; horse thieves ; S.A. Duff ; merchandising ;

Subject LCSH

History of the Combs Family by S.S. Combs.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Kentucky — History.

Date

2014-10-26 hw

Publisher

Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Contributor

n/a

Type

Collections ; text ; image ;

Format

Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet.

Source

Series 27: Scrapbooks, Albums, Gathered Notes

Language

English

Relation

Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 27: Scrapbooks, Albums, Gathered Notes.

Coverage Temporal

1600 -c. 1922

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; North Fork Kentucky River ; Troublesome Creek ; Wolfe County, KY ; Perry County, KY ; Lexington, KY ; Grapevine, KY ; Irvine, KY ; Breathitt County, KY ; Hazard, KY ; Virginia ; Winchester, KY ; Russell County, VA ; Ohio River ; Maysville, KY ; Campton, KY ; Boonesboro, KY ; Murfreesboro, TN ; Jackson, KY ; New Orleans, LA ; Transylvania County, VA ; Scotland ; Black Mountain ; Fifteen Mile Creek ; Letcher County, KY ; South Fork of Quicksand, KY ; Lee County, KY ; Twin Creek ; Campton, KY ; Daniel Boone Trail ; 

Rights

Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Donor

n/a

Description

Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Combs Family and S.S. Combs ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Combs Family and S.S. Combs.

Acquisition

n/d

Citation

“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

Bibliography

Source

Combs, S.S., “History of the Combs Family.” Clipping from unidentified newspaper pasted in an album of local history album, c. 1922. Series 27: Scrapbooks, Albums, Gathered Notes. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

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