Judge Dysard Writes History of the Iron Hill School
Sandy Valley Enquirer
Thursday, December 10, 1942
By H. R. Dysard
Editor's Note: The above history of Iron Hill, as the caption designates,
was written by one of Carter County's most prominent sons--H.R. Dysard.
Judge Dysard is regarded by the members of the Kentucky Bar and by all
Eastern Kentucky as one of the most able lawyers in the State. He was
elected County Judge of Carter county at the November election, 1901,
and took office January 1, 1902, holding office until 1905. At the
November election, 1905, he was elected County Attorney of Carter County
and held office until he moved to Ashland in 1909. Judge Dysard was
elected Mayor of Ashland in 1917 and served until 1921. He has been Bar
Examiner for the State of Kentucky and was appointed by Governor Fields
as Election Commissioner for Kentucky.
We cannot give you the beginning of the school at Iron Hill. One of the
first things that we can remember is the old log schoolhouse known as
Beech Grove schoolhouse. It was made of great hewn logs, and was
erected before I was born. This log schoolhouse stood there somewhere
about 1895, when it was burned. Then the school district built the
frame house that is now located in the neighborhood of 100 to 150 feet
from where the old loghouse stood. The great beech trees are still
there, or were, the last time we were out there. We have been helped in
this by our good friend, C. L. Davis, who is an Iron Hill product, and
he does not remember when the schoolhouse was built. "Cat" and we do not
claim be historians and we will do the best we can to list the pioneers
of the locality.
When it comes to calling the roll of the pioneers around Iron Hill, we
approach the task with awe. In the first place, we do not know that we
know them all. In the second place, no finer bunch of men has ever come
to bless any community. They were law-abiding, God-fearing and honest.
You didn't have to sue them to collect a dollar they owed you. You
didn't have to have a grand jury for the investigation of their conduct.
They were fine neighbors and fine citizens. Of those that we remember,
there was Cassius Hall, who reared a splendid family, including the
lamented Z. T. Hall and John Hall. The family is all gone except Anna
Coffey, who is still living in the South somewhere.
There was Jonas Friend, who reared a large family of sons and daughters,
scattered over the earth but all of whom are now gone. There are some of
the second generation scattered about, but all the original family we knew
as the sons and daughters of Jonas Friend, are gone.
There was William Wilburn, who has left some children to bless his
memory. They are useful citizens in and around Carter county. Some are
far away, in other States.
There was W. K. Elam, who reared a large family, all of whom are dead.
David McGinnis reared a rather distinguished family. His son, Doctor
George, recently died at Raceland, Kentucky. As we understand, Alpha
Everman, at Gartrell, is the only member of the family left. He has
some grandchildren left, all honorable and good people.
S. P. Huffman, whose daughters, Ruby Ogden, Laura Sanders and Chloe
Callahan, are still about, also had some sons, one still living upon the
old homeplace. We imagine that the farm on which S. P. Huffman lived
has been occupied by some of the descendants of the Kibbey family for a
hundred years. Henry Huffman was a splendid old citizen who left some
fine boys in and about Iron Hill.
There were the Callihans--Thomas Callahan, John Callahan and Otho
Callahan. Thomas Callahan's children, William S. Callahan, of Louisiana,
Louella Hall and Nora Crawford, are still living. Otho Callahan had to
living sons, Ernest Callahan, now a member of the Ashland city council,
and Thomas Callahan.
B. F. McGinnis reared a family at Iron Hill, all of who are dead, except
one son, Arthur, who lives somewhere in the South. B. F. McGinnis was
soldier in the Mexican War.
Caleb Huff was one of the oldest settlers. He was the father of W. L.
Huff, Dr. John C. Huff and Polly Keeton, all of whom are now gone, but
all of whom have left distinguished descendants. Polly Huff married N.
T. Keeton, the father of Clara Hockley; Ernest Keeton, now in Ohio, John
Preston Keeton, now in the State of Washington and Judge James R. Keeton,
of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, a veritable landmark in the community, a useful
citizen anywhere. James R. Keeton has the honor of having his statue in
the Hall of Fame in the capital of Oklahoma as a recognition of distinguished
service, wile yet alive; an honor rarely accorded men yet living.
G. W. Patton has a son, Sam, still living at Iron Hill; a son, Green, who is a
managerial official of the Great Northern Railway System, in Seattle,
There was the Kibbey family. I know the name of only one of the family still
there--that is, Londan; but members of the family have scattered all over the
country, all useful and fine citizens, true to their country and their
Elijah Ferguson lived at Iron Hill for probably seventy-five years. He reared
a large family, all of whom are dead except the youngest daughter, Mary Barnes,
who now lives at Topeka, Kansas.
There are many of the newcomers there who deserve mention, and a history of
Iron Hill would not be complete without some of them. First on the list I
would place Jonathan Davis, who had one of the finest families I have ever
known. I can only say that no finer family of sons and daughters has been
reared in Carter county, then the children of Jonathan Davis, a very honorable
There were William Marshall, the Jordans, the Hignites, the Deans, the
Fraziers, the Hoods, the Egnlishes, the Colliers, the Harlows, all faithful
citizens of the Commonwealth. There are others of merit there, but we have
been away so long that we do not now recall their names, and we are sure
they will forgive us.
John A. Keys lived there for many years. He had three daughters, the youngest
the wife of Dr. McCleese of Olive Hill, and her sister, Minnie Tabor, also
lives at Olive Hill. We do not now know where the other daughter and son
are. They may be dead. We do not know.
Elias Fitch was a pioneer at Iron Hill. His family are all dead, as we
understand, except Simeon, who lives in Greenup county, Kentucky, and is a
fine citizen there.
There were the Burchetts--James Burchett, William Burchett, and Ben Burchett.
Ben Burchett is still there, probably ninety years old. We do not know his
Amos Davis married one of the Ferguson girls and reared a family there. His
son, C. L. Davis, lives in Ashland. A daughter, Electra Smith, lives in
Illinois; and a daughter, Ollie Fisher, lives in West Virginia.
Robert Forrest, a fine old citizen, now gone, left several sons and daughters,
about all of whom are gone.
There was Boston (sic Balsar) Newman, father of William Newman, and Mrs.
Burnett, fine old citizen, who left his footprints on the community.
Ambrose Willis was the blacksmith for all the country. We do not know if any
of the children of Ambrose Willis are living.
There was Hiram Horsley, whose family is all dead.
Our own father went to that locality with the iron furnace there. One of the
early memories that we have is the blowing of the whistle at that furnace.
We can recall when they were digging ore in many places near the furnace, and
cutting and charring cord wood.
The furnace was making iron which was hauled to the Ohio River and shipped by
One of the first faces that we remember was that of Isabel Culbertson, who
married Otho Callahan. She would make over us, when were a mere baby, and we
have remember her ever since. She died recently here in Ashland.
In the sale of the old furnace land, Z. T. Hall bought the site for a very
small price, and with it he obtained possession of and sold the furnace. We
recall the dynamiting of its engines, boilers, great wheels and ovens for
scrap iron--thousands of tons of scrap iron. It had to be blasted and broken
before it could be sold for scrap.
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