General John Hunt Morgan
and Reminiscences of Morgan, Kentucky
Revised, September, 1976 by Ewing O. Cossaboom
Found at the Pendleton County Library
Submitted and transcribed by Nancy Bray
Much of my life has been spent in Morgan. Some of my happiest days were there. I have heard much Morgan history told and retold. We all wished that Kentucky Colonel, Risk Makemson, could have written all he knew about Morgan. This could have been a history. Failing this, I have decided to record, not a history, but some of my remembrances of Morgan. I trust that this will be read in that light.
Ewing O. Cossaboom
The Morgan Valley
Near Morgan there still exists one of the scenic pictures of Nature. As a beautiful gem sparkles in a ring, the broad green river valley nestles between the hills. As always, the beauty of the valley can be seen only from the hills, but there must be a pause to breathe in the view. Then it appears that Nature has scooped a giant spoonful of lovely wonderment in the valley below. There, the verdant valley opens uniquely its green on both sides of the river and in three different directions. The river itself lies hidden by the towering dark green splendor of double sycamores and giant oaks, and flows quietly on over rocky riffles and little islands. There Nature's quiet, scenic beauty is still unmarred by the noisy transgressions of man. In the far distance, to complete the picture, juts the final ring of hills, verdant trimmed with red bud in spring, and golden and russet in autumn, as Nature completes this picture of beauty. Ewin O. Cossaboom Morgan, Kentucky July 19, 1975
General John Hunt Morgan and Reminiscences
of Morgan, Kentucky
In the long cold winter nights before the glowing warmth os a country fireplace I first heard of General John Hunt Morgan. I could not have been over six years old when Aunt Annie Makemson, at the ancestral Ewing home, fitst told me that General John Hunt Morgan and his men had been at the beautiful scenic valley then called Stowers Station, but later renamed Morgan in honor of General John Hunt Morgan.
Aunt Annie was born in 1859 and said that her mother, Rebecca Brann Makemson was addressed by General Morgan as follows: My good little Rebel woman, would you sew a button on my coat? Her mother gladly sewed the button, in spite of later criticism from one of her Brann relatives who was married to a Union soldier.
To this day, this folklore about General Morgan is told both in the community and in the schools and has been passed from one generation to the next since the War between the States. As late as June, 1975, a small boy at the Eibeck General Store (formerly theEwing Store) told me that General Morgan and his men had camped at (Stowers Station) on a hill just above the old railroad station (which then was Kentucky Central) and to the northeast of the present store. This land at that time was owned by Richard Stowers, and is now owned by Roy Greene. Robert L. Ammerman confirmed that he also had been taught this in school at Morgan.
A study of the histories written about General John Hunt Morgan discloses that the Morgan Men actually were at Falmouth at two different periods. In September, 1862, the Southern general, General Heath had advanced to within five miles of Covington and needed cavalry. Strangely enough at this time, Cincinnati was undefended. Morgan's Men acted as the scouts in Covington and also were at Walton, Crittenden, Williamstown and then camped near Falmouth. From there scouts were sent to Foster's landing. General Duke planned to cross the Ohio and threaten Cincinnati, however, the battle at Augusta disrupted this plan and a withdrawal toward Falmouth was made after spending the night at Brooksville. The Morgan Men then traveled to Falmouth and Cynthiana.
Later in May, 1864, General Morgan and his men left southwestern Virginia for the final and disastrous Kentucky raid on Mt. Sterling. It was at this time that the second battle of Cynthiana was fought. The Morgan Men were also at Cynthiana on July 18 and 19, 1862. The Berry diary states as follows: "Leaving Kentucky, he returned by way of Falmouth, Connersville, Claysville, Sardis, Mays Lick, Flemingsburg, Poplar Plains, Morehead, West Liberty, Licking Station, Paintsville and Piketon, back into Virginia and East Tennessee to his department assignment."
(Four Years with Morgan, Berry, pages 287, 288. This is also confirmed by a map in General Duke's book at page 521.)
Thus actually the written histories tend to corroborate the folklore of General Morgan as told locally at Morgan, since the War between the States.
THE NAMING OF MORGAN
At Morgan, there were two Ewing families, who owned large tracts of fine bottom land. Milton Ewing married Nancy Brann, a sister of Rebecca Brann Makemson. There were four Ewing sons, Samuel T. Ewing, Newton Ewing, Joel Ewing and John Milton Ewing. All of these sons except John Milton Ewing served the cause of the South. Samuel T. Ewing was a Morgan man in Company D. Fourth Kentucky Cavalry. Colonel Henry I. Giltner was the Commamder of the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry which was on the last Kentucky raid in 1864. After the surrender of General Lee to General Grant on April 9, 1865, Colonel Giltner took his regiment from Virginia, through the Big Sandy Valley and surrendered his men at Mt. Sterling, Kentucky on April 30, 1865.
Samuel T. Ewing was one of these men and received his parole at Mt. Sterling, Kentucky on May1, 1865. The parole, which permitted a return home upon the vowel not to take up arms again, became a precious possession of the Southern soldier. The parole of Samuel T. Ewing hung in the law office of Harold C. Ewing, his grandson, and is now in the possession of Nelva Ewing at Falmouth. Samuel T. Ewing was the father of Roger Ewing, Charles Ewing, Ambrose Ewing, Nannie Ewing, Arnold and Mary Ewing Thompson. He was the grandfather of Roscoe Ewing, Harold C. Ewing, Robert (Bob) Thompson, Anna Lee Thompson Aulick and numerous others not living in the county, including the children of Frank and Nannie Arnold. He was the great grandfather of Betty Thomas Conrad.
There was another Ewing family that lived at Morgan on the west side of the river. This was the family of Taylor Ewing. His two sons, John J. and Ben, served under General Morgan. Frank Garrard also fought for the South. When all of these men returned from the war, Morgan was named for General John Hunt Morgan, and the name Stowers Station was dropped.
John Milton Ewing, to his family which includes the writer was "our Uncle Jack." He was a fine a true Southern gentleman as ever lived. Dr. Snoddy, the noted Transylvania Professor of Philosophy told me as follows concerning John Milton Ewing: "He was the finest Christian gentleman I ever knew." He was the first leader of his church, the Morgan Christian Church. He was president of the Morgan Bank. He was the largest landowner in the county which included the beautiful and fertile bottom land at Morgan. He also was a charitable Christian and gave a large gift to Transylvania University, where John Hunt Morgan had been a student. Ewing Hall there was named in his honor. His home, which was also Aunt Annie's home, was visited by a long line of presidents, ministers, teachers from Transylvania and the College of the Bible. One of these described the Morgan Valley as "one of the beautiful scenes in all the world."
Life in the Morgan Valley, after the War between the States, and up until the late 1920's was a different but grand way of living. The large farms like that of John M. Ewing furnished almost a complete and sufficient life. There were large orchards and gardens. At Uncle Jack Ewing's farm, there were three different garden spots. Chickens and turkeys were raised abundantly. Hogs furnished the finest Kentucky hams and sausage. Cows were milked in those days. Butter was churned on the farm. Wheat furnished the flour, and corn furnished the corn meal. Both were ground at the local mill at Morgan. Salt and sugar had to be bought at the country store which was a "wonder to behold". This way of living has been aptly described in a book, Uncle Will of Wildwood by Frances Jewell McVey and Robert Berry Jewell. Life in the Morgan Valley was much the same as athe country life described in this book. The people took time to talk and to visit. To some extent, all of this slowly changed after the automobile, radio and television, which in one way or another gradually brought the turmoil of the cities to erode away the quiet and grand way of living in the country.
THE COUNTRY STORE
At the country store food was sold but also were shoes, clothing, hardware, harness, fencing and small farm repair parts. The old post office was in the corner of the store. Each local passenger train carried mail and had to be met by the one man postmaster, who was Roger Ewing.
The Ewing Store was owned by Roger Ewing for approximately forty years, and by Roscoe Ewing for appromimately forty years. In turn it was owned by Edna Ewing, Jewell Eibeck and now by Imogene Jenkins. Other people who worked there were Bill Nichols, Jim Rule, Lee Thompson , Cleve Thompson and the Cummins family.
THE MORGAN CEMETERY
The Morgan Cemetery was started by John M. Ewing, his first cousin, Joseph W. Makemson, Roger Ewing and Ambrose Ewing who owned the ancestral Brann home, now owned by Jack Biehn. Before the Morgan cemetery there had been some people buried in the rear church yard of the Morgan Christian Church and in family plots. Later the Morgan Cemetery was directed by Rule Makemson, and then by Risk Makemson and now by James Lowe Wilson.
THE MORGAN BANK
Morgan had its own bank. The old building still stands and is used for a residence. The old mill was just south of the bank and behind the mill was the village blacksmith.
Mr. Northcut, perhaps, was the first cashier. He later married Mary Gallagher, a school teacher. They lived on the land now owned by Roy Greene, just east of the railroad tracks. D. Barnett Casey, when a very young man, worked at this bank, as did Marion Boyers.
MORGAN CORDOVA ROAD
In the later part of the nineteenth century the present Morgan Cordova Road did not exist. According to Risk Makemson, there was an old road very near the river bank on the west side of the South Licking River. This was the only way that Frank Garrard and Nick Young had to go to Morgan. Frank Garrard owned the farm now owned by Roy Leland Wilson. Nick Young was the father of Risk Young. Risk Young's mother was a Hand.
There also was a very old road on the top of the ridge of the farm owned by Risk Makensom. Old deeds indicate that this was considered an important State Road from Cincinnati to Lexington.
Each owner had to keep up a certain protion of the road through his property many years ago. Toll gates still existed in the late part of the nineteenth century. There was a toll gate and house at the forks of the road at the Morgan-Boyd road and the Falmouth road one half mile south of Morgan. This land was then owned by John M. Ewing. The old house finally burned while occupied by Harold and Nora Greene about 1944. The rocks of the old road were napped (or crushed.)
For many years Morgan had its own doctors. There were Doctors Risk, Meek, Kendall and T. C. Nichols. Dr. Kendall lived where Noel Douglas lives and had married Mable Wadsworth, the sister of Charles Wadsworth and Chip Wadsworth, who later became engineers on the L. & N. Railroad and waved to their friends at Morgan from the cab of the large steam enines passing Morgan.
The last doctor in Morgan was Dr. Nichols who had married Hallie Garrard. They built and occupied the house, where Shay Engels now lives. The office of Dr. Nichols stood for many years between the railroad track and the house of Edna Ewing.
A PIONEER LAND OWNER AND HIS FAMILY
The name of John Ewing appears in the first deed book, A, of the county as one of the Trustees of Falmouth on June 4, 1799 (Deed Book A, page 22). On March 21, 1801 John Ewing executed a deed for 10,111 1/2 acres of land but reserved 1,000 acres in a square. The point of beginning was "2 miles north of General Clark's first encampment after crossing the south fork of Licking on his march to the Shawnee towns in 1782." (Deed Book A. page 214.) From the large size of this holding of land, it may have been that John Ewing received this as a land grant by virtue of being an American Revolutionary Soldier. There are other deeds in the 1820's from John Ewing to Elijah Ewing (E-33), James Ewing (E-34) and Taylor Ewing (E-468) and from Milton Ewing and his wife, Nancy to James Ewing on the South Fork of the Licking, 4 miles above Falmouth to James Ewing in 1835 (G-18).
In 1846 Milton Ewing, who was born in 1810 conveyed to John Meyers a 150 acre tract on the South Fork of the Licking on which John Ewing lived and died (I-49). On August 30, 1847, Milton Ewing acquired 439 acres on the bank of the South Licking River. (I-186). This land was on the east side of the river. Taylor Ewing owned 235 acres on the west side of the river. His son John J. Ewing, moved to Kansas as shown by a deed in 1887. (38-407). The last Ewing to live on the west side of the river was George W. Ewing, (38-407) dated July 6, 1887 for 31 acres.
General George Rogers Clark and his 1,000 Kentucky men, in November 1782 gathered at the Point in Covington and then destroyed the Shawnee towns in Ohio, after the siege of Bryan Station and the defeat at Blue Licks. Never again did the Indians bring an army into Kentucky. This meant that Kentucky could develop rapidly without fear of an Indian invasion. The later battles against the Indians were fought by the Kentucky pioneers north of the Ohio River. The victory at Fallen Timbers resulted in the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 and the settlement of Ohio and statehood for Ohio in 1803.
It is also very interesting to see in the very early deeds of the county the names of Lowe, Eibeck and George Angell (listed as land on Blanket Creek)
Many of the large landowners have already been mentioned. The Stowers family owned much land which included the hamlet of Morgan, the Morgan school grounds, the land now owned by Roy Greene, the George Howe homestead and a big tract of bottom lane which included the north 80 acres of the J. M. Ewing Farm, which the writer long owned, loved and treasured and which is now owned by Bob and Betty Ammerman, all of the bottom land now owned by Clarence Adams which had been owned by Roger Ewing and all of the home farm of William Lawrence and his mother, Mrs. Lisa Nichols, now owned by Junior Courtney. Morgan was first called Stowers Station.
The biggest landowner was Aunt Annie Makemson's Uncle James S. Hand. He owned land from the river to Roanoke. Unfortunately he died without a will in 1883 and his land was divided into over sixty parties. He owned far in excess of fourteen hundred acres. This land included much of the bottom land once owned by Uncle Joe Makemson and later by his two sons, Risk and Rule. It included the land just west where Bee Jimmy Moore owned and also the land owned by Uncle Jim Moore who was the father of Anna Aulick who was born in Morgan and now lives in Mt. Healthy, Ohio at 92 years of age. The division of this land is recorded in Land Book 1, Page 220 of the records of the Clerk of Pendleton County, Ky. In addition part of this land passed to well known names such as Andy Nelson, Elisha Antrobus, Frances Hume, Alec Henson, James Buskirk, William Makemson, Nellie Wallace, Elizabeth Allen, Lowe, Fisk, H. H. Hand, and Jane Fornish. Uncle Jim Hand's mother and father are buried in the old part of the Morgan Cemetery. His mother was Jane A. Hand who was born in the 18th century. His father was John Hand. The old marker still exists but is resting upon a tree trunk.
Uncle Jim Hand was never married. His sister, Elizabeth Hand, had married Andrew Makemson as his second wife in 1814. His first wife was Ann Lindsey who died in 1813. Andrew Makemson, who was the son of a former American Revolutionary soldier, and his wife, Elizabeth, lived on Mill Creek, near Cythiana (near the present Weber Sausage Company Plant). Both of them died in the cholera epidemic of 1833. Uncle Jim Hand went to Cynthiana and brought these orphans children back to Morgan and raised them. The trip was made by horseback. These children were Frances, who married John Hume in 1841, and America, who married William K. Nelson, and William Makemson who was Aunt Annie's father and who married Rebecca Brann in 1848, and Bethsheba who married Joseph Brann in 1852.
Uncle Jim Hand probably owned more slaves than any other man in Morgan. (Slavery never existed in Kentucky to the extent as in the Deep Spouth and certain sale limitations on importation had existed in Kentucky since the 1830's. Slavery was a dying institution by 1861.) America Mundy was a descendant of one of these slaves, Liza. America Mundy visited Aunt Annie when the writer was young. Some of these former slaves like Aunt Nan had a family affection for the whites and always refused to leave their home place. Aunt Nan returned after being taken to Williamstown.
In 1861 Milton Ewing owned only one slave, a cook, by the name of Mary. She lived in the cabin behind the house, after the war. When she died her four children, were raised by Aunt Annie Makemson who took them to church and taught them herself as there were no schools for them.
Another branch of the Makemson family lived in the old house now owned by Wilson Cummins. A detailed history of the Makemson family has been written by Walter Makemson of Leesburg, Indiana. He also placed a historical marker on Mill Creek near Cynthiana. The Makemsons originally came from Scotland but sojourned in Ireland, for about fifty years before going to Maryland.
In recent years other large landowners included George Hume, Charles Ewing, both of whom were reputed to be hard workers and fine farmers, John Monroe, Walter Sparks, George Purdy, Henry Hetterman, Tom Carr and many others. Lee Thompson married Mary Ewing. He and the former County Clerk, Robert (Bob) Thompson became the largest landowners of the vicinity.
In 1897 there were two frame buildings which adjoined each other. One faced the river. The oldest building of the Morgan School which still stands was built in 1915 by Everett Aulick. Later the gymnasium was attached to this building and served until all the Morgan students were taken to the new consolicated schools at and near Falmouth.
The Morgan Christian Church began in 1862. The land was deeded from Richard Stowers to Jeremiah Wells and William Kirkwood, Trustees. A brick church was built in 1883. Both buildings faced the South Licking River. This church did, and still does play an important part in the life of Morgan. A history of the Church was written for the Centennial in 1962.
Most of the ministers who served this church were student ministers. One of these was Charles O. Cossaboom. He also was a student minister at Flour Creek. He married a Morgan girl, loved the fine people of Morgan and Flour Creek and until his death was one of the owners of the J. M. Ewing Farm. Charles O. Cossaboom and also Ewing O. Cossaboom were of the opinion that Annie Elizabeth Makemson was the most remarkable and talented woman that both ever knew. For this reason a separate sketch of her is included. Melbourne A. Cossaboom was the minister of the Falmouth Christian Church and visited at Aunt Annie's home. In Falmouth he lived with Cousin Will Rule, whose mother was a Brann from Morgan. The facts on the Baptist Church are now readily available to the writer, but it was a very active church, especially under the leadership of Mrs. Lou Arnold.
ANNA E. MAKENSON
Anna E. Makenson was a remarkable and courageous lady with many talents. She lived on a high hill overlooking a beautiful river valley near Morgan, Kentucky. She had a fine intellect, a pleasant disposition, and a boundless love for everyone, especially orphan children. She raised seven orphan children. Six of these came from the Christian Church Home in Louisville. In addition, she already helped to raise four little Negro children whose mother, a former slave, had died. All of these children, white and black, were deeply loved by Aunt Annie, and in turn given an opportunity to learn to love. A real mother could know no greater love than she.
Aunt Annie was a leader in the women's work at Morgan Christian Church, but she also was a self-sacrificing worker. She taught a Sunday School class, she led the Women's Missionary Society, she raised money, she supervised the children's programs, and made candy for them, she visited and nursed the sick, and she prepared the Communion. She also took flowers. No church task was too menial for her and she did it all with a smile.
She and John M. Ewing, her first cousin, opened their large house to all the Christian Church ministers and college teachers. They quickly learned that this home was a haven of refuge where tired minds were restored by gracious and generous Kentucky hospitality, including Kentucky ham, sausage and chicken, with homemade ice cream and cake. The South Room of their house was kept for such church dignitaries. Dr. J. W. McGarvey, Dr. Snoddy and Dr. Crossfield were frequent visitors.
Aunt Annie attended many of the church conventions, both in Kentucky and nationally. There was nothing in the home, on the farm, and in her church, that she could not do. She was cited for being the outstanding Christian Church woman in all Kentucky. She was loved and admired by all.
Aunt Annie was truly a remarkable Christian lady, full of love, kindness and charity for all.
Though very small, Morgan has furnished and influenced many fine young people who became leaders in their work. Oral Lowe has been an outstanding minister of the Christian Church and is now retired. Samuel Elmore King served with distinction for many years as principal of the Ft. Thomas Grade School. Both of these leaders attended Transylvania University.
Morgan also furnished to its county, C. Harold Ewing, County Attorney, who was struck down by death in the prime of his life. He was aptly described by Rev. Sears as being like the Biblical Prince of Israel referred to by Samuel in the Old Testament. In addition, Victor Moore was also a former county sheriff and is from the Morgan Community, and Tommy Moore also had a store at Morgan at one time.
There have been many other teachers from Morgan to numerous to name like Eliza Hanson, Katherine Antrobus, Mary Howe Lowe, Martha Howe Arnold, Blanch Howe Earls, Kay Ewing, Arnetta Wells Moore, Dorcella Wells Biehn, and Betty Ammerman, and others. At the present time County School Superintendent, Richard Gulick, Sam Pierce and Lois Wilson are from the Morgan community.
Arris Hayes, who is now deceased, was the foster daughter of Mary and Risk Makemson and was for many years the private secretary of the presidents of the College of the Bible, which is now called Lexington Theological Seminary.
Return to "MemoryLane"