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Created in 1860 from Breathitt, Morgan

Owsley & Powell Counties


Written by Scott E. Sallee

Abraham Hanks was born about 1745 in the northern neck of Virginia to Luke and Elizabeth Hanks. About 1768, Abraham Hanks married Sarah Harper, and settled in Prince William Co., Va.. where he engaged in blacksmithing.

In the spring of 1775, Abraham Hanks joined, as a farrier, the party of William Calk which was going to join Daniel Boone in Kentucky. The group, which consisted also of Enoch Smith, Phillip Drake, and Robert Whitledge, met on the Rapidan River on March 14,1775, where, according to Calk's journal, "abrams Dogs leg got broke by Drakes dog."

The following morning the party set off toward the Cumberland Gap. The incident the day before must have been a bad omen for Abraham Hanks, as Calk made the following entries in his journal: "Satrd 25 . Eanock Abram & I got lost..." Thurst 30th.. hors broke three of our powder goards & Abrams flask." "April mond 3rd...we had this creek to cross many times and very Bad Banks Abrams saddel turned and the load all feIl in..." "Tuesday 11th...abrams mair Ran into the River with her Load & Swam over he followed her & got on her & made her Swim Back again..."

At Martin's Station, in the PoweIl Valley of Virginia, Calks party joined that of Richard Henderson and the two headed along the Wilderness Way, through the Gap, and camped at Rockcastle River, There they were met by refugees fleeing the Indians, who, according to Calk, told "Such news Abram and Drake is afraid to go any further." The following day.Apri1 13, 1775, Abraham Hanks tended his farrier duties, then turned back with Enoch Drake. But Abraham did not retreat far. He joined one of Henderson's work crews in the Powell Valley clearing the trails, then traveled to Boonesborough, arriving in time to help Calk survey the town and plant the first corn crop.

Abraham Hanks also went with William Calk to the present site of Mt. Sterling to look at land that Calk entered, but the deal was not completed. Abraham returned to Virginia, where, according to family tradition, he was inthe Revolutionary War. Though no formal record of service exists, it is likely he did serve as a farrier from time to time for the patriot forces. About 1783, he moved his family to Campbell Co.,Va., where he, along with his wife, died in the early 1790s, and was buried in the Hanks plot of the Hatt Creek Cemetery. Abraham and Sarah (Harper) Hanks had nine children, all of whom eventually lived in Kentucky. They were: 1) Abraham Jr. (1770-? after 1814), married Mary "Polly" Combs; 2) Luke (1771-1856), married (l) name unknown; (2) Celia; 3) William (1775-1857), married (1) Margaret Wilson; (2) Elizabeth Lloyd; 4) George (1782-1813), married Sibby Harper; 5) Fielden (1783-1861), married Lydia Harper; 6) Nancy (1784-1818), married Thomas Lincoln (parents of President Abraham Lincoln); 7) John (1786-? before 1835), married Amy Swift; 8) Sarah (1788-1876), married 1) James Hanks, 2) Andrew Varvell; and 9) Mary "Polly" (1790-1854), never married.

Fielden Hanks was born in 1783 in Campbell Co., Va., to Abraham and Sarah (Harper) Hanks. As a child, it is likely that Fielden lived with relatives, as he was orphaned at an early age.

About 1804, Fielden Hanks came to Kentucky and married Lydia Harper, a full-blood Choctaw Indian whose parents, John and Mary Ann Harper ,had come to Kentucky from Mississippi. (Lydia Harper's sister Sibby married Fielden's brother, George Hanks)

Fielden and Lydia Hanks settled on Slate Creek in Montgomery Co., Ky., where Fielden was first listed as a taxpayer in 1806. At that time, he owned only a horse, but quickly acquired more property. Records from George Hanks' estate sale on Jan. 3, 1814, show that Fielden Hanks purchased a sorrel horse.

On Sept. 20, 1814, Fielden Hanks enlisted in the Kentucky Militia, and was assigned as a corporal in Capt. Micajuh McClenny's Company, of Major Peter Dudley's Mounted Battalion. Fielden served two months in this capacity, receiving his discharge on Nov. 14, 1814, at Detroit, Michigan.

In 1818, Fielden Hanks moved from Montgomery Co. to Camp Town (present-day Campton), where he built the first permanent dwelling in what had been a miners' camp for men seeking the legendary Swift Silver Mine in the nearby Red River Gorge. In 1824, he was elected one of the first magistrates of newly formed Morgan Co., Ky.

Fielden and Lydia (Harper) Hanks had ten children. They were: 1) Jordan (1806-1830), married Lydia Combs; 2) William (1807-1870), married Louisa Hall; 3) Lucinda "Lucy" (1808-1894), married l)Joel Chambers, 2) Henry Evans; 4) Annie (1811-1903), married James Cox; 5) Cuthbert Million "Cud" (1814-1892), married 1)Millie Ann Garrett, 2) Armida Hackney; 6) Andrew J. (1816-1890), married l) Katherine Wilson, 2) Susan Kemper: 7) Nancy (1818- ?), married Allen Day; 8) George (1820-1857), married Jemima Wireman; 9) Louisa (1822- ?), married William Spencer; and I0) Lydia (1825- ?), married a Meadows.

According to family tradition, Fielden was a great hand for hunting in the mountains, and Fielden, along with his cousin, James Hanks, were known as mighty hunters."

Perhaps the most civic-minded of Fielden Hanks' children was his son, Cuthbert MiIlion Hanks, or "Cud," as he was called. Cud Hanks became one of the largest land owners around Campton, and was so instrumental in organizing Wolfe County, that he became known as "The Father of Wolfe County." He donated the land for the jail and courthouse, and served as the first sheriff. He served in the Kentucky legislature during the last year of the Civil War, representing the district which comprised the counties of Wolfe. Morgan,and Breathitt, and for twenty years thereafter, served as the Wolfe Co. jailer.

Fielden Hanks died on August 13, 1861, and his wife Lydia (Harper) Hanks died on Oct. 12, 1861. Both are buried in the Old City Cemetery (formerly known as the Old Methodist Burying Ground) at Campton, Ky.

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