CHILDREN WERE OFTEN
"BOUND OUT" ©

by Holly Timm
[originally published 8 April 1987
Harlan Daily Enterprise Penny Pincher]
For the greater part of the 1800's, orphans and children in families too poor to care for them were apprenticed or bound out to a trade. Sometimes a family would do so voluntarily, but in many instances, the matter would be brought up in the County court.

Gabriel Jones died about 1830, leaving his wife Mary and six young children with little but a piece of land to support them. In May of 1831, the oldest son, John G., age 14 at the time, was bound out to Thornton Lansdown to learn the "art and trade of farming." John was required to obey Lansdown until he reached the age of 21 and in return, Lansdown was to clothe and feed him and teach him farming. In January of the following year, Gabriel's widow, Mary, was ordered to appear in court to show cause why her son, Hiram, should not be bound out. At the following court term, in February, Hiram, although he was only five years old, was bound to Samuel Mark.

That same year, Wiley Jones, previously bound to John Harris, was also bound to Samuel Mark, probably because John Harris had died shortly after the original arrangement was made. Gabriel's two daughters were not bound out and it can be imagined that Mary had either voluntarily found places for the girls, or she was able to provide for them herself. The oldest girl, Elizabeth, was about nine years old when her father died, old enough to hire out as a servant girl. In 1841, she married Andrew Osborne. Sarah, the youngest in the family, was born about 1829 and was only a baby at her father's death. As no record has been located binding her out, it is most likely that her mother was able to provide for her. Sarah was the last of Gabriel's children to get married. In 1852, she married Hiram Grills, a native of Scott Co., Va.

Hiram Grills may have been an orphan as he is listed in 1850, age 19, in the household of John and Mary Earnest. With many other Harlan men, Hiram served on the Union side in the Civil War in the 47th Kentucky Infantry. Hiram and Sarah Grills had a large family, mostly daughters, before their divorce sometime prior to 1878 when Hiram married again to a girl about half his age, Letitia, daughter of Calvin and Rebecca Browning Noe.

Gabriel and Mary Jones' oldest child, John G., married Patsy Russell of Virginia. They were living in Harlan in 1850 with two children, a son, Crittenden, and a daughter, Malinda. They had at least two more children, Robert, born in 1852, and Hiram, born in 1855. John and Patsy Jones sold out his share of his father's land on Clover Fork in 1856 and no further trace of them has been found.

Edmond Jones, also known as Edward, married Frances Blevins and his brother Hiram, married Cordelia Blevins. It is not known if the Blevins girls were sisters, but they were probably at least cousins. Wiley Jones and his young bride Charlotte Hensley were living with his mother in 1850. Gabriel's widow, Mary, apparently died about 1851, as that year begins a series of deeds in the Harlan County Court records regarding the sale of the land her husband had left her.

Many of the descendants of Gabriel and Mary Jones still live on Clover Fork.

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last edited Thursday, 05-Jun-2008 14:32:26 MDT