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Zerelda James, the Tantalizing Mother of Jesse James

Zeralda JamesJesse James was the son of a Baptist preacher of prominence and eloquence in his day. The father was a native of Logan County, Kentucky, and the mother (whose maiden name was Zerelda Cole) was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, about half way between Versailles and Lexington where the father kept a hostelry known as Cole's Tavern. Upon the death of the father the widow removed to the neighborhood of Stamping Ground in Scott County to be among her relatives. This is where she met and married in 1840 Rev. Robert J. James. IN 1843 they removed to Missouri, settling in Clay County, where Jesse was born in 1845. Mrs. James was a handsome, vivacious, devil-may-care girl, careless of good or evil report. Tall, large-framed, and full of animal life, she was the universal favorite among those of the opposite sex, and her marriage to a clergyman was one of those surprises she was fond of indulging in. Her hair was black as the raven's wing, her eyes black and piercing. Her temper was quick and tiery, her tongue sharp and cutting, and her enmity deadly and enduring. Later in life she became a large woman, her hair sprinkled with gray, but her eyes steill keen and piercing and her temper ungovernable as ever. Several years after the death of Mr. James, she was married to Robert Mimms, whom she was known to have harassed into the grave. Afterwards, she married Dr. Samuels, a prominent physician of Clay County. She is attributed to the evil life led by her sons, Frank and Jesse James. It was the home guards in their town which encouraged Frank and Jesse to join the Confederate lines uner the notorious Quantrell. Jesse was only fourteen years of age. When they sacked the town of Lawrence, Kansas, Jesse shot down women and children without compunction and later boasted that he had murdered thirty-six citizens with his own hand. But the crowning horror of his life occurred on the morning of September 17, 1861, in Missouri, when a gang of Quantrell's band of cut throats under Bill Anderson galloped into the village and sacked the store, plundered houses, then waited for the train to arrive from St. Joseph (bound for St. Louis), which they stopped and ordered thirty two sick federal soldiers en route to the hospital in St. Louis to descend from the train. Then, they stood them in a row and the two James boys loading their pistols as fast as they emptied, shot all of them to death. Source: An article from The Bourbon News, Millersburg, Kentucky, April 18, 1882.

The Kentucky Long Rifle

Kentucky Long RifleDaniel Boone was known for his expertize with the Kentucky Long Rifle.

While Virginia settlers thought of themselves as living more splendidly than their families in England, Kentuckians were true explorers and adventurers. Their success weighed heavily upon their personal ability to survive in a wilderness country setting laced with hardship and Indian tribes. Yet, such primitive conditions actually carved the trail which led further Westward. First, people came down out of Pennsylvania and crossed the Shenandoah Valley treking through the Blue Ridge Mountains and settled in remote regions dominated by various Indian tribes. By the time that Daniel Boone and other explorers began surveying this country, there were already families of Scotch-Irish and German immigrants who had traveled the trail together and created little communities. The longrifle which was used by Daniel Boone is an early example of a firearm which used rifling (spiral grooves in the bore). This gave the projectile (a round lead ball) a spiraling motion to help increase the stability of the trajectory. Rifled firearms saw their first major combat use in the American colonies during the Seven Years war, and later the American Revolution in the eighteenth century. The disadvantage of a long rifle to a musket was a slower reload time due to a tighter fitting lead ball and greater susceptibility to the fouling of the bore after prolonged use. When the minie ball was developed, the rifle replaced the musket.

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The Drunken Poet of Danville

Thomas Johnson, Junior, the first Kentucky poet for many years enjoyed the sobriquet of the "Drunken Poet of Danville," was born in Virginia about 1760, and he came to Kentucky when twenty-five years of age. He settled at Danville, then a village, and immediately entered into the role of poet, punster, and ne'er-do-well. Documentary evidence is extant to prove that Danville was a gay little town when the young Virginian arrived there about 1785; and he was early drawn into excesses, or led others into them. Johnson was a rather prolific maker of coarse satirical rhymes, which he finally assembled into a small pamphlet, and published them as The Kentucky Miscellany (Lexington, 1796). This was the first book of poems, if they may be so termed, printed in Kentucky. The original price of this pamphlet was nine pence the copy, but it is impossible to procure it today for any price, and there is not an extant copy of this first edition. The Kentucky Miscellany went into a second edition in 1815, and a third edition was published a few years later, but no copies of either edition are extant. The fourth and final edition appeared from the Advertiser office at Lexington, in 1821, and a dog-eared, much-mutilated copy of this is in the collection of the Filson Club in Louisville; perhaps the only copy in the world. The Miscellany contained but thirty-six small pages, about the size of the medical almanacs of to-day. Many of the little verses are very vulgar and actually obscene, perhaps due to the fact that Johnson could never quite bury John Barleycorn alive. The most famous of them is the Extempore Grace, which the bard delivered one day in the tavern of old Erasmus Gill in Danville. In his cups he stumbled into the tavern dining-room, where he found the meal over, and the guests gone, nothing being left but the crumbs. He glanced at the tables, then at Gill, and offered Extempore Grace. His lines on Danville, on Kentucky, and on several other subjects reveal the satirist; and the verses to Polly, his sweetheart, and to his favorite physician the better elements in his nature. That these rather vulgar verses of Johnson did not escape the censorship of Western advocates of the pure food law in literature, is made certain by a letter from an Ohio critic which appeared in the Lexington Intelligencer for January 28, 1834. Johnson died and was buried at Danville, but the date of his death or the exact place of his burial is unknown. He had passed and was almost forgotten by 1830. Source: Bibliography. History of the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky, by R. H. Davidson (New York, 1847); History of Kentucky, by R. H. Collins (Covington, Kentucky, 1882); Centre College Cento (Danville, Kentucky, January, 1907); Kentuckians in History and Literature, by J. W. Townsend (New York, 1907).

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Boyle County Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Deeds, Marriages

Boyle CountyBoyle County was formed on February 15, 1842 from sections of Lincoln and Mercer Counties and was named after John Boyle, Congressman, Chief Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals and U. S. District Judge.The courthouse fire in 1860 resulted in the loss of some county records and the earliest surviving records began in 1842. The county seat is Danville, Kentucky.

Some early settlers were: Baker Ewing, Gabriel Lackey, Evan Rogers, Thomas Collins, James Crawford, Dennis Hedgeman, Nathan Douglas, Henry Harlan, Frederick Pipperdan, William McGrath and Henry Harlan.

Kentucky Wills and Estates Available to Members of Kentucky Pioneers

  • Marriages from Court House in Danville, Kentucky 1842 to 1844
  • Miscellaneous Deeds and Other Documents
Digital Images of Boyle County Wills 1842 to 1864
Alexander, Cloe | Anderson, John | Ball, Caroline | Ball, Daniel | Ball, Martha | Ball, Mary | Ball, Thomas | Ballerton, William | Barbour, James | Barbour, Letitia | Bellis, Peter | Bellis, Sarah | Beswick, Elizabeth | Bilbo, John | Bilbo, Mary | Bolling, Dread | Bolling, Richard | Bottom, John | Bottom, William | Braxdale, John Sr. Brown, Elizabeth | Brown, George | Bruce, Charles | Burch, Mary | Burnett, James | Caldwell, Charles | Caldwell, James | Caldwell, Samuel | Carter, Charles | Chatham, Benjamin | Chiles, Elizabeth | Clark, Francis Sr. | Clarkstone, Drury | Clemons, Osburn | Collins, Harriet | Collins, Thomas | Coulter, Thomas | Cowan, Elizabeth | Cowan, Henry | Cowan, Thomas | Craig, Rachel | Crane, Nelson | Crawford, James | Crawford, William | Cudlip, George | Donighy, George | Douglas, Nathan | Downey, James | Downton, Thomas | Dunn, Jane | Durham, Benjamin | Durham, John | Erwin, John | Ewing, Baker | Fields, Henry | Fields, James Jr. | Fields, Susan | Fisher, Elias | Fisher, Jesh | Fisher, Stephen | Fitton, Benjamin | Fountaine, Mathew | French, Edward | Funk, Fanny | Gains, Elmira | Gill, Nancy | Graham, Theresa | Games, Ezekiel | Grant, John | Graves, James | Gray, James | Gray, Jane | Gray, Robert | Hailey, Enoch |Hall, John | Hammer, Sarah | Harlan, Davis | Harlan, Elijah | Harlan, Henry | Harlan, John | Harlan, Mary | Harman, William | Harrison, Thomas | Harrod, Ann | Hawkins, Ann | Heaten, Winiford | Hedgeman, Dennis | Henderson, Charles | Henderson, Elizabeth | Heron, Samuel | Hocker, Samuel | Hopes, Michael | Humble, Mary | Hurly, Leah | Hutton, Sarrah | Irvin, James | Irvine, Abram | Irvin, John | Jackson, Aaron | Johnson, Anthony | Kerr, Patrick | Kerr, Priscilla | King, John | Knox, Isabella | Knox, Robert | Lackey, Gabriel | Laurence, Mary | Lay, Martin | Laws, Jeremiah | Lind, Margaret St. Clair | Lind, Mary St. Clair | Long, Jacob | Luvmery, William | Marrs, James | Martin, Jane | Mays, James | McCall, William | McClanahan, Thomas | McClane, Elizabeth | McDowell, Joseph |McDowell, Sarah | McGinnis, Jesse | McGinnis, Mary | McGinnis, Samuel | McGrath, William | McKay, John | Means, John | Meaux, Walter |Mock, John | Montgomery, Jane |Moore, Lawson | Moore, Margaret | Moore, Samuel | Moorhead, John | Morrow, Margaret | Neff, Francis | Nield, George | Owens, Mason | Owsley, William | Pipes, Nathaniel |Pipes, William | Potts, Samuel | Prewitt, Elizabeth | Prewitt, Martha | Prewitt, Thomas | Proctor, Benjamin | Rains, James | Ramsey, Jane | Read, Ann | Read, Francis |Reed, Isabella |Reed, Thomas |Ripperdan, Daniel |Robards, Robert | Robertson, Duncan F. | Robison, Thomas Sr. | Rochester, Sarah | Rout, Malenda | Russel, D. A. | Sevier, Isaac | Smith, Ephraim | Smith, George | Smith, Henry | Smith, Jesse |Smith, John | South, John | Sparrow, Dennis | Spears, George |Spears, John | Stewart, William | Street, Nathaniel |Sweeny, William | Tadock, Carter | Tarkington, Thomas |Taylor, William | Tompkins, John |Tucker, James | Vanarsdale, Isaac O. | Wade, Jeremiah |Wade, William |Walker, Elizabeth |Walker, Mary | Walker, Robert | Wallace, Caleb | Wilhite, Nicholas | Wilhite, Rody | Williams, Fanny | Williams, Susan |Wingate, Esther | Witherspoon, Sarah | Yager, Joseph |Yankee, Jacob | Yeager, Frederick | Young, John | Zimmerman, James | Zimmerman, James F.