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VIEWS: 63 PAGES: 8

									                             The History of Ezel as Remembered
                                       Written by Dr. John E. Goodwin
                                                 In original format.




                                          John E. Goodwin, Schoolboy, Front
                                                       Right




I    was born in Ezel, Morgan County, Kentucky
    on March 4th in the year 1883. My father was
    Samuel David Goodwin. He was a school
teacher, Magistrar, logger, farmer and broom
                                                               I also want to mention the names of families of all
                                                               whom lived in the town when I was a boy, also the
                                                               early settlers. I will do this now and give their
                                                               occupation. Later I will mention the founder of the
maker. He was a very versatile character. He died              town. These are the families as I remember them:
at the age of seventy-four. My mother was the                  J. M. Pieratt-merchant-three children, Steve, Barry
daughter of Eli Pieratt and was named Eliza. She               and Lizzie; Andy Pieratt-merchant-two children,
had one sister and four brothers to reach maturity.            Frank and Emma; A.B. Pieratt-farmer and
Five others died in infancy.                                   merchant-two children, Dorsey and Raney; Raney
                                                               Pieratt-senator and farmer-two children, Clara and
Realizing the fact that I am one of the oldest, if not         Eli; Asa B. Nickell-doctor-two children; D.C.
the oldest, person now living who was born in Ezel,            Combs-minister-four children; G.C. Davis-miller-
I am attempting to write a brief history of the town           four children: Tom, Eddie, Elwood and Roxie;
and how it came into existence.                                John Arnsporges (profession and children not
 Left: "The little dark of ink, barefoot, is my       owned by "Uncle" John Ratliffe. Uncle John
daddy. It is about 104 years old and the scene is     chewed tobacco constantly and as the floor was dirt
Blackwater Creek. It runs into the Licking            he would spit wherever he chose. A short way on
River and is nine miles from Ezel. It is also         down where the road runs was a gristmill and
near the baptizing hole of water and bridge           flourmill; also a sawmill and planing mill. Three
                                                      blacksmith shops and the mill ran day and night--
down stream. All the people in back are old
                                                      three sets of anvils ringing and mill humming made
school teachers."
                                                      quite a bit of noise--music to me that I will never
                                                      forget.
given); H. M. Fannin-blacksmith-four sons, George,    Now to continue with the residents. There was only
Spence, Albert and Tom; John Ratliffe-blacksmith-     one Negro family in Ezel--Billy Combs. "Uncle"
no children; T. F. Carr-jeweler-watchmaker            Bill was quite a person. He took great pride in
(children not listed); Napoleon (Pone) Nickell-       being the church janitor. He would ring the bell
occupation and children not listed; Steve Pieratt-    much longer than was necessary. He and "Aunt"
banker-two children, Gladys and Martha; B.F.          Mary, his wife, and his three daughters would sit on
Davis-merchant and farmer (children not given).       the far right side of the church on the back seat.
                                                      They were always clean and neat. Aunt Mary baked
I would like to mention here that at one time Ezel    wedding cakes for the entire community. She had a
was given a charter and B.F. Davis was the police     loom and made carpets. My Uncle Mort Pieratt was
judge. He was a fearless officer and would have       state senator and wore a high silk hat and long
arrested Billy the Kid if given the chance. The       tailed coat while the legislature was in session.
reason for the town being under the protection of     When his time expired he gave the hat and coat to
the law was the offensive actions of a few out of     "Uncle" Bill with the understanding that he was to
town characters who would ride into town, get         wear them each Sunday. He faithfully kept his
drunk, and go out of town shooting as they went.      promise to do so.
The town soon became orderly and has remained
so.                                                   Sam Rice with one son and a Mr. Yates were also
                                                      residents. Dr. J. K. Wells also lived in the same
I will now continue naming the residents and if the   house for a number of years. He later moved to
occasion demands will make comments. Stephen          Bath Co. and died there. He had two sons and two
Sample-horse breeder, money lender and a fine         daughters.
citizen. He married my grandmother on the
paternal side. She was widowed soon after her first   As I am on the subject of doctors I might mention
marriage to my grandfather Goodwin who I never        the doctors that Ezel has produced: A.B. Nickell
saw. He was supposedly murdered and robbed on         (Deceased); Volney Nickell (Deceased); A.F.
his return from the South where he had taken a        Goodwin, my brother (Deceased); J.K. Wells
herd of swine to sell after the Civil War. Anyway,    (Deceased); J.F. Lockhart (Deceased); W.G.
he never returned and his whereabouts remained a      Lockhart (Dentist) (Deceased); J.E. Goodwin
mystery. Mr. Sample, as I mentioned, married his      (Dentist); Oscar Motley (Deceased); Asa Nickell
widow and raised three children: Kate, Rebecca and    (Deceased); Roy Kash - now living in Mt. Sterling.
Charles. Banks were few at that time and I            If I have missed any I am sorry. Ezel produced two
remember Mr. Sample loaned money at ten-percent       state senators and a number of lawyers.
interest. He eventually acquired a sizeable amount
of wealth for that time. Tad Bolin-blacksmith, two    Among the teachers I recall are Mary Nickell, Curtis
children. He left in a covered wagon for Oklahoma.    Quicksell, Clara Pieratt, Asa Goodwin, Sam L.
His blacksmith shop was on the very spot where        Kash, who was also a lawyer (he graduated from
the residence of John H. Davis (now deceased)         Hazel Green Academy with high honors), Dillard
stands.                                               Murphy, my two sisters, Ellie Ward and Nannie
                                                      Fields, who was superintendent.               Thomas
I might here add that where the school is located     Lumpkins also lived in Ezel. He had two daughters
was the residence of my Uncle Andy Tom Pieratt        who died during the typhoid epidemic. I lost three
who built it and ran a hotel for years. Just below    sisters at this time. After the epidemic the cemetery
the residence where the highway runs was a tanning    was moved from behind the church to its present
yard. There were rats everywhere. The hides were      location. It was the worst epidemic Ezel ever
soaked, and then prepared as leather. Can you         experienced. I had a mild case as did my brother
imagine the smell? Close by was a blacksmith shop
Asa. James Dennis and his wife Annie with their         it out a century ago. James Cecil lived directly
two children lived here.                                across the street. He built the five-room cottage
My grandfather Eli Pieratt once owned all of the        there. Willie Kash owned it later and erected a
land Ezel sits on. He was one of the very earliest      store building on the corner.
settlers. At one time he must have owned seven or
eight hundred acres. He gave each of his four sons      There were several families by the name of Kash.
over one hundred acres of land, also his daughters.     Caleb was an early settler. There were Cortes, Sam
My mother, Eliza, was his daughter. Floyd Rose          Lee, Ova and Bill. Stephen was the youngest.
now owns three of the adjoining farms.                  Cortes married a sister of T. F. Carr. His family
                                                        consisted of four boys. Cecil, Will, Glover and
Land was cheap in those days and one could easily       Emmett and one girl, Martha. Will Kash made a
swap a squirrel rifle for two hundred acres. Mr.        fortune in another state, probably one of the
Pieratt died at the age of eighty-four and his wife     wealthiest men in Morgan County. They are all
Gilla at the age of eighty-seven. Their bodies are      deceased as far as I know. Cortes and his wife are
resting in the Ezel cemetery not far from the place     buried in the Ezel cemetery. I should have
where they had built a cabin. He later built a home     mentioned Mattie Kash was the first wife of J. H.
where the Patrick farm is located. I might add that     Davis. Four sons were born to them.
my grandfather gave the land, which the cemetery
occupies, after giving a double lot to each of his      Sam L. Kash married Lizzie McGuire. Three
children.                                               children were born to them, Everlie, Fai and
                                                        another who died young named Rai. Everlie
My father, mother, two sisters, an infant son and       married my daughter Eliza and had two children,
stepmother, Sarah, are buried here. It is my            Mary Elizabeth and Jane Goodwin. They live in
intention to be buried here also with my wife Cora      Ohio. I should mention that I married Cora Lee
at my side. There is only room for two and we           Nickell, daughter of John. Four children came to
expectantly await the time for our demise. While        us Eliza, Beatrice, Guy and a son, Nat who died in
on the subject of the cemetery, I believe preacher      infancy.
Jere Nickell is the oldest grave there. He was my
great, great grandfather on my mother's side.           Robert Woolery, a carpenter lived near my father.
                                                        He raised four girls and three boys. Jerry Murphy
I now want to discuss the Nickell ancestors and         married the oldest daughter Ella. He ran a store.
later I will resume writing about the residents. I      Jerico got its name from him. That was where his
cannot give a complete history, only the ones my        store was located. At one time Jerico was a post
family is connected with. There were three or four      office. A man carried the mail from Mariba to Ezel
branches of the Nickell family; Dr. A. B. Nickell,      for fifty-one cents a day. His name was Israel
Milton Nickell, Green Nickell, Gilla Ann (my            Christian. He had a son Tom. One winter Tom
grandmother), Miles and Phoebe. Milton Nickell          and I made four hundred cross-tied railroad ties,
was the father of John Smith Nickell. He was            which we sold for forty cents a piece.
married three times. His first wife was a half sister
to my father. One child, Clifford, came from this       Another person I remember was Jesse Davis. He
marriage. His second wife was a Maxey. They had         would come into town talking to himself and leave
two children, Asa and a daughter. (Asa became a         doing the same. He liked to go behind the counter
doctor and died in Louisville.) His third wife was a    in the store and sneak a big lump of brown sugar.
Cecil. They had two children; one, Clay Wade, is        One time he got in the salt barrel and almost
still living.                                           choked to death.

Miles Nickell was the father of Jim Nickell who was     My Uncle Thomas Pieratt could lift a platform in
a carpenter. He married a Creekbarn, Julia. I           front of his store. Contests like this were the
would like to comment that he and my Uncle Tom          feature of the neighborhood. Once in a while there
Pieratt were the first commercial tobacco raisers in    would be a good fistfight or wrestling match.
the county. They put it in hogsheads and took it to     There were some very rugged men in those days.
Louisville by oxen. Jim Nickell had seven children,
all deceased but one daughter.                          My grandfather Pieratt was a strong man. My
                                                        grandmother smoked a corn cob pipe, which was
My father's home was torn down and John Davis           common practice. She would dip it in the wood
built a rental house nearer the street. There is a      ashes for a light. Matches were scarce.
large black oak tree standing near it. My father set
I must apologize for covering too much ground. I        Jack Cox was another fine gentleman. He had two
had better get back to what I started to do.            sons--Amos went barefooted all of the time and
Ezel was named for a rock in the Bible.                 after every rain was covered with mud. He
                                                        wandered off one day and was found drowned in
Other common names at the time were Cox,                Blackwater.
Barkley, Munsey, Murphy, McGuire, Gord, Henry,
Igo, Spence, Wheeler, Fields, Robinson, Adkins,         Two Barkley families lived about one mile East of
Sample, May and Ingram--names that still make up        Ezel. They took great pride in their mules and
the citizenry of the county.                            horses, which were always the best. Heath Barkley
                                                        and my father bought the first threshing machine in
I imagine that Jasper Ingram near Maytown was the       the county. I helped thresh wheat. I was twenty at
oldest person in the entire neighborhood when he        this time.
died. He was a loyal Mason and left a lot of
descendants.                                            Mack Munsey mined coal and hauled it to Ezel. He
                                                        was a hard working man with a wonderful sense of
Coming through the gap entering Ezel from the           humor.
West I often think of this incident. A peddler was
robbed and killed near the spot and his grave was       Joe Ward, the father of Ellis, was another fine old
made there. We kids were told that if we would put      gentleman. I believe he had the largest Bible I have
our heads close to the ground and say, "What are        ever seen. He often sat in his yard reading it. Ellis,
you doing," he would reply, "Nothing at all." This      his son, must have inherited his father's
we often did.                                           characteristics for he teaches in the Sunday school
                                                        in the new church on the same spot where the old
Peddlers came around carrying very heavy loads on       one stood. He graduated with honors from Hazel
their shoulders. They sold table cloths, gay colored    Green Academy. I am proud to include him among
shawls and many things. I remember my mother            my friends.
buying something once and marveled at the
peddlers.                                               Jim Pieratt, a brother to my grandfather owned a
                                                        farm between Ezel and Flat Gap. He had a still
Jonathan Quicksall was an old settler. His son          near Blackwater where I could point out the very
Curtis taught school and I was his pupil. Spelling      spot. He liked his liquor.
bees were duck soup for me and we had them every
Friday.                                                 I believe there was a Johnnie Pieratt and I was
                                                        named for him. He became blind as did by Uncle
At one time there was a figure 8 race track one half    Asa B. Pieratt.
mile down the bottom below the church. I
remember the horse and mule races quite well.           Silas Pieratt, who lived on the hill near Jerico, was a
Some would get out of control pitching the rider        close relative. He had several children. One boy,
off. Dr. Lockhart trained a trotter there that once     Johnnie, left home in his teens. Twenty years later
won the blue ribbon at the Old Hazel Green Fair.        he suddenly turned up in time for supper. He
                                                        became restless again and left never to return. The
Oldfields were early settlers as were the Roses and     same thing happened to one of Josie Nickell's boys.
Halseys. A fourth generation of Oldfields still lives   These boys would often take off to the woods
in Grassy Creek.                                        hunting and be gone weeks at a time.

Here are a few more of the old timers. Hiram            My great, great grandfather Pieratt came over with
Greer (Old Uncle Hiram he was called) always            Lafayette and fought in the American Revolution.
carried his violin in a case and was welcomed in        His brother helped make cannon balls near
every home. He was always ready and willing to          Owingsville. They floated them down Licking
play for a meal.                                        River.

A Mr. Ritchey had two sons Tom and Walsh. Tom           I think one of the pleasures of being old is that one
was also a fiddle player and played at every square     can have such wonderful times reminiscing over the
dance in the neighborhood. His brother, Walsh,          past. That is if your conscience is clear and you
was a fine specimen of manhood. It's a real             have a fairly decent past. On the other hand, I
pleasure to me to remember such fine people.            think it must be hell, so to speak, if you have lived
                                                        an evil past.
                                                       had chosen to do so he would have done it with
Another character I want to mention although I         class and without apology.
don't remember his name. He was part Indian and        There were Oakleys, Salyers, Childers, Lawsons and
I especially liked to hang around him when he was      Barkleys at a later date--all nice people. Of all the
in town. If he ever did a day's work, I don't          people that I have mentioned and known each and
remember it. Anyway, he was one of the players of      everyone played a part in Ezel. No one was
life's stage and I had a liking for him. He liked to   perfect, all had their flaws but God understood I
swap knives and always had a few in his pockets.       am sure.
Some were real sharp. He could very well have
used them to protect himself and I feel sure he        I want to mention Reverend Harlan Murphy, as a
would have done so.                                    preacher in the twenties and for a number of years.
                                                       He and Billy Yocum held revivals together. Great
There were several generations of the Ross family,     was the number added to the churches in Morgan
although I can only recall one, Jack. He loved to      and other counties through their efforts. They
sing ballads. I cannot recall any of the songs but     preached many a funeral sometimes six months or a
they were old English and Scotch.                      year after someone died. All of the deceased's
                                                       relatives would bring baskets laden with food for all
I have no record about another citizen. About          day occasions of fellowship and reunion of families.
1850 he built a home that stood out above the          This was a custom in those days and in looking
average house for those times. It was a two story      back I have no criticism of it. It was an enjoyable
log house of the best lumber available. It had large   rather than a sad affair. Reverend Murphy sixty
rooms and halls and a wonderful fireplace. I think     years ago married my wife and me. Thirty years
his name was Dick Cockrell. His son, Clifford, was     afterward I did some dental work for him and
killed in a duel. After that the old gentleman was     happened to think I still owed him for marrying us
broken hearted. He lived alone and my mother           so of course I charged him nothing. At the time I
would often take him food.                             married I had fifty cents in my pocket. That night I
                                                       gave it to the chivereers (noisemakers). I guess that
Boyd Anderson now owns the farm at Jerico.             custom has passed away. A little rice throwing and
                                                       few tin cans are about all that is left to give a young
John Smith Nickell exchanged his home in Ezel for      married couple a sendoff.
a farm.
                                                       Mr. Billy Yocum was one of the most colorful
The Cockrells once ran a hotel here. Mr. Cockrell      preachers I have any memories of. Why? He
distilled whiskey for years nearby a little stream     looked like a riverboat card shark. He was tall and
below the house. I well remember seeing the coil       gaunt, seven feet or more. He wore a long tailed
of pipes called the worm where he worked.              coat, a broad black hat and had a mustache. All he
                                                       lacked was a pistol on his hip to be a typical
Jerico at one time was a voting place.                 gambler of the old school. One of his favorite
                                                       expressions was, "Quit your devilish meanness and
Dillard and Roy Murphy, also Clarence and a sister     get right with God." His type of preaching was
lived in Ezel. Their mother was a niece to my          successful and everyone loved and respected him. I
mother as was the mother of Elie McGuire. Their        see him often in my memory with his savage attack
grandmother's name was Emy Pieratt.           Elie     on sinners, God rest his soul.
McGuire's father was named Jim and lived six miles
from Ezel.                                             If you had been standing on the street in Ezel when
                                                       I was a boy you might see some lady riding into
In all my eighty years of living, if I had to choose   town on a sidesaddle and a colt following the horse
one single man that I could admire the most for        she was riding. Every farmer had a mare and every
character and wonderful qualities that makes up a      mare had a colt come spring. A horse and feather
man I would choose my great uncle Dr. A. B.            bed was the expectant marriage gift of every bride.
Nickell. If I had to choose a single person to place   Luxury riding was confined to good saddle horses
a wreath in the Ezel cemetery (I am excluding my       and nice buggy. I remember the first car in Ezel. It
father), I would without hesitation lay it on his      was a ford, owned by Jim Yocum, a merchant and
grave and take off my hat. He was a useful man.        innkeeper. Good roads soon followed the car.
He did not use tobacco nor take a drink--no
carousing, no philandering, although I believe if he   What progress has been made in the last sixty years.
                                                       Telephones and phonographs were a mystery.
Icehouses were filled for summer use--no               That is the only place that I can remember where
refrigerators. What a change I have seen. The          sarsaparilla grew.
teakettle, coffee pact, the butter churn, the coffee   The highest point in Morgan County was on top of
mill, along with the others are museum pieces now.     one of these woods. Another feature was the
The straw tick to the children of today would seem     fossils that were there. The soil had changed to a
to be an animal or an insect and a corn sheller a      sandy loam where the ocean at one time covered it.
person who shelled corn for a living.                  Cannel coal not quite thick enough to mine out
                                                       there.
I have forgotten to mention Jim K. Nickell, another
brother of my grandmother. I once watched him          My father was an amateur geologist and opened
drink coffee. He had Parkinson disease or palsy        some of the mines. My Uncle Andy Tom Pieratt
they called it then. As a kid I could not imagine      could locate water by using a forked stick. He was
why his hands shook. He had a son named Smith.         often called to do this. The switch would dip down
Smith was a half brother of Jim David.                 pointing to the spot to dig water.

I want to get this incident on paper. George and       Mr. Floyd Carr's father had a water mill at one time
Jim Halsey were brothers. Jim traded horses. I         at the old baptizing hole on Blackwater. Just below
doubt if he ever kept the same horse more than two     was a hole of water we called Big Rock. A large
weeks. George had a large family. I did quite a bit    rock had split away from the face of the cliffs. On
of dental work for them. George would haul me to       the top of the cliff were Indian graves. I enjoyed
Campton and back to pay for my work. On the            looking for arrowheads here.
road to Campton one trip we got snow bound and
stayed at a Mr. Stamper's. Anyway, George and Mr.      I'm stopping here, although no poet, to write a
Stamper sat up all night talking about witches.        poem about Blackwater Creek.
They both positively believed in them and that
some people were bewitched. Hearing them talk
almost made me believe in them too. I was trying       Here in Ezel very close to the town
to sleep in the room they were in. We finally          Blackwater Creek goes gliding down.
continued our trip in the snow.                        It slips by the town with little ado
                                                       One would scarcely notice it going through.
                                                       It's a part of town most dear to me
About the year 1890, a religious paper was             And lingers in mind so tenderly.
published in Ezel called The Bible Sword. The editor   Over slippery rock, pebbles and ground
was Jack Howard, a new minister that came to           The little stream stealthily runs down.
town. The people liked him so well that they           Its sloping banks of outcropped stone
bought a printing press and built him a home at the    Was mixed with shrub and Rhododendron.
fork of the old road leading down to Blackwater.       Fern scented air and full ivy bloom
                                                       Gave freely to all their sweet perfume.
Mr. Howard published the paper until his death; I      To the passerby who lingered to stay
doubt if there is a copy of this paper in existence    Admiring the beauty--a real bouquet.
today.                                                 It ran to a point where the cliffs stand out
                                                       Boldly and roughly dripping and stout.
Weekly newspapers were the only source of news         Here one time turned a water wheel
from the outside. No telephones were in use and it     Lashing and splashing grinding meal.
would take several days to get returns on elections.   Below was the old baptizing hole
                                                       Where many a person saved his soul.
People were very partisan in their politics. After     From here down to the crossing place
asking a child its name the next question was, "Are    The little stream quickened to rapid pace.
you a Democrat or Republican?" Today, the              There was the ford the road passed through
question is, "What grade are you in?"                  Over there woodland came to view.
                                                       Here was the spring whose overflow
Three trees have always been stored in my memory.      Fed into a pond not far below.
                                                       The Sulfur Spring where many a swain would
One, a large Oak that grew back in my father's
                                                       Often bring his sweetheart for a tryst and kiss
garden. It was a Virginia tree probably three or       And while away moments in youthful bliss.
four hundred years old. The limbs reached out          Here at the spring the creek curved right
twenty feet on each side and the bottom limbs were     Soon out of sight and onward bound
a foot or more in diameter. Another was a large        But leaving behind the soothing sound
chestnut near town almost as large as the Oak. The     Of laughing water and memories
third was in Flat Gap; it was a White Oak. The         As it voyaged on to far away seas.
land there at one time was called the Rich Woods.
Blackwater occupies a prominent place in the
progress of the community. At one time there were        John Goodwin was the baby of the family and
three water mills on it. In droughts and extreme         Eliza doted on him. My mother remembers
dry weather folks would drive their stock there for      her mother, Grandmother Kash, telling her
water. I remember carrying water from the spring         how Eliza would let her son, John, flip balls of
for drinking purposes. All these things and the          chewed paper onto the wood beams of their
sacred baptizing hole make it special. I remember        house.
the mill people hauling water in barrels to fill the
millpond when it ran dry. A carding machine was
attached to the mill as well as saw plane and flour
attachments. I have picked wool to pieces in a
tearing machine for twenty-five cents a day.

At one time the post office was away down the old
road that turns to the right to go to Jerico. A Mr.
Prather was postmaster. It was rather inconvenient
to walk in wet and muddy weather for mail                             Granddaddy's Poem
inconveniences were the rule in those days. A duel                    (A Favorite of My Mother)
was once fought on the street in front of the post
office. Both parties emptied their pistols but neither                The wings of morning
was injured. (I will not mention names for the                        Have spread and gone
parties were prominent people and a                              And are folding again for the night.
misunderstanding caused it.) Later they became
good friends so luck was on both sides.                                Soon the bird's song
                                                                       Will bring the dawn
There was an old fellow near town that was a tall                 Of another day's beauteous light.
story teller. He came to town one day and said
bumblebees were carrying his young chickens off.
He was told, "You mean chicken hawks don't you?"
"No, he answered; they are not big enough. They
are bumble bees and to prove it here is one of their
stingers." I pulled it out, and it was a sharp thorn
an inch or more long.

I am coming to the end of this "hodgepodge" of
memories thinking to myself; will it ever be read by
anyone and if so what interest will it give them? I
have written solely for my own pleasure enjoying
each memory as I did so. This is childish of course
but older people are allowed that privilege.

Soon I will be joining the throng of people I knew
here and we will talk of these times and relive them.


Dr. J. E. Goodwin, Poet

								
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