Felix Gilbert Farmer. Manchester, Kentucky. May 5, 1898.
I was born in Harlan County, Kentucky Agust 22, 1836. My father was William Farmer. He was born on Clinch River, now Hancock Co., Tennessee in 1796. In 1797 his father, Stephen Farmer removed to what is now Harlan Co., Ky. and settled on Martins Fork 5 miles from Mt. Pleasant. His brother, Eli Farmer, I think settled in Pulaski County about the same time. The two brothers lived and died without knowing each other's whereabouts. In a convention in London about 10 years ago I met Eli and Stephen Farmer and their father from Pulaski. We then found that we were of the same family. Stephen Farmer, Betsey (Ledford) William, Lewis, James, David, John. Lewis lived on the old place till he reared his family then at Mt. Pleasant he kept a hotel. After Bell was formed he moved to Pineville and ran a store and there died. David went to Iowa and reared a family and died there. His oldest son John is now living in Harlan. James lived and died in Harlan, was a surveyor and
farmer. He represented the County several times in the Legislature. He was born in 1800. Betsey Ledford reared a family in Harlan. William lived on the Hopper farm on Red Bird. My grandfather, Stephen was born on New River, N.C. He came first to Clinch River, Tenn. Then to Harlan. When my father was 16 years old - 1812, he killed his first bear on Chestnut Flat. He heard a cracking, cracking of nuts and finally perceived a bear cracking and eating walnuts. He stole up on it, took aim and fired. He thought the bear was coming toward him and fled to his father, at home. He had stolen his father's gun and slipped out to hunt. He told his father what he had done. They repaired to the scene and tracking the bear a few hundred yards found him dead. Wicks Howard was the first child born in what is now Harlan County, I have heard himm say so often, and others say the same. George Buckhardt who lived to such
a great age had sons as follows; Solomon, Jacob, Isaac. They were Dutch or German. The Sycamore tree was at the mouth of Cruney's (Crarey's or Crummes) Creek on Martin's Fork about 8 miles above Harland C. H. (Court House) there is a cliff at Goose Rock, P.O. Clay County on which it is said a wild Goose hatched and from this Goose Creek took it's name. The cliff is called "Goose Rock" to this day. Peney Roberts, the first Roberts in Clay County, came from Hancock Co., Tenn., where my people came from. Ben Howard went from Harlan County to the Licking or Sandy Country when I was a boy. He killed a man and fled the country. He belonged to the "Lower set" of Howards. He had brothers "Big Bill" Howard, Eli, James, Elisha and Phil. "Little Bill", Coney, Mike, Jake and Larkin were brothers but not "Big Bill". The "Upper Set" of Howards as they are called, are the descendants of Old Sammie who married Cloe Angelin. "Old" Bill Roark lived in Harlan, was stutterer. He was very witty.
James Howard was accused of stealing a steer from Johnson Gibson of Cumberland Ford. He was passing the field where Roark was plowing, going to stand his trial. Roark was plowing, had a stone bruise on his heel, was limping, Howard hollered, "What's the matter?" "I h-hurt my h-heel ru-nning after Johnson Gibson's steer". This aroused Howard's wrath and brought down curses on the witty Roark's head. I have heard my father often talk of George Burkhart's house in the Sycamore tree. It had two beds in it, a fence rail could be turned in it. The Farmers are German not Dutch. My mother was a Frost, an Irish family. Her mother was a Roberts kin to Peny. She called him "uncle". The Roark's are Portugese. They came from the Black Water country, Tennessee, so did the Sizemores and Collets also. The Sizemores were named Williams and changed the name because a crime committed before coming here (to Kentucky). I heard old Henry Sizemore who married Dill Asher's daughter say to his brother, James "Jim you
know we are not Sizemores but Williams?" He did not tell why, but I have it from other sources. I have heard from some of the Collets and Collinses. They did not say why but others said for the same reason that the Sizemores changed their name.
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