Chapter XII

William Lorenzo (“Carnegie Bill”) Combs

For the first time a middle name appears among my direct progenitors. Like two of his brothers, John L. and Jeremiah L., he was named for that hard-riding, blunt-speaking Methodist spell-binder, Lorenzo Dow. His nickname is due possibly to a family of Carnegies who lived in Perry County [KY] in those days. They were there in the 1820's. Had William L. been the father of the eight brothers, there would have been nine, not eight; he had nine sons and five daughters.

William L. was born September 10, 1809, at the mouth of Montgomery Creek, Perry County. He married Margaret ("Peggy"), daughter of Thomas Kelley, August 1, 1836, on Rockhouse Creek, Letcher County [KY]. Margaret was born on Shelby Creek, October 1, 1818. Thomas Kelley came from the New River, Virginia, and settled on Shelby Creek, at the mouth of Dorton, Pike County, Kentucky. Some time after his marriage with Nancy, daughter of John Mullins, on Shelby, April 28, 1808, he moved to Rockhouse.William L. lived at the mouth of Kelley Fork, or the forks of Montgomery Creek, on the place later owned by one of his sons, Granville Pearl ("Judge"). He died there, January 7, 1879. Margaret died January 8, 1905. Both are buried on the old place. Thomas Kelley's father is thought to have been John Kelley, the Revolutionary veteran. The father of Nancy Mullins appears to have been John Mullins, another Revolutionary veteran. Both veterans were granted pensions after they came to Kentucky. Kelley enlisted in July, 1777, and served eighty-four months with the North Carolina troops. He was born August 22, 1755, and was living in Halifax, in Halifax County, North Carolina, when he enlisted. His wife, Polly, was born in 1749. There was a daughter, Margaret, born in 1797 [!?]. The veteran was discharged at Halifax.


John Mullins was sixty years old when he applied for pension in 1818, and was living in Floyd (later Perry, then Knott) County [KY]. He enlisted in the Revolution in 1779, and served as private in the Virginia line. Both he and John Kelley (above) were in the battle of Stony Point, and also at the Seige of Charleston, South Carolina, under General Lincoln, where they were taken prisoner by the British in May, 1780. After five months Kelley escaped, and served with the Quartermaster Department. Mullins was taken to England, and did not return until after peace was made (1783). Mullins married Nancy Gentry (born in 1774) in Halifax County, Virginia, June 8, 1792. Nancy was alive in 1855, in Letcher County [KY]. Pension papers list the following children: Joseph, born July 30,1794, Mary, born June 25, 1796, Daniel, born July 14, 1799; John, fifteen years old in 1823, Betsy, eleven in 1823, Joshua, eight in 1823.

Both of these veterans appear to have come to Shelby Creek, in the present Pike County [KY], at first. By 1818 Kelley was living just above Sassafras (now in Knott County). In the same year he made an affidavit in favor of Mullins, who was applying for pension. John Kelley was living in 1838, in Perry County. Thomas Kelley's wife, Nancy, was probably John Mullins' first child, and was born in 1793. John Mullins died February 25, 1838, in Perry (present Knott?) County.

William L. settled his sons on considerable tracts of land. One of the oldest ones, Thomas died about 1888; Meredith (Merida) died just before the Civil War. Washington (the oldest one), Green A., Granville P. and William D. lived on Montgomery [Creek]; Samuel lived on Irishman Creek of Carr's Fork, and Spencer P. and John W. on Carr [Creek]. My father, John W., lived at Hazard [Perry Co, KY] for a time, and finally at Hindman [present-day Knott Co, KY]. G. P., or "Judge", was named for Judge Granville Pearl, an early circuit judge in Perry. The name Meredith got into the family from one of the grandsons of old John Combs, of Boyle County [KY], and who lived on Carr for a few years. "Judge" was superintendent of public schools of Perry County a number of terms, and held that position longer than anybody else in the history of the county. He was born March 7, 1856, and died June 27, 1930. Isabel and her husband, William Hammons, moved to Eureka Springs [Carroll Co], Arkansas. William D. moved to Tennessee and died there.