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History of the Hurst Family

By Pearl Jane (Hall) Hurst

Edited by Phillip Riley

This is a history of the Hurst family as passed on to me by Pearl Hurst. She originally wrote it sometime in the 80's. This history of the Hurst family was told to Pearl Hurst by Perry C. Hurst. I've edited it to make the stories a bit more clear & corrected all the spelling/grammer mistakes.

The first story I heard about the Hurst family was that they lived in Virginia on a bend of New River. There John Hurst and his family of nine boys and one girl lived along with his last wife with her nine boys and one girl by her former marriage. They all moved to Tennessee on the Mulligan Bend of a river. After some time, they again moved into Kentucky. They were not satisfied there, so they moved into Harrison County, Indiana near Corydon where the father bought or entered eighteen sections of land, He gave each boy one quarter section of land so they wouldn't move anymore.

One of these boys was Henry “Hal” Hurst who first married Winnie LaHue. There was one child born from this union, John L. Hurst, who was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky. Hal married a second time and there were three children born: Benjamin, Socrates “Crates”, and Friend.

John Lionel Hurst was married to Lucretia Hackley, who was raised by her uncle, Judge Slaughter. They were the parents of eleven children: Henry, Mirah, Perry, Charles, Elizabeth, Mary Jane, Lucinda, Francis, Roxie, Robert, and William. Charles, Elizabeth, Mary Jane, and Lucinda died in childhood. Charles and Elizabeth died of Membrance Croys. Mary Jane and Lucinda died of the flux during an epidemic in Washington County, Indiana.

John L. and Lucretia moved from Harrison County to Washington County with their children in the fall of 1844 to the town of Old Pekin.

The Washington County history of 1844 lists:

An Irishman, John L. Hurst settled near Flowers Gap Knob, near Old Pekin. There they lived on the Emery Crow place for a year. Later they moved to the Chris Tash place and finally to the section 29 today known as the Dan Hurst Place.

In the fall of 1844, John L. Hurst and his wife Lucrettia and several children moved to the town of Old Pekin leaving his son Henry to care for the stock until he could bring them to Pekin. They stayed in Pekin for several months and then moved to the Emery Crow place, a farm on Blue River near where Polk School now stands. After a time they moved to the Chris Tash place. Their final move was to the Gregory Moore place, which they purchased. This was their home place now known as the Dan Hurst place. Their house was built by a half Indian. It had four rooms and a porch. Later the porch was enclosed to make a larger room.

Henry Hurst (John L's father) came to live with John L. while he lived in Old Pekin. Later he caught Typhoid fever and passed away. He is buried at Mount Pleasant cemetery near Pekin.

Hal was crippled from having had White Swelling in his youth. He lived with a doctor in Virginia for several years to be near him so he could treat his leg. He rode with this doctor and learned a great many things as he helped the doctor with his patients. He helped set broken bones and other things.

A will filed at the Washington County Court House lists the following information about John L. Hurst:

HURST, John L., 19 March 1887. Probate #F220-21. Sons: Henry, Perry, Robert, William. Daughters: Francis ROCKEY, Roxie GOSS, Mariah COLE. Grandsons: William COLE and Henry COLE.

John L and Lucrettia are buried at Emmanuel Cemetery. Grandfather John L. outlived his wife a few years and died the day he was holding his sale to settle his estate.

The place where Perry C. Hurst lived was part of the original Hurst place. Some of this place was ground entered by John L. Hurst under the Bit Law or 12 ½ cent per acre. On this place Dennis Hurst was born, raised, and lived his entire life except for about six months he spent in Arkansas. He passed away 10 August 1868. He was 86 years and six months old.

This part of History of the Hurst family was recorded by the papers that were given to Eska Hurst by Mrs. Clara (Hurst) Miles of Corydon.

John L. Hurst is believed to be a great-grandson of a William Hurst who came to Virginia. He was married to Judith Calfee and died about 1780.
In 1732, a son was bon to William and Judith Hurst. His name was John Hurst, who married Lydia Hurst about 1786. John was a Revolutionary War soldier. During the war, he was a Lieutenant of the militia in Shenandoah County, Virginia, where he took his oath. He died in Harrison County, Indiana in 1825 and is buried in Hursttown Cemetery and has a government marker. His wife died in about 1786 in Virginia.
John and Lydia were the parents of nine boys and one girl. John's second wife was a widow with nine boys and one girl. This family of eighteen boys and two girls moved to Tennessee in Mulligan Bend, a large farm of several hundred acres. After this the family moved into Kentucky. Later they moved up to Harrison County, Indiana. It is here that John decided they would not move again. He acquired eighteen quarter sections of land and gave a quarter section of land to each of the eighteen boys, so they would settle there. One of these boys was Henry “Hal” Hurst, who married Winnie LaHue about 1800. They had four children. A second Marriage in 1828 was to Hannah Craig. They had three children: Socrates “Crates”, Benjamin, and Friend Cook. In 1806, John Lionel Hurst was born in Kentucky. When John L. was six years old, the family moved to Harrison County, Indiana. The 1820 census listed the first Hursttown Hurst in Washington County, James Hurst.
The history of the Hurst family, as far as I have gathered is that the Hursts were of Scotch-Irish Descent and had moved to England and stayed long enough to acquire the Hurst name, which is an English name. Then we believe that a great-grandfather of John L. Hurst came to Virginia from England. His name was William. He married Judit Calfee and died about 1780.
In 1732 a son, John, was born to William and Judith. John married Lydia Smith. He died about 1786. John had a son named Henry, who married Winnie LaHue. They had John L. Hurst who moved to Pekin, Indiana.

Hal said that once it snowed for two days and nights. The third morning, he woke up and the snow was over the kitchen. It was the custom in those days to build the kitchen part of the house a short distance from the other part of the house so that if part of the house burned, the other wouldn't. When Hal went to open the kitchen door, the snow was so deep that he had quite a bit of trouble opening it. After much work, he got out and made his way to the other house through day snow. He called to the family to get up quick because the snow was so deep that he was sure the stock would be dead. However they found the animals alive, except one old sow. One of the boys said that he saw her carrying stalks to make a bed by a big tree. They went there looking for her and broke through the snow and stalks. She was there with ten little pigs. Until they could bring her to the barn, she stayed there getting corn dropped to her. Finally, they got the pigs in a basket and drew her to the barn. The next morning, the little pigs were missing again. They went to hunt for them and tracked them back to their old bed under the snow.

About a week later, a cold rain fell on the snow making a hard crust on top. They could walk on without breaking through. A deer, as long as it walked, could stay on the top, but when it ran, it would break through. After this crust formed on the snow, Hal took his gun and dog and went up on the near mountain to go deer hunting. Hal would set the dog on a deer and it would start running. This caused it to break through and he was able to get close enough to kill it. After he had about nine deer, he met a slave and he said, “Without a gun, you couldn't get close enough to kill any deer.” Because Hal was crippled and he couldn't get all these deer home, he told the Negro that if he would help him take his deer home, he would give him a portion for helping. They agreed, so they tied the deer together and drug them to a steep place and slid them over the slope. It was dark when they got to Hal's home. So he told the Negro to stay the night with them. The Negro said, “My old woman will be so worried about me.” After a while he said that he would stay. The next morning, he took his part and went home.

Hal & several of the boys went fishing in the river one day. Hal said he was going to catch a really big fish. He made a big hook and put a big chunk of beef for bait and used a gourd for a float and blow line for the fishing line. The boys all laughed at him and said that Hal was going to catch a whale.

He sat with his line in the water, when suddenly something took his bate, hook, line and all, without stoping. The boys laughed and said it was a log that took it, no fish could break his line. Several days later, he took his boat and went down river. He saw his gourd and he floated over to see a big fish on the bottom with his gourd fastened to it. He went back upstream and floated down again and stopped just over the fish, which he gigged. His gig had a stout pole on it, so he held on, with the fish going every which way. He mannaged to get it to shore, where he finally got it into the boat.

Afterward, he continued to float downstream watching for fish. He caught several more big fish, then decided it was time to go home. So, he rowed back upstream. When he got home, he left his fish in the boat and told his father to send someone else after them. It was Sunday and the boys were getting ready to go see their girlfriends and didn't want to go. Finally one went. A short time later, he beckoned for help. They were seen cutting a pole. After a while, they came back with a pole on their shoulders, which held all the fish they could pack. The two largest fish were dragging along the ground. Hal had caught his whale after all.

Some of the other Hursts I heard of were:

Old Uncle Abe Hurst, who reached the age of 114 years. It was said, he didn't know his own children.

There was Harb Hurst who owned a grist mill near Corydon and ground the farmers' grain with water power and a big water wheel. Perry C. Hurst fished in the stream near this mill and caught a big bass, which got off his hook and then went under the mill wheel. Harb shut off the water so it was shallow and then watched Perry try to catch it. After he got all wet, Harb said that he would get it. He took a fish gig and gigged it. There were two others in this place, he got those too and gave them to Perry.

Harb had a pet otter; which he kept a real flannel collar on it so people wouldn't kill it. Every morning at 2 am, this otter would go fishing and catch a fish and lay it on the porch of Harb's home. Eventually, someone finally killed his otter.

There was a Hurst called Stump. Whenever they found a bee tree, he was always there to go with them. One night, he ate supper with John L. He ate a lot of light bread butter and honey near the bee tree. This night while they were all sleeping, Stump became sick. Hal was along, so Stump called for him. He was speaking really quiet because he didn't want the others to know. Finally Hal answered and Stump told him that he was sick and wanted some water. They had filled everything with honey, so Hal told him that he had nothing to get water in, but Stump said, “Take my shoe.” Hal went to the creek and got Stump a shoe of water and Stump drank it then asked for another, then he said he felt better.

Another time, they were going to cut a bee tree. They tried to go without Stump, but as usual he came along. He had supper with John L. This time they had possum and pumpkin. Stump would eat and say, “Possum fat and pumpkin is the best eating in the world.” They said, “Stump, you are going to make yourself sick.” He said, “I would like to be made sick, it is too good, and won't make me sick again.” They camped and really late, Hal heard Stump calling him again. He would say, “Oh, Hal,” Hal would be heard mean, “The possum,” Hal would say, “his long, lantern jaw, his beady eyes and his long slick tail.” By then Stump would be really sick and would vomit, then he would call out, “Oh, Hal.” Again Hal listened a while and finally answered him, “Stump, what is the matter?” Stump said, “I am so sick, bring me some water.” Then Hal said, “What made you eat so much?” Stump said, “It was so good that I couldn't help it.”

One night Hal's Jack and Bill, a brother of Stump, wanted to go to hunting at the deer lick. Stump heard about their plans and said he was going with Jack. Stump always talked too much and scared the deer away. The men had built a platform in a tree near the salt lick. They would climb up there and wait for a deer to come along and they couldn't make a sound. Therefore, they didn't want Stump along. So, Bill and Jack made a plan that would scare Stump.

When Stump stopped by for Jack, he told Stump that he had an awful headache and couldn't go. Jack was sitting with his head tied up and holding it. So, Stump went on to the lick alone. Jack followed a little way behind. After Stump got settled, Jack began to blow a Panther Squaler. He could see Stump rise up. Then he made such a noise that it seemed like there was a terrible fight going on. Stump got down and started to take off his shoes to wade the creek, but Jack blew the squaler again and Stump went into the creek. With one shoe on and one off, he ran for Jack's house. Jack ran home to beat him there, so that Stump wouldn't know that he was the one who scared him. Jack had just sat down when Stump came in. Jack could tell that Stump was really scared. Stump said that there were two panthers fighting and he thought they were going to kill him. He went to his own home and told Bill about it. Bill said he didn't believe it and he was going to go see, so he and Jack went together. After a while a deer came and they killed it. He told Stump that he just imagined it all.

There was an Uncle Hugh Dyer that came to visit John L.'s family several times after they moved to Washington County. At that time, the tomato was considered poisonous. They were raised for flowers, but in Washington County, people were eating them. Uncle Hugh ate his first tomato at John's place. He liked them and took some seed home to raise in his garden.

There was also a Snooker Dyer.

John Hurst Sr., son of William and Judith Calfee Hurst. The children of John Sr. were: Henry, Beverly, Leah, Abraham, Mary, John Jr., William, and Henry.

The home of John Hurst Sr. was a home where the Indians came and stayed. Sometimes overnight, sometimes for days on their way to Louisville to trade their bead works & moccasins for things they wanted. These Indians slept on the floor in their blankets with their heads towards the fire and their feet toward the door. They were friendly, of course. These Indians liked the white people's cooking. One of the white men said, “Your squaws are prettier than our squaws.” They looked at Leah and replied, “Indians' squaws ugly, white ones pretty.” She was a beautiful girl and the Indians all liked her. One of the Indians gave her a beautiful pair of moccasins.

One of the boys was Beverly, “Bev” as they boys called him. John Sr. decided to build a house, made of brick, "so strong that the devil out of hell couldn't tear it down". Shortly after they moved into this house, a cyclone came in this vicinity. When the folks heard it coming, they called those who were upstairs to come downstairs. All of them got down except Bev, he was still really sleepy. When the storm hit, the next thing he knew, he was in an apple tree, and the tree was rolling like a ball. The house upstairs was torn off, down to the lower story. They could hear Bev calling, but it was so dark and raining so hard that they couldn't find him until after the rain. After this whenever anyone said “storm”, Bev was the first one up. The old house, made of logs, was not touched by the storm. John L. and Lucrettia, were just ½ a mile away at their home. They were out in the yard looking and there wasn't enough wind to blow out a candle Lucrettia carried. The storm was ½ a mile wide and two miles long. It hit Indian Creek Bluff, raised, and was never seen of again.

Socrates, Hal's son, was very good man at working with wood and tools. Hal apprenticed him to a wagon maker, but he would not stay with this wagon maker and ran away to Washington County. He stayed here the rest of his days. He married Mary Myers, a widow of German descent. She had 2 or more children by her first marriage. She and Socrates had one son. They named him James Lafayette Madison Monroe Hurst, nicknamed “Lafe”. Lafe was killed by a tractor wreck.

For several months, during the Civil War, John L. and Lucrettia kept three or four war refugees from the south. They were up north either because they were prisoners of war or running away because they didn't want to serve in the Southern Army.

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Last Updated Sat Aug 11, 2007