This will be of interest to those researching Moses Fuqua, Jr., of Greenup County, Kentucky, and those researching the Fuqua name generally. I came across this article while looking for sketches of other relatives. It contains information I’ve seen nowhere else.
Bruce E King, IV, Ph.D.
February 17, 2005
From the Portsmouth Times, Portsmouth, Ohio, Saturday, December 25, 1875.
SKETCHES of the Early Settlers of Greenup County, Ky.
BY JAMES KEYES.
MOSES FUQUA, JUN.
Was the son of Captain Moses Fuqua, of whom we gave a short biographical sketch in a former article. He was born in Old Virginia in the year 1778. His father was a worthy planter of the Old Dominion, who owned large landed estates and plenty of negro slaves to work them. He belonged to the class who styled themselves and were generally known as the first families of Virginia. That is to say, they owned plantations more or less, with negroes to work them generally under the supervision of an overseer. This class of people formed a distinctive and exclusive part of the community in which they lived, and they had adopted a code of unwritten laws for their own government, which were more rigidly enforced than that of the most despotic government in existence. Under this system, as it flourished in all its glory at the time he was born, Moses Fuqua, the subject of this sketch, was raised and educated. Therefore we are led to suppose that he received a good education, with all the culture and refinement necessary to prepare him to act his part creditably in the best society of Virginia. When he was about twenty years of age, his father concluded to sell off his possessions in Virginia and remove to the western wilds of Kentucky. Accordingly he sent his son Moses, accompanied by a Presbyterian minister, to locate a situation for them all to move and settle on. This was about the year 1798 or 99, the precise time cannot now be ascertained. They started on horseback, and followed the route over which the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad has since been built. At that time it was an unbroken wilderness, and part of the way almost impassable on account of mountains and precipices. But, however, they followed the course of the Kanawha and Ohio rivers till they reached the mouth of Tygart's Creek. Here, in the large bottom lying above the mouth of Tygart, they concluded to make their location. This was done according to the manner and form of locating land in Kentucky at that time. But there is a bit of romance connected with the location of that land which I must here relate, as it had a controlling influence over all Mr. Fuqua's subsequent life. It took considerable time for Mr. Fuqua to survey, and plat, and get his land properly recorded so that his title would be good. There was a small settlement at that time at the mouth of the Scioto river called Alexandria, here Mr. Fuqua took his boarding while engaged in making his surveys and plats. He boarded at the house of John Collins, who was keeping a tavern in Alexandria at that time, who had a short time previously lost his wife, who fell a victim to the malaria which is more or less prevalent in all new countries. But Mr. Collins had a daughter about fifteen or sixteen years of age, who was fully competent to take charge of the domestic affairs of the tavern. While Mr. Fuqua boarded at the house of John Collins, he was struck with admiration at the skill and tact manifested by Cynthia Collins in the management of her father's house. Whether he made any professions of love to her while he remained there, is not known, but he observed to his father when he was mounting his horse to bid good-bye, that he thought Mr. Collins had a very fine daughter, and if he was disposed to marry, he would not do better than to take her for a wife. With this observation Mr. Fuqua rode off and returned to his home in Virginia. When Mr. Fuqua had made his report and given a most glowing description of the richness of the soil, and the beautiful Ohio river, on the banks of which he had secured a large body of the best of lands, the old gentleman and several of his children resolved to emigrate to the wilderness of Kentucky, and, as the old song said:
"Where they could kill the buck and doe.
And settle on the banks of the pleasant Ohio."
It is not necessary to relate the incidents of the trip across the mountains and precipices that separated the rich and fertile valley of the Ohio from the valley of the James river. All persons who ever traveled over the New river cliffs, as they were called, before turnpike roads were made, will have a vivid recollection of the dangers attendant upon moving a family of women and children over such a road as that. After they had arrived at their new home and got cabins built to shelter the families in, young Moses was not long in crossing the Ohio and making a visit to his old friends in Alexandria. It would have been very agreeable to all his connections if he had chosen a wife from among the rich and highly cultured women of his own standing in society, but it appeared that after his Western trip they had no charms for him. The humble tavern keeper's daughter of the Northwestern Territory ran in his head to the exclusion of all others, no matter how rich and accomplished they might be. It appears on record in an old bible yet in existence, that Moses Fuqua and Cynthia Collins were married on the 5th day of September, in the year of our Lord, 1803. He took his wife into Kentucky to live on the land he had located. But he now found that he had violated one of the most rigid and strictly enforced laws belonging to the first families of Virginia. To marry outside of the charmed circle enclosing the favored few who are so fortunate as to own land and negroes, (particularly negroes,) is an offense that has never been forgiven by the parents of an erring son or daughter. The most that Captain Fuqua would do for his erring son, was to let him build a house and let him cultivate a part of his land free of rent, and likewise loaned him a negro once in a while to assist in harvest, or when work was pushing. Under these discouraging circumstances Mr. Fuqua commenced the battle of life. He was very soon appointed a justice of the peace.
It was the law of Kentucky at that time to appoint the magistrates wherever they were needed by some Court which had the appointing power; and when a vacancy occurred in the Sheriff's office, the oldest magistrate took the office of Sheriff and served a certain number of years, and when his time expired the next in succession took his place, and so on forever, unless they have altered the law. Mr. Fuqua, being the oldest magistrate in this county, took the office of Sheriff and served his time.
Mr. Fuqua assisted in organizing the Tygart's Creek Baptist Church, the first church organization in this part of the country. He was appointed clerk of the church, and held that position a great many years, probably till his death. He was strictly a religious man, and set up a high standard of morality for the government of his family. He would not allow any profane swearing or any indecent or vulgar language about his house or on his premises. Profane swearing was the prevailing vice of the country at that time, and if he ever heard one of his hired men, either black or white, swearing or using bad language, he would discharge him on the spot, no matter what the hurry might be with regard to his work. He would not allow any of his family to go to a ball or dance. Neither would he let any of his family go to night meetings or singing schools. His family consisted of nearly all girls, and they must always be escorted by a male protector. Under this rigid system of family government he reared a family of ten girls and two boys. The girls were for increasing the population, and the boys to continue the name. One of the boys died young. The other got married and had two children, both girls. So the name was lost at last. The girls all got married, and most of them had large families of children. Mrs. Fuqua lived to be a very old woman, and at the time of her death could remember seventy-six grand-children. Moses Fuqua, jr. was not a rich man; his father disinherited him because he married a woman, the daughter of a poor tavern keeper, which was an unpardonable offense. He bought land adjoining his father's farm; but the title proving defective, as was common in Kentucky at that time, he either had to go into an expensive law suit to retain it, or pay for it again. He chose the latter as being the least expensive of the two.
His oldest daughter, named Lavina, was born in 1804. She married Benjamin F. Rankin, a carpenter by trade, who was boss of the millwright work of the Gaylord rolling mill when it was built in 1832. He afterwards moved out West. Judith, or Judy as it was commonly pronounced, was a very handsome girl. She was born in 1806, and married Robert Laughlin. She had but one child, a daughter, who married Captain Killen, a gentleman well-known in this community. After the death of Mr. Laughlin, his widow married Dr. Dennis, of Portsmouth. This marriage proved unfortunate. She lost her health and never regained it. She left Portsmouth and went to reside with her mother where, after lingering a few years, she died.
It is unnecessary to give in detail the history of all the children. Suffice it to say that they all got married, and as the world goes, did very well. Their names as recorded in the old family bible are as follows: Lavina, was born in 1804; Judah Woodson Fuqua, was born in 1806; Elizabeth, in 1808; Nancy Morton Fuqua, was born in 1811; John Collins Fuqua, was born in 1813; Mary, in 1815; Sarah Cook Fuqua, in 1817; Martha Morton Fuqua, in 1819; Cynthia Jane Fuqua, in 1822; Louise, in 1824; Moses Gyles Fuqua, in 1829; Benjamin Franklin Rankins Fuqua, in 1829, making twelve in all – ten daughters and two sons.
The name of Fuqua has now become extinct in this part of the country; but of the female side their descendants are very numerous.
As a note to this biography, I would like to call the attention of readers to the second to last paragraph. Judah is given above as Judith, so Judah may likely be an error. Also, by my count, there were nine daughters and three sons. Most interesting, however, is the middle name of Moses Gyles Fuqua. In the debate over the true name of the immigrant Fuqua ancestor, Gyles or Giles should merit consideration.