About Henry Harrison Combs, Sr.
Henry Combs, Sr., one of the “eight” (John Combs, Sr., Mason Combs, Sr., John Combs of Richmond, Archdale Combs of Old Rappa), b 1765-1768, probably in Frederick Co, VA; d aft 1848-50, possibly in Greene Co, IN; m (1) 28 Sep 1788, Montgomery Co, VA, Rachael CLEMENTS (d/o Benjamin), b 1771-1773, Virginia; d (probably) 1830-1832, Perry Co, KY; m (2) (possibly on 6 Apr 1832 in Perry Co, KY), Phoebe FRANCIS (no more information).
Henry is documented as a s/o John Combs, Sr. by the Dickey Diary Interviews (which identify him as “one of the eight” Combs brothers of East Kentucky); as well as other implied records (as follow). He was a.k.a. Harry or Harrison Combs according to The Combes Genealogy…
A (Tentative) Chronology of the Life of Henry Combs
1765-1768 (probably) Frederick Co, VA. Born: Henry Combs, s/o John (based on probable residence of John Combs at the time).
1787 Montgomery Co, VA. Henry may have been the white male tithable age 17-20 (b 1767-1770) in the Montgomery Co, VA tax listing of his father in 1787. Other records indicate that Henry was b 1765-1768. If he was the tithable in his father's household, that birth years range would adjust to 1767-8, which would “match” the 1789 record below.
1788 Montgomery Co, VA. Personal Property Tax Lists included Henry Combs (this record not viewed so number of tithables, etc. not known).
26 Sept 1788 Montgomery Co VA. Henry Combs m Rachael CLEEMENTS [CLEMENTS], daughter of Benjamin CLEEMENTS who gave consent. Surety for his bond was a Mason Combs who was probably his brother (The Combes Genealogy… states that this Mason was Henry's uncle, but there is no evidence of Mason, Jr. having been in Montgomery County at this time).
26 Dec 1788 Montgomery Co, VA Tax Lists. Henry Combs.
24 Aug 1789 Montgomery Co, VA Tax Lists. Henry is not among the 1789 tithables according to Nettie Schreiner Yantish' “Montgomery Co, VA ca1790.”
1790 Montgomery Co, VA. Tax Lists. Henry Combs, “non-tithable,” but charged with the tax of one white male, age 17-20 (b 1769-1772), who was probably Henry himself. (possibly non-tithable due to being under 21).
1793 Wythe Co, VA. Tax Lists. Henry Combs is listed with one tithe and one horse. Also on this list is (his father-in-law?) Benjamin CLEMMONS [sic].
1794 Wythe Co VA Tax Lists. Henry Combs is listed as tithing one on a tax list which Researcher Jeff Weaver indicates covered that part of Wythe which is present-day Wythe and Smythe Cos, VA.
1795 Grayson Co, VA. Tax List. Henry Combs. Note: Unlike his brother, Mason, Henry did not live in that part of Wythe which became Grayson in 1794. His appearance on this Grayson tax list indicates a move.
1797-8 Sullivan Co, TN. Henry Combs was residing in or near Sullivan Co, TN based on Dickey Diary Interviews, and the birth location of his sons, Henry Combs, Jr. and George Combs.
1807-1820 Clay Co, KY. Henry was residing in Clay based on tax lists (1807-1811, 1813-14, 1817-1820) and census records (1810 and 1820).
1830 Perry Co, KY. Census. Henry Combs.
6 Apr 1832. Perry Co, KY. Henry may have been the same who m on this date according to the Perry Co, KY Groom's Index. His second wife was Phoebe FRANCIS (Dickey Diary Interviews).
by 1837-1838 Indiana. Henry and his second family were residing in Indiana according to Dickey Diary Interviews. Although The Combes Genealogy… posits Johnson Co, IN, he is not known to have ever resided in that county (see following).
1840 Greene Co, IN Census Index. One Henry Combs is listed adjacent to a William Combs who may have been William Byrom Combs (See also Vigo Co, IN)
1848 East Kentucky. Henry returns home for a visit according to Dickey Diary Interviews (at age 80ish?).
1850 Greene Co, IN. A Henry Combs, b ca 1772, South Carolina [sic], is enumerated with what may have been a third wife (Yenah?), and numerous children. It also appears that Henry's brother, Biram, was in Greene Co, IN, and if this is Henry: WOW!!! (Great Work, Debi Houser!)
Found an article in the Nov 2005, Kentucky Explorer about the settlers of Breathitt Co. Tucked in the back of the article was Henry Harrison Combs and his sons Matthew and Henry, Jr.
In the year 1795, Harrison Combs and ten year old son, Matthew of Russell Co VA, went on a hunting and exploring trip into the wilds of the Kentucky River. Hunting, wandering, exploring and spying out the land, they discovered what is known as Big Bottom; one-half mile above the present day city of Hazard. The intentions of Harrison Combs to move to the North Fork of the Kentucky was evidenced by the seed and tools he brought. He and his young son built a lean-to and went to work clearing the land around it. When two acres were free of trees and brush they planted it with corn, beans and peach tree seed. Catching a young bear, they kept it in the cabin. It became a great pet. The day came when the corn and beans were weeded, and they made preparations to return to Russell Co for the other members of the family. What to do with the young bear was a problem. They couldn't take it with them, neither could they pen it up for it would starve. A suggestion from Matthew that it be turned loose was vetoed at once. The animal would hang around the cabin and eat the beans and corn. They killed and ate the bear as the final solution. When Harrison and his son arrived back in Russell Co quick preparation was made to move to their new home. All of their household goods they brought to Kentucky were packed on two horses. The family walked driving two cows, the first ones to be brought to the area. The peach seed planted by Harrison and Matthew grew to large trees in a few years and yielded bountiful harvests. Finding that the household utilization of peaches would not consume even an approximation of the crops, Harrison decided to make peach brandy. He did not have a still to make brandy, so he sent his sons Matthew and Henry, Jr, east to Washington Co VA, to procure one. They hauled it westward until they were at the eastern slope of Black Mountain. Since it could not be transported any further by this means, they cut a long pole, tied the still to it with hickory switches, and carried it over Black Mountain and down to Big
Bottom. It did service for the family for years, and the sums realized from the sale of brandy were a welcome addition to the family income. Years after its use was discontinued it was kept as a reminder of the family's pioneering days. In a few years Harrison Combs sold the Big Bottom farm to his son, Matthew, and moved to Troublesome Creek in present-day Breathitt Co. Here he built flatboats and took his produce to New Orleans. It was Henry Combs, son of Harrison, who realized the immense potential for wealth that lay abundant in the mountains of Breathitt Co. He acquired a vast acreage of land and timber, planted an apple orchard of 1,000 trees and a peach orchard of ten acres. He grew cotton and hemp, with which to make clothes. He tanned leather and made shoes for the settlers. He burned brick and built the first real fireplace in the county. Faced with the knowledge that unless he provided a means to educate his children they would go without schooling, he built a schoolhouse and hired a teacher for his own and neighbors' children. In the years ahead Henry Combs grew wealthy in timber and land, and his descendents became prominent and prosperous. Henry Combs was a sturdy and hard-striving son of a pioneer family, but so were all of these settlers of Breathitt Co: the Neaces, Nobles, Allens, Haddixes, and others. They had to be sturdy and strong if they were to survive.
From Sewell S. COMBS (Great Grandson of Harrison COMBS)
Harrison Combs, my great grandfather, came to Kentucky from Russell
County, Virginia, in 1795, and settled on the North Fork of the Kentucky
River. The place at which he settled was known as the Big Bottom, which was
about a half mile above where the town of Hazard now stands. This was the
first settlement on the North Fork of the Kentucky River in this section of
When Harrison Combs came to Kentucky, his son, Mathew, came with him.
He was ten years old. They brought along with them some peach seeds. seed
corn, a rifle gun, a supply of ammunition, an ax, a weeding hoe, an iron
wedge and a froe. They built a shanty to sleep, cleared two acres of ground,
caught a young bear and kept it at their shanty. The young bear took up with
Mathew. The bear stayed with them until large enough to eat, when they killed
it and kept the meat to eat. So they had some fine tame bear meat.
As soon as they got their corn laid by and a house built they went
back to Virginia after the rest of the family. On their return trip they
carried their household goods on the horses. Most of the family walked and
drove two cows through to Kentucky. The peach seeds mentioned before, grew
and bore more peaches than they knew what to do with so Mathew and his
brother Henry went to Washington Co, Virginia, and got a still and hauled it
to the foot of Black Mountain. There theytook Hickory withes and a pole and
carried it across the mountain and on to their home, where they made peach
brandy. This still was in the Combs family for years. It was loaned to Henry
Ingle about the year Isaac Combs, an uncle of mine, took it to Wolf County.
I went after it and took it home with me where I made peach and apple brandy
in it. It was loaned to someone on the Kentucky River and the house in which
it was located was burned in 1872.
Harrison Combs sold their place to his son Mathew, and he bought on
Troublesome Creek, which is now in Breathitt County but at the time was in
Perry County. The Troublesome Creek place was also later sold to Mathew.
Harrison Combs wife died about the time he sold out. He had five boys:
Mathew, Henry, Hugh, George and Steve. Harrison Combs later married a young
woman and moved to the State of Indiana, and was
lost sight of. The Troublesome Creek farm of Harrison Combs is in the hands
of the Combs family to this time.
Harrison Combs hung the first bow oar on a boat on the Kentucky River.
When they commenced running boats and rafts they had what is called the
stern oar and one on each side next to the bow end. When Harrison Combs got
to running on the water from Kentucky to New Orleans, he hung an oar on the
bow end of the raft or boat and did away with the side oar.
New Orleans was the market place for corn, potatoes, tobacco and
hemp, also lumber. The farmers would sell their surplus of crops to the men
who ran the boats or rafts. They would take it to New Orleans, sell it and
walk back home, a distance of 1200 miles, which was traversed almost
entirely through the woods.
The last time I ever saw Mr. Charles Allen he took dinner at my
father's when I was a boy just about ten years old. Mr. Allen told me he
had made eleven trips to New Orleans and had walked back every time. Mr.
Allen lived in what is now Lee County, Kentucky.
Matthew Combs, my grandfather moved to the Troublesom Creek farm in
1828. His son, Henry, who was my father, was two years old when Perry
County was made and was ten years old when his father moved to Troublesome
Creek. Mathew Combs married Fannie Brown, daughter of William Brown, who
came from England before the Revolutionary War.
The above spelling is as close as these tired old eyes can copy it. Does
anyone know who this William Brown is?.
Submitted By: J.P. Downard <http://www.rootsweb.com/~archreg/vols/00001.html#0000153>
838 Perennial Dr. Louisville Ky. 40217
-------------------- Transported produce down the KY River to the OH River by flatboat, then down the MS River to New Orleans
Henry Harrison Combs, Sr.'s Timeline
Russell, Virginia, United States
September 21, 1788
Montegomery, Virginia, United States
Holten, Sullivan, Tennessee, United States
Perry, Kentucky, United States
April 6, 1832
Johnson, Indiana, United States