Judge Archibald Borders

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Archibald Borders, I

Birthdate: (88)
Birthplace: Giles County, Virginia, United States
Death: November 12, 1886 (88)
Borders Chapel, Lawrence, Kentucky, United States
Place of Burial: Borders Chapel, Lawrence, Kentucky, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John V. Borders, Sr. (Bader) and Catherine Elizabeth Borders (Sellards)
Husband of Jane "Jency" Borders (Preston)
Father of David Preston Borders; John Lewis Borders; Arthur Borders; Allen P. Borders; Julia Ann Dillon and 1 other
Brother of Michael Borders; Hezekiah Borders; Candes Cain; Rev. John L. Borders, Jr.; Mary "Polly" Daniel and 6 others

Occupation: many, see his overview bio
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Judge Archibald Borders

Fore more pictures go to the Media section.


The following is an article on the Borders family and Archibald Borders in particular from the book "The Big Sandy Valley" by William Ely, published in 1887, pages 119-124: Archibald, son of John Borders, was born in Giles County, Virginia, in 1798, and came, with his father's family, to the Sandy Valley in 1802. His father intended going on to the Scioto country, but falling sick, stopped near the mouth of Tom's Creek, in what is now Johnson County, where he died, leaving a widow and eight children - four sons and four daughters. The oldest son settled on George's Creek, where he died in 1882, at the age of eighty-two. John, the second son, also settled on George's Creek. He died in 1879 or '80. He was a highly respected Baptist preacher. He, too, lived to a great age. Hezekiah settled on the Sandy River at what is known, and has been for sixty years, as Borders Chapel. He and his wife were great Methodists, and no Methodist preacher ever passed by the chapel during their lives who did not call to see these pious people. They passed to their reward years ago; but a son of theirs, the now aged Joseph Borders-the father of Joe H. Borders, once a journalist of the Sandy Valley, but now a banker in Kansas - owns and lives at the old homestead, to represent his honored ancestors. The chapel has been rebuilt, and is the best-looking log church in the valley. Polly, the oldest daughter, married Isom Daniels. They settled on the farm two miles below Tom's Creek, now the home of Peter Daniels, one of their sons. She died during the Civil War. The father and mother left a large number of sons and daughters, who have come to honor. More than one of the sons is a Baptist minister. Betty married Joseph Davis. They settled on the banks of the Sandy, at a place well known as Davis Bend. This branch of the family also rose to honor. The wife of Rev. Z. Meek, D. D., is a daughter of this honored pair. John Davis, formerly a leading businessman of Paintsville, was their son. William Davis, the large landowner in Lawrence and Johnson Counties, is another son. Daniel, the wealthy businessman and prominent Republican politician of Johnson County, is a grandson. Jemima married Felty VanHoose. Katie, the youngest, married John Brown, who became a wealthy farmer and a noted old-time hotelkeeper on George's Creek. She is the only one still alive of all the John Borders family, and, although over eighty, is a well-preserved old lady. Her husband died in 1875.

It will be seen that the entire household of the first Borders who came to Sandy have occupied the highest positions known to ordinary life; and without detracting from them any meed of praise, it is true to say that the brother who was the youngest outranked them all, if not in moral worth, in great business plans.

Archibald Borders

When a little past twenty-one, married Jane Preston, a daughter of Moses Preston the first, and a sister of "Coby" Preston. They settled near Whitehouse Shoals, and lived there until two of their children were born, when they moved down to the farm which he possessed when he died. He opened up a large and productive farm, ran a large store, a tannery, shoe-factory, and saddlery. Those branches of trade and industries, it would seem, were enough to occupy the full time of any one man; but he also was one of the largest tan-bark and timber traders then on the Sandy. Nor did he fail in either. In 1860 he built the steamer Sandy Valley, a boat equal to any of the Sandy steamers of today. He was not only a man of great industry and business capacity, but was a gentleman of the most refined tastes. He established a large park on his plantation, stocked with a herd of native deer of the mountains, which not only supplied his table with venison, but the gambols of the beautiful creatures added pleasure to himself, his family, and others. He continued to attend to business up to within a year or so of his death, which occurred November 12, 1886.

He accumulated a vast amount of land and other property, leaving his children well off. During his busy life he was a friend of Churches and schools, and much to support them, yet never made a public profession of Christianity until within a month of his death. His conversion was miraculous. He prayed the Father to send him the witness of his Spirit, and make it so plain that he could have no doubt, as he was too weak to prove his conversion by an examination of the Word of God. He was satisfied, and then asked the great Jehovah to reveal to him how he should receive the ordinance of baptism, whether by immersion or sprinkling. He was told to be sprinkled. He immediately sent for his kinsman, Rev. Z. Meek, D. D., who baptized him and admitted him into the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Archibald Borders was more than an ordinary man, or he could not have borne so many burdens, and live up to the age of eighty-eight years. He was foreman of the grand jury that indicted one Walker, who forfeited his life on the gallows at Louisa for murder. He filled the office of justice of the peace in Lawrence County from 1834 to 1850, when it expired by the death of the old Constitution. The same year he was elected the first county judge of Lawrence, and was re-elected in 1854, serving for eight years. During the great Civil War, the Borders family were Union people, but always conservative. Since the war the judge and his son David, a wealthy citizen of Lawrence, have voted oftener for men and measures than at the suggestions of party managers.

Judge Borders and his wife, Jane Preston, had five children – four sons and one daughter. Of the sons, John and Arthur have long been dead. David, to whom we have already referred, is a widower, living on a farm near his father's old home, and takes the world easy. Allen P. has one of the finest brick residences on the Sandy River. His wife is a daughter of the late Lewis Mayo, so well remembered for his noble traits of character. Julia, the only daughter, is the wife of J. W. Dillon, a leading man in the business circles of Catlettsburg. After the death of her father, Mrs. Dillon had her invalid mother brought down to her home, where she might better attend to her many wants until the candle of her life, which for twenty years has been flickering down low in the socket, became extinguished.

Among the most prominent contemporaries of Judge Borders in Lawrence, not yet named, the author may mention John D. Ross, Major Bolt, Neri Sweatnam, Walter Osburn, and Greenville Goble, the father of M. B. Goble, of Catlettsburg. All these, save Mr. Sweatnam, were called upon to fill official stations, and Mr. Sweatnam was as useful in private as he could have been in a public station.

Walter Osburn and John D. Ross are all that linger on the shore of time. These were, and are, honorable names.

Per Appalachia Crossroads, by Clayton R. Cox. Pages 513-514: Archibald Borders, son of John and Catherine [Sellards] Borders, and grandson of Hezekiah Sellards, was born May 20, 1798, Giles County, Virginia, died Nov 12, 1886, in Lawrence Co., Kentucky. He is buried in a small enclosed cemetery atop the hill down river from where his large log home once stood on the old river road above the present Belle Chapel. His gravestone is a spire type or Washington monument style resting upon a square pedestal and approximately ten feet in height.

On Dec. 14, 1820, he married Jane [Jency] Preston, born about 1799 in Virginia, daughter of Moses and Fanny [Arthur] Preston.

Though the youngest son in the family he became the wealthiest and best known of the eight children. Lawrence County Court reflects numerous land transactions and leases of property up to 3000 acres per parcel. His usual signature was simply "A Borders".

Archibald served as a magistrate in the Lawrence Co. area, when it was a part of Floyd Co. When Lawrence Co. came into being in 1822, he continued this position until the 1st County Judge was elected in 1851. He ran for this office winning the election and served as the county judge until 1858.

At first he and Jane settled at White Goose Shoals. Shortly after their first two children were born they moved to the large farm situated on River Road, between Borders Chapel and Belle Chapel.

Upon a visit to the old home place of Archibald, McDonald Akers, then owner of 645 acres of the farm walked over the farm with his son-in-law, E. B. Lycan, and me. Mack pointed out where the old residence stood and looking across the Levisa Fork, one could see through the fall foliage the entrance to the Old Peach Orchard mine. As you walk over the farm you find evidence still exists of Archibald's many and varied activities.

Just beyond the field where their residence stood, are two small hollows. The right one, just below the cemetery, is referred to as the tan bark hollow. Sink holes or depressions still exists where once ground pits were located for leather tanning operations. On the front slope of the ridge separating the two hollows, and directly behind the old residence location the remains of a flat shelf which had been excavated for his combination saddlery and shoe shop.

In addition to these activities, Archibald engaged in timber and tan bark sales. About 1860 he built the "Sandy Valley", a steamboat most popular on the Sandy prior to the Civil War, and one that played an important part in the development of the community of Peach Orchard. When Col. Garfield came into the area to head the Union Forces, he commandeered the "Sandy Valley", while the river was at flood stage, forcing the crew to take the craft from its docking, turn it in the heavy current and move up the river as a supply ship for his troops.

Up river from Archibald's home, and just around the bend on the River Road, is the large brick dwelling, on which Archibald used slave labor in construction of a home for his son, David. Bricks for the residence were fired in the area between the residence site and the Levisa Fork. This was the residence occupied at the time of our visit by Mr. McDonald Akers and his family.

One of the surprising things is that Judge Archibald died intestate. In Lawrence County Deed Book, 45, page 61, is recorded a Commissioners Deed, at the direction of the May 1891 term of court, to settle a portion of his estate. This deed carries 43 signatures of the next of kin.

Per a letter from Clayton Cox, author of Appalachia Crossroads, Archibald's steamboat was commandeered during the Civil War and was used as a supply ship.

The following are excerpts from "Lawrence County, A Pictorial History" by George Wolfford, 1972, pg.13: Borders, whose position of respect was mirrored in a political career, first developed the Peach Orchard territory and lived so well as to emulate European barony, with a private park around his home and deer running wild within the grounds. He sold to William Mellen, who touted the value of coal there and got investments from Cincinnati.

From an article on Coal: For Lawrence, organized mining began in earnest in 1847 when George Carlisle, R. B. Bowler, and other Cincinnati capitalists formed "Peach Orchard Coal Company" and bought 2,000 acres of land from Archibald Borders. The tract was on the east side of Levisa fork 15 south of Louisa, near the Martin County line. It was property which would rise and fall with innovations in mining. Pg. 35.

The following are some newspaper clippings:

  • Nov. 29, 1883 Issue, Ashland Independent, Boyd County (Catlettsburg): John W. Dillon and family are on a visit to his father-in-law, Judge Borders, at Peach Orchard. Mr. Borders is dangerously ill. Source: Bygone Bylines, Jackson and Meek, Eastern Kentucky Genealogical Society, 1996, pg 159.
  • Nov 4, 1886 Issue Big Sandy News: Mrs. W. D. Roffe and Miss Neva Stewart accompanied Judge Stewart to Peach Orchard Tuesday. Judge Borders, Mrs. Roffe's grandfather is critically ill. Source: Big Sandy News Abstracted by Cora Meek Newman, Eastern Kentucky Genealogical Society, 2000, pg 20.
  • Nov. 18, 1886 Issue, Big Sandy News: Archibald Borders, one of the most reputable, wealthy and best known business men of Sandy Valley died at his home near Richardson a few days ago at age 89 years old. Source: Big Sandy News Abstracted by Cora Meek Newman, Eastern Kentucky Genealogical Society, 2000, pg 20.

In David P. Borders' family Bible, David lists his father's death as occurring: Died November 12th 1886 at half past four in the morning aged 88 yrs - 5m - 22 days.

Children of Archibald Borders and Jane Preston are:

  • David P. Borders, born January 17, 1822 in Whitehouse Shoals , Lawrence Co., KY; died February 15, 1891 in Lawrence Co., KY.
  • John Lewis Borders, born September 15, 1823 in Whitehouse Shoals, Lawrence Co., KY; died April 15, 1863 in Lawrence Co., KY.
  • Arthur Borders, born October 17, 1827 in Lawrence Co., KY; died July 31, 1863 in Lawrence Co., KY.
  • Allen P. Borders, born June 02, 1831 in Peach Orchard, Lawrence Co., KY; died November 16, 1900 in Lawrence Co., KY.
  • Julia Ann Borders, born March 19, 1840 in Peach Orchard, Lawrence Co., KY; died July 19, 1911 in Catlettsburg, Boyd Co., KY. She married John W. Dillon April 19, 1863 in Catlettsburg, Boyd Co., KY; born Abt. 1823; died Unknown.

Borders - Burgess & Wooten Suit:

Archibald Borders Vs. Silas P. Wooten and Cornelius M. Burgess, Aug. 19, 1844: Archibald Borders charges that “one Moses Preston entered and surveyed 50 acres of land in Lawrence Co. on the Deep Gut branch emptying into Levisa Fork of Big Sandy River. A true survey of Samuel Mobley, surveyor of Lawrence Co., is herewith filed.” Borders says Austin sold to C. M. Burgess the same tract of land and so he cannot understand how Preston could have conveyed a title to Burgess. About twelve years ago, Burgess sold the same tract of land to Silas P. Wooten for the sum of fifty dollars and gave Wooten the title bond. Wooten had lost the title bond and so it was impossible for it to be filed. On July 31, 1844, Wooten “assigned to your orator (Borders) the title bond and the full benefit of whatever is devised to Wooten by a suit upon the issue.” Borders requests that Burgess and Wooten file their answers and any paper Burgess has from his sale to Wooten. He “prays for a decree against C. M. Burgess for $50.00, the purchase money, and interest from time of payment.”

Answer of Moses Preston, Johnson Co., KY, Apr. 28, 1845: M. Preston admits it is “true as alleged in the compt.’s (Borders) bill that he surveyed the 50 acres and that he sold the same to his co-deft., C. M. Burgess, and transferred same by assigning the surveyor’s certificate.” Preston assumes that Burgess sent this to the Registrar’s office and probably a patent was issued to Burgess.

Moses Preston’s answer on oath was made to James Delong, Justice of the Peace of Johnson Co., KY.

Copy of Moses Preston, Sr. Survey, Sept. 21, 1822: “Lawrence Co., KY. To wit 21st day of Sept. 1822 for Moses Preston, Sr. fifty acres of land by virtue of a Kentucky Land Office warrant number 10099 Lying and being in the county of Lawrence and state of KY bounded as follows – on the west side of the Deep Gut branch at a poplar etc., etc., to the beginning Chain carriers: Witness Isaac Preston Meek, Stephen Perkins, Samuel Davis

(Note: The surveyor’s notes describe the boundary of the land: “50 acres beginning on the west fork of Levisa fork of Big Sandy River on the right branch below Mr. Spencer’s house up a branch a little below the main road leading from Prestonsburg to the Louisa Court House etc., etc.”)

Assignment of Title Bond by Silas P. Wooten, Sr., to Archibald Borders, July 31, 1844: “For value received I do assign to Archibald Borders the benefit of a title bond I hold on C. M. Burgess for a title to fifty acres of land in Lawrence Co., KY patented to Moses Preston, Sr., lying on the Levicey (Note: Meaning – Levisa) fork of Sandy River. This land calls for a full and lawful assign the full benefit of said land given under my hand this 31st day July 1844, Attest A. Cushing (Signed) Silas P. x (his mark) Wooten, Sr.”

Answer of Cornelius M. Burgess, May 21, 1845: Burgess states that “some several years ago since he made a contract with Nathan Blevins about a tract of 25 acres of land he never gave any bond to Silas Wooten for a title” but that the agreement in writing was between him (Burgess) and Blevins and when the sum of $50.00 was paid he was to give Blevins a quit claim deed to the land. Blevins paid only $25.00 of the total $50.00 and the remaining $25.00 had not been paid by the date due. Blevins lived on the land a short time and then abandoned it but continued to live in the county more than 5 yrs. During all that time he says Wooten made no claim on it. Burgess adds the land was transferred to him (Burgess) from Preston by transfer of the plat and certificate of survey. C. M. Burgess now “relies on the statue of limitations” and charges that Wooten was then heavily in debt to Andrew Johnson before Joseph Davidson, then Justice of the Peace was not moved to Missouri. Burgess asks that A. Borders’ bill be dismissed.

Answer of Silas P. Wooten, Mar. 15, 1845: Wooten admits that he purchased the land in question from C. M Burgess and that the title bond is lost; also that he did sell and transfer the same to the compt. Borders as charged and that the exhibit is his own act.

Amended Bill of A. Borders vs. Burgess and Wooten, Nov. 4, 1846: (Note Silas P. Wooten apparently died between Mar. 15, 1845 and Nov. 4, 1846.) Borders says that since the institution of his suit, the def. Silas P. Wooten has departed this life and that he left the following heirs at law to wit: Thomas Alfred Wooten, S. G. Wooten, William Wooten (all non-residents) and Rebecca who intermarried with Berry Pack and Rhoda who intermarried with Adam Bowen – all of whom are made defts. to this bill and to the original bill; “he prays they answer.”

Depo. of Henry Burgess, Louisa, KY, Apr. 7, 1846: Henry Burgess testifies in behalf of A. Borders compt. He says he does know that C. M. Burgess sold the land known as Packwood Place and Wooten paid for it. C. M. Burgess showed him (Henry Burgess) the money and it was understood it was for the purchase of the land. When asked if C. M. Burgess, as constable, sold the land again, Henry B. answered, “He did.”

Depo of Gordon Burgess, Same Time and Place: Gordon B. knew of the sale by C. M. Burgess to Wooten and heard C. M. Burgess say there was interest drawn for the title. Gordon Burgess also testified for Borders.

Depo. of Henry Miller, Same Time and Place: Miller’s depo. in behalf of A. Borders: “I heard him (C. M. Burgess) say he sold the land and got the money from old man Wooten.” When asked what he knew of a second sale wherein Cornelius B. sold to George B. Burgess, his answer was “I heard C. M. say he sold the land the second time and that when he got the patent he would make it over to Wooten."

Final Decree: “Nov. 1847, Order is dismissed.” Then case is marked “Cont’d., 1848.”

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Judge Archibald Borders's Timeline

May 20, 1798
Giles County, Virginia, United States
January 17, 1822
Age 23
Borders Chapel, Whitehouse Shoals, Lawrence, Kentucky, United States
September 15, 1823
Age 25
Borders Chapel, Whitehouse Shoals, Lawrence, Kentucky, United States
October 17, 1827
Age 29
Lawrence, Kentucky, United States
June 2, 1831
Age 33
Peach Orchard, Lawrence, Kentucky, United States
March 19, 1840
Age 41
Peach Orchard, Lawrence, Kentucky, United States
November 1866
Age 68
Borders Chapel, Lawrence, Kentucky, United States
November 12, 1886
Age 88
Borders Chapel, Lawrence, Kentucky, United States