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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Proud Families of Appalachia

Proud Families of Appalachia

© 1973, 2013  by
Mona Gail Landrum Proctor
All rights reserved.
Do not duplicate in any form.
E-mail request for printed copy
This document was a paper written for Communications 102
at Lees Junior College in April 1973 by Mona Gail Landrum.

Originally published in
Recollections: A Journal of the Appalachian Oral History Project 
at Lees Junior College, Jackson, Ky. 41339

Volume 1, No. 2 - Spring 1973
Eastern Kentucky is an Appalachian land of rugged hills and hardy people. Located in the heart of this area, Breathitt County is most widely known by its reputation of "Bloody Breathitt" and by popular stereotypes of large poverty-stricken families. Few people realize the rich heritage of many of these mountain folks, whose ancestry is often colorful and exciting. "A breed of sturdy men, undaunted by privation and danger, settled in this region and claimed extensive tracts of land... After them their sons and grandsons tilled the soil, drank homemade brandy and corn liquor, sired a numerous progeny... and occasionally stood with bowed heads at the none-too-common 'meetin'." [1]
Many families of present day Breathitt County have been settled there for several generations and are interrelated by blood and marital ties. The family is an important aspect of the Appalachian lifestyle, and relatives usually live in the same general area. The children of Ollie James and Blanche Haddix Landrum have inherited an ancestral line that my be regarded as characteristic of the mountain culture. Both the Haddix and Landrum families have been in Breathitt County for at least four generations. Because of this, and because both are so closely connected with other families of Breathitt, a study of their histories may reveal much of the history of the county itself. 
The parents of Blanche Haddix Landrum were Arthur Haddix and Maude Noble Haddix. The Haddix and Noble families were among the very first settlers of Breathitt County in the eighteenth century. A small band of Nobles and Neaces left Virginia in 1780 for the Kentucky hills. "There was something of youthful romance and adventure about the party -- all of them were under twenty years of age, and it is uncertain whether they had been married according to legal formalities... The small colony of Nobles and Neaces on Lost Creek and its tributary streams were an isolated community for over a decade..."[2]
The next settlement in the area was made by Samuel Haddix in 1792 at the mouth of Troublesome Creek. "There was not a foot of land cleared in the county at that time. The principle and most often only food for a year was venison." [3] Samuel Haddix came from Clinch River, Virginia, and all the Haddixes in the county today are his descendants. 
Arthur Haddix, a direct descendant of Samuel, married Maude Noble, who was the child of James B. Noble and Margaret Campbell Noble. Family researchers have traced these Campbells back to the prominent Scottish clan, and stake a claim on the colorful Campbell tartan and coat of arms.[4]
This Scottish lineage is even more direct in the Landrum family. Landrum is a variant spelling of the Scottish family name Lendrum, and the Lendrums were originally of the Comyn family. A Comyn who was descended from Charlemagne accompanied William the Conqueror on the Norman Conquest. This family of Norman descent intermarried with the native Scottish nobility and became one of the great families of Scotland... When the throne became vacant, the families of Bruce and Comyn were rivals to the throne of Scotland. The final downfall of the House of Comyn came when Robert Bruce disasterously defeated John Comyn, the Earl of Buchan, at the Battle of Inverurie in 1308. Bruce then confiscated the lands of the Comyns and banned the name. At that time a younger son of John Comyn took the surname Lendrum from the place where he lived in northeastern Aberdeenshire. 
Lendrums eventually departed from Aberdeenshire for America, Ireland {probably the Ulster Plantation settlement - ed.}, and another part of Scotland. Most of the Landrums in America are descended from two brothers, John and James Landrum, who migrated from Scotland and settled in what is now Essex County, Virginia, in 1688. [5] 
The branch of the Landrum family being studied can be traced to James Landrum who lived from 1703 to 1788... According to family records, this James Landrum married Rachel Ramsay in St. McCartin's Church in Clogher, County Tyrone, Ireland. As he was not {believed to be - ed.} one of the two brothers previously mentioned, it seems that he was one of the Lendrums who went first to Ireland after leaving Aberdeenshire, then came on to America. {This connection is still being researched and debated in 2003. -ed}
This James Landrum was the father of the Reverend Francis Landrum, who was born in Essex County, Virginia, in 1739. His son Reuben Landrum was born in Fluvanna County, Virginia, in 1777. This man was the father of two sons: the Reverend William Bibb Landrum and the Reverend Reuben Washington Landrum, who were traveling Methodist preachers in Kentucky. Rev. William Bibb Landrum preached for half a century, and in 1878 published a book entitled Life and Travels
Rev. Reuben W. Landrum, great-grandfather of Ollie James Landrum, was a Methodist circuit rider in eastern Kentucky. {Family tradition says that he was born at Fort Boonesborough, the first Landrum born in Kentucky. The family home was later located nearby, in Clark County near Pilot View. -ed.} Around 1835, at the age of twenty-one, he accepted the "Wilderness Circuit" as his first assignment. He later settled at the mouth of Lost Creek and helped to organize a number of Methodist churches in Breathitt County. However, he preached mostly at the church built at Lost Creek that was known as the "Liberty Church," because preachers of any denomination could preach there. [6] This church was built around 1850 by Lewis Campbell. Generations later, the great-grandchildren of Rev. R.W. Landrum and Lewis Campbell (O.J. Landrum and Blanche Haddix) married, thus linking the two families. 
Rev. R.W. Landrum and his wife Margaret Brashear Landrum had seven sons and two daughters. (The Brashear family has been traced to two brothers who were French Huguenot refugees and came to America in 1653.) [7] All seven sons served in the Confederate Army during the War Between the States: Reuben Samuel, Stephen Washington ("Bud"), Robert Brashear, Allie, Joseph, Frank, and William. Frank and William both died in prison during the war. [8] One of the brothers reportedly crawled under a gourd vine to hide from Union soldiers, and was not discovered because of his small size. [9] 
The oldest son, Reuben Samuel, married Maletha Jane Hagins, whose family was of Irish descent. Their son Albert Sidney, who married Laura Bach (of German descent), was the father of Ollie James Landrum. Albert Sidney raised his family of five sons and three daughters on a farm at Noctor, Kentucky, on Quicksand Creek. {Four sons served in the military during World War II; Roland, the youngest, was killed in France. -ed.} 
That farm encompasses around 150 acres of land, and has been in the Landrum and Hagins families for so long that no one is sure just when the land was first claimed. It was originally a part of the larger Hagins farm, which was divided up among five brothers. One of the brothers, Linville Hagins, deeded his farm to his sister Maletha Jane for unknown reasons, and it entered the Landrum family when she married Reuben Samuel Landrum. Until recently the farm was owned by Miss Florence Landrum (daughter of Reuben Samuel), but at her death in 1973 it was placed in the hands of her eighteen neices and nephews. 
Landrum, Haddix, Noble, Bach, Hagins, and Campbell -- these families and many more have found their way to a remote but ruggedly beautiful Appalachian land. Their ancestry can be traced to Scotland, France, Ireland, Germany, and England, but their home for decades has been in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. These pioneering men and women of generations past left a rich and flavorful heritage to each and every child of Appalachia. 

[1] Kentucky Work Projects Administration, In the Land of Breathitt (New York: Bacon, Percy, and Daggett, 1941), p. 3. 
[2] Ibid., pp. 41-44. 
[3] Ibid., p. 44. 
[4] Selena Carnahan, personal letter, 19 July 1969. 
[5] Joel P. Shedd, The Landrum Family of Fayette County, Georgia (Washington, D.C.: Moore and Moore, 1972), pp. 42-51. 
[6] Kentucky Work Projects Administration, Land of Breathitt, p. 119. 
[7] Geneva Jacobs, personal letter containing family records, 4 February 1973. 
[8] Ibid.
[9] Blanche Landrum, personal letter, 10 February 1973.

1 comment:

  1. Looking for info on my grandfather wiliam marcus landrum.