NOTE: For Genealogical Purists, this document is NOT from the original. It has been faithfully transcribed by my hand, David S. Riley, February 25th, 2001. As received by me from Elaine Powell, a researcher of considerable talents ([email protected]), the copies of the document were THIRD-hand transcriptions of the original documents. All corrections made by the heirs of Nancy Riley, including notes, cover letters, and attached articles, have been included. Should any person have a copy of Nancy’s diary to compare this document to, please do so. Many colloquialisms, original spellings, and grammar have been corrected, but not by my hand. What you see is the document I received, and no corrections should be made to it, in order to preserve what integrity it still possesses. Pour through this testament, it is a labor of love from a long-dead ancestor. You might consider what it means to you, and think of what future generations would think if you attempted what Nancy did. –DSR
DR. THOMAS L RILEY
2527 COX MILL ROAD
HOPKINSVILLE, KENTUCKY’ 42240
September 4, 1991
Mrs. Mary L. Wood
P. O. Box 497
Dear Mrs. Wood:
Thanks for your materials on the Stephen Wood and Baker families. Presha Riley Wood was a sister to my Garrard Riley and was a daughter of Ninian and Elizabeth Taylor Riley. Enclosed is a copy of the Diary of Nancy Riley Clark. It is most interesting and, yes, you will find references to your Stephen Wood. Incidentally, the John Arnold mentioned is a son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Wright) Arnold on my wife’s line. She is descended through John’s brother, Thomas _ _ both of whom settled in the Big Twin area of Owen County, Kentucky.
Enjoy the Diary but instead of sending me anything, make another copy for your state genealogical library so that others might make use of it. I understand that the original is in the Clermont Co. (Ohio) Library and it has now been published by the Missouri Genealogical Society.
Thomas L. Riley
P.O. Also enclosed copy of an excerpt from the 12 July 1808
issue of the Kentucky Gazette, Lexington, KY.
The Long-Lost “Diary” of Nancy (Riley) Clarke
HOME OF HOUTON CLARKE AND NANCY (RILEY) CLARKE
Bethel, Clermont County, Ohio
The following material was originally written by Nancy (Riley) Clarke-Salt (1786-I857), at her home in Clermont County, Ohio, between 1849 and her death.
It was partially quoted by Charles Arthur Hoppin in “The Washington-Wright Connection . . .”, Tyler’s Quarterly, re2. 4. No. 3 (January 1923), page 153 ff.
Mr. Hoppin consulted two copies of Nancy’s “Diary”–one then in the possession of Miss Vessie Riley of Indiana (granddaughter of Zachariah Riley, younger brother of Nancy.) and the other then in The possession of Mrs. Francis Crane (Mae Sinks, great-granddaughter of Nancy via Nancy’s fifth child, Eleanor Huldah (Clarke) Sinks. Despite years of searching, neither the original nor the two copies could be found by the many Riley cousin genealogists who have been researching the family during the latter-half of the 1900s. This manuscript is based on a third copy–previously unknown–which was accidentally located in April 1984. It was copied, in long-hand, by a great-grandson of Nancy’s, John Thornton Warth, in 1895 “from the original” which was then in the possession of Nancy’s ninth and youngest child, Minerva Jane (Clarke) Frazier, who resided in Jefferson City, Missouri.
John Thornton Warth, a bachelor, was the only child of Clara (Thornton) Warth.
For years he was an official at State Hospital No. 3, Nevada, in Missouri. Sometime during the early 1900’s he sent a hand-written copy of his copy to his first cousin, Walton McMillan, son of Ann Eliza “Lida” (Thornton) McMillan. Clara and Ann Eliza were the fifth and sixth of eight children born to Dr. Samuel Yardley Thornton Sr. and wife, Frances “Citte” Clarke–with Frances being the second child and eldest daughter
of Nancy Riley. This third copy is in the possession of Rev. McMillan’s only child, Jane (McMillan) Breckner of Clayton, Missouri. Following the recent death of Minerva Jane (Clark) Frazier’s granddaughter in Jefferson City, the original long sought “Diary” was found! The Diary is actually a family history, covering much of Nancy’s life in Surry County, North Carolina, their move to central Kentucky in the late 1790s, and their move to Clermont County in 1806. She also included information on the family of her mother-in-law, Eleanor (Reader) Clarke, who lived with Houton and Nancy (Riley) Clarke from their marriage in 1806 until Eleanor’s death in 1818. Eleanor and Stephen Clarke had emigrated from Yorkshire, England to Mecklenburg County, Virginia about 1773, with their two older sons, Houton and Joseph.
The “Diary” was written in a theme-type notebook, about nine-inches high by eight-inches wide, with a mottled cover. Nancy began one writing at the front
of the book (called “Volume I” in John Thornton Warth’s copy), then turned the
book over and began another writing from the back of the book (called “Volume II” in Worth’s copy ).
With the “Diary” was a second theme-type book, about the same size but with medium-blue pages. Nancy had written on only the first six-to-ten pages of the second book; but it was more in the true diary category. It began several years prior to her death and had infrequent entries, concerning daily happenings and her health problems. No copy of it is available. Both books are now in the possession of non-Missouri descendants of Minerva Jane (Clarke) Frazier.
Having now seen the original “Diary”, this writer wishes to note that Cousin
John Thornton Worth did some editing when he made his copy in 1895, correcting both spelling and punctuation. The additions or corrections in brackets [ ] in this printed copy, have been included by this writer, who is the great-grand-daughter of William Clarke Thornton, third-born of Frances “Cittie” (Clarke) Thornton. (The nickname “Cittie” was given to Frances Clarke in early childhood by one of her two younger brothers, Reader Wright Clarke or Joseph Marcus Clarke, when the little boy tried to call her “Sister”; and Frances was called “Cittie” throughout her life.)
A special thanks to descendants of Minerva Jane (Clarke) Frazier for use of the sketch of the Clarke home in Clermont County. It is from a page in an autograph book, which seems to have belonged to Sara Ann (Clarke). Hunt, the eighth child of Nancy. The sketch is dated “1846”; and, written faintly below the sketch are six words which seem to be “The spot where we were born.” The Clarke home–later owned by a son-in-law, Randolph M. Sinks–was the first Inn in the Clermont area, circa 1800. During the1920s, it was torn down so that its location could be used as the site for the U. S. Grant Memorial Building in Bethel, Ohio. Due to the length of the “Diary”, sequential portions will be included in the next several issues of Pioneer Times. Accompanying the final segment will be a family group sheet for Nancy’s parents, Rev. Garrard Riley, Sr. and Frances Wright, as well as a family group sheet for Houton Clarke and Nancy Riley
Again, special thanks to the several distant Clarke cousins who have made the publication of Nancy’s “Diary” material and the sketch of the Clarke home possible! For the many cousins, across the country, who have been seeking the “Diary” for years, it is a genealogical dream come true!
The family came from near Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (This notation is in a different handwriting than Warth’s copy. Possibly it was written by Rev. McMillen.)
The contents of this book and the following were made from the originals, written by my Great-grandmother Nancy Riley Clarke Salt. The original, together with a diary kept by her for many years, is in the possession of Mrs. Minerva J. Frazier, daughter, of Jefferson City, Mo.
/s/ John Thornton Warth
This book contains a short history of the families of Garred and Frances
Garrard Riley was born in Montgomery Co, Maryland, the 20 of May 1766. His
father, Ninian, was born in the same state on March 18”, 1726′. He married Elizabeth Taylor in the same state, some younger than himself, in 1746. [Info given later states that Elizabeth was 75 by March 1800.] They lived 12 miles from Georgetown, Md.
Some years after he had sons and daughters born unto them, Ninian began to think seriously on the subject of religion. His parents were members of the Church of England, but Ninian had heard a Baptist preacher by the name of Jerry Moore preach one night and while he was preaching, some of the company threw rotten eggs over him, but he bore it all meekly and exhorted them to flee the wrath to come, to repent. and believe the gospel. They caught him and put him in prison. He still preached in jail.
Ninian was very fond of reading, had a good education, and now began to search the scriptures to see whether the doctorine that J. Moore preached was true, as he could bear such abuse and not resent it, but prayed for them that had thrown the eggs on him, saying that he rejoiced that he was counted worthy to suffer persecution for the Lord Jesus. Ninian’s mind became interested and, the more he read the scriptures, the more he felt condemned. He tried to keep these feelings and reflections to himself, as there was such persecution against the Baptists.
At length [he went] on a journey over the mountains with packhorses to pack salt for family use, as that was the only way they could obtain it as there were no wagon roads over the mountains in those days, 1750. Ninian now was alone with his horses near the top of the mountain- He was very much exorcised. He knew not what to do to relieve his mind from that awful feeling. He plainly saw that he was a condemned sinner, and nothing but the brittle thread of life kept him out of hell. He saw the justice of good in his condemnation, but he begged for mercy, when all of a sudden, light broke into his mind and filled him with joy and peace and he shouted aloud there by himself. .He viewed the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ so plain, and the atonement God had made through Jesus Christ for sinners so full, and this world and all its glory seemed so small, when compared with the glory he then felt. To use his own words, “He thought he could set his foot against the mountain that he was near, and push it over.” He also thought he could convince any sinner of the reality of religion.
While in his transports of joy, there came along a man. He was glad to see him, as he’d had no doubt that the man would believe him, but to his great surprise the man just laughed at him and said he was crazy. This convinced him that he had no power of his own; that power belonged to God alone. He afterwards became a Baptist and, so zealous was he, that the church gave him license to preach. He was very good in exhortation but never became a great preacher. He, with his family–then numbering 12, four sons and eight daughters, some of whom were married–moved with him to N. Carolina, Surry Co, and settled on Hunton Creek, waters of the Adkin [Yadkin] river, some time before the Revolutionary War, and suffered many losses and abuses from the Torys, as he was a Whig and true to his country’s cause.
He was a great admirer of nature and in his old age, delighted himself in cultivating in his garden many variters (sic) of flowers. When they were in bloom, he has taken me, his first granddaughter that bore his name, by the hand and would show me his roses and pinks and would say, “See these beautiful flowers. See how they differ one from another. Even so shall the saints differ one from another in glory.” And he would seem to feel happy in the very thought, saying at the same time that these beautiful flowers gave more praise to their maker, much more than man, the noblest of God’s creation.’ Yet he [Man] came far short of giving that honor to their Creator that those lilies did.
He was a farmer. His wife Elizabeth was a very pious woman but lived out of church until 1800. In March she, with 30 others–several were her grandchildren, I one of them–was baptised in Hickman Creek [Ky] by John Price, the pastor of Marble Creek Church. The ice had to be broken, Grandmother then 75 years old [b. 1725]. She lived until she was 86 years old [d. 1811-2]. Ninian lived until he was 88 [d. 1814]. He died in Featt [Fayette] Go, Kentucky, ten miles south of Lexington, where he had lived near 30 years among his children. Ninian Riley Junior was a Black Smith, married Sarah Wright in N. C. He moved with his father to Ky. They had 5 children. The first, Benjamin, married Emma Cotton. He moved to Mo, Clay Co, where he died. He was a Baptist preacher but died a Campbellite.
James Riley, the second son, married Louisiana Lannane in Maryland but moved with his father to Ky. He was a good farmer and owned slaves and owned a large farm in the same boundary with his father and his older brother, Ninian [Jr]. James had born unto them IO children. He and his wife belonged to the same Baptist Church, afterward several of their children.
John Riley, the youngest brother, married Sarah Elsberry in N. C. but moved with his father and brothers to Ky. He settled in Clark Co, near Winchester. He also had a good farm. These three brothers all moved to Missouri and since, Ninian[Jr] and his wife have died, also James and wife. John and wife were living in 1849. He is the father of Zacariah Riley of Troy.
They had six sisters, the two oldest, Sarah and Elizabeth, married two brothers, John and Isaac Johnston, farmers. The third, Nancy, married Isaac Windsor, farmer. The fourth, Mary, married Wm Allnut, farmer· The fifth, Preshus, married Stephen Wood, who taught school all his life. He had a good farm. He and his wife died in Ill. Windsor and wife died in N. C.
John Johnston and wife Sarah died in Georgia. Isaac and wife Elizabeth died in Ky, Fiatt [Fayette] Co. Lucy married Robert Cast. She died suddenly in Featt [Fayette] Co, Ky. She was a very pious Baptist. Every son and daughter of old Ninian Riley was a Baptist, except John and he married a Methodist girl, and the class leader turned her out or set her back for marrying a man that did not belong to church, though he was very moral. It offended her so, she never Joined them or any other church up to 1847.
But to return to Garrard, who was a lad of 17 when he, with his parents moved to N. Carolina [moved 1783]. Soon after they arrived there was a call for volunteers to guard the settlement against the Tory or Refugees, as they were called. John Wright was Captain. They mustered at Captain Wright’s, and when the call was made, Garrard felt his heart beat warm in his country’s cause, and though he was young he, with many more, turned out as a volunteer to be ready at any time when wanted. Their rendevous was at Captain Wright’s.
One time when they were enrolling and giving orders, the men all in a row, one of the Captain’s daughters, then about 15, looking through the window, espied Garrard, a tall young man, whose blue eves sparkled with youth and beauty. His cheeks were a rosy hue. His brown curly locks and smiling countenance caught her attention more than any of the rest. She thought he was the most beautiful creature she ever saw, though she kept those thoughts to herself, but tried to find out who he was and where he lived. She soon found his name to be Garrard Riley, son of Ninian Riley, late from Maryland.
But to return to Captain Wright. He led his little band of volunteers out and guarded the settlement. Some time after, one of his neighbors’ wives, Mrs. Luvicy Whitlock, framed[?] herself in a trance and lay three days. She neither ate nor drank anything. When she awoke, she said the Torys would gain the day. [She] persuaded her good husband and some of her neighbors to go and join the Torys, for she saw in her trance the Whigs all killed or made slaves of. Her husband believed her prophesy and went after and joined the Torys. Also, William Cook, a Baptist preacher, started with Whitlock and others. As soon as Captain Wright heard that some of his neighbors were starting to Join the Torys and what his brother Baptist had gone, he caught his horse and rode all night after them. He overtook them at daylight. Nearly 40 miles he rode that dark, damp night. He tried to get them to come back, but they refused. He still advised and persuaded them but all in vain. He took his brother Baptist by the arm and said, “Come, go with me. Disgrace not the cause but man up and be not a coward but a brave soldier.” Cook could not stand that. He turned back with his captain, but Whitlock went on and Joined the Torys and was killed in a few days after. So his wife’s trance proved the loss of her husband. So much for trances.
In the trip Captain Wright took after the Torys, he caught a violent cold, which settled on his lungs, and caused his death 6 or 7 years after, though he lived to see the end of the war and peace proclaimed and the eagle with her 13 arrows and stripes over the fair land of Columbia. This, he desired to see.
He had married Ann Williams in Virginia, Falknar [Fauquier] Co, where they were both raised. [Marriage probably occurred in area of Prince William County, as Fauquier was not organized until 1758. No marriage record has been found.] They had 18 children born unto them, 12 daughters and 6 sons. Several of them were married before they moved to North Carolina. They settled on Deep Creek, waters of the Adkin [Yadkin] River, where they both lived on the same farm until their deaths. Their children moved to different states.
Captain Wright drew near his end, and while on his death bed, he suffered much, but bore it with Christian patience, resigned to the will of God. While dying and gone to all appearances, his wife screamed out in the anguish of her heart [that] she could not give him up. He opened his eyes and said, “My dear, it is you that keeps me here.” His oldest son took his mother out of the room and begged her not to make any more noise. He then closed his eyes in death in his fiftieth [sixtieth] years. [John d. 31 Oct 1789, age 60.] His wife, Ann, then left with 9 children with her–9 were married, some lived near her. Her oldest son, Thomas, was a Baptist, lived near and joined farms with his mother. She had a good farm and two old negroes she living on the same farm until her death. She raised all the 9 children, some of them very small when their father died. They all married and moved off–some to Ky, some to Mo, and some to Alabama.
Daniel Wright now lives in Alabama, a great farmer. Jonas and family in S. Carolina. John Wright [Jr] died in Florida, left two sons and one daughter. His wife he had left in South Carolina, his daughter with her. He divided his living and gave his wife half and took his two sons and moved to Florida. There he died, leaving his two sons very rich. Thomas Wright represented the county of Surry many years. His mother wrote a letter to one of her daughters in Ohio six or eight months before her death with her own hand. It was well composed and well written.
She died In her ninetieth year [Ann (Williams) Wright d. 1825.] She had belonged to the Baptist Church with her husband many years before his death. She lived about seventy years in the church. The most of her children Joined the Baptist Church.
But to return to Garrard The war being over and all in peace and plenty, Garrard now in his twentieth year, his father gave him 1OO acres of land. He built a frame house on it and then he thought of a wife. Frances Wright seemed to be his choice. He made his love known to her. She refused at first, saying she was too young, that her elder sister might suit him better than she, but he still continued his visits. At length she confessed her love to him had been ever since the day he turned out as a volunteer at her father’s, though she had kept the secret of love to herself.
Suffice it to say that they were married in January 1786. Garard was 20 in May following; Frances was 17 in February–the 14th. After they moved in his new house, they had not much to put in it, but, they were young and healthy and willing to work. I forgot to say that Frances spun and wove and bleached her wedding dress, apron and handkerchief, also knit her stockings. In those hard times there were not many store goods and all were striving to make the best homemade. .
Garrard worked very hard to clear and fence his ground for a crop that spring. His wife would help him to pick and burn brush after night. They had good garden and a smart field of corn cleared that same year besides his small orchard. He made the most of the furniture that they needed himself, as he was very handy with tools and Frances would spin and weave their clothing. All seemed to prosper with them and in December following, Frances gave birth to their first-born–a daughter–to the great joy of all, this being the first grandchild of Ninian Riley that bore the name, though he had more than 20 others of his daughters’ children. [This first-born of Garrard Riley and Frances Wright was the author of this “Diary”.]
On the day that Garrard took his wife and daughter over to his father, it [the baby] being 4 weeks old, the man seemed to be overjoyed and said he was over sixty years older than that child and he would show them how supple he was. He Jumped up and hit his feet together three times before he came down. He also ran three steps up the side of the house, so nimble was he then.
In one year and eleven days after the birth of their first daughter, they had a fine son born to them. [This was Ninian Riley, later resident of Owen County, Kentucky.] Garrard seeing his family increasing so fast, he thought his tract of land was very thin and that he had to work very hard to make a living. He sold his small farm and bought a lease on the Adkin [Yadkin] River bottom where the land was rich. He moved there in Welk [Wilkes] Co, 4O miles from their former place. There he raised a very good crop. He did not buy land. He thought if they liked it in one year, that he would buy. But before the year was out, his wife became dissatisfied on account of their neighbors being so very wicked. They would get drunk, swear, and fight even on the sabbath. This kind of wlckedness they had never been used to seeing, as they had been brought up very morrally. His wife became very uneasy and said she would rather live on poor land in a civil neighborhood, than to have good land as they had there and to live among such Wicked people as were there, for if they raised their children there, they would have to associate with them and would partake of their vices.
Garrard took his wife and 2 children to church a few miles off to hear the
Rev. Wm. Petty preach. [One of Frances Wrlght’s older sisters, Lucretia “Lucy”, married William Petty, son of Reverend William Petty.] He was not a very great preacher but one that felt the cause at heart. He had baptized some and he was warm and he spoke with power. His words reached Garrard and it seemed to him that every word was spoken to him. His wife also was very much exercised in her mind. They went home and both determined to try to get religion if it was possible. He tried to shun his wicked neighbors, who looked very shy at him. He continued going to hear preaching or prayer meeting and trying to pray himself, but it seemed all in vain to him as he viewed his ease a very doubtful one, as he thought he was the worst of sinners, his heart so hard and desperately wicked. He thought it was almost blasphemy to attempt to pray. He thought he would put a double watch over his conduct and live up to the law of God in hopes of finding relief. He soon found that he had violated the law and was already condemned and that it was just as if God should cut him off forever, but he pled for mercy every breath he drew. He said he viewed that Jesus had died to redeem the world and that God through Christ can be Just in saving sinners, but “O, I fear he will not [save] so vile a sinner as I. If it is consistent with thy will, oh have mercy on me for I am helpless. 1 give up all to Thee and trust in thy mercy oh God.” As he lay on his face in a grove by himself, praying and. begging for mercy, when all of a sudden, these words came into his mind: “If the son, therefore, make you free, you shall be free indeed.”
His mind was changed in a moment from weeping to rejoicing. He sprang up and shouted aloud and praised God for his mercy toward poor helpless sinners that could do nothing to save themselves from the law that was broken by the fall, but that Jesus had died in their stead and now salvation–Oh, the Joyful sound! It came by Jesus Christ. He viewed the atonement made through Christ so full and free for all who would come to God by him. Yea enough for all, enough forever more. He thought the birds and trees that before seemed mournful now looked lively and were trying to help him praise that God that gave them birth. He went home and told his wife to help him to praise his blessed Redeemer and Savior who had done so much for him, in preserving his life while he was sinning against him, and now had freely forgiven all his sins and transgressions and had made him happy to live or to die. He felt wholly resigned to the will of God to do Just as it pleased him with him. He said he thought he would not see any more trouble. His wife joined him in praising and adoring their Savior, for she had received comfort a few days before him. That night he commenced family prayer, which he kept up regularly through life. They both went to Petty’s church at Wers[?] Creek and gave in their experience and were gladly received and were both led into the Adkln [Yadktn] River and the Rev. Petty baptized Garrard and he stood until he baptized his wife, and then he lead his wife out of the water rejoicing and praising God to the astonishment of all the bystanders.
His mind now began to run back to Surry Co, where he had moved from, among his brothers and sisters, father and mother. He wished to tell them what great things the Lord had done for them both in that wicked place. They thought he would not buy land there but would move back to Surry. He gathered his crop and sold it and moved back and bought a farm of John Anderson and built an overshot grist mill on a small fork of Hunton Creek. He did nearly all the work of the mill himself. It ran well for several years, until there came a great freshet and carried his mill house and dam off. He never rebuilt it again. He lived on that farm seven years. His family now was fast increasing. They had six children, 3 sons and 3 daughters. He worked hard on that poor land and could not make much more than a living. He thought of going to a new country.
In the summer of 1796 he sold his farm and in September he with his family and in company with 10 families in 7 wagons, the most of them were his relations–2 families were his sisters Johnson and Cast. There were 40 children in all–some black. They all left Surry Co, N. Carolina, the same day, bound for Kentucky. They took their milk cows with them. Every family had some, so it made a smart drove, and all the children that were able drove the cows, and at night when we all called a halt and arranged the tents, made fires, milked the cows, cooked supper, drove down stakes, lad boards for their tables [which] they carried with them, then prepared the beds, sleep well, rise early, get breakfast, milk the cows, put the milk in Jugs for dinner, bake bread, cook for dinner, then strike their tents and pack up everything and move off about 10 miles and stop and feed and eat dinner and so on, until one of the company took sick.
The Company all stayed two days. The lady got worse and we had to leave her and her husband at some of their relations, but she died a few days after, so, he was left with one child two years old. He came on the next fall and brought his little Sammie to his grandfather, Stephen Wood. His name was Samuel Arnold, son of John Arnold of Owen County, Kentucky. [5 September 1771, Fauquier Co, VA, Elizabeth Wright, eldest child of John Wright and Ann (Wllllams) Wright, married Samuel Arnold, born 17-7-50 in Spotsylvania Co, VA. Samuel and Elizabeth (Wright) Arnold moved from Fauquier Co, VA to Surry Co, NC with the Wrights, circa 1773. John Arnold of Owen County, KY seems to have been a brother of the Samuel Arnold Who married Elizabeth Wright.]
To return, the company moved on until they got in the “Wilderness”, where
there was some danger of being attacked by Indians, so they would set their tents and wagons all around their fires so if there should be any alarm, they would. all be close together. They all had guns, kept them loaded and ready if needed. The youngest child [Sarah Riley] took the flux on the road and was very bad, so that we thought she would die on the road. The thought of burying her in the “Wilderness” was a great grief to Mother, but Father would say he had not lost all hopes of her yet. One night we all encamped. Sarah was very bad. They all sat up with her all night, but in the morning she was better. By the side of the road where we encamped, there was a small grave at the root of a beech tree and these words cut in the tree: “Here lys the length and breadth of Elizabeth Roalan.” When Mother saw it, she wept and prayed that if it was the will of God that her child Sarah should die on the road, she might die Just there and be burled by that little lonely grave. The company stayed until noon when they thought it safe to go on as Sarah was much better. She still amended when we got to Rock Castle.
We saw the graves of two Methodist preachers that had been killed not long before by Indians. Rock Castle was thought to be a very dangerous place to encamp, but it was dark when all the wagons got over and up on this side. The place where they encamped was right over the place that was called the “Den of Horse thieves and Counterfitters”, as there was many of such in that day. It was said that Wenon[?] were often seen strolling through the cliffs and woods. It was an awful Looking place. There was hardly room for two wagons to stand and have room to pass around. There was a perpendicular cliff on either side. My mother was very near falling over in passing around our wagon in the dark. Father caught her. There was an alarm that night. About midnight the cattle came running up to the wagons and the horses snorted and the dogs ran in the tents and could not be hissed on. Every man was up and had his gun ready. The women were very much alarmed but nothing appeared in sight. The next morning we were all off in a hurry. The men thought that the cattle and horses smelt Indians but what was the reason they could not make the dogs attack them? Some thought it was bears.
At the end of four weeks, without the loss of one, we found ourselves in Lexington, Kentucky–7 wagons, 10 families, with 40 children all arrived safe. [One had died–Mrs. Samuel Arnold, daughter of Stephen Wood and Preshus (Riley) Wood.]
And now there was a dreadful parting. Some went to Woodford Co. Edward
Riley and family and George Riley settled in Woodford. They were cousins. Stephen Wood, with two families, settled on the Ky. River, bought a good farm. He taught school. Isaac Johnston and his son-in-law, Eye Cast, settled in Fiatt [Fayette] County ten miles from Lexington, but Garrard Riley, my father, went on to Burbon Co, with his family, their six children, three sons and three daughters–myself Nancy their first-born then near ten years old, Ninian first son near 9, John 7, Zacarariah W. was 5 years old, Elizabeth was 3 years old, and Sarah who had been sick nearly all the way but now well was two years.
Father bought a lease with a Buckeye cabin on it. He moved us all in it. It
was October. We all felt very happy to have a home, a house to shelter us from the cold, as it was cold and rainy. He bought his lease from Captain Spoors, 7 miles from Paris on the saters of Towens[?]. Here in this Buckeye cabin, their first Kentucky boy was born, whom they called William.
The next year Father bought land with his brothers, brothers-in-law, and his Father, who had just arrived, and all of them purchased a thousand acres of good land from Governor Greenup, lying in Fiatt [Fayette] Co, 10 miles south from Lexington and 7 miles north of the Ky River. All of the relations now built cabins and moved in. Uncle Isaac Johnson had four hundred acres on the south, father, Uncle Robert Cast had one hundred acres in the middle, also Grandfather fifty adjoining father. Uncle Ning [Ninian Jr.] had two hundred on the west, Uncle James had two hundred on the north, so we all lived happily and peaceably together for ten years, when those that had small tracts of land sold to those that had more. R. Cast sold and moved to Clark Co. E. Cast moved to Todds Fork Ohio in 1800. Father was now well fixed, had built a good hued log house, set out an orchard that was now bearing. His family had increased four more, James Hickman[,?] Willlama W.[,?] Permealey[,?] Martin. His family was getting large though they were all healthy. He never had a doctor’s bill to pay as yet. He and his wife had Joined the church at Marble Creek, John Price pastor, soon after they settled.
Garrard was a very pious man and was gifted in prayer. This duty he never neglected in his family. Evening and morning, if he was well, he would sing and give out his hymn and all us children that could sang with Mother. When done, he would pray for us all so feelingly that it often caused me to weep. He was often called on in the church to close by prayer. And at buryings in the neighborhood, they would prefer him as he was a very good singer, and it was customary to sing in the procession behind the corpse to the grave and after the grave was filled, he would pray for a blessing on the mourners and the bystanders and sometimes he would give a warm exhortation on the uncertainty of life and, if death should come and find us unprepared, oh how awful the thought to die without an interest in Christ. As the tree falls, so it must lie. There is no repentance in the grave, then how necessary is it for [us] to repent of our sins while it is called today, for the night cometh when no man can work–[and] he [Garrard] would dismiss the people.
In the summer of 1799 there was a great excitement of religion among the Presbyterians. Some 20 miles off they held camp meeting in Burbin Co. Father felt anxious to go and see and hear for himself, as reports said they were very strangely exercised. Some would Jerk, some bark, some fall as though they had been shot. So, father went and stayed three days and tried to find out the cause of that new exercise in religion. Some said it was the work of the Devil; others said it was all delusion. But father said when he came back from Cane Ridge meeting that he saw and heard many things that he could not account for, but some of them looked happy, while they were dancing or walking back and forth, or Jerking and barking.
This exercise soon came to the Walnut Hill Church, Elder Crafford, Pastor. This Presbyterian Church was only a miles off. There was a Sacrament at meeting. Father took Mother and me there to see this new religious exercise. We saw some dance, some walk back and forth until they were out of breath and then fall on someone or in their laps and lay as if they were dead only they would breathe. I have seen some young ladys, very finely dressed, that would jerk all over, their head, hands, and feet so bad that it would take 2 or 3 to hold them. I saw it. Mrs. Bell that lived near Lexington sat in her pew at Walnut Hill church and bark very fine like a small Fist/Sist[?]. She was a very good kind woman at home but in a few months it disappeared and the most of them that were exercised in that way broke off from the Regular Presbyterians and called themselves New Lites or Marshall Lites as Marshall was their Pastor. Bly and Houston were also among them. Some of them Joined the Shakers in Ohio afterwards.
We all went home. Father said he could not think it was all a delusion but that there must be some good done there, for he felt some of the influence on his mind and that the singing was ringing in his ears yet. My father had been very much exercised on the subject of religion and since he went to Cane Ridge and had seen the strange exercise, it set him to searching the Scriptures to see whether these things be true as did the athenians. The more he read the more he felt it his duty to warn sinners of their danger, putting off repentence until it was too late. His mind was so much exercised on the call to the ministry and the preaching of the glorious gospel that he became weak and uneasy, not much relish for food and his sleep left him. He prayed to the Lord to show him his duty and help him to perform it, but oh Lord, send someone else that is more fit, for he felt himself so unworthy and not capable of such responsible dutys. His education was not sufficient. He thought that he excused on that ground but the more he tried to excuse himself, the worse he felt. These words would come in his mind: “Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel.” those awful words seemed to press him more heavy than ever. He tried to keep all his thoughts and feelings to himself.
This was Hemp-pulling time. He took his 2 oldest sons, Ninian and John, out with him to pull up hemp. They had not worked long before his mind became so much exercised that he could not hide it from the boys. He thought he would go away from them and try to pray to the Lord to ease his troubled mind, for he felt as if his heart would burst with grief. He went a few rods off in the high hemp and tell on the ground and began to pray to himself but got louder and louder until he alarmed the boys. They ran home and told Mother that Father was hollowing in the hemp patch and they were afraid he was going crazy. Mother and I ran out to see what was the matter, but we saw father coming in.
Before he got in the house, he commenced telling the exercise of his mind. Mother sent, me after Grandfather and Grandmother–they lived near–and after his brother James and wife and his sister, Lucy Cast. They all lived near. They all came in a few minutes and asked what was the matter. Father arose and said, Oh my dear friends , I cannot tell you the half of the trouble I have had for some time past, and today, while trying to work, my mind was so pressed that I thought I must die if I did not get comfort soon. I thought I had been acting like Jona[h]. I had run away from the Lord for some time and he has followed me by his spirit, I believe now, as it would often put these words in my mind, “Go warn sinners. Go preach my Gospel.” I would say in my mind, “Oh no Lord, I cannot. I dare not for I am not capable, not worthy to go. 0 send some other. Oh, Lord, excuse me.” Again, “You must go and warn the People, for if the Judgment comes and you warn not the People, their blood will be required at your home,” In my mind 1 would argue thus, “Oh Lord, how can i go and spend so much time from my family, who needs all by time? I am poor and my family large and increasing. Oh, how can I leave them?” The answer would be, “I will be with you in six trials, yea and in the seventh I will not leave you. My grace is all sufficient for thee.” Many other things he said, I have forgotten.
He then said Oh my friends, what shall I do? I wish you to give me counsel. His father and mother were so overcome by his talk that they gave him great incouragement, but his brother rather discouraged him. He said he was not qualified for the ministry, his education was not such as would make him a profitable preacher, that he would only be a bungler, said he had better keep back a little longer and try the spirit of his calling. His father prayed and they all went home.
But Father’s mind was not relieved by the counsel of his friends. They could not touch his case. That was between him and his God. His friends did not knew how his mind was oppressed, his body became weakened on account of his mind being so much wroate[?] upon, until he could not work and was not sick. Mother and I often talked about him and were very uneasy about him.
0ne day as he lay on the bed in the next. room, Mother and I were at work. We heard some uncommon noise in the room where he was. We ran in to see where the noise came from. We saw father look as if he was choking. mother run to him and he had some of the bed covers stuffed in his mouth to try to hide his feelings. Mother pulled out the clothes and such a shrill loud shout followed. i never shall forget. He said, “Glory to God in the highest, good will toward man. Jesus has died to save sinners.” His mind was now relieved to what it was before. While on the bed, his mind was so full of sorrow that he thought by his own disobedience the Lord had hid His smiles from him, so he had not enjoyed as much of that sweet love and union with his blessed Lord as was common for him. He knew he had shrunk from what he knew to be his duty. While he was thinking over his troubles and how to act for the best and how to get relief, those words came in his mind with great force: “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel.” He said he then gave up all and said, “Oh Lord, here am I. What will thou have me do? Thy will be done not mine, but with thy help I will again make the attempt.” At that moment light broke through that dreadful darkness that had for days weighed him down, as a cart pressed with sheaves. He shouted aloud and said, “I will give glory to God for his many mercies to me.”
Mother sent for his friends again as usual. They all came in. Mother told them that Father had been a little unwell and that she thought she would send for them. Father then said, “friends, I have been disobedient to the heavenly call, as you all have some knowledge of, and on account of my stubborness and backwardness to do what I know to be my duty. My mind has been filled with darkness and I could not fell that calm serenity of soul that I did before my mind became so much exorcised In the great subject of preaching, and this day has been a serious one to me. While my mind was pressed with grief, the family thought I was sick, but oh, it was worse than sickness! I rolled and tossed about for ease when those words rolled on my mind still heavier, “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel”
I then determined to make the trial if the Lord had a work for him [Garrard] to do. He had promised in his word to stand by his servants in all their trials. I then said, “Oh Lord Jesus, whatsoever thou commands me to do, that will I try to do to the utmost of my power, in they name.” And Oh, my friends, as soon as t had resigned my all to the will of God, my heavenly father, to do with me as he saw best–not my will but Thine be done–I cannot describe to you the joy and peace I have felt. Since that moment, my Savior has smiled on me from on high and filled me with love to God and to all mankind and has given me a foretaste of the joys of the upper world, and I feel determined. Let others do as they will. As for me, I will serve the Lord and try, with his help, to walk in wisdom’s ways and whatever the Lord by his spirit presses on my mind, that will I try to do.
Many other things he said, but these will show the exercise of his mind. His father and mother were so overcome and melted down under his relation for his past trouble and his now lively and pleasant countenance, that showed such a change in him that they rejoiced with him and said, “Go on my dear son, and may the Lord bless you and make you useful.” His two brothers and their wives and one sister also joined their father and bid’ him Godspeed. He then sang a hymn and shook hands with them all and all of us children and Mother were all crying fit to break their little hearts to see their Father in such a way.
He then prayed with and for them all, and his dear old parents, who were now in the decline of life and would soon go to receive their reward. His brothers and sisters, he also remembered in his prayer. He closed, and after, they all bid him an affectionate farewell, and all went home. The rest of his relations soon heard of his exercises arid had a night meeting appointed for prayer or exhortation, hoping to hear him speak, as they had heard so, much about his exercise, and that he thought he was called to preach. They thought he would make a poor out at that business.
The night came, The house filled. Father opened meeting in the usual way by singing and prayer. He was very much embarrased at first, knowing that the people were all watching him. He commenced an exhortation and soon got warm in the cause and spoke very boldly and feelingly until he astonished all that heard him. They said they were agreeably disappointed. He sang a song after he was done speaking, and while singing he went around and shook hands with all. He then dismissed them and all seemed very glad they had come out that night,
Garrard was a man that loved Peace and Harmony and could not bear confusion and would always try to avoid offence if possible, but was sound in the doctrines of the gospel. He had to labor very hard on his farm all day and would read at night and at noon while his horses ate or rested. And he always read a chapter and gave out his hymn and all they that could would sing, before prayers every morning and night. He was a very early riser. He often had prayers over before it was daylight in the morning, and at nine o’clock at night, all the work was put away before prayer. This was his regular practice while I lived at home.
In the winter of 1799 there was a great revival of religion commenced among the Baptists, some eight or ten miles off. Garrard heard of it and soon caught the spirit and went to Bryan’s Station. There he heard and saw so much of the good work while he was there that he came home all alive with religion. He would work hard all day, and in the evening take his horse and ride six or eight miles to meeting and back again, sometimes near midnight. The revival soon reached Marble Creek Church, where Garrard and wife belonged, the Rev. John Price, pastor. Price was a very hard Calvinist, was not very entertaining, though he was a very good man.
Other preachers soon caught the flame and visited Marble Creek. Peter Wood from Madison County, John Shackelford from Scott Co, Ky, Ambrose Dudley from Scott, Eider Redden and old Thomas Ammons from Fiatt [Fayette] Co–these were all good preachers, the greatest in their day. Then there were others, George Boon a great revivalist, and Membrose Boren also a very good lively preacher. Some of these preachers did attend nearly every sabbath at Marble Creek Church, where the church would be crowded to overflowing. There was such an excitement that it seemed as if all were affected more or less. Christians were rejoicing, while sinners were crying for mercy. There were often thirty or forty that would come forward to be prayed for by the ministers at one time, crying in the bitterness of their hearts, begging the prayers of all the preachers that the Lord for Christ’s sake to have mercy on them. Garrard would often pray for them and exhort them to look to Jesus, who had bled and died to save sinners and He was able and willing to save the vilest of sinners for the good book says “He that asketh receiveth, and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened, and he that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out”
Garrard continued very lively and would sing and shake hands with all around him and many would press through the crowd and give their hands to him and others, and all seemed to be of one mind and heart. And when many were converted and came and joined the church and would start to the water some distance from the church–Hickman Creek, half a mile off–Garrard would be called on to sing some suitable hymn to the water, as that was the custom in those days.
When they were at the water, EIder Price would pray and go down into the water with one of the candidates and Garrard would lead in to another to the Admlnistration and when the first was baptized, Garrard would lead him or her out and lead in. another, and so on until all were baptized. Some times there would be 20 or 30 baptized at a meeting
Garrard would always sing as he went in and out of the water only while the ceremony was said. When all were baptized, he would lead out the last and with smiling countenance, he would give glory to God in the highest, for that ordinance which so much delighted him. As he Often said, it seemed like following the blessed Jesus who humbled himself and went down into Jordan and was baptized by John in Jordan, and as we cannot go to Jordan, we can go down into other waters in likeness of him.
NOTATION FROM ELAINE POWELL:
I have NO more information on this diary.