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2

GENERAL LESLIE COMBS

and generous support of its institutions, as a united whole, whenever the violence of ultra factions in the extreme North or South, impelled by whatever motives, shall seek to overturn the institutions established by our revolutionary forefathers. It is then that the people of the grant West, the descend- ants of the pioneer, hunter race, will—as one of her representatives declared in his place in a late Congress—have something to say on the final question of union or disunion.

As being a worthy representative of this race and also one whose early life and ad- ventures are intimately connected with an interesting and instructive, but now almost forgotten portion of our national history, as relating to the West, we shall depart some- what from our ordinary practice, and allow ourselves more space and latitude than usual, in detailing the personal narrative of the subject of the present memoir.

General Leslie Combs is descended, on the side of his mother, whose maiden name was Sarah Richardson, from, a re- spectable Quaker family of Maryland, con- nected by blood with the Thomases and Snowdens. His father was by birth a Vir- ginian, and served as a subaltern officer in the revolutionary army under Washington, at the siege of Yorktown and capture of Lord Cornwallis. He soon afterwards emi- grated to Kentucky, and was engaged in all those dangerous and sometimes bloody scenes which resulted in driving out the In- dians, and devoting that rich and beautiful region to the cause and purposes of civili- zation.

Both his parents have been dead for seve- ral rears; and as their youngest of twelve children, he has erected over their humble graves, within a few miles of Boonsboro, appropriate tombstones. On his father's are inscribed the simple facts, that he was a “ Revolutionary Officer and a Hunter of Kentucky.”   A simple, affecting, and sug- gestive tribute to the unpretending but sterling worth of one of that class of men which has impressed its characteristic trait as honorably as it has indelibly on our na- tional character: “a hunter of Kentucky;” one of that fearless, enterprising, Self-rely- ing, frank and generous race, which, as the hardy pioneer of civilization in our Western savage wilds, has extended the area of the Republic over those once almost illimitable forests and prairies, and, by its valor and           

devotion to country,  has contributed much to our national greatness and fame.

Seven only of his children survived him; among whom was divided his hundred-acre farm in Clark county, which had furnished his only support in raising his large family. Of course their means and opportunities of education were limited; but fortunately for the subject of this memoir, when he was but ten or eleven years of age, the Rev. John Lyle, a Presbyterian  clergyman, opened a school of higher order than was usual in the country in those days; and in it he was taught the Latin language, as well as English grammar, geography, and the lower branches of mathematics. His progress in all his studies was rapid, and he soon became the pet of his venerable instruc- tor, as he was the pride of his aged parents.

This state of things continued about three years, when Mr. Lyle removed to a neigh- boring county; and for a time our young scholar was compelled to remain at home, and assisted in cultivating the farm. This great anxiety, however, of both his parents to give him as liberal an education as pos- sible, was soon gratified by their being able to place him in the family of a French gen- tleman residing near Ashland, whose lady taught a few scholars, and under whose in- struction be remained for a year; his time being mainly devoted to the acquisition of her native language. That admirable lady is yet alive, and still residing in her humble home, one of her daughters having married a son of Henry Clay.

Shortly after returning home, be was placed as the junior deputy in the clerk's office of Hon. S. H. Woodson, in Jessamine county, and was residing there, when the last war was declared against Great Britain. The excitement in Kentucky, on the occur- rence of that event, pervaded all ages and classes.

Even those who are old enough to re- member the events of those times, but who were born and have always lived in the eastern portions of the country, can have little idea of the intensity of feeling aroused by this event among the hardy inhabitants of Kentucky and the frontier portions of the north-western country. In that region the interval between the close of the war of the Revolution and the declaration of the sec- ond war with the same power, had witnessed an almost uninterrupted struggle between        

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