Looking Back: Yeagers were a large family in Boyle County

Published 8:38 am Friday, February 19, 2021


Community columnist

Churchill Gibbs Yeager Sr. and his wife, the former Susan Helen Stone, raised nine children and were one of the largest families in Boyle County in the mid to late 1900s, according to an article in March 1898 in The Kentucky Advocate.

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Churchill was born June 12, 1802, in Madison County, Virginia, and was a farmer. He was a son of Frederick Yeager (1776-1848) and Diana Gaar (1779-1867) of Culpepper, Virginia.

Advocate writer Joe F. Waters wrote articles under the name of “The Penciler”, penned this article “in regard to the morality of large families in Boyle County.”

“Uncle” Churchill Yeager, as everyone called him, and his wife, Susan, who was 91 years old in 1898, and in good health, reared nine children. They were married December 20,1826, in Lincoln County.

• Frederick Fielding (1828-1904), who had one child.

• John Thomas (1829-1898) who was married to Elizabeth Figg in Mercer County in 1862, had four children: Margaret, Ben, Silas and Churchill, who married Sue Bright.

• Strother Higgins (1831-1918) who married Joanna Ferris in Barren County in 1859 and they had four children: James who married Annie Hale; Mollie; Sallie who married John A. Wood; and Churchill who married Rebecca Spoonamore.

• Elizabeth Fleming (1834-1911) married Samuel Shelton of Boyle County in 1855 and they had six children: Susan who married T.F. Baker; Churchill, Frederick, John, Mary and Mattie.

• William Wesley (1836-1915) who married Sarah Ann Figg in Mercer County in 1866, and they had one child, John who married Mary Irvine.

• Levi Thompson (1837-1894) who married Mary Bruce in Stanford in 1859 and they had four children: Lula, who married Anderson Nunnelly;  Susan, who married Frank G.Wood; Tom; and Ettie, who married Gorge Marchaum. Lee married his second wife Sabina E. Jeffries, in 1785, and they had three children: Katie, Jeffries and Annie May.

• Lucinda Francis (1840-1911) who married James Shelton in Boyle County in 1856, and had six known children: Susan who married Henry Ott; Mary who married W.T. St. Clair; Sallie, who married Charles E. Fenn; and had three children James, Thomas Frederick and Ottie.

• James Allen (1845-1928) who married Julina Brown in Boyle County in 1867 and they had five children, Henry; Sue, who married Claude Tuttle of Garrard County; Churchill, James and William.

• Sarah Louise (1847-1885) who married Jeremiah Sandidge.

Numerous grandchildren

“Uncle Churchill and Aunt Susan had 32 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

“No old people in Kentucky ever had the satisfaction of knowing that they raised better children than this old and honored couple, while the younger generations, in whose veins course their blood, sustain for morality and genuine with the reputation of their ancestors.

“They have for the most part lived in the neighborhood of Providence Baptist Church, and have owned a vast territory in that section.

“Uncle Charlie helped build the Providence church about three-quarters of a century ago, and within its walls thousands have been made, through the ‘foolishness of preaching,’ to see the error of their way and enlisted under the banner of King Emanuel.

“Thirty-three years ago, the Rev. John S. Higgins was one of the first pastors of the church. The church will be remembered by young people in many states who attended the large afternoon Sunday School there in days gone.

“The seeds of morality and religion sown by Uncle Churchill Yeager and wife in good ground are still bringing fourth abundantly.”

Churchill is buried in Bellevue Cemetery.