Monday, February 28, 2011

Lucinda's Life - Women's History

Cindy, abt. 1886
Lucinda Howard was a strong woman like most who grew up and lived in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. She was born, married and died in the Harlan County community of Wallins Creek but, unlike so many of those strong mountain women, she didn't spend her entire life there.

Cindy was born on 16 Feb 1867. She was the sixth of seven children born to John Covey Howard and Mary Morris but she was part of a much larger family. Her father had been married twice before he married her mother and he had a total of 20 children. Her mother also had a child prior to marrying her father so Cindy had six full and 14 half siblings.

Education, especially for girls, in that time period was often very limited. One of Cindy's grandsons wrote that she had two years of writing and spelling at school and that her older half-brother, Jacob Howard, was her teacher.

Jim, Cindy & daughter, Lula
Cindy married James Arton Hokpins on 25 Dec 1885 at Wallins Creek. They lived there until about 1901 when they moved to Rockcastle County, probably in search of better farm land. Cindy and Jim bought a farm near Brodhead where they lived until 1919. Their next home and farm was just west of Brodhead in the community of Gum Sulphur. Around 1923 they made another move, this time to Warren County, Ohio.

When Cindy and Jim were living at Wallins Creek the Howard-Turner Feud was going on in Harlan County. One of the leaders of the Howard side of the feud was Cindy's nephew Wilse Howard (son of her half-brother, Hiram Brock Howard). According to Cindy, Wilse once came to her house looking for a place to hide from the law. Cindy put him under a feather mattress and made the bed up over him. Before long the sheriff and deputies came looking for Wilse, no doubt searching the houses of most everyone in the family. They searched her house but didn't find him hiding there under the feather bed. Wilse later left Harlan County, escaping charges there.

Jim & Cindy with 8 of their children
Cindy gave birth to 10 children over a twenty year span between 1886 and 1906. Her youngest child died as an infant but she raised one daughter and eight sons. Cindy was an outstanding seamstress. She made clothes for her daughter and herself and even made suits for her sons.

Jim died on 5 Jan 1933 in Warren County and was buried there in Morrow Cemetery. Cindy's sister, Sarah, became a widow just a couple of months later so Sary, as she was called, moved from Wallins Creek to live with Cindy in Ohio.

When Cindy's brother Henry died in 1931, he left his house at Wallins Creek to her. Technically, his wife had the use of the property for her lifetime and then the property went to Cindy. At the writing of Henry's will, Sary was living next to him. It appears that Henry left his house to Cindy so she could someday return "home" from Ohio. And that is what she eventually did.

Wallins Creek house Cindy inherited
The exact date is not known but Cindy and Sary moved back to Wallins Creek in the early 1940's, transporting all their belongings by train. The land that Henry left to Cindy was part of their parents' farm where she had grown up and started her family but the house was one Henry had built. Before Cindy and Sary made the move back to Wallins, the house was being rented out. The renters didn't want to move so they told Cindy that she wouldn't like it there because the house was haunted. Not missing a beat, Cindy told them that would be just fine because the ghosts would all be family and she'd be happy to see them.

Cindy died in that Wallins Creek house on 16 May 1957 at the age of 90. Her funeral was held in Morrow, Ohio and she was buried next to Jim in Morrow Cemetery.

poster by footnoteMaven

This post was written for the 103rd Carnival of Genealogy - Women's History hosted by Creative Gene.

More about that Harlan County Howard-Turner feud can be found in Days of Darkness; The Feuds of Eastern Kentucky by John Ed Pearce (Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 1994). 

Cindy was my great-grandmother. Click the links above for sources and additional information about her and her family and check out this gallery for more photos.


  1. Great story Linda, I really enjoyed it!

  2. I love her comment about the ghosts being family.

  3. My goodness you two are fast. Thanks.

  4. So much information about Cindy. All those siblings, and her children too. I esp. love the fact she married 3 years to the day before my great-grandparents. Very interesting piece, thanks.

  5. You have told her story well, Linda. I really enjoyed reading it.

  6. I enjoyed reading about Cindy's life - and the way she dealt with the renters! Jo :-)

  7. Nicely done, Linda, and a great addition to the COG!

  8. This was such a good post. Cindy sounds like she had spunk! Good for her! I like the photos and I think Cindy was very lovely. I also noticed in the photo of the house that there is a gate across the driveway. I wonder if that was common for the area or for the time or both. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Wonderful job, Linda. I especially like the fact that the siblings and family looked out for each other their whole lives. Those ghosts were probably there just to scare off the renters!