FROM KENTUCKY'S LAST FRONTIER BY HENRY P. SCALF (pp. 104-107)
Preston's Station 1791
The first settler on the site of Prestonburg was John Spurlock of Montgomery County, Virginia. He and his wife Frances (Fanny) Turman Spurlock and a number of his children came to Big Sandy according to family tradition in 1791. He built a cabin on East Court Street near the present residence of Mrs. Jo M. Davidson. Kentucky was not yet a state at this time, if the settlement date given is correct. Floyd County had not been mentioned, and the soil upon which John Spurlock settled was Mason County, Viriginia. The county seat of Mason was Washington, a little town tucked away in the wilderness on the Ohio, over one hundred miles away, guarded from the Indians by Simeon Kenton and his Mason County Minute Men. The Spurlocks (with the exception of the Leslies on Johns Creek, and soon the returning Harmans at the mouth of that creek) were probably alone in the Big Sandy. Unlike the prudent Leslie and the frontie-wise Harmans, Spurlock built his cabin the path of th Shawnee warriors who came up Licking, ascended Burning Springs Fork, descended Middle Creek, and turned east towards the frontier settlements of Virginia. If the traditional date is correct, it was three years before General Anthony Wayne administered defeat to the Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. We know very little of John Spurlock. No evidence has been recovered that he was a Revolutionary soldier but that he was loyal to the American cause is evidenced by his taking the oath of allegiance in Henrico County, Virginia in 1778. The Spurlocks of southwest Virginia were like many others, pushing west, some into the wilds of th Guyandotte River, and soon a representative of the family settled on the Kentucky River. It is reflected in early court records that John Spurlock was, while not possessed of a fortune, of considerable means for the time and place. It is thought he brough his slaves to Big Sandy at the time he settled and it may be that they helped raise his log home. If not, it is certain that in a few years he was the owner of serveral. His son-in-law, Adam Gearheart, who married his daughter Rhoda, was a dealer in slaves to some extent. Spurlock had settled on land that was to become part of the John Preston grant of 100,000 acres. The Preston land was entered March 9, 1787, but surveying of the grant was not started by Preston's agents until 1797, several years after Spurlock had settled. Whether John Spurlock owned or claimed all of the bottom land where Prestonsburg now stands, or if he held it in possession by some show of title from Virginia is not determined from the meager records. Whether or not John Spurlock attended the organization of Floyd County at the home of James Brown below Prestonsburg is not known, but if he did then he saw his kinsman, some say a nephew, Jesse Spurlock, sworn in (along with John McIntire and James Young) as Justice of the Court of Quarterly Sessions. Jesse Spurlock lived on the Kentucky River. Eight children were born to John and Frances Spurlock and these, with one exception, married into the pioneer families of the valley. The exception was Sarah (Sally) Spurlock who sometime in 1800 married a fur trader, Michael (Mike) Tarter, who moved off with her to a plantation near Rogersville, Tennessee. John Spurlock served as Floyd County jailer for five weeks, being sworn into office August 24, 1812. He was succeeded by his son Matthew (September 28, the same year) who served until succeeded by John Harris on June 27, 1814. By 1813, Prestonsburg's first settler was growing old and he began to dispose of his land and Negroes. He gave to his daughters Artie and Amy on January 11, 1816, two Negro slaves each; and on October 16, 1816, he executed the last deed to real property. The last recorded instrument of his is dated November 4, 1816, when he gave his daughter Rhoda two Negroes. Death came before year's end.
Notes for this section: - A Charles Spurlock came to Cabell County, Virginia, now West Virginia, in 1805. He settled according to Henry C. Ragland's History of Logan County, "on what is known as the Toney farm below the mouth of Big Creek." One Charles Spurlock, unidentified in the family geneaology, married Clara Akers, in Floyd county, Kentucky on December 15, 1820. Family historians of the Spurlock family assert that one Jesse Spurlock first settled in Bourbon County, Kentucky, but later went to southern Virginia, now West Virginia. - Jesse Spurlock, one of the first Justices of the Court of Quarterly Sessions of Floyd County, lived on the Kentucky River and records of Perry County show he was also one of the early Justices of that county. He settled there, records infer, prior to 1800. He was born in Montgomery County, Virginia, 1778, and married Jane Herrin, a native of Ireland. His brother William, is the ancestor of the Clay County Spurlock families. - Jesse Spurlock was listed as a Perry County taxpayer in 1821 and lived a mile above the mouth of Quicksand Creek, afterwards Perry, and after that Breathitt County.
THE WILL OF JOHN SPURLOCK, FLOYD COUNTY, KENTUCKY
I, John Spurlock, of Floyd Co, Ky being of sound mind though weak in body...do make...this my last will...I..
I will my soul to God who gave it.
Item 1st to my beloved wife Frances, one negro woman named Jean and her two children named Frank and Jackson. Also one negro woman named Betsey and her child Phebe.
Item 2nd to my beloved daughter Sarah Tarter, one negro boy named Charles, which I have heretofore put into her possession by deed of gift which I intend as part of her estate.
Item 3rd to my beloved son David Spurlock all that tract of land he now lives on bounded as the deed of gift will show which I have heretofore made and intend as part of his estate.
Item 4th to my beloved son Hiram Spurlock all that tract of land he now lives on bounded as the deed of gift will show which deed has penalty of $500 and consideration, but said sum never has been paid nor no part thereof, which I intend as a part of his estate.
Item 5th to my beloved daughter Rhoda, two negros that is one boy named Hampton and girl named Polly as the present part of her estate.
Item 6th to my deceased daughter Susannah's heirs, David Morgan, Polly Morgan, and Ann Morgan, one negro man named Will, which I have given heretofore with other property, as I intend for estate and no more.
Item 7th to my beloved son Matthew Spurlock's heirs by his second wife Juda the tract of land that Juda lives on now, for said tract to remain in possession of Juda until her child James Harvey is of age, then said land to be equally divided between her four oldest children which I allot for the whole of their estate and no more.
Item 8th to my beloved daughter Ann Harris, late Ann Spurlock, two negro girls one named Nancy and one Patsy, which I have heretofore made a deed of gift as recorded in clerk's office and intend as part of her estate.
Item 9th to my beloved daughter Artemiss, two negro girls named Silva and Caty, which I have heretofore made a deed of gift.
Item 10th to my beloved wife further all lands, lots and tenements that is attached in the town of Prestonburg or adjoining, together with all stock, household furniture, farming utensils including the blacksmith tools, etc. observing that my beloved son Robert Spurlock is to have at the decease of my wife Fanny a portion out of the land and lots, which shall be equal in value to Hiram and David's part of said estate.
Item 11th I do further will that my beloved wife to receive and pay off all just debts out of any property which is named to her in this will. I do further appoint my beloved wife Fanny and son Hiram as my lawful executors to amply receive this my last will and testament.
25 Aug 1816
Signed John Spurlock in the presence of John Turman, Stephen Hamilton, Joseph Davis, James Young
Floyd Co Court, Dec Term 1816 proved in open court and ordered to be recorded
Children of John Jr. Spurlock and Frances "Fanny" Turman are: