Hazel Family of Daviess County – Shoemakers, Undertaker and Grist Mills

The Hazel family – father and two sons – have quite an interesting story.  From the Virginia county of Fairfax, to Nelson County, Kentucky, and on to Daviess County, they are just one family of westward pioneers in the early years of our country.  I especially love the part about the bottle of molasses – stories like this are treasures for families!

from History of Daviess County, Kentucky, 1883

Richard Henry Hazel, shoemaker, of Knottsville, was born near Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia, September 7, 1818, and was a son of Edward Hazel, or, as commonly called, Uncle Ned, who brought his family to Nelson County, Kentucky, in the fall of 1827, and to this county the following spring, settling in the forests of Knottsville Precinct.  He was married in 1840, to Eliza Henning, daughter of Ezekiel Henning, and has two sons – Thomas E. and William S.  Mrs. Hazel died in 1881.  She was a member of the Catholic Church.  Mr. hazel is a member of the Masonic fraternity.

Thomas E. Hazel, son of R. H. Hazel, of Knottsville, was born in this precinct, January 22, 1841.  On the day of his birth some parties dug a grave in the St. Lawrence Catholic Cemetery.  They had a large bottle of whisky with them, which they left by the grave, and a few days after, Mr. Hazel was out hunting and passed by the cemetery and found this bottle and took it home.  It was a half-gallon bottle, and of the old-fashioned kind.  For several years this bottle was used to churn the butter in for the family, and when Tom was large enough to send to the store he carried molasses in it.  On one occasion he came swinging it along, when all at once it flew from his hand and broke, and away went bottle, molasses and all.  He was married, January 10, 1860, to Matilda Wathen, by whom he had nine children, four living – Mary E., Elnora, Eliza and Rosaline.  Mrs. Hazel died August 19, 1874.  Mr. Hazel married in January, 1876, Emma May, by whom he had one child (deceased).  Mr. Hazel early learned the shoemaker’s trade with his father, and followed it several years.  He also worked in tobacco factories several years, and for some time in saw and grist mills.

William S. Hazel, son of R. H. Hazel, was born in Knottsville, February 20, 1853.  He was educated in Cecilian College, of Hardin County, this state.  In 1872 and 1873 he clerked on the wharf-boat of Triplett, Bacon & Co., of Owensboro; came to Knottsville in 1874, and clerked for Dr. Drury, and was at the same time engaged in the insurance agency.  In 1875 he worked on a farm, and in 1876 he engaged in the mercantile business with C. O. Clements, in Knottsville.  In 1878 Clements sold to J. W. McJohnston, of Owensboro, who continued with Mr. Hazel as a partner until August, 1880, when he sold his interest to the latter.  Mr. Hazel continued the business until October 8, 1882, when he sold it to Ignatius A. Aull, he still owning the undertaker’s department.  Mr. Hazel erected a small grist-mill at Knottsville in 1881, but sold it and built a larger one in 1882, which we describe elsewhere in this work.  He married Agnes L. Clements, daughter of C. O. Clements, of Knottsville,  They have two children – Chloe and Joseph B.  Mr. Hazel is Deputy County Clerk, and a Catholic Knight; also member of the N. M. B. A.

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