Thursday, November 21, 2019

How To Live Long


Between the mid 1800's and early 1900's, sheriffing was a way of life for some in the Boles side of my family. My 3rd great grandfather, John, was sheriff of Overton County, Tn right after the Civil War. His grandson, Hige, who was my great grandfather, was sheriff of Clinton County, Ky from the mid to late 1920's and a deputy sheriff for over 15 years.

In the early 1930's, another of John's grandsons, Savage Garfield Boles, my first cousin three times removed, worked as a deputy sheriff in the Fentress County, Tn coal company town of Wilder, which has long been abandoned. Wilder was the site of a violent coal-miners strike in 1932 that lasted nine months and ended with the killing of United Mine Workers union leader Barney Graham.

Born on Big Piney Creek in 1883, Savage was nicknamed, "Republican," an appropriate title, given the fact that several of the Boles men back in those days were named for Republican presidents, like Garfield, Abraham, Lincoln and Ulysses Grant, and even though he wasn't a Republican, a few were even named after George Washington, like my great, great-grandfather.

Except for Hige, who wasn't born yet, these men all had strong allegiances to the North during the Civil War. After all, John's brother-in-law was Union guerilla Tinker Dave Beaty, and John and his son George, (my great, great-grandfather) and Savage's father, Robert, were all members of Beaty's independent scouts, and so all were very pro-Union and very strong Republicans.

George was 95 years old when he died and his son, Hige, was 93. Savage lived to be 85 and, when asked to account for his long life, he would always say "I never smoked, I walked a lot and I never shook hands with a Democrat, if I could help it."

Savage married the daughter of a preacher man. He is buried at Boles Cemetery on Savage Boles Road at Wilder.

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