R. W. Agnew

by Edmund Starling, 1886


R. W. AGNEW was born in Henderson County, in the year 1836. Robert Agnew, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born on Rock Creek, waters of the Alamance, Guilford County, North Carolina, on the sixth day of May, 1776. His father, Doctor Robert Agnew, was born in County Down, Ireland, on January 31st, 1734. He married Euphenia Shaw in the year 1763, and immigrated to America in the year 1771, and settled in Guilford County, where he died October 18th, 1793. Robert Agnew was the fifth child, and his mother died when he was not six months old. He was then given to Ann Shaw, of Christian County, Kentucky, his mother's first cousin, who cared for him until her death, three years afterwards. His father having married his second wife, young Robert was taken back to North Carolina, where he lived with his step-mother, a most estimable woman, until arriving at nineteen years of age. He then went to his sister Sally, in Sumner county, Tennessee. This trip was over five hundred miles through the wilderness, inhabited by Indians and wild animals, and seven days of the journey young Agnew was alone He remained a year or more in Sumner County, and then returned to his native home in North Carolina, where he attended school for a short time. Being of a restless disposition, he determined to go back to Tennessee, so on the twenty-second day of December, 1796, in extreme cold weather, he set out on his second journey, and on the twentieth day of January, 1797, arrive at his sister's in Sumner County. He was still unsatisfied, he wanted to see more of the country; therefore, in company with two friends, on the twenty-eighth day of January, 1797, he came to Henderson County, and being well pleased, determined to settle here. He returned to Tennessee, and the following is taken from a diary kept by himself: "Returning to Tennessee, I thought I would quit my rambles and settle myself. So it happened that on the first day of June I married Elizabeth White Hardin, of Robertson County. We then concluded to come and live in this country, my wife having a sister living here that was married to Jacob Landers, a pioneer. On Tuesday November 21st, 1797, we arrived in Henderson County, having brought but a small share of property with us. It consisted of two horses, two cows and one calf, two sheep, one bed, etc., and one flax wheel and other small articles to commence work with, but without one cent of money or provisions. However, we went to work, and have never suffered to this time, 1839, for the necessaries of life. Before two years had roll'd away our horses were all dead of the 'Yellow Water,' which prevailed in the world at that time; our sheep were all gone, but our cows did well."

Robert Agnew raised eleven children, seven males and four females. The males were: John married Miss Asbby, of Hopkins County; Wiley married Miss Armstrong; Andrew married Elizabeth Walker; Whitfield married Elizabeth H. Nunn, all of Henderson County. The father of our subject was Whitefield Agnew, who died in 1845, at the age of thirty-seven years, leaving his son, R W. Agnew, a youth of nine years, with his mother and five sisters dependent upon their own exertions for a livelihood. His early privations prevented his education, yet he applied himself at leisure times, and by this means gained a knowledge that has proved of incalculable benefit to him, At the age of twenty-give years, Mr. Agnew married Mrs. M. J. Tillotson, widow of Marshall Tillotson, and daughter of John and Nancy Reeder, and unto them have been born five children, Robert L., Dora, Edna E., and William W. all living. By his industry and economy, Mr. Agnew has accumulated a snug little estate, and although a hard worker, whose influence is felt in times of excited elections. He and his entire family are members of the Baptist church. Dr. R. L. Agnew, a promising physician of Sebree, is his eldest son and child.

The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 782-84;

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