Colonel Elias D. Powell

by Edmund Starling, 1886


COLONEL ELIAS D. POWELL is the son of Captain Lazarus Powell, who removed from North Carolina to Kentucky in 1806, settling in a part of Logan, now Simpson County, where he remained two years. In 1803 he removed to Henderson County, and at once settled on a part of the beautiful farm known as Meadow Hill, one mile this side of Smith Mills. The old homestead originally composed one-half of Meadow Hill, of five hundred and eleven acres. Captain Powell, in addition to this valuable body of land, purchased large tracts containing many thousands of acres in the lower part of the county, known as Walnut Bottom, where he had large negro quarters and great numbers of hogs and cattle. He prided himself upon his fine stock and  was known to own the best blooded horses in Kentucky at that time. Captain Powell married four times and raised a large number of children, Governor L. W. Powell being among the oldest; the subject of this sketch being the youngest. Colonel Powell was born February 1st, 1837, at Meadow Hill. His early education was gained in Henderson, and afterwards was a student of St. Joseph's Academy, Bardstown. During the year 1855 he attended Transylvania College, Lexington, where he studied law in a class with Judge Mike Owsley, late a candidate for the office of Governor, and other celebrities. Col. Powell, at the death of his father, April, 1869, inherited the old homestead as a portion of his share of the estate, and since that time has added to it two hundred and fifty acres of land equally as valuable. On the twenty-fourth day of October, 1861, he married Miss Bettie Beverly, a great belle of Henderson society and a lady of many social graces. The fruits of this marriage is two children, Miss Bessie, a bright and handsome daughter, and Beverly, a promising young man. At the close of the war Colonel Powell was worried in mind as to how he should utilize his large landed estate. He was not willing to give up his old home, and still unwilling to wear himself out growing crops with the uncertain labor then at the command of the farmer. He first put down several hundred acres of Meadow Hill in the grasses, and baled hay, grazed, fed and shipped cattle. During this time he contracted rheumatism to such an alarming extent as to compel him to give up that life.

Colonal Powell had always a great taste for horticulture, and had read many very valuable works on that interesting branch, and the more he saw and studied the more he became convinced that this climate, temperature and condition was eminently suited for successfully cultivating the leading fruits of the country. He determined to undertake it al all hazards, and, in 1869, planted an orchard of the "Red Crab." Every year since he has added to it, as he could arrange his land, and as a result he has to-day one hundred acres of land devoted to apple trees and interspersed with the "Wild Goose Plum," certainly one of the finest varieties known to fruit growers. In addition to, this, he has endless numbers of pear, peach, apricot and nectarine which bear handsomely every year. Colonel Powell can now sit in his home, located upon a most beautiful hill of imposing prominence, and at one sight take in hundreds of acres of tree freighted with the most lucious[sic] and taste-tempting fruits known to fruit growers. He is cultivating several hundred pecan trees in what he calls his black flats, several hundred black walnut, and as many black locusts, the latter of which he intends using for posts. The Colonel, even at this early date, has an abundance of pecans and walnuts for his family use, and in the course of a few years will gather a sufficiency to supply the county. The success attending Colonel Powell's venture has been wonderful. In 1882, as a result of his labor, he sold in St. Louis, Chicago, Louisville and Cincinnati four hundred barrels of crab cider, fourteen hundred barrels of apples and not less than one thousand dollars amounting to $4,000; thus the net profits of his crop sold outside of Henderson County, netted him the round sum of six thousand three hundred dollars. Colonel Powell now prides himself upon being the owner and the proprietor of the largest, handsomest, and finest improved fruit farm in the State of Kentucky. His fruit is known in all the markets, and is much sought after. No one is more pleased to know the happy and solid condition of the Colonel than the writer. He deserves all that he has won. he is a man of noble impulses, true as steel, a friend to mankind, and unflinchingly courageous in all the grand and enobling characteristics of life.

The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 763-65;

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