The ancestral tree is shown below:
And the Descendant tree from Jenny's father Hezekiah Sellards, down to me. I hope everyone realizes by this time that a tree which applies to me also applies to my cousin and "cohort in crime", Nancy Sparks Morrison with the exception that her father is a brother to my father. Her parents are William Frank Sparks and Shirley Evelyn Mayo.
Background for the Jenny Wiley Story
In addition to the stories told to me by my father about Jenny Wiley I have also had the benefit of reading about her from several books, magazines and pamphlets. Parts of the story were gleaned from articles as they appeared in "The Sandy Valley Heritage", a quarlerly booklet of a newsletter type with articles about early life in Eastern Kentucky, and a booklet named "Jenny Wiley", by Henry P. Scalf which I picked up at a little bookstore in Paintsville, Ky.
Portions of two books not in my possession, called "Harmon's Station", and another called "Appalachian Crossroads", by Clayton Cox contained the Jenny Wiley story. There was also an article from "The Huntington Herald Dispatch". This was an interview of my Great Aunt Mary (Sparks) Stump, a sister to my Grandfather, Alie Sparks. The article was written by Doris Miller and printed November 6, 1959. Aunt Mary would have been 76 years old at the time.
I vaguely remember Aunt Mary because sometimes on the way to or from a visit to my grandparents, dad would make a stop for a short visit with her. This would have been in the mid to late thirties. As I recall she was quite simply a female version of my grandfather Aile in looks.
In addition to the fact that Jenny was an ancestor, I feel very close to this story because a good portion of it took place in an area where I grew up. The Shawnee Indian village mentioned in the Jenny Wiley story was located at a point on the Ohio River at the mouth of the "Big" Scioto River, so named by the locals because there was a "Little" Scioto River which entered the Ohio about eight miles upstream. The city of Portsmouth, Ohio, where I was born, now stands on this very spot at the mouth of the Scioto River. The little farm on which I was raised was about two miles north of the river and seven miles northeast of Portsmouth.
During the depression years my parents had to "break up housekeeping", store their furniture and go to live for a while with my Ison grandparents on their farm on "Smith Branch", Kentucky. The farm was located in the hills of Kentucky in Greenup County not more than a mile or two south of the Ohio River and about half way between South Portsmouth and Ashland. I can just imagine that it was somewhere near here that the indians who had captured Jenny Wiley, camped and hid from those who were looking for her, while they waited for the swollen Ohio River to go down to enable them to make the crossing into Ohio.
I still have relatives living in Ashland, Kentucky. It is just east of there that the Big Sandy River flows into the Ohio from between Kentucky and West Virginia. Much of the saga took place in this area and to the south of there.
As a boy, I used to fish and swim in the Ohio River close to the mouth of the "Little" Scioto River . The Ohio river was about a Half mile wide at this point. I shouldn't tell this on myself, but one of our favorite things to do in the summer was to swim across to the Kentucky side, "confiscate" a watermelon and float back across the river on it before indulging in the feast. Needless to say we had about a mile to walk back along the riverbank to get back to our clothes and such. My closest friend was Ralph Schisler. I guess you might say that the two of us were sort of like an "Ohio River Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn".
(I probably shouldn't have told that on Ralph. He later became a preacher. I'm not sure his congregation would have appreciated that part of the tale! He is now retired, and "Mr. Music" spends his time playing and teaching others to play the "Appalachian Mountian Dulcimer", the only truly "native" American musical instrument.)
And now for the story:
The Jenny Wiley Story
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