Event Person Place

The Little Slave Boy of Negro Hill

On the east side of Garrison, is the mouth of Montgomery Creek Road. It leads southeast to the head of Montgomery Creek, to the foot of a very steep hill, with a winding road to the top, commonly known as “Negro Hill.”

At the top of the hill is the dividing ridge road, between Lewis and Greenup County.

In the year of 1844, a slave trader from the Kenton Iron Furnace in Greenup County, with slaves and a team pulling a wagon load of iron ingots was in route to Boone’s Foundry at Boone’s Landing at the confluence of Kinniconick Creek and the Ohio River.

Being unable to make a complete journey in one day, the master and slaves stopped to spend the night with a James Horsley, who lived Greenup County, about two miles from what is known as Negro Hill.

In those days, the mail route from Greenup to Vanceburg came through this region.

With the slave master and slaves was a little crippled Negro boy about eight or nine years old. Mr. Horsley had two sons, Jonathan and Dudley. During the evening, the Horsley children and the little slave boy played together and became very fond of each other.

They liked the little slave boy so much that they begged their father to buy him and keep him at their home.

The slave owner offered to trade the little crippled boy to Mr. Horsley for a pair of oxen, but Mr. Horsley refused saying, “I don’t want the blood of that little boy on my hands. It is inhumane.”

The master and his slaves started the next morning, having to cross Negro Hill. As they were crossing, the wagon on which the little slave boy was riding turned over and killed the little crippled slave boy.

Thus, Negro Hill.

Ascending the windy and steep Negro Hill

James Horsley said he always regretted that he had not taken the little boy and thus prevented the slave boy’s tragic death.

The grave of this child can still be found on top of Negro Hill. Melvin Horsley, of Montgomery Creek, knows the location.

It is ironic that in later years, after the slaves were freed, a Negro family bought a farm on top of Negro Hill and lived there many years. They are all buried in a Negro cemetery on top of Negro Hill.

James Horsley, aforementioned, was a native of Virginia. He settled at an early day on Three Prong Creek in Greenup County.

His wife was Elizabeth Madden. Their children were Jonathan, who married Rachel Jordan; Dudley, who married Martha Jordan; Betty, who married William Mullins; Rhuhama,, who married Joseph Lee.

James Horsley died about 1873, and is buried in the Horsley Cemetery on Three Prong Creek in Greenup County.1

  1. Christy, E. M. (1993). Montgomery Road. In Garrison history: Past and present (p. 39). essay, Esta M. Christy.