Abijah B. Eversole

Musician, Company M, 9th Infantry Regiment, Spanish American War

By Stephen D. Bowling

Many heroes have walked the streets of Jackson in its long history. Most never talked about their accomplishments. Fewer ever bragged about their service in the various wars. One of those heroes spent plenty of time on Ewe Hill and walked Hurst Lane as he made his rounds in Jackson daily.

Abijah’s father and Civil War Soldier, Abner Eversole,
died in Lexington on October 3, 1942, at 99.

Abijah B. Eversole was born on July 9, 1878, on Little Raccoon Creek in Laurel County, Kentucky. He was the fourth child and third son born to Abner and Martha (Lewis) Eversole. “Bige,” as he was known, grew up hearing stories about the Civil War from his father, who served in the 6th Kentucky Cavalry and as a Second Lieutenant in Company L of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry.

By 1880, Abner Eversole and his wife Martha (Lewis) Eversole moved their families to Perry County, where Abner worked as a “Huckster.” The 1880s were a turbulent era in Perry County and much of eastern Kentucky.

1880 Perry County, Kentucky Federal Census
District Number 82, house #629-638
     Abner Eversole             37
     Martha Eversole            35
          William Eversole      8
          Molley Eversole       6
          Anderson C. Eversole  4
          Abijah Eversole       1
          John Campbell         19    

The violence of the Perry County Wars soon impacted the Eversoles. Abijah could remember seeing Joseph C. Eversole and Nick Combs riding out of Hazard on their way to Hyden. They were shot and killed from ambush on Big Creek on April 15, 1888, allegedly by “Thomas “Bad Tom” Smith at the behest of Fulton French.

Abijah B. Eversole on a visit to The Jackson Times office in the 1960s.

Abner, spooked by the murders, left Hazard in April 1888 and moved his family to Shoal, Kentucky. They moved again to Beattyville, and later, in 1891, Abijah relocated to Jackson.

Bige Eversole got a job in 1892 folding, delivering, and selling copies of The Jackson Hustler for Dr. John J. Dickey.

On June 28, 1895, Bige stood on the steps of the Sewell Boarding House on College Avenue and watched the execution of Thomas “Bad Tom” Smith at the Jackson Courthouse. He could recall the sound that his neck made when the trap door dropped but did not see him fall. “I am glad I did not. What I heard was enough,” he told his stepson, Warren Hall.

When the U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898, Bige Eversole volunteered for the United States Army to go and fight the Spanish in Cuba and at various points worldwide. He enlisted in Troop A of the First Kentucky Cavalry as a Bugler. Military efforts by the United States and its allies around the world were successful, and the war effort progressed much faster than most expected.

Abijah Eversole’s Spanish-American War service tile.

President William McKinley’s “Splendid Little War” ended on August 13, 1898, after just three months, 3 weeks, and 2 days with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Bige and his compatriots were still in training. He was discharged at Camp Hamilton in Lexington on October 15, 1898.

After the war, he returned to Jackson and found work at a livery.

1900 Breathitt County, Kentucky Federal Census
Jackson Precinct, house #10-11
     Abner Eversole          57     January 1843
     Nannie Eversole         41     December 1858
          Mollie Eversole    26     January 1874
          Anderson Eversole  24     May 1876
          Abijah Eversole    22     January 1878
          Charley Eversole   16     June 1881
          Roscoe Eversole    16     Augut 1883
          Sue Williams       13     May 1887       Step Daughter
          Lulie Williams     11     December 1888  Step Daughter
          Laura Williams     4 months April 1900   Step Daughter

On September 12, 1901, Abijah Eversole chose to re-enlisted in the United States Army at Cincinnati, Ohio. Eversole indicated that he was 23 years and two months old and born in London, Kentucky. He enlisted for a period of three years. He listed his profession as a teacher and was described as having brown eyes, dark brown hair, fair complexion, and was about 5 feet, seven and one-quarter inches tall. He was assigned as the Chief Musician of Company M, 9th Infantry Regiment. He served until he was discharged on October 11, 1903 at Madison Barracks in New York, with his service registered as “very good.”

1910 - Not Found
1920 - Not Found
The Jackson Times
Friday, June 9, 1922
Page 3
Secretary of the Men's Bible Class at the First Baptist Church.
Abijah Eversole was elected Chaplain of the Jackson Chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars on June 7, 1924. - The Jackson Times, Friday, July 4, 1924, page 1.

He married Lillie (Kinney) Hall (1888 – 1963) on September 28, 1924 in Jackson, Breathitt County, Kentucky. The ceremony was held on Hurst Lane and was performed by Merritt Jones.

The Jackson Times
Friday, June 19, 1925
Page 5
1930 Breathitt County, Kentucky Federal Census
Jackson Precint, House #60-62, Hurst Lane
     Abijah Eversole           48
     Lillie Eversole           43
          Martha A. Eversole   4 years and 9 months
          Mary E. Eversole     1 year and 1 month
          Ralph Hall           19     Step Son
          Leonard Hall         17     Step Son
          Marvin Hall          15     Step Son
          Claude Hall          13     Step Son
          Warren Hall          7      Step Son
1940 Fayette County, Kentucky Federal Census
Veteran's Administration Hospital, Line 64
     Abijah Eversole           61     Patient
1950 Montgomery County, Ohio Federal Census
Veteran's Administration Hospital, Line 
     Abijah Eversole           71     Patient
The Jackson Times
Thuursday, April 3, 1952
Page 4

He died on July 14, 1970, in Montgomery County, Ohio, at the age of 92. This remarkable man who was a witness to so much history in the mountains of Kentucky was buried in the Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio.

Abijah Eversole’s military marker in the Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum in Dayton, Ohio. – Source

© 2023 Stephen D. Bowling


About sdbowling

Director of the Breathitt County Public Library and Heritage Center in Jackson, Kentucky.
This entry was posted in Breathitt County, Spanish-American War and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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