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 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.
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.
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
Newspaper The Jackson Times Friday, June 9, 1922 Page 3 Secretary of the Men's Bible Class at the First Baptist Church.
Elected 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.
Newspaper 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
Newspaper 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.
© 2023 Stephen D. Bowling