Home Feature Articles Bluegrass/Eden Shale Civil War Soldiers, and a Slice of Sadieville History

Bluegrass/Eden Shale Civil War Soldiers, and a Slice of Sadieville History

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Corpl Slotten

Corp’l T J Slotten [sic – Slatten] Co K 4th KY Inf (no longer standing). Taken by the author near old Emison Mill property, Feb 22, 2014.

By: Clinton Slayton

In two previous issues of Kentucky Ancestors, volume 38, numbers 1 & 3, 2002 & 2003, the story of the family of John Slatton was explored with emphasis on his soldier sons. In the intervening years, details have been uncovered to the extent that an update fills many lacunae in the previous article.

The version here is a half-sized “outline” of this extended family, please refer to the supplemental version (John_Slatten_KY_FULL_FINAL) of this article which contains more information, hard facts, conjectures, and endnotes to sources.

Please note that variant spellings are used interchangeably among the family members, affiants and clerks who wrote this name, which was occasionally mistranscribed and read as Slotten. This usage creates constant problems for accessing records and caused some headstones to be engraved with wrong surnames.

For purposes of consistency, any references to Mathilda or Harriet have been standardized as Matilda and Harriett, since there is little consistency in the actual records. Many documents used “co” as an abbreviation for “county,” these have been altered to the full spelling “County.”

The John Slatton(s)

The 1925 obituary for one of the men in this document, John H Slatton, states that the father of the deceased was (also) named John H. and that before that a grandfather John “served as a captain in the War of 1812 and [that his father John ] fought in the Indian War.”

Obviously, with four identical names in a presumed bloodline, we have elected to refer to the War of 1812 Captain as “Captain John II,” the next son as “John III” and his son as “John IV.”

John Slatton III

John H. Slatton (III) b abt 1810-1815, Hawkins County, Tennessee, was the son of Captain John II and Mary Slaten/Slatten of Hawkins/Hancock County Tennessee. John III mar Matilda Harriett Murrell, 11 July 1835. The family moved from Lee County Virginia to Owen County Kentucky ca 1855, and John III died 6 May 1858 in Owen County Kentucky, possibly from an accident with a runaway horse.

Their descendants are the focus of this study. Matilda bore at least eleven children in all, ten appear in Kentucky records, and seven of them were in her household at the time of John’s death, ranging from seventeen years down to about six months.

Affidavit of Nottely Estes of Scott County Kentucky [deposes] In the years 1855 and 1856 I was engaged in selling dry good and groceries in the neighborhood of John Slatten and he was a regular customer…he was a renter and owned no real estate…

Matilda Harriett Murrell Slatten, wife of John Slatton (III)

Born ca 1816, probably in Hawkins or Hancock County Tennessee, to James Murrell and wife Nancy, died 16 July 1903 in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky.

It is likely that James Murrell was a “neighbor” of Captain John II. Both James Murrell and Captain John II owned lands near the border between Hawkins and Hancock Counties, Tennessee. It would not be a stretch to imagine that a daughter of James Murrell and a son of Captain John II might have known one another since childhood and married before moving east to Lee County Virginia, but the destruction of records by four courthouse fires have put paid to finding a proof.

A Murrell household appears in 1860 Owen County Kentucky census, that of Stokley Donelson Murrell. Stokley D. Murrell would be a younger half-brother to Matilda. He served in the same 4th Kentucky Mounted Inf as some of his cousins, as will be seen. His story of being in several battles, then being captured, recaptured and sent to Andersonville, only to be released and shipped out on the SS Sultana, which exploded, is well-documented elsewhere.

In Scott County, the family of John and Matilda Slatton and their ten children lived in what became Precinct No 5, that came to be called “Stonewall” after the famous Confederate general. The name of the community suggests that there might be some hostility to a family that was so obviously a “Union” family, as will be seen.

Matilda’s pension application, SC251,365, based on the death of son Thomas J Slatten, was rejected. The 345 pages make for very sad reading, as Thomas J was the oldest unmarried son surviving after 1866, and each of Matilda’s sons joined the Union Army as they came to enlistment age. All but one son predeceased her. Before her death, she lived in the household of son Madison, and then daughter Matilda Marshall.

Affidavit of [Greenberry] F Mallory  [word order edited for clarity]

[John Slatten] rented a small farm of my brother Abraham Mallory which he occupied one or two years, when he removed to Owen County Kentucky, where he died…I having in the meantime purchased the [Scott County farm] from my brother,  Mrs. Matilda Slatten returned to Scott County and rented of me the same farm…T J Slatten was her oldest unmarried son and her main dependence whilst they were at home…I state this because I usually took her mail to her, and at her request, read the letters to her, and usually answered them for her…Mrs. Slatten was an undoubted Union lady…She lived on my farm for a year of so and she then moved to the farm of my brother-in-law, Major James E Emison.

All of these properties place her family near the now-defunct Emison Mill operation on Eagle Creek. Reading the letter below, the reference to “sleeping side by side” in their little mounds refers to the small graveyard visible just south of the address of 589 Elk Lick Road.  It is surrounded by the remains of a dry stone wall and has a fallen tree parallel to the ground just over it. It can be seen on the www.findagrave.com website as “Emison Mill Cemetery.”

Letter from Clinton D. Murrell, Josephine, Scott County, Kentucky, who was a nephew to Matilda through her half-brother Stokley D. Murrell:

Feb 1st 1901 [to] Hon W J Deboe, U S Senate, Washington D C

“Dear Sir If you remember we had some little correspondence Last session in Regard to the Pension Claim of Mrs Matilda Slatten of Lexington KY dependent mother of James Slatten Co B 6th Ky Cav Thomas J Slatten Co K 4th Ky Mtd Inft Madison Slatten Co K 4th Ky Mtd Inft William Slatten Co B 6th Ky Cav John H Slatten Co K 4th Ky Mtd Inft Benjamin F Slatten Co I 53rd Ky her Entire Family Whose Agregate Service to their Country amounted to something like 16 years. They were all Honorably Discharged and are all Dead Except John H who is now a Resident of Lexington Ky and is  Drawing a Pension of $8.00 per month. As before stated this old mother is almost totaly blind and is in her 85th year without any means whatsoever. She is living with her daughter a poor woman and a renter… if brave and noble heroes who gave their best days to perpetuate this the grandest government on earth as they sleep in their little mounds side by side in Scott County Ky [could] for one moment [realize] the suffering and many privations of their dear old widowed mother they would certainly feel that their hardships and [skip] long and weary marches, suffering in the prisons of the enemy, had all been in vain…

At her death in 1903, Milward Funeral Co produced a transit order to remove her body from the Marshall home on Estin Ave in Lexington to Sadieville, the small community in Scott County that enjoyed a brief boomlet after the railroad came to town.  The Sadieville Cemetery (as it is now called) was not established until 1913, so she was probably buried with five of  her sons near Emison Mill off of Elk Lick Road.

Sons of John and Matilda Slatton

The author at two of the three extant headstones, B F (standing) and T J lying at my knee. The stone of W M is to my right, leaning against a tree. Broken stubs of dressed stone indicate more burials, the dry stone wall may contain more headstones or remnants. A seriously endangered cemetery.

The author at two of the three extant headstones, B F (standing) and T J lying at my knee. The stone of W M is to my right, leaning against a tree. Broken stubs of dressed stone indicate more burials, the dry stone wall may contain more headstones or remnants. A seriously endangered cemetery.

James Slatton 

A son of John H. Slatton III and Matilda Murrell, was born ca 1834, probably in Hawkins County Tennessee. He died 4 May 1895, according to the government card of issuance for his veteran’s tombstone.

James married Sarah Ann Mallory on 9 Sep 1857 in Scott County Kentucky.

Sarah was born abt 1838 in Kentucky.

James Slatten served as “company sergeant” in the Sixth Kentucky Veteran Cavalry, Union Army.

Sarah Mallory Slatten ended her days at 129 Lexington Ave in the city of Lexington. She died in Apr 1923. She was buried (unmarked) on 25 Apr 1923 in Lexington Cemetery. Her brother, Greenberry Mallory, had inherited the land on which the old Emison Mill once stood, off of Elk Lick Road near Sadieville.

James’ headstone is not visible near the Emison Mill property off of Elk Lick Road, Scott County KY, but the request to the government for James SLATTEN says to ship to “Emison,” where he is buried beside four brothers.

James and Sarah’s children are in the Supplemental PDF version (John_Slatten_KY_FULL_FINAL.) Many descendants are in Versailles, Woodford County, KY.

William M Slatton

a son of John H. Slatton III and Matilda Murrell, was born in ca 1838. A Wm M in Co B, 6th Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry, states that he was born in Hawkins County Tennessee and was born ca 1841-3. His age continues to “shift.” He appears to be the William found with John and Matilda in the 1850 Lee County Virginia census.

William served in Co B , 6th Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry, but enlisted in 1861 before it changed to a “Veteran” unit, otherwise it is the same unit in which his brother James served. He has a rough service record, indicating at least one episode of “arrest for disorderly conduct” and a demotion in rank.

Scott County after the Civil War was a dangerous place. All family stories and records say that he was “killed.”

His headstone request bears the death date of 18 Dec 1866, at the youngest age for the death of any of the six soldier brothers.

His headstone is found near the Emison Mill property off of Elk Lick Road, County Kentucky. Cemetery surveyor Ron Vance says the grave reads as SLOTTEN, but the present condition disallows confirmation.

Thomas J Slatton

a son of John H. Slatton III and Matilda Murrell, was born in 1840 in Tennessee.

Thomas J Slatten  Co K, 4th Kentucky (late Mounted) Volunteer Infantry, same unit as Madison Slatton below, enrolled 24 Aug 1861 as Private, Owens County Kentucky, mustered in Camp Dick Robinson 9 Oct 1861, He made Corporal but he was sick in hospital when his term of service was over.

Pension File SC251,365 filed by his mother, contains over 300 pages, with all depositions of personal acquaintances stating that he was “stout” “hale” and “healthy” before enlistment, soldier’s depositions stating that he was increasingly frail as shown in muster rolls, medical officers testifying that he had bladder and kidney disease, and a unanimous agreement from everyone who knew him after the war that his health was destroyed by his service.

All deposing siblings state that he became the male authority and that they obeyed him as their “father,” and that he paid the rent for the farm where they lived. But there is pension testimony of a visit during the war to Nashville to see “sporting women.” Special pension examiners could therefore speculate that his health problems related to “vicious habits.” Thus, the moral judgments of the examiners saved the government about $96 per year, instead of supporting a mother whose six sons were honorably discharged by the Union Army.

His headstone request to the government gives shipment to “Stonewall” and date of death as 19 March 1871.Thomas’ headstone is found near the Emison Mill property off of Elk Lick Road, Scott County Kentucky. Gravestone clearly reads as SLOTTEN, a clerical error.

Madison “Matt” Slatten

a son of John H. Slatton III and Mathilda Murrell was born ca 1842, Hawkins County Tennessee, died June 1891, Grant County, Kentucky. He married Margaret “Maggie”Anderson on 14 November 1877, she being “24, of Covington, Kentucky.” The marriage took place in Covington, Kenton County Kentucky. She notes in her pension papers that her husband spelled the name SLATTEN, not SLATTON.

According to his Civil War service record, Madison Slatten enrolled as a private on 24 August 1861 in Owen County. He was 19 years old. He was at Camp Dick Robinson on 9 October 1861. He served in Kelly’s Company of the Union 2nd Regiment, Kentucky Infantry (later Kentucky Mounted Infantry).

“Matt” re-enlisted in Union-controlled Chattanooga Tennessee in January 1864 as a veteran in Company K of the Union 4th Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Infantry, in which his brothers Thomas and John also served. Captured in Georgia on 30 July 1864, he ended up at the infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia. He was paroled in North Carolina on 26 February 1865.

It becomes clear that Matt, John and James all owned lands south of the meeting points of Scott, Harrison, Grant, and Owen Counties, and thus the place name Slattenville which was applied to a stage stop in Stonewall, Scott County, may indicate not the presence of one landowner, but all three.

In the Big Eagle District of Scott County, he operated a tavern along the Georgetown Road (present U.S. 25), in the community of Stonewall, according to descendants, and his purchase records support that.

After the war, Matt Slatton claimed to have asthma and rheumatism from his P.O.W. time.  Matt’s poor health is evident in some of the court records near the end of his life.

Madison “Matt” Slatton died 13 June 1891, according to his headstone request and a death notice in a Williamstown Courier newspaper, where the cemetery is not named.

Matt and Margaret’s children are in the Supplemental PDF version.

Madison’s headstone is not visible on the Emison Mill property off of Elk Lick Road, Scott County Kentucky, but the request to the government from his mother says to ship to “Stonewall,” same as Thomas J and Ben F in this document.

John H. Slatton IV

a son of John H. Slatton III and Mathilda Murrell, born Hawkins County Tennessee, 2 Sept 1845, married Katherine “Kate” O’Sullivan on 15 February 1877 at the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, Fayette County, KY.  John consistently used SLATTON in his signature, unlike his brothers.

The couple apparently had no children. Find out why in the supplemental PDF: John_Slatten_KY_FULL_FINAL.

According to his Civil War service record, John Slatton served in Company K of the Union 4th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry (later mounted infantry).Two of his other brothers served in this unit. Despite the handicap of an uncorrected elbow injury in 1861, he travelled with the Army to the environs of several major campaigns, including Chickamauga-Chattanooga, and Atlanta.

US Census of 1880, Fayette County, Kentucky, p. 137B. shows him living in the Fayette County community of Cason’s as a “turnpike builder.”  His bank account showed $2300 at his death, in contrast to his siblings.

John Slatton IV was living in Lexington in 1910 and this submitter suspects that this home was on or near the site of present-day Booker T Washington Academy and Keller Court (street), across from the end of present-day Price Drive.

John Slatton died of bronchial pneumonia on 31 October 1925 at his home on the Georgetown Pike and was buried in the Lexington Cemetery, on Block T.  John willed his property to his two surviving sisters, Matilda “Sis” Marshall and Ella Fields.

Kate Slatton had predeceased him on 9 May 1923. She was the daughter of James O’Sullivan and Katherine Hagarty. Kate’s marking on John’s gravestone gives 1864 as birth year, but her death certificate says born 22 Sept 1856.

Benjamin F Slatten,

a son of John H. Slatton III and Matilda Murrell, born ca 1847, may have married Louisa C. Baird in 1883 in Harrison County Kentucky. This date seems late for a man born ca 1848, but he is the only likely candidate with this name whose family was in the area. His mother’s pension application implies that he died leaving no widow, however.

According to his Civil War service record, B F Slatten served in Company H and/or I of the 53rd Kentucky Infantry. He may also have been the man recorded as serving in Company I, 1st Regiment of the Capital Guards, who enlisted in Frankfort on 18 August 1864 and served for six months

His headstone request to the government gives shipment to “Stonewall” and date of death as 4 May 1889.

His headstone is found near the Emison Mill property off of Elk Lick Road, Scott County KY. Cemetery surveyor Ron Vance says the grave reads as SLOTTEN, but the present condition disallows confirmation.

Nothing else is known by this researcher and remains a nagging mystery.

Joshua Slatton

a son of John H. Slatton III and Matilda Murrell,  appears only in LeeCountyVA census b ca 1849 in VA, possibly an early death. Not seen again (by this researcher) in any records. It does not appear that he survived into any Kentucky records.

Daughters of John and Matilda Slatten

Mary J  Slatten was b ca 1852 in Virginia, her mother deposes that Mary J, her “eldest daughter” died Dec 1 1880, presumably in Kentucky, never married.

Matilda Harriett "Hallie" Kaley (1880-1911) and husband John Hartman (1880-1957), probably taken in Cincinnati OH but possibly IN. She is a granddaughter of John & Matilda (Murrell) Slatton and of Nicholas & Harriett (Marshall) Kaley. The only image of a child of John Kaley and Emma (Slatton) Kaley known to the author.

Matilda Harriett “Hallie” Kaley (1880-1911) and husband John Hartman (1880-1957), probably taken in Cincinnati OH but possibly IN. She is a granddaughter of John & Matilda (Murrell) Slatton and of Nicholas & Harriett (Marshall) Kaley. The only image of a child of John Kaley and Emma (Slatton) Kaley known to the author.

Emiline or Emmeline “Emma” Slatten was born ca 1854 in Kentucky, she married John J Kaley in Scott County KY on 22 June 1875, this marriage record was recorded in the County Marriage list with spelling of John Caley but his signature is John Kaley. John and Emma had three daughters, Nena, Maud and Matilda Harriett.

John is a son of Nicholas and Harriett Kaley. Nicholas’ will was probated in 1868, his name is sometimes recorded as Kale.

As will be seen below, Harriett outlived her husband and lived in Sadieville in a house that still stands beside the current Post Office. It appears that her son John had a residence next door to his mother, but this is unclear.

It also appears that both Harriett and son John were in the “hospitality” industry of the time, since census records suggest that Harriett ran her home as a boarding house and son John operated a nearly hotel. In Aug 1877, two editions of the weekly Georgetown Times refer to “Kaly’s Hotel.”

The US census of 1880, Scott County KY,  page 119D, Enumeration  District 172 refers to John as a “keeping a tavern,” born ca 1855 in Ireland of Irish parents.

In 1880, John Caley signed the articles of incorporation for the village of Sadieville. This would certainly have to be the John Kaley who owned the hotel and had married Emma.

Emma died Dec 2 1880, possibly of tuberculosis, about five months after the birth of daughter Matilda H.  Burial information for Emma Slatten Kaley is not yet found.

John Kaley next married Lucinda Jane Marshall of Owen County, date not yet found, and they had three children: See Supplemental PDF version: John_Slatten_KY_FULL_FINAL

John Kaley was listed as a tavern-keeper in 1880, his death notice in 1899 says he was a grocer and the 1898-99 Lexington City Directory says they lived at the grocery and meat market, northeast corner of Chase and Georgetown Pike. John Kaley’s relatively young death at age 44 is reportedly caused by “morphia narcosis,” not necessarily self-inflicted or willful abuse, as this was a frequent result of medical practices at that time.

John Kaley, presumed second wife Lucinda, and daughters Mary Kaley Taylor and Maude Kaley Zwick are buried in the Lexington Cemetery.

(John) Kaley Hotel

See Supplemental PDF version for a the map and more details.

The 1879 map, deeds and mortgages all suggest that John Kaley owned  a residence on the present Main Street beside Harriett Kaley, his mother. He also owned, on present Pike Street, between “1879” John Cottenham and the old Sadieville Post Office, the Kaley Hotel.

It appears that John Kaley may have bankrolled his hotel operation through the offices of Thomas J Burgess, because he mortgages the hotel more than once. Then he and Lucinda sell the property to Thomas J Burgess outright.

It is probably not a coincidence that in 1883, Thomas J Burgess sold to Leander Risk a lot which used to belong to John Kaley, and which became the Risk Hotel, which stands beside the old Harriett Kaley lots. Supposedly the Risk Hotel was a success, despite its name (why did he not call it “Leander’s“?)

Harriett Marshall Ruby Kaley

A direct descendant of Emmeline Slatton Kaley picked and pulled the thread that revealed some of the history of Harriett Kaley. In 1850, Jeremiah Ruby, an Irishman b ca 1812, is in the census with wife Harriett and children William and Mary. William’s pension papers show “William Kaley, also known as William Ruby.” William Ruby’s 1926 death certificate, showing his residence at Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky, shows his father as Jeremiah Ruby born Ireland and mother Harriett Marshall born Kentucky. This leaves little doubt that Harriett Marshall married first Jeremiah Ruby, and then, presumably at his death, married Nicholas Kaley, two Irishmen in a row.

Finding a father for Harriett Marshall is hampered by several standard genealogical roadblocks. In 1870 her ScottCounty property was valued at  $2750. Yet no estate records have been found by or presented to this researcher. In 1900 she is found in the household of her granddaughter “Hallie” in Indiana, not seen again.

The Harriett Kaley House

A revered Scott county historian refers to 127 Main Street, Sadieville, as the “Harriett Kaley House,” because from 1878 until 1883, Harriett Kaley was residing in a house built after 1878.  Harriett Kaley’s land locations are unclear, but she ends up with two adjacent lots, one purchased from D S Booth. On 12 November 1885 she sold the original “Booth” lot for $500 (she did not “pass it down” by last will as far as this researcher can find) to “Lucinda Jane Kaley wife of John Kaley.” Note that John Kaley was still alive at the time, but the daughter-in-law is given precedence.

On 2 November 1887, Lucinda and John Kaley sold the property.

Permelia Ellender “Ella/Ellen” Slatton  was born on 9 May 1856 in Kentucky. She died on 30 Nov 1946.  Ella/Ellen married Josephus “Peter” Fields  (1857?-1937) on 6 Aug 1879 in Scott County, Kentucky. She had at least seven children. She and her husband are buried in Knights of Pythias Cemetery, (now Sadieville), Scott County, Kentucky.

Unfortunately, the existence of several men who used the initial “J” in front of Fields is a continuing problem. “Peter” appears to be the child of the second marriage of John W Fields, to Charity (Tapp) Estill.

This man is too young to have served the CSA, so images showing Joseph “Peter” Fields as a Confederate veteran cannot be correct. He could not have enlisted at 9 years old and lied about his age, unless he was a volunteer drummer boy. This seems unlikely. “Peter” Fields’ final census record, 1930, shows him living in Franklin County Kentucky with nephew William Mulberry.Ella/Ellen is listed as a “widow” in her 1930 Scott County census, not uncommon for a separated woman. Their son Charlie at one time owned the “Harriett Kaley House” property.

Matilda “Sis” Slatton  was born March 1858 in Kentucky.  She was about 6 weeks old when her father died. Matilda married Thomas Breckinridge Marshall. She had four children. She died 7 Feb 1935. She and her husband are buried at a Marshall monument, but are otherwise unmarked, between two sons at LexingtonCemetery on Block 11.

Research assistance was provided by Julia O. Mitchel of Lexington KY, the late “Charlie” Feix of Cynthiana, Harrison County KY, Ron Vance of Turkeyfoot, Scott County, KY, and a cousin in Missouri. For continually updated research on this family, please go to:


Slayton BioAbout the Author:

Clinton Slayton is the 4th great grandson of Captain John H Slaten. Clinton was born to Marion Clinton Slayton Sr and Katherine (Dunagan) in Chattanooga Tennessee, and raised in nearby East Ridge. He graduated from UT-Chattanooga with a BA in Music Theory and History. He began genealogy in the late 1980s, which became a One-Name Study out of necessity: there were so many local people with his surname who were clearly not related to him, and so many variant spellings for the surname, that he had to parse out the separate lines by studying them all, including Staton/Staytons. He was an Assistant Librarian at the Chattanooga-Hamilton Co Bicentennial Library before moving to Homewood AL, where he became a Personal Computer Support Specialist until 2013, when he retired to Lexington, KY. He has built up several online research communities, now on Spokt.com,  and sponsored or encouraged over fifty Y-DNA donors. He has two grown sons in Chattanooga, Daniel Bailey and Joseph Trevor. He is often on a road bicycle exploring the backroads of the Bluegrass and Eden Shale, and has been known to stop for graveyards. cslayton19@windstream.net 


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