Keturah Moss Leitch Taylor

Keturah Moss Leitch Taylor


Kentucky: A History of the State, Battle, Perrin, & Kniffin, 7th ed.,
1887, Campbell Co.

 Among the pioneer children of the district of Kentucky, one who deserves historical notice, and who became first the wife of Major David Leitch, and then of General James Taylor, was Keturah Moss. Her father was Major Hugh Moss, an officer of the Revolution, and her mother was Miss Jane Ford.  Both were from Goochland County, Virginia., where, about sixteen miles above Richmond, on September 11, 1773, their daughter, Keturah, was born. 

Her father died when she was very young and her mother married Captain Joseph Farrar, and in the spring of 1784 she suffered her three little girls--Sally, aged fourteen; Keturah, eleven, and Ann, ten, to come out to Kentucky under the charge of their uncle and aunt, Rev. Augustus Eastin and his wife, with a large emigrant train through the Wilderness.  These young pioneers passed through many perils during the journey. 

One evening at night-fall a party of about forty persons passed Mr. Eastin's camp.  He advised them to stop and encamp with him, as the Indians were very warlike, and were on the alert to find them off their guard; but they went on further, and neglected the warning; in the night the savages rushed on them while they were asleep, and tomahawked and scalped about half the party.

About day-break, a woman, with her infant in her arms, reached Mr. Eastin's camp, and gave notice of the fate of her party; her husband escaped in a different direction; their other child was slain.  As Mr. Eastin's party came up, they beheld the mangled bodies of the slain, and gave them the best burial they could.  The little Moss girls never forgot the spectacle, especially that of seeing a scalp with beautiful golden ringlets hanging on the bushes, which told of some maiden murdered. 

In 1785 Capt. and Mrs. Farrar came out to Kentucky, and joined the children at Bryan's Station, and there Keturah Moss grew up to womanhood.  At the age of seventeen, in 1790, she was married to Major David Leitch, an accomplished Scotchman, who had served as an officer in the Revolution, then a merchant in Lexington. 

In 1791 they visited Cincinnati, coming on horse-back as far as Limestone (afterward Maysville), and thence by flat boat to the mouth of the Licking.  They returned by the mouth of the Kentucky River, where there was a stockade fort, and they proceeded to Frankfort via the Brashear's Creek settlement, along a small horse trace.  Capt. Williamson had given them a guard from the stockade for fifteen or twenty miles.  Mr. Thomas Lindsay, who was of the party, and lagged behind about a hundred yards, when an Indian was discovered lurking in the bushes.  The guards at once encircled Mrs. Leitch and urged her on with all speed, but she would not desert Mr. Lindsay, and turning her horse in his direction, she waved to him to hasten on, which he did in a gallop, and they all escaped. 

The next year, 1792, Major and Mrs. Leitch returned and established Leitch's Station (now Cold Spring) about six miles above the mouth of the Licking.  They remained nearly six months at Fort Washington with General and Mrs. James Wilkinson, while Major Leitch was having their home built.  In 1794 Major Leitch died, and the next year the widow was married to Mr. James Taylor, then a young man, who had two years before settled at Newport, on his father's estate. 

Keturah and David never had any children and when he died in 1794, he left her all his holdings making her one of the largest landowners in Campbell County.

David Leitch 1794 Will

(see property tax list of 1795)

James Taylor Jr. served as Executor of Davidís estate and spent a lot of time in the company of Keturah. One evening he asked her if she would permit him to take care of her, in addition to her finances. She said yes and on November 15, 1795, they were married at Tuckahoe, near her motherís home at Bryanís Station (near Lexington), and took up residence at "Belle Vue".

The marriage united the two largest landholders in the area, who together owned most of what is known today as Newport, Bellevue, Southgate, Wilder, Fort Thomas, Highland Heights, Cold Spring, and Alexandria.

The hardships and dangers of pioneer life developed in Mrs. Taylor a strength of character which rendered her life one of great usefulness.  She was noted for a fearless adherence to whatever she believed to be right.  The cause of injured innocence found in her a firm defender, and, possessing ample means, she dispensed charity with a liberal hand.  Mrs. Taylor was a Baptist in religion, and a follower of the Rev. Alexander Campbell.

Letter by Keturah dated April 7, 1858

Keturah bore eleven children with James. Of these, only four survived past infancy: James III, Keturah (Mrs. Horatio T Harris), Ann (wife of the Hon. John W Tibbatts), and Jane Maria (who married George T Williamson of Cincinnati). Keturah died January 18, 1866 at the age of 92, at the home of her daughter, Keturah Taylor Harris, in Newport. She is buried next to her first husband David, in the Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate.

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