One of the lesser-known early settlers in the Harlan County, Kentucky area was William Spurlock. He and his wife, Elizabeth, appear to have settled in the mid 1790's on the Cumberland River about where the Bell/Harlan county line is now. They remained there until the spring of 1820 when they sold their land to their son, John, and moved on to Martins Fork where they purchased 150 acres. One of their other sons, George, bought 50 acres from the same man on the same day, also on Martins Fork.
William Spurlock was born between 1750 and 1760, probably in Virginia. His wife, Elizabeth, was born between 1770 and 1775. William died by the 1840 census of Harlan County and his wife appears to have died not long thereafter or may even have preceded him in death.
Larkin Jones, who had married their daughter, Esther, brought a suit in Harlan County Circuit Court(1) in the fall of 1857 which stated that when William died he owned two tracts of land on Martins Fork and that as there were a large number of heirs it was not possible to divide the land up. He petitioned the court to order a sale of the land so that the proceeds could be divided amongst the heirs. This listing of heirs names 18 individuals and some of their spouses, but from the listing itself it is not clear if they are all children of William Spurlock or whether some of them might be grandchildren, children of a deceased child of William's.
Many of William's heirs had moved elsewhere by the time of the 1850 census which might give a clue to their age and standing as a child or grandchild, but it is certain that the following individuals were his children: John, George, William, Smith, Elisha, Nancy, Anaritta and Esther. Very little is known about several of these people. John and his wife, Nancy, sold the land on the Cumberland River in the fall of 1820, but it is not known where they then went. Nancy was born about 1795, married Jesse Cossee, and died on March 6, 1853, in Knox County.
Anaritta Spurlock was born about 1819, apparently William's youngest child. She married Henry and Nancy Crump SHACKLEFORD's son, Lorenzo Dow. Many of the Shacklefords in this area descend from this couple.
Smith and William Spurlock appear to have left the area. Elisha married Nancy Martin in 1837, but he was living alone in the 1850 census of Harlan County. As mentioned above, Esther, born about 1810, had married Larkin Jones. They had two children and then divorced in 1858. She is believed to have moved to Lee County, Va., after the divorce.
Most of the Spurlock families still in the Harlan County area descend from the son George. He was born about 1792 in Virginia, probably shortly before the move to Kentucky. He married Martha `Patsy' Harris, born about 1800 in Virginia, the daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth Weaver Harris.
- Their oldest daughter, Minerva, was born about 1825. In 1851, she married Larkin Bailey who died in 1854 and then, in 1858, married Goodman Davidson. They lived in Lee Co., Va.
- James, born about 1826, with his brother Josiah were living with Thomas Sturdevant, a tailor, in 1850. It is possible they were learning the trade.
- Josiah `Silas' B. was born 19 December 1828, (see James above also) and died 5 Feb 1920. On January 20, 1852(4), Josiah married Martha Smith, born about 1833, daughter of David and Martha SMITH. It is chiefly their descendants that remained in the Harlan area.
- George L. born 18 November 1852(4), died 16 Feb 1919
- Mary L born ca 1855 died 5 October 1931, married 1873 Millard SKIDMORE
- Sarah born January 1857, listed in 1900 census as widowed with a daughter, Lizzie. In 1878, she had married John SKIDMORE.
- Nancy born ca 1859, married John (or Noble) SMITH
- Jane born 15 March 1861(4) married ca 1878 to Daniel FARMER.
- Curtis G. born 22 October 1863 married 1894 in Oklahoma to Jennie ROBBINS
- Green S. born ca 1867. In 1892, Green was sentenced to life in the state penitentiary for his involvement in the killing of John CAWOOD in 1889. This incident was a part of the infamous Turner-Howard Feud.
- James S. born ca 1867 maried Mary LEDFORD
- Martha Elizabeth born ca 1869 married Leander SKIDMORE
- Speed Spurlock was born about 1832.
- His sister, Elizabeth, born about 1834, died 27 June 1854(4).
- Their brother, Alexander, also known as `Bird,' was born about 1836.
- George Sanders Spurlock was born about 1840. He and wife, Sarah, moved to Garrard County.
- Martha Ann, born about 1842, married in 1863, to Mastin Green Napier, son of Robert and Morning Noe Napier.
- Benjamin Harris Spurlock was born about 1845. His first wife appears to have been Salina SPURLOCK, daughter of Charles and Jemima. See under that heading for further information about Salina's marriages and children, including those probably by Benjamin.
His second wife was Mastin Green Napier's sister, Minta. They divorced and she married William S. Blanton. Benjamin is thought to have married thirdly, in 1905, to Sarah HEDRICK.
- Jonathan born Aug 1868 md in 1890(2) to Emily HALL, born May 1868, daughter of James and Mary "Polly" HALL HALL.(3) Jonathan was shot and killed by his brother-in-law, Noah HALL, about 1909.
- Charley born March 1891 ?(md 1912 Hannah DANIEL)
- McKinley born October 1896 ?(md 1920 Malicie STEWART)
- Alexander born May 1899
- John born ca 1903 died 2 March 1983
- Alice born ca 1904
- Louise born 3 July 1908
- Caroline born March 1872
- Bettie born April 1883
The complete listing of William's heirs in the circuit court case(1):
- Jesse Spurlock
- Jane Spurlock
- John Spurlock
- George Spurlock
- William Spurlock
- [?Oliver?] Spurlock [NOTE: this just might be the Charles who married Jemima, see below, or the Rolen Spurlock found in Knox County 1850 census]
- Smith Spurlock
- Elisha Spurlock
- ------- Collins and Sarah, his wife, late Spurlock
- John Herriman and Rebecca, his wife, late Spurlock
- ------- Robinson and Elizabeth, his wife, late Spurlock
- John Dorton and Mary, his wife, late Spurlock
- Archibald Day and Silia [sic], his wife, late Spurlock [Celia]
- James Sparks and Matilda, his wife, late Spurlock
- Martin Davidson and Susan, his wife, late Spurlock
- L. D. Shackleford and Anaritta, his wife, late Spurlock
- Larkin Jones and Esther, his wife, late Spurlock