Thursday, May 7, 2015

William Love Murdered by the Harpes

The story of  Big Harpe and Little Harpe, the brothers who terrorized western Kentucky and beyond at the turn of the 18th century is well known to area historians. Less has been printed about the men who were unfortunate enough to meet up with the Harpes, including William Love who was murdered by this devilish duo. The following article, which appeared in The Breckenridge News of Cloverport, Kentucky on Wednesday, 31 January 1883, on page 1 (accessed through Chronicling America), provides additional information on the Love family.

Editor Breckenridge News:

The young man named Love who was murdered by the Harpes at the house of Moses Stigall, in what is now Hopkins county, Ky., in August, 1799, probably deserves some more attention than has ever yet been given him by any historian. He was from South Carolina, probably from Pickens District, and was engaged in surveying lands in western Kentucky when he met his death. He had been accompanied to Kentucky by his wife, to whom he had been recently married at Abbeville, S.C.  She was Esther Calhoun, daughter of James Calhoun,[1] whose brother Patrick was the father of the great statesman, John Caldwell Calhoun. The Calhouns, originally from Ireland and spelling their name Colquehoon, settled in South Carolina while the Indians were yet troublesome, at least one of the sisters of Esther Love having been carried off by the redskins.

Shortly after the murder of William Love, a son was born unto him - William Calhoun Love - who lived until 1872, in which year he died at Princeton, Ky. At the age of thirteen years young Love ran away from home to participate in the war of 1812. He was distinguished for his bravery as a soldier, and throughout his life by his energy and earnestness. The greater part of his life was spent in the ministry of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. For a number of years he was pastor of the Piney Fork church, of this denomination, in what is now Crittenden county.

Though situated at first in the midst of a forest, this church has had rather a remarkable history. It was one of the earliest Cumberland Presbyterian churches, being organized in 1810, when camp-meetings were in vogue. The camp-meetings here have been held annually to the present day, the primitive programs being followed closely, and the attendance coming from far and near.

Perhaps no one was ever more intimately connected with the welfare of this church than William Calhoun Love, and it was appropriate that his remains in the church burial ground should rest under a handsome monument in the church burial ground. By his side lie the remains of his mother, who died in 1844. Thus the family became extinct.                                                J. Hawthorne Hill, Louisville, Ky.

[1] The tombstone of Esther Calhoun Love  in Piney Fork Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky, clearly states she was the daughter of William and Nancy Calhoun.

Published 7 May 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,


Janet said...

Hi Brenda,

William Love was my fifth great-grandfather. His daughter, Jane Noble Love, married Alfred Moore. The memoirs of William Calhoun Love (Wm Love's son) are interesting to read as well.


Brenda Joyce Jerome said...

Thanks, Janet. The memoirs of William Calhoun Love can be found here: