The Richard Hazelwood Family (Henderson, KY)
The Hazelwood family members were only a few of the estimated 300,000 pioneers who made their way through the Cumberland Gap. In 1832, Daniel Hazelwood, the great-great-grandfather of Anthony Hazelwood, came through the Gap, bringing everything that he owned from Virginia to settle in Henderson County, KY. Included were his eight children and 30 slaves. One of the slaves was a young boy named Richard Hazelwood, who was born in Virginia between 1828-1830; Richard was the great-great-great-grandfather of Denyce Porter Peyton. Richard's name was among the list of slaves belonging to the estate of Daniel Hazelwood, who died in 1836. Prior to becoming a free man, Richard married Maria Floyd (or Friels), and their first child was a son named Joseph (1858-1920).
When the slaves were freed, the family kept the name Hazelwood, though many of the various African American Hazelwood families in Henderson County were not blood kin. By 1900, Richard had moved his family to the city of Henderson, where he worked as a day laborer. His son Joseph would become a tenant farmer in Henderson and Daviess Counties. Joseph was married to Anna Watson in 1871; according to Denyce Porter Peyton, Anna had been an orphan and nothing is known about her family. Joseph and Anna had several children. Their daughter Edna Mae was married to James Lester Porter, the son of McDonald and Elvira Porter. The Richard Hazelwood family had been in Kentucky since 1832, but all but two of Joseph and Anna's children left Kentucky in search of better opportunities in Indiana and Ohio.
In 2008, the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park completed a short film (available on DVD) of reenactments of pioneer families that came to Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap. The Hazelwood family and slaves are included in the film.
For more information about the Richard Hazelwood family, contact Denyce Porter Peyton. For more information about Anthony Hazelwood, see A. Stinnett, "Businessman, community benefactor Hazelwood dies," The Gleaner, 12/08/2008. For more information about Cumberland Gap, contact the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. See also M. Simmons, "On the path of the pioneers," Knoxville News Sentinel, 10/20/2008, Local section, p. 10; and The Pioneers, DVD by the National Park Service.