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From: "Phillip Egner" <>
Subject: [EGNER] Egner:Western KY: Milton Eggner
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 16:57:42 -0400

I received this information from Elvira Lewis in Marshall County KY and
thought I would pass it along for those interested.

Our first deed book burned the night of 28 Feb 1848. The first page of Book 2
records a purchase from Charles McDonald and the mortgage and agreement made
by Milton H. Eggner for two tracts of land on the Tennessee River: SW qt Sec
33 T4 R6E, 106a. fractional quarter and the NW qt Sec 4 T3 R6E, 114a.., a
fractional quarter “known as the Aurora Place or landing on said River.” This
place tho changed, still retains the name of Eggner’s Ferry.
Charles McDonald came to this area between 1830 and 1840. He was probably 1809 and wife, Mary Thompson (?), ca 1819. They were recorded on the
1850 Calloway census, he as a merchant.
Milton (Milt) H. Eggner was born in NC, 1816, possibly Rowan Co. If so, he
was from a German family that emigrated from Switzerland. The name is often
spelled AGNER in NC records. In 1850 Milt married Sarah Ann Gray, b. 1826,
Ohio. It seems Sarah Gray had been married twice before as she had two sons,
Franklin P. Whitford, b ca 1845, and Charles (Tobe) W.T. Wright, b ca 1849.
Both Frank and CWT took the name of their new step-father. Benjamin Edward
Gray Eggner was b 3 Aug 1851 but died of scarlet fever 27 Feb 1859.
(Palestine Cem, Calloway Co) Milton and Sarah also had Henrietta M., 15 Aug
1855; Lemmon, who d. 1 Dec 1857, age ca 6 mos.; and Lyman H., b 1 Jul 1858.
Old timers remembered a girl, Ida. Finding no record to prove/disprove it, a
theory grew that she was the mulatto child, b ca 1861, to Mary Egner, black.
(1870 census) Mary married Robert Eggner on 7 Apr 1873. This family lived
for some years in and near Birmingham.
Besides the hand-oar ferry, Eggner had a stage route from Hopkinsville,
through Murray, to Columbus, KY, and a contract mail route to Paducah; Wm. M
Finley mail carrier. In 1853 Milton bought land from Ben Gray, “formerly of
Logan Co.”, who in1840 had paid Robert Dobson a wagon and oxen, a note for
$225. in silver, and an order on J.J. Elliott for $25. in store goods, for the
160a. where Dobson lived. Dobson “departed life” with the “deed unfinished”.
The Court ordered a clear deed made for Eggner in 1860. The only living
Dobson heirs were a daughter, Lutisha (w/o W.B.Chandler) and two grand
children, Tennessee Hopkins (a widow) and Richard Dobson, only ch/o Josiah
Dobson, dec’d.
Eggner was a slave holder and, during the Civil War, an ardent southern
sympathizer. One story relates him removing floating Rebel bodies from the
water and burial on shore after upriver battles; Yankee bodies were pushed
around the boat, cursed and allowed to float downstream. By war’s end, C.
Waldrop was tending the Eggner tavern and the ferry was leased to D.C.Savells
of Trigg Co. H.B. Spooner was running the storehouse.
Hallet Spooner was a northerner on the move: b. 11 Feb 1836 in Seneca Co, OH,
to Bennett (b 1799) & Irene Alden Spooner who moved from NY to OH in 1835.
Bennett was a War of 1812 and Mexican War veteran. Hallet graduated from OH
University, m. Matilda M. Westbrook in Dec 1859. He was principal of a
Galconda high school when he enlisted in the 131 Vol. Inf, in 1862. Mustered
out at Paducah in 1864 because of his health, they stayed in Aurora two years,
made a short stay in TN and were back in Birmingham by 1873. Moving on to
Malden, MO, they built a hotel and in later years established Spoonerville.
Hallet was descended from Benj. Spooner of Mass., soldier of the French and
Indian Wars and Sgt. under Capt. Washington in the Revolution (wife, Mary
Pierce), and Wm. Spooner (d. 1684) of the Plymouth Colony, MA.
Eggner and D.C. Salvells had disagreements almost from the beginning, one of
the first over staves being paid for before being loaded onto a boat. In
overlapping suits in Trigg and Marshall Counties in 1868, Savells reported “a
most extraordinary freshit by which the fencing” and the stables were “washed
Daniel C. Savells was the s/o Elizabeth Rhodes and Daniel Savells who m. 17
Feb 1814 in Christian Co. Elizabeth and sons, D.C. & Miles, were charter
members/o Bethesda Methodist Church, organized 1845, in Trigg Co. D.C.’s
sister, Elizabeth, m1 Alfred C. Wolfe 16 Mar 1846, and m2 Dr. Henry Wirz, from
Switzerland, who became the Major in charge of the Confederate Prison at
Raleigh, NC. The Major was executed in 1865. (For more on this see Trigg Co
Historical Articles, Vol. 2; Don Simmons)
What began as an argument over staves progressed to “wrongfully and
illegally” detaining a hand-oar ferry and the cost of a “government license”
($40.) to keep the hotel and barroom. They finally consented to arbitrate
“before Enos Faughn and Judges Stephens & Holland”. Stephens declined and
Holland & Faughn, upon “failure of ourselves to agree” called G. W. McLeod to
act as umpire. McLeod’s decision: 1- both suits, Trigg & Marshall, cease, no
further prosecution, 2- Eggner was entitled to the ferry boat, without
damages, 3- neither is indebted to the other. This was only the tip of the
iceberg—the glacier surfaced in 1876!
Milt was a businessman. It’s (usually!) smart to invest and diversify. In
Sept 1893, when Frank was trying to save his own farm from foreclosure, he
testified that Milton had been in debt over $10,000. On “notes known as Street
Railway Notes”. He added Eggner had compromised for about “ten cents on the
dollar”. Milton tried to meet his obligations, once using money owed to CWT
for carrying mail on “5 or 6” routes. To compensate for that and over six
thousand dollars more, Milton conveyed to Tobe the ferry site, both hand-oar
and steam boats and the machinery (there was a grist mill aboard the steam
ferry) and all his real estate in Marshall & Trigg Counties and Tow Head
Island in the Tennessee River; excepting only his dwelling house. The deed
was signed 30 Nov 1876.
The Eggner marriage was floundering…in June 1877 Sarah sued for divorce. She
claimed her husband was worth about thirty thousand but would not provide for
her; he had “removed from his old home”; was in business & living in Paducah
and “living in adultry with another woman”. But a year later she asked that
the action be dismissed. Frank & his wife were having different problems:
Telitha J. Eggner went to court because her “husband, tho a good man, is a
little reckless and not a very good financier.” He was “unable to provide
more than scanty support.” Talitha claimed she was a “mantua maker” and could
support herself and the children. (Had to look that up! Mantua is a
corruption of Manteau and combined with the place name, Mantua, source of fine
silk; at first referred to gowns & petticoats of silk. She was a dressmaker!)
Telitha petitioned to be allowed to use, sell & convey property, make
contracts, sue & be sued, “free from claim or debts of her husband”.
A flurry of real estate conveyances, mortgages, loans, escalating claims and
suits exploded over the family. Henrietta married, 16 Jan 1878 in Cadiz,
Jesse F. Hillman. In March Milton & Sarah deeded almost everything to her.
>From this time on, no mention is made of the steam ferry. Most of the family
seems to have gone to Lenoke Co, AR, where in Sept 1884, they issued a long
statement through the Clerk at Carlisle. The creditors accused them of trying
to cloud the issues by leaving the state. Lyman, who married 4 Nov 1879,
Nancy A. Berkley, died 8 Apr 1885. (Palestine Cem) Jesse Hillman died six
months later, on 24 Oct. The Mayfield newspaper reported in Jun 1886 that
widow Hillman, who had married J. R. Burkeen “four or five months” ago, was
widowed again when J. R. took on overdose of morphine and opium. The
“suicide” occurred near Eggner’s Ferry. Litigation continued, especially
concerning the mortgage made to Robert McCain. The Court of Common Pleas
ordered a sale of all property in 1891, including the “large two story frame
house” said to have cost $6000. The order had an unusual clause: to “mail as
many said posters to the adjoining and other counties as may be deemed best
for the interest of all parties.” An appeal to the Court of Appeals negated
the sale but a second one was held Oct 1893. Failing to meet the creditor’s
claims, Frank’s land was included. Attorney P. Palmer, R. McCain and Milton
Eggner (d.1889) had all died. Their executors and heirs joined the suits. On
23 Dec 1893 CWT died “suddenly”. Frank moved to Hardin but “no sooner settled
than stricken and died” on 14 Jan 1894. Four days later Talitha died “at home
in Hardin of nervous prostration.” They left two children, Beulah and
Charles. Sarah Ann Gray Eggner lived until 1906. (Palestine) Henrietta
Eggner Hillman Burkeen “lived in Cadiz several years” and died at son Charlie
’s in Calloway Co, 15 July 1933. (Palestine) “Ettie” left four living
children: Charlie (d 1959), Jesse (d 1966), Harvey H., all of Calloway, and
C.E. (d 1957) of Paducah.
The Benton Tribune of 30 Nov 1928 carried a front page story: Million Dollar
Construction Planned at Eggners Ferry. The ferry is no more, but the bridge
carrying US 68 and KY80 traffic out of the Jackson Purchase will forevermore
commemorate the family name.

Dean Egner
40 Fairview Chase
Covington, GA 30016

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