December 20, 2013

Traces of Laurel: A Man of the Times

By Jan Sparkman

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The little booklet I referred to last week, “Glimpses of London and Her People,” by Charles Kellogg, has sketches of prominent citizens of the town along with businesses that were active in 1895 when Kellog was writing.  Kellogg was a printer for the Mountain Echo and the only information I have on him is a small paragraph in Dyche’s book which reads:  “Chas. K. Kellogg, of Troy, Ohio, (was) one of the best printers ever in London.  He was interested in other papers here and in Corbin.”

Since Kellogg wrote approximately 40 sketches, to publish one a week in this column would take us into the Fall of the next year and that could get boring.  I have decided to select the best known of those profiled for use here over the next ten weeks. I will supplement information from “Glimpses of London” with that found in Dyche’s history and other sources from time to time.

VINCENT BOREING:  Once you get past the Jacksons (both Jarvis and Levi) one of the most recognized names in the history of London is surely Vincent Boreing. According to Dyche, Boreing was born in 1839 in Washington County, Tenn., and moved to Laurel County with his father, Murray Boreing, in 1847.  Vincent was educated at Laurel Seminary and Tusculum College in Greenville, Tenn., and served in the Union Army (Co. A, 24th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry) during the Civil War, rising to the rank of first lieutenant.

Boreing was twice elected superintendent of Public Schools in Laurel County, was editor of the Mountain Echo in its early days, and became county judge.  He served as president of the Cumberland Valley Land Company and First National Bank in the 1880s and was elected to Congress three times. He was a pillar in the Methodist Episcopal Church.  I’ve also been told he was a preacher.

He married Martha Faris and they were parents of nine children. From “Excerpts from the Mountain Echo,” I learned that several years after Martha’s death, Vincent remarried but this marriage failed.  He died in 1903.

Kellogg’s sketch of Vincent Boreing focuses on his business acumen.  Says Kellogg:  “The firm of Boreing, Faris, and Young (Faris and Young were just two – the final two – of several business partners Boreing had over the years) is the oldest furniture and undertakers establishment in eastern Kentucky. There is no house in the state that buys and sells goods cheaper . . . no house is better posted or better prepared to accommodate the trade or take care of their customers.  Their stock is complete and prices low.  Orders by mail promptly filled.”

His Faris partner, Dora, was related to Boreing through his marriage to Martha Faris. From other things I’ve read about her, she seems to have been highly regarded as a business woman, though Kellogg does not even mention that one of Boreing’s partners was a woman. The Mountain Echo ran a long and flowing obituary of Boreing which included:  “For a half hour before the appointed time the church was crowded and a large number of persons were standing on the outside.  The floral display was the prettiest ever seen in London, and contributed in memory of Judge Boreing by his many friends from around the state.  His remains were interred in the Parker Cemetery.” (Now A.R. Dyche Cemetery).


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Interviews with Laurel Countians over the age of 80 have begun.  Subjects are only asked to answer a few questions about their childhood and youth and their connection to Laurel County.  If you or someone you know would like to participate, contact the society at 606-864-0607 during library hours, or 606-224-3767 at other times. Email the historical society at or Jan Sparkman at



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The Laurel County Historical Society is located at 310 W. 3rd St., London, (formerly the Laurel County Health Department).  The library is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 12 noon.

 For further information, contact 606-864-0607 during library hours, or 606-224-3767 at other times.  Email the society at or Jan Sparkman at