Last week I mentioned the photo of Melville Phelps which was not printed because it did not go through the e-mail with the rest of the article. I am sorry about that. We are currently having problems with our e-mail, so I won’t try to send anymore pictures until we get that resolved. If you have a copy of our Pictorial History there are photos of Melville on pages 69 and 71. Granville P. Johnson, one of the jailers in today’s column, is also found in that book on page 27. I did some of the research for this column but I am indebted to Wilma Johnson for most of the information about these two men.
John Henderson Carrier
December 17, 1834 – December 5, 1910
John Carrier was jailer in two separate terms. He served as jailer in the first jail after the war ended from 1866-1870. Then he served as jailer from December 20, 1894 - January 3, 1898.
John was the son of William Henderson Carrier and Margaret Melvina Gourley. On July 12, 1864, John Carrier married Margaret Chesnut, the daughter of “Big Bill” and Ann Chesnut. After serving his first term as jailer John moved to Pulaski County where he was a wagon maker in 1880. By the time his wife died in 1889 he had returned to Laurel County and presumably lived here until his death. Although John had young children when Margaret died there is no record of a second marriage for John. Shortly after Margaret’s death, D. H. Lovill was elected jailer and his term was marked with scandal. These two factors may have prompted Carrier to run again for jailer in 1894. He won at the November election and began his term early on December 20, 1894, when D. H. Lovill resigned. His term should have begun on the first Monday in January. The Constitution had changed the office from August to January which may explain why his term only lasted 3 years. The January 7, 1898 issue of the Mountain Echo reported “Mr. J. H. Carrier ex-jailer vacated the jail Saturday and now occupies the Hanser residence one mile from London.”
John and Margaret were the parents of eleven children. Two of their children died as infants. Evan Rowan was 18 months and Martha Ann was only 25 days old. All of their children who lived to maturity left Laurel County. Their daughter Margaret had married Craig Asher Ridings when the family lived in Pulaski County. She remained there. Their son Will was married twice, first to Lula Lucas and then to Mollie Parsley. He moved to Virginia. Their son Robert also moved to Virginia. Four of their children – Sallie, Emma, Craig and Lizzie were living in California at their deaths. Lee, who never married, lived in several states before dying in New York. Their son Russ lived in other Kentucky counties but was returned to Laurel for burial.
John Henderson Carrier, his wife Margaret and their sons Russ and Evan Rowan were originally buried in the Baker-Chesnut Graveyard. All the graves in this cemetery, which was located at the junction of Highways 192 and 363, were relocated in July 1997 due to road construction. The remains of the Carriers were moved to the A. R. Dyche Cemetery.
Granville Pearl “G. P.” or “Gran” Johnson
January 11, 1855 – June 30, 1921
Granville Pearl Johnson, the son of Aaron Johnson Sr. and Lucinda Magee, was born in Laurel County and lived here till his death. He was married twice. He first married Lucinda Bruner January 7, 1874. They had four known children - Annie D., Reuben Bruner, Mary Elizabeth “Mollie” and Deborah. Annie and Deborah died young. Reuben married Kate Hedrick and Mollie married Eb Hedrick. After Gran’s wife Lucinda died he married Elizabeth Proffitt September 4, 1888. They had three children who died young and two children who lived to maturity. Their daughter Lucinda married Ben Pigg. Their son Silas Vincent “Skid’ married Rosa Farmer. In the 1895-96 school census Granville’s family was counted in District 79 (New Sharon School).
Granville served three consecutive terms as jailer from 1898-1909. He ran for a fourth term in 1909 but was defeated in the Republican primary by Jim Jones who lost in November to Pigg, a Democrat. After G.P. left the position of jailer he became the Superintendent of the Poor Farm according to 1910 census report. In 1920 he ran a boarding house which may have housed indigents. Granville and his second wife are buried at Wiggington Cemetery. The burial site for his first wife has not been found.
You may contact me through the Laurel County Historical Society by calling 606-864-0607. The Laurel County Historical Society is located at 310 West 3rd Street in the old Health Department Building. Weather permitting we are open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We will open on other days by appointment. Please contact us far enough in advance to schedule a volunteer to open the library.