MASSIE AND CORN FAMILY
Submitted by Sharon M. Kouns
Ironton Register, February 27, 1873
A couple of weeks ago the Ironton Register stated that there were in one family in Lawrence county, four men known as Big Jep, Little Jep, Old Jep, and Young Jep. Also, men named Green Corn, Yaller Corn and Pop Corn. The Jeps were evidently the Massie family, who formerly lived in this county. I knew four men known by the same names, but as Old Jep has been dead many years, others no doubt have taken the names. Big Jep was sometimes as “Long Mountain Jep.”
When I can first remember, Moses Massie lived half a mile west of the place where McDaniel’s Switch, is now located. Thomas Massie lived where Henry Thomas now lives, in Oak Hill, Robbin Massie lived where Joseph Phillips now lives, and a few years afterwards, Jeptha Massie settled on the Evan O. Davis farm, half a mile south of the place where Jefferson Furnace is now located. These men were all brothers, and they came from West Virginia, perhaps from Monroe county. Their father’s name I think was Jeptha, or as they pronounced it, Jepter. I think there were twelve brothers of them in all. The four who lived in this county were large, healthy men, and all had large families. Thomas Massie’s wife was a McDaniel, the Baptist preacher. Moses Massie’s wife was a sister of Bazil Lewis, a man of considerable talent, and perhaps the first Baptist preacher who ever resided in this county. He had many a controversy with Old Dr. McNeel on Baptism. Robbin Massie’s wife was a sister of James Phillips, father of Joseph Phillips, while the wife of James Phillips was a sister of Bazil Lewis and Rebecca Massie, wife of Moses Massie.
The Massie’s were quiet, good citizens, and most kind and obliging neighbors. Old Tom Massie was the laziest man (except his brother-in-law Jim Humphreys,) who ever lived in Jackson county. He was so lazy that when he went to a neighbor’s house, instead of sitting on a chair, he would at once lie down on the floor.
When cutting wood at the furnace, I have spent many a night in the “shanty” with Old Jep Massie and his five sons, Tom, Aleck, Bill, Jep and Ed. – Old Jep was just the man with whom a boy liked to camp out. Always kind and agreeable, he would for hours tell marvelous hunting and fighting stories, the scenes of which were laid in West Virginia. It was, to me, vastly more interesting than the best written novels, not excepting the wonderful writings of Dickens.
Well, there was Old Jep and his son, Young Jep. Little Jep was the son of Moses Massie, while Big Jep was the son of Old Robbin Massie. The families all removed to Greasy Ridge, Lawrence County, thirty to thirty-five years ago.
I knew Green Corn, but I never heard of Pop Corn or Yaller Corn. Jesse Corn was for some years our nearest neighbor. He had five sons by his first wife, named Harrison, Henderson, Henry, Hiram and Harvey. He would commence the names of all his boys with the letter H. He wanted to call the oldest son of his second wife Hamilton, so as to go through with (h)is favorite letter, but his new wife objecting, he was called Greenville. This is perhaps the Green Corn of the REGISTER. He then had Clark, and other sons, whose names I forget.
Big Jep Massie married Lucy Corn, sister of Jesse, and I was at the wedding when I was a little boy. I intended to describe this wedding, as it was conducted as all weddings then were among the more respectable citizens of the south part of this county; but as this article is long enough, I must wait until next week.
Ironton Register, March 6, 1873
It was perhaps as early as 1826 that old George Corn settled on the hill about a mile south of the place where Jefferson Furnace is now located. He came from Old Virginia, and he had a large family. I have often heard him remark that he was the father of twenty children. He was a small man, but his sons were all remarkably stout, healthy men. William Corn, one of his sons, married Pollie Massie, a daughter of Robin Massie, and Peter Corn married Rebecca, another daughter, while Big Jep their brother, married Lucy Corn.
It had been known in the neighborhood for some time that Big Jep and Lucy were going to be married, and as our family and the Corns and Massies were on very friendly terms, we were all invited to the wedding. We went soon after breakfast, and found the women busily engaged in making arrangements for dinner. It was about a mile from George Corn’s residence to that of Robbin Massie, the path running along the top of the ridge most of the way. – About eleven o’clock we heard a shout a distance of half a mile down the ridge, and soon we heard the clatter of horses’ feet, and here came two men, their horses at full speed. The men had red spotted cotton handkerchiefs bound around their heads and they were leaning forward their faces nearly on the necks of the horses. As there was only a narrow path through the woods, the man who got before had much the advantage, as it was somewhat difficult for one horse to pass the other; but about a hundred yards from the fence, the hind most man struck through the woods, and his horse jumped over a large log, and he stuck in ahead of the other, and secured the bottle in much triumph. The people at the house were all standing out waiting and watching. One of them held out the bottle to the successful horseman, who took it and both trotted their horses back until they met the wedding party, consisting of about forty persons, men and women, Big Jep and his “attendance” being in front. – The bottle passed all the way back along the people, each taking a taste of the whisky it contained. The bottle was what is called a decanter, holding about a quart, and having flanges around the neck and mouth. It was dressed off with red, white and blue ribbon. The wedding party then rode up to the house. The fence was torn down, and they all rode around the house three times, when they alighted and went in. Big Jep shook hands with Lucy and took a seat by her side, and in a short time they were married. Big Jep was a fine looking man. He must have been six feet, three or four inches high, straight and well made. He was a very quiet man, and an inoffensive, good citizen.
I will not describe the manner in which the parties were dressed, nor the dinner. The afternoon and night were enjoyed by all. Everybody appeared to be in a good humor. The old men sat on the logs near the house, and told stories about Indian wars, bear hunts, &c. The young folks as now, said and did many things that were not the most wise; but young folks will have their ways. I remember one performance which interested me, and the other little boys immensely. Pete Corn went through a performance which he called “Pattin Juber.” He slapped both hands on his thighs in rapid succession, patted his feet, whistled and groaned all at once, and in regular time, while a lot of young folks danced to this original music.