Federalist and Antebellum-Era Pendleton County, Kentucky, ‘Order Books’ Expand Colvin Study Knowledge Base.


Understanding one of this line’s earliest progenitors, requires a critical understanding of how he fit socially into his culture. A review of some of Pendleton County, Kentucky’s early Order Books aids that understanding greatly. Order Books, essentially, were the minutes of meetings among county officials, often County Commissioners, who oversaw the infrastructural and civic needs of the county, although other items appear such as lawsuits and settlements and other legal items. In this case, there were 10 “districts” – geographic jurisdictional regions over which one or more commissioners were elected to manage. Among their various tasks, was the delegating of certain civic tasks, usually by appointment, to individuals in the region who were considered responsible and trustworthy. Such tasks were typically given to the more established members of the community rather than to the younger, less stable ones, although one frequently finds older and younger members of the same family involved in a given task, the younger one, however, is more typically part of a subordinate crew rather than the appointed leader.

Charles Colvin was clearly one of these “established” individuals, which the frequency of his appeared in these records makes clear. On two occasions he was likewise given a commission by the Kentucky Governor, another indication of the respect he held within the community.  Charles migrated into the Pendleton region in his senior years, after working in both Fauquier and Culpeper Counties as an overseer. In Pendleton County, he settled in the Four Oaks region near Falmouth, and is considered among the earliest pioneers. He died there in 1810 where his will was also probated. Generations of his heirs remained in the area, many buried among the county’s oldest cemeteries.

What follows is a table of compiled data giving the date of Charles’ appearance in the record from the first instance to the last and his assignment. The Lewis Colvin named (1799-1834) is likely Charles  grandson, and is belived to be a son of Charles B. Colvin (1770-1840) Charles’ third eldest son.  The table entries are taken from the transcribed original Pendleton County, Kentucky  Order Book “A” (1799-1805) Order Book “B” (1805-1814)[1], and Pendleton County Kentucky Wills (1799-1871)[2] abstracted and annotated by Janet Pease.

Charles Colvin Order Book table

[1] Janet Pease, “Kentucky County Court records : Grant, Harrison, Pendleton, Vol. 1”  pp 243-298, familysearch.org https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE1979150

[2] Janet Pease, “Kentucky County Court records : Grant, Harrison, Pendleton, Vol. 3” (Sec. III, pp 3) familysearch.org https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE1979159

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About Alex Colvin

Senior, History, minoring in Anthropology, University of Houston. Charter President, Walter Prescott Webb Historical Society, (Webb UH Main 2014-2015) University of Houston. Additional publishing credits can be found at the link:
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