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Biography of Stephen Ham

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Illinois,Kentucky,Missouri | No Comments

Stephen Ham lived and died in Madison Co., Ky. He was the father of John, Jabez, and Stephen Ham, Jr. John was born in Kentucky in 1786, and came to Missouri in 1809, and settled in St. Charles County. He joined Nathan Boone’s company of rangers, and served during the Indian war. In 1816 he and Jonathan Crow built a bark tent on Auxvasse creek, now in Callaway County, and lived in it for some time, while they were engaged in hunting. They were, therefore, probably the first American settlers within the limits of Callaway County. Ham cut his name on a lone tree in the prairie, which has since borne his name. He was a Methodist preacher. He was married twice, first to a Miss Bennett, by whom he had two children. She died when the children were quite small, and their father took them to their relatives in Kentucky, performing the journey on horse-back, with one of the children before him and one behind. When he came to water courses that were deep enough to swim his horse, he would tie one of the children on the bank, swim across with the other, tie it, and go back for the one he had left. He afterward married a Miss Thomas, and they had six daughters. Mr. Ham was a daring hunter, and there were but few who possessed nerve enough to follow him in all his adventures. He once smoked a bear out of its cave and then knocked it in the head with an ax. In 1823 he built a house on the Auxvasse, about five miles above its mouth; and the following year the big over-flow came and washed away his smoke house, filled with bear and deer meat. He followed it in a soap trough, which he used as a canoe, and overtook the floating house where it had lodged against a large elm tree. He took his meat and hung it in the tree, and when the water subsided he had to cut the tree down in order to get his meat. Mr. Ham subsequently removed to Illinois, where he died in 1869.


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