The Phoenix Side

The Phoenix side of the family originated from Mountain Island in Owen County, KY (some have called it Phoenix Island, but every family that lived there called it by their surname). Mountain Island was an early white settlement, beginning in the late 1700s. At that time, the area was located in Scott County [Owen County would not be formed until 1819]. Mountain Island is located where Eagle Creek forks into two branches, reconvening on the other side of the island. By 1843, there were 1,143 slaves in Owen County, including those owned by Susannah Herndon Rogers. In 1847, Rogers’ will emancipated her slaves, and her property was divided into 10 lots and given to her former slaves, all of whom had the last name Locust. The community that was formed became known as Free Station. In 1849, it became law in Kentucky that a security bond must be posted for every slave who was freed. The law would stall the emancipation of Rogers’ brother’s (James Herndon) slaves. James Herndon owned a mill, tavern, and slaves on the island. Flooding, which washed out the roads leading to the island, had begun to make it less ideal as a community. In 1850, Herndon, who still lived on the island, began the attempt to emancipate his slaves, as his sister, Susan Herndon Rogers, had done, but his case was stalled in the courts. The slaves would not be freed until after James Herndon’s death in 1853. His will not only freed his 23 slaves but also left them and their heirs Herndon’s estate, 125 acres on Mountain Island. The land was to be theirs forever, as stated in Herndon’s will. Neighbors put up the security bonds required by Kentucky law for each freed slave. The former slaves had the last names of Carroll, Vinegar, Smith, and Warfield. After their freedom, many of the family members left the island to provide for their families. Some members of the family came to Ohio around 1890. They settled in Xenia, Ohio and many remember going there to visit. There are different spellings of the name Phoenix (Pheonix, Phenix, etc).

Gabe Pheonix (sic) was born in 1837 in Owen County, KY. His wife, Sarah (Hickman) was born in Owen County, KY in 1840. They were married in 1854. These are the known children of Gabriel (Gabe) and Sarah: Albert, George, John, Joseph, Lavinia (Vene), Charlotte (1864), Francis (1865), and Anna (1867).