Abraham Kuykendall

Abraham Kuykendall was born in October 1719 in Orange County, New York. He was the son of Matthew Kuykendall and Jannetje Westphal or Cornelius Kuykendall and Marritjen Westphal. Respected genealogists disagree as to which of the two brothers and two sisters were his parents.
He was baptized Oct. 18, 1719, in the Dutch Reformed Church in Deerpark, N.Y. Deerpark is located in Orange County, N.Y., near Port Jervis. Deerpark was part of a boundary dispute between New York and New Jersey that was not settled until 1874.
He married Elizabeth Fidler in Kingston, N.Y., in 1743. His Kuykendall family originally lived in the vicinity of Kingston in Ulster County, N.Y. Kingston is located along the Hudson River between New York City and Albany.
New research indicates that his wife was Elizabeth Fidler, not Elizabeth Burleson as many researchers over the years have stated. This marriage document was found (since 2008) in the Dutch Reformed Church in Kinston, N.Y. It appears that Elizabeth Burleson of Rutherford County married a nephew of Abraham Kuykendall.
His wife was born about 1728 in Kingston, N.Y. She died after 1800 in Buncombe County (Henderson County) and is presumed buried somewhere on the Kuykendall property in Flat Rock.
Abraham Kuykendall and wife, Elizabeth, moved with other family members to Virginia (West Virginia) and North Carolina.

Abraham Kuykendall was listed as a corporal in Capt. Samuel Corbin’s list of men during 1747-48 when there was the so-called “Spanish Alarm.” He was 29. The Spanish attacks on North Carolina shipping and port towns were continuous from 1741 to 1748. The date most often applied to the list of men is 1748.
On March 29, 1753, he bought 570 acres on the south side of the Catawba River on the fork of Fishing Creek in Anson County. The land was sold May 16, 1754.
He and Elizabeth sold tracts of land in 1764 and 1765 in Mecklenburg County.
Abraham Kuykendall was appointed captain in the Tryon County (Old Tryon County) militia in 1770 and again in 1775. He was appointed captain of a Safety Committee (at the outbreak of the American Revolution) in 1776 in Old Tryon County.
In 1779 Tryon County was abolished and Rutherford County was created.
Abraham Kuykendall was selected as one of the commissioners to select the site and supervise the erection of the courthouse, prison and stocks for the new county of Rutherford. He was also appointed a justice of the peace.

He continued to serve on the Committee of Safety for Rutherford County and/or the militia during the Revolutionary War. He was in his 60s during the Revolutionary War.
On March 1780 he bought 200 acres on Sandy Run of the Broad River. Part of this land is now York County, S.C. Old Tryon County included land in today’s South Carolina (the boundary with South Carolina was not established until the late 1780s). He sold the lower half of this land to his son Simon in 1800.

In 1782, he and his wife, Elizabeth, were members of Sandy Run Baptist Church in Rutherford County.
Abraham Kuykendall and brother, Peter Kuykendall, moved with their families to Washington County, N.C., (now Tennessee) sometime prior to1782. Peter Kuykendall died in 1783 in what is today Tennessee leaving a will with his “brother Abraham as Executor.” After the estate was settled, Abraham and most of his children, along with the younger children of his brother Peter, returned to North Carolina in the late 1780s.
He bought 640 acres in Buncombe County (today’s Henderson County). He eventually owned 6,000 acres of land in what is now Henderson County. Land records show that he owned most of the land in today’s village of Flat Rock and the surrounding area. He owned at one time more than 1,000 acres in what is now Flat Rock, years before any of the “Charlestonians” arrived in Henderson County.
He operated a tavern for travelers, a grist mill and distillery.
In the 1800 Buncombe County census, an elderly woman was listed, his wife, Elizabeth Fidler Kuykendall.
His tavern was on the Old State Road (Old Buncombe Turnpike, the old Saluda Indian Path, old U.S. 25), which drovers used to go to the markets of Greenville County, S.C., and Georgia. The tavern or inn was built of logs and unusually large for the area.
He gave the property for Mud Creek Baptist Church in Flat Rock. The church is located in the middle of his land. It was a log church when built in 1804.

He sold the last of his land in Rutherford County in 1804.
According to slave records, Abraham Kuykendall was one of the early slave owners in the early 1800s in what is today Henderson County.
His wife, Elizabeth Fidler Kuykendall, died sometime between 1800 and 1804. Her grave site is not known.
He married Bathsheba Barrett Oxford, a widow, on Jan. 18, 1805, in Buncombe County (Henderson County). He would have been 85 years of age when he married. His second wife was born about 1742. The four young children noted on the 1810 census were most likely grandchildren of his second wife, based on recent genealogical research.
In the book “From the Banks of the Oklawaha,” Frank FitzSimons tells the legends surrounding Kuykendall:
Guests were required to pay in gold or silver coins, the legends states. As he grew older, he began to worry about his money in the sparsely populated, forested area. Two stories are told.

1. In the middle of the night he got up and put his money in a large, black iron wash pot. He awoke two of his slaves, blindfolded them and he led them, carrying the pot of money, down the road, and through the forest. He had them dig a hole and bury the pot. He led them back, again blindfolded. Time passed, maybe years. He needed some of the money and took a shovel to unearth his treasure. That was the last time he was seen alive. He was found dead by a search party, lying face down in a mountain stream. He was old and feeble at the time, and it was surmised he stumbled, fell, hit his head on a rock and fell into the water unconscious, then drowned. The slaves only knew the pot was buried under a large, stooping white oak tree. It has never been found.
2. His second wife was a great deal younger than him, younger than many of his children. (This part of the legend has been proved to be inaccurate. She was about 20 years younger than him). She liked bright colored clothing and jewelry, which she bought from the peddlers who stayed at the inn. He decided she was spending too much of his money, so he put the coins in a black wash pot, blindfolded two of his slaves and led them, carrying the pot, down the road and through the woods. He removed their blindfolds, had them bury the pot, then put the blindfolds back on them and returned to the house. Sometime later he became sick at the age of 104. (According to documented records on his age, he was 93). He tried to tell his sons where the coins were buried, but was so sick they could not understand him. The slaves could only remember they were led back and forth through a stream and the pot was buried near a stooping white oak.
It is passed down through family stories that he was found dead in Pheasant Branch that flows between two hills on the Howe-Bailey land off Little River Road. It crosses Little River Road through a culvert.

Abraham Kuykendall died in 1812 in Buncombe County (Henderson County) at the age of 93 and was buried somewhere near his home on his land in Flat Rock. He was not buried at Mud Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. There is a Revolutionary War DAR marker in his honor at Mud Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, but it is not where he was buried. It is told that large chestnut trees were cut down when he died. The trunks of the trees were split in half and the grave was lined and covered with them to keep the wild animals from digging up the body. The location of his grave is not known.
Soon after the old man’s death, strange stories began to be told of people seeing among the trees at night the figure of an old man frantically digging in one place and then another. The figure would suddenly disappear. People began to call Pheasant Branch “bugger branch,” as they told disobedient children to behave or the “bugger man in Pheasant Branch will get you.”

To this day the buried treasure has never been found.
Abraham Kuykendall and Elizabeth Fidler had at least 14 children. Based on their marriage date, the couple could have had more children. Documented children:
1. Sarah Kuykendall (abt 1749-abt1830) married first Jacob Shipman in Rutherford County, After his death, she married George Saling in Kentucky and died in Missouri.
2. Jane Kuykendall (abt 1751-abt 1834) married Robert McMinn, moved to Georgia
3. John Kuykendall (abt 1754-abt 1832) married Nancy Haggerty, lived in Rutherford County. Moved to Tennessee.
4. Hannah Kuykendall (abt 1755-abt 1839) married a person with surname Decker.
5. James Kuykendall (abt 1756-abt 1832) married Mary (possibly Hambright), moved to Georgia
6. Matthew Kuykendall (abt 1758-abt 1841) married Nancy Johnson, moved to Mississippi
7. Simon Kuykendall (at 1765-abt 1825) married Eleanor Metcalf, moved to Tennessee
8. Peter Kuykendall (abt 1767-abt 1800)
9. Unknown daughter (abt 1771-)
10. Abraham Kuykendall Jr. (abt 1773-abt 1870) married Elizabeth Van Zandt, may have moved to Georgia
11. Esther (Easter) Kuykendall (abt 1774-abt 1842) married William Metcalf
12. Rebecca Kuykendall (abt 1776-) married first John Stepp. After his death, she married Robert Brown
13. Jacob Kuykendall (abt 1779-abt 1828) married Nancy Thomas
14. A daughter with estimated birth date of 1777 to 1780 married Edmond Samuel McGuffey. Her first name has not been confirmed. Some researchers believe her first name may have been Elizabeth.
There are other children whom researchers state were the children of Abraham Kuykendall. His wife was past the age of child bearing by 1780. It is also possible that some were the children of his brother, Peter.
Some people state that Abraham Kuykendall and Bathsheba had four children. This is impossible and cannot be accurate. Kuykendall would have been in his 80s when he fathered these children and his second wife would have been in her 60s.