Though their names will forever be in the history books, a piece of Hazard’s history is never the less in danger of being forgotten, even as hundreds of people likely unknowingly drive past it every day.
If there is one thing we have learned from our series on the communities of Perry County, it’s that our county has a ton of interesting history dating back nearly two centuries. And some of the most interesting history lies right here in the county seat of Hazard, settled by Elijah Combs in the early 19th century.
Several years ago the city commission of Hazard ordered a marker placed just above Broadway, in honor of Elijah Combs and his wife, Sally, both of whom died in 1855. The markers were placed next to a small but historically significant cemetery that contains the graves of both Josiah Combs, Elijah’s grandson, and Joseph Eversole. Both men were victims in the infamous French-Eversole War from the late 19th century. Other members of the Combs family have also been buried there. And, as legend would have it, some resting there were veterans of the Revolutionary War.
But while that cemetery remains maintained to this day, the markers placed beyond those graves to honor Elijah and Sarah Combs are indeed hard to find, and unfortunately nearly grown over with weeds. If not for some recent clearing of the weeds around the markers themselves, they would certainly be hard to locate at all.
Our history is an important part of what defines us today, and pushes us into a new direction for tomorrow. We learn from the mistakes of our history, and our past connects us to those who came before us and laid the foundation of modern society.
Elijah Combs was an important figure in the history of not only Hazard, but all of Perry County. We think it unfortunate that his marker, and that of his wife, are so far off the beaten path that cars drive past on Broadway and their drivers likely never even know them to be there.
We urge the current city commission to take up an effort which would come with very little cost, and at the very least better clean up that immediate area. We consider the cemetery as a whole a significant piece of our history in Hazard, and certainly those two markers are as well.
These people are our ancestors, and while they were far from perfect, as are we all, they certainly deserve more than what we have shown them so far.
- The Hazard Herald