|ferry from Covington to Cincinnati|
By 1834 Covington was raised to a city status, and by 1840 had a population of 2,026. Residents began asking for a new county, and in 1840 Kenton County was formed from part of Campbell County. Named after early pioneer Simon Kenton, the new county contained 163 square miles. The original Kenton county seat was in Independence, a rural area located a good distance from Covington. County officials decided to establish a second county seat in Covington.
|Campbell County Courthouse|
The first record of Thompson Hightower appears in the book Campbell County Marriages 1836-1945. The book lists the bond date, the marriage date, and the name of the bondsman. The entry for Thompson is:
Dec 10 1838 (BD) Thompson HIGHTOWER to Elizabeth HOPPER (niece of J G Piner) MD—20 Dec; married by William HUME.
Further in the book Marriages of Campbell, Boone and Kenton Counties, Kentucky, 1795-1850, the following is listed:
HIGHTOWER, Thompson & Elizabeth HOPPER, 20 Dec. 1838, m by WH, c by Elizabeth's uncle J.P. Piner, bondsman [with whom she lived since about the age of six years], on behalf of her [unnamed] father, Campbell Co., KY.
Another listing appears in Campbell County Marriages:
HIGHTOWER, Thompson to Elizabeth HOPPER- married 20 Dec 1838, bond 10 December 1838, and consent by Elizabeth's uncle, J P Piner, with whom she lived since about the age of six years, on behalf of her father (unnamed) – OK.
A marriage bond can be viewed as an intention to marry. A man who had proposed went to the courthouse with a bondsman, who was often the father or brother of the prospective bride. A bond was posted indicating the man’s intention to marry the woman. The bond was an amount of money (in this case fifty pounds) that the prospective groom would have to pay if the marriage did not take place.
|Campbell County Clerk's office|
|Hightower-Hopper Marriage Bond|
Unfortunately I have been unable to get any further information on Elizabeth’s parentage. Although I know J P Piner is her uncle, I don’t know the relationship. He could have been married to a sister of her mother, or possibly a sister of her father. Without names, and only initials for J P, that remains a mystery. A clue is that in the 1850 census, the household next to the Hightower family is that of James Piner. As there are other Hoppers listed along with James’ family, these may be siblings of Elizabeth. It is a clue that I can continue to work on.
|1850 Kenton County Census|
The children born from the marriage of Thompson and Anna were discussed in the previous post, which can be found here. In the 1850 census, Thompson’s occupation is listed as “Miller”, and in 1860 he is a “lath sawyer”.
During the Civil War, the vast majority of Kenton County residents remained loyal to the Union. To protect Cincinnati from Southern invasion, a string of fortifications was built in the county. The two major military installations were Fort Mitchell and Fort Wright. To gather additional manpower, 162 companies of Home Guards, State Guards and militia were called into service in Kentucky. Their principal duty was guarding railroads, bridges, locks, etc. There were 60 men in Captain Leonard’s Company Home Guard, and one of them was 47-year-old Thompson Hightower. He enlisted as a Private for the Union on 1 September 1862, and mustered out on 1 October 1862.
In September of 1862, Confederate General Henry Heth led more than 8,000 soldiers into Northern Kentucky in an attempt to capture Cincinnati, a major producer of supplies for the Union war effort, and gain control of the Ohio River valley. Within days, these volunteer Union troops built protective earthworks throughout the Northern Kentucky hills. When the Confederates saw the ring of 12 miles of forts and rifle pits, they withdrew.
|Linden Grove Cemetery|