came as no surprise to see, that James Webb’s most recent female partner was no longer a part of his household in 1850. Given his age, which was 65 at that point, one would think that his life would have tapered down, but that was far from the case. Sometime just before his death in 1855, he fathered another son, who he named James C. Webb. The child’s mother was a woman named Nancy C. Owens.
Looking back on Ezekiel’s life, it seems he had every reason to be bitter about his past. After all, he had been separated from his mother, brothers and sisters in North Carolina, when he was only eight years old. Not only that, while in Overton County, it also appears that he was abandoned by his grandmother. It’s next too impossible to pinpoint exactly why he left his home in Overton, but given his father’s past, it’s surprising that their relationship lasted as long as it did. Force into isolation and many miles from his family, no doubt created a sense of animosity and resentment toward those whom he trusted. Not naming no name, and it’s only speculation. Nevertheless, it’s believed that at some point during his adolescence, someone threatened him with the fact that it wouldn’t take much to make him a slave. Even if he wanted to go back to Rowan County and knew the way, the thought of becoming a slave was without a doubt enough of a deterrent to not take the chance.
However,in 1835 or there about, the chance Ezekiel was willing and did take, was to live somewhat like a hermit on a heavily vegetated area of Cumberland County, Kentucky. He could not have been any more than fifteen years old at the time, and to live in that manner, it must have taken a great deal of courage, along with a healthy dose of fear. If there was any benefit to his new way of life, it would have been that his father’s house was just a few miles from where he was then staying, on the Tennessee side of the Tennessee – Kentucky State line, and he could slip in and out, if he needed to. The belief is that he did just that, from time to time. Nevertheless, while in his new dwelling, it may have been only a matter of months before he encountered a man named John Coe. It would be a profound acquaintance, and one where Ezekiel’s life would be forever changed.
John Coe was born around 1785 in Surry County, North Carolina. But somewhere around 1810, he departed Surry County with his family, a slave named Ransom, and another slave named Betty. Their journey took them to Cumberland County, Kentucky where he made a tract of land along Kettle Creek, their new home. Over time, he became a prominent and well-respected member of that community. He is thought to have been one who was firm, but honest in his exchanges with others. However, it would be his subsequent actions and deeds which revealed the true character of a humble man with a good heart.
Twenty plus years later and living in proximity to one, another, John Coe and Ezekiel had reached a point where their lives would be forever intertwined. John was strong on family values and considerate of others, provided Ezekiel with a chance to earn a little money. However, the work load grew steadily, and so did their new found friendship. Ezekiel became well liked and respected by John Coe’s family and he developed a kinship of sorts with the slaves named Ransom and Betty. Nevertheless, the relationship and good times between Ezekiel and John would be tested on a few occasions.
The first measure of their loyalty and trust presented itself when it came to the events surrounding John Coe’s slave named Ransom.