(Transcribed from the June 22, 1949 edition of the Adair County News. The interviewee's full name was James Campbell Cabbell.)
Five Cabbell Brothers Ages Total 424 Years
The following article, written by Bill Evans for The Hutchison County Herald, published in Stennett, Texas, will be read with interest here as the Cabbell family were natives of Adair County:
James Cabbell, 78, who resides at the Clark Hotel on Weatherly St., has lived in Borger nearly 13 years, and has a quiet, likable personality. Well, not only is James Cabbell 78 years old but he has four older brothers whose ages are 92, 87, 85, and 82 years, a total of 424 years, all of whom are living!
Bob Ripley "Believe It or Not" on the request of James Cabbell recently wrote him to this effect: "In my opinion you and your four brothers are the five eldest living brothers in the United States." James has since written to Haskins Service in Amarillo, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and to a source in Washington, D.C., in attempting to confirm this fact. As far as the records show it is a fact!...
James' four brothers are Lucian Clay Cabbell, 92, a farmer resident of Ella, Ky.; 87 year old Herschel Franklin Cabbell, a farmer of Bosworth, Mo.; Emery Edgar Cabbell, an 85 year old farmer in Lanthrop, Mo; and Robert McKnight Cabbell, 82, of Columbia, Ky., also a farmer. The Cabbells can trace their ancestry to early Tennessee.
The birth dates of the brothers follows: L.C. Cabbell, March 20, 1857; H.F. Cabbell, June 10, 1862; E.E. Cabbell, September 7, 1864; R.M. Cabbell, March 23, 1867; and J.C. Cabbell, December 1, 1870.
Father of these famous five was William Franklin Cabbell, born July 29, 1829 and died March 12, 1903; the mother, Ann Elizabeth lived from December 28, 1832 till October 14, 1912. The family lived in Adair County, Kentucky on a farm five miles southeast of Columbia, a small town of 2,000 inhabitants. Many an hour was spent on the rolling green farmlands of Kentucky by James Campbell Cabbell fox hunting--one of his favorite youthful pastimes. He still remembers "a dozen people with a pack of fox-huntin' hounds," and claims to be able to recall "the names of every one of those hounds right today." James was back to his birthplace about five years ago and he reports "there wasn't much change in the country." His great-uncle built the Baptist church and Zion school, a Baptist supported building, which still stands today. He received his first schooling in the Zion school.
The name, James Campbell Cabbell, indicates history in itself. The Campbell was taken from Alexander Campbell, founder of the Christian Church, and bestowed upon him 78 years ago by his parents. James Campbell has been a member of the Christian Church for approximately 68 years and is active in the Christian Church of Borger, though he has never moved his original membership from his birthplace in Kentucky. . . .
James Campbell remembers some of his early life. He recalled that Cleveland and Hendricks were running for presidency of the United States the same time that his brother, Lucian Clay, traded for some horses, and that's quite a few years back. [Transcriber's note: Cleveland & Hendricks were the successful candidates for president and vice president, respectively, in 1884.]
The Cabbell brothers' father, William Franklin, served in the Mexican War and in James Campbell's own words, "he was in the bunch that came near to capturing Santa Anna, the Mexican leader. While chasing Santa Anna he (his) father stole a mule off a nearby wagon and rode after Santa Anna on it."
The amiable, white-haired youngest of the brothers recalls the times when he used to walk five miles carrying a dozen chickens to be sold for $1 a dozen at the market. James said "a 2½ gallon bucket of berries used to sell for 10 cents.["] When he worked on a farm in Missouri, he earned 160 dollars a year, top price pay for 12 to 16 hours labor then. James proudly boasts that one spring he "walked a plough turnin' over 60 acres of ground four times," and "nowadays that kind of work would kill a man." As the elderly man put it, "Don't know as to how the world is any better now than it was then, excepting there is more of it."
The elderly man's main interest is in good saddle show horses--his hobby during his younger years. Today James' favorite hobby is making checkerboards, an art in which he is very adept. He is fond of playing checkers as a pastime but reports that "nowadays is the hardest time to find a good checker game than he ever saw." . . . .
The eldest of the five brothers named in the article, Lucian Clay Cabbell, died in late December, 1949, a few months after this reprinted article appeared in the Adair County News. (The online Kentucky death abstract erroneously gives the death year as 1942.) Robert McKnight Cabbell, the other Kentucky resident of the five, lived until mid-January, 1956.
According to information found online, the remains of James Campbell Cabbell were buried in Highland Texas, Borger, Texas. The information as recorded online is: CABBELL James Campbell 1 Dec. 1872 - 16 Sept. 1951.
The 1880 Adair County KY census also indicates he was born 1872, and that brother L.C. was born 1857; brother H.F. in 1862; brother E.E. in 1865; and brother R.M. in 1870. This census also shows another brother, Ruel O., born 1875, and a sister, Antha B., born 1860.