Savage Garfield Boles
Savage was born on
March 19, 1883 at the Boles homeplace on Big Piney Creek in Fentress County, near Wilder,
Tennessee. Savage was the son of Robert F. Boles and Martha
"Fatsy" (Reagan) Boles. His grandparents were John and Matilda (Beaty) Boles and
John and Nancy (Findley) Reagan. Savage was the second generation to live in Fentress
County and the fifth generation born since the arrival of the Boles in America. Savage was
part of a very large family being the fifteenth child of sixteen fathered by Robert Boles.
Savage married Nicie Catherine Smith (born 8-2-1886 Died: 4-10-1966), the daughter of
Preacher Dave and Agnes (Hall) Smith, on February 18, 1906. They were married by a
Reverend Allred at Wilder and of this union were born twelve children. The children were,
in order of birth, Martha, Robert, Johnnie, Alice, Ruby, Myrtle, Leeta, Savage Jr.,
George, Billy, Bonda, and Sue. Savage and Nicie were fairly strict in the upbringing of
their children. Savage didn't believe much in "whipping" but was a firm believer
of "needling"; and for those who do not know what "needling" is let
this granddaughter explain, for I remember it well. Grandpa Savage wore an old felt hat
and when child or grandchild misbehaved Grandpa Savage jerked off that old hat and whacked
you across your rear or the hack of your legs with it. It felt like a hundred needles all
at once. This granddaughter is willing to bet that not a one of Grandpa Savage's
grandchildren have forgotten that old hat and that they all remember it with affection as
Savage worked in the Horsepounds and Wilder coal mines and in the early 1930's was a
deputy-sheriff at Wilder. In later years he worked as a land agent and overseer for Wilson
W. Wyatt and Huber Corporation, a large timber and land corporation based in New Jersey at
Savage was made an Honorary Kentucky Colonel in 1963 by Lieutenant-Governor Wilson W.
Wyatt, under Governor Bart Combs. Savage had strong political views and was known in and
around Fentress County as "Republican" Boles. "Republican" would have
been an apt nickname for several generations of the Boles for most of their male children
were named for Republican Presidents. Save "Garfield"; "Abraham
Lincoln"; "Ulysses Grant" were but a few. There are even a few "George
Washingtons." When Savage was asked to account for his long life he would answer by
saying he never smoked, he walked a lot and he never shook hands with a Democrat if he
could help it.
Savage was a firm believer of God and one of his favorite things to do was to visit
different churches. There were very few church homecomings that he missed. His daughter,
Alice tells of Savage taking them to Sunday School on "Old Jude", the family's
mule, when she was a child. And of the four or five children that rode the mule she was
somehow always the last on and the first to slide off going up the hill.
Savage's father, Robert died in 1912 and at his death the Boles homeplace, which was part
of a land grant from the State of Tennessee to Robert for service in the Civil War, was
willed jointly to Savage and his brother, Blaine Roles. In 1925 Savage bought his
brother's share of the homeplace and spent the remaining years of his life there.
Savage's wife, Nicie and five of their children, Myrtle, Billy, Robert, Johnnie, and
Martha preceded him in death. Savage died on July 6, 1968. Savage and Nicie are both
buried in the Boles Cemetery, at the homeplace on Big Piney where they lived out their
marriage and life.
by Peggy Ledbetter