"The subject of this memoir, as might be suspected from his portrait, is four-score and six years old; and such is his health, activity, and vital tenacity, that the writer thinks it even probably that he may live to be one hundred years old. He was born May 17, 1771, in Orange county, Virginia, near the Saddle-Back mountains. Of his paternal ancestry, he knows but little more than that they were of that old family in that State which has sent the name into all the southern and south-western States. His maternal grandfather was an Englishman by the name of Kendell, who settled in Orange county, upon a grant of land three miles square; but by what authority the grant was made, the subject of this memoir never took the trouble to inquire. His father, in a personal rencounter, was killed a few months before he was born, his only child. During the succeeding seven years, he, with his mother, lived with his grandfather Kendell. About this time she married Mr. Jas. Bush, who continued to live in the same vicinity for three years more, when he moved to New Virginia, as it was then called, to the vicinity of Russel's salt works. Young Powell was now about ten years of age, and his step-father desired he should learn the carpenter's trade, but he absolutely refused. For this disobedience, but, perhaps, more for the manner in which it was manifested, Bush struck him, and he left him, and went to the salt works, and hired himself there to sell sale and liquor, and as emergencies might demand, to attend to the kettles at night.....It does not appear from the memorandum he furnished us, that he and his step-father got along very kindly together. The latter was not a man of education, and was either ignorant of the advantages of it, or too indifferent to them to make any provision for the education of his step-son; but he did not neglect himself, nor the means to advance himself, so far as he could command them. He procured such books as were requisite for his age and mental condition, and carried them about his person, and taxed those whom he found capable for instruction....
Mr. Bush, his step-father, after living nine months near the salt works moved to Miller's iron works; and his step-son, to be near his mother, whom he loved-and to the present moment of his life he was remembered her with an almost idolatrous devotion-went with them. Here he soon became employed in cutting wood for the furnace, which whith his studies, he continued twelve months, when his step-father moved to Clarke county, Kentucky.
He was now about twelve years of age....
By the industry and frugality of himself and wife, he accumulated an estate, which, if it had not from time to time been divided among his children, would have amounted to not less than $180,000."
Residences & events:
He was chosen to be a spy during the Rev War because of his "great fleetness of foot."
1792 He was listed among the officers and privates of the KY militia to whom maney was due for their services on an expedition against the Maume (?) Towns. John Lisle was on the same list.
1794 Clark Co, KY. Oner and Simon Powell were surety for the weddings of sisters Betsy Powell on 5/19/1794 and Frances Powell on 7/28/1794. Oner may have just attended the wedding there rather than living there.
1797 According to his memoir by son William, Oner and Mary Ann lived for about a year with her father after their marriage.
Abt 1800 Shelby Co, KY. He bought land there and moved to it. Son William said during the 6-7 years there, "he bought several negros; and connected with one of them, there is a circumstance of too much importance to be passed over silently."
About 1806 Campbell Co, KY within a mile of Newport, where he bought land and settled.
1807 About 10 miles from Cincinnati in current Kenton Co, KY.
1810 He was commissioned as Justice of the Peace, holding the office for several years.
1816 Kenton Co, KY. He is credited with laying out the city of Covington on the KY side of the Ohio River opposite Cincinnati.
7/9/1818 Campbell Co, KY. Oner witnessed the wedding between a Thomas Parker and Peggy Davis.
1820 Covington, Campbell Co, KY. In Onor Powell's house at census time were 2 males under the age of 10, 1 at 10-16, 1 was 16-18, 2 age 16-20, Onor was over 45, 2 females under 10, 1 at 10-16, and 1 age 26-45. Two people were engaged in agriculture. Also in Covington were David Powell and Sarah Powell who were neighbors to each other.
1830 Campbell Co, KY. According to the census, Oner R Powel was 50-60 years old, in his family were 1 male age 5-10, 1 at 10-15, 1 was 15-20, 1 at 20-30, 1 female age 10-15, 1 at 15-20, and 1 was 40-50. Living in the same county were John and William Powel.
1831 He became County Sheriff.
9/13/1832 Campbell Co, KY. He served as bondsman for the marriage of daughter Lucinda Powell and Elisha Deville (actually Dwelle).
9/12/1850 Covington Ward 5, Kenton Co, KY. Recorded in that census were O R Powell, 79, Mary A, 70 and Elizabeth Scholes, 12 (who?). Oner had no occupation but was a wealthy man with real estate worth $80,000. That ward was full of other Powells.
6/28/1860 Same place. That year he was listed as Onerias Powel, 89, with Mary, 81, both born in VA. His estate had shrunk to $30,000/500. Again there were several other Powell families in Covington.
"Cincinnati Daily Enquirer 7/9/1863:
On Tuesday morning, July 7, at 3 o'clock, O.R. Powell, in the 93d year of his age.
The friends of the family are respectfully to attend his funeral this morning at 9 o'clock from the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Noe, on Eleventh street, between Madison and Bank Lick, Covington."
Cincinnati Daily Enquirer 7/10/1863:
"DEATH OF AN OLD CITIZEN. - Oner R. Powell, Esq., departed this life in Covington, on the night of the 6th inst, in the ninety-third year of his age. Born in Orange County, Virginia, May 17, 1771, four years before the breaking out of the American Revolution, he was, at the time of his death, perhaps the oldest man in Northern Kentucky, and among the oldest on this continent. The life of Esquire Powell was not only long, but eventful. He was emphatically a self made man. Bereft of his father shortly ater he was born, amid the rude jostlings of poverty and pioneer life, without even ordinary means of education, and with no friends to aid him, he acquired, nevertheless, an education, remarkable considering the society amid which he was reared, and maintained through nearly ninety long years, the character of a brave, energetic, useful, honorable and honest man.
Esquire Powell emigrated to Kentucky among the earliest of the pioneers. He settled in Covington many years ago, when the thriving city was almost a wilderness. Here, by energy, thrift....commissioned a Justice of the Peace, which office he held a long time. He was also, in 1831, appointed High Sheriff of his county, under the old Constitution of Kentucky.
Clearness of perception, retentiveness of memory, promptitude and punctuality, were among his most striking characteristics of his mind and character. He was also, what a poet has described as God's noblest work, an honest man. He left an example behind him in many respects to be envied and remembered."