Willaim Carlos Kozee (and Bessie Myrtle Morris), circa 1927

William Carlos Kozee
by Ercel Kozee

        William's greatest boyhood ambition was to be a lawyer.  He began the study of law while young by taking law courses by correspondence from Indianapolis College of Law.  He was educated in the graded, high, and normal schools of Willard; Central College, Danville, Indiana; Transylvania College, Lexington, Kentucky.  When he began teaching in rural schools in July, 1896, little did he think he would be in educational work 18 years.  His first school was Antioch, followed by John's Run and Reedsville.  Following this he served as principal of graded schools for nine years--five years at Willard, and two years at Grayson, and two years at Denton.
        Mr. Kozee was admitted to the bar in 1903. he practiced in Grayson for a time, and at Pikeville, Kentucky during the years of 1906-07.  On November 7, 1907, William married Bessie Myrtle Morris, daughter of Judge John G., and Mrs. Martha Morris of Grayson.  June 2, 1908 Dr. Hardin Gilbert resigned as Superintendent of Carter County schools.  Carol Kozee was appointed Superintendent.  In November 1908 he was elected to serve the unexpired term.  In November 1909 he was re-elected and served a term of four years which ended December 31, 1913.
        Mr. Kozee went to the Denton School as Principal in 1914.  Was graduated from Bryant and Stratton Business College, Louisville, 1915.  November 1, 1916 he resigned as Principal of Denton School and took a Civil Service position at Washington, D. C.  He graduated from the National University law School at Washington with a degree of LL.B. in 1927.  Promotions followed quickly during his 32 years of Claims and the U.S. District Courts when he retired March 1, 1948.  He died in 1961 at the age of 83.
        Mr. Kozee's hobby during these years was genealogy.  For a period of 30 years he visited nearly every county seat in Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Tennessee, parts of West Virginia and many counties of Virginia to get material.  He spent much time in research at the Congressional Library in Washington, D. C.  He read court records, marriage certificates, books, inscriptions on tombstones, Bible records, and information sent him by man people.  He compiled the information into two books:  EARLY FAMILIES OF EASTERN AND SOUTHEASTERN KENTUCKY, and PIONEER FAMILIES OF EASTERN AND SOUTHEASTERN KENTUCKY.  At first he decided to write the history of only the Kozee family, but found the subject so intriguing, he branched out to other families.  Then he discovered the field embraced so much he had to limit himself to fewer families.  He regretted he could not include more.  Mr. Kozee's books are not 100 per cent correct in every detail.  In a few instances people sent him information that was hardly correct.  For example, sometimes a date was wrong; sometimes a person or a family name was incorrectly spelled; sometimes names of members of a family were left out.  Aside from these minor things, the books are a gold mine of reliable information on genealogy.  Carl received no remuneration for his work.  He expected none. He paid with his own money the cost of printing the first edition. "My sole desire is to leave a legacy to the people of Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky," he said.

        William Carlos Kozee was b. near Webbville, Lawrence Co., Ky on February 4, 1878; the s/o George Washington Kozee and Selina Jane Hylton Wright.  William m. Bessie Myrtle Morris on November 7, 1907.  Bessie was the eldest daughter of Judge John G. Morris and Martha E. Gilbert.

The children of William and Bessie were:
Karl Morris b. June 13, 1911
George Joseph b. February 15, 1916
Mary Grace b. December 20, 1917.

Submitted by  Garrett and Sherry Lowe

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