Laura Freeman

Board member

Laura Freeman is a farm entrepreneur from east central Kentucky. She founded The Laura’s Lean Beef Company in 1985 and was the President and CEO for 23 years. She has been farming since the autumn of 1981. In 2016, she started Laura’s Mercantile, Wildcat Willy’s Distillery and The Moonshine Trail, and expects these three start-ups, plus the farm, to keep her busy until she drops. Her passion, however, is the preservation of Dry Ridge.

The community’s history is fascinating in its detail, and more broadly reflective of the history of an African American Community in a border state during the Civil War and its aftermath.

Steve Davis

Board Member

Steve Davis – An heir to Dry Ridge, Steve Davis remembers visiting the site as a child and young man. He is a regular at cemetery days, and proud to be a member of the Dry Ridge board. Davis is the son of Kenneth Ray Davis (deceased)  and Betty Hampton Davis. He now lives in Georgetown, Kentucky, where he works for a seat supplier to Toyota. He is an Army veteran and married to Johnna, with a son, Bradley Allen Davis.

Tom Richards

Board member

Tom Richards, professional forester with a bachelor’s degree in forestry from The Ohio State University and a
master’s degree in forestry from the University of Kentucky. Worked over 5 years as a land manager in southern Kentucky overseeing 10,000 acres. Worked 24 years as Procurement Manager and Head Veneer Log Buyer for
The Freeman Corporation in Winchester, Kentucky. Now

Roberta Newell

Board member

Roberta Newell is native Kentuckian who has lived and breathed history and genealogy literally her whole life.
She is a 1976 graduate of UK with a degree in Elementary Education. She is married to her first grade love
and has three children and two grandchildren. She has worked on family genealogy, local Clark County history and
old cemeteries since childhood. She is excited to bring her knowledge to the Friends of Dry Ridge.

Harry Enoch

Board member

Harry Enoch, a native of Mt. Sterling, KY, trained as a research biochemist (PhD, 1975, University of Kentucky). Served in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam (1969-70).
Held various research and administrative positions with the Kentucky Energy Cabinet, East Kentucky Power and UK, specializing in areas of environmental health. After retiring in 2004 has focused on historic preservation, local history research and writing. Author of Women of Fort Boonesborough, Pioneer Voices, Capt. Billy Bush and the Bush Settlement and others.

Ashley C. Smith

Board Member

Ashley C. Smith is native and lifelong resident of Lexington, Kentucky. Smith spent over 20 years working for such brands as Fayette Alliance, The Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, NetGain Technologies and CHI Saint Joseph Health.  She is a co-founder of Black Soil: Our Better Nature, an agritourism company missioned to reconnect black Kentuckians to their heritage and legacy in agriculture. She and Trevor Claiborn are the proud parents of Caroline Faye and Trevor Moran Claiborn, Jr.

Researchers and Advisors

Norvetta Whitson

Research Assistant

Graduate of Morehead State University, University of Kentucky and Bellarmine University. Fifth generation of Moses and Millie Robinson. Born in Mt. Sterling Ky, moved to Louisville in 1979. Married with one daughter and one grandson. Practiced nursing 40 plus years in varied nursing arenas and has taught nursing at various schools of nursing since 1992. Educated and collaborated with community nursing students to develop and present various community health programs including Vienna Austria.

Lyndon Comstock


Lyndon Comstock, namesake of the author of the book Before Abolition: African-Americans in early Clark County, Kentucky, married Nancy Julia Bush of the Bush Settlement in Clark County, Kentucky in 1806.  The story of that couple, and also of the Providence Baptist Church to which she belonged, led the author to realize that a considerable number of black people, almost all of them enslaved, were referenced in the old minutes of the church and related records.  The author followed that trail to an extended study of the African-American population in Clark County during slavery times.  His book is an outgrowth of that research.

Lyndon Comstock is currently a resident of Bolinas, California.  He worked in community economic development for most of his career and has been spending his retirement researching history.  He has published four books.

Hon. Alex Rowady


Gretchen Marie Nelson


We invite all heirs to Dry Ridge to become members of Friends of Dry Ridge. We are planning on hosting an event around Memorial Day 2021. Please contact Laura at or Tom at