Cogan’s Woods

By Ron Ellis

Foreword by Rick Bass


The act of remembering is above all a celebration of cherished things—friendship and family, storytelling and nature, the physical senses, and the beauty of permanence existing right next to stunning impermanency. The brevity of such things in any individual's life is all the more reason for noticing them, and celebrating them, as Ellis has done here so well.          —Rick Bass



Cogan's Woods is a fond remembrance of a journey taken each August in the family Mercury, with the author and his father cruising toward dawn and the big woods in the imagined country of Belden County, Kentucky. While on these hunting trips, the father would convey his legacy to the boy as they explored the foggy woods in the hills above the Ohio River and the nearby town of Persimmon Gap.


The story celebrates a father-son relationship nurtured by a landscape that shapes the men and draws them back year after year. In this lyrical account of a beloved time and place, the reader is introduced to a cast of lovable characters the men discover during their wanderings—Sherm and Stony Morgan, the twin brothers who own "207 acres of pure happiness" near Cogan's Woods; the elusive ginseng hunter Granger Nelson; and Tonk Montgomery, the legendary hunter of Belden County.


Ellis offers lasting images and sensory paintings, all gleaned from this imagined land where he and his father traveled, hunted, and rested. He weaves together a tapestry of smells and observations that evoke memories of simpler times when father and son asked nothing more than to be in the country they loved.


In the end, what settles into the author's heart is this simple mantra, shared with him first by an old gravedigger through a haze of lantern smoke and then years later by his dying father in a darkened room: "It's important to remember, it's so important to remember."


Watch the "Cogan's Woods" show produced by "Kentucky Afield"  on


10TH Anniversary Edition


With a new forword by Rick Bass

and a preface by Nick Lyons


also at

Read Praise for Cogan's Woods