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Early Times in Meade County Kentucky
George L. Ridenour
Western Recorder, Louisville, Kentucky, 1929
1. The Hunter's Paradise 9
2. Indian Battles 15
3. When the Pioneers Came 23
4. Brandenburg 41
5. The Courts 59
6. Pioneer Homes 83
7. Salem Association of Baptists 93
THE HUNTERS' PARADISE
Before the white men came to Kentucky, the territory in the great bend of the Ohio River from the mouth of Otter Creek to the mouth of Sinking Creek was a veritable hunters' paradise. Heavily wooded broken ground along the streams, dense forests on the knobs and thick timber in the groves furnished shelter for the abundant game. Thousands of acres of land bare of trees but covered with grasses and native clovers furnished grazing in summer for large herds of deer, elk and bison. Dense cane-brakes provided abundant forage in winter. Elk Grove, Doe Run, Elk Wallow, Sulphur Lick, Lap Land, Buck Run, Buck Grove, Bear Wallow, Turkey Heaven, Wolf Creek, Bee Knob, Hogback Grove, Big Clay Lick and Otter Creek were named by the early hunters.
Indian Hill, Jennie's Knob, Bulger's Grove, Indian Grove, Hill Grove, Jackey's Grove and Flippen's Run bear the names of the early hunters. Well watered, fertile soil grew food for an unbelievable number of game. Each year the Indians would burn the dry grasses on the barrens.
In the groves and on the knobs bear, wolves and wildcats remained after other big game had disappeared. Pioneers had many thrilling experiences with these wild animals. Often women would keep the wolves away from the sheep by throwing firebrands at them. Occasionally wildcats would come to the cabins at night. On these occasions women would burn handfuls of feathers in the open fireplace to make a thick acrid smoke which kept the wildcats from coming down the low chimneys.
10 . Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
Deer runs and buffalo roads crossed the barrens in every direction. These served the pioneers as roads for many years. From the mouth of Salt River to Wolf Creek during the Indian troubles scouts patrolled the buffalo roads along the river. South of the barrens on the knobs the settlers in Severn's Valley had several outposts for observation and defence. Also the settlers used a road from Hardin's Settlement to Corydon Indiana Territory, which crossed the river at King's Landing.
After the first settlements buffaloes began to disappear. In the early years of the last century a band of hunters followed a buffalo that swam the river at Big Bend. It was killed on Mill Creek in Hardin County. In 1847 a tame buffalo cow was found with a drove of cattle in the barrens.
Elk and deer remained much longer than the buffalo. Old settlers used to relate stories of great herds of deer which frequented the thickets of hazelnuts in the swales on the barrens. In an old account book belonging to Hayden and Atwill, October 12, 1821, this item appears:
"There is in the hands of Benjamin Doorn several hundred deer skins to tan and sell for us. The one half of what they amount to is for each of us."
General Benjamin Shacklett, an early settler in the Hill Grove, leaves the following account of the great numbers of deer.
" As to deer we thought no more of going out to kill one, when wanting one, than we did of going out to wring the neck off a chicken. "
Hoard Withers was fond of telling about the abundance of game, especially of deer. He said, " No one
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 11
planted more than three acres of ground because we didn't need any more."
The settlers had to guard their corn while in roasting ear to keep the deer from destroying the ears. General Shacklett often told of seeing deer tracks in patches of corn in the Hill Grove as thick as ever he had seen the tracks of hogs in a hog lot. In certain weather the deer would assemble in the Hill Grove in numbers that now seem incredible. Early settlers did not hunt them because powder and lead were too expensive. In the falls when there were heavy beech masts wild turkeys would get so fat that if they fell a great distance after being shot their breasts would burst upon striking the ground.
General Blancet Shacklett was a great bear hunter. His wife, Rachel Ashcraft Shacklett, was fond of telling about their finding a bear and her two cubs in a cave. General Shacklett persuaded his wife to hold a torch for him while he shot the bears. He assured her that she was in no danger as bears would always shun the light and squeeze themselves into the smallest places "Without," she said, "they were wounded. And I depended on the old man to kill them and not let them kill me."
In later years the old general's fondness for bear was the cause of a painful accident to his little daughter, Sophia. He had captured a cub which he kept chained to a post in the yard. After the bear was full grown it broke loose one day and raided the spring house. After causing much damage the bear returned to the yard. Sophia was playing about the house. The bear attacked the little girl. Nearly all the skin was torn from her head and she received other painful injuries
12 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
before her father killed the bear. The child suffered for many weeks but she finally recovered. In later life she and her husband, William Saunders, lived near Brandenburg.
Small game was abundant. Squirrels in companies, troops and regiments abounded in the timber. On one occasion in the fall an early resident of Meade County said that he and other boys killed scores of red squirrels under the large beeches near his father's cabin with no weapons other than stout beech cudgels.
When the pioneers came, great flocks of large white swans could be seen every spring and fall. Wild geese and ducks abounded on every water course. Song birds were without number. Passenger pigeons came in great flocks. They would bend young timber to the ground with their great weight. Strong branches of great poplars in the bottoms would be broken by the passenger pigeons that have long since vanished from the earth.
In speaking of General Benjamin Shacklett the Honorable William G. Beall says:
" I remember seeing him but once, and stayed all night with him in 1832, and questioned him about the state of the country when he first settled it; especially about the abounding of game in the county. Seeing I had hunting on the brain, never having bagged anything larger than a squirrel, being then fresh from the city, he took pleasure in gratifying me with a full detail. The number of deer and quantity of game in the county would almost seem incredible to persons of the present day. Indeed, Hill Grove and vicinity must have been a very paradise of hunters."
No Indians permanently resided in Meade County. Crossing the Ohio River at the mouth of Salt River, Rock Haven, Flippen's Run, Buck Creek and near the mouth of Wolf Creek they often came to hunt game. Many weapons and perfect specimens of small pottery of exquisite Indian workmanship have been unearthed at many places in the county.
Perhaps the oldest Indian graveyard in Meade Coun ty was on the site of the lithographic works above Brandenburg. J. L. Logsden and others excavated this site. Mr. Logsden states that he had scruples about disturbing the resting place of even a savage. Below the site of Brandenburg an extraordinarily large skull bone of a man was found. At other places the Indians buried their dead. That these were not residents of the county is evidenced by the absence of the usual implements found in the burial-grounds of resident Indians.
Below the landing at Brandenburg a rude outline of a turkey has been chiseled on a limestone rock a little above low water-mark. No man living knows who did this work. It has been known as " Turkey Rock" as far back as the oldest inhabitant has recollection.
In the early settlement of Ohio County a small party of Indians attacked a family named Owens. In the confusion two girls of about ten and twelve years crawled under the cabin floor. The other members of the family were killed. After scalping the dead the Indians started away when the actions of a flock of guinea-fowls attracted their attention. Upon investigation the savages found the girls and made them prisoners.
16 Early Times Meade County, Kentucky.
The Indians crossed the country to Pilot Ridge and made their way by Buck grove to the Ohio River at Rock Haven. The Indians took their captives to Ohio where they were ransomed by Colonel John Hardin after about two years. These girls were none the worse for their experience but they never would keep guinea-fowls about their homes.
At another time on Vertrees Creek the Indians captured two boys whom they named Skin Face and Possum Head. The captives were taken to the Indian towns. Here they became the slaves of the squaws who worked the boys in the patches of ground about the Indian villages. But they did not prove profitable in this work as they treated the young garden plants as weeds.
Finally the braves permitted the boys to hunt in the vicinity of the camps. The young fellows were excellent marksmen. In their hunting they would save small quantities of powder and lead for their escape from the Indians. One night they left the Indians. On their way to the Ohio River they used all their ammunition.
At Rock Haven they crossed the river. Possum Head was captured by a small party of pursuing Indians in the Buck Grove. Skin Face, when the Indians were near, threw away his rifle and escaped. After the capture the Indians held a council and released their captive after whipping him with the ramrod of the rifle.
French's Creek was formerly known as Buck Run. On one occasion a surveyor named French wandered from the party. He was ambushed by a party of prowling Indians. In the fight that followed the Indians were defeated. This fight took place on an old buffalo road which crossed this creek above the second bottoms.
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 17
One of the most fiercely contested Indian battles on Meade County soil was on East Hill at Brandenburg. A party of marauding Indians crossed the river and hid their canoes in Flippen's Run. Big Joe Logsdon with a party of hunters jumped the band. After a running fight along the buffalo trail the Indians decided to make a last stand in the big walnut timber of East Hill. However, it was not long until the savages decided to seek better security on the northern bank of the Ohio. The whites suffered no casualties. The Indians carried their dead with them. From the river bank at the mouth of Flippen's Run Big Joe shot an Indian in a canoe almost across the Ohio. Big Joe Logsdon was one of the famous Indian fighters that spent much time in Meade County.
In 1780 General William Hardin made a trip down the Ohio River and landed at the mouth of Sinking Creek. A man named Sinclair and two others were with him. Soon after landing they were attacked by a large party of Indians. Knowing that they were greatly outnumbered the whites decided to run for it. In the wild race across the barrens and along the streams they successfully eluded their pursuers. At dawn the next morning Hardin and his companions stopped to rest at the present site of Big Spring. Here the whites were compelled to fight. The peculiar character of the spring gave Hardin's party the advantage in the contest. Sinclair was killed early in the battle. Three others outwitted the redskins and made their way to the forts at Severh's Valley. Settlers from Hynes Station returned with Hardin and his two companions but the Indians had abandoned the site of the battle after scalping Sin-
18 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
clair. Sinclair was buried near the head of the Big Spring.
On a deer trace between Doe Run and the Hill Grove a party of surveyors was attacked by Indians. The time was late summer when the barrens were covered with the tall buffalo grass as high as a man's shoulder. This battle was little more than a running and a jumping contest as each party was willing to trust cover in the high grass rather than to depend upon their weapons. After exchanging several shots both parties withdrew from the field with the honors of war.
At another time near Rock Haven a party of savages were having a noisy celebration. John Vanmeter was in the vicinity and decided to have a good sized one man battle with the party. Vanmeter was riding a spirited horse. The country was covered with clumps of trees and long buffalo grass. Well armed and mounted Vanmeter decided that he could outrun a whole tribe of Indians. He launched a verbal attack by directing enough imaginary men to wipe out a good sized company of the enemy. While Vanmeter was busy arranging his forces he kept riding around the high ground giving explicit directions for his men to hold their fire. Only one shot was fired. Vanmeter himself was the soldier that received a scathing rebuke for wilful disobedience of orders. The Indians made a hasty retreat to the river. In this flight they did not wait for canoes, but swam the river. From the timber along the river Vanmeter concluded his attack by loud orders and a trusty rifle.
The military expedition of most significance to Americans in the West was perhaps that of General George Rogers Clark against the British at Kaskaskia.
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky 19
In 1778 according to depositions Squire Boone, John McKinney and others in company, were at different points on the old buffalo road from the mouth of Salt River to the mouth of Wolf Creek. It was over this historic trail that Clark's scouts passed as they convoyed the flatboats down the Ohio. This duty was one of the most dangerous of the expedition. Upon these scouts rested a responsibility that the present generation little realizes. This old buffalo road played the most important part of any highway in the drama that gave the Great West to the Americans.
On the way to make a settlement on Sinking Creek General William Hardin's party on a flatboat was fired upon by the Indians in the narrows of the Ohio near the mouth of Wolf Creek. These Indians were on the Indiana side of the river.
In the fall of 1792 a party of Indians stole some horses at the Hardin's Settlements. The infuriated settlers overtook them on Otter Creek and recaptured their horses. At the same time another band of Indians had been up the country along Salt River; in the skirmishes that followed fully a score of Indians were killed. These fights were not according to the accepted standards of modern warfare but were hand to hand combats.
During the Indian troubles of 1791-94 the general government authorized that 19 men should be stationed at the mouth of Salt River; 10 at Severn's Valley and 12 at Hardin's Settlement. The most important road over which these scouts went was the buffalo road from the outpost at Salt River to the mouth of Wolf Creek.
On one occasion Simeon Kingsley was hunting on the hills above Buck
Creek in Indiana Territory across
20 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky
the river from Brandenburg. A party of Indians chased Kingsley for a long distance. Finally seeing that he was likely to fall into their hands he found refuge in a hollow log. After a long while the Indians gave up the chase and some of them sat down to take council on the very log in which the fugitive was concealed. In telling about the incident Kingsley declared that he thought the Indians would surely hear the noise of his beating heart.
In the same vicinity Squire Boone settled. On one occasion he was running from a party of Indians whom he escaped by hiding in a cave. In this cave about three miles north of Brandenburg the body of this restless man was buried.
The settlers had many encounters during these troublous times that have been forgotten. The last Indian killed in Meade County was at a spring on the farm now owned by J. E. Jordan near Ekron. The Indian stopped to get a drink at the spring and a party of white men killed him.
During the early Indian troubles Andrew Fairleigh commanded a squad of soldiers which guarded the crossing of the Ohio at the mouth of Flippen's Run.
WHEN THE PIONEERS CAME.
In 1778 Squire Boone passing through this way in company with a certain John McKinney discovered at the head of Doe Run a spring which he frequented sundry times. In 1780 Squire Boone entered for Joseph Helm at this place 1,000 acres of land. August 20, 1786, Patrick Henry, Esquire, governor of the commonwealth of Virginia, signed the patent for this land which adjoined 5,000 acres entered by James Larue. The land at the head of Doe Run was covered with large sugar trees.
In November or December 1780 John Essery was with Samuel Wells, Senior, and others in the Buck Grove. Samuel Wells, Senior, entered 150 acres southeast from Doe Run. On May 29, 1804, Richard Willett resided on this land. Samuel Wells, Senior, also made an entry in 1780 in Big Hill Grove. Jonathan Simmons lived on this tract in 1804. In March, 1781, Wells made two entries in the Big Hill Grove. One of these began "on a high ridge at a pond and sugar tree." This party made an entry in the Hill Grove for John Carr, Sr.
October 15, 1780, Samuel Wells, Senior, entered on Doe Run 500 acres of land "to include the four springs and a sulphur lick." The Wells party spent the fall and winter of 1780- 81 in the vicinity of Doe Run.
January 3, 1783, Squire Boone entered 6,000 acres of land "on the Ohio River below the mouth of Doe Run." In this year Boone visited Hill Grove which he named Black Oak Grove.
The members of the Wells party of 1780-81 were John Essery, Lew Wells, Samuel Wells, Senior, Samuel
24 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
Wells, Junior, John Carr and others. This party suffered many hardships from their long stay. Samuel Wells, Junior, while making a survey of 810 acres about two and one-half miles below the mouth of Salt River, was surprised by a roving band of Indians. Wells and his surveyors abandoned most of their equipment near an old buffalo road.
In 1780 Daniel Boone built a hunting camp and planted a patch of ground at the "Boone Spring" near Big Spring. This is now owned by Sam J. Bunger. The following year he returned with Edward Bulger. They remained at the hunting camp and cultivated a patch of land. In 1793 John May purchased Bulger's claim and received a patent for the " Bulger Grove tract," "beginning at the spring of Boone and Bulger, northeast of the camp of Boone, thence southeast . . . poles to a post oak, beginning corner of Bulger's survey, etc. . . " In 1783 May, Bannister and Company purchased the "tomahawk mark," or boundary of Daniel Boone, and took out a patent for this land. All this land is about a mile and a half northeast of Big Spring.
In 1780 Squire Boone entered 3,335 acres of land in the name of Isaac Larue in a grove about ten miles from the Blue Ball. This entry in 1797 adjoined an entry made by Edward Bulger. The original roll of Captain Joseph Bowman's company at Harrodsburg and neighboring stations, January 24, 1778, contains Ed. Bulger's name. In 1780 Ed. Bulgur was an ensign in Captain William Harrod's company at the stations near the Falls of the Ohio.
Also Squire Boone deposes that in 1780 "he passed through Bulger's Grove, " and that he " became much better acquainted with same and in the year 1783 the
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 25
entry of Larue was by my direction and adjoining the same. "
January 12, 1780, John May purchased the right and title of James Hickman, heir at law of his two deceased brothers. Richard and Thomas Hickman were officers in the regiment commanded by Adam Steven in 1763. By the King of Great Britain's proclamation of 1763 each officer was entitled to a land warrant of 1,000 acres. January 31, 1780, John May entered 2,000 acres, on the Ohio River opposite the mouth of Blue River June 14, 1787, he was granted a patent for 10,000 acres, which included a tract of 3,000 acres on the Ohio River in the Round Bottom, or Big Bend.
William Preston, June 1, 1785, patented land at Wolf Creek. This patent included a part of James and Ann Harrod's preemption and settlement of 1,000 acres On this tract of land a station, or fort, was built but later abandoned. No one knows the date of this settlement. But from all the evidence perhaps the oldest settlement made by white men in Meade County was at the mouth of Wolf Creek.
Barbour and Banks recived a patent for 42,400 acres of land on the headwaters of Spring Creek. This tract and the Banks and Claiborne survey of 113,482 acres were the largest surveys in this section.
The land along the Ohio River between the mouth of Doe Run and the mouth of Otter Creek was entered by General Henry Crist. November 6, 1809, Jesse Moreman bought this tract of land including the Armstrong preemption for $3,960.
The first permanent settlements in Meade County were made in the Hill Grove, Stith's Valley and on Doe Run and Otter Creek. In 1784 Richard Stith (born
26 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
1727) and Lucy Hall Stith (born 1736) settled in Stith's Valley. They were married in Virginia, December 28, 1756, and were the parents of twelve children. Their son, Joseph Stith, (born September 6, 1759) was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.
In 1792 James N. Ross settled near the head of Doe Run. James Tibbs built a round log cabin at the Blue Spring and Walter Finch at the Buffalo Spring. Each of these settlers had rude stockades about an enclosure as a protection from the Indians and wild beasts. The cabin was usually built in one corner of the stockade The roof of heavy clapboards sloped to the inner side as protection against the Indians' throwing fire upon it. The chimney usually was built at the end of the cabin within the enclosure.
The first corn mill in Meade County was an undershot corncracker built by Jonathan Essery just below the mouth of Blue Spring Branch on Doe Run. Jonathan Essery bought this mill site from Philip Jenkins.
September 22, 1824, Justus Hurd and Zadock Hurd, Senior, executed a note for $75 in round silver, borrowed money, to William Berryman with Daniel S. Richardson, Samuel Root and John Stone securities, also mortgaging two water grist mills and one saw mill on Doe Run.
William Berryman was a good mechanic and accumulated a large estate in land and slaves. Samuel Root and John Stone operated a large tannery on Doe Run.
James Overton built the first flour mill on Otter Creek. At this mill a business place sprung up called Plain Dealing. Soon after a tavern was built by Fleming Woolfolk. He and John Overton were the early business men of this town.
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 27
Calvin Hurd and Jesse Brown bought Essery's mill on Doe Run. At the death of Calvin Hurd his estate paid Joseph Woolfolk, Senior, $71. At the sheriff's sale the land was bought by Daniel S. Richardson. This deed calls for a "white oak marked S. B. six poles above a large deep spring and an old hunting camp thereby." This was the spring Squire Boone discovered in 1778.
Philip Jenkins lived on Doe Run before 1800. March 15, 1796, Michael, Sarah and Charles Campbell sold 3,610 acres of land on the Ohio River below the mouth of Doe Run to James Dickey and James Buchanan for one dollar an acre.
The first settler in the Hill Grove was a man named Allen. He was the first man buried in the old graveyard in Hill Grove. In 1798 Philip Jenkins, Junior, purchased 700 acres of land in this grove. He sold Benjamin Allen 150 acres of this land. February 2, 1808, Phillip Jenkins and his wife, Jane, sold the Hill Grove land to Abisha Ashcraft. Jonathan Simmons came in 1800.
Ben Wooley Shacklett says: " Our family was among the earliest settlers as I get from record. My father and mother emigrated from Pennsylvania, Fayette County, in the year 1796. They took water at Redstone, with their small effects on a flatboat, and floated down the Ohio River and landed at the mouth of Beargrass, at the head of the Falls of the Ohio. He lived there two years; assisted in building the first mill that was built on Beargrass in Jefferson County; it was called Higers Mill, as he informed me. In 1798 he dropped down to the Tobacco Landing and settled in Jackey's Grove, near the center of Meade County, with two boys and a girl."
28 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky
Several other families settled in the vicinity of Jackey's Grove eight miles west from the Big Clay Lick. John Jenkins, the second white child born in Meade County, was born on the old Joseph Woolfolk place in 1798. The first white child, a girl, was born in 1797 at the Tobacco Landing on the Ohio River.
December 17, 1800, Richard Barbour sold George Oldham the Falling Springs tract of 3,000 acres. The present court- house stands on the site of the first house, a log cabin, ever built at Brandenburg.
The Shackletts are said to be of French origin. The following names and dates are taken from a copy of the record in a Bible owned by Ben Wooley Shacklett.
John Shacklett, born in England, 1678; his son, Ben Shacklett, born in England, 1710; his son, John Shacklett, born in Pennsylvania, 1747; his son, Ben Shacklett, born in Pennsylvania, 1774; his son, John Shacklett. born in Kentucky, 1796. Ben Shacklett and Elizabeth Ashcraft were married in Pennsylvania October 9, 1792.
John Jenkins and Sarah Shacklett Jenkins came to Meade County before 1800. At that time the settlers had to go with pack-horses to Severn's Valley to mill. They got their salt from the salt works at Bullitt's Lick. Salt cost a dollar a bushel. It was wet and would drip all the way to the pioneers' cabins. At that time salt was a luxury.
The Carrs came early from Pennsylvania. Elizabeth Carr Ashcraft (born in 1750) came in 1799. . Her husband, Richard Ashcraft was a noted Indian fighter in Pennsylvania. On account of the Indian atrocities in the valleys of western Pennsylvania he formed a bitter enmity against the Indians. He was a scout during the American Revolution. Usually he would come into
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 29
the camp from a scouting expedition with his shot pouch full of scalps. He spoke the Indian dialects and was familiar with the Indian character. Once he was captured but made his escape. His brother, Jed Ashcraft, was killed by the Indians about 1790 in what is now Grayson County, Kentucky.
The Ashcrafts built a fort, or station, in what is now Fayette County, Pennsylvania. It is related that Mrs. Rachel Ashcraft hearing a turkey gobbler call, was instantly on the alert with a rifle. Presently she heard the call again and then she saw an Indian peeping around a tree near the fort. The Indian fell with a rifle bullet through his head.
Absalom and Abisha Ashcraft, whose mark was a capital A, were early settlers in Meade County. Abisha was a son of the old Indian fighter, Richard Ashcraft. Ben Shacklett's wife, Elizabeth, and Blancet Shacklett's wife, Rachel, were his daughters. Neither knew what fear was. Abijah Ashcraft was known in Kentucky as the " old he wolf " on account of his vindictiveness towards the savages. Expert in woodcraft and with the rifle he was a terror on an Indian's trail.
John Shacklett's will was probated in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, October 27, 1809. The will provided for the widow and the children. The children were named in the following order: Sarah Jenkins (born 1772), Benjamin, Priscilla Horne (married Thomas Horne), Katherine Davis (married Enoch Davis), Polly (married first, Thomas Mills, second, Ben Fulton), Hannah (married Daniel Hayden), John (born 1784 and married Rachel Wimp in 1801 or 1802), Blancet (born 1787), Sophia (married Jacob Hayden), and Jesse (married Sallie Dodson).
30 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
Benjamin was appointed one of the executors and was sworn, March 1, 1810. After the estate was settled the children emigrated to Meady County. They landed at Solomon Brandenburg's Landing and Ferry, which was called "Buzzard Roost," bringing their household goods, stock and supplies with them. They "paid for their land with bar iron, castings and mill stones, the latter quarried and dressed by themselves at their father's quarry in Pennsylvania, (Laurel hill):"
With them came John Wimp and his family. John Wimp married Roxina, or Rosina, Kirkpatrick in Ireland. He served as a sergeant in Captain James Floyd's, Company of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, (April 23, 1779) in the Revolutionary War. Their children were: Daniel (married Rachel Welch), Polly (married George Dowell), Ben, Ephraim, and Rachel (married John Shacklett, after his death, married James Ross, March 8, 1830).
John Wimp was well educated. He joined the Masonic order in Europe. "He frequently spoke of having met General Washington in the lodge at Fairfax, and had a Masonic Medal which he greatly prized, having brought it from the old country, which was tied about his neck and buried with him as requested, at Hill Grove." He died at the age of ninety-eight.
Ben Wooley Shacklett tells the following: "After the death of my
grandfather, my grandmother rode on horseback from near Beasontown, Pennsylvania, to where
her children lived in Kentucky, with her youngest son, which was a trip of upwards of 500
miles; her age about 64 at that time. She was 97 years of age when she died. She was
buried on the high ground of Hill Grove.
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 31
After the death of my grandfather, my father, Ben Shacklett, went back to Pennsylvania and settled up the estate of my grandfather, and brought down the river a flatboat load of castings, bar irons, axes, hoes, reaping hooks and some square box stoves, the first that were ever introduced in the county. "
About the same time the Richardsons came to Meade County from White Hall, New York. They landed at Richardson's Landing on the Ohio River and settled at Payneville, Kentucky. David Richardson and Lydia Ackley were married at White Hall, New York, August 11, 1790. Their son Daniel S. Richardson married Polly Hurd, April 11, 1818. Polly Hurd Richardson was the first person buried in the Richardson graveyard on the Richardson place between Midway and Payneville.
One of the first doctors in Meade County was Doctor John Haynes of Virginia. He was a man of good education and received his medical education either in Harvard or Yale. His practice was extensive in this section. He settled at Big Spring soon after he came from Virginia. His wife was Martha Ann Campbell of Massachusetts. Doctor Haynes died about 1824.
A history of Otter Creek must begin with the visit of Daniel Boone and Michael Stoner in the summer of 1774. Daniel Boone made many visits to Otter Creek as also did his no less distinguished brother, Squire Boone . The Boones found refuge in a cave on Otter Creek on their frequent trips to this section.
John May, May, Bannister and Company and Thomas D. Carneal, Senior, surveyed and entered land on Otter Creek. Richard Woolfolk entered 82 acres of land "lying and being in the County of Nelson on the Ohio
32 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
River below the mouth of Salt River and the lower side of Otter Creek and bounded as followeth, towit: Beginning at the mouth of Otter Creek, the upper side there of," etc. This survey was dated July 29, 1788 and the deed was signed by Isaac Shelby, Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky at Lexington, February 18, 1793. This Richard Woolfolk married Miss Sarah Taylor. He built a grist and saw mill on Harrod's Creek in Jefferson County. He was a surveyor and civil engineer.
Above the mouth of Otter Creek on the Ohio River Thomas D. Carneal and John May owned 4,000 acres of land. About 1816 Enoch Boone settled on this tract. Other settlers on this land and in this vicinity were Blanchard, Lewis Withers, Goodrich and Trueman.
Enoch Boone was the youngest child of Squire Boone and was one of the first white children born in Kentucky. He married Lucy Galman in Shelby County, Kentucky. Their children were Eliza (born 1799, married Lewis Withers, July 18, 1820. Rev. Shadrach Brown performed the ceremony. Eliza died before April 21, 1827, leaving three children: James Albert, Sarah Jane and Ann Eliza Withers.); Amanda; Lucy Jane; Nelson G.; Minerva (married a Tedford and lived in Iowa); Whitfield; Thomas Carneal; and H. Clayton.
From the old Enoch Boone letters and papers it is certain that Enoch. Isaiah and William Boone served three months in 1794 in a military company commanded by Captain Bland Ballard.
January 5, 1833, Nelson G. Boone in a letter to his brother, Thomas C. Boone tells the news of the community.
Early Times in Meade County Kentucky. 33
"We had a lively Christmas in the neighborhood. There has been no less than four parties and I had the pleasure of being at all of them. But having been so little in the habit of keeping company that I felt a little awkward, and set a resolution to go more frequent into company. But my business is so urging that I have little time to devote to company. But to return. On Monday, the day before Christmas, Mr. Rawson gave a party. There was a large cotillion. Mr. Clarkson and Kemp from Elizabethtown were there. They danced all night. On Wednesday Ben Dorsey had a party. He had a large company. They had no girls from below the creek but all in the vicinity of West Point. Our belles were Zarada, Emeline, Lutian and Nancy. I was introduced to Ann Reed and Delilah Hughes. Miss Ann Reed is quite handsome. She was so facinating that I had almost fallen in love with her before I knew it."
In the same letter he says that Zarada told him at the party that his brother is to marry a Miss Perceful as soon as he completes his studies. He continues, "If such is the fact please write me in the next letter so l may make preparation." No answer was in the next letter. In another letter, February 11, 1833, Nelson writes the following news.
"There has been one death in the neighborhood very recently. Old William Fletch took a spree some four or five weeks ago and unfortunately (returning home from Garnettsville) missed his way and was compelled to lay out all night. It was extremely cold and he got extremely frost-bitten and in the course of two weeks after he departed this life.
William Kendall was married last Sunday to Miss
34 Early Times Meade County, County
Coffman near Nalls. They made but little to do. There were but few persons at the infare.
-- On last Sunday I had the pleasure of eating a fine turkey at Uncle Jack 's. Eight or ten persons dined. Amongst the rest James Nall. He has got the cessor's place again and is out on that business. His family is all well. Nall breaks very fast. He is very industrious.'
Sarah Morgan Boone, wife of Rev. Squire Boone, died at the home of her son, Enoch Morgan Boone, at his home near the mouth of Otter Creek, March 29, 1829. Her grandchildren called her " Big Granny " to distinguish her from Jane (Hughes) Boone whom they called "Little Granny."
In the old Hynes family burying ground about seven miles from the mouth of Otter Creek are buried several pioneers of Meade County. William Bathurst Stith (born May 2, 1784 and died October 6, 1829); Augustus W. White (born in Louisville November 6, 1798); G. W. Vaughn (born February 28, 1779 and died April 13, 1863); and Isaac L. Hynes (born at Hynes Station about 1790) have markers. Many of the old graves are unmarked. Isaac L. Hynes was in the battle of New Orleans and was one of the first settlers along Otter Creek.
Judge Codge Collins Fitch was born in Washington County, New York, May 13, 1792. He was a son of Joseph Fitch and Elizabeth (Harris) Fitch. Collins Fitch's great grandfather, Thomas Fitch, was at one time commander-in-chief of the British troops in America and later was governor of the colony of Connecticut.
Collins Fitch in his early life was a sailor. When the War of 1812 broke out he enlisted in the army and
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky 35
was in the battle of Queenstown, the opening battle of the war. He served under General Winfield Scott, at that time a colonel in the regular army. He was also a soldier in the Mexican War.
In 1817 he came to Kentucky and settled in Lexington. After coming to Kentucky he was engaged in the river traffic and for several years operated a trading boat. He settled in Meade County. He and Nelson G. Boone were associated in business.
He was twice married. His son, Tandy, was born in 1826. Collins Fitch and Lucy Jane Boone were married October 27, 1832, by Rev. Jacob Rogers.
At one time Collins Fitch was judge of the Meade County Court. In 1820 he was made a Master Mason at Lawrenceburg Lodge, Number 4. He was present in 1825 at Cincinnati, Ohio, when Lafayette visited that city, and sat in lodge with the distinguished Frenchman, a fact of which he was proud and to which he often referred in his long career.
Collins Fitch died at his home at Garnettsville, February 26, 1892. He built this house in 1820. The only two children born in this home are Franklin (born September 18, 1910) and Richard (born June 6, 1912), the sons of Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Kunnecke of Muldraugh.
Judge Fitch was a ripe scholar and a charming conversationalist. He was a Democrat all his life and never missed a vote for his party since he attained his majority. At the August election before his death he rode three and one-half miles to cast his ballot.
Very early in the history of Meade County Little Bend was settled by William Parr at Wolf Creek, Robert
36 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
Hardin, Warren Hardin Richard Willett and Hiram Boone.
Hiram Boone founded Boone Port in Little Bend. The site of this landing has fallen into the river. In the Hayden and Atwill account book is listed "Henry Fullinwider. Bond for a title to four lots in the town of Boone Borough, Indiana."
Robert Hardin and Eleanor Sherrill were married in Washington County, Kentucky, in 1799. Soon after this they came to Meade County. Their graves are in Little Bend. To the left of the inscription on the tomb stone of Robert Hardin is a hunter, seated upon a log, with a gun in his hand and by his side a dog, suggestive of the pioneer days. Below are the exact inscriptions:
Born in Penn., May 6, 1776
Married Elenor Sherrill 1799
In Washington County, Ky.
Departed this life March 10, 1840
In Meade County, Ky.
Aged 63 years, 10 months, 5 days.
Born in North Carolina
May 23, 1780.
Departed this life Nov. 5, 1869
Aged 88 years, 5 months, 12 days.
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 37
On the Edwin H. Woolfolk place near Brandenburg is an old family burying ground. These inscriptions are interesting:
Born at Ft. Clark, February 25, 1779
Died September 4, 1844.
Aged 65 years, 6 months, 10 days."
On a rough limestone marker is crudely written:
January 18, 1751 Aged 93. "
By the side of this grave on a similar stone is this inscription:
" Sarah Brown
Died Oct. 8, 1846
Age 68 years."
On a knoll south of the Buck Grove is the family burying ground of the Vanmeters. Here rests the body of Jacob Vanmeter, the second, born August 4, 1762, in Berkley County, Virginia. He became a member of a Baptist church at the age of eleven. With his father, Jacob Vanmeter, he came to Severn's Valley in 1779-80 and settled on Valley Creek two miles from the present. Elizabethtown.
Jacob Vanmeter later settled at the forks of Otter Creek. For seventy-eight years he was a member of a Baptist church. He was in the original constitution of the Severn's Valley Baptist Church as were his father and mother.
He died at the home of his son, John Vanmeter. October 12, 1850. He left thirteen children. Seven
38 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
of the ten sons were deacons of Baptist churches. Three days before his death he conducted family worship. He had to be assisted to his chair at the conclusion of the long prayer. As he sat in the chair he repeated many hymns from Watts which the family had never heard him repeat before. He was the last survivor of the eighteen members gathered in the historic Severn's Vally Baptist Church, June 18, 1781. For forty-five years Jacob Vanmeter, Junior, was a deacon in a Baptist church. He was an excellent citizen and a loyal Christian.
By his side lies his wife, Elizabeth Vanmeter, who died February 29, 1852, aged eighty-five years. Near the graves of his father and mother is the grave of Deacon John Vanmeter, who died July 21, 1878, aged eighty-seven years and six months. By her husband's grave is that of Susan S. Vanmeter, born February 22, 1798 and died July 23, 1861.
Near the family plot is the grave of G. Handy Vanmeter who died February 21, 1879. He was sixty years old and the inscription, "Here lies my friend and nurse, " tells the story of a slave's devotion to the family whose name he bears. He was a typical Southern near a whose honor was his devoted service.
In the extreme eastern edge of Meade County near the Ohio River is the Boone graveyard. This little family cemetery is near the old buffalo road from West Point to the mouth of Otter Creek. Over this trail many times Daniel Boone and Squire Boone traveled. Beneath the grass covered mounds rest the bodies of their loved ones who fell on peaceful sleep in the romantic days "When Kentucky Was Young."
April 18, 1784, a 113,482 acre survey for Henry Banks and Richard Claiborne began fourteen miles from the Ohio River and six miles below two military surveys for Philip Barbour. In 1787 Richard Clairborne with the power of attorney from his partner was in Europe trying to sell this vast estate extending along the Ohio River from below Buck Run to Doe Run.
February 16, 1787, a certain Samuel Blackden of England, who was acting as agent for Banks and Clairborne in Paris, France, sold to a Frenchman, Pierre Louis Phillipe Gallot de Lormerie, 5,277 acres of this tract for 600 pounds 5 shillings and nine pence with an additional 600 pounds to be paid within twelve months. January 1, 1797, this deed was recorded in the Registry of the Court of Appeals. But among other things since the deed to the tract had been made in a foreign country and there was some question under the Kentucky land laws as to the validity of the deed thus made in a foreign country. Accordingly, February 2, 1799, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Banks and Claiborne made de Lormerie a new deed.
January 6, 1794, the owners sold the remainder of the 113,482 acre tract of land to James Blanchard for about $25,000. Soon after acquiring title to this large boundary of Kentucky land, Trenchard made an agreement with Henry Servanties, Colbern Barrel and David Barbour for David Barbour to take possession of the land. Under this agreement at different times Burgess Allison, John Keign, David Allison, William Shannon,
42 Early Times in Meade Kentucky.
John Fries, John Lisle and Guy Bryan had title under the original patent to parts of this survey.
In 1809 Samuel Bleight, Doctor of Physic, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, bought all the titles of all persons claiming title to the 113,482 acres of land under the original Banks and Claiborne survey. This was the beginning of a bitter land lawsuit. In the end Doctor Bleight lost the land. This remarkable man came to Kentucky to trade in lands. Besides this tract he owned 98,000 acres on Nolin Creek in Hardin, Hart and Grayson Counties, a 28,000 acre tract of land and an 8,000 acre tract in the barrens in the eastern end of the present county of Meade.
The early land history of Brandenburg is a subject for a lawyer's brief. However, the Thomas Barbour 3,000 acre tract known as the Philip Barbour military survey, or the Falling Springs tract, is familiar to lawyers in Meade County. This land was sold to George Oldham. John Rice and Patsy, his wife, lived near Flippen's Run and, July 17, 1804, sold Solomon Brandenburg their land. This is the first deed to this man who owned much land in the county.
Solomon Brandenburg later bought the Falling Springs tract "beginning at George Oldham, Junior, upper corner" and calling for Rice's line. Joseph Atwill and George Eliot were the witnesses to this deed. George Oldham, Junior, built a cabin on the site of the present public square at Brandenburg. This was the first house built on the site of Brandenburg.
Solomon Brandenburg came to Meade County a few years before he bought land. " His heart was as big as a Dutchman's and a Dutchman's heart is as big as a barn
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 43
door. " The date and the place of his birth are unknown by the people who reside in Meade County.
The two hills upon which the town of Brandenburg is built were covered with large black walnut trees in the early days of the last century. At the left of the present court house Solomon Brandenburg built a double log house of hewed walnut logs. This famous building was known as the "Old Walnut Log Tavern." The old stone chimney was standing when the present court house was built. Mrs. Frank Ditto suggested that the stones of the chimney should be left as a monument to the memory of that famous stopping place. Unfortunately, her suggestion was disregarded and the stones were removed.
The " Old Walnut Log Tavern " was famous for roast pig. Here stopped General James Wilkinson and Aaron Burr. In this celebrated tavern the wanderers of the West found genuine hospitality. Within these walls the gifted John James Audubon, the great ornitholigist, was a visitor. A list of the travelers who stopped here is a roll call of the famous men of the Ohio Valley.
Solomon Brandenburg cleared East Hill and raised a crop of corn that was talked about for years by the first settlers. Before his marriage to Miss Elizabeth Kennedy, May 9, 1807, he hunted, fished and ran flatboats down the Ohio River. Every fall he hunted bear regularly on big Blue River in Indiana Territory with a friend, (perhaps Sybert).
A story is told of Brandenburg on one of these hunting trips. He owned a favorite bull slut who would seize a bear and hold on. On this occasion she seized a very large bear that carried her up a tree over a deep ravine. After the bear had carried the dog up the tree
44 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
some fifty or sixty feet Brandenburg shot the bear. The bear fell upon the dog and so severely injured her that she died. Brandenburg's grief was so real that he shed tears as if he had lost a good friend
Solomon Brandenburg was a slave owner. Henry Washington, March 30, 1827, names the children of Solomon and Elizabeth Brandenburg in the following order: Hester, Eliza, David, Swan, Solomon, Thomas, and Elizabeth.
His mother, Hester Brandenburg, died September 19, 1821, in her seventy-seventh year and is buried in Solomon Brandenburg's private burying ground on West Hill overlooking the beautiful Ohio River. His wife, Elizabeth Kennedy Brandenburg, died September 22, 1838, and rests in the same plot. Mrs. Polly Stratton, wife of Serajah Stratton, Mrs. Eliza Francis Mckinzie, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Fairleigh, Horace G. Perceful, members of the Fontaine family, the George family and the Mills family are buried in this cemetery. This burial place has been neglected for many years but at this time it is being put in better condition in memory of the known and the unknown dead who sleep in this beautful plot.
Swan Brandenburg died of cholera June 30, 1851, and is buried in the
Walker burying ground on East Hill. This was the year that many of the citizens died of
this awful scourge. Ben Gager Shacklett wrote for Ben Wooley Shacklett to come to
Brandenburg. When Ben Wooley arrived Ben Gager and his wife and oldest son and a negro
woman were dead. The only survivor of the family was the youngest son who was away
visiting. Swan Brandenburg and many others were buried that night.
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 45
At Solomon Brandenburg's Landing and Ferry in 1814 the steamboat, Elizabeth, was built. This was three years after the construction of the first steamboat, the Orleans, or New Orleans, at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, the first steamboat built in the west. The Elizabeth was owned by a company of Meade and Hardin County citizens. The boat was not a financial success. Benjamin Shacklett was captain when the boat was sold at New Orleans, Louisiana. With him on that trip were George Helm, father of Governor John L. Helm, and Absalom Brandenburg.
In 1816 the steamboat Hornet was built at the Brandenburg Landing. October 9, 1821, Hayden and Atwill listed "two shares in the Steamboat Hornet at $100 each. " In litigation styled John Welch vs. Hornet Steamboat Company the names of the following appear: William L. McGehee, Solomon Brandenburg, Edward Hayden, residents of Kentucky and Lewis Carroll and Caleb Morton, "not inhabitants of this Commonwealth. " This court's proceeding has a final word, "Dismissed."
The third boat built at Brandenburg was the Grecian constructed in 1822. The owner's names are unknown. All these steamboat ventures ended in financial failure. While General Benjamin Shacklett, Solomon Brandenburg, Joseph Atwill and others were experienced flatboat men they were not successful with steamboats. The three boats built at Brandenburg were some of that earliest boats constructed in the West where there were so few transportation facilities.
On one of the steamboat trips Benjamin Shacklett had as his pilot, his brother, whom the boatmen called "Old Choc." "Old Choc" had lived among the Indians on the lower Mississippi. On this particular trip up
46 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
the river from New Orleans "Old Choc" was Captain Shacklett's pilot. One afternoon whiskey was passed around rather freely. The pilot soon began to see two river banks on each side of the river. Finally he asked his brother to relieve him at the wheel.
Taking the wheel Captain Shacklett asked, "Which way do you steer her, Choc?"
"Keep 'er in the right hand chute all the way up. Cap'n," replied the unsteady pilot.
In following the instruction of the pilot Captain Shacklett took the boat far up the Yazoo River which was in flood stage. The next morning "Old Choc" took the wheel and the voyage was finished without the further use of whiskey on the pilot's part.
Solomon Brandenburg in 1839 moved to Mississippi to be near his son-in-law, the Honorable George C. Calhoon, who married Solomon Brandenburg's youngest daughter. George C. Calhoon was a lawyer and was county attorney for Meade County and also was a member of the legislature from this county. He lived in the residence once owned by Judge Alexander on East Hill. Solomon Brandenburg died in 1845 in Mississippi and is buried in that state.
Joseph Atwill and Celia Simmons were married August 14, 1814. Celia Simmons was the daughter of William Simmons (born May 25, 1765) and Elizabeth Miles Simmons (born November 14, 1776). Her parents were married September 11, 1794. Cecelia Simmons was born September 2, 1798.
Joseph Atwill was an old flatboat man. His career on the river was long and honorable. After his marriage he moved to a round-log cabin near Brandenburg.
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 47
Soon after purchasing a large tract of land he built a double hewn log house a story and a half high with chimneys of dressed stone. This house stood near the Atwill spring below Brandenburg.
Soon after coming to Kentucky he became a partner of Edward Hayden. An inventory of their property, October 9, 1821, shows that they had goods at the Yellow Banks, Little York, Rockport, Boonsborough, Indiana, and Booneville. Also they had deposits, drafts and bills due them in Baltimore, Maryland; New Orleans, Louisiana, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Their total assets amounted to a little over $25,000. He acquired a large tract of land below Brandenburg and built a beautiful brick residence on the bank of the Ohio River.
In manner he was abrupt and stern. On the river in danger he was always master of the situation. To his companions on the river trips he was one of the kindest hearted of men and would do everything within his power for their comfort.
During the Earthquake of 1811, he was on the river with a party of men with flatboats. During the severe tremors several of the boats sank. Joseph Atwill's boat was among the number and in the confusion he found safety in a large tree that had been thrown into the river by the earthquake. After passing a night on this precarious shelter he was rescued by passing boatmen.
Solomon Brandenburg and Joseph Atwill did much for Brandenburg. Although handicapped by a very tedious and bitter land litigation they made the town one of the most important shipping points along the Ohio below Louisville. Doctor Samuel Bleight bought the title to
48 Early Times in County, Kentucky.
the Banks and Claiborne survey after actual settlers had received patents for the land in this area.
Accordingly, Doctor Bleight mandamused the auditor in the spring of 1825 to list his lands. Bleight's contention was that the 113,482 acre tract had never been listed with the auditor and that the taxes on the two larger tracts had been paid until the year 1813 inclusive. At a sale for the taxes in 1814 Isham Talbot had bought the land.
But Bleight claimed that the land act of January 12, 1825, authorized him to redeem this land by paying the taxes due and by listing with the auditor. He wished to do this but the auditor would not receive the taxes and give a quietus except by a payment of a large sum of damages and interest. Therefore he asked a mandamus.
The auditor's answer was that one tract had been sold in 1806 for the taxes due in 1792; that the act of 1795 gave the Commonwealth a perpetual lien for taxes; that the act of 1797 provided 10 per cent interest on unpaid taxes with a perpetual tax lien; and that the 1799 act had similar provisions.
The Judges of the Court of Appeals in examining the act of 1825 said:
"The preamble of this act, which is said to be its key, breathes a sentiment by no means favorable to the petitioner, if he is one of those who would disturb an actual settler, a class of citizens peculiarly fostered by the legislature of our country. " After due examination of the 1825 act the court's verdict was: "They impose heavy forfeitures, all to inure to the benefit of the occupant. "
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 49
The actual settlers of the county won after trade had gone to other locations along the river. At the beginning of the suits Brandenburg was on the highway to the Indiana Territory. When the suits were finally decided the town had suffered the loss of trade and was only a river town.
In 1826 the following owners of land were living on farms purchased from Solomon Brandenburg: Joseph Atwill, Esquire, Henry Shoptaugh, Frederick Mauck, Nicholas Shoptaugh, John Huffman, Henry Yeaky, Gahriel Wathen, William Richardson, Andrew Haberfield, Charles Source, William Fairleigh, Thomas B. Enlows, Waters F. G. Lansdale, James Smith, Leonard B. Parker, and Judith Chaffin.
From an old blacksmith's account book beginning November 12, 1833, the
following names appear:
Joseph Woolfolk Dannel Mathes
Lewis Richardson Orlando Stinnet
James Reed John Shacklett
Ezra Shaver Thomas Toben
Thomas Rush Dannel Fulton
John Wimp Jesse Howl
Hugh Isler Samuel Overton
John Long George Frymire
Lewis Darnell Lewis Alexander
Benjamin Shacklett John McBrown
Lerite Clark Flemmon Edmon
James Wimp William C. Michal
David Smith William Roberts
Heli Kendall John Williams
John Rush Dick Payne
John Stinnet Thomas Roberts
Leon Coopper Jacob Ragon
50 Early Times Meade Meade Kentucky.
Miles Sheppard Warron Richardson
John Shepherd Cleveland Clark
Jacob Shaver William Toben
John Vanmeter James Crutcher
Benjamin Keeth Alpheus Tucker
This smith, James Shoptaugh, manufactured a small quantity of nails for one of his customers. In another account book there is the solemn record of one item of one quart of whiskey purchased every day except Saturday when two quarts were purchased.
In an appraisal list among other items appears, "one lot of cooking 'you tensions'. "
Soon after Brandenburg was laid off the following persons owned lots in the town: Solomon Brandenburg, James Perceful, John S. Chapman, Dr. Charles Stuart, William Fairleigh, Hester Brandenburg, William Goatley, John Goatley, Gabriel Wathen, William B. Charles, John W. Lowe, Louisiana Brandenburg and Dr. David A. Hascall.
Thomas B. Enlows had a tan-yard east of the town. Soon after this Solomon Brandenburg sold Griffin T. Roach the right to have water from a spring for a tanyard on Flippen's Run "provided there be a sufficient quantity after supplying the citizens of the place and its vicinity, of water for family use, and the tan-yard of Thomas B. Enlows." It was further provided that the "said Roach is not to prevent any person from using the water of said spring, for family use, nor is he to prevent it being taken for other uses, provided there be more than enough for his tan-yard aforesaid."
Of the early years at Brandenburg, perhaps William Fairleigh knew more than any other man in Meade
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky 51
County. He was born in Hardin County in 1797 and died in Brandenburg in 1865. He married Elizabeth Enlows (born 1803, died 1867). Of his faithful and efficient services as a man and public official the Honorable Samuel Haycraft has this in "Haycraft's History of Elizabethtown, Ky. ":
"Same day (January 20, 1817) William Fairleigh sworn as deputy clerk. He was an efficient and faithful deputy, and although afflicted with a white swelling a great part of the time and which slightly lamed him for life, he never flinched from his duty, and during court times repeatedly wrote the whole night in bringing up the orders of the court. When Meade County was established he received the appointment of clerk, which he held nearly all the rest of his life, thirty or forty years, and there was no better clerk in the State, and according to my opinion, there was no better man.
Shortly after he went to Meade he became a member of the Methodist Church and remained a consistent member until the day of his death. His excellent wife was also a member of the same church. They were counted pillars and their house was always the preacher's home, with the latchstring always out. "
Of the family's removal to Meade County and to Brandenburg, James Larue Fairleigh, a son of William and Elizabeth Fairleigh, leaves the following account, written July 10, 1880.
"At the first courts my father was appointed clerk of each court (county and circuit) and of course had to move to the county. As young as I was, (not four years old) I remember incidents in the moving, very distinctly, the stalling of one of the wagons on the road and the
52 Early Times in MeadeCounty, Kentucky.
arrival at Little York, the place of our destination. I remember very well Ma was troubled about the appearance of things at the hotel where we stopped, and then, the house where we were to occupy had been occupied by stock. This had to be scraped, scrubbed, washed and cleaned, but she made the best of it she could, and it was not long till things assumed a better aspect.
At that day Little York was quite a village with its two grist mills, saw mill, a store or two, blacksmith and other shops. There was also quite a settlement along Doe Run of mostly Eastern people from the state of New York but they have long since, mostly, left the state.
The county seat was finally located at Brandenburg's ferry on the Ohio River about four and one-half miles west of Little York. To this place my father moved in the Spring of 1825. Captain Brandenburg's house was perhaps the only dwelling in the place and that was situated on the high bench of ground fronting the river in the hollow between the two hills. This house served as a hotel, court-house and store house until other and more convenient accommodations could be prepared and I might say it was used for a school house also. The first school I ever attended was taught in it and it long remained the leading hotel of the place. The bench of ground upon which it was situated is now occupied by the present new court-house.
My father's house, if not the first, was among the first built in the place. It was a double log house, one and a half stories high. It was in the spring of the year and the family lived in a tent made of plank and boards which served as a reception room, parlor, dining room, bed chamber and kitchen, until one room of the
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 53
house was sufficiently completed to do the same duty when it was occupied. They did not wait to have the shutters to the doors and windows but moved in as soon as the roof was on and the lower floor laid. When it was necessary to close the doors and windows, bed quilts and blankets were brought into requisition and they answered the purpose very well as sneak thieves and their ilk were rather scarce in those days. The other end, or room of the house, with loose boards laid down with boards for a floor, was occupied and used as a clerk's office-for perhaps two or three years, or at least until the double frame house was built on the corner of the lot west of the home mansion (the one now owned by Judge Alexander) when the clerk's office was removed to one room of that house.
The house was built in the woods. The woods extended near or quite to the brow of East Hill. The hillside next to Captain Brandcnburg's house was cleared off and on this was an apple orchard. Captain Brandenburg's farm was entirely or at least, most on West Hill.
The town was laid off by Nathan Raitt, an experienced surveyor of that day, and presents a fine appearance on paper, however rugged its surface may be. The public sale of the lots were held in the same year, 1825, at which quite a number of persons from a distance, as well as the immediate vicinity, attended.
The crowds at night spent their time in various ways of amusement into all of which the social glass entered largely. On one occasion when all were merrily filled with the intoxicating fluid and were musically inclined it was agreed that every one should sing a song. And the one who failed to "pack" the tune should be thrown
54 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky
over a large bake oven which stood in front of Captain Brandenburg's house on the brow of the bench, or bank. next to the river.
In those days a man's word was as good as his bond, drunk or sober. So at it they went, each singing his song in turn and all carrying the tune through well. At last it came to the turn of old Mr. Hambrick, a stone mason, who began his song but in the midst of it, he broke down and could not "pack" the tune, perhaps, from having imbibed too much. He was immediately tried by his peers for a breach of the agreement, or failure, to "pack" the tune and found guilty and sentenced to undergo the penalty agreed upon. It was immediately put into execution by four men, one taking each limb and giving him a swinging motion. Over the bake oven he went feet foremost. Although drunk he was considerably hurt and it was sometime before he put up another chimney, this being his employment at that time.
In the spring of 1832 occurred the great flood on the Ohio River. (The river reached its highest at Louisville February 21, 1832.) Haystacks, dwelling houses, mills, etc., floated by frequently. And for many days a great many houses lodged on the head of Flint Island. The river was up to where Mr. Boling now lives in Brandenburg and flatboats laid alongside the houses on Main Street. In the spring of 1847 was the next highest water but it did not reach the height of the water in 1832 by several feet. "
Many of the early Hardin and Meade County men were engaged in the flatboat business in the early days. From the old James Crutcher papers there is a record of a trip from Curd's warehouse on Dick's River to New
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 55
Orleans. A cargo of corn, tobacco and lard was received on board the good flatboat, Eliza, March 19, 1819, and it was received at New Orleans, June 1, 1819. It was stipulated on the bill of lading that the shipper must risk "the Dangers of the river and other unavoidable accidents. "
Another copy of the bill of lading from the Crutcher papers follows:
"36,648 pounds of tobacco shipped by William Akin, Danville, Ky., on board the good flatboat called the No. 4, whereof is master for the present voyage, James Crutcher, now lying in the River Kentucky and bound for the port of New Orleans. To be paid at the rate of 1 cent a pound. 1-2 at New Orleans. 1-2 at Danville "
River transportation was slow. The following order may still be seen in the Crutcher papers:
" Mr. James Crutcher will please to bring M. A. Wilson, viz.:
1 chest, 1 trunk, one demijohn, 1 stone jug, 1 bed, 2 venison hams, 1
oven and led (lid), 1 saddle with your own trunk. The two trunks and saddle are at Mr.
Howl's store. The other things are at the Ware House of Youngs, Esqr.
M. A. Wilson."
After delivering a cargo on flatboats at New Orleans Mr. Crutcher would walk back to Kentucky. On these trips he carried his money in a close fitting deer skin vest which he wore under his shirt.
The first page of the Methodist Episcopal class book kept by Reverend John G. Denton has the names B. T. Crotch, William Helm, F. H. Blandig. 1832. "For the Class at Brandenburg, Meade County, Ky. Stephen Harber. "
56 Early Times in MeadeCounty, Kentucky.
Members names, 1833: William Fairleigh, Elizabeth Fairleigh, Thomas B. Enlows, Ann Enlows, Serajah Stratten, Mary Stratten, Electa Miller, Chas. Rawley, Lourane Hascall, Abijah Bodine, Alenson Moreman, Martha Case, Emily Straten, W. T. Foushee, Ratchel Furguson and Ratchel Moreman. Colored -- Peter,, Solemon, Toby, Hannah, Susan, Lidia. "
That the Methodists had services previous to 1832, is certain. It is altogether probable that the first Methodist services were held in the residence of William Fair leigh on East Hill.
Meade County was named in honor of Captain James Meade who was killed in the battle of the River Raisin. The act establishing Meade County out of parts of Hardin and Breckinridge Counties was approved, December 17, 1823, by His Excellency, John Adair, Governor Of Kentucky. Joseph Stith, John H. Trent, William Ditto William Garnett, Robert W. Washington, Joseph Atwill and William F. Foushee met at John Rush's house in Buck Grove as designated in the act and organized, Monday, March 22, 1824, a county court. Each man produced a commission of a justice of the peace signed by the governor. Joseph Stith administered to John H. Trent " the oath required by the constitution of the United States together with the several oaths required by the constitution and the laws of this state." John H. Trent in turn administered the same oaths to the other appointees.
After these gentlemen Justices had taken their seats, Benjamin Shacklett produced a commission as sheriff from the governor and gave bend in the sum of $3,000. Joseph Stith, Nicholas Miller, Robert Bleakley, Soloman Brandenburg, William Lane and Richard Stith, Junior, signed the sheriff's bond. Robert Bleakley was appointed deputy sheriff. William Fairleigh was appointed clerk pro tempore. His bond for $10,000 was signed by Samuel Haycraft, Ben Helm, Robert McLure, Denton Geoghegan, Miles H. Chinowith, John B. Helm and John L. Helm.
The county was divided into three districts. The first district was east of a line from Moreman's Ferry
60 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
to a pond half-way from the mouth of the Brushy Fork of Otter Creek and the Big Spring. William B. Stith was elected constable of this district. The second district extended from the line of the first district to a line beginning at Joseph B. Woolfolk's, leaving him in the lower or third district, thence a straight line to Colonel Carr's. Samuel Browles was elected constable of the second district. Oliver Burch was elected constable of the third district.
John L. Helm was appointed county attorney. He was born September 8, 1802. His long and honorable career as a lawyer and a public official began in Meade County when he was twenty-one years old.
Jesse Shacklett produced his commission from the governor as coroner. He gave a bond of one thousand pounds signed by Richard Stith, George Humphrey and Samuel Brown.
Nathan Raitt and Robert Stout were recommended to the governor by the court as capable surveyors.
Daniel S. Bell, William Allen, Thomas Q. Wilson and John L. Helm were admitted to practice in this court.
At the April term of the county court William Fairleigh presented his certificate of qualifications as a clerk signed by John Boyle, William Owsley and B. Mills, Judges of the Court of Appeals, and Achilles Sneed, clerk of that court.
James B. Woolfolk produced his commission as a justice of the peace.
The following order of the county' court was passed. June 28, 1824.
"Ordered that William Ditto and William Garnett Esquires, be and they are hereby appointed Judges to superintend the Meade General election to be held at
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 61
this place in August next, and that Robert W. Washington be appointed clerk of said election."
An election at that time was held for a period of three days. Every man in the county had to vote at the court-house which was John Rush's House. Elections and regimental musters were the scenes of much " fist and skull " fighting. In these encounters men fought to determine the best man in the county. The man who used a weapon was ever after disgraced and branded by the stigma of coward. The title, "the best man in the county, " was gained with a man's fists. This honor carried with it more distinction than the decorations of a modern soldier.
On election days each candidate had his fighting men hurrahing for him. It was a time when public questions were often determined by personal combat. On the last day of an election a fight was generally staged for the remaining votes. The remaining votes were usually cast for the winner 's candidate.
At this first election held at John Rush's, Dan Shacklett (Gentleman Dan) fought a pitched battle with Isaac Vertrees. Probably this was the hardest fight in Meade County. A large crowd formed a ring around the contestants and allowed no interference. They fought over an acre of ground for thirty- seven minutes
Old Jesse Shacklett and Benjamin Shaver had two contests. In the first fight Shaver took undue advantage of his opponent by biting off a part of Shacklett's ear. As Shacklett did not fully approve of such proceedings he challenged Shaver to a second fight at a later time. In this contest to even up the score Shacklett bit off a part of Shaver's ear. Both battles were fought to decide which was the better man.
62 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
Ben Wooley Shacklett was the best man in his day in the county. He was born in Jackey's Grove in Meade County (then Hardin County), March 15, 1805. He was the son of General Benjamin Shacklett and Elizabeth Ashcraft Shacklett. Ben Wooley grew up in Meade County. His early life was filled with the adventure of the border. He says, "After my recollection the Indians were troublesome, and crossed the river and drove off! the settlers' horses. "
He was a great fighting man at elections and musters. He fought and whipped every man that tried him.
At an elector at the old court-house on East Hill the farmers were showing their fine horses. Dan Basinger had a blooded stallion which injured an old man in the crowd. In protection of the old man a young man, Fulton, struck the stallion on the forehead with a heavy cane.
Basinger let go of the horse and severely whipped Fulton with a horse whip. Ben Wooley remonstrated with Basinger. But Basinger was in a fighting mood and Shacklett either had to fight or run. The ring was formed on the public square and after more than a half an hour's fight Basinger cried, "enough."
Because the men were all on Shacklett's side Basinger challenged him to a second battle. Shacklett with some dread accepted the challenge. This fight took place at the Sweat spring in a wheat field owned at the time by Daniel Richardson. This was the most noted contest in which Ben Wooley took part. It lasted fifty-six minutes. In his old age Shacklett said of this fight:
" I had an easier time than I had expected. We were always good friends after that, to the day of his death. "
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 63
William G. Beall related the following account of Ben Wooley Shacklett:
" I saw him strip all to his drawers and socks to fight part of his own clan, when attacked by several of his own clan, and that he was the most splendid specimen of a 'prize fighter' that I had ever seen. "
Ben Wooley was a grand juror at a circuit court at Brandenburg. He had left his horse at Daniel Stark's. Stark also ran a grocery (the name for a saloon at that time). Shacklett was putting on his overcoat when Vincent Nelson challenged him for a fight after a short scuffle. They adjourned to the road before Stark's place. Shacklett struck one lick. The result was a fractured jaw and leg credited to the account of Vincent Nelson.
At that time every county had its fighting men. These contests even at their worst were more humane, less strenuous and less brutal than a modern game of football. Then strong men ruled.
The old Shackletts were not rough and ready men of the border. They were polite and mild mannered men who zealously insisted and demanded the keeping of law and order.
The Honorable Robert Triplett of Daviess County tells of a visit to General Benjamin Shacklett's home. At that time men who acted as agents for large landholders were looked upon with suspicion and distrust. In some localities it was almost worth a man's life to act in that capacity. Triplett's friends warned him of danger from the Shackletts if he surveyed in Meade County.
Triplett concluded to pay General Shacklett a visit and explain his business before making any surveys.
64 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
Upon approaching the general about the business in hand the general said:
"Let me see your papers."
After an examination of the papers he gave more information about corners, locality, lines and land values than Triplett himself had. He accepted the general's invitation to stay with him and rode over the country without pay in order to help the surveyor. Triplett says that he never received more hospitality in his life. At his departure he gave General Shacklett an appointment to act as his agent in Meade County.
General Shacklett was a man of good address. He was the first justice of the peace in the Hardin County Court appointed from the present territory of Meade County. He was captain of a company in 1811 and went as far as Vincennes. In 1812 he was a major under General Wilcox. He was in the battle of Tippecanoe but did not get to Fort Harrison until after the battle. He also served Hardin County as sheriff and was appointed the first sheriff of Meade County. He died at his home in the Hill Grove, May 24, 1838.
Public men relied upon General Shacklett's knowledge of local matters in Meade County. He was most methodical and scrupulous in his public duties. His papers in his desk were burned many years after his death.
Samuel Haycraft of Hardin County says:
"I heard Patrick Henry Darby, an eminent lawyer say once, that Captain Brandenburg and General Benjamin Shacklett, although sensible men do not know, either of them, how to tell a falsehood."
So strict were these early men in their deportment, integrity and personal honesty that the public record,
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 65
bear ample proof of each man: " His word was his bond. "
Joseph Stith was appointed sheriff in 1826 and Joseph Pike was his deputy.
John H. Trent was granted a license to celebrate the rites of matrimony. He gave bond in the sum of five hundreds pounds.
George Calhoon produced a license to practice law Several years later he moved to Mississippi.
The following stock marks were duly recorded in the minute books of the county court.
Robert Hardin in Little Bend: A swallow fork in left and underbit in right ear.
Joseph Atwill, Brandenburg: A crop and underbit in right and a lance point on the left ear.
William Ditto above Brandenburg: A smooth crop and hole in each ear.
Daniel Fulton near the Hill Grove: A crop of the right ear and half crop on the underside of the left ear.
Solomon Brandenburg: A crop and hole in left crop and slit in right.
John Rush in Buck Grove: Swallow fork in the right ear and underbit in the left ear.
It would be difficult to change these stock marks without detection.
Benjamin Shaver, Daniel Fulton, Lewis Walker and James Dowell, captain,
were appointed patrollers.
At the April county court appraisers were appointed to appraise the estate and the slaves, if any, of John Shacklett.
The court regulated tavern keepers' pay in commonwealth paper: "For dinner 37 1-2 cents; for breakfast
66 Early Times Meade County, Kentucky.
or supper, twenty-five cents; for lodging one night, 12 1-2 cents; for single horse feed, 12 1-2 cents; for horse at hay and corn and oats per night, 37 1-2 cents; for whiskey per 1-2 pint, 12 1-2 cents; for peach or apple brandy, per 1-2 pint, 12 1-2 cents; for French brandy, per 1-2 pint, 50 cents; for wine per 1- 2 pint, 50 cents; for gin per 1-2 pint 25 cents. " At that time the taverns dispensed the liquors.
A session of the court ordered the surveyor, Nathan Raitt, to lay off the town of Claysville as the seat of justice "on the upper side between the bridges across Doe Run near widow Leach's including what is now called the sugar tree grove. " William Ditto, William Garnett, Robert W. Washington, James B. Woolfolk, Thomas Stevenson and Henry Turn stall were appointed commissioners of the new town. Doctor Samuel Bleight claimed this land although actual settlers had held it for more than a quarter of a century. The town was known locally as New Philadelphia. At a later session of the court the name was changed to Brownsville since there was already a Claysville, Kentucky.
There was great rivalry between this site and Solomon Brandenburg's Landing and Ferry on the Ohio River. At that time New Philadelphia or Brownsville was a very unhealthful location. January 8, 1825, an act of the General Assembly was signed authorizing the removal of the seat of justice to Solomon Brandenburg's Landing and Ferry. Accordingly, February 28, 1825, the county court voted the change.
The county court ordered that "William I`. McGehee, Gerrard Alexander, Joseph F. Woolfolk, Doctor David A. Hascall and Joseph Atwill be and they are hereby appointed Trustees in and for the town to be laid off and
Ealry Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 67
established upon the lands of Solomon Brandenburg as the seat of justice of the county." At a later court William Fairleigh was substituted for Joseph F. Woolfolk.
April 4, 1825 the court "ordered that William L. McGehee, Samuel Simmons, Thomas B. Enlows, James B. Woolfolk and William Fairleigh be and they are hereby appointed commissioners -- the five or any part of them to form a plan of a court house and a jail to be erected upon the public square as designated in the plan of the town of Brandenburg, and to let out the building thereof upon the lowest terms they can, by private contract, or at public outcry to the lowest bidder. It was provided that the court-house should not exceed $6000 and the jail not more than $3000 payable "in gold and silver currency at its value."
A deed from Captain Solomon Brandenburg and his wife, Elizabeth, for sixty-one acres of land for a seat of justice was ordered recorded. On account of the Doctor Bleight claims the deed contains the following: "The undersigned decline taking upon themselves the responsibility of deciding absolutely on the validity of the title of the said Solomon Brandenburg to the land above described, but as they are enabled to determine from an inspection of his title papers as exhibited by him, they discover no cause to question his possessor in fee simple of the soil. They have nevertheless judged it most prudent to take his bond of indemnity agreeable to the requisitions of the above mentioned statute. " Also "With a view to allow the said Brandenburg to retain his house and ferry lot, which we apprehend it was never his intention to include in his very liberal donaton to
68 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky
the county." It was stipulated that he should "have permission to select at his option not exceeding one acre of land" from the sixty-acres of land deeded to the trustees of the town. Solomon Brandenburg donated an acre of land and one-half of the proceeds of the land to the trustees.
Also on April 2, 1825, he gave the trustees a bond of $10,000 signed by Solomon Brandenburg, Thomas B. Enlows, Samuel Brown, Cuthbert Harrison, Robert H. McClure and L. B. Parker.
Leonard B. Parker was the undertaker of the public buildings erected by the county court at Brandenburg. At that time the finances of the county must have been at a low ebb as the trustees of the town were ordered by the court to pay John McBrown, undertaker of the jail, an "order for interest and not promptly paid for want of funds."
At the April, 1826, term of the county court a "summons for Hiram C. Boone, Esquire, commanding him to appear on the first day of the next term of this court to show cause, if any he can, why he should not be fined for not attending the present term."
At one of the early sessions of the county court of Meade County one John Vanmeter wanted a road opened through a field that had been recently fenced off. It was Vanmeter's nearest way to Otter Creek Church. Vanmeter wanted a writ, " a quod damnum, " but he applied for "a quick dam 'um." Whether the violence of the writ, the good graces of the county court or the willingness of the citizen whose property was thus jeopardized, secured the road the ancient and honorable records of the county court " sayeth not. "
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 69
Education in early Meade County was given in the homes. A record of the private schools has been lost but that there were well educated tutors very early in the history of the county is certain. Reverend Simeon Buchanan taught school on Doe Run soon after coming to this section in 1822. Also another Baptist preacher, Reverend James Nall, taught school on Otter Creek before his marriage in 1822 to the daughter of Enoch Boone. Before the establishment of Meade County Richard Wimp and a boy named Simmons were killed by a falling tree in the big sugar orchard on the old Wimp place. The boys were returning from school when a storm broke while they were in the sugar grove.
Of these early schools in Meade County the Fairleigh manuscript has this interesting account: "At that day no teacher ever thought of conducting a school without the rod as one of the pieces of furniture of the school room. About our town it was usually made of a nice, slim beech switch, three to five feet long, roasted or warmed in the stove so that it would not break easily. When prepared in this way it would lap over the shoulders and down the back, or all around you for that matter, without injury to it. Indeed, the boy who was so unfortunate as to he the recipient of this kind of treatment regarded himself as the injured one. No day's work of the teacher was properly finished if he had not whipped at least half of his male students, with quite a number of females, from two to six times. And this was no occasional day's work but an every day's job.
Many other modes of punishment were resorted to, such as requiring them
to kneel in front of the door (it must be upright at that) and to stand on one foot like
70 Early Times in Meade Countyh Kentucky.
an old rooster on a cold day. The moment that you let yourself down from an upright posture on your knees or if standing on one foot, you would let down the other by way of relieving a very unpleasant position, that aforesaid piece of beech furniture would be found wrapping itself around you in all conceivable ways and the poor boy was glad to resume his former position, however painful it may have been. It was preferable to the embrace of that beech rod.
I recollect a boy, James Habberfield, who seemed hard to subdue and greatly taxed the wits of the teacher to bring him under. The school was then taught in a house, the floor of which was laid with loose boards or planks and near the ground. After having tried all his usual modes of punishment with James and all to no purpose, he raised a plank in the floor and put Jim under the floor and replaced the plank. It was so close to the ground that he was compelled to lie on his back in one place. Jim took all very quietly and soon pretended to be asleep, snoring inordinately. This kept the whole school in a titter. The teacher aroused him from his slumber by threatening him with the beech rod. He then lay very quietly and amused himself and the school by poking straws and anything that he could find through the cracks of the floor.
The teacher stood this as long as he well could when a huge snake made his appearance, crawling up the side of the house, leaving James to his solitude. This was the occasion of unearthing James. He was produced from his place of confinement and passed the remainder of the day without punishment. At another time James jumped down into a shallow well to escape a vicious dog.
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 71
The child making the most noise in studying the lesson son was considered the most studious. Studying was all done in the school hours. It would be very amusing to look upon a scene that was daily enacted in the schools of that day. One hour previous to closing the school in the evening the order was given to get the spelling lesson. All other books were put aside by the advanced scholars. The old "Blue Back Speller" was taken in hand. Each one obeyed orders by spelling the words of the lesson at the top of his voice. Each bench full (no chairs were used) accompanied their voices by a swinging motion of the body forward to near the floor with their heads and then back to an upright position. This kept up for about thirty minutes. All the while the teacher would pace up and down the floor putting on his wisest looks and seemingly in a much better humor than he had been all through the day.
There was a habit prevailing at that day of "turning out the teacher. " The schools were taught by subscription, so called, and the teacher did not wish to lose time, did not dismiss school on holidays. But on the morning of a holiday the older scholars would go to the school house very early and fasten up every door and window so that when the teacher came he was completely turned out. After making unsuccessful efforts to open the house he would be compelled to give it up and by way of compromise he would treat the whole school to apples, cider, cakes, etc. Such scenes were not infrequently accompanied by hard tussels and some hard knocks but rarely was there any blood shed. But it was always a day of great merriment for the children. In those days there were no public schools. What a difference between
72 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
now and then! The children of the present day enjoy many privileges of which we have no conception."
In many homes in Meade County until the Civil War tutors were hired for the children. But the school facilities were generally poor. Mr. Thomas H. Board, for many years a teacher, has put the following description of "The Old Log School House" of early Meade County into verse:
"In the little old log school house
In the long ago,
Where we used to sit on the puncheon seat
And sweep the puncheon floor;
Where we learned to read and write
And cipher out the odds,
And when the teacher's back was turned
We'd shoot our paper wads.
You should have seen the chimney, boys,
It looked in shape and form,
Just as a strawberry struck by lightning,
After a thunder storm;
Of mud and stone and sticks 'twas built,
And looked as if it would fall,
If it should chance to catch on fire,
O, how the chaps would squall.
The fireplace was a capacious one,
It looked like a stall,
In which to keep your horse or cow
From the raging squall;
It was from six to eight feet long,
In depth 'twas three or four,
And to give it draft, so it wouldn't smoke
You had to open the door.
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 73
The writing desk was a lengthy one,
It had an awful slant,
And to trace the lines on your copy book
You had to look aslant;
You had to use your muscle then
To hold your paper on,
When you had finished up your task
You found your strength was gone.
The door was hung on hinges of wood
It made a creaking noise,
And to open it twenty times an hour
Was a pleasure to the boys;
Of ventilation we had no lack,
I'm sure the air was cool,
Your toes would burn, your heels would freeze
While you were in the school. "
Then he laments:
"It was a queer old structure
Of which we stood in need,
Although, so dear, 'tis now most rare
In the grand old county of Meade. "
The old log school house has passed away and the new consolidated
schools are a reality. Brandenburg, Beech Grove and Cedar Grove districts are leading the
way in 1929 by building a new eight room brick consolidated school with a large
combination auditorium and gymnasium. This beautiful structure is a monument to the labors
of William G. Beall, Thomas J. Gough, Collins Fitch, F. R. O 'Bryan, Sandford C. Malin, W.
B. Arnold, W. D. Ashcraft and Lloyd H. Powell.
At the January, 1826, term of the county court it
74 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
was proposed to establish a seminary under an act of the General Assembly "allowing 6,000 acres of vacant and unappropriated land." It was proposed to give Doctor Willis Morgan one third of this land for an expense fund. He accepted the offer at the April term and the first school was taught in the public buildings on East Hill.
Men were careless. about listing their property and James McQuoun came
into court for failing to list his taxable property for 1826 payable in 1827. He tendered
"318 acres third rate land $318
Two blacks (total) 400
One horse beast 50 .
One white and black tythe ordered certified to the auditor of public accounts. "
Under the old militia system the following men were captains of companies in 1826: John B. Watts, Lewis Payne, Richard Stith, Lewis Triplett, William L. Booth and Peter Frans. The next year the name of John McGee appears in the list of captains.
"At a circuit court began and held for the Meade Circuit at the court-house at John Rush's on Monday the 26th of July, 1824.
Present.. The Honorable John P. Oldham, Commonwealth 's Circuit Judge. "
So reads the record of the first circuit court held in Meade County. John Rush's house was a double log house in Buck Grove. In fair weather the court was held in the open. In rainy weather the people attending
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 75
court found shelter in the residence and farm buildings. Even though there was no building court was a serious business. Unhewn poles marked off the bar. Such was the beginning.
"Thomas Stevenson, foreman; James Lawson, John Jones, John Stone, Redman Jones, Gilbert Hubbard, James Wilson, Taylor Simmons, Asa Chambers, Zadock Hurd, Junior, Richard Stith, Leonard Keller, John Wimp, James McCarty, Samuel Simmons, and Robert Simmons were sworn as a Grand Jury for the body of the Meade circuit and after having received their charge retired from the bar to consider of their Indictments and presentments. "
Honorable James Guthrie, Esquire, Attorney for the Commonwealth, was absent and Armistead H. Churchill was appointed to prosecute in behalf of the commonwealth.
On motion Delias Dyre took the several oaths and was permitted to practice as a counsellor-at-law in this court.
"The Grand Jury returned into court with the following Indictments and presentments, Towit,
An Indictment against Samuel Allen and Isaac Myers for a wilful trespass.
Same against Abisha Ashcraft for same.
Same against John Gray for assault and battery_ No. 1.
Same against same for same -- No. 2.
Same against John Young, and John Gray for same.
Same against John Kennedy for same.
Same against John Young and John Kennedy for a Riot, etc.
76 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
Same against John Young, John Gray and John Kennedy for same.
A presentment against Jonathan Grable for not keeping road in repair.
Same against John Chism for swearing one oath. And having nothing further to present were discharged.
Ordered that Court be adjourned until tomorrow morning, 9 o'clock.
John P. Oldham."
At a circuit court held September 27, 1824, the following cases were tried.
Abisha Ashcraft, wilful trespass. Not guilty.
Samuel Allen and Isaac Myers. Same. Guilty.
John Chism. Fine. Five Shillings and costs.
John Young and John Gray. One cent and costs.
John Young and John Kennedy. One cent and costs.
John Young, John Gray and John Kennedy. One cent and costs.
At the May term the following year a woman was put under a $500 bond for concealing the death of a child born without the benefit of a lawfully wedded father. This cause was later dismissed.
At that term of court " Serajah Stratton, jailor, was allowed $5.00 for attending on this court, for furnishing water and etc., the present five days. "
Tuesday, November 3, 1846, Lucy and Peter of color, the property of Lewis Hamilton, were indicted for murder. William Hamilton, the young master of Lucy, came to his death at the hands of Lucy, being stabbed with a butcher knife. On the day after the indictment was returned Peter was discharged. Thursday, Lucy was brought from the jail and a jury was empaneled. After hearing the evidence Henry P. Byrum, a juror, withdrew
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 77
and the jury was discharged. John L. Helm was appointed by the court to defend the slaves and the court ordered Lewis Hamilton, the owner to pay the attorney $10.
May 4, 1847, Lucy, who plead not guilty, " put herself upon God and her country" and was found guilty of murder by the jury. On Friday of that term of court upon Lucy's "suggestion and it appearing to the satisfaction of the court" all further proceedings in the prosecution were suspended. John L. Helm acknowledged a $30 fee which the court had ordered Lewis L. Hamilton to pay. At the August term of the court further proceeding in this case was postponed "on account of the tender age of the child, and with a view of not endangering its life."
Hon. A. H. Churchill was judge and William Alexander was prosecuting attorney. In 1847 Judge Churchill, rather than pass sentence upon Lucy resigned his office and Governor Owsley appointed Samuel Carpenter in his stead.
May 1, 1848, the sentence of the court was that a slave, on June first next between the hours of nine o'clock in the morning and three o'clock in the evening that the sheriff take the said prisoner into his custody and take her to a gallows previously erected on some public road leading from the town of Brandenburg not nearer than one-half mile and not farther than three miles from the said town and then and there hang her by the neck of her body until she be dead and the Lord have mercy on her soul.
A copy of this order and sentence certified by the clerk of this court shall be sufficient warrant to the Sheriff. "
78 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
The court fixed Lucy's value at $500 and ordered that " upon this sentence being executed that Lewis Hamilton be allowed $500 from the treasury of the State of Kentucky."
Thomas J. Gough, sheriff, and Leonard P. Buckman, acting deputy sheriff, carried out the sentence as directed by the court. Lucy had been kept in the old jail -- a log structure -- on East Hill. Thomas Mills was the jailer at the time. His wife, "Aunt Peggy," dressed the regress for the scaffold and assisted her to the ox cart, where she was seated upon the coffin in which she was to be buried. The place of the execution was by the old State road on the farm later owned by William Saunders.
Lucy carried her small child -- born in the jail -- in her arms on the slow ride to the place of the hanging. A black jack oak served as a gallows. Several thousand people witnessed the execution. Slave owners for miles around brought their slaves to show them what would happen if they killed their masters. When the officers with Lucy in custody came to the tree, the child was taken from Lucy's arms, the noose was adjusted and the rope made fast to a large limb and the oxen driven away. Thus the sentence of the court was carried out. The place near the present town limits on the farm now owned by Henry H. Allen is pointed out as the place where Lucy was hanged.
This incident and a slave woman's death from a severe whipping near the present town of Irvington were made use of by abolitionists throughout the country. In the anti-slavery agitation Lucy's execution assumed national importance.
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 79
The last public whipping at the whipping-post occurred many years ago. Two men, a white man and a negro, provoked the citizens until patience ceased to be a virtue by that most provoking crime of chicken stealing. After the sentence of the court was carried out, hen roosts were undisturbed except by their true and lawful owners.
In the Valley of the Ohio the French came first to trade with the savages. On the Ohio River these wanderers of the forest went to and from Canada very early in the eighteenth century. Down from the north came the Indians to the wild game country.
Then came the long hunters from the colonies along the Atlantic seaboard. These solitary hunters built the first rude hunting camps in this section. The date of a settlement or fort near the mouth of Wolf Creek is uncertain. Whether a rendezvous for traders, a refuge for the early surveyors, an outpost for scouts or the station for a daring settler, no one now living knows. But certainly before 1778 some unknown wanderer in the wilderness of the West built a station near the mouth of Wolf Creek.
Cabins were built near the springs and streams. These structures were built of round logs and had a rude palisade for protection against the Indians and the wild beasts and to secure the stock which had been brought from the older settlements.
Life in the wilderness was simple in the extreme. A man with a rifle had few needs. Usually a small patch of ground was all that the settler needed. Lewis Hord Withers used to say that three acres of ground in cultivation was considered a large amount of land for one family.
Few men took the trouble to get land patents, or land grants. This was left to the men who made it their business to secure title to the soil. As a result the metes and bounds of the early land grants were very indefinite.
84 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
Land litigation was very common in the early days of Kentucky history. In Meade County the land grants of different men, or land companies, would conflict. Few men had a clear title to the soil.
In 1800 Jacob Vertrees had a farm of 200 acres. In his cabin he had a kettle, three pots, an oven, two dozen delf plates, a bason, a large dish, two axes, an iron wedge and one matax (mattock). All the other furniture and implements about the place were manufactured on the farm. He had a well furnished cabin for the time.
Joseph Woolfolk, Senior, came from Virginia over the Wilderness Road to Jackey's Grove. He bought 253 acres of land in this grove from Leonard Burch, June 16, 1808, for $6,000. At that time there was a large, oldfashioned brick house. This land had been patented in the name of John Floyd. Abisha Ashcraft and Benjamin Shacklett had deeds to this very same land. However, under all the circumstances they made a deed to Joseph Woolfolk for the land. Old Aunt Harriet Burch, one of the Woolfolk slaves, used to relate incidents of the long trip overland from Virginia. She was a small girl at that time.
September 18, 1826, Hugh Lusk made an affidavit in the Meade circuit court applying for a pension for his services in the Revolutionary War. He had never made a previous application because of his ignorance of the pension laws and his unwillingness to call upon the government while he was able to work. He was born May 8, 1762. :He enlisted for the term of eighteen months in the month of April, 1779, in Middlebrook, New Jersey, in Captain Samuel Bell's company in the regiment com
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 85
mended by Colonel John McDowell in the line of the State of Virginia. He received a wound in the left arm at the battle of Guilford and was discharged at Cumberland Old Court-House.
He owned no land but he had 2 cows, 8 sheep, 16 head of hogs, old and young, 1-2 dozen split bottomed chairs, 1 table, one set of knives and forks, one dozen plates, 6 cups and saucers, teapot and coffee pot, teakettle, oven, 2 kettles, an axe, one hoe, a plow and one pair of work gears. This list was valued at $53 and was correct except wearing apparel, beds and furniture. 'My Occupation is that of farmer and am illy able to follow it on account of the infirmities of age and wound in left am. received at the battle of Guilford."
In 1828, in Thomas Stevsnson's enclosure on Doe Run, there stood a large dwelling house, stables, stone spring house. He owned horses, poultry, cattle and sheep. His furniture consisted of circular tables, square tables with six legs, one bedstead with fluted pillars, walnut bureau and a walnut four posted bedstead and one secretary bookcase.
He had blacksmith and carpenter tools. He had about fifty pounds of old wrought iron, a hundred and fifty pounds of iron, six pounds of steel and a plow mold. He was well equipped with dyes and cloth. Among his valued possessions were six large silver spoons, six small silver spoors, a German flute, brass clock and three silver candlesticks. The fireplace was well equipped with pot crane, trammels, kettles and a copper stew kettle. In the pantry was one barrel of whiskey. The work room had looms, wheels, cards and reels for making thread and cloth.
86 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
The Library had four volumes geography, five volumes Pratt's Gleanings in Holland, Wales, etc., twenty volumes on theology, Dr. Bancraft's work on philosophy, Bibles, testaments and hymnals, dictionaries, spelling books, grammars, Blackstone's commentaries and other law books, several novels and romances, elegant extracts and books on sheep and history. He also had pictures of General Washington and Commodore Decatur, six naval pictures, two Italian oil paintings, Masonic Hall, several fancy engravings and family pictures.
Mrs. Bernice Shacklett Price has many pieces of linen that were woven in the homes of her relatives. She has a linen table- cloth woven by Mary Howell Hardaway. Another linen cloth woven by Aunt Rachel Williams has this explanation:
"My papa grew the flax, sow it like wheat on good Friday, pull it by hand when it gets ripe, lay it in swathes in the patch and let it rot, then take it in and with a little wooden mallet beat the seeds off. Then with a home-made flax brake they brake the stalks. Then have a board with some nails driven in it they hackle it to get the rough all out. Then my mother put it through a fine bought hackle to get it ready for" -- here the letter ends as part of it has been lost.
The weaves are galled the double diamond and bird's eye weave. Another intricate pattern is in the collection. The weaving has been done with great precision.
Mrs. Price has a quilt, "Rose in the Wilderness," quilted by Mary Howell Hardaway. Another quilt is called, " Double Irish Chain. " These pioneer women were skillful with the spinning wheels, loom and the needle as these beautiful creations testify.
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 87
The pioneers were skillful wood workers. The old Crutcher desk is of black walnut. Other examples of the cabinet work are found in the homes of the old families in this section.
There are many examples of the brick and stone masons' work in Meade County. At Brandenburg the old courthouse, the Masonic hall, the Methodist church and the Moreman home are examples of the early workmen. The old Ditto residence, the stone mills on Doe Run and the Atwill residence (now owned by Robert Ashcraft) were built by workmen from the old country. Among these workmen were John (Jackie) Johnson, Thomas Stevenson and the Georges. On the gravestone of James M. George in Captain Anderson Cemetery Brandenburg, is this inscription:
" Born in Piddletown, England, August 11, 1802. Died January 30, 1888. Joseph, father, now lies buried in Baptist Graveyard, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. "
The Joseph Atwill house on the Ohio River below Brandenburg is one of the best examples of the brick mason's work in the county. The ruins of the John Johnson factory on Doe Run are interesting because of their massiveness. This was a four story building and part of the structure still stands.
The old homestead of Colonel Robert Buckner, an officer of the War of 1812, is associated with General John Morgan's invasion of the North, July 9, 1863. In this old residence General Morgan made his headquarters in Brandenburg.
The dining room is essentially the same as it was when General Morgan and his staff dined there in 1863. At one end is a large old-fashioned wood fireplace. On
88 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
the mahogany sideboard are the silver and cut glass table caster, Tom and Jerry liquor bottles and cups. The glass cupboard contains many of the covered glass dishes, goblets, covered butter dishes, colored glass salt dishes and footed vegetable dishes. The china used on that historic occasion has been preserved and is now over a hundred years old. The coffee pot from which General Morgan and his staff were served is kept on the serving table.
The residence has one of the few spiral stairways in this section. It is completely furnished with old time furniture, fixtures, war relics, rare old lace, silverware, glassware, silk and woolen garments, pictures and pottery. On the floor are the old three-ply rugs, on the spool beds are the beautiful hand woven coverlets and on the walls the oldfashioned pictures have been faithfully kept.
Sanded glass windows have been preserved since the residence was built. Over the entrance, fronting the river, is a fan light window. On the spacious lawn Morgan's men planted their cannon which commanded Marvin's Landing.
During the engagement at Brandenburg Captain William H. Wilson and Captain Alex. Maydell, C. S. Army, were wounded and were left in the Buckner home. While staying here a federal soldier shot at one of the wounded men. The bullet hole can be seen in the wall of the old residence.
The colonial appearance of the building has been kept in almost perfect condition by Colonel Buckner's granddaughter, Mrs. Paul Hardaway who now owns the home and its furnishings. Mrs. Hardaway is the daughter of
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 89
Charles Gatewood Moorman and Malinda Virginia Caroline Gorman Buckner Moorman.
Mrs. Moorman has left this sketch of the Buckner family. "About 1780 two Buckner brothers came from England. One settled in North or South Carolina. The other, my grandfather Thomas Buckner, settled in Virginia. Thomas Buckner of Virginia married Hannah Burton from Virginia. Four or five children were born there -- among them my father, Robert Buckner. They traveled overland from Virginia to Jefferson County. Kentucky, in covered road wagons. The children were put in large kettles for safe keeping. Thomas and Hannah had twenty children."
In 1925 Mrs. Paul Hardaway won first prize of $100 at the Kentucky State Fair for the handsomest and most complete old- fashioned costume. The dress was that of her grandmother Buckner and dated back to 1843.
The tight-fitting bodice and full trooped skirt were of dark plaid silk with real lace collar and adorable puff sleeves of net from the elbow which were caught at the wrist with tiny age- yellowed ribbons and a bead wristlet. Over her shoulders was draped a black cobweb lace shawl and from her wrist hung a real lace handkerchief caught in an old gold ring.
Her jewelry was complete. Earrings and breastpin of old gold set with pearls and onyx with onyx pendants; a pearl headdress over her hair which was done in the old-fashioned "waterfall"; her grandmother Buckner's ring; a heavy antique bracelet containing her mother's picture; and hung about her neck was a case resembling a watch which was a regular family album containing the daguerreotypes of her mother and father, grandmother and grandfather.
90 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
In her hands, clad in delicate black lace mitts, she carried a dainty ivory and feather fan. Her petticoat had eleven yards in it and was tucked up to the waist; her shoes had little lace bows, low heels and pull buttons. The stockings were embroidered up the side just like they wear them now.
SALEM ASSOCIATION OF BAPTISTS.
A history of the Salem Association of Baptists really begins in the fall of 1779, or in the winter of 1780. At this time Captain Thomas Helm, Colonel Andrew Hynes and Samuel Haycraft built three rude stockades forming "a triangle, equidistant a mile apart," in the dense unexplored forest of Severn's Valley.
Somewhere near this triangle of stockades on June 18, 1781, under a large sugar tree eighteen converted souls gathered the first Baptist church in Kentucky. Here came John Gerrard, not unlike Melchizedek, priest of Salem. He was the first pastor of Severn's Valley Church. About eleven months after becoming pastor he left his cabin to hunt in the forest. Whence he came and whither he went no man knows. It is supposed that he was captured by the Indians and was killed by their hands.
October. 29, 1785, four Regular Baptist Churches met at Coxes Creek by their delegates in order to form an association. Joseph Barnett preached on John 1:17. Joseph Barnett was chosen moderator and Andrew Paul, clerk.
Four Regular Baptist Churches reported. Severn's Valley with 37 members, no pastor, organized June 18, 1781; Cedar Creek with 41 members, Joseph Barnett, pastor, organized July 4, 1781; Bear Grass with 19 members, John Whitaker, pastor, January, 1784; and Coxes Creek with 26 members, no pastor, organized April, 1786.
The right of churches to associate, the character and authority of an association opened by Brother Barnett. Following this the constitution, principles and character
94 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
Of the several churches, proposing to associate, minutely inquired into, both in regard of doctrine and discipline, and left under consideration till Monday morning.
After convening Monday morning, it was resolved: " That the churches have adopted 'the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, and Treatise of Discipline,' hereto annexed, and hold ourselves in full fellowship with the Philadelphia, Ketocton and Monongahela Associations, and proper measures be endeavored to obtain assistance from, and correspondence with the same. " The Elkhorn Association was not mentioned probably because it had made some exceptions to the Philadelphia Confession of Faith.
The second session was held at Cedar Creek, September 30, 1786. At the third session, October 6, 1787, at Coxes Creek, Elkhorn Association sent a letter of correspondence with Merias Hansbrough, John Tanner and Augustine Easton, as messengers. Spencer Clack says that six or seven rules were adopted at this session. The remainder of the twenty-nine rules were adopted in 1807.
The fourth session was held at Coxes Creek, October 4, 1788. The total membership was 188. Joshua Corman was appointed to preach the introductory sermon.
At Coxes Creek, October 3, 1789, "The introductory sermon was preached by the Reverend John Ganoe (John Gano) from the 6th verse of the 15th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles."
The Rolling Fork Church sent the following query: "Is it lawful in the sight of God for a member of Christ to keep his fellow creatures in perpetual slavery ?" The association judged it improper " to enter into so importent and critical matter at present." Joshua Cor-
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 95
man and Josiah Dodge, irreconcilable emancipationists, finally broke off from the association and gathered an emancipationist church.
Another question that came up had to do with the laying on of hands at baptism. In speaking of this practice, Spencer Clack makes the following notation in the original minute book of the association:
" In the western country the practice has grown into disuse in many churches. The right hand of fellowship should be given before or after baptism. It is, however, a question which should excite no bickerings and controversy among the disciples of the Redeemer." The association had a membership of 250 and had baptized 34 members.
At Cedar Creek Church in 1792 it is possible that the Lick Creek Church with 23 members came into the union at this session of the association. This church was divided on the question of perpetual slavery. It was "Resolved, That Brethren Josiah Dodge, P. Phillips, James Brown, William Taylor, William May, Josiah Lee, William Bethel, Thomas Phillips, Peter Cummings and Walter Stallard be appointed a committee to attend with the brethren of Lick Creek Church in order to confer with and afford any relief in their power under present distress. "
The slavery question would not down in the churches of the Salem Association. At one time Severn's Valley joined the Green River Association which was opposed to slavery. Joshua Corman, Josiah Dodge and Thomas Whitman assisted by the venerable William Hickman ably opposed perpetual slavery. The family of Abraham Lincoln was on the side of the emancipationists. Sally
96 Early Times Meade County, Kentucky.
Bush Lincoln the stepmother of President Lincoln, was familiar with the bitter controversy in the churches of the association. The Emancipation Proclamation was in line with bitter controversy over the question of perpetual servitude in the Salem Association of Baptists.
Religious beginnings in the territory of Meade County suffered many vicissitudes. The settlers along the river were engaged in the river traffic. Back of these settlements many years were to pass before the barrens were occupied. On account of its exposed condition Indian forays were more frequent and dangerous than they were in Severn's Valley and Sinking Creek.
The first Baptist preacher in Meade County was Squire Boone. This man from all the evidence available certainly preached at a rude hunting camp at the Blue Spring near the head of Doe Run. Next in order came Warren Cash, born in Virginia April 4, 1760. After serving four years in. the Revolutionary War, he and Susannah Basket, daughter of Rev. William Basket, a Virginia Baptist preacher, were married in November, 1783. In the fall of the next year Warren Cash came to Kentucky. His wife taught him to read and write. In 1799 William Hickman and John Penny ordained him to the gospel ministry. He came to this section in March, 1806. Under his ministry Benjamin and Enos Keith and John Rush were called to the ministry. He adhered to the anti-missionary party in this section. He died September 15, 1850.
In 1813 Otter Creek Church was gathered and in that year requested admission into the Salem Association which met in that year at the Nolin meeting house. The
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messengers from Otter Creek were Henry Johns, Thomas McCarty, Thompson Kendall and Shadrach Brown.
Shadrach Brown, born in North Carolina in 1780, married Rachel, a daughter of Rev. James Chambers. After coming to Kentucky in 1804 he made his home in 1808 near Mill Creek Baptist Church in Hardin County. He was ordained by this church about 1812. The following year he moved his membership to Otter Creek Baptist Church. He served both churches as pastor until his death October 13, 1821. He owned land below the mouth of Doe Run. His children were: Rebecca (married Joshua Kelly), Asa, Nancy (married William Johns), John, William, Katherine, James C., Elzina, Rachel and Alfred.
Isaac Veach was an early preacher in Otter Creek Church. It is probable that he gathered the Doe Run Church. This church with a membership of 9 was received into the Salem Association at Mill Creek September 23, 1825. The organization was later abandoned. Roderick R. Rockwood and Miss Eliza Stone were married by Isaac Veach, October 24, 1824.
Simeon Buchanan, born in 1790, was the son of Alexander Buchanan, also a Baptist preacher. Simeon Buchanan was a soldier of the United States army from 1812 until 1815. After coming to Hardin County he became a member of Rude's Creek Church. Here he was ordained in 1822. Soon after he moved to the Hill Grove. He became a member and pastor of Otter Creek. After Ohio (now Wolf Creek) was established in 1821, he was pastor for twenty-two years. Hill Grove was established the following year. He died June 27, 1863.
John Rush was also a member of the Otter Creek
98 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
Church but was not brought into the ministry until late in life. October 13, 1813, he and Betsy Brandenburg were married. They lived in Buck Grove where John Rush accumulated a large estate in land and slaves. He gave much promise in the ministry but as he was a slave owner he was not accorded a hearing in some of the churches. He died in 1838.
James Nall was in Meade County at intervals. He and Amanda Boone, daughter of Enoeh Boone, were married, September 23, 1822.
Enos and Benjamin Keith were sons of Alexander Keith, a Virginian, who came to Kentucky soon after the Revolution. Enos Keith was born in 1788. Benjamin Keith was a younger brother. While small boys their father moved to Vertrees Creek. In 1808 Union Baptist Church was organized under the preaching of Warren Cash. Enos and Benjamin were baptised by Warren Cash.
Enos was ordained in 1811 and preached on Otter Creek before this church was gathered as a result of his labors. Enos was never married. He died in 1824 and is buried in the Baptist burying ground at Garnettsville.
Benjamin Keith began his work a little later than his brother. His ministerial life extended over half a century. He was identified with "Otter Creek Association of Regular Baptists " organized at the Otter Creek meeting house, October 25, 1839. This association was composed of the anti-missionary factions of the churches of Salem Association.
Benjamin Keith was a remarkable preacher and did much good in all this section. The original minute book of the Otter Creek Baptist Church was in his possession.
[Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 99
Unfortunately the records of the church and of the Otter Creek Association are now lost. Benjamin Keith, while visiting relatives at Joplin, Missouri, died and is buried there.
Conditions under which these pioneer preachers labored created a zeal for evangelism. Prayer meetings were held in the open air in summer or in the settlers' cabins in winter. On such occasions the formalities of worship were dispensed with and people talked about the condition of their souls.
In 1815 Luther Rice came into the territory of the Salem Association bearing the news of gospel triumphs in Burma. Leaven was working in the mass even before his coming. While there were no church organizations itinerant preachers went long distances to visit the new settlements. John Shacklett was one of these little known ministers.
Hill Grove Baptist Church grew out of the pioneer conditions. Otter Creek, Union and Wolf Creek were the nearest organized bodies of Christians. There were no other organizations.
Accordingly, Elizabeth Ashcraft Shacklett, Rachel Shacklett and Sallie Shacklett Jenkins used to meet in their cabins in cold weather and at a spring in warm weather for divine services. With Bible and hymnal they were faithful unto the Redeemer. It was a time when other than consecrated women would have given up. After many months passed the men were willing to help in gathering the Hill Grove Baptist Church. Elizabeth Ashcraft Shacklett gave the world Brother Ben F. Hagan and Brother Daniel Fulton Shacklett;
100 Early Times Meade County, Kentucky.
Rachel Ashcraft Shacklett, the Willett preachers; and Sallie Shacklett Jenkins, the Jenkins preachers.
The present Phillips Memorial Baptist Church was gathered, Wednesday, February 11, 1829. The name given the organization was Mount Pleasant. It is within the degree of probability that the church was gathered in the house of Henry Yeakey on the hill that is occupied by the present meeting house. No one knows now as all the records were burned in the house of John K. Ditto, for many years the efficient church clerk.
Simeon Buchanan was the first pastor. Brandenburg was a busy river town of over 300 inhabitants. From the town and country twenty-six members were reported to the association that year. Among these were Simeon Buchanan, Henry Yeakey and his wife, Caroline M. Isler, (Geo. L. Rogers makes the notation on the marriage license. " Both of age and married before. Executed the within, August 31, 1824") Addison B. McGehee. William L. McGehee, Thomas Phillips, R. Stith, Mentor A. Shanks, Isabel Yeakey, (Mentor A. Shanks and Isabel Yeakey were married, November 19, 1829, by Simeon Buchanan), W. Burkheart and William Ditto. William Haynes, Senior, Christopher Hall and wife, Eleanor Hall and Julia Phillips, wife of Thomas Phillips were among the probable members at the organization. Of the other members all record has been lost. It is probable that this first church had some slave members.
Of the successes and failures of the congregation little is known until Friday, October 20, 1837. On that date Mentor A. Shanks was a messenger from the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Brandenburg, to a general meeting at Louisville for the purpose of forming a Gen-
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 101
eral Association of Baptists in Kentucky. At that meeting Squire Larue Helm was present as the only licensed preacher in the body of fifty seven members.
Squire Larue Helm soon after was called to the pastorate of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church at Brandenburg. He was ordained at that church, April 7, 1838, by John L. Burrows, pastor of Severn's Valley, F. F. Seig of Friendship, Green County, and Wm. Vaughan Bloomfield, Nelson County.
Squire Larue Helm and Miss Sarah Ellen Atwill, daughter of Joseph Atwill, were married at Elizabethtown March 8, 1838, by the venerable John L. Burrows.
Monday, June 4, 1838, Squire Larue Helm, an ordained minister of the gospel, was granted a license by the Meade County Court to celebrate the rites of matrimony and his bond was fixed at five hundred pounds.
Until 1838 the services of the Baptist Church were held in the homes of the members and under trees. January 6, 1838, Christopher Hall, Mentor A. Shanks and Josiah E. Haynes, trustees of the Mount Pleasant Church of United Baptists, bought lot 26 on West Hill for $350 from Urijah Hunter and Mary, his wife, of Breckinridge County. On June 23, 1838, John Lender- and his wife, Roxina, sold to the same trustees lot 27 for $100. An old wooden residence on the first lot was the first Baptist meeting house owned by the Mount Pleasant congregation.
Very soon after acquiring this property, it was voted to build a brick meeting house. It was probable that J. B. Woolfolk superintended the building. The old meeting house was built after the plans of the early Virginia Baptist meeting houses. A gallery was built for
102 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
the slaves, many of whom were members of the church. A stairway from the outside led to the gallery. The pulpit was called the stand, which was three steps from the floor. It was great sport for the children to sit on the wide steps of the preacher's stand. However, the children could have more comfort on these steps than they could have on the high stiff backed benches. Federal soldiers used the meeting house for a barracks during the Civil War. Soon after the war the old house was considered unfit for further use because of the many portholes made in the walls by the soldiers. On this old brick meeting house William Haynes, Senior, gave the first $600 and Addison B. McGehee, the second $600.
Mentor A. Shanks and Henry Yeakey were the leading men in the early organization. A school for Bible study was organized very early in the church's history. It is probable even before the gathering of the church that Baptists in Brandenburg and the vicinity had Bible classes. It is true that by 1838 the Mount Pleasant Baptist church had a Sunday school. Henry Haynes at his home down the river had a Sunday school in his community. At the slave quarters in winter the slaves worshipped while in summer they held their services in the woods.
In the minute book of the Stuart Fountain of the Y. B. of Temperance which met at the court-house in 1852 there is a reference to Sunday school in the town. "On motion it was ordered that the young ladies and Sunday school scholars of the town be invited to join a procession " on the second Saturday in September. Later the young male Sunday school scholars were denied the privileges of the procession.
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 103
It was a time when the membership were sticklers for certain doctrinal rights. Doctrines were emphasized. The church members knew when the preacher was well grounded in doctrine. Church discipline was rigorous. At each business meeting the moderator called for the peace of the church. On one occasion at Brandenburg after calling for the peace of the church the minute book recites:
"It appears as if all are not in peace, but nothing special has been determined."
For a Baptist to use the words altar, pulpit, pew, church house, sacrament, quarterage, and to recite the apostles' creed was an offence that received prompt attention when the moderator called for the peace of the church at the monthly business meeting. Baptists demanded discrimination. The preacher mounted the stand, preached to the congregation seated on the benches, administered the ordinances, read the Scriptures and lined out the hymns. The congregation assembled at the stand in a meeting house or a meeting place. Every church circulated subscriptions to compensate the ministry in the bounds of the congregation. Usually this was paid in produce but the Mount Pleasant Church paid the ministry in round coin or common wealth's paper. Every member was expected to make a subscription. To refuse to do so was against the peace of the church and the member was dealt with accordingly.
Mount Pleasant church members took their duties and obligations seriously. The associational year of 1838 was a great ingathering. Twenty-nine were received by baptism. The venerable John L. Waller of Elizabeth
104 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
town probably held the meeting. Most of the congregation was made up of Virginians whose early Baptist preachers had upon their backs scars received at the whipping-post and in the stocks for the crime of preaching the gospel.
October 4-5-6, 1839, the association met at Brandenburg. Opposition to the newly formed General Association of Baptists had developed among the churches. Squire LaRue Helm and Mentor A. Shanks of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church had played prominent parts in its organization. It was at this association that the anti-missionaries made their last stand. The church at Brandenburg was most favorable to the General Association.
West Point in her letter sent a friendly query, "Does Salem Association approve of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, and will she send delegates to its next anniversary ? "
"On presenting this query, a motion was made for Elder William C. Buck, to lay before this Association the object and views of the General Association, which being agreed to, and thereupon Elder Buck addressed the Association upon the above named subject."
After the address the Association resolved " That we, as an Association feel no disposition at present to decide upon the subject, but to leave the churches to act as they in their judgment may think best, and that the churches be requested to express their opinion in their letters to the next Association."
This was a drastic step and in a few days the " Otter Creek Association of Regular Baptists " was a fact. History vindicates the General Association. In the com
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 105
munities where the Otter Creek Association was strongest the churches have either perished or they have been mission territory for these ninety years. Other churches have had to contend with this anti-mission spirit.
The minute has this to say of the Sunday services: "At an early hour a very large congregation was assembled at the stand. Elder Joseph Board preached from Luke XXII, 67; Elder William Vaughan from Romans V, 21; and Elder W. C. Buck from Eph. III, 10. The preaching was listened to with deep interest, and it is hoped that the seed sown on that occasion will in due time, yield a plentiful crop. Great good order prevailed, and the citizens of Brandenburg, and its vicinity will long be remembered by all in attendance at the Association for their kindness, courtesy and hospitality. A collection of $46.00 was taken up for the purpose of the General Association."
It had been a year of severe trial but 531 members had been added by baptism. The following year was a great ingathering in spite of the anti-missionary association.
Traveling preachers were sent out by the association. In 1843 the Terms of General Union were adopted which partially closed the breach but the leaven continued its work for many years to come.
Squire Larue Helm was a remarkable man. For the most part his education was acquired by his own efforts. He was a great orator in his day and the passion of his soul was for others to know the Saviour. He left Mount Pleasant Church in 1843. Doctor Squire Larue Helm was a great soul winner and in each field his great, persuasive personality was used for the Master's glory.
106 Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky.
Elza T. Hickerson, the third pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, was born January 24, 1807. He joined Hardin's Creek Church and was baptised by David Thurman. After his marriage to Miss Eleanor Simms, Hardin's Creek Church licensed him to preach, June 11, 1843. Soon after he was ordained by John Miller, Joel Gorden and others. In 1844 he moved to a farm near Brandenburg where he died November 21 1866. His last public work was to administer the ordinance of baptism to 33 converts at the close of a very interesting protracted meeting held in the bounds of the Spring Creek Church of which he was pastor.
George H. Hicks, the fourth pastor of the Mount Pleasant Church, was born, December 22, 1814. He was converted when twenty-three years of age and joined the famous Rudes Creek Church. He was licensed to preach in September 1841. The following January Colmore Lovelace and Jacob Rogers ordained him to the full work of the ministry.
George H. Hicks and Miss Susan Heartly were married March 12, 1836. In the winter of 1849-50 Mount Pleasant called Brother Hicks to the pastorate. He remained until 1870. During this time the Civil War scattered the church. Brother Hicks preached in the homes and in school houses in an effort to hold the church together.
He held a meeting at Brandenburg in 1864. On August 28 Dave Henry had been killed by guerillas. In retaliation Frank M. Holmes and three other Confederate soldiers drew a black bean from a bean bag and were taken to the Henry place and shot. Brother Hicks was ordered to accompany these men to the execution
Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. 107
September 4, 1864. He had baptised Mrs. Frances McIntire, and others into the fellowship of Brandenburg Baptist church that day.
Brother Hicks was a good singer. He lined out the hymns according to the old custom. Mrs. Katherine Leslie Webb led the response. It is said that Brother Hicks, when preaching or singing at the Mount Pleasant church, could be heard across the Ohio River.
During revivals there were no night meetings. In the early days members of the congregation had to ride great distances. Each family brought hampers of food and spent the day. Many years later there was bitter opposition to divine services at early candle light.
In the minute book of the Stuart Fountain in 1853 Brother Joel S. Hayes was charged with eating "Brandied Peaches."
" And Brother Hayes being present acknowledged that he had violated his pledge. Thereupon he was expelled from the Fountain.
And on motion of Brother H. H. Madden, Brother Hayes was reinstated by the unanimous vote of the Fountain. Thereupon the pledge was again administered and he also signed the Constitution and By-laws."