HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN COUNTY KENTUCKY
charles m. meacham
INFORMATION ABOUT HOPKINSVILLE’S FIRST SETTLER
Bartholomew T. Wood. Pioneer Graveyard. Odd Fellows Lodge and Building. A Group of Former Members.
In the year 1796, Bartholomew T. Wood, an immigrant from North Carolina, stopped his “mover’s wagon” at the east fork of Little River, at the point still known as Wood’s Mill, and camped for the night. The place looked inviting, with its background of primeval forest a few miles to the north, its streams of clear water flowing seemingly from every direction, and its stretch of “barrens” to the south and west. Mr. Wood
left his family at the camp and crossing the stream ascended a hill a few hundred yards westward and took in the scene; another stream, a timber-lined crescent, enclosed a beautiful tract of country, undulating and grass-covered. For a mile he walked through this scene of beauty until upon the bank of the second stream he came upon a great spring of pure, cold water, gushing out from an over-hanging ledge of rock. It was the famous “Rock Spring,” now buried under the freight depot of the I. C. R. R., and still, through a miniature tunnel, pouring its stream of fresh water into the sluggish river. This spring settled the location. Mr. Wood staked a claim of 260 acres of land along the west fork of the river and extending eastward to the hill now known as “College Hill.” With much difficulty he got his wagon across the east fork, and proceeded to build a cabin on what is now the southeast corner of Campbell and Fourteenth streets. Subsequently he built a better house and moved nearer to the spring, on the present site of the Odd Fellows’ building.
The year that B. T. Wood moved to Kentucky, the Legislature created Christian County, by dividing Logan County. It embraced a territory as large as Massachusetts, out of which 20 counties have since been formed. On March 21, 1797, a county court having been appointed, the court met at the present site of Shiloh Church, on Sinking Fork, and organized for business. The court met again in August and appointed a committee to consider a place for a permanent county seat. After investigating locations for three months, the Wood site with its big spring among others, the committee reported November 21, 1797, and the court made an order fixing the seat of government at the Rock Spring and the village was named Elizabeth, which was changed seven years later to Hopkinsyule. Nearly 100 years after a flag station on a railroad four miles from Hopkinsville was named Woodville, a name the infant town ought to have been given a century before. Mr. Wood donated four acres of ground to the town. A part was used for the court house, a part for a school house near the present L. & N. depot, and still another lot given at a later day, was set apart for cemetery purposes. Here the first settler lived and saw the little town grow from year to year; he hunted game in the woods, tilled his crops in the valley and reared a large family of children. On one occasion he killed a bear weighing 400 pounds a few miles from town, on the Campbell farm. The growth of the town made him a man of liberal fortune and he was a prominent and progressive citizen during the pioneer period.
SOME OF THOSE BURIED IN PIONEER GRAVEYARD
In the southeastern corner of the old Westside Cemetery, with her headstone still preserved, lies the body of a young woman who was the first wife of a brilliant young lawyer who afterwards became Governor of Kentucky. As a girl she was Miss Amanda Leavy, a daughter of William Leavy, of Lexington, Ky. She was born in 1804 and died in 1829.
Charles S. Morehead was born in Nelson County, Kentucky, July 7, 1802, and his education was completed at Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky., from which he graduated with honors. He came at once to Hopkinsville and located for the practice of law. In a few years he returned to Lexington to claim as his bride the young girl who is buried here. He rose rapidly as a lawyer and politician and was elected to the Legislature in 1828 and re-elected in 1829, receiving almost the unanimous vote of the county. His young wife died while he was serving his second term and he did not return to Hopkinsville, but located in Frank-fort. He was attorney general in 1832, and in 1838 was again elected to the Legislature from Franklin County and re-elected several times. He was elected Speaker in 1841 and served three terms. In 1847 he was elected to Congress and served till 1851. After one more term in the Legislature, he was elected Governor in 1855 on the Know-Nothing ticket, by 4,403 majority over Beverly L. Clark. In 1859 he moved to Louisville and was a delegate to the “Peace Conference” in Washington in February, 1861. He was arrested and thrown into prison for several months on a charge of sedition, but was allowed to return to Kentucky in January, 1862. Learning that he was to be arrested again, he fled to Canada and subsequently to Europe. After the close of the war he located at Greenville, Miss., on a plantation, where he died December 22, 1868. A large fortune was swept away by the war and he died poor.
James H. McLaughlin and his wife, Sarah C. McLaughlin, were buried near the southern edge of the cemetery. The headstone of the latter still remains, but that of the pioneer has disappeared. It is said that many of these slabs have been removed and were put to various uses, during the forty years that the cemetery was an abandoned brier field.
James H. McLaughlin was the second clerk of the Circuit Court, really the first one, for his predecessor had served but one year as pro tempore clerk without a commission as clerk. He was one of the seven lawyers licensed at the first court held in the county and was a man of liberal education. Joseph Duncan, his nephew, who was a deputy in his office, afterwards became Governor of Illinois and a famous soldier and politician.
Mr. McLaughlin served as clerk for many years and was succeeded by Nathan S. Dallam. The family is no longer represented in this section.
In the extreme western end of the cemetery is the grave of Ephraim Cock, who was born in 1753 and died in 1838. As he was twenty-three years old when the war of the Revolution began, it is almost certain that he was a soldier in that struggle. Reference is made in Perrin’s History to Col. John W. Cocke, of Virginia, who came to this county in 1820 and built a mill on Little River that cost $10,000 and bought 3,000 acres of land. One of the leading roads out oi the city is still called the Cocke’s Mill road. This may be a kinsman of the Colonel, but we can find out nothing definite. There are now no families bearing this name nearer to Hopkinsville than Robertson County, Tennessee.
Near the center of the cemetery, under a towering forest tree, side by side, are the graves of Benjamin York and his wife Malinda York. They died the same month, August, 1825, and the date, somewhat effaced, seems to be the same on both headstones. Benjamin York, Sr., was one of the earliest settler. He was a blacksmith, in those days an indispensable factor in the life of every community, for even the nails were made by the blacksmith. David Saffarans was the tinsmith of the town and both reared families. When quite young, Benjamin York, Jr., and Ma-linda Saffarans were married, and two little sons came to bless their humble home—Jim and John. Then in the summer of 1825, when the one was twenty-five and the other twenty years of age, both parents sickened and. died. The boys grew up in the town with their grandparents and are well remembered by some of the older citizens. Many years ago they left Hopkinsville, and nobody here knows where their descendants now live.
Nevil Hopson, who died in 1835, was one of the early members of the Methodist Church. His wife, Susan Hopson, survived her husband fifteen years. They are buried side by side near the center of the lot.
In his day Benjamin W. Patton was one of the leading lawyers of Western Kentucky. He was born in Clark County, Kentucky, in 1788 and died in this city in 1825, one year before Robert P. Henry, another brilliant young lawyer, whose grave is not thirty feet from his, passed away. He was liberally educated and a graduate in law when he came to this city, and soon acquired a brilliant reputation as a strong and successful lawyer. He was an eloquent orator. David S. Patton, his brother, read law with him and in 1820 started the Kentucky Republican, the first paper published in Hopkinsville. He served in the Legislature from 1830 to 1834 and afterwards moved to Paducah, where he died in 1837.
Mrs. Margaret S. Patton, wife of Benjamin Patton, and Mrs. Ann Patton, wife of William Patton, both of whom died young, are buried in the Patton lot.
THE ODD FELLOWS
Green River Lodge No. 54, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Hopkinsville, was organized September 16, 1848, by Grand Master John W. Pruett, of Louisville; G. S. Fannon, of Paducah; George Wagner, of Clarksville, Tenn., with the following charter members: James Young, Wailer Sharp, Robert McKee, Langley Bell and W. S. Henry. Other members soon came in, and the first officers were: James Young, N. G.; Langley Bell, V. G.; D. J. Hooser, Treasurer, and Robert McKee, Secretary. As the years passed and the lodge got under way, the following names figured in its history: D. R. Beard, Jacob G. Gish, W. S. Talbot, A. D. Rodgers, Albert Pemberton, Daniel White, John Figeley, Edward Buckner, P. J. Glass, F. Dunnington, P. Dunnavan, Dawson Buck, H. E. Bacon,
James S. Phelps, Thomas Hord, A. C. Overshiner, W. W. Twyman, W. E. Warfield, John A. Twyman, John C. Latham, James A. Twyman, H. J. Stites, W. P. Shryer, C. W. Poindexter, W. H. Hopson, Hunter Wood, W. F. Randel, Joe Weill, J. S. Chastain, W. T. Bonte, John B. Cheaney, H. P. McQuigg, George W. Collins, C. W. Ducker, A. W. Bradley, Kirtley Twyman, George W. Lander, R. L. Boulware, J. J. Mitchell, J. F. Pyle,
A. S. Caidwell, Walter Lawson, D. M. Whittaker, Dr. L. B. Hickman, M. Lipstine, E. H. Crutchfield, Manuel Hartfield, George W. Long, Horace Buckner, C. H. Hisgen, Louis Solomon, W. D. Ennis, J. M. Higgins, John
Moayon, R. A. Morris, James Mitchell, L. Shobinsky, Reuben Marsh, Jas. Holloman, M. Frankel, H. E. Wiley and T. D. Ennis.
A generation passed, and the work of these members was taken up by L. H. Davis, H. R. Roper, Rev. John W. Venable, the only member who ever represented the lodge in the Sovereign Grand Lodge; G. H. Champlin, E. J. Duncan, S. B. Ficken, A. M. Coleman, S. T. Fruit, Ellis Roper, T. H. Owen, G. G. Reeder, J. T. Edmunds, Dr. F. P. Thomas, T. L. Metcalfe, E. H. Higgins, D. H. Thomasson, Dr. J. E. Oldham, E. H. Hester, C. S. Jackson, C. E. Harris, E. A. •Roper, Ed. C. Curtis, R. M. Tunks, R. C. Lawson, Frank Monroe, C. S. Jackson, George M. Clark, C. R. Clark, E. M. Flack, A. H. Anderson, J. K. Twyman, L. R. Davis, W. C. Wright, George E. Randle, L. F. Atkinson, W. A. Long, W. H. Lee and others. These last named were in charge when the lodge took its great and wise step, and erected its own building, that soon enhanced in value, paid for itself in rentals, and has made the lodge the wealthiest lodge of the order in Kentucky. This step was taken in 1902, and the present three-story block was erected on the corner of Ninth and Virginia Streets, upon the exact site where the cabin home of Bartholomew T. Wood, the original settler of Hopkinsville, stood in the woods, and from the door of which the pioneer and his wife used to shoot the deer that came to drink from the Rock Spring in front of the cabin. This three-story brick and stone building, on this historic spot, is handsome and commodious. The two first floors are rented. The third floor contains the lodge room, forty by sixty feet, which is not only used by the Odd Fellows but by other lodges, all of which are provided with separate property rooms.
The Odd Fellows Order, as is well known, was organized in England more than two hundred years ago. The poet, James Montgomery, once wrote a song for a body of Odd Fellows. Nowhere has the order found a more worthy exemplification than here in Hopkinsville, where for almost a century, the noble purposes of the great order have been carried out, promoting brotherly accord, relieving distress and doing good in many ways. The official personnel of the lodge at the present time is here given: Boyd Reeder, Noble Grand; W. E. Keel, Vice Grand; S. T. Fruit, Recording Secretary; Ellis Roper, Financial Secretary; F. A. Howard, Lodge Treasurer; L. E. Adwell, Building Fund Treasurer; C. W. Keach, District Deputy Grand Master; G. E. Randle, J. R. Fears, H. S. Wade, Trustees.
The Past Grands of the lodge, arranged alphabetically, are: Hubert Adwell, L. E. Adwell, L. T. Brasher, John T. Beard, D. C. Cary, G. H. Champlin, Harvey Chewning, George Myers Clark, A. M. Coleman, Ed.
C. Curtis, Sr., Ed. C. Curtis, Jr., J. R. Fears, S. T. Fruit, C. E. Harris, E. H. Hester, C. E. Hill, C. W. Keach, Dr. J. P. Keith, W. H. Lee, C. C. Lindsay, Isaac Lyon, W. L. Mayes, E. N. Miller, Fred Morris, G. E. Randie, Ellis Roper, W. A. Rawiings, Volney B. Seay, Frank B. Smoth, W. C. Taylor, G. W. Thacker, R. M. Tunks, W. B. Tucker, John W. Twyman, C. C. Wood and Envoy Henry Valuer.
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