HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN COUNTY KENTUCKY
charles m. meacham
THE FIRST QUARTER CENTURY
The Homes in the Wilderness; The Game in the Woods; Settlers Who Arrived During the First Quarter Century; The Pioneer Graveyard.
Ready for business by the end of the year 1897, the new county made rapid progress. The next meeting of the legislature made material reductions in its territory. Muhlenberg County took away its Green river section on the east and Henderson and Livingston Counties on the Ohio river took much of the country to the north of what is now Hopkins County. Elizabeth, as the town was then called, was soon the center of a mushroom growth in the wilderness. Its courts had jurisdiction over vast tracts of land grants that were divided into farms as new settlers crowded into the county from the states to the east and from the counties of Kentucky already settled. It has been shown that less than four hundred men were reported by the census taken by the sheriff for 1797. With the area greatly reduced, the number had almost doubled in two years. The pioneers were a hardy race seeking homes in a land of fabulous resources.
The woods to the north were filled with game of every description, deer, elk, wild turkeys and at certain seasons wild pigeons. Wolves, foxes and smaller animals were found everywhere. There were swarms of wild bees in the hollow trees with honey ready to be taken. Many fruits grew wild and flowers adorned the landscape. The new town was located upon a hill, or rather a series of hills, rising to an elevation of 541 feet, separating the hill country from the barrens. These were the vast grazing grounds of herds of buffaloes, covered with rank grass. There was water, but not much timber until further west, where the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers ran northward to the Ohio through wild stretches of primeval forests. The barrens were close to town and though less desirable than the woods, where the timber was ready to build houses and furnish firewood, they were soon taken up and settled. There was some timber along water-courses and soon there were sawmills to provide lumber for those who needed houses. In this part of the county there were great fields of wild strawberries in spring and for many decades the berries were plentiful enough to discolor the feet and legs of cattle that grazed in the pastures. Dewberries, blackberries, plums, persimmons and pawpaws were then and still are indigenous to the soil. Hickory nuts, chestnuts, walnuts and crabapples were everywhere. It was a land of plenty, a paradise
flowing with milk and honey. The cows brought in by the settlers needed but little feed that nature had not provided and the bees were as busy as the pioneers. At the beginning of the new century a stampede had set in and what became known as South Christian was soon settled by immigrants from Virginia, a different race from the hardy woodsmen from North Carolina who had settled in the north. They came with their families, Sons of Revolutionary soldiers and statesmen of the east, bringing their slaves with them, their herds of cattle, horses, mules and other livestock. In their wake came the preachers and school teachers, and before the county was twenty-five years old its citizens compared favorably with any in the state. South Christian and North Christian met and assimilated in the county seat and pioneer and patrician, the hunter and the scholar, the soldier and the statesman, set about the task of making history in Western Kentucky.
In other chapters I have sought to give as many names as possible from the old records, the officers, the grand jurors, the attorneys at the bar, the political leaders of the day, in order to show who the men were who conquered the wilderness. Lists have been compiled to show all of the officers of the county in the past. Each decade had its dominant leaders and every decade brought in new settlers who quickly took their places in the progress the pioneers had prepared the stage for. Some found homes among their kindred already here and others bought homes further into the wilderness, where new counties were to be created a few years later. Many who came to Christian in this period are now in Todd, Trigg, Hopkins and other counties. This record therefore must deal with the present boundaries of the county. In the first twenty years the following names of pioneers and later corners appear: Allen, Akers, Anderson, Armstrong, Barnes, Beard, Bell, Blue, Boyd, Bradshaw, Breathitt, Bronaugh, Brown, Buckner, Campbell, Clark, Crabtree, Croft, Coleman, Cates, Cushman, Cartwright, Daniel, Davis, Davie, Dulin, Davidge,Edwards, Ellis, Ewing, Ezeil, Faulkner, Finley, Forbes, Gant, Gaibraith, Garnett, Garrott, Glass, Goode, Gilkey, Grissom, Gray, Green, Hawkins, Harned, Hardin, Henry, Hopkins, Jesup, Jones, Johnson, Jackson, Knox, Lacy, Lea-veil, Long, Lackey, Lander, Meacham, Means, Metcalf, Mason, McDaniel, McFadden, McLaughlan, McGee, McKee, McKenzie, McKnight, Morris, Morehead, Nance, Overshiner, Owen, Payne, Patton, Padfield, Palmer, Pendleton, Pursley, Pyle, Radford, Ricketts, Reeves, Robinson, Rumsey, Shelby, Smith, Stites, Stuart, Starling, Shipp, Sherrill, Shelton, Shackelford, Thompson, Tandy, Underwood, Vaughan, Wood, Woosley, Warfield, Whitlock, West, Wilson, Williams, Walker, Wicks, Withers, Webber and Younglove. The descendants of many of these families are here yet. Others came and took equal prominence with the pioneers. This list is of course by no means complete, as the records of the times are meager, imperfect and many of them indistinct.
For practically all of the first twenty-five years, Christian County included Trigg County. The first settlers in that county were Thomas Wadlington, south of Cadiz; the Bakers at Cadiz, which was first called Bakersyule, Robt. Goodwin at Cerulean Springs and the Hopsons at Canton. This fertile county also settled up rapidly with the elimination of danger from Indians, though “between the rivers” remained a wild section for many decades. Some other early families in Trigg were the Dabneys, Burnetts, Majors, Whites, Ladds, Penns, Streets, Roaches, Lindsays, Jeffersons, Grinters, Whartons, Stewarts, Tylers, Andersons, Boyds and Gardners.
WHERE WERE BURIED THE EARLY SETTLERS
OF HOPKINSVILLE IN FIRST HALF
OF NINETEENTH CENTURY
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a moldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell forever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The Board of Council of the City of Hopkinsville undertook in 1910 to reclaim the old abandoned graveyard at the foot of Thirteenth Street, near the river bank.
This graveyard was the public burying ground from about 1812 until about 1852, though there were a few burials there as late as 1873. About 1865 the place became a wilderness of weeds and so remained until forty years later, when the council undertook to care for it to some extent, by having the dead trees and rank weeds cut down. In the spring of 1908, a committee consisting of the mayor and two councilmen was appointed to take up the work of improving and beautifying the graveyard. All of the timber, excepting a few trees left for shade, was cut down, and briars, brambles and bushes were kept down during the summer, and the old place was put in a better condition than it had been for fifty years. The solid board fence was taken down and a wire fence put in its place.
Desiring to make the work of improvement as much a popular movement as possible, the council committee appointed an auxiliary committee of ladies, most of whom were descendants of original settlers of Hopkinsvile.
In 1907 Mayor Chas. M. Meacham compiled a list of 165 persons buried in the old cemetery from 1812 to 1858. Only one body was buried there later than 1858, that of Dr. A. Webber, who was buried Dec. 23, 1873. In addition to the compiled list, probably 20 others who were buried in the graveyard are known, their headstones having been entirely destroyed. All told about 185 names were compiled and there are probably 50 more unmarked graves of unknown persons.
Very few of the headstones. remain as they were orjginally. Many of them were native limestone slabs. Some had crumbled away, some had been broken, some had fallen flat and some that remained standing had all lettering obliterated by the action of the elements. One headstone was almost surrounded by the trunk of a great elm tree three feet in diameter, that had grown up in the grave.
The committee agreed that the name “Pioneer Graveyard” would be an appropriate one and it was so named.
It was planned to erect a suitable monument to the pioneers, placing all known names upon it in enduring form. The cemetery was laid out for walks, and young trees were planted and were soon growing nicely. The ground was cleared of broken headstones, only such as remained in good shape having been left. The plans were never fully carried out. Mayor Meacham retired from office in 1914 and his successor, Mayor Frank K. Yost, had concrete walks laid and some other improvements made. A place was marked off, enclosed by walks, for the proposed monument, to cover the graves of Bartholomew T. Wood, who gave the ground in 1812, and his wife, Mrs. Martha Wood. He died in 1827 and she died in 1846. The tombstones were down and broken. The grounds have since been kept in order, but the monument has never been erected and it remains for the present generation to complete the work as outlined 20 years ago. The Council Committee who began the work in 1910 was composed of Chas. M. Meacham, the mayor, and Councilmen John B. Galbreath and Geo. E. Randle.
The Ladies Auxiliary Committee was composed of Mrs. Alex G. War. field, Mrs. Henry D. Wallace, Miss Julia Arnold, Miss Ellen Young, Miss Katie McDaniel, Miss Lucy Whitlock, Mrs. Green Henry Russell, Mrs.
S. A. Edmunds, Mrs. Hampton Fox, Mrs. Mary B. Campbell. Most of them were still living in 1929.
Mrs. Warfield is a great granddaughter of Bartholomew T. Wood, the first settler of Hopkinsville. Miss Arnold is a granddaughter of Dr. A. Webber, whose body was the last buried in the graveyard. All of the ladies are descendants of early settlers, excepting Mrs. Campbell, who was the widow of Hon. Jno. P. Campbell, who was congressman from this district in 1856-7, and a representative of one of the first families.
The following list of adults contains 42 men and 46 women:
Mrs. Margaret Allen, wife Samuel Allen, 1815-1834.; Mrs. Sarah Allen, wife Samuel Allen, 1811-1836; Mrs. Elizabeth Allen, wife of Henry Allen, 1782-1836; Mrs. Mary Bell, died 1825; Mrs. Mary Bouldin, died
1818; J. W. Blair, died 1817; Mrs. Selena C. Bailey, 1771-1851; Aaron Boyd, 1801-1850; Mrs. Louisa C. Curd, died 1839; Mrs. Love D. Campbell, wife of Alex Campbell, died 1834; Mrs. Eleanor G. Crow, 1812-1829;
P. L. Cathey, 1830-1853; Ephraim Cock, 1753-1839; Wm. W Cullman, 1793-1840; Francis M. Dallam, 1755-1823; Benjamin Eggleton, died 1819; Mrs. Elizabeth R. Elgin, wife W. M. Elgin, 1809-1834; Jonathan
English, 1796-1832; Jeremiah Foster, 1791-1823; Samuel Finley, 1795- 1836; Hugh L. Foster, 1819-1848; Mary Gordon, 1761-1831; John Guynn, 1793-1817; — Gibson, aged 66; John H. Gooch, 1718-1850; Samuel Harrison, 1765-1837; Mrs. Nancy Harrison, 1768-1833; Miss Ruth Hopkins, 1772-1834; Thomas Hopkins, 1773-1834; Mrs. Jane Hopkins, wife Thomas Hopkins, 1800-1830; Mrs. Mary Jane Hall, wife A. M. C.
Hall, 1806-1830; Daniel Hogan, died 1850; Catherine Higgins, 1755- 1812; Mrs. Eliza V. Gano Henry, wife Daniel Henry, 1803-1821; Robert Pryor Henry, IvI. C., 1788-1826; Nevil Hopson, 1783-1835; Mrs. Susan
Hopson, wife Nevil Hopson, 1787 -1850; Mrs. Mary Johnson, 1773-1814;Mrs. Sarah Jones, 1805-1833; Anna Weir Kelly, daughter R. H. Kelly, died 1832; Harriet Kelly, 1789-1831; Mrs. Susan Kinkead, 1830-185.S;
Mrs. Virginia Kinkead, 1817-1838; Mrs. Martha Ann Lambert, wife G. W. Lambert, 1818-1844; David Lotspeich, 1790-1832; Alexander McCulloch, 1777-1829; John McGarvie, 1789-1833; Francis G. Moore, 1813-
1853; Mrs. Jane Moore, wife John Moore, 1767-1825; Andrew Moore, son of John, 1799-1825; Mrs. Sarah C. McLaughlin, wife Jas. H., 1758-1825; Mrs. Amanda Leavy Morehead, wife Gov. Chas. S., 1804-1829; Wm.
Nichol, 1769-1829; Benj. W. Patton; Mrs. Margaret St. Patton, wife Benj. W., died 1823; Mrs. Ann Patton, wife Wm. Patton, 1796-1824; Jas. M. Pursley, 1813-1849; John Pursley, 1774-1827; Miss Jane W.
Price, 1779-1833; Joseph M. Price, 1800-1839; Mrs. Ann Price, wife Wm., 1807-1832; John H. Rice, 1808-1835; Melinda M. Rice, 1774-1832; James M. Rice (son Rev. David), 1768-1832; James S. Steele, 1808-1847; Dr. Moses Steele, 1778-1817; Mrs. Susan Steele, 1784-1840; Edward R. Slaughter, 1803-1839; Mrs. Mary Smith, wife Dr. W. T. Smith, 1794-1844; Dr. Samuel Stuart, 1817-1852; John B. Stuart, 1809-1846; Wm.
R. Tadlock, 1815-1838; Dr. Augustine Webber, 1790-1873; Mrs. Nancy Webber, wife Dr. A. W., 1794-1840; Mrs. Ann Webber, wife Philip W., died 1822; Mary Wood, 1899-1844; Mrs. Lucinda Wood, wife Jas. S.,
1801-1821; Mrs. Nancy Wood, wife Jno. H., 1791-1798; Mrs. Ann E. Wood, wife Jno. H., 1801-1838; Bartholomew T. Wood, died 1827; Mrs. Martha Wood, wife of Bartholomew T. Wood, died 1846; Susannah Wade, 1797-1830; Mrs. Adah Wilcockson, wife John, 1789-1824; Mrs. Juliet Western, wife of Wm. W., 1807-1848; Elizabeth Western, 1779-1832; Benjamin York, 1800-1825; Mrs. Melinda York, wife Benj. York, 1805-1825.
Wm. M. Clark, 1801-1819; Archibald Gordon, 1804-1820; John Long, 1802-1813; James T. Moore, 1834-1845; A. G. Overshiner, 1815-1836;James Park, 1803-1822; Henry M. Wood, 1813-1833; C. M. Wood, 1813-
1823; James Wilson, 1814-1831; Wm. Washington Webster, 1825-1833.
Elizabeth Breathitt, 1804-1827; Virginia Harrison, 1807-1825; Frances L. Gibson, 1825-1844; Henrietta McDaniel, 1806-1823; Elizabeth H. Messick, 1835-1852; Loetitia J. Price, 1818-1834.
Henry Allen; Infant Allen; Peyton Short Breathitt, 1823; Infant Breathitt, 1817; Louisa E. Bradley, 1834-1836; Robert S. Bradley, 1836-1836; Infant Crow, 1829; Magnus S. Carnahan; Mary Carnahan, 1834-
1838; Mary E. Cock, 1846; George Cock, 1835-1840; Dunavan child, 1847; Wm. Knox Finley, 1827-1833; Sarah Jane Webber, 1826-1827; Mary Watts, 1819; Emily Watts, 1825; Maria I. M. G. Wood, 1817-1822;
Alexander H. Wood, 1843; Nancy Wood, 1834; Sarah Wilcockson; Joseph T. Wilcockson; Albert G. Worsham, 1834-1835; Western, 1830. Three in Blair lot, three in Lambert lot, two in Foster lot, and one each in the Clark, Bouldin, Higgins, Moore, Steele, Short, Watts and Wood lots. One footstone marked only “F. E.”
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