Historical and Biographical
EARLY SETTLEMENT-THE FIRST PIONEERS-WHENCE THEY CAME-DAVIS
AND MONTGOMERY-DEATH OF THE LATTER-INCIDENTS OF DAVIS- OTHER WHITE SETTLERS-JAMES ROBINSON-HARDSHIPS AND PRIVATIONS-ORGANIZATION OF THE COUNTY-ACT OF THE LEGISLATURE- NAME OF THE COUXTY-COL. WILLIAM CHRISTIAN-COUNTY COURT- LOCATING THE SEAT OF JUSTICE-THE TAX LEVY-A UNIQUE BILL- COURT OF QUARTER SESSIONS-THE CIRCUIT COURT-COUNTY OFFICERS
-ABRAHAM STITES-COURT HOUSES AND JAILS-TILE CENSUS-ELECTION PRECINCTS-THE POOR FARM, ETC., ETC.
CIVILIZATION, it has been said, is a forced condition of existence to which man is stimulated by a desire to gratify artificial wants.
Again, it has been written, by a gifted but gloomy misanthrope, that, "As soon as you thrust the plowshare under the earth, it teems with worms and useless weeds. It increases population to an unnatural extent; it creates the necessity of penal enactments, builds the jails, erects the gallows, spreads over the human face a mask of deception and selfishness, and substitutes villainy, love of wealth and power, in the face of single-minded honesty, the hospitality and the honor of the natural state." These arguments are alike erroneous, and substantiated neither by history or observation. Civilization tends to the advancement and elevation of man ; lifts him from savagery and barbarism to refinement and intelligence. It inspires him with higher and holier thoughts-loftier ambitions, and its ultimate objects are his moral and physical happiness. The pioneer, the rude, rough, dauntless pioneer, is civilization's forlorn hope. He it is who forsakes all the comforts and surroundings of civilized life- all that makes existence enjoyable; he abandons his early home, bids adieu to loved ones, and, like Daniel Boone, turns his face toward the vast, illimitable wilderness. 'With iron nerves, these unsung heroes plunge into the gloomy forests, often with no companion but their gun, and exposed to danger in a thousand different forms; after years of incredible toil and privations they subdue the wilderness and prepare the way for the countless hosts who are to follow them.
The First Pioneers-Who were the first settlers of Christian County? This is now a question not easily answered. According to the historian, Collins, James Davis and John Montgomery were the first white men to settle in the county. They came here, lie says, in 1785, and built a block-house, but beyond this simple stateliest little is known of them except through fast-fading traditions. It is said, however, they were from Augusta County, Va., and there are many persons still living who remember to have often heard their voyage to this county described how they traversed the wilderness to Pittsburgh, and there embarked on board of boats or canoes, and, surrounded by innumerable perils, passed down the Ohio, up the Cumberland to the mouth of Red River, and up that stream to what afterward became Christian County. They settled in the northeast corner of the present Precinct of Longview, near the Todd County line, and there, as stated by Collins, built a block-house. Montgomery, who was a brother-in-law to Davis (having married Davis' sister) was a surveyor, and after remaining a short time at the original block-house, moved further north, and' settled on the creek which still bears his name. Even less is known of him than of Davis. He was a surveyor-that much is known-and surveyed a great deal of lands in this part of the country. Little else is known beyond the fact of his tragic death. He was engaged in surveying when he was killed by Indians at the mouth of Eddy Creek. or in the immediate vicinity (now the town of Eddyville), in Lyon County.
Davis settled permanently on the place where they had built the blockhouse, and which is the place now owned by Mr. John H. Bell, whose father, Dr. J. F. Bell, himself quite an early settler of the county, purchased direct from Davis. The place is noted on the map of Christian County as having been settled in 1762, but this is either a typographical error, or a mistake on the part of the compiler of the map. Daniel Boone, to whom history accords the honor of being the first permanent settler in Kentucky, did not make his first visit to the State until 1769; hence, Montgomery and Davis could not have been here as early as the county map indicates, and then, too, Collins says they came in 1785. But Capt. Darwin Bell, a son of Dr. Bell, states that his father learned from Davis direct, that he came here in 1782, which is probably correct. Davis and Montgomery, as 'we have said, built a block-house as a protection for their families against the Indians, who were then plenty, and on more than one occasion it afterward became a "House of Refuge" to the few scattered settlers, as the following incident will show: A man named Carpenter had settled near where Trenton, in Todd County, now stands. He had a small sugar camp, and was one day engaged in making sugar, when he was surprised by a band of Indians. They had stealthily approached and got between him and his cabin, where his family was at the time. Carpenter was sitting by the fire smoking his pipe and attending the boiling of sugar water, when he discovered the Indians, and, springing to his feet, he started for Davis' block-house, with the savages in hot pursuit. They followed him to Montgomery Creek and then gave up the chase. During the entire race, Carpenter is said to have kept his pipe in his mouth. He made his way to the block-house and told his story. Davis, who, like most of the early frontiersmen, was skilled in Indian-fighting, gathered the few men from the little station and returned with Carpenter, fully expecting to find his cabin burned and his family murdered. But, contrary to their dismal forebodings, the Indians had not molested them, having, as it seems, become alarmed and retreated. The men now proposed to follow and chastise the savages, but Davis advised otherwise, stating that he knew the Indian character better than they; that he felt sure they expected, and even desired to be followed, and would set a trap for their pursuers; and, as a last argument against what he deemed a risky adventure, refused to accompany them. They branded him with cowardice, and disregarding his wholesome counsel, started off in pursuit of the "red skins." Davis' son, to atone for his father's apparent lack of courage, joined, and accompanied the party. True to the predictions of Davis, they fell into an ambuscade at Jesup's Grove, then called Croghan's Grove, and young Davis was killed and others wounded.
Davis was a fatalist, and believed that "what is to be will be whether or no, and that it was one of the irrevocable decrees that his son should perish as he did. While he mourned for him, and deplored his untimely fate, it seemed a consoling reflection to him that it was to be, and there was no help for it. Although he built a block-house and a cabin, and, it is said, entered land, yet he paid little attention, if any, to the opening or cultivating of a farm, but spent most of his time in hunting and trapping. It is told of him, that when on his way to Kentucky, he bought a dozen apples in Pittsburgh, the seeds of which he preserved, and planted on the place where he located. Mr. Bell informs us that one of these trees is still standing, and bearing fruit. A strange tradition prevails among the early settlers, that when Davis came here, he found a stone chimney standing alone on the place where he located, and evidences of a house having once stood by it; also a pear tree, in bearing, stood near by. The pear tree is still standing and bearing fruit, although, according to that tradition, it must be over 100 years old. The question is, who was here prior to 1782, to build houses with stone chimneys and plant pear trees? This would indicate that Davis and Montgomery were not the first white men in Christian County.
In some respects Davis is said to have been a remarkable man. Illiterate he was, but less ignorant than many of the early frontiersmen. He was a pioneer in the full sense of the word, and sought the solitudes of the pathless woods, the dreariness of the desert wastes, in exchange for the trammels of civilized society. Of the latter, he could not endure its restraints, and he despised its comforts and pleasures. He yearned for freedom-the wild freedom of the great wilderness-and exiled himself from his native place that he might fully enjoy it. He came West, crossed the mountains, and he did not burn the bridges behind him, because there were none to burn. He hunted and fished, and fought the Indians in their own way and fashion, and altogether he had a lively time of it. Like Daniel Boone, he came to the wilderness, not to settle and subdue it, but to hunt the deer and bear, to roam at large and to enjoy the lonely pastimes of a hunter's life, remote from society and civilization. He was fond of recounting the perils and excitements of the chase to his friends and boon companions. His stories were wonderful and bordered on the marvelous, and many of them would, it is said, have done justice to Joe Mulhatton. A sample is the following: He once shot a bear, and it fell backward into a cavern twenty feet deep. I n order to get it he backed up his old horse to the mouth of the cavern, fastened a grapevine around the bear's neck and the horse's tail, and though the bear weighed 400 pounds, his old horse drew it out.
Such was one of the first settlers-one of the first white men who ever came to Christian County. Such as he was he had to be to blaze out the way for those who were to come after him, and to pave the way for that higher and nobler civilization that has followed the era in which he lived. As game grew scarcer and scarcer, and population increased, he became disgusted at the encroachments of civilization, and emigrated to Missouri, then an unbroken wilderness, save by a few pioneer hunters like himself. There he lived out the remainder of his life and died at a good old age. A grandson of his-Jo Davis-is said to have attained to considerable prominence in that State, and in Northwestern Illinois so much so that a county of the latter State bears his name, though the spelling of it has been changed to Daviess.
The above sketch would perhaps be an extravagant drawing of the early pioneer generally; yet there is much in it that recalls a type and character of that day. Most of the first white men came here as hunters and trappers, and as such filled their mission in life and passed away. And should they now revisit the land where they flourished, and behold their "degenerate successors," with no hunting-grounds, no moccasins, no leather breeches and hunting-shirts, nor flint-lock guns, their great hearts would wither and decay like plucked flowers.
There is much of romance in the story of the first settlers of Kentucky. The spirit of adventure allured these pioneer hunters to come into this vast wilderness. The beauty of the country gratified the eye, its abundance of wild animals the passion for hunting. They were surrounded by an enemy, subtle and wary, and ever ready to spring upon them. But these wild borderers flinched not from the contest; even their women and children often performed deeds of heroism in the land where "the sound of the war-whoop oft woke the sleep of the cradle," from which stern manhood might have shrunk in fear.
Other Settlers.-A century has passed since the settlement of Davis and Montgomery, and the first influx of whites is dead and gone. In all probability, there is not an individual living in Christian County who was here at the time of its formation; if so, they could have been little more than infants then. With the long lapse of time between then and now, and no source to draw from except the county records, it is not possible to give a correct list of the settlers prior to 1800. The oldest citizens now living can only give the names of those whom they have heard their elders speak of, for many of the very first settlers either died or went away before they were born, or before the period back to which their recollection extends. From the records of the county, and from all other sources at command, we find that among the earliest settlers, and the people living here when the county was formed, were the following: Jacob Barnett, Moses Shelby, Jonathan and Charles Logan, James Robinson and his sons Abner, James and Grei, Brewer Reeves, Hugh Knox, Jonathan Ramsey, Benjamin Lacy, Matthew Wilson, Bartholomew Wood, Samuel Hardin, Abraham Stuart, Adam Lynn, Alexander Lewis, John Dennis, John Campbell, Samuel Means, William Armstrong, John Wilson, John Maberry, James Thompson, Young Ewing, John Clark, Obadiah Roberts, James Shaw, James Richey, James Henderson, John Caudry, Charles Hogan, Isaac Fitsworth, Michael Pirtle, Isaac Shoat, William Prince, Willis Hicks, Samuel Bradly, James Reeves, Michael Dillingham, George Robinson, Sr., Samuel Kinkeade, Julius Saunders, James Decon, Charles Staton, James Kerr, James Waddleton, Joseph Kuykendali, Robert Cravens, Capt. Harry Wood, George Bell, Peter Carpenter, Henry Wortrnan, James Kuykendall, Abraham Hicks, Henry Clark, James Lewis, David Smith, James Elliott, John Roberts, George, Benjamin and Joab Hardin, Francis Leofftus, Peter and John Shaffer, Benjamin Campbell, Thomas Vaughn, James Lockard, William Stroud, Sr., Edward Taylor, Henry Wolf, William Means, Levi Cornelius, John McDaniel, Neil and Sandy Blue, "Hal" Brewer, Justinian Cartwright, Azariah Davis, William and Benjamin Dupuy, Joseph Cavender, Robert Warner, Edward Davis, John Wilcoxon, etc., etc. Little is known of the great majority of these people; of many of them absolutely nothing is known, except, as shown by the records, they were here prior to 1SOO, and where most of them lived no one knows. Some may have lived in the present County of Henderson, and some beyond the Cumberland River, for Christian County originally was large, and its boundaries far beyond what they are now. They have all passed away, and of the many no trace exists except their names inscribed in the old faded, musty records.
James .Robinson.-But little is known, as we have said, of the majority of those whose names we have mentioned, and of many of them nothing. But of the few of whom we have gathered some facts is James Robinson. It is not improbable that he was here next after Davis and Montgomery. If not, there could have been but few here between them, as it is a family tradition that he came as early as 1788. He was from North Carolina, and was a revolutionary soldier; entered the army at the beginning of the struggle, and carried his musket-and used it, too- until the sons of liberty conquered a peace before the walls of Yorktown. He returned home to find his wife dead, and his family scattered, and ever after may be termed a wanderer in the wilderness. The dark and bloody ground, as Kentucky was even then known, was attracting attention, arid he wandered hither. He spent some time in the fort at Boonesboro, but, ever restless, he resumed his wanderings, and came to what is now Christian County, and built. a cabin in the present Precinct of Wilson. Here he remained about a year, and returned to North Carolina, gathered up the scattered members of his family, and brought them to Kentucky. His sons who came here were Abner, James and Green. The first died in Wilson Precinct, where he settled; James commanded a regiment under Gen. Jackson in the battle of New Orleans, was the Captain of the Regulators spoken of elsewhere in this volume, and also died in Wilson Precinct. Green, the youngest of the brothers, was killed in the Black Hawk war. No braver and more valiant soldiers ever fought for their country than the old revolutionary hero, James Robinson, and his sons. Some years after he brought his family here, he went to Tennessee, and eventually died at Port Royal. In the chapter on Wilson Precinct, much more will be said of the Robinsons. They were men of note, and their footprints may still be seen in the community where they lived, and where descendants still perpetuate a name that should not be forgotten.
Many of the people mentioned above will be further noticed in subsequent chapters of this work, together with the names of other settlers. This brief glance at the pioneers is merely to show the occupation of the country prior to the organization of the county, and as we proceed we shall refer more fully to them. A few words of their life in the wilderness, and we will turn our attention to the formation of the county and its legal life.
Hardships and Privations.-Prior to 1800, Christian County was a vast waste, with only here and there meager settlements of hardy pioneers. Much of the county was an unbroken stretch of barrens or prairie land, inhabited by wild animals, the settlements being confined to the timber. These pioneers came here, they knew not why, and at once seemed to realize that to look behind them with regret was useless. Figuratively, they had put their hand to the plow, and looked not back.
The rifle and the fish-hook antedated the grater and the rude hand-mill in supplying food. The question of bread, after the first coming of a family, until they could clear ground to raise their home supply, was often a serious one indeed. Corn was the staple production, but even after it was raised there were no mills to grind it, and this made the grater a useful article in every household. Wheat was not grown for a number of years, as there were neither mills nor markets for it. Many of the earliest settlers squatted in the north part of the county, among the hills and the springs and the timber. The ground was light and fresh, and, while not so rich as in the barrens, yet, when the undergrowth of the forests was removed, and the large trees deadened, the cultivation of the ground was an easy matter. Believing the barrens would never be worth anything, except for pasturage, the good old pioneers from North Carolina sought the hills of the North, as we have said, where flowed perennial springs, and grew towering forest trees, "in whose tops The century-living crow grew old and died."
The difficulties encountered here by the first settlers were very great. They were in a wilderness remote from any cultivated region, and ammunition, food, clothing and implements of industry were obtained with great difficulty. Then the merciless savage was not very far distant, and although, as a general thing, peaceable and friendly, it was in their nature to accept the slightest pretext for putting on the war-paint, the tomahawk and the scalping.knife. These threatened difficulties only increased danger, toil and suffering for the few and widely separated families. The accumulated dangers drew the people nearer together, and they lived in a state of comparative social equality. Aristocratic distinctions were left beyond the mountains, and the first society lines drawn were to separate the very bad from the general mass. No punctilious formalities marred their gatherings for "raisings" and "log-rollings," but all were happy and enjoyed themselves in seeing others happy. The rich and the poor dressed alike, the men wearing mostly hunting shirts and pants of buckskin, while the ladies attired themselves in coarse fabrics produced by their own hands. But in this primitive state, and with all these difficulties surrounding them, and the hardships incident to a new country, the propriety of forming a new county began to be debated among the people. Toward the close of the year 1796, the contemplated project became a reality.
Organization of the County.-it seems almost incredible to us now that little more than a hundred years ago Kentucky, with her 37,630 square miles and her 117 counties, formed but a part of an individual county; yet such is a fact of history. In 1775, when the original thirteen colonies revolted, and cast off the yoke of the mother country, the territory now embraced in the State of Kentucky constituted a part of Fincastle County, Va., which, on the 31st of December, 1776, was divided into three Counties, and of which Kentucky formed one county of the Old Dominion. In 1781, Kentucky County was divided by an act of the General Assembly of Virginia into three counties, viz. : Jefferson, Fayette and Lincoln. Jefferson embraced "that part on the south side of Kentucky River which lies west and north of a line beginning at the mouth of Benson's Big Creek, and running up the same and its main fork to the head; thence south to the nearest waters of Hammond's Creek and down the same to its junction with the Town Fork of Salt River; thence south to Green River, and down the same to its junction with the Ohio." Fayette embraced "that part which lies north of the line beginning at the mouth of Kentucky River, and up the same to its middle fork to the head; and thence southeast to the Washington line." (The present State of Tennessee was then known as the "District of Washington," and was represented by deputies chosen by the Colonial Assembly of North Carolina.) "Lincoln embraced the residue of the original county of Kentucky."
By an act of the General Assembly of Virginia, passed in October, 1784, Jefferson County was divided, and that portion south of Salt River was formed into an independent county, and called Nelson. An act passed May 1, 1785, divided Fayette, calling the northern part Bourbon, and another act passed August 1, of the same year sub.divided Lincoln, creating Mercer and Madison Counties. May 1, 1788, Mason County was formed out of a part of Bourbon, and Woodford out of a part of Fayette, thereby making four counties out of the original Fayette, two out of Jefferson and three out of Lincoln. These nine counties comprised the Commonwealth of Kentucky at the time of its admission into the Union as a State, June 1, 1792. Washington was the first-born of the new State, and was formed out of a part of Nelson the same year (1792) the State was admitted. Also during the same year Scott was formed from a part of Woodford; Shelby from a part of Jefferson; Logan from a part of Lincoln ; Clark from portions of Lincoln and Nelson; Harrison was formed in 1793 from portions of Bourbon and Scott; Franklin in 1794 from portions of Woodford Mercer and Shelby, and Campbell from portions of Harrison, Scott and Mason. Bullitt was formed in 1796 from portions of Jefferson and Nelson, and the same year Christian was formed from a part of Logan, and was, therefore, the twenty-first county organized in the State. Christian traces her origin, ancestrally speaking, back to Lincoln, one of the three original counties, being a daughter of Logan, and a granddaughter of Lincoln.
The act of the Legislature for the formation of Christian County, entitled, "An act for the division of Logan County," is as follows:
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the General As8embly, That from and after the 1st day of March next, the county of Logan shall be divided into two distinct counties, that is to say, all that part of the said county included in the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning on Green River, eight miles below the mouth of Muddy River; thence a straight line to one mile west of Benjamin Hardin's; thence a straight line to the Tennessee State line, where it crosses the Elk Fork ; thence along the said line to the Mississippi River; thence up the same to the mouth of the Ohio, and up the same to the mouth of Green River; thence up the same to the beginning, shall be one distinct county, and called and known by the name of Christian, and all the residue of the said county shall retain the name of Logan.
SEC. 2. Be it fur her enacted, That the courts of Quarter Sessions for said county shalt be held on the third Monday in February, April, June and September in every year, and the County Courts of said county shall be held on the third Monday of every month in which the Court of Quarter Sessions is not hereby directed to be held.
SEC.3. Be it further enacted, That the Justices t be named in the commission of the peace for said county of Christian, shall meet at the house of Brewer Reeves, in said county, upon the first court day after the said division shall have taken place; and having taken the oaths prescribed by law, and the Sheriff being legally qualified, shall then proceed to fix upon a place to hold courts in the said county, in such place as shall be deemed the most central and convenient for the people; and thereafter the County Court shall proceed to erect public buildings at such place ; and until such buildings are completed, the Court of Quarter Sessions and County Court may adjourn to such place or places as they may severally think proper.
SEC. 4. Be it further enacted, That the Justices of the Court of Quarter Sessions at their first session, and the Justices of the County Court at their first court, shall proceed to appoint and qualify their clerks: Provided, however, that the appointment of a place to erect the public buildings shall not be made unless a majority of the Justices of the county concur ; nor of a clerk unless a majority of the Justices of the court for which he is to be appointed concur; but such appointment shall be postponed until such majority can be had; but each may appoint a clerk pro tempore.
Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for the Sheriff of said county of Logan to collect or make distress for any public dues and officers' fees, which shall remain unpaid by the inhabitants thereof at the time such division shall take place, and shall be accountable for the same in like manner as if this act had not been made, and the court of the said county of Logan shall have jurisdiction in all actions which shall be depending before them at the time of such division; and they shall try and determine the same, issue process, and award execution thereon.
Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That the said county of Christian shall not. be entitled to a Representative until an enumeration is hereafter taken, and ratio established by law, but the said county shall be considered as a part of Logan County, and the inhabitants thereof shall be entitled to vote in the same for Representative.
Sec.7 Be it further enacted, That this act shall commence and be in force from and after the passage thereof.
EDW. BULLOCK, Speaker house of Representatives
JOHN CAMPBELL, Speaker Senate, pro tern.
JAMES GARRARD, Governor.
Approved December 13, 1796.
By reference to the map it will be seen that the County of Christian at the time of its formation was almost as large as the present State of Massachusetts, and from its original territory have been carved wholly or in part Muhlenburg, Todd, McLean, Hopkins, Webster, Henderson, Union, Crittenden, Caldwell, Trigg, Livingston, Lyon, Marshall, Calloway, Graves, Ballard, McCracken, Hickman and Fulton Counties. The first inroad upon Christian was in 1798, when Henderson, Livingston and Muhlenburg were created; the last in 1819, when Todd, and in 1820, when Trigg were formed. Since then the boundaries of Christian have remained the same, unless it has been some petty change to accommodate a particular neighborhood. Even with all the drafts upon her territory, Christian by the last census was the fourth county in the State in point of population, and the thirteenth in wealth.
The County's name.-Christian County was named in honor of Col. William Christian, a noted soldier and Indian fighter. Collins gives the following sketch of him : He was a native of Augusta County, Va., and was educated at Staunton. When very young he commanded a company attached to Col. Bird's regiment, which was ordered to the frontier during Braddock's war. In this service he obtained the reputation of a brave, active and efficient officer. Upon the termination of Indian hostilities, he married the sister of Patrick Henry, and settled in the county of Botetourt. In 1774, having received the appointment of Colonel of militia, he raised about three hundred volunteers, and by forced marches made a distance of 200 miles, with the view of joining the forces under Gen. Lewis, at the mouth of the Great Kanawha. He did not arrive, however, in time to participate in the battle of Point Pleasant, which occurred on the preceding day, the 10th of October, 1774. In 1775 he was a member of the General State Convention of Virginia. In the succeeding year, when hostilities had commenced between Great Britain and the American colonies, he received the appointment of Colonel in the Virginia line of the regular army, and took command of an expedition composed of 1,200 men, against the Cherokee Indians. No event of moment occurred in this expedition, the Indians having sued for peace, which was concluded with them. After his return from this expedition, Col. Christian resigned his command in the regular service, and accepted one in the militia, at the head of which he kept down the Tory spirit in his quarter of Virginia throughout the Revolutionary struggle. Upon the conclusion of the war, he represented his county in the Virginia Legislature for several years, sustaining a high reputation for his civil as well as his military talents.
Col. Christian emigrated to Kentucky in 1785, and settled on Bear-grass. The death of Col. Floyd, who was killed by an Indian in 1783, rendered his location peculiarly acceptable to that section of the State, where a man of his intelligence, energy and knowledge of the Indian character, was much needed. In April of the succeeding year, 1786, a body of Indians crossed the Ohio and stole a number of horses on Bear-grass, and with their usual celerity of movement re-crossed the river, and presuming they were in no further danger of pursuit, leisurely made their way to their towns. Col. Christian immediately raised a party of men, and crossed the Ohio in pursuit of the marauders. Having found their trail, by a rapid movement he overtook them about twenty miles from the river and gave them battle. A bloody conflict ensued, in which Col. Christian and one man of his party were killed, and the Indian force totally destroyed. His death created a strong sensation in Kentucky, for he was brave, intelligent and remarkably popular.
County Court.--The first court held in the new county convened on the 21st day of March, 1797. Present-Jacob Barnett, Moses Shelby, Hugh Knox, Jonathan Logan and Brewer Reeves, gents, Presiding Justices of the county. They organized for business, and appointed John Clark Clerk, and Charles Logan Sheriff. The first business that came before court was the presentation of a deed by Young Ewing from Peter Tardwin and brother, which was ordered "to be certified." The next item disposed of was, "that James Henderson be appointed Commissioner of Tax for the present year, 1797." The third act of the court was the issuing of a writ to James Shaw to view and condemn a mill site on Big Eddy, and the fourth, one to Robert Cravens for the same purpose, on the Barren Fork of Little River. The monotony of the proceedings was then broken, by granting a license to Obadiah Roberts "to keep a public house." The next entry upon the records is as follows:
"Ordered that Moses Shelby, Jonathan Logan, Brewer Reeves, Young Ewing and Joseph Kuykendall, gents, or a majority of them, meet at the house of Capt. Wood, where Col. Starling now lives, on the first Friday in April next, and proceed to view the most suitable and convenient place for the seat of justice for Christian County, and make a return to our next court." After another writ or two regarding mill sites, the court adjourned.
The next term convened July 18, 1797, and the first business was the reports on the mill sites ordered " viewed and condemned," at the last term, which were ordered to be recorded ; also the issuing of writs to view and condemn other mill sites in various parts of the county, which, though very thinly populated, as we have seen, covered a large extent of territory. The last will and testament of James Davis was presented and "ordered to be certified." Mrs. Deborah Davis was appointed "to the safe keeping of the estate of the said James Davis, deceased," and it was ordered "that Moses Shelby, Jonathan Logan, Brewer Reeves, George Bell and James Davis appraise the estate of James Davis, deceased." A deed from Peter Tardwin and brother to James Davis was sworn to and ordered "to be certified." Several other deeds were disposed of in the same manner.
The next entry is as follows: "Ordered that James Richey, George Robinson, Sr., Samuel Kinkeade, Julius Saunders, James Decon, Charles Staton and James Kerr be appointed to view the most nearest and best way from James Waddleton's, on the Bigg Eddy to the bigg spring on Lewiston, from there to the Clay-lick settlement, and report the same to our next court." The next "order" is for the Surveyor of this county to meet the Surveyor of Logan County on the 8th day of August, in order to run the boundary line between the said counties agreeable to law, etc. Young Ewing then presented his commission from the Governor as head Surveyor for Christian County, and entered into bond, with Joseph Kuykendall as security. The next business was an order to the Sheriff, to "summon Jacob Barnett and Hugh Knox to attend at our next court to proceed to view the most suitable place for the seat of justice, in order to erect the public buildings," and then court adjourned.
The third term of the court was held Aug. 15, 1797, and, after disposing of some unimportant business, the following were established as "tavern rates :" Dinner, is. 6d.; supper, Is.; breakfast, is.; bedd, 4 1/2 d.; grain per gallon, 9d; pasturage for 12 hours, Gd; horse to hay 12 hours, is.; whisky per gallon, 12s. The latter commodity seems to have been about as high then as now, but it is probable that the. purity of the article made in those primitive days would offset the Government tax of the present day.
Locating the Seat of Justice.-Following the establishment of uniform prices for tavern-keepers, comes the entry regarding the location of the county-seat, as follows:
"Ordered, that the seat of justice be first at the Sinking Fork of Little River; and that Young Ewing, Jonathan Logan and Samuel Hardin, gents, or a majority of them, do meet at the place fixed upon as the seat of justice, and proceed to view the most suitable place in order to erect public buildings as follows, to-wit: To let the public buildings, one cabbin 20 feet square. one jail 14 feet square, and the logs hughed 1 foot square, and one pair of stocks, and make report to our next court." From the above entry it will be seen that the first officers of the county were not perfect in their orthography, but considering their educational facilities, they no doubt deserved as much credit for their learning as we do, with our greatly increased advantages.
At the next term of court, held November 21, 1797, it proceeded "to appoint a place to affix the seat of justice, and, after deliberating thereon, do appoint and determine on the land whereon Bartholomew Wood now lives; therefore ordered, that the seat of justice be fixed at the said Wood's, he having agreed to give five acres of land for public buildings, timber for building the same, and half of the spring." Thus was the seat of justice located, and to the credit and good business sense of the people be it said, it still remains upon the original site-the handsome and enterprising little city of Hopkinsville. Though efforts were at first made to remove it to other points, they failed, the majority always standing up for the old location.
An interesting item, culled from the old records of the court, is the following "statement of the county levy for the year 1797 :"
£ s. d.
To the Clerk for the expense of fees 5 0 0
To the Sheriff for the expense of fees 7 10 0
To the State's Attorney 15 0 0
To Young Ewing for surveying County line 14 12 0
To persons for building a court house and jail 30 0 0
To John Clark for the expense of the Commissioners' book
and one minute book furnished 3 18 0
To Peter Carpenter, 1 old and 1 young wolf scalp 11 0
To Henry Wortman, 1 old wolf scalp 8 0
To Benjamin Couns, 1 old wolf scalp 8 0
To Abraham Hicks, 1 old wolf scalp 8 0
To Henry Clark, 1 old wolf scalp 8 0
To James Lewis, 1 old and 1 young wolf scalp 11 0
To David Smith, 1 old wolf scalp 8 0
To John Clark, 1 young wolf scalp 3 0
To Abraham Stewart, 3 old wolf scalps 1 4 0
To W. Wallace, 3 old wolf scalps 1 4 0
To Joseph Kuykendall, 2 old wolf scalps 16 0
To James Elliott, I old wolf scalp 8 0
To Benj Garris, 9 old wolf scalps - 3 12 0
To John Roberts, 1 old wolf scalp 8 0
To George Hardin, 1 old wolf scalp 8 0
To Benj Hardin, 1 old wolf scalp 8 0
To Joab Hardin, 1 old wolf scalp 8 0
To Bat Wood, 2 old wolf scalps 16 0
To Peter and John Shaffer, 3 old wolf scalps 1 4 0
Total 90 1 0
It was ordered "that the Sheriff pay the above amounts to the several individuals, and that he have credit for 388 Tiths at 4s. 6d. each." In the year 1800, the titltable8 had increased to 592, and "the county levy for the same year was fixed at 62 1/2 cents."
For faithfully and truly assessing the property of the people, the Commissioner of Tax, as he was called, was bound up in the following ironclad manner:
"Know all men by these presents that we Benj. Campbell and Young Ewing are
held and firmly bound unto James Garrard Esquire, Governor of Kentucky and his successors in office for the time being in the penal sum of Two thousand. dollars. the payment whereof well and Truly to be made to the said Governor or his successors in Office.
We bind ourselves our heirs executors Administrators &C Jointly and Severally firmly by these Presents Sealed with our Seals and Dated this 20th day of January 1801.
"The Conditions of the above Obligation is Such that Benj. Campbell bath this day been appointed Commissioner of the Tax for the district of the County of Christian by the Justices thereof. Now if he shall well and Truly execute the Office of Commissioner in Taking in a correct List of Taxable property from each person Subject to Taxation in his said District, and make out the Several Alphabetical books as is required by Law & Transmit them to the several persons as is Entitled to them by Law, and agreeable to Law. and shall in Other Cases well and Truly execute the said Office of Commissioner agreeable to Law. and in the Time Prescribed by Law. then this Obligation to be Void Else to remain in full force and Virtue. Signed sealed Delivered in the Presents of the Court."
Attest Benja Campbell ~Seal]
"John Clark." Young Ewing" ~Seal]
At the term of court held December 14, 1801, we find the following on record: "Ordered that John Clark be allowed for boarding and finding and attending upon Francis Leofftus when sick
27 days the sum of $10.00
For Keeping a stead horse drenching and doctoring of him when foundered 69 days 12.00
For wriding 3 days on Leofi'tus' business 3.00
For paying the doctor lOs. for wriding 1.67
For finding for the doctor 50
For all my trouble in burying of him, finding plank, getting the coffin made and for liquors and victuals furnished at the burying, the sum of 17.00
Such is the character of some of the business which came before the County Court for the first few years after the organization of the county.
Court of Quarter Sessions.-At the period when the county was formed, the Court of Quarter Sessions answered in the place of our Circuit Court of the present day, and was held by two or three Justices, who were men perhaps more "learned in the law" than the Justices of the County Court. The first term of the court of Quarter Sessions for Christian County was held "at the court house in the town of Elizabeth
on the 17th day of February, 1801, the Hon. Adam Lynn and Hon. Samuel Hardin, Justices presiding. Solomon Brunts or Brents (the records are indistinct) was admitted as an attorney. A "Grand Jury of Inquest" was impaneled and sworn. The record is a little torn and worn, and some of the names are gone. Those remaining and distinguishable are as follows: James Thompson, Foreman; Thomas Vaughn, James Lockard, William Stroud, Sr., William Cravens, Edward Taylor, Henry Wolf, etc. The records are so imperfect and faded, that but little could be gleaned from them of any interest.
The Circuit Court.-The Court of Quarter Sessions was succeeded, in 1803, by the Circuit Court, in accordance with an act of the Legislature. The first term was held in Christian County March 28, 1803. Hon. Samuel Hardin and Hon. James Wilson presented their commissions from James Garrard, Governor, as Assistant Judges, and were sworn in by John Campbell, Justice of the Peace. The records inform us that "they took their seats, and the Sheriff opened court." Young Ewing was appointed Clerk pro tempore, and entered into bond, with Samuel Caldwell and Rezin Davidge, as securities, and took the required oath.
Rezin Davidge. Samuel Caldwell, Matthew Lodge, James H. McLaughlan, John A. Cape, Robert Coleman and James H. Russell produced their licenses, and were sworn in as attorneys at law in this court. It was then "ordered that Rezin Davidge be appointed Attorney for the Commonwealth to this court." The first case was, "The Commonwealth, plaintiff, versus Matthew Lodge, defendant, for profane swearing." The result of the suit was, the defendant was fined five shillings and costs. The second case was, John Tadlock versus William Daniel and James Dillingham for debt.
The Grand Jury for this court was as follows : Samuel Bradley, Foreman; Isaac Stroud, William Husk, Hugh Johnson, John Wilson, William Cravens, Benjamin MeClendon, Bartholomew Wood, John Weldon, Peter Thompson, Daniel Bristow, William Stroud, James Barnett, Thomas Martin, Thomas Vaughn, Isaac Hayes, John Caruthers and Joseph Starkley. "who being impaneled and sworn, and having received their charge withdrew from the bar to make up their presentments."
Several unimportant cases were then disposed of, and the "records of the late Court of Quarter Sessions, was received into the Circuit Court from John Clark, late Clerk of said Quarter Sessions Court."
The Grand Jury returned a number of indictments against different individuals, mostly for "profane swearing by God," and were then dismissed. The court then proceeded to try the same, and in most of the cases fined the delinquents five shillings and costs.
Young Ewing was appointed Treasurer of the court, and after a few more unimportant cases for debt and other trivial offenses, court adjourned.
The next term was held June 27, 1803, the Hon. Ninian Edwards
(afterward Governor of Illinois) Judge and Hon. Samuel Hardin and James Wilson, Assistant Judges. The first entry in the records at this term is, "The Hon. Ninian Edwards voting for John Gray, by the votes of the two assistant Judges, ordered that James H. McLaughlan be appointed Clerk of this court until next term." He was then sworn in, entered into bond with Rezin Davidge and Young Ewng as his securities in the sum of $3,000. Young Ewing was sworn in as Deputy Clerk. The court continued for three days and then adjourned. The next term was held, beginning September 26, 1803, and continued four days. The next term commenced March 12, 1804, Hon. Ninian Edwards, Judge, and Hon. Samuel Hardin and James Wilson, Assistant Judges. James McLaughlan presented a certificate of qualification from the Court of Appeals, and was appointed permanently Clerk of this court. He entered into bond of £1,000 with Rezin Davidge, Young Ewing and John Campbell as securities. March 29, 1803, Matthew M. Gooch was admitted as an attorney, and at the June term, 1803, Rezin Davidge was again appointed Attorney for the Commonwealth. At the March term, 1804, Henry Davidge and John Campbell were admitted as attorneys. At the same term William Wallace was admitted. The next term commenced June 11, 1804, and for the first time the name of Hopkinsville appears in the records. Hitherto it had appeared as the "Town of Elizabeth," "Elizabeth Town " and "Elizabeth," being entered in the records in these three different ways. At this term William Featherston, Christopher Thompson and John Gray were admitted as attorneys, and after a four days' term court adjourned. The next term began September 10, 1804, Ninian Edwards Judge. At this term Joshua Crow, Henry Toulman and Samuel Work, were admitted as attorneys. Court adjourned after sitting four days. The next term commenced March 11, 1805, and lasted five days. Alney McLean was admitted as an attorney, and John Campbell was appointed Attorney for the Commonwealth.
But if the reader has had enough of these early court proceedings the writer has, and the subject will be dropped. These extracts have been-made in contrast to the voluminous proceedings of the present courts, and to illustrate the growth and progress of' the county. The greater part of the business then and a large majority of the cases were trivial, and consisted mostly of profane swearing, cases of debt, drunkenness, riot, trespass, assault and battery, etc., etc. Even back at that date the records are kept in a neat and excellent Style. The writing is plain, smooth and almost as easily read as print. Christian is to be congratulated upon the perfect, complete and unbroken records in both the County and Circuit Clerk's offices, and for her kind and accommodating clerks, who are the very perfection of gentlemanly courtesy.
County Officers.-It may not be uninteresting in this connection to give a list of the county officers in the order in which they have served. Beginning with the Circuit Clerks they are as follows
Young Ewing was the first Circuit Clerk, appointed at the first term of the court in March, 1803. He was succeeded by James H. McLaughlan, he by Nathan S. Dallam, and he by John H. Phelps, who filled the place acceptably until 1842, when Richard Shackelford succeeded him. In 1853, R. R. Lausden was appointed, but the next year (1854) was the first election under the new Constitution and John C. Latham was elected to the office, which he filled until 1862, when Joab Clark was elected. Mr. Clark served one term, giving way in 1868 to Nathan Gaither, who was then elected and re-elected in 1874. In 1880, B. T. Underwood, the present Circuit Clerk, was elected.
John Clark was the first County Clerk, and also Clerk of the Court of Quarter Sessions. He was appointed Clerk at the first County Court, March 21, 1797, and was succeeded by Justinian Cartwright, May 15, 1798, who resigned in July following. Clark was then re-appointed and served until succeeded by Abraham Stites about the year 1824, who served until 1853. John S. Bryan was then elected, and in 1862 was succeeded by George H. Lawson, who served one term. In 1866, E. M. Buckner was elected; in 1870, B. M. Harrison; in 1874, John W. Breathitt, who is now serving his third term, which will expire in 1886.
Abraham Stites.-A brief sketch of Mr. Stites is appropriate in this connection. He was a son of Dr. John Stites, and was born in Elizabeth, N. J., during the Revolutionary war, and with his mother was removed into a cellar to avoid danger resulting from a sharp engagement then going on between the British soldiers and the rebels of that day. A singular coincidence in the life of Mr. Stites is that he died in February, 1864, in Hopkinsville, during a skirmish here between the Confederate and Federal troops. He, with a large family connection of the Ganos and Stiteses, removed from New Jersey to the Ohio Valley in 1808, carrying their goods on horseback across the mountains to Pittsburgh, and thence by flat-boats to Cincinnati; his father's family settled near Georgetown, Ky. Mr. Stites had been educated for a lawyer, and licensed as such by Chancellor Kent. He commenced practice at Georgetown. and soon after married Miss Ann Johnson, daughter of Col. Henry Johnson, a Revolutionary soldier. In 1818 he removed to Hopkinsville, where he resided until his death.
Mr. Stites was a man of fine education, and devoted to belles lettres and literary pursuits. He was a good lawyer-an excellent counselor- but seldom, after becoming a county official, made any charge for legal
advice. He was the confidant of many of the wealthiest men of the county, but was so opposed to litigation, that on all occasions, when he could do so consistently, he would use his efforts to conciliate rather than draw his friends into the meshes of the law. He was brought up, as it were, in the office of Johnson, the compiler of "Johnson's New York Reports," and aided in their preparation. He was public-spirited, and gave liberally to aid all public enterprises, and especially such as were designed to promote the cause of education.
In 1824 Mr. Stites was appointed Clerk of the Christian County Court, an office he held until 1851, when the present constitution went into effect, making all county offices elective. In that year he was elected by the people to the same place, and was the only one of the old officers of the county under the appointive system elected. He was defeated for the office in 1854, and retired to private life. For over thirty years he was Master in Chancery, and his reports in complicated cases furnish evidence of his capacity as a lawyer. As a clerk, he was accurate and attentive in the discharge of his official duties, and earned and retained the confidence of all who had business relations with him. As an evidence of the estimation in which he was held as a public officer, the following resolution was adopted by the court September 5, 1854, and on motion of Robert McKee was ordered to be spread upon the records:
",Resolved, That Abraham Stites, former Clerk of this court, is entitled to the respectful regards of all the citizens of this county for his faithful discharge of the duties of Clerk of the county for over thirty years past-duties with which he was familiarly acquainted, and which he discharged with promptitude to himself and to the satisfaction of all having business in his office."
Mr. Stites raised a large family of children, some of whom have become prominent in public life, and all of whom sought to follow his injunction to render themselves useful members of society. Judge Henry
J. Stites, his son, is Judge of the Common Pleas Court at Louisville, and one of the eminent jurists of the State. A sketch of him appears in the biographical part of this volume.
Sheriffs. --Charles Logan was the first Sheriff of the county, and was appointed at the same term of court that Clark was appointed Clerk. He served from March 21, 1797, to May 15, 1798, when James Wilson was appointed and served until 1800. Matthew Wilson served 1801, 1802; Samuel Means, 1803, 1804, 1805; William Armstrong, 1806, 1807; James M. Johnson, 1808, 1809; James Thompson, 1810, 1811; John Maberry, 1812, 1813; John Wilson, 1814; Samuel Bradley, 1815, 1816, 1817; James Bradley, 1818, 1819; James Moore, 1820; Benjamm Lacy, 1821; James Bradley, 1822, 1823; Matthew Wilson, 1824, 1825; Joseph Clark, 1826, 1827; Jonathan Clark, 1828; F. P. Pennington, 1829; James Bradley, 1830, 1831; Samuel Younglove, 1832, 1833; John Buckner, 1834, 1835; Cons Oglesby, 1836; Alfred L. Hargis, 1837; Powhatan Wooldridge, 1838, 1839; Edward Payne, 1840; R. D. Bradley, 1841; Thomas Barnett, 1842; William Henry, 1843; John Buckner, 1844, 1845; Lemuel Clark, 1846; Daniel S. Hays, 1847, 1848, 1849; Larkin T. Brasher, 1850; Benjamin Bradshaw, 1851; Thomas S. Bryan, 1852, 1853; Richard D. Bradley, 18.54, 1855; John B. Gowen, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1860; Richard T. McDaniel, 1861, 1862, 1863; Joseph McCarroll, 1864, 1865. 1866; James D. Steel, 1867; James 0. Ellis, 1868 ; James Wallace, 1869, 1870, 1871, 1872; W. L. Garth, 1873, 1874; Polk Cansler, 1875, 1876; Peter F. Rogers, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880; C. B. Brown, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, and the present incumbent.
Assessors.-The first Assessor, or Commissioner of Tax, as formerly called, was James Henderson, but without following them through the old appointive system, we take the list from the adoption of the new constitution. John W. Wiley filled the office until 1857, when 0. S. and J.
W. Brown performed the duties up to 1862; then J. Milton Clark, 186 2- 1866; F. P. Stuart, 1866-1870; J. Milton Clark, 1870-1874; F. S. Long, 1874-1878; Young J. Means, 1878-1882; R. T. McDaniel, 1882-1886, the present incumbent.
County Judges.*_Alexander D. Rodgers, to 1862; H. R. Little, 1862-1866; A. G. Wooldridge, 1866-1870; James 0. Ellis, 1870- 1874; A. V. Long, 1874-1882 (two terms); W. P. Winfree, 1882- 1886, and still in office.
Coroners-Alfred Younglove, 1854-4860; Thomas Wiley, 1860- 1862; William A. Sasseen, 1862, 1863; C. W. Mills, 1863, 1864; Thomas C. Truitt, 1870-1874; J. T. Meacham, 1874-1878; J. C. Courtney, 1878-1882; Beverly Kelly (colored), 1882, and the present incumbent. Additional to these are the Jailer and Surveyor; and the more recently established officers, School Commissioner and Master Commissioner, but of these we failed to obtain a list, even since the elective system went into effect.
Court Houses.-We have already in this chapter alluded to the order of the court for the erection of public buildings. Some time after the order was made the court appointed William Blackburn, Bartholomew Wood and William Padfield "to let the court house and jail." The specifications for the court house were as follows: To be twenty feet square, a story and a half high, with a partition of logs above the loft "skutched" inside and out, with puncheon floor, two doors and one window, with a seat for the justices, a table for the Clerk and Barr for the attorneys, and benches for the jury. We are not responsible for the reader understanding or misunderstanding the above specifications; we give them as we find them in the records, and leave the intelligent reader to picture in his imagination the imposing structure that doubtless arose from so lucid architectural designs. Rude as it must have been, it served the infant county until the increase of population and the accumulation of wealth engendered sufficient local pride to demand a more pretentious temple of justice. And so, at the August term, 1802, we find the following entry: "The Court proceeded to erect new public buildings, to-wit: A court house of brick twenty-six feet square, two story high, thirteen feet to the first story from the door, and the upper story eight feet and six inches, covered with good poplar or walnut shingles eighteen inches in length, one chimney with two fire-places above convenient for a clerk'8 office and jury room, one door below, and that in the end (the end of what?) six windows below and four above, of the size of fifteen lights below and nine above," etc., etc.
There is no record of this house having been built, and no reference is again made to public buildings until the May term of court, 1806, when it is ordered that John Clark, James H. McLaughlan, Rezin Davidge, Edward Bradshaw and Nehemiah Cravens are appointed Commissioners to "let the building of the brick court house on the public square according to a model exhibited by Dr. Edward Rumsey and others." It was farther ordered "that one-fourth of the expense was to be laid in the next county levy, and one-fourth every year thereafter until the whole allowance be made." The undertakers of the contract were to be bound up in the sum of $10,000 for the faithful performance of their work, and were to have the walls up and the house covered by the first of November, 1808, and the entire building completed by the first day of September, 1810. This building was finally erected and finished off according to the plans originally made. It served the people of the county as a temple of justice, and often as a tabernacle of worship for a quarter of a century or more, when it gave place to a larger, more modern and more pretentious edifice. About 1836-38 the third court house was built. Like its predecessor it was a two-story brick, but a more spacious building. It stood until during the late civil war, when it was burned, as noted in the chapter on the military history of the county. In the year 1869 the present court house was completed. It is a superb model of architectural beauty, and an ornament to the city and county. It is a large two-story brick building with stone finish, metal roof, cupola a-d bell, clock faces, but minus the clock. Upon the first floor are located the different county offices, viz.:
County and Circuit Clerks, Sheriff, County Judge, Surveyor, Assessor,
School Commissioner, Coroner, etc., while the second story comprises the court room, jury rooms and attorneys' consultation rooms, all handsomely furnished, well lighted and thoroughly ventilated. The original appropriation for the building was, in round numbers, about $75,000. But changes in plans, additions made to the original designs, furnishings, and all extras combined, have left the cost not far short of $100, 000. It was erected under the supervision of J. K. Frick, architect and builder, and does credit to his energy and genius.
The first jail was built of hewed logs, and was twelve feet square. The logs were twelve inches square, and the floor was of the same material, as well as the loft. This was a rather formidable prison in those primitive days, but in this age of "criminal perfection," when burglary and house-breaking have become a science, it would exercise but a very slight restraint upon the class for whose benefit such buildings are erected. A new jail was decided upon at the time the first brick court house was ordered, which was to be built according to "a plan drawn by John Clark, and now in his possession, and that John Clark, William Padfleid, Bartholomew Wood and John Campbell be appointed Commisioners to superintend the building, by letting it to the lowest bidder, taking bond and sufficient security for the faithful performance, and to do other acts and things relative to building at any time they think it proper." This jail when completed was a log pen, the logs hewed and fitted very close together, and outside of the pen a solid brick wall was built, with only small "air holes." This was called the dungeon, and was the repository of criminals. The upper story was more airy, and was called the debtors' prison, for such a law (imprisonment for debt) was in existence here in early days.
A brick jail was built about the time of the second brick court house, and stood in front of where the present one now is. It was torn down some years ago, and the present jail erected. It is a substantial structure, built of brick, with a jailer's residence in connection. It is finished off with all the modern arrangements for rendering prisons safe, having iron cages and stone floors, and is otherwise secure and substantial. 'When prisoners enter within its gloomy walls, it is expected they will stay there until wanted by the proper authorities.
The Census..-The growth and development of the county is better shown by a comparison of the census reports than in almost any other way. Although the county has been reduced in area from time to time, almost from the date of its formation it has steadily increased in population, with the exception of one decade, when both Todd and Trigg were taken off. The census reports show the following figures : In 1800, the first report after the formation of the county, the population was 2,318; in 1810, 11,020 ; in 1820, 10,459; in 1830, 12,684; in 1840, 15,587; in 1850, 19,580; in 1860, 21,687 ; in 1870, 23,227; in 1880, 31,683; males, 16,145, and females, '15,538. The distribution over the county in 1880 was as follows: Hopkinsville, city and election district, 7,-150; Bainbridge election district, 2,302; Casky, 1,122; Fruit Hill, 1,218; Garrettsburg, 1,418; Hamby, 1,617; Lafayette, 2,555; Long-view, 3,182; Mt. Vernon, 1,573; Pembroke, 2, 606; Scates' Mill, 1,803; Stewart, 1,381; Union Schoolhouse, 2,827; Wilson, 867. Their nativity is as follows: Born in the State, 25,874; 5 in British America; 35 in England and Wales; 110 in Ireland; 6 in Scotland; 59 in the German Empire, and 9 in France.
Election Precincts.-For the better execution of the laws in the different departments, and the more convenient dispatch of business, the county was laid off' into districts. At a term of the County Court held June 14, 1802, we find the following entry: "Ordered, that Christian County be laid off into four districts, agreeable to the following bounds, to wit: The road from Logan court house by Christian court house to William Prince's-the old road separate the four districts by the first line, and the other line to run from the mouth of Little River along the wagon road to Christian Court House, from that along the new road this day established to Henderson County line on a direction to Robinson's Salt Works, make the other division; and that that part of the lines including the Pyle settlement be called the 'Northeast District;' and that part including the Hardin settlement be called the 'Northwest District; ' and that part including the Means settlement to be called the 'Southeast District; ' and that part including the Gillehan 'settlement to be called the Southwest District.' " These districts contained voting precincts, but, under the old Constitution of the State, the voters were not confined to any particular precinct as now, but could cast their ballots any where, or at any voting precinct in the county. And as the election was then continued for three days successively, the large majority combined "business with pleasure," and repaired to the county seat for the purpose of exercising their right of franchise.
But under the new Constitution, adopted in 1850, all this was changed. Each voter, by its provisions, is required to vote in the election district in which he lives, and elections are held but for a single day at a time. When the new Constitution went into effect, the county was laid off into a certain number of election districts with a voting precinct in the most central part, and in some of the larger districts, for the greater convenience of the people, there are two voting precincts. These election district, correspond with the townships of the more newly organized States, and have two Magistrates and one Constable to each, who transact the legal business of the district not of sufficient importance to go into the higher courts. With numerous changes in boundaries, and the establishing of a new district or two, the county is at present' divided into fifteen election districts-including the new district of Crofton-as follows: No. 1, Hopkinsville District, including the city and precinct; No. 2, Mount Vernon District; No. 3, Pembroke; No. 4, Longview; No. 5, Lafayette; No. 6, Union Schoolhouse; No. 7, Hamby; No. 8, Fruit Hill; No. 9, Scates' Mill; No. 10, Garrettsburg; No. 11, Bainbridge; No'. 12, Casky; No. 13, Stewart; No. 14, Wilson; No. 15, Crofton.The latter has been created since the county map was published, and embraces the country around Crofton Village, being taken from Scats' Mill, Stewart, Ham-by and Fruit Hill Districts.
The Poor-Farm.--" The poor ye have with ye always," said the Master, and to care for them is a duty incumbent upon us as civilized beings. Kindness costs but little, and to the child of misfortune it sometimes goes almost as far as dollars and cents. The writer recently visited one of these institutions called poor-houses, and was pointed out a man, who, it was said, could once "ride ten miles on his own land," but a series of misfortunes brought him to the poor-house. None of us know how soon we may go "over the hills to the poor-house." Then be kind to the poor, for in so doing you may "entertain angels unawares." We find allusions quite often in the early records of the county to the poor and appropriations for their benefit, but it was not for many years after the organization of the county, that steps were taken to provide a county farm and poorhouse. Some fifty years ago a poor-farm was purchased, and it is a poor-farm in more senses than one. The land is poor and almost worthless, and for many years after its purchase the buildings were scarcely fit to shelter human beings. Under the administration of Judge Long as County Judge, the old buildings were torn down and new ones erected, which, although they are not what they should be, are substantial and comfortable. Judge Long also laid out a cemetery on the place, and planted an orchard, as well as making many other needed improvements.
The poor-farm is in Hopkinsville Precinct, four miles north of the city, and comprises about two hundred acres of land. The buildings are log and frame, and have been built within the last few years. The cost to the county of each pauper will average nearly $100, and the number of paupers varies from fifteen to thirty. It seems just a little strange that the County Board are not better financiers. Were they to purchase a good farm and erect comfortable buildings, it would be economical in more ways than one. Many paupers go there who are able to do considerable work, and the farm, was it good land, could make the institution almost self-sustaining. Then the idea of having to work when able, would keep many from going to it who now apply for admission in order to live without work. This plan is followed by many of the Western States, and has been found to work well. It seems to have been the original idea here to conduct the poor-house in a manner that no one would care to enter it except as a last resort to prevent starvation. This was neither wise, economical nor humane. That improvements have been made in the institution of late years is vastly to the credit of the reformers and to the county.-.Perrin.
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