Historical and Biographical
INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS—TRAILS AND PATHS THROUGH THE FOREST—
LEGISLATIVE ENACTMENTS FOR BUILDING HIGHWAYS—BRIDGES—SOME
OF THE RUDE STRUCTURES OF THE PAST—STONE BRIDGES AND THEIR
COST—TURNPIKES—EFFORTS TO BUILD THEM IN THE COUNTY—THE HOPKINSVILLE & CLARKSVILLE PIKE—RAILROADS—ESTIMATED ADVANTAGES OF THEM—EVANSVILLE, HENDERSON & NASHVILLE—OTHER RAILROADS —AGRICULTURE—ITS RISE AND PROGRESS—INFLUENCE OF NEGRO SLAVERY—GRAIN. MILLS AND STOCK—TOBACCO—ABERNATHY’S SKETCH OF IT—AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATIONS—LIST OF OFFICERS—THE FAIR GROUNDS, BUILDINGS, ETC., ETC.
NO doubt when John Montgomery and James Davis, the avantcouriers of the present civilization of Christian County, first stood upon the wooded heights and looked out on the broad expanse of barren or prairie land that spread out to the east and south at their feet, they were so entranced by its quiet loveliness as then and there to decide upon its adoption as their future home. A vast plain rising and falling in gentle undulations, and covered with a luxuriant growth of grass, stretched out on either hand, reaching into the dim distance till lost in the blue haze of the horizon. Herds of deer and buffalo here and there basking in the genial sunlight or lazily feeding on the rich pasturage, flocks of geese, ducks, pigeons and other and brighter plumaged birds wheeling their circling flight above, made a scene of rare loveliness that at once and irresistibly appealed to their highest sense of the beautiful, rude, rough pioneers though they were. And in all these vast plains not a tree or bush to obstruct the vision, except here and there an occasional grove of timber; not a house, wigwam, tent or camp-fire to mark or hint at the presence of that higher species of the animal kingdom—man. Only here and there a trail, made by the moccasined feet of the red man, told to their practiced eyes that this was a part of the “hunting-ground” of his aboriginal foe, and that his foot had been here.
Indian Trails.—These trails, the highest effort of his genius at internal improvements and the type of his highest civilization, were the highways along which he migrated or took his stealthy march from point to point. The nearest of them passed from Nashville, through the present site of Hopkinsville, then deflecting more to the northwest, crossed the Ohio River at Shawneetown and penetrated to the Saline Works on Saline Creek in the State of Illinois. Another trail off to the northeast was that leading from Russellville Logan County, then the oldest town south of Green River in Kentucky, in a northwesterly direction toward the Highland Lick in Lincoln, now Webster County. Near these celebrated licks, about two miles distant, and at a fork of the trail, there long stood a lone, solitary tree, like a grim sentinel of the desert, on which the head of Micajah, or “ Big Harpe,” the noted desperado and horse-thief, was hung after his decapitation by Stagall and the citizens who pursued and captured him.
Another trail was that from Russellville to Hopkinsville, where it fell into the trail first mentioned, that leading from Nashville to the Saline Works, in Illinois. And still another passed through the southwest portion of the county, and leading from the Cumberland River, near Palmyra, to join, at Princeton, the trail crossing the Ohio River at Ford’s Ferry. This ferry, some ten or twelve miles below Shawneetown, was long reputed to be a very dangerous place, on account of a gang of counterfeiters, horse-thieves and cut-throats, who made it their chief rendezvous. They were finally suppressed by the Regulators after committing many depredations upon the defenseless citizens. Judge A. V. Long, when a boy, made several trips over these trails, then established as roads, to the Salt Works in Illinois, and was looked upon by his less favored comrades as something of a modern Marco Polo or Henry Stanley, of travel. These trails, ready made to the hand of the pioneer, and generally trending to the north or northwest, to some noted saline deposit, are only interesting to the reader now from the fact that they were long used by the early settlers as their thoroughfares in traveling to and from salt works, or from one settlement to another. As soon as the tide of immigration began to set in more freely, and the different communities became more densely populated, they were no longer sufficient for the purposes of travel and had to be supplemented by other trails or roads. At first these, as all other public improvements, were the joint, voluntary effort of the people, but in the course of time it became necessary to build additional roads by public enactment.
The Legislature of Kentucky, in 1797, first enacted a general road law, “providing for the opening of new roads and the alteration of former roads” undersurvey or appointed by the courts. All male laboring persons, sixteen years old or more, were required to work the roads, except those who were owners of two or more male slaves over said age, or else pay a fine of Ts. 6d. ($1.25) for each day’s absence or neglect thus to work. In the absence of bridges, mill-dams were required to be built at least twelve feet wide, for the passage of public roads, with bridges over the pier-head and flood-gates. The surveyors were authorized to impress wagons, and to take timber, stone or earth for building roads, and a mode of paying for same out of the county levy was provided.* Under this provision, and as soon as the county was organized, on the 21st day of March, 1797, and on the first day of the meeting of the county justices, we find this order: “ Ordered that James Richey, George Robinson, Sr., Samuel Kincaid, Julius Saunders, James Decon, Charles Staton and James Kerr, or any three of them, be appointed to view the most nearest and best way from James Waddleton’s, on the Bigg eddy to the bigg Spring on Levis-ton (Livingston), from thence to the Claylick Settlement, and report the same to our next court.” This order is signed by Jacob Barnett, Moses Shelby, Jonathan Logan, Brewer Reeves and Hugh Knox, Gents, Justices of the county.
The next road ordered by the court was in May (15th) 1798, and designated the “State Line near David Smith’s” as the starting point, and was to run to the “Christian Court House.” The petitioner in this case was Brewer Reeves, and the Commissioners appointed, “Obadiah Roberts, John Caudry, Shepard McFadin, Bartholomew Wood and John Roberts, or any three of them.” The same reckless use of superlatives, “most nearest and best way” occurs in this, as in the first order, and serves to show at least that Mr. John Clark, “clerk and gent,” though liberal and large-hearted, was not as familiar with Kirkham and Lindley Murray as he should have been. At the same time, on petition of John Ramsey, a road was ordered viewed from the “mouth of Cumberland River to the Christian Court House,” and Joab Hardin, George Hardin and Charles Hogan were appointed as Commissioners to view that part of it from the mouth of the river to Cal Fitsworth’s; and Isaac Fitsworth, James Richey and Isaac Shoat to view to Michael Pirtle’s; and Michael Pirtle, William Prince and James Wadlington to view to James Wadlington’s; and Willis Hicks, Samuel Bradley and James Reeves to the Sinking Fork; and Bartholomew Wood, Samuel Hardin and Michael Dillingham from thence to the Christian Court House.
These are a few of the first roads ordered by the court, and are only interesting as being such, and as associated with the names of some of the first and most respectable citizens of the county. From this on, the court was largely occupied with the making and altering of roads, which to follow in detail would be both irksome and unprofitable to the reader and would require a volume in and of themselves. In the year 1838 the Legislature passed an act establishing a State road from Hopkinsville to Morgantown, and appointed Daniel S. Hays and Leonard Wood, of Christian County, Charles Armstrong, of Todd, Henry Fitzhugh, of Logan, and James Moore and Hugh C. Reed, of Butler, as Commissioners, to “view and mark out the best and most practicable route.” Two dollars per day to be allowed them, to be paid jointly by the counties of Christian, Todd, Logan and Butler. “The road to be cleared at least twenty-five feet wide, and the stumps cut low and rounded at the top, the banks of the creeks and branches graded, and to throw bridges across the same where they may be deemed necessary, so as to admit of safe and convenient passage.”
SEC. 6. “That the road heretofore marked and cut out from Morgantown, in Butler County, on the direction to Hopkinsville, Christian County, shall be the route so far as Logan and Butler Counties are concerned.” Approved February 1, 1838.
There is only one thing more to add in a general way of the roads in Christian County, though threading the county in every direction and at certain seasons quite passable, yet, in the winter and early spring, they are simply bottomless. It is but the same old tale of shiftlessness and improvidence so forcibly illustrated by the anecdote of the Arkansaw
A great many of the more enterprising citizens would fain change this primitive order of things, but unfortunately the " sovereign majority” have settled down to the time-honored and convenient philosophy, “we have good roads for the day, let the roads for the morrow provide for themselves.”Traveler:
A. T.—Neighbor, why don’t you cover your house?
Citizen—’Cause it’s raining.
A. T.—Why don’t you cover it when it ain’t raining?
Citizen.—’Cause it don’t need it.
Bridges.—In the good old times of the early pioneers, when people traveled mostly on foot or horseback, there was but little use for other than foot-bridges. These were of the most primitive style of architecture a tree cut and thrown across the stream, or a series of heavy slabs or planks on exaggerated legs, making a continuous footway from bank to bank, and the site usually selected for these rude structures was at some shallow crossing or ford of the stream. One of the older citizens of Hopkinsville says, among the earliest recollections of his boyhood days was a rude slab or puncheon bench that long stood in his father’s yard, just across the West Fork of Little River, that had in the earlier times referred to served as a foot-bridge across that stream. Years before it had been superseded as a bridge-way by a more pretentious structure, and was then being used for the ignoble purpose of a support or stand for his father’s bee-hives. Fallen trees and rude foot-ways did well enough for the pedestrian, but when carriages and wagons began to multiply, more substantial and commodious structures became necessary. These soon came with the steadily increasing influx of immigrants. There were few carriages among them indeed, but almost every family came in its covered wagon, and soon across the different streams, at the more important crossings, began to appear substantial, if not elegant, bridges. They were uniformly made with wooden abutments, in the form of log-pens filled with stone, on either bank, and from these, spanning the stream, were two parallel sills or streamers, on which was laid a rough, uneven floor of slabs or puncheons, securely fastened down by wooden pins. Over these the horse took his stumbling way, or the four-wheeled vehicle jolted and rolled, much to the detriment of each particular joint, and the great discomfort of the occupants. Like the earlier roads, these were built by common consent and individual effort, and were the common property of the people. The first bridge built in this way that we have any account of was that across the East Fork of Little River, on the road to Nashville, about one and one-half miles from Hopkinsville, but when or by whom does not appear. In 1816 the Commissioners appointed by the court made their report, recommending an additional appropriation of $150 to complete an unfinished bridge at that point. Edmund Guthrie and Daniel Preston were designated as Commissioners in place of Franklin Wood and Cordell Nofflett, resigned or displaced. At the same term of court an appropriation of $150 was also made for the construction of a bridge across the Sinking Fork of Little River, on the Saline road, and James Bradley and James C. Anderson were appointed Commissioners. The next appropriation made by the court for this purpose was in November (3d) 1818, and appropriated the quite liberal sum of $600 for a bridge across Main Little River, on the road to Boyd’s Landing on the Cumberland River. It was required to be completed by December 1, 1819, and Samuel Orr, John Goode, Abraham Boyd, John W. Cocke and David Moore were appointed to supervise its construction,
The first bridge with stone abutments and pier was ordered built by the court November 9, 1825, across the Town Fork of Little River at the foot of Nashville Street on the road to Princeton. It is thus described; “ Stone abutments at either end, stone pier in the middle, and sills of wood covered with plank, and hand-rails on either side.” At this point there had been an old-style bridge with log-pen abutments and pier as early as 1818, and possibly much earlier. In 1857 the old covered wooden bridge at the north end of Main Street, known as the Mill Pond bridge, gave place to the present substantial stone structure. It is quite an improvement on the old wooden affairs, and marks the beginning of a new era in bridge building. The architect was William Hyde, and it cost when completed $5,000. May 21, 1878, the old bridge across the east fork of Little River at Edward’s Mill was superseded by a stone structure, costing when completed $2,550, John Flynn and John Connelly, contractors. Several other smaller single-span stone bridges or culverts have been built at intervals over less important streams since then, but it remained for 1882 to complete the final architectural triumph of bridge improvements in the county. In this year was completed the present elegant and substantial stone bridge across the town fork of Little River at the foot of Bridge Street in the town of Hopkinsville. The material is of flawless blue limestone set in cement, and is from one of the best native quarries near the town. Messrs Hall and McClelland were the contractors, and it cost when finished $6,500, of which the county paid $2,000, and the city the balance. It is of the following dimensions 136 feet long, with two arches 35 feet each; wagon way, 20 feet wide; sidewalks, one on each side, 4 feet wide; and parapets 3 feet high and 2 feet thick. The commissioners upon the part of the county were A. H. Anderson, John B. Gowan and Edward Campbell, and upon the part of the city B. R. Beard, F. J. Brownell and William Ellis.
Turnpikes.—In the year 1837 the Legislature passed a bill granting a charter to the Henderson, Madisonville and Hopkinsville Turnpike Road Company to build a road styled “a dirt turnpike on the Virginia plan “ from Henderson via Madisonville to Hopkinsville; capital stock, $75,000. It directed that subscription books should be opened at the three above-named places on the first day of June under the supervision of the following Commissioners: Wyatt H. Ingram, George Atkinson, Smith Agnew and John McMullin, at Henderson; Iredell Hart, John E. Woolfolk, James Armstrong and Enoch Hunt, at Madisonville; and at Hopkinsville, Z. Glass, George Ward, F. C. Sharp and J. B. Crockett. As soon as the necessary amount of stock should be subscribed, after due notice of thirty days in one or more principal papers, the subscribers should meet, organize and proceed to elect a “ President, ten Directors, a Treasurer and other necessary officers.”
Section 6 reads : Be it further enacted, That the whole width of said road shall be fifty feet, the graded part whereof shall be at all places, where the ground will admit of it, at least thirty feet in width, and "the thrown-up part “at least twenty-two feet, with “an elevation in the center sufficient to prevent the water from lying on the same, and a ditch on either side to conduct the water off.”
This project, the first of the kind south of Green River, fell through by reason of the failure of its projectors to secure the necessary subscription. Indeed, it appears there was never enough money subscribed to entitle them to commence its construction under the restrictions of the charter. This restriction was “that the road shall not be commenced or be put under contract from any of the aforesaid points (Henderson, Madisonville arid Hopkinsville), till a sufficient amount is subscribed to finish five miles from each point.”
The next year (February 16, 1838), the Legislature granted a charter to another turnpike project styled the Hopkinsville and Clarksville Turnpike Road Company. It was to pass through Oak Grove to the Tennessee line in the direction of Clarksville, and was to be “paved with stone or macadamized with stone or gravel, at least eighteen feet wide,” capital stock, $75,000. The Commissioners appointed were John P. Campbell, Daniel S. Hays, L. L. Leavell, James Clarke, Samuel Gordon and David W. Parrish of Christian County. The company were allowed six years to complete it. This, like its congener, the H., M. & H. Turnpike Road, failed for lack of funds.
Another attempt to build a turnpike was made by the Logan, Todd & Christian Turnpike Company, under a charter granted February 16, 1838. The road was to run from Russellville, through Elkton to Hopkinsville, thence through Princeton to Eddyville, on the Cumberland River. Capital stock to be $300,000, divided into shares of $50 each. The Commissioners appointed were, for Logan, W. R. Whitaker, Richard Bibb and William Owens; for Todd, John A. Bailey, Francis M. Bristow and John Graham; for Christian, John P. Campbell, J. II. Phelps, J. B. Crockett, A. Stites, B. Shackelford, J. H. Evans and W. C. Gray; for Caldwell, J. C. Weller and C. Lyon; and for Trigg, James J. Morrison, James McCallister, E. Bacon and Joseph Waddill. Section 8 provided that “when the President shall notify the State Board of Internal Improvement of the subscription of $50,000, then the State shall subscribe $2 for every $1 subscribed by individuals, or by bodies corporate.” Section 9 directed that the President and Directors of the Green River and Ohio Railroad Company should call a meeting of the stockholders of that company, and should they agree to transfer their stock to the Logan, Todd & Christian Turnpike Road Company, then on notification of such transfer, the State to subscribe double the amount. Under the provisions of this charter the company was duly organized, with John P. Campbell, President, and Abraham Stites, Secretary and Treasurer. Thus organized, they proceeded to grade the road-bed under the specifications and restrictions of the charter. Bridges and culverts were also built wherever necessary, and eighteen or twenty miles out of the seventy-three miles of the road, metaled, about three miles in Logan, five miles in Todd, three miles in Christian, and the balance in the other counties. The individual stockholders promptly paid up their subscriptions as called for by the Board of Directors, and the work went on till the panic of 1840—41, when the State withdrew her aid, and the road still remains unfinished. The three miles of this road built in Christian County, and lying on either side of the town of Hopkinsville, still stand, Micawber-like, the “stupendous remains of a once magnificent enterprise.”
The next effort to build a turnpike in the county was made by L. L. Leavell in 1838. He procured a charter for a road from Hopkinsville to Clarksville via Oak Grove, on pretty much the same route of the former contemplated road. Capital stock required $75,000, divided into $50-shares. The Commissioners appointed were John P. Campbell, Daniel S. Hays, L. L. Leavell, James Clark, Samuel Gordon and David W. Parrish. Beyond this no further steps were taken, and the project fell through for the time. But in 1856 or 1857, the friends of this road began once more to agitate it. Notably among these friends were Isaac Garrott, Dr. William H. Drane, John R. Whitlock, Charles D. Tandy and Isaac Medley. A meeting was called at Oak Grove, at which were present, beside the gentlemen mentioned, Samuel G. Gordon, Mr. Sawyer (now of Sawyer, Wallace & Co., of New York) and many others. Ascertaining that $40,000 stock could possibly be raised, it was determined to take measures to build the road. But before doing so, it was proposed to the meeting that all moneys subscribed and raised in Kentucky should be expended on that portion lying within the State, that is, between Hopkinsville and the Tennessee line. This met with strenuous opposition from the Tennesseans present, and neither party being willing to yield the point, the meeting was dissolved without accomplishing anything. This meeting was some time in the summer of 1857. Immediately thereafter the Kentucky friends of the road convened another meeting at Longview. After a careful canvass for subscriptions among the friends present, it was ascertained that $26,250 had been subscribed. With this sum as a nucleus, and having the promise of additional help, it was deemed advisable to undertake the immediate construction of that part of the road lying within the State limits. To this end a company was organized, with Isaac Garrott, President; John R. Whitlock, Dr. James Wheeler, Charles D. Tandy, Isaac Medley and Isaac Garrott, Directors. The stockholders, in view of the fact that only $750 had been taken by citizens of Hopkinsville, instructed the Board of Directors to begin the construction of the road at the Tennessee line, and run it to Rosebrook Branch, about five miles south of the city of Hopkinsville, a distance of eleven miles from the State line terminus. Thus instructed, the Board proceeded after due advertisement, to let the road to the lowest bidder. An Indiana firm making the lowest bid, $34,000, secured the contract. On account of the impossibility of securing a sufficiency of slave-labor here at any price, these contractors, through their agents, imported white labor from Cincinnati. At last the work commenced, and seemingly under favorable auspices, and the friends of the road congratulated themselves that now it would soon be completed. But just at this juncture, and while they were hugging the flattering unction to their souls, the Indiana firm, finding there was no money in the job, threw up the contract, abandoned the work and went home. Not being so instructed by the stockholders, the Board of Directors had failed to exact security of the contractors, and they being worthless and irresponsible there was no remedy for it but to submit. In this dilemma the Board called another meeting of the stockholders at Longview, laid the case before them, and asked for further instructions. They were instructed to again let the contract, and this time take security of the contractors. It was suggested by one of the Directors that there was only $26,250 of subscription to meet $52,000, the estimated cost of the road, and the question was asked what kind of security the Company could offer to the contractor for the deficit. Mr. Sebree would take the contract for $52,000, and give satisfactory security, but in return required security from the company for the unsubscribed balance- The stockholders agreed to secure the balance by doubling the amount of their stock. The Directors thereupon, relying upon the good faith of the stockholders, proceeded to let the contract to Mr. Sebree.
The work was again resumed and the road pushed on toward completion as rapidly as circumstances would permit. Labor, both white and black, was scarce and difficult to procure, and the metal, such as was suitable. in some cases, had to be quarried and hauled a distance of four or five miles. Nevertheless, the work went bravely on, and all things seemed auspicious for the future of the enterprise. After a while, however, the funds began to run low, and the Directors began to call on the stockholders to redeem their pledge to double the amount of their subscriptions, and then it became apparent that they did not intend to keep faith, and that the burthen of raising the additional $26,000 of stock would fall on the five Directors. But having already taken $7,000 of the $26,250, they did not feel willing or able to assume the responsibility of so large a sum. Thus embarrassed, the company then, having authority under act of Legislature, issued their bonds for $35,000, less 25 per cent, to raise the deficit. These bonds were offered at public sale at Longview by the Directory, but, the stockholders declining to purchase, they were bought in by the five gentlemen composing the Directory. This step was necessary to secure themselves against loss under the contract with Sebree. In the meantime the work progressed under that gentleman, and in 1858 or 1859 the road was completed. The stockholders failing to meet the payment of the bonds as they fell due, the bondholders, after the expiration of the war, brought suit for their payment, and by decree of Chancery the road was ordered to be sold, subject to the payment of the bonds. It was offered at public sale to the highest bidder at the court house in Hopkinsville, and the bondholders became the purchasers at $8,500. Thus the road passed into the hands of the bondholders, and is now held and owned by them or their descendants.
The Tennesseans in the meantime were not idle. Realizing the great advantage to themselves and the business interests of their metropolis, Clarksville, they were busily at work pushing on to meet the road at the State line. The two roads, or rather the two sections of the same road, were completed at or about the same time, thus giving Clarksville a continuous turnpike road to within four or five miles of Hopkinsville. The people of the latter place, with a blind stupidity seldom equaled in an intelligent community, were slow to realize the great disadvantage this placed them under in their competition with Clarksville, their formidable rival across the line, for it was not until some ten years later that any effort was made to repair the mistake. In 1878 the more enterprising citizens of Hopkinsville and vicinity began to bestir themselves, and a company was organized to complete the road to the latter place. The company was styled the Hopkinsville & Clark’s Branch Turnpike Road Company, and John C. Latham was elected President, and J. K. Gant, James M. Clark, S. G. Buckner and J. 0. Cushman, Directors. H. II. Littell was appointed Secretary and Treasurer. The length of the interval from the Clark’s Branch terminus of the Christian County & Clarksville Turnpike to the corporate limits of Hopkinsville being between four and five miles, it was let to a contractor for the sum of $11,000. It was finished some time in the fall of 1880.
The history of this road from Hopkinsville to Clarksville, Tenn., is thus given in detail, not so much on account of its general interest or importance as because it serves to illustrate the pluck and enterprise of a few individuals in contrast with the general apathy of the public. Though but fifteen or sixteen miles in length to the State line, it took twenty-three years of indefatigable effort upon the part of its friends to complete it. Indeed, the whole history of the turnpike legislation of the county for the past few years also serves to illustrate the same general sentiment, if not the actual hostility, of the public toward all turnpike enterprises.
In 1879—80 the Hon. John Feland secured the passage of an act by the Legislature allowing the County Court to aid in building turnpikes. Thereupon Mr. Thomas Green and others urged the county to vote an appropriation of one-half or two-thirds of the actual cost of each mile of turnpike that might be built in the county, taking security for the amount thus appropriated in preferred bonds at par, and receiving all tolls in payment of interest. It was urged, among other things, in opposition to this, and more especially by the magistrates from the northern part of the county, that the measure would alone benefit the wealthier southern sections, and thereby be oppressive to the rest. These objections, whether well taken or not, were urged against, and finally secured the defeat of the measure. Again in 1882 Hon. James Breathitt, who then represented the county in the Legislature, secured the passage of an act allowing the people to vote a tax of 50 cents on each $100 worth of property, and a per capita of $1. The same causes, together with some defection in the ranks of the pro-turnpike men, conspired to defeat this measure also. The question entering largely into the last canvass for Representative, Mr. Breathitt was defeated for re-election, and his opponent, Mr. Brasher, was elected.
The Hopkinsville, Newstead & Canton Turnpike Road Company was organized in 1878 with J. D. Clardy, President, and B. S. Campbell, Charles B. Alexander, J. R. Caudle and H. H. Abernathy, Directors. Capital stock, $10,000, divided into $100 shares. It is three and three fourths miles in length, has one toll-gate, and cost $2,300 per mile. It has been paying thirteen per cent per annum since its completion. The officers for the present year, 1884, are: President, Col. Charles B. Alexander; and B. S. Campbell, Dr. J. U. Clardy, J. R. Caudle and M. C. Forbes, Directors.
Railroads.—The first effort to build a railroad in Christian County of which we have any account was made about the year 1832. At this time, the Legislature having made an appropriation for the purpose, Messrs. Chinn and Jouette, of Lexington, made a preliminary survey for a railroad from Hopkinsville to Eddyville, on the Cumberland River. A final survey was afterward made by Mr. Letcher, of the same place. Maj. John P. Campbell, Jr., then a youth, acted as a chain-carrier, but beyond this nothing further was done. The company failed to organize as required under the charter, and the project was temporarily abandoned. In 1837 it was revived again under the same charter and another survey made by Mr. A. Livermore, State Engineer. This effort also proved abortive, and for the same reasons. It was again, and for the last time, agitated in 1845 and 1846. The People’s Press of May 7, 1846, gives the following account of a convention held in Hopkinsville April 25, Dr. A. Webber in the chair, and G. W. Johnston, Secretary: The committees appointed February 14, 1846, to visit the different points on the river favorably spoken of as the termini of the road, reported through Dr. Montgomery that they had visited Ferry Corner, Clarksville and Trice’s Landing. They found either point quite feasible for a railroad terminus, and were of the opinion it could be built at a maximum cost of $8,000 per mile. To Clarksville the road would be twenty-five miles in length, and cost $200,000; to Trice’s Landing (Providence) twenty-three miles and $170,000; to Ferry Corner thirty-one miles and cost $248,- 000. Mr. Livermore’s experimental survey to Eddyville in 1837 “by a circuitous route through Princeton “ gave the distance as forty-eight and a half miles, and was estimated to cost $338,000, but this they thought to be an exaggeration both as to cost and distance. They thought the distance could be reduced to thirty-five miles, and the aggregate cost to $280,000. The following unique, if not original and novel method of raising the necessary means, was suggested: “The people to subscribe $75,000 or $100,000 to the building of the road, which subscription shall be well secured by stock. Of this sum, $50,000 or $60,000 to be vested, as fast as paid in, in the purchase of 100 young, able-bodied negro men, who, if well provided and judiciously directed, would grade the road to any one of the points suggested in the course of twelve or eighteen months, or at the longest time two years. These 100 laborers could then be hired or pledged for the iron, and so soon as the work should be completed they could be readily cashed for the benefit of the railroad company.” A summary of the probable business of the road when completed is then given
Five thousand hogsheads of tobacco at $1 5,000
Grain of all kinds 1,000
Pork and beef 2,000
Coal and lumber 1,500
Goods, groceries, etc 2,500
This estimate was believed to be quite reasonable, and would yield a dividend of at least six per centum, allowing for contingencies. At the same meeting a report was read from the people of Eddyville and vicinity setting forth the advantages of that place as an objective point, and giving assurance that a liberal subscription could be had in the event of its selection. “F. G. Montgomery, L. L. Leavell, W. R. Payne, F. C. Sharp and James Ware were then appointed a ‘central committee,’ and the first Saturday in October selected as the time for the next meeting.” What further was subsequently done does not appear, and at last and finally the project fades entirely out of view.
The Henderson Nashville Road—In 1839 a charter was granted by the Legislature to build a road from Henderson to Nashville. In 1850—51 it was amended, with Joel Lambert and James Albes of Henderson, Powhattan Robertson and A. G. Gordon of Hopkins, and John P. Campbell of Christian, as Directors. These gentlemen called a meeting of the stockholders at Madisonville on the 1st of June, 1852, and finding the necessary stock subscribed, proceeded to organize with Hon. Archibald Dixon of Henderson as President of the company. Mr. Dixon resigning in the spring of 1853 was succeeded by Edmund Hopkins of Henderson. At the annual meeting of the stockholders for this year, the Board of Directors elected were: E. G. Sebree, R. T. Torian, W.
E. Price, John P. Campbell, Jr., P. M. Robertson, Joel Lambert, John Woolfork, R. G. Beverly and M. S. Hancock, of whom John P. Campbell, Jr., was elected President. Under contract with Messrs. Van Bergen, Ward & Co., of Ohio, ground was broken and the work pushed forward as rapidly as the collection of stock would permit. Efforts were made to secure subscriptions by the several counties in their corporate capacities, but upon submission to the people the measure was defeated. The war came on, the contractors suspended work, and finally abandoned the enterprise.
After the close of the war. in 1865, a meeting of the stockholders was called at Madisonville, and the company was re-organized with John P. Campbell, Jr., President. Proceedings were immediately taken by the Board of Directors to ascertain and liquidate all claims against the road. Suit was instituted for the foreclosure and sale of the road-bed, sale was made, and H. D. Hanson of New York became the purchaser. A new charter was then granted by the Legislature to the company. under the title of the Evansville, Henderson & Nashville Railroad Company, with Gen. Jerry T. Boyle President, and E. G. Sebree, John P. Campbell, Jr., D. M. Day and R. T. Durrett, Directors. To the stock of this new organization the city of Henderson subscribed $300,000, the county of Hopkins $150,000, and Christian County $200,000, all of which was secured and paid for by the issuance and delivery of their bonds at par. The contract was then made with Day & Hanson for the building and completion of the road, but the amount of stock taken being insufficient for the purpose, it was afterward re-let to J. Edgar Thompson of Philadelphia and others, under a lease of the road for five years after its completion.
During the term of this lease the contractors sold out their interest to Winslow & Wilson. The panic of 1873 embarrassed Messrs. Winslow & Wilson. They failed to pay the interest on the bonds and the road passed into the hands of a receiver. Subsequently the bondholders foreclosed the mortgage on the road, and, at its sale, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company became the purchasers, thereby entailing a total loss of stock to both counties and to individual stockholders. Since coming into their hands the road has been extended to St. Louis, by the purchase of the St. Louis & Southeastern Railroad. At present the transfer of freights and passengers between Henderson and Evansville is effected by boats. A bridge, however, is now being constructed across the Ohio River at Henderson, and when complete a road will be built along the northern bank of the river to connect at Evansville.
With the simple mention of the fact, that a road has been projected and is now in process of construction between Clarksville and Princeton, the sketch of Internal Improvements of Christian County must close. The history of that enterprise, if ever completed, is referred to the pen of the future historian.
Agriculture..—This science is the great source of our prosperity, and is a subject in which we are all interested. It is the parent of all other industries, and as such claims precedence. From it have gone forth the brawn and brain that have subdued the earth, built cities, chained the lightning, linked the continents, and made all mankind akin. All thriving interests, all prosperous industries, and all trades and professions, receive their means of support either directly or indirectly from agriculture. It is therefore by right of primogeniture and paramount importance the most indispensable of all other industries. Its progress in Christian County since the beginning of the present century is not the least interesting nor the least important part of her history. The pioneers who commenced tilling the soil here with a few rude implements of husbandry, laid the foundation of the more perfect and more comprehensive system of agriculture of the present. They were mostly poor, and compelled to labor for a support, and it required brave hearts, strong arms and willing hands—just such as they possessed—to conquer the difficulties with which they had to contend. These difficulties were not often, if ever, aggravated as elsewhere by the stealthy raids of the red men, the sharp crack of their unerring rifles from secret coverts, or the fiendish yell of their onrush, as with flaming torches they surrounded the lonely cabin of their victims. In many sections of the State it often occurred that, while one-half of the male members were at work clearing the land or tending their small crops, the other half, with guns in hand, were standing guard to protect the laborers from the savages. Here the few Indians adjacent to the early settlements were mostly friendly to the whites, and rarely did any harm, other than a little petty thieving.
The tools and implements with which the pioneer farmer had to work were few in number and of a poor kind. The plow was the old “ bar-share,” some with and some without coulters; all had the wooden mold-board and long beam and handles. Generally they were of a size between the one and two-horse plows, for they had to be used in both capacities. The hoes and axes were clumsy implements, arid were forged and finished by the ordinary blacksmith. The hoes had no steel in them, and there was but little in the axes, and that little often of an inferior quality. If any of these were broken beyond the ability of the smith at the station to repair, a new supply had to be procured from the older settlements of the East. There was some compensation, however, for all these disadvantages under which the pioneer labored. The virgin soil of the hillsides along the wooded sections in the northern part of the county. or of the barren plains of the more southerly or eastern parts, was so fruitful and generous that it yielded bountiful crops, even under poor preparation and cultivation. The first little crop consisted of a “patch “ of corn, potatoes, beans, pumpkins, and in some cases a few other “eatables.” A small crop of tobacco was considered almost indispensable, and, if possible, a patch “ of flax was grown, from the lint of which the family clothing for summer wear was manufactured. This brought into use the spinning-wheel and the loom, implements that had come with the early settlers, and which constituted the most important articles of housekeeping, as all the females of the family could spin and weave. In the early history of the county it appears the first influx of settlers came principally from North and South Carolina, a few from Virginia, and settled by preference in the northern portion of the county. This preference grew out of the fact that there only were to be had both timber and water in rich abundance. The “barren “ or “ prairie” part of the county, which afforded fine pasturage for their stock, and which really was much the better soil, was not settled until a much later period, and then by a class of better-to-do farmers from Virginia.
The first efforts of the new-corner in the wooded districts was to clear up his little “patch,” build him a rude cabin and other necessary and ruder out-buildings. These consisted of a stable for the accommodation of his stock, and a crib or barn for the reception of such little crops as he might be able to raise on his “patch.” Step by step the hardy pioneers made encroachments upon the heavy forests with their axes, enlarging their farms and increasing their crops, their flocks and their herds, till in the course of time they had a surplus beyond their own wants and those of their own families. This directed attention to the question of markets, which hitherto had been found only in the Eastern cities, only accessible by overland transportation. But now the navigation of the Cumberland, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers was looked to as a means of obviating these difficulties. The surplus produce of the country was hauled to the Cumberland, where boats were loaded by enterprising men with bacon, grain, whisky and tobacco, and then floated out to the Ohio, and thence down the Mississippi to New Orleans. Here their cargoes were readily disposed of, sometimes for cash and sometimes exchanged for sugar, coffee and molasses, which were brought back with considerable labor and expense. As before intimated the later corners from Virginia and elsewhere were of a wealthier class of farmers, and with them came their one or more families of negro slaves, who had been purchased by their money or had descended to them by inheritance.
Negro Slavery.—As the subject of negro slavery is largely identified with the agriculture of the county, it is, perhaps, deserving of some notice in this connection. And as pertinent to the subject, the following extracts from a well known writer are given
“Without the labor of the negro, this Western country would have made much slower progress in its settlement, and the character of its population would probably have been very different. To negro slavery we are doubtless largely indebted for the chivalric character and open-handed hospitality of our fathers. * * * While the negro, as a slave, had some weaknesses, such as a lack of proper respect for the truth, a propensity to petty pilfering, and a great fondness for alcoholic drinks, yet the Lasses were faithful to their owners, industrious and economical, and had at heart their welfare, prosperity and good name. They were good operatives on the farm, and, as a rule, were intrusted with the execution of the work to be done in the absence of the proprietor, taking great pride in accomplishing more and better work than was expected of them; the wife and children of the master were always safe under their protection. Where a man’s circumstances compelled him to labor, he would make a ‘hand’ with the negroes, requiring no more work of them than he performed himself.
“The negro had his house to himself and family, all of whom were well fed, well clothed in domestic cloth, attended to in sickness by the family physician, and as carefully nursed as any other member of the family. Their supply of fuel for winter use was unlimited, and during cold weather they kept up rousing fires both day and night. Nearly all of them had their ‘truck patches’ of from a half to an acre of ground, and could raise such produce as suited their taste—sweet potatoes, tobacco and melons being their favorite crops. Saturday afternoon was usually given them to work their ‘patches,’ and at night the more thrifty would cobble shoes, make brooms, bottom chairs, cut cord-wood and do other odd jobs to make money, which, unfortunately, was too frequently spent for whisky. Flagrant violations of domestic law were occasionally visited with stripes; this punishment, however, was rarely resorted to except here and there by a fiend in human shape, who had no fear of God nor respect for the opinions of men. This class were few in number, and were frowned upon by the more respectable class of society. Persons who had not known anything practically of slavery until they came to the country, so soon as their circumstances would permit became the owners of slaves, and almost invariably proved to be the hardest taskmasters.
“The slaves, with no cares pressing upon them, were the happiest people to be found in any community. A failure of the crops, loss of stock, or pecuniary troubles, while sympathized in by them, caused none of that anxiety which the owner experienced. They were all men and women raised to habits of industry. They are now all freemen, and the older ones, educated and accustomed to work, are rapidly passing away, while a new generation is coming on; reared with no restraints, they look upon work as one of the relics of slavery, and prefer anything almost to honest labor. Under this state of things, their future is not very bright nor flattering. Many of the slaves belonging to the more conscientious citizens were sufficiently educated to enable them to read the Bible, but the mass received no scholastic training. Their religious instruction, however, was not neglected. At family worship they were brought into the house, the Scriptures read and explained to them, and encouragement to attend church given them. Many of them united with the various churches, whose records will show a considerable number of the colored population among the early membership, a majority of whom were noted for their strong abiding faith and strict moral deportment.
There were cases in which servants proved incorrigible, and sooner or later this class found their way to the cotton fields of the far South. Negroes were rarely ever reared here as an article of merchandise, but generally for the use of their owner, and if true and trusty were very seldom parted with. Men were encouraged to take their wives at home, if a suitable woman was in the family. If not, they generally found one in the immediate vicinity, when they were allowed to go to see her every night in the week, and as a general thing they were more steadfast to their families than they are now. Husband and wife were always kept together when possible, and often at great sacrifice. When the owner of either husband or wife was about removing to a distant place, some trade would be made, either by purchase or exchange, to prevent their separation. In such cases a man or woman would often be parted with by the owner that otherwise money could not have bought.”
This lengthy extract is given, not as an apology or defense of slavery, now no longer cursing the South, thank God; but as a graphic, and, in the main, true and faithful pen-picture of the institution as it then actually existed in Kentucky.
Corn was par excellence the most important crop grown by the early settler. It was in the highest sense the staff of life, for at first it constituted the only material for bread. The preparations for the crop were of the simplest kind. The coulter plow was brought into requisition, and the surface of the ground scratched over, but in the absence of this the hoe only sufficed. When the crop attained maturity, the blades were stripped off from the ear downward, and bound into sheaves; then that part of the stalk above cut off and set up into shocks, or, as in some cases,
used in lieu of clapboards to roof in their cribs. When gathered, the ears were thrown on the ground near the crib in a pile, and all the neighbors summoned to the husking. The “cornshucking” was quite an institution of the period. On many occasions the presiding genius was John Barleycorn, and then they were made the occasion of trials of strength, displays of agility and sometimes the settlement of feuds and difficulties by personal combats. The husking done, the men repaired to the farmer’s rude habitation, and then, after a generous repast of venison, “bar meat” and the inevitable ash or johnny-cake the younger gallants betook themselves to the giddy mazes of the dance, and tripped the light fantastic toe till the wee small hours of the morn.
And now, the corn husked and gathered into the barn, the next difficulty in the way was a mill, or rather the lack of one. After the corn had been raised and harvested, there were no mills to grind it into meal. At first and for a time this problem was solved by pounding it in a mortar with the butt end of a wedge by way of pestle, or, if the family had one, by grinding it in a coffee mill. By this process a very coarse meal was made, which, being sifted, the finer particles were used as meal, and the coarser as “grits” or hominy, after the husks had been floated off. It was not long, however, until some enterprising individual, actuated by necessity—necessity, they say, is the mother of invention—procured a couple of limestone rocks and improvised a pair of small buhrs, and then constructed a hand-mill, which was permanently placed by the side of the house. When meal was required, two persons would set themselves at the mill: one, taking hold of the shaft, would put the upper stone in motion, while the other would feed the mill with three or four grains of corn at a time, until enough was ground for present use. Of course this had to be repeated at each recurring meal, but, often as otherwise, probably, the meat was eaten without any bread.
This primitive hand-mill was, iii the course of time, superseded by the horse or tread-mill, and its advent among the pioneers was, to them, what the steam merchant mill is now to us. It is impossible to tell where the first one was erected or by whom, but its introduction marked the beginning of a new era in farming operations. About the beginning of the year 1800, or perhaps sooner, David Youngs brought from Pennsylvania a pair of mill-stones, which were long afterward used in his mill on the East Fork of Little River, near the present Russellville road. About the same time, it is not known whether before or after, the same enterprising miller built another grist-mill on the present site of the well-known Edwards’ Mill. It was afterward owned and run for many years by James Bronaugh.
The first mill-sites condemned by writ of ad quod damnum of the court were the following, viz.: One on Big Eddy, by James Shaw, March 21, 1797; one on the Barren Fork of Little River, by Robert Cravens, same date. At the next court in July, 1797. two more were condemned, one by Jacob Doom, Jr., at the Big Barren Spring on Livingston Creek, the other by John Cordery, on Raines’ Creek. That on the Sinking Fork of Little River was granted William Dryden, May 15, 1798.
Wheat, though one of the early productions, was not grown to any great extent till after the larger tracts of the “ barrens “ came into cultivation. After the timbered districts had come under more general cultivation, however, and the facilities for making flour had increased, the crop became more general in the northern portions of the county. In harvesting the wheat crop, the sickle or reap-hook was used, each operator cutting about four feet. When a “swath” or “through” was cut he would throw the sickle across his shoulder and bind the cut grain back to the beginning. An ordinary hand would cut from one to one and a half acres per day, the wages for which would average from 50 to 75 cents. There were two methods of threshing—.--one was with the hand-flail; the other by tramping it out with horses. The cleaning was done by “ winding" it with a sheet, viz.: tossing up on a sheet or blanket of a windy day so that the wind would blow the chaff away, or on a calm day, creating a breeze by artificial means. At the first it was ground into flour at the ordinary corn grist-mills, and was afterward “bolted” by hand. The first merchant flouring mill was built by Capt. Cox on Little River about ten or twelve miles from Hopkinsville in 1820. It was rebuilt about twenty years after by James Brewer. The first threshing machine ever used in the county was built by James Bronaugh and his brother-in-law, James Hart, in the year 1834. It was on the same principle as the old “ground-hog,” and was the invention of the latter gentleman. The castings were molded for them by Mr. Samuel Stackers at his furnace near Clarksville, Tenn., and the wood-work afterward finished at Mr. Bronaugh’s. They built a second one for John P. Campbell, Sr., in 1838. These machines would thresh out under favorable circumstances as much as 200 bushels a day. The first “ground-hog” machines were brought to the county about 1841 or 1842, by an agent from Cincinnati, Ohio. Next came the horse-power thresher and separator, and now the steam traction engine, with vibrator and separator, bids fair to supersede all others. With these improvements in threshing processes, the mills have kept pace, and we now have such merchant mills as those of Rabbeth & Brownell (Crescent Mills) and F. L. Ellis & Co. (Hopkinsville Mills). These mills when run to their full capacity turn out from 150 to 200 barrels each twenty-four hours. The yield of wheat in the county, for the year 1878, was 377,870 bushels, and doubtless much larger since then.
Tobacco.—This is by far the most important crop raised in Christian County. The soil seems peculiarly adapted to the growth of that variety known to the trade as “Hopkinsville Shippers,” or “Clarksville Shippers” a class grown almost exclusively on the cavernous limestone soils of Southern Kentucky and North Tennessee. “This is the heaviest, richest, most gummy, and fullest of nicotine of any tobacco known.” The best family of the weed for this class is the blue and yellow Pryor. The “Big Frederick” and “Morrow” grow larger than the Pryor, but are not so rich and waxy. The white Burley has not as yet been thoroughly tested by the growers of tobacco here, though some seem to think, under favorable circumstances, it can be grown to profit. One of the most important desiderata in the culture of this variety is the “canvassing” of the beds so as to insure well-grown plants for the early ‘ wet” seasons. These conditions have not as yet been fairly met, and the test in consequence is not considered conclusive. The crop of all varieties grown in the county in the year 1880, was 12,577,574 pounds. The same year Lancaster County, Penn., with an area of 490,922 acres, grew 23,946,326 pounds, and Pittsylvania County, Va., with an area of 205,465 acres, grew 12,271,533 pounds of tobacco. The area of farming lands in Christian County being 209,339 acres, makes her the “banner” county of the United States, if not of the world.
The honor of having grown and shipped from the county the first hogshead of tobacco is claimed for several persons. Some claim that William Fagin and Abraham Shelton shipped the first hogshead from Eddyville on the Cumberland River to New Orleans. It was rigged up like an exaggerated sod roller, and drawn by a pair of oxen or stout horses, all the way to the river. Others claim the honor for Richard Gaines, a brother-in-law of the famous pioneer Methodist preacher, Peter Cartwright, and the tradition runs that the experiment cost him “ more than it come to,” or in other words that he lost money on it.
Hopkinsville Tobacco Trade.—The following article, on the tobacco market of Hopkinsville, was written for this work by Mr. H. G. Abernathy. It is commended to those interested in the weed: The Hopkinsville Tobacco market may truly be called a creature of necessity. During the late war the tier of counties in Kentucky, consisting of Logan, Todd, Christian, Trigg, Caldwell, Lyon, together with portions of Muhlenburg and Hopkins, then known as a large part of the Clarksville Tobacco District, found great difficulty from various causes in marketing their tobacco. The almost entire absence of railroad or turnpike facilities throughout this whole section forced the burden upon the planting community of hauling tobacco on wagons, a distance of twenty to forty miles over the most abominable mud roads. The difficult means of transportation, and the inconvenience of attending distant markets, prevented the masses from witnessing the sales of their produce, and the dissatisfaction resulting from losses, accidental and otherwise, with excessive commission charges, forced our planters to adopt the method of selling privately at their barns, rather than to “go farther and fare worse.” Enloe and Fat-man, together with Jesup, Dillara and the Whartons bought freely, sweeping over the whole district, and the planter risking tobacco in a distant market was the exception.
Facts like these, and many others that might be enumerated, suggested the necessity of an auction market at home, situated in the very heart of one of the largest tobacco growing sections of the world. In the year 1869, the first tobacco warehouse in Hopkinsville was built by Carter L. Bradshaw, George W. Cayce and H. G. Abernathy. It was conducted under the firm name of Abernathy & Co., and sold 2,476 hogsheads of tobacco the first year it was in operation. Dudley Jeffreys was the first book-keeper, and added experience and ability to the general conduct of the business. The first sale was on the 12th of January, 1871, and. the first hogshead sold was the property of William West. an estimable planter of Christian County, and was bought by E. M. Hopper, one of our leading and enterprising merchants. The principal buyers at the opening sale were Gant & Jesup, Thompson & Mills, Dr. J. D. Clardy, E. H. Hopper, S. T. Fox, E. S. Quisenberry and others. But a large board was soon formed representing an extensive trade.
The doubt and uncertainty usually attendant upon all such enterprises soon vanished, and the market stood forth before the world a success. The second year, several additional warehouses opened and engaged in the business, bringing much ability, energy and enterprise to the trade, and a largely increased sale was made, with the utmost satisfaction to the patrons of the market. Large European orders, together with the home demand, gave to Hopkinsville a commanding position in the eyes of the world. The heavy, fat, German tobaccos, grown almost exclusively in Southern Kentucky, were sought after from first hands, giving to Hopkinsville, from a geographical stand-point, many superior advantages. The market has been in active operation for more than fourteen years, selling from ten to fifteen thousand hogsheads annually.
Crop Statistics. --The crop reports of Christian County for 1880 show
Corn, 1,430,154 bushels; oats, 64,841 bushels; rye,
2,544 bushels; wheat, 437,668 bushels; hay, 3,824 tons; Irish potatoes,
20,837 bushels, and sweet potatoes 25,479 bushels.
Live Stock.—The live stock and dairy reports for the year 1878 show’: horses, 4,920; mules and asses, 4,968 ; much cows, 4,609; other cattle, 5,580; sheep, 9,514; hogs, 42,834; milk, 26,367 gallons; butter, 297,341 pounds; woo1, 49,235 pounds.
Col. Cyrus Harrison and Matthew Patton were among the first to introduce into the county fine blooded stock from Virginia. This was about the year 1805. Since then many “thoroughbreds” have been imported from Virginia and elsewhere, and to-day Christian County can boast as many fine “strains” of both horses and cattle as any county in the State south of Green River.
Agricultural Associations.—The Christian County Agricultural and Mechanical Association was organized under charter granted by the Legislature in 1856, with Isaac Lewis, James T. Jackson, R. T. Torian, James M. Ford, William T. Moore, James H. Lander, E. R. Cook, J. C. Whitlock, J. W. Wallace, H. B. Owsley and John Stites as Commissioners. A meeting was called February 2, 1857, at the court house in Hopkinsville, and Thomas Green unanimously elected President, and Isaac Lewis, J. I. Thomas, James T. Jackson, C. E. Merriwether, Jesse Mc-Comb and Rice Dulin, Directors. The board thus formed then proceeded to elect J. C. Latham, Secretary, and James S. Phelps, Treasurer. Grounds were purchased from J. H. Caldwell and Dr. Montgomery, suitable buildings erected, and in the fall of 1857 the first annual fair of the association was held. G. B. Long was appointed Marshal with two assistants, and Thomas S. Bryan Corresponding Secretary. Admission fees, for adult footmen 25 cents, horsemen 35 cents, buggy 40 cents, carriages, etc., 50 cents, children and servants 10 cents. The fair was largely attended each day, many fine displays were made, and altogether, so substantial and liberal was the patronage received that the association were encouraged to repeat, with added attractions, their exhibitions on the following year. The officers elected for 1858 were Thomas Green, President; and John Berry, John T. Edmunds, J. H. Gant, R. W. Henry, G. W. Killebrew and J. W. Wallace, Directors; Thomas S. Bryan, Treasurer; J. S. Latham, Secretary, and J. B. Gowan, Marshal. In the course of the year, Mr. Wallace resigning as Director, J. S. Parrish was elected in his stead.
The officers for 1859 were: James S. Phelps, President; James W. Fields, James Wallace, L. W. Withers, J. C. Whitlock, C. M. Tandy and A. D. Rogers, Directors; H. A. Phelps, Secretary; J. P. Ritter, Treasurer, and J. W. Breathitt, Marshal.
The officers for 1860 were: J. S. Phelps, President; Directors. James Fields, L. W. Withers, C. M. Tandy, James Wallace and A. D. Rogers. H. A. Phelps was again elected Secretary, as was also J. P. Ritter, Treasurer, and J. W. Breathitt Marshal. Mr. Tandy resigning, T. Torian was elected Director in his stead. The war coming on, and political excitement running high, this was the last fair held until 1869, and was rendered memorable by the fact that, during its progress, John C. Breckinridge, then Vice-President, made a speech, discussing the issues of the times, to a vast concourse of people assembled on the grounds to hear him. In 1861, before the evacuation of Kentucky by the Confederates, the buildings were used as a barracks by a regiment of Mississippians under Gen. Clark. On their departure the amphitheatre was found to be in flames, and being entirely of wood, was soon burned to the ground. The origin of the fire is not known, but is thought to have been accidental.
In 1869, June 7, the stockholders again called a meeting, and elected as Directors, B. T. Ritter, J. C. Whitlock, John C. Latham, William J. Radford, James Wallace, J. S. Parrish and George W. Lander. The Board of Directors met on the 12th inst. and elected B. T. Ritter, President; John C. Latham, Jr., Secretary, and John P. Ritter, Treasurer. A committee, composed of J. K. Gant, James E. Jesup, S. A. Means and A. Palmer, was appointed to appraise the value of the fair grounds, who reported its value to be $2,600. James S. Parrish resigning his place as a member of the Board of Directors, Samuel 0. Buckner was elected to fill the vacancy.
At a subsequent meeting, June 26, a plan for an amphitheater, cottage, etc., was submitted by D. A. McKennon, which was adopted. The contract for the building of the amphitheatre was awarded, July 6, to Welch and McKennon for $7,200, $200 to be taken by them in stock, and the building of the cottage to Gatewood & Keeler for $1,200. J. F. Foard was elected Marshal, and October 20, 21, 22 and 23, set for the time of holding the next annual fair. A committee was also appointed to arrange for a “balloon ascension,” and another for a parade of the Steam Fire Department at that time.
The officers elected for 1870 were W. T. Radford, President; G. W. Lander, S. G. Buckner, James Wallace and J. C. Latham, Directors; James 0. Ellis, Secretary; J. P. Ritter, Treasurer; Joseph F. Foard, Marshal.
In 1871, James Parrish, President; P. F. Fox, L. McComb, 0. Graves, Ira F. Ellis, James Wallace and W. J. Bacon, Directors; J. P. Ritter, Treasurer; J. 0. Ellis, Secretary; and J. F. Foard, Marshal.
In 1872, Thomas Green, President; Dr. J. D. Clardy, J. T. Edmunds, James Wallace, S. G. Buckner, James M. Clark and Winston Henry, Directors; James 0. Ellis, Secretary ; J. P. Ritter, Treasurer; J. F. Foard, Marshal.
In 1873, S. G. Buckner, President; Ira F. Ellis, J. M. Clark, W. F. Cox, James Wallace, C. T. Lewis and H. G. Bowling, Directors ; J. 0. Ellis, Secretary ; 3. P. Ritter, Treasurer; and J. F. Foard, Marshal.
In 1874, W. F. Cox, President; Col. E. A. Starling, Charles T. Lewis, J. M. Clark, P. Fox, I. F. Ellis and J. T. Edmunds, Directors; J. 0. Ellis, Secretary ; J. P. Ritter Treasurer ; and J. F. Foard, Marshal.
In 1875, Dr. James Wheeler, President; Dr. J. C. Whitlock, Dr. J.
D. Clardy, E. A. Starling, J. E. Jesup, V. W. Crabb, W. Henry, Directors; W. P. Winfree, Secretary; J. W. McPherson, Treasurer ; and J. F. Foard, Marshal. At a subsequent meeting, Dr. Wheeler declining, Col. E. A. Starling was elected President.
In 1876, E. A. Starling, President, and the Board of Directors for 1875 re-elected. April, 17th inst., Dr. Whitlock resigning, G. W. Lander was elected as a member of the Board of Directors. September 2, W. Henry resigned, and Dr. E. A. Cook elected Director in his stead. At the same meeting Thomas Boyd, of Trigg, and C. W. Maddox were elected members of the Board.
In 1877, J. P. Edmunds, President; Ira F. Ellis, J. M. Clark. V. W. Crabb, S. T. Fox, E. R. Cook and 0. W. Lander, Directors; J. 0. Ellis, Secretary; J. W. McPherson, Treasurer; and M. H. Nelson, Marshal. April 14, President Edmunds resigning, J. M. Clark was elected to fill the vacancy. George V. Green and John B. Bell were elected to fill the vacancies occasioned by the promotion of J. M. Clark and the resignation of Dr. J. D. Clardy. April 21, Dr. E. R. Cook resigned from the Board, and M. V. Owen was elected Director.
In 1878, J. M. Clark, President; 0. W. Lander, V. \\T Crabb, George V. Green, J. B. Bell, M. V. Owen and Ira F. Ellis, Directors; J. 0. Ellis, Secretary ; and J. W. McPherson, Treasurer; April 6, G. W. Lander resigned, and M. H. Nelson elected Director in his stead.
In 1879, L. A. Sypert, President; G. V. Green, V. W. Crabb, M. H. Nelson, Otho Graves, W. Henry, Samuel M. Brown, Directors; J. 0. Ellis, Secretary ; and W. P. Winfree, Treasurer. April 21, George V. Green resigned, and N. Campbell was elected in his stead. Mr. Campbell declining, Dr. W. G. Wheeler was elected Director. April 26, M. H. Nelson resigned, and Dr. E. R. Cook was elected.
In 1880, Col. E. A. Starling, President; E. R. Cook, V. W. Crabb, 0. W. Means, J. C. Whitlock, W. Henry and Ned Campbell, Directors; James 0. Ellis, Secretary; and J. W. McPherson, Treasurer. April 26, W. Henry resigning, Dr. J. D. Clardy elected in his stead. June 28, the death of President Starling being announced, a committee, composed of Dr. J. D. Clardy, E. R. Cook and J. 0. Ellis, was appointed to draft suitable resolutions. Dr. E. R. Cook was elected to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of President Starling, and E. W. Walker to fill his place. September 6, Dr. J. D. Clardy resigned as Director, and C. F. Jarrett elected in his stead. September 25, N. Campbell resigned, and
W. G. Wheeler was elected to fill the vacancy.
In 1881, Dr. E. R. Cook, President; C. F. Jarrett, V. M. Owen, V. W. Crabb, J. C. Whitlock, Hunter Wood and J. C. Woolridge, Directors; John W. McPherson was elected Secretary and Treasurer.
In 1882, C. F. Jarrett, President; Hunter Wood, John C. Willis, G. W. Means, S. 0. Buckner, E. Walker and Dr. E. R. Cook, Directors; J. Burnett, Secretary ; John W. McPherson, Treasurer; and William Cowan, Marshal. May 23, H. H. Abernathy was elected a Director.
In 1883, Col. L. A. Sypert, President; C. F. Jarrett, G. W. Means, J. S. Parrish, W. Henry, Joseph Woolridge and J. W. Pritchett, Directors; J. W. McPherson, Secretary and Treasurer. July 3, C. F. Jarrett resigned, and H. H. Abernathy was elected in his stead.
It only remains to be said, in conclusion, that the Association, through the wise and economical management of its Directory, is at present in a healthy condition financially; all outstanding debts having been liquidated, and the property being unincumbered, is increasing in value every year.
Horticulture.—Gardening, or horticulture in its restricted sense, cannot be regarded as a very important feature in the history of Christian County. If, however, we take a broad view of the subject, and include orchards, small fruit culture and kindred branches, outside of agriculture, we should find something of more interest and value. There can be but little doubt that, if the farmers were to devote more of the attention that is given to tobacco to fruit-growing--—particularly in the north part of the county, a section in every way adapted to it—the experiment would pay, and pay well. The climate of this portion of the State is better adapted to fruit culture than further north, and it is a pleasant and easy way of making money.
The apple is the hardiest and most reliable of all the fruits for this region, and there are more acres in apple orchards, perhaps, than in all other fruits combined in the county. The first fruit trees were brought here by the pioneers themselves, and were seedling sprouts brought from the old homes in Virginia or the Carolinas. Apples are raised in the county in great quantities, also peaches, and of late years small fruits are receiving more or less attention. There is but little land, even among the hills of the north part of the county, but would produce fine grapes, and grapes always command a good price. Grape culture in that section might be made a valuable industry. In fact, with a soil so well adapted to fruits as that of Christian County, horticulture should be held in that high esteem which becomes so important a factor in human welfare.—J. M. Tydings.
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